[Congressional Record Volume 169, Number 75 (Wednesday, May 3, 2023)]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
PROVIDING FOR CONGRESSIONAL DISAPPROVAL UNDER CHAPTER 8 OF TITLE 5,
UNITED STATES CODE, OF THE RULE SUBMITTED BY THE UNITED STATES FISH AND
WILDLIFE SERVICE RELATING TO ``ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND
PLANTS; LESSER PRAIRIE-CHICKEN; THREATENED STATUS WITH SECTION 4(D)
RULE FOR THE NORTHERN DISTINCT POPULATION SEGMENT AND ENDANGERED STATUS
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTINCT POPULATION SEGMENT''
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will
proceed to legislative session.
The Committee on Environment and Public Works is discharged from
further consideration of S.J. Res. 9; and the Senate will proceed to
the en bloc consideration of H.J. Res. 39, which was received from the
House, and S.J. Res. 9, which the clerk will report.
The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:
A joint resolution (H.J. Res. 39) disapproving the rule
submitted by the Department of Commerce relating to
``Procedures Covering Suspension of Liquidation, Duties and
Estimated Duties in Accord With Presidential Proclamation
A joint resolution (S.J. Res. 9) providing for
congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United
States Code, of the rule submitted by the United States Fish
and Wildlife Service relating to ``Endangered and Threatened
Wildlife and Plants; Lesser Prairie-Chicken; Threatened
Status With Section 4(d) Rule for the Northern Distinct
Population Segment and Endangered Status for the Southern
Distinct Population Segment''.
Thereupon, the committee was discharged from consideration of S.J.
Res. 9, and the Senate proceeded to consider the joint resolutions, en
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
Mrs. CAPITO. Madam President, I rise today to talk on a subject that
is of great importance to me and of great importance to employers,
workers, consumers, and--really--everyone across this country; and that
is, the need for substantive reform of our country's Federal
environmental review and permitting process.
Now, this is a subject I have talked about a lot. I have championed
efforts to make sure that our environment and economy benefit from a
functional Federal environmental review and permitting process, and I
am now and once again leading environmental review and permitting
reform efforts through the Environment and Public Works Committee, and
I am working with my fellow Republican Senator, who is the ranking
member over on Energy and Natural Resources, Senator Barrasso from
Wyoming, and we are working across the aisle with our counterparts.
Permitting reform is much more than just legislative text. It is more
than just updates to laws that have been on the books for years or
about replacing counterproductive measures implemented by the Biden
administration. It is an essential element in giving our Nation what we
need to be successful in the future.
Without permitting reform, American energy will continue to be
stalled, jeopardizing our security here at home as well as for our
allies abroad. Without permitting reform, communities across America
will struggle as they are denied access to the good-paying jobs that
they need and are capable of doing.
Without permitting reform, America will not build at all. The same
country that mined the coal, that made the steel, and that built the
democracy and led the way for industry across the world will be held
back by endless review processes, continuous and continuing court
challenges, and crippling regulations that limit our ability to be the
world leader that we know we are.
In my State of West Virginia, which is synonymous with energy
generation, we have long seen the negative effects created by a
permitting process that is designed to stall rather than to produce or
create. There are multiple real-world examples of how our broken
environmental review and permitting process is holding up my State of
West Virginia's ability to move forward, and it is impacting multiple
sectors important not only to the people of my State but also to our
In the transportation sector in West Virginia there is Corridor H.
Corridor H is a critically important highway that West Virginia needs
to help commerce flow and to jump-start the economy in the central part
of our State and to encourage our growing tourism industry.
In the manufacturing sector, there is Nucor Steel, an innovative,
cutting-edge steel and steel products company that can't, as yet, build
their plant as quickly as the Biden administration keeps creating new
And, in the energy sector, there is the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a
304-mile-long natural gas pipeline that is on the brink of completion--
over 90 percent completed. Yet it is unable to deliver its needed
contribution to American energy independence due to the regulatory
burdens and endless legal challenges that have gone on longer than the
actual construction of the pipeline itself.
These are just three examples in the State of West Virginia. Think
about the national impact created by outdated permitting processes, the
damage inflicted on our communities and our economy, and the
opportunities we are losing because of an administration that champions
redtape, feeds frivolous lawsuits, and whose Agencies celebrate delays
that lead to the total abandonment of critical--critical--projects.
It just doesn't make sense, quite simply. Even the renewable energy
projects and manufacturing efforts central to the Biden
administration's Agencies are being held up in permitting purgatory.
President Biden has long pledged that he will build our country back
better. Well, news flash, Mr. President. You can't ``build back
better'' if you can't build at all.
The fallout created by a broken environmental review and permitting
process further strains our sputtering economy, drives up energy prices
for consumers, negates good-paying jobs for hard-working Americans,
and, really, jeopardizes our ability to build into the future.
Now, as my constituents in West Virginia would say, well, what are
you going to do about it?
Well, from conversations we have already started in the EPW
Committee, I will soon be introducing legislation, in tandem with my
colleague Senator Barrasso, that delivers on the environmental review
and permitting process reform that our country needs. This legislation
will benefit all projects--renewable, conventional, surface
transportation, manufacturing, all of the above.
This legislation will mandate enforceable timelines with clear time
limits and predictable schedules for environmental review and
consequences when Agencies fail to reach these decisions in a timely
This legislation will fashion guidelines that process and decide
legal challenges to projects expeditiously, instead of creating a sea
of endless litigation.
The legislation will actually amend the Clean Air Act, the Clean
Water Act, and NEPA, and fix the obstacles holding our country back
from the prosperity we deserve, while maintaining--of course,
I will emphasize, as I have many times in the past, that any
tangible, lasting environmental review and permitting solutions must be
accomplished through regular order.
Backroom deals will not cut it. In fact, they will only lead to
confusion among the American public and buyer's remorse among the
We have forged the blueprint for bipartisan compromise through the
EPW Committee time and time again, and this process should be no
I encourage my colleagues in both Chambers, on both sides of the
aisle, as well as President Biden, to heed the calls from communities
across the country on the urgent need for environmental review and
permitting reform and to join in our efforts to deliver the
modifications that America's employers, workers, and consumers need.
I look forward to the continued debate on environmental review and
permitting reform, while always maintaining our shared goal of moving
With that, I yield the floor, and I see my colleague--who has been
very instrumental in all of this, as we worked together with our
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
Mr. BARRASSO. Madam President, it is a privilege to join my colleague
from West Virginia, Senator Capito, on the floor today to talk about
legislation that we will be introducing tomorrow.
It is about permitting, and I come to the floor to talk about ways to
lower prices for American families and to restore our country to energy
dominance. And, of course, the way to achieve this is by fixing our
broken permitting process.
There is a lot of work to be done. There is bipartisan support to do
it. She will be introducing, along with me, our legislation tomorrow,
and this legislation is going to streamline a very complicated
permitting process. It is going to speed up American infrastructure and
energy, as well as mining projects. Taken together, this legislation
will address fatal flaws in today's Federal permitting process.
Now, the current system moves in very slow motion. Too often, as
Senator Capito said, there is no motion at
all. Things are stopped in their tracks. Today's process forces project
developers to endure a maze of regulations, mountains of paperwork,
expensive studies, and bureaucratic foot-dragging.
It takes an average of 4\1/2\ years now just to complete an
environmental impact statement for one single project. In some cases,
it can take a decade or more to get final approval for a project.
And even if a project makes it through the regulatory roadblocks to
get a permit, it will inevitably be challenged in court. Project
opponents are skilled at exploiting our broken permitting process to
stop all progress. Litigation can drag on for years and cost millions
and millions of dollars.
In my home State of Wyoming, activists are suing to cancel hundreds
of Federal oil and gas permits. Now, these permits were issued after
years of environmental reviews. They are frivolous--the lawsuits--but
they are happening all across the country.
The longer it takes to get a permit, the more a project costs. The
more it costs, the more likely a developer will either pull the plug or
just give up before even starting.
The result of all of this is that energy prices go up. People feel
the pain because, when investments aren't made, jobs don't materialize
and projects of national importance don't get built.
And I am talking about projects like oil and gas wells, pipelines,
transmission lines, wind and solar farms, powerplants, roads, tunnels,
bridges, and mines.
To see what I mean, take a look at this chart from the Economist,
``Cancel culture.'' It shows that, for the past several years, more
miles of interstate gas pipelines have been canceled than have been
Let me repeat that.
This shows that, for the past several years, more miles of interstate
gas pipelines have been canceled than have been built.
You know, we used to be able to build things in this country--not
anymore. It is not that we don't know how. It is that we are not being
It shouldn't take longer to permit a project than to actually build
it. In too many instances, it does. The American people inevitably lose
when that happens.
The permitting process must change so we can lower costs for families
and unleash American energy. We can't keep today's broken process and
expect to stay ahead of rivals like China.
Taken together, the legislation that Senator Capito and I are
introducing is going to streamline the permitting process while
preserving environmental standards. This will put America back in the
Project developers need to expect a system that is predictable and
delivers a timely answer. Our legislation will do that by sticking to
four basic principles.
First, real reform must benefit the entire country, not a narrow
range of special interests. Our bills are technology and fuel neutral.
By that, we mean we don't put our thumb on the scale for politically
favored technologies. This is going to help expedite projects from both
conventional and alternative energy sources. We need all the energy
here in America.
Second, our legislation includes enforceable timelines with specific
time limits on environmental reviews.
Third, we place time limits on legal challenges to prevent endless
litigation intended solely to kill new energy projects.
And, finally, our legislation prevents the executive branch from
hijacking the process to meet its own policy preferences.
The energy bill that I am going to introduce focuses on streamlining
improvements to produce more American energy and more American mineral
resources. It is going to lower costs for families. It is going to
enhance America's energy security. It is going to reduce reliance on
China, on Russia, and on other adversaries for energy, as well as key
A key aspect of my energy bill is to resume Federal onshore and
offshore oil and gas leases. Now, the Biden administration has tried
from day one to block access to Federal lands and waters, regardless of
the law. We cannot allow any administration to deny, defy, and
disregard the law.
My bill also will speed up the production of critical minerals used
in renewable and battery technologies. Our country is blessed with
large mineral deposits. Some are in your home State, Madam President,
and in my home State, in Wyoming, in particular.
We have large reserves of coal, uranium, rare earths, and other
minerals. Yet it often takes over 10 years in the United States to get
a mining permit. Our competitors in China move much faster, as do our
northern neighbors in Canada.
Unlocking domestic mining means that we will no longer have to rely
on China and Russia for critical minerals. Finally, my bill will ensure
the affordability and reliability of our electric grid. We will have
American energy that is affordable, that is reliable, and that is
Now, the House recently passed the Lower Energy Costs Act. The Senate
now has an opportunity to pass our own legislation. We can pass
bipartisan legislation that unleashes American energy, boosts our
international competitiveness, creates jobs, and lowers prices. This
starts with fixing today's broken permitting process.
Now, Democrats said last year that this reform is necessary. Senator
Capito and I are bringing solutions to the table. If Democrats are
serious about fixing the broken process, meaningful reform is possible.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska.
Mr. SULLIVAN. Madam President, I want to thank Senator Capito and
Senator Barrasso for their leadership on an issue that matters to every
single American. This is one of those issues where the Congress of the
United States should be coming together in a bipartisan way to make
sure we have a permitting system that enables us to build things--every
kind of thing we need: roads, bridges, ports, energy, renewables, oil,
The system is broken. Everybody knows it.
I like to show this photo when I am talking about permitting reform.
Why am I showing this very iconic photo of some men here building the
Empire State Building? Because we all know that one of the great things
about America is that we used to be able to build things--big things--
on time: 410 days to build the Empire State Building. The Hoover Dam
took less than 5 years to build. A little closer to home to me, the
1,700-mile Alaska-Canada Highway, what we call the ALCAN Highway,
through some of the world's most rugged terrain--11 months.
This was the great thing about America. With the best workers in the
world, we built huge things, on time, on budget--but not anymore, not
I don't want to be too partisan here, but one of the things that we
all know we need is permitting. It is permitting. I am obsessed with
But I will tell you this. Every time--and it is probably going to
happen again--we have a big permitting opportunity, a big permitting
bill on the floor, what happens? It usually is a battle between the men
and women who build stuff. The unions who build things, they want
permitting reform. They want to be back in action, like these men
The men and women who build things want it. The radical, far-left
environmental groups hate it because they want to block building
anything in America. They want to block producing any energy in
Unfortunately, when it is a choice between the men and women who
build stuff and the far-left radical enviros on permitting, my
Democratic colleagues almost every single time go with the radical
left, not the men and women who build things. I hope it doesn't happen
again, but it happens all the time.
Here is the thing: As I mentioned, our country used to build
incredible things on time. Now we are a country that is tangled up in
redtape. A simple highway in the United States can now take as long as
19 years to permit and build. In Alaska, we are ground zero for these
kinds of projects where the permitting is delayed, far-left lower 48
environmental groups sue to stop, and they take advantage of NEPA.
Let me give an example. We had a gold mine in Alaska called the
Kensington Mine. If you include the litigation from the far-left
environmental groups, it took 20 years to permit--20
years. How does that help the country? How does that help my State? How
does that help workers? It doesn't. The only people who like that are
the far-left environmental groups and Xi Jinping and Putin, who want to
make sure America can't produce.
So what has happened is the National Environmental Policy Act--NEPA,
as we call it--has been abused. It was a great idea when it was passed
in the late 1960s. It required builders to engage with the public,
consider the environmental impacts of important projects. But back
then, it was usually a couple of hundred pages, a NEPA review that
would take about a year. Now that is several thousand pages. It takes
several years for the NEPA process to move forward.
We have, again, some of our great leaders in our building trades.
This is James Callahan, general president of the International
Operating Engineers. Here is what he said recently on a piece of
legislation that I moved forward last year, a CRA on a permitting
Since its modest beginning, NEPA has evolved into a massive
edifice, capable of destroying project after project--
Destroying, not helping--
job after job, in virtually every sector of the economy.
Whether it is the permitting bill that Senator Capito and Senator
Barrasso have done such a great job in leading; whether it is my
Rebuild America Now Act, which is a major reform of the NEPA process--
by the way, the vast majority of the building trades in America, the
men and women who build things, support my legislation.
We need permitting reform. It is that simple. When you talk to a
Governor in pretty much any State, whether they are Democrat or
Republican; when you talk to a mayor, Democrat or Republican--it
doesn't matter--they say: We have to fix our broken permitting system.
We had a hearing on airport infrastructure in the Commerce Committee
several years ago. The head of the Seattle-Tacoma Airport was
testifying. They had just built a new runway at Sea-Tac.
I asked him: How long did it take to build that runway?
In the hearing, he said: Three to four years.
I said: Well, that seems a little long, but I am not in construction,
so I don't know exactly, but it seems a little long to build a new
runway. How long did it take you to get the permits from the Federal
Government to build that runway?
I didn't know the answer, but I am obsessed with this topic because
it is killing our country. It is really hurting working men and women,
like James Callahan, one of our great union leaders.
This witness looked at me--the head of the Sea-Tac Airport--when I
asked him: How long did it take to get the permits?
He said: Senator Sullivan, 15 years.
Fifteen years to get a permit to build a new runway. You could hear
the entire hearing room just kind of collectively groan because
everybody knows it is bad for America.
Then he said: Senator, with the time it took to build the new
runway--4 years--and the time it took to get the permits--15 years--
almost 20 years.
The ancient Egyptians would have built the Pyramids by then. This is
killing us. Everybody knows it. This should be a bipartisan issue.
I will end with this: Last year, I was proud to lead the efforts on
what is called a Congressional Review Act, CRA. What it was for was--we
passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill. We got some OK permitting
reform in there--not as much as I wanted, but it was not bad. So that
was good. I voted for the bill. It wasn't perfect. But then the Biden
administration White House, at the behest of the far-left radical
enviros, issued rules on permitting that were undermining its own
bipartisan infrastructure bill. The CEQ put out rules that would make
it much harder to build things in America--not just energy projects,
all projects. It was crazy.
So I introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution to rescind the
Biden rule driven by the far-left radical enviros. Here is the good
news: My CRA passed in a bipartisan way on the floor of the U.S.
Senate. Over 40 groups--you name them--farmers, ranchers, people who
build things, all the building trades in America, all the unions--this
collective group of over 40 groups representing millions of Americans
who build stuff, who farm things, who grow things, all came and said:
We support the Sullivan Congressional Review Act.
That is what we should be doing now. The Barrasso-Capito bill;
Senator Manchin introduced his permitting legislation--we all know it
is the right thing to do.
To my Democratic colleagues: Listen to the men and women who build
stuff. Listen to the men and women who grow things. Don't listen to the
far-left radical enviros who don't want any permitting reform because
they love to crush projects. Be courageous. Vote with us on the
permitting reform that everybody in America knows we need.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.
Mr. RICKETTS. Madam President, I rise today to join my colleagues in
calling for the need for permitting reform for our Federal Agencies.
The current system we have right now is in dire need of reform. It
takes too long and costs taxpayers too much money. As Governor of
Nebraska, I had direct experience with this. Let me share some of those
The Natural Resources District, which is in charge of flood
mitigation around Offutt Air Force Base, saw the need to raise the
levees around Offutt Air Force Base.
Offutt Air Force Base is very important. Not only does it house the
55th Wing, but it also is the home of Strategic Command, which controls
our nuclear forces.
They went about the process of getting the levees raised; however,
the Army Corps of Engineers took 6 years--6 years--to grant the permit.
The permit was granted, and construction was set to begin in March of
March 2019 was also the same month that we experienced the most
widespread flooding in our State's history. As part of that flooding,
Offutt Air Force Base was damaged. Floodwaters covered the runway and
damaged over a dozen buildings. Ultimately, the cost to the U.S.
taxpayers was nearly $1 billion. If the Army Corps of Engineers had
only given the permit in 4 years--which, by the way, still would have
been horrible service--those levees would have been built up, and we
could have avoided nearly $1 billion in damage to Offutt Air Force
Base, risking our national security and costing taxpayer dollars.
In another case, the Natural Resources District was looking to raise
a different levee, R616-613. That permit took 7 years to get issued and
at a cost of $6 million. The overall project was set for $45 million.
That means that the cost of the permit alone was 13 percent of the
overall cost of the project.
In hearings today with the Army Corps of Engineers, we find out that
the Army Corps of Engineers has about 80,000 regulatory reviews and
permits they issue, and they claim they turn those permits around in 11
months. However, they have no system of detecting or reviewing outliers
like these 6- and 7-year permits, nor do they have any goals for what a
permit should cost in the overall percentage of a project.
Here is the good news: This is something we can fix. In the State of
Nebraska, we undertook permitting reform as well because we wanted to
do a better job serving our customers and reduce our costs.
For example, with our air construction permits that the Nebraska
Department of Environment and Energy issues, we looked at the process
of doing that. It took almost 200 days to issue those permits. The
process to issue those was 110 steps long. Only four of those steps
actually offered any value. We were able to cut that number of steps
down to 22 steps, and by 2019, it cut the days it takes to issue that
permit down to 65--all without sacrificing any quality.
Through our department of transportation, we also have green sheets.
These are the sheets we give to contractors to make sure they are
complying with things like environmental regulations, antiquities,
endangered species, erosion control, and also things such as hazardous
waste disposal. It was taking us about 16 days to issue those, and the
process was 87 steps long. We cut it down to 60 steps and were able to
reduce the time it
takes to issue those green sheets by 81 percent, down to just 3 days.
What that does is it then allows the contractor to get in the field and
start building our roads faster, employing people faster.
When you have a regulatory environment where people know they can
have that certainty, it helps businesses. In fact, Yahoo said they
invested about $20 million in Nebraska because they knew they would
have that regulatory certainty in our State because we focused on good
We need to have the same sort of permitting reform at the Federal
Government. In the State of Nebraska, we use Lean Six Sigma, which is a
process of proven methodology to be able to do our permitting reform.
Our Federal Agencies can do something similar.
I look forward to working with Ranking Member Capito on the
Environmental and Public Works Committee on how we can come up with
ways to reform our permitting system here at our Federal Agencies. This
is something that will impact power generation, power transmission,
infrastructure, flood control--a number of different things. This is
vitally important for our country to continue to grow, for us to create
jobs and ultimately be able to save taxpayers' money.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
Mr. BUDD. Madam President, I rise today to highlight the desperate
need to cut redtape and to get America building again. When I go all
around North Carolina and I meet with builders and contractors, I am
told by them that it is too hard to build and to complete critical
projects in the United States and in North Carolina right now.
We are struggling to build the infrastructure we need to achieve
energy dominance, to bridge the digital divide, and to attract good-
paying, reliable manufacturing jobs back to our shores.
The primary stumbling block in this effort is one of our government's
own making. Radical environment groups are going well beyond what is
necessary to ensure a clean environment. They are weaponizing the
National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, to indefinitely delay
critical projects by filing frivolous lawsuits.
Now, I hail from a State that cares deeply about the environment:
clean air, clean water, a livable planet. I believe Americans of all
political stripes share that goal. However, the changing dynamics of
global commerce and the global threat environment require Congress to
make it easier to secure our energy security, to export our vast energy
resources to keep our allies' energy safe, and to give our industries a
chance to compete against China.
What Congress must do is to add a ``shot clock,'' if you will, to
NEPA reviews and limit opportunities for repetitive lawsuits that cause
these very important projects to sit idle. We should follow the example
of our House colleagues and pass legislation focused on unleashing
American gas and oil production, expanding our capacity to export
liquefied natural gas, and easing the path for other forms of energy
like nuclear to come online and to keep America competitive in the 21st
Century global economy.
I stand ready to work with all of my colleagues on solutions to get
America back in the business of building large projects and tackling
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
Ms. ERNST. Madam President, the current permitting process in the
United States is as outdated as that seventies' shag carpet in your
grandma's house. It is true. A lot has changed since that old ``rug,''
known as the National Environmental Policy Act, was installed in 1970.
Today, the Democrats like to preach that America is ready for the
green energy revolution, but the facts just don't line up. Case in
point: More than 92 percent of energy projects currently backlogged in
the permitting process are solar and wind projects.
Just last week in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing,
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm promised that our DOD, Department
of Defense, could make our entire military fleet electric vehicles by
2030--all of them electric by 2030, just a little under 7 years from
I pressed her on how in the world our Pentagon could accomplish this
in that short timeframe and, frankly, why it is a top priority for our
Nation's military in the first place.
Folks, right now, China--China--controls the EV supply chain. The
communist regime produces about 75 percent of all lithium-ion batteries
that power those electric vehicles.
Over 70 percent of the world's cobalt mining occurs in the Democratic
Republic of Congo, done by child labor. The remainder of the cobalt
primarily comes from CCP-owned firms. To mine all of these minerals,
China relies on slave labor.
This is absolutely unacceptable. Increasing reliance on the Chinese
Communist Party and supporting their malign actions is a nonstarter.
In my exchange with Secretary Granholm in this Armed Services
Committee meeting, she tried to tout the President's ``Invest in
America'' agenda, saying: 150 battery companies have announced they are
coming or expanding to the United States to do business.
That does sound great, right?
Well, these businesses are in for a real treat. The big hand of
Washington, guided by the Biden administration, is ready and waiting to
prevent these businesses from actually mining, procuring, and
processing minerals needed for their batteries right here at home. The
problem is, right now, on average, it takes 4\1/2\ years to simply get
an environmental review for a project.
When the permitting process takes longer than the actual building
process, that should raise a red flag.
Let's remove the redtape. The best strategy to confront our growing
energy needs is to utilize the abundance of energy-producing natural
resources that our country was blessed with and encourage alternative
energy production methods. By increasing the use of renewables, like
homegrown Iowa biofuel, and building on the advances in energy
efficiency, we have the ability to pursue an energy strategy right here
in America that creates jobs, lowers costs, and reduces our dependence
upon our foreign adversaries like China. New clean energy projects
bring economic benefits and jobs to rural areas, including my home
State of Iowa.
The Biden administration claims to ``build back better,'' but in
today's reality, we simply can't build anything. It is time we pass
commonsense permitting reform and get Washington bureaucrats out of the
I yield the floor.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Rosen). The clerk will call the roll.
The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. HOEVEN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. HOEVEN. Madam President, I join my colleagues today to discuss
the need to reform our Nation's broken Federal permitting process.
Today, it often takes longer to navigate the Federal permitting
process than it does to actually construct a project. It currently
takes, on average, 4\1/2\ years or more to complete an environmental
impact statement, or EIS. For a quarter of projects, it can take 6
years or more to complete an environmental impact statement. That is
because some radical environmental groups have really weaponized the
National Environmental Policy Act, NEPA, and they are exploiting what
has become a more and more opaque and convoluted Federal permitting
process. This uncertainty not only drives up the cost of future
projects, it is being applied to projects currently permitted in good
Take, for instance, the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has been
operating safely for nearly 6 years in its transporting of over a half
a million barrels of crude oil per day from North Dakota--light sweet
crude--and from the Fort Berthold Reservation and the Three Affiliated
Tribes. It takes it to market, and it is used in our country to fuel
our economy. The Army Corps held 389 meetings, conferred with more than
55 Tribes, and completed a 1,261-page environmental assessment before
the pipeline went into operation. Yet litigation continued following
the Federal approval and completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and
the Corps is currently expected to take more than 4 years to complete a
full environmental impact statement for about
two-tenths of a mile, crossing under the Missouri River. Subjecting a
completed $3.78 billion project to litigation without reasonable limits
cannot be the new normal.
Delays and uncertainty drive up the costs of projects, and opponents
are exploiting a more and more complicated permitting process so that
delay becomes defeat. American consumers are paying the price for this
regulatory uncertainty, particularly through higher energy costs.
Increasing the supply and lowering the cost of energy is key to
attacking inflation because the cost of energy is built into every
other good and service consumed across our economy. To accomplish this
goal, the Biden administration needs to take the handcuffs off American
energy producers and work with us on bipartisan permitting reform.
A good first start would be for the Senate to consider H.R. 1, the
Lower Energy Costs Act, which recently passed the House on a bipartisan
vote. H.R. 1 includes comprehensive permitting reforms that will
unleash more American energy and make it more efficient and affordable
to deliver energy to our Nation.
H.R. 1 also includes three pieces of legislation that I have
introduced in the Senate.
First, the North American Energy Act brings certainty to the
permitting process for important cross-border energy pipelines and
electric transmission line projects and prevents the President from
taking unilateral action in canceling vital energy projects like he did
with the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Second, the Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural
Gas Projects Act streamlines the review process for interstate natural
gas pipelines and LNG projects, helping to more efficiently deliver
natural gas to areas that need it the most.
Third, the Bureau of Land Management Mineral Spacing Act improves the
permitting process in States like North Dakota with a split mineral
estate where the Federal Government owns no surface acreage--none of
the surface acres--and has a minority interest in the minerals
The United States is fortunate to have abundant and affordable
reserves of coal, oil, and gas, and U.S. energy companies are global
leaders when it comes to producing more energy with the highest
environmental standards. We need to empower our producers with a clear,
consistent, and timely Federal permitting process. Otherwise, we will
once again become dependent on unstable and adversarial countries like
Iran, Venezuela, Russia, and even China--countries hostile to our
economic and national security interests.
That is why meaningful permitting reform is needed to create jobs,
enhance our geopolitical competitiveness, and bring down costs for
With that, I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
Ms. LUMMIS. Madam President, our Federal permitting process is
Back home in Wyoming, important infrastructure and energy projects
are oftentimes delayed years due to mountains of regulation, redtape,
bureaucracy, and even lawsuits. This is absolutely unacceptable. It is
impossible for small businesses to even get off the ground thanks to
It is time to reform our Federal permitting process, and I am glad
some of my colleagues from across the aisle are coming around to the
idea of permitting reform. Some on the left are finally warming up to
reform to try to push renewable energy projects.
Permitting reform needs to address all types of energy technologies,
fuel, and projects. For that reason, any bipartisan effort needs to
actually address the underlying statutes, including the National
Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA; the Endangered Species Act; the
Clean Water Act; and the Clean Air Act. Window dressing will no longer
Since NEPA is the single most litigated environmental statute,
litigation reform needs to be part of the final product. Litigation
reflects something is broken; that it is not working well. Some would
have you believe otherwise. Litigation is the result of something is
not working well. The average time for NEPA processes is 4\1/2\ years--
nearly half a decade.
We also need to think about the processes and projects that have
never been started because of these challenges. The costs of getting
NEPA and getting an environmental impact statement are so high and take
so long that some projects are never undertaken.
I have a friend in Wyoming who has been trying for over 10 years to
get through the NEPA process to open a rare earth minerals mine so as
to mine rare earth minerals we desperately need in this country so that
we don't have to rely on places like China and the Republic of the
Congo. But this man is going to retire because he is ready to retire,
and this process is still ongoing. All that time, all that money, all
that energy is being reduced to nothing because a process has taken the
place of mining the rare earth minerals we desperately need in this
I applaud Senator Shelley Moore Capito's leadership in addressing
meaningful permitting reform. Her legislation will provide regulatory
certainty to States and stakeholders, codify environmental regulatory
reforms, and expedite permitting and review processes.
I am especially excited about the idea of allowing States to take on
more of the shared workload when it comes to permitting, particularly
under the Endangered Species Act.
I look forward to the Senate taking up this bill and providing much-
needed permitting reform.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.
Inflation Reduction Act
Mr. SCHATZ. Madam President, 8 months ago, we passed the Inflation
Reduction Act. Sometimes when a major bill is passed, its effects are
not immediate, but that is not the case with this legislation.
Since the IRA was signed into law, more than 100 clean energy
projects have been announced. These include solar, wind, hydrogen
power, battery manufacturing, electric vehicle development, and clean
tech investments. If it seems like I am excited, it is because I am.
They are in rural areas, in major cities, and everywhere in between,
and in more than 30 States, from Idaho to Louisiana, to Ohio, to
Arizona. Collectively, these projects have created more than 100,000
new jobs for electricians, for mechanics, for construction workers, for
technicians, and more, but these 100,000 jobs are only the beginning.
A report from the University of Massachusetts projects that the IRA
will create more than 9 million jobs over the next decade. I want to
repeat that: 9 million jobs over the next decade. Those are
manufacturing jobs for wind turbines, solar panels, and electric
vehicles to make our power grid more resilient and our roads less
polluted. They are construction jobs to make our homes and our
buildings more energy efficient and to lower costs for families and
small businesses. They are environmental jobs to support farmers, to
protect fisheries, and to restore our public lands.
Investments supporting these new jobs and projects are already near
$90 billion, and with financial analysts projecting a multiplier effect
of 1.6 dollars in private sector investment for every dollar of public
spending, even the most optimistic predictions about the IRA's impact
seem low now. A Credit Suisse report analyzing the bill estimates that
we will see double the amount of clean energy that the bill was
initially projected to accomplish--double the amount of clean energy. A
new analysis from Goldman Sachs puts the impact even higher: triple the
amount of clean energy that we were contemplating.
This shift is already happening in Colorado, where it is seeing a
rapid expansion in clean energy development.
DR Richardson, who runs a business in electrifying homes with heat
pumps and induction wiring, said about the change that ``we are having
a hard time keeping up with the demand. The Inflation Reduction Act has
been a massive tailwind for us.''
In Michigan, the State's manufacturing background and embrace of
electric vehicles could lead to as many as 34,000 new clean energy
jobs. According to researcher Aaron Brickman, ``There's a strategy,
there's a plan, and the benefits are already being seen. . . . Michigan
is poised for an economic boom.''
In Texas, a massive $4 billion investment to create the country's
largest green hydrogen facility was recently announced. It will also
generate 1.4 gigawatts of wind and solar, enough to power nearly
750,000 homes. In the words of Seifi Ghasemi, the CEO of a company
behind the investment, ``It will be competitive on a world scale while
bringing significant tax, job, and energy security benefits to Texas.''
That is really what the IRA entails: new jobs, energy security, and a
But there is an opponent to this progress. The opponent is the fossil
fuel industry. They have gotten rich digging up oil and burning coal
for generations, but now we are seeing the energy of the future that is
not fossil fuels. They know that they have lost, so the industry and
its supporters are attempting to stall this progress by throwing
whatever they can find at it. They are pursuing litigation. They are
pushing NIMBYism--``not in my backyard.'' They are trying to stop clean
energy projects through the State public utility and public service
commissions. They are attempting to hijack the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission. Through this CRA, they are trying to grind solar
manufacturing to a halt.
So, if you hear this debate around this particular Congressional
Review Act resolution, which we are contemplating today, it is not
actually about this. There is a bigger story here, and the story is
this: We finally took climate action that wasn't small. We finally took
an action that was equal to the moment. We finally took action that was
equal to the obligation that we have to future generations, that was
equal to the opportunity for the United States and the entire planet to
move forward on clean energy that benefits everybody, that lowers costs
and saves our planet for the future.
So when they come after this particular action of the Biden
administration, don't get lost in the weeds; they have lost. They are
dead-enders. They know that. And so they will pick up a Congressional
Review Act here or a Public Service Commission over there or they will
gin up a bunch of NIMBYism over here or they will introduce another
bill over there. But this is part of a story where, for the first
time--and I mean this because it has been decades of us getting our
butts kicked--for the first time, we are taking the kind of climate
action that can actually make a difference, and they are terrified.
That is what this CRA is all about.
We can choose more manufacturing jobs, or we can choose less; energy
security or a continued dependence on foreign dictators; a forward-
thinking outlook or a mindset from the past. That is what this CRA is
Despite the arguments the dark money apparatus of the fossil industry
is making, it doesn't change what they are. They are arguments that
belong in the past. It is the equivalent of a pay phone tycoon failing
to adapt after the iPhone came out.
But we don't have to be beholden to an industry whose strongest days
are in the past. No matter what happens with this vote, the demand for
solar panels made in America is not going away. The demand for energy-
efficient homes and electric vehicles is not going away. The demand for
renewable energy is not going away.
The IRA was not a one-off but the first, most meaningful step in the
transition to the clean energy revolution. And the forces opposing this
progress will be forced to recognize that sooner or later.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, it is a very happy coincidence for
me that I get to follow my friend Senator Schatz on this topic to
oppose the solar tariff Congressional Review Act effort that has been
mounted on the floor because I could not agree more with him that this
particular episode playing out here on the floor of the Senate today is
part of a larger scheme.
We begin with the fact that across the United States, the solar
industry employs a quarter of a million workers. It is a big deal.
These are well-paying jobs in an industry that saves families money on
their electric bills and decreases our carbon footprint--decreases our
carbon footprint. So, of course, fossil fuel forces oppose it, and that
is what we are stuck with now.
This fossil fuel attack, through this CRA, if successful, would lead
to more than a billion dollars in retroactive duties on American solar
companies. It would cost us 30,000 jobs. It would cost us $4.2 billion
in domestic investment. It would lead to the cancellation of 4
gigawatts of solar projects. And it would create an increase of 42
million metric tons of CO2. So, of course, the fossil fuel
industry is against all of that. It is for the duties. It is against
the jobs. It is against the investment. It is against the solar
projects. And it couldn't care less about CO2.
The problem that we have here is that we are in a race against time
to solve the climate problem before it gets out of hand.
In this town and in this building, one of the most dangerous things
that we face is groupthink. The current groupthink is that climate
change is a manageable problem; it won't get out of control. I don't
believe that to be true. I think climate change is extremely
dangerous--dangerous to our economy, dangerous to our ecosystems, and
dangerous to our well-being.
We are having hearings in the Budget Committee that showcase some of
those dangers--the danger of a coastal property values crash that is
going to be worse than the 2008 mortgage meltdown; the danger of a
similar property values crash in the West, where wildfire risk will
have the same effect on properties; the danger of an insurance meltdown
because nature won't let insurance companies predict things any longer
safely, so they can't ensure them any longer because they can't
predict, and you have a retraction of the insurance market and all of
what that means.
Last of all, we have got a huge carbon bubble that we have been
repeatedly warned is going to pop. And when it does, U.S. fossil fuel
assets will be stranded, their value will go to near zero, and there
will be an enormous global economic dislocation.
These are ideas that have been put forward by huge insurance company
executives, by Freddie Mac, by people who study the risk in wildfire
areas, by the major sovereign banks of the world. Serious grownups are
warning of these risks.
Up against those serious grownups, we have the creepy front groups of
the fossil fuel industry denial machine continuing to put poison and
nonsense into our ecosystem, into our mental and political ecosystem.
That has to stop.
Groupthink is dangerous enough. More dangerous, there is a subgroup
in the House and in the Senate that has stopped thinking entirely and
is just taking marching orders from the fossil fuel industry. The
conflict of interest could not be more apparent. It is obvious and
plain on its face. Yet the money is there. The political dark money
pours in, so they line up and follow them right off the cliff like
lemmings. That is even more dangerous than groupthink.
Last, this is not the only game that is being played by our fossil
fuel industry folks. One of the other things that we are going to have
to continue to work on, and what the SEC is working on right now, is
what is called ESG requirements put out by corporations. ESG is
environment, social, and governance. What this is, is corporate America
deciding that it is really important to its stockholders to make sure
they are good citizens and that the likeliest measures of bad
citizenship will be bad environmental practice, bad social practice,
and bad governance. And so they intend to clean that up. There are
experts who have looked at ``e'' and ``s'' and ``g'' to figure out what
the best ways are for corporate America to avoid those risks.
Well, all these warnings about what is happening with fossil fuel and
with climate change that scientists have known about forever, they are
now so real and so immediate that they are within the zone where a
fiduciary--a corporation with an obligation to its shareholders, a bank
with an obligation to its customers--has to take the climate danger
If you are writing 30-year mortgages, you have got to look out 30
years; and within 30 years, climate looks like it is going to be a
nightmare. So this risk is now real. It is on the fiduciary horizon.
The fossil fuel industry can't stand it, so they are trying to break
the rules of the market. They are trying to undo ESG. They want the
government to intervene in what corporations are doing to protect their
shareholders and tell them the truth about market risk consistent with
their fiduciary obligations. They want to break every step in that
chain to protect their continued ability to pollute.
So watch this ESG nonsense. The anti-ESG, so-called woke corporatism,
is a fake. It is a Broadway theatrical production, minus being on
Broadway and being in a theater. But it has actors paid for by the
fossil fuel industry. It has script writers who are telling them what
to say. It has directors and producers who are driving the show behind
the scenes. It is an operation. It is a fake. It is a piece of
political theater, and we have to be willing to push back against that,
because you can't take these kind of chances with the climate risks
that we are now facing.
By the way, this objection to ESG, it is never about the ``g.'' It is
never about the ``s.'' It is always about the ``e,'' the environmental
piece. And within the environmental piece, it is always about carbon
emissions. That is a telltale as to who is behind the anti-ESG
political operation that is ongoing in America right now.
I hope we have a strong vote to knock this down.
I am delighted that President Biden is going to veto this. This would
be self-harm if we were to allow this to happen to our country.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
Ms. CORTEZ MASTO. Madam President, I rise today to talk about the
solar tariff CRA, which, unfortunately, is misguided and is going to
have a devastating impact on States like Nevada, as you well know.
H.J. Res. 39 to end the pause on solar tariffs is really a misguided
effort that will not only cripple our Nation's solar industry but kill
thousands of American jobs.
Our country is in a position to lead the rest of the world in clean
energy production, including solar development. States like Nevada are
building up our solar capabilities and creating thousands of new jobs
that support working families.
Talk to the unions in my State, and you will hear how important solar
is for Nevadans. I spent some time recently with IBEW at the Gemini
Solar Project, which our Presiding Officer knows well. It is one of the
new solar arrays in southern Nevada. I heard directly from them about
how these are good-paying jobs for our workers, which is why so many
unions, including the carpenters, the laborers, and operating
engineers, oppose this resolution.
This effort to reinstate solar tariffs would devastate our
operations; it would hurt working families; and it would make it even
more difficult to become energy independent in this country.
Just a few weeks ago, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee held
a hearing with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. She told me that she
gets it; that we need a transition period to be able to build up our
solar supply in the United States.
It is happening thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, but we are
just getting started. Right now, the United States only has capacity to
manufacture a small fraction of our domestic solar demand. Now, of
course, we need to keep building our domestic manufacturing of solar.
We all agree. And we need to continue that process, but we shouldn't
punish our workers by pretending that infrastructure already exists
when we know it doesn't. That means we need to expand our supply of
solar panels and cells.
Just having this vote this afternoon will have a chilling effect on
the solar industry--the solar energy industry. Listen, when the threat
of these tariffs was originally looming--just the threat of them back
then--75 percent of domestic solar projects experienced cancelations or
delays because of that threat, including in Nevada. And I heard it. The
Presiding Officer heard it. We heard it from our workers. We heard it
from the projects in the pipeline. That is a sign of what is to come if
this misguided effort is successful.
Nevada has the No. 1 solar economy in the country, which has created
nearly 9,000 good-paying jobs, many of them union jobs. But if we lift
the pause on our solar tariffs, those jobs will be in danger. And I
won't stand for it. I know the Presiding Officer won't stand for it.
And it is not just in Nevada. It is not just blue States or red
States. These tariffs would risk the jobs of the 225,000 Americans who
work in solar throughout the country. But some of my colleagues on the
other side of the aisle still want to go ahead with this resolution.
Let me just say, Texas, for example, has over 10,000 jobs that would
be endangered by these tariffs. North Carolina could see its nearly
7,000 solar jobs be jeopardized. And there are close to 12,000
Floridians working in the solar industry whose jobs would be at risk.
There is no justifiable reason to move forward with this resolution
that would kill jobs in our own States. I agree that we need to stay
competitive with the Chinese Government, but if we implement these
tariffs, three-quarters of our solar deployment would stop. That would
cede our leadership to the Chinese Government. It would hurt our
domestic manufacturing. And our working families, most importantly,
would pay the price. And we just can't let that happen.
We need to be supporting American leadership in the solar industry.
We need to be protecting our working families and, yes, creating more
solar jobs. That is why I am going to be urging my colleagues to vote
no on this irresponsible and harmful resolution.
Madam President, I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado.
Mr. BENNET. Madam President, I am so delighted that the Presiding
Officer is in the Chair--the Senator from Nevada--who has led this
fight on the floor against this incredibly counterproductive measure
that the Senator from Florida has brought here--incredibly, in the
name, somehow, of being tough on China.
I have seen lots of things on this floor that didn't make sense. I
have seen lots of things where I have wondered about the judgment of
people who were pursuing something allegedly in the interests of the
American people, allegedly in the interests of American jobs, allegedly
in the interests of manufacturing, allegedly because we are competing
I have never seen something as counterproductive as this, and I want
to thank the Presiding Officer for her leadership because she comes
from Nevada and I come from Colorado, and we know the jobs that are at
stake here--tens of thousands of jobs that could go away--a billion
dollars of tariffs, of taxes that our solar industry would have to pay
as they are going out of business because of what the Senator from
Florida is trying to do in the name of being tough on the Chinese.
So let's talk about that for a second. Let's think about who is
actually being tough on the Chinese. One of the benefits of the way the
Chinese are organized--well, they see it as a benefit; I don't see it
as a benefit, but they do--is that they don't live in a democracy; they
live in a totalitarian society. In that totalitarian society, they can
make 5-year plans; they can make 10-year plans. Xi can say: This is
what we are going to do for the next 5 years. This is what we are going
to do for the next 10 years.
And I would argue that, for the 20 years that we were spending
fighting those two wars in the Middle East that we probably shouldn't
have been fighting for those 20 years, the Chinese were marching along
and marching along and marching along, stealing our intellectual
property and developing new industries and new technologies. We had our
eye off the ball.
One of the things that is hard about democracy is that sometimes we
can't really plan much longer than between two elections--or one
election, if we are really being pathetic. But, recently, there has
been a different approach here. Recently, there has been a different
approach in the infrastructure bill that we passed a couple of years
ago that was bipartisan. It was the first infrastructure bill of any
significance since Eisenhower was our President.
We finally said: Do you know what? We need to start investing in our
And all over Nevada, all over Colorado, Americans are working on our
roads and bridges--long overdue--as a result of bipartisan work,
Republicans and Democrats working together.
There was another bill that we passed that was the semiconductor
legislation, the so-called CHIPS Act. Some people remember--I certainly
do--when I was in college, Ronald Reagan was the President of the
United States. And back then, Madam President, for some reason,
everybody thought that it was a good idea to ship everything to
Southeast Asia to get it made there, that it would be a good idea to
ship it to China and have it made there. That is kind of what Ronald
Reagan's view of the world was.
And I regret the fact that we went down that road for decades. Now
that CHIPS bill--that semiconductor bill--that is the first piece of
legislation since Ronald Reagan was President that said: Stop it. We
are going to bring an industry back to the United States. We are going
to bring the semiconductor industry back here.
And, by the way, I hope that is not the last. I hope that is only the
first. But it sure made sense to start with semiconductors because 90
percent of the most important semiconductors in our fighter jets are
made in Taiwan, 110 miles off the coast of China. Ninety percent of the
semiconductors in our surface ships and in our submarines are made in
Taiwan, 110 miles off the coast of China. What could possibly go wrong?
Yet Democrats and Republicans working together said: We are going to
bring that back.
Well, we had another bill, Madam President, that I regret didn't get
any Republican votes. I wish that it had. I really do wish that it had
because that bill had two pieces. One was healthcare, and one was
In the healthcare piece, we cut drug prices for seniors. We said we
are going to cap them at $2,000. We said Medicare is going to negotiate
drug prices on behalf of the American people for the first time. We
capped insulin at 35 bucks a month--pretty amazing. And I am sorry some
people didn't vote for that, and I don't know exactly why.
But the other part was an energy part, and, here, we were saying: We
are going to compete with China. And here we were saying: We are going
to lead the world in the transition that we are going to make from the
fossil fuel economy that we have today to a clean energy economy; and
that no country in the world is better situated to do that than the
Does that mean we can turn fossil fuels off tomorrow? No. Can we turn
them off yesterday? No.
I, for one, believe it is going to be really important for this
country to export LNG, or liquefied natural gas, over to Europe to help
keep Europe in the fight against Putin and to help replace Chinese
coal. I think that is going to help us with emissions. Not everybody
agrees with me on that. I believe strongly.
And I don't think there is a country in the world that is better
situated--because of our abundant fossil fuels that we have today,
because of our commitment to the rule of law, because of our commitment
to innovation, because we are not as corrupt as a lot of the countries
that we are dealing with, and because we have passed the Inflation
Reduction Act, which had $270 billion of tax credits in it to drive
innovation in the American economy. Because of all those things taken
together, I am so happy to live in this country because we can lead
that transition, and we can compete with China. We can outcompete
But into this sunny picture came the Biden administration, an
administration that I generally support. But they, a few months ago,
decided that they were going to begin an investigation into where
certain solar panels came from. And the Presiding Officer and I and
some others said: Hold on a second. We haven't made the transition yet.
We haven't done it yet. It is going to take us 2 to 3 years to set up
these manufacturing plants to build solar panels here, to make them
here so we can compete with China. And, in the meantime, we have got
tens of thousands of people who are swinging hammers in Nevada and
Colorado and all across this country, who are climbing ladders and
getting up on roofs to install solar panels to make sure that we are
driving away from our reliance on fossil fuels and into a world where
we are relying on wind and the Sun.
And the minute that the Biden administration did this, companies in
Colorado started to say: We are going to go out of business. Companies
in Nevada and New Mexico said: We are going out of business. The
capital that was investing in them went away.
This isn't hypothetical. This was happening. They were saying to me
and I know they were saying to the Presiding Officer: We are going to
go bankrupt as a result of this policy.
We are going bankrupt as a result of this policy. We can't sell
enough solar panels here in America. We can't install enough solar
panels. We can't hire enough people. And now our own country is saying
we are going to bring this to an end.
We went to the White House, and we said: We can't do this to tens of
thousands of people all across our country. We can't do this if you are
committed to fighting climate change. We can't do this if you are
committed to the union workers who are installing all of those panels
all over the United States.
I remember a phone call with the Presiding Officer, with the White
House, where I said: This is a matter of days, not months.
To their credit, they came back, and they said: You guys were right.
We need to put a moratorium in place. We need to have 2 years where we
can have a transition to, you know, give us the chance to start
manufacturing these panels here in America.
It is amazing to have people that strategic in our democracy, to be
able to say: You know what, we passed a law--the Inflation Reduction
Act--that is going to put us in the position of being able to
manufacture these solar panels here, which Ronald Reagan and all those
people should never have sent to China to begin with. So we are going
to bring them back, but it is going to take us a little time.
In the meantime, we are going to adopt a set of policies that are
going to allow the small businesses that are installing solar all over
Nevada, all over Colorado, all over this country--we are going to not
just allow them, we are going to celebrate the fact that they are
there, and we are going the support them and give them notice.
We are going to act strategically with respect to our competition
with China. And that is what we did. The combination of that moratorium
and the Inflation Reduction Act--that is probably the most strategic we
have been around here in decades--in decades. And now comes the Senator
from Florida, who says: I am going to blow this up. I am going to
compete with China by destroying the solar industry in the United
States. I am going to compete with China by putting tens of thousands
of people who are now working on the unemployment roll. I am going to
compete with China, the Senator of Florida says, by putting a $1
billion retroactive tax on the solar industry in Nevada, in Colorado,
and all across the United States of America.
That doesn't sound like competing to China. That sounds like
surrender, to me. That sounds like waving the white flag, to me.
In all the history of self-inflicted wounds around here, that is just
the latest example. And don't get me started on that, although I will
just say parenthetically, why anybody in this Chamber or in that
Chamber would think this is the moment in American history to raise
interest rates on the American people, on home buyers, and on people
who have car loans and people who are paying student debt, I don't
know. But that is not the topic we are here for today. But it is almost
nuts, especially when the status quo is going to be so great for
America because the status quo is, we are going to spend the next 2
years continuing to install solar panels. We are going to spend the
next 2 years standing up manufacturing all across the United States of
America. I hope a bunch of that is going to be in Colorado so we are
building and manufacturing these solar panels here.
So what I would say is, if you are voting with the Senator from
Florida, don't do it because you are competing somehow with the
Chinese. You are surrendering to the Chinese. If you are doing it
because you think that we got taken to the cleaners by the Chinese in
terms of the manufacturing of solar panels to begin with, I acknowledge
that, but that wasn't the Biden administration's fault. They are the
ones who are trying to bring it back. They are the ones who are
bringing it back, just like we were the ones who brought the
semiconductor industry back.
We have an incredible opportunity to go forward here, to grow the
industry that we have, and to lead the world, as I said, in this
transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.
There is no country in the world that is better situated than the
United States of America to lead that transition because of who we are,
because of the natural resources we have, and because of the bill the
Presiding Officer and I voted for. We shouldn't upset that. We
shouldn't change that.
So I would encourage every single Senator in this Chamber, whether
Democrat or Republican, to vote down this bill in the name of the
competition we are in with China; to vote down this bill in the name of
working people in this country; to vote down this bill in the name of
our kids and grandkids, who hopefully are going to benefit from our
leadership and the strategy we have been pursuing to make this
transition. Let's agree together that we can find much more
constructive ways to compete with our adversaries around the world.
Thank you, Madam President. Thank you for your leadership on this
issue, and thank you for giving me a few minutes to talk today.
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. CARPER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. CARPER. Madam President, I want to start off by thanking you for
your good work on this subject--this important subject--at issue.
I rise today because our critical work to combat the harmful effects
of climate change is at risk. I am particularly concerned about the
efforts some of our colleagues are undertaking to make even more dire
the situation that our planet already faces, make it worse.
Every day that goes by, we hear about the horrific scenes that are
caused by natural disasters--wildfires in the West and in the
Northeast; flooding and hurricanes in the South; tornadoes like the
ones we had just last month in Sussex County, DE--the southern part of
our State--that took a life; along with countless tornadoes across the
Northwest. The list goes on and on and on.
These disasters are devastating families not just in my State, not
just in your State, but also in States across our country, and wreaking
havoc on our economy.
Over 3.3 million Americans were displaced due to natural disasters
Let me say that again. Over 3.3 million Americans were displaced due
to natural disasters.
On top of that, billions of dollars are spent every year--billions of
dollars spent every year--in the aftermath of these disasters. That is
double the number of people in Montana and Vermont combined.
Let me say that again. That is double the number of people in Montana
and Vermont combined.
We cannot sit idly by, like some of our colleagues today would have
us do, or allow for a reversal of the policies that are working to
mitigate this devastation.
As we all know, the solar industry has been critical in helping us
combat the effects of climate change. By transitioning to cleaner
energy solutions, we are taking the necessary steps to reduce our
impact--the human impact--on our warming planet.
The solar industry is not just good for our planet; it is good for
American workers--a lot of them. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have
been created right here on our own American soil to grow the solar
energy and strengthen our supply chain.
The Inflation Reduction Act took these efforts one step further,
allocating the largest investment we have ever made in the solar
industry. The Inflation Reduction Act is already creating more jobs for
more Americans across our country, while expanding our domestic solar
With the commitment of the Biden administration, we are on track to
increase domestic solar panel manufacturing capacity eightfold by the
end of next year, generating up to $40 billion in new investments.
Let me say that again. We can increase our domestic solar panel
manufacturing eightfold by the end of next year.
Why would we get in the way of that progress? We can only ensure that
this outcome is possible if we overcome the significant challenge
presented here today.
As you might remember, last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce's
investigation into solar tariffs imposed on countries in Southeast Asia
paralyzed the industry and halted the supply chains of critical
materials for American solar deployment. Rightly, the Biden
administration stepped in and announced the suspension of these
tariffs. This action saved tens of thousands of jobs, allowing our
transition to cleaner energy solutions to continue as demand for solar
products continues to increase exponentially.
Today, we are once again facing the same threats to American jobs
that we faced a year ago. It is unimaginable. At least it is
unimaginable to me that we would be willing to make an unforced error--
an unforced error--in our commitment to protecting our planet.
We shouldn't be fighting the Biden administration's work to preserve
the trade balance. We simply can't afford to make mistakes that would
halt solar employment and cost us a whole ton of American jobs.
With current U.S. solar manufacturing, we are only able to meet one-
third of domestic demand--one-third. It is imperative that we protect
this industry and the tens of thousands of jobs it produces.
If the pause on solar tariffs were to end, the consequences would be
devastating. Let's take a minute just to walk through what Americans
would face. Here is what they would face:
First of all, 30,000 good-paying jobs would be eliminated this year--
not next year or the year after that; this year, 30,000. Of that
30,000, 4,000 are manufacturing jobs stemming from a $4.2 billion
domestic investment in the solar industry from legislation like the
bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Second, CO2 emissions would increase by 42 million metric
tons. That is about the same amount of emissions generated by the
electricity use of 8 million homes in a year. This would undermine our
progress on solar deployment and starve the solar market of the
critical panels and cells that cannot be obtained in the United States
at this time.
Third, our efforts to strengthen the supply chain by developing our
own manufacturing would be severely harmed. The retroactive solar
tariffs on materials that are currently not available in the United
States would directly undercut our own efforts and send the supply
chain into a downward spiral.
Fourth, roughly 14 percent of the industry's anticipated projects
would be canceled.
I will say that again. Roughly 14 percent of the industry's
anticipated projects would be canceled, significantly setting back our
transition to a green energy economy.
We cannot afford to let this happen. We need to do everything in our
power to lift up innovators in the solar industry, to boldly cut
emissions from our power sector, and to attack this climate crisis
head-on, all while continuing to create good-paying jobs.
Heaven forbid that the future generations look back and see that our
own hand--our very own hand--forced this error.
I want to thank you, our Presiding Officer, Senator Rosen, for your
wonderful leadership on this issue.
I want to urge all of our colleagues to vote no on this resolution
for the good
of our country, for the good of our planet, for the good of the people
who inhabit this planet with all of us, and also for generations to
come, our kids and their kids.
I want to take just a moment and get some other papers from my
binder, so I suggest the absence of a quorum. I will be back in 1
minute. Don't go away.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. CARPER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. CARPER. Madam President, I rise for a second time today and this
time in opposition to S.J. Res. 9, a Congressional Review Act
resolution to disapprove of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's rule
protecting a bird known as the lesser prairie-chicken under the
Endangered Species Act.
Before I explain why my colleagues should reject this resolution, let
me first answer two basic questions. Some who may be watching this
debate could be asking: First, what is a lesser prairie-chicken? And,
second, why do we need to protect it?
Those are two pretty good questions.
Native to the southern Great Plains, the lesser prairie-chicken has
long been considered an indicator for healthy grasslands and prairies
upon which hundreds of species depend. If the lesser prairie-chicken is
in peril, in time, other species could be in peril, as well.
Today, the lesser prairie-chicken can be found in five States--
Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. We know that this
colorful and, some would say, charismatic bird's distinct call was once
a familiar part of the prairie soundscape, so much so that it has
earned a representation in ceremonial dances of several Native American
Tribes and celebration in communities across its multistate habitat.
Sadly, the population of the lesser prairie-chicken has declined by
some 97 percent throughout the last century--97 percent. This decline
is primarily due to loss of habitat and climate-related drought in the
In addition to the cultural and ecological losses that come with a
declining lesser prairie-chicken population, there are impacts for
communities, as well. For example, a local prairie chicken festival in
Roosevelt County, NM, hasn't been held since 2012 because there are no
longer enough birds in the area to sustain this tourism.
There are no lesser prairie-chickens in 45 of our 50 States. There
are none. Still, we know firsthand the benefits that wildlife tourism
can have on local economies. For example, people travel from all across
the country--and, actually, around the world--to come to Delaware to
see the beloved bird called the red knot. That is a familiar face and
welcomed face along the shores of Delaware.
This tiny bird, which is now a threatened species due to climate
change, migrates more than 18,000 miles. This tiny little bird migrates
more than 18,000 miles on its roundtrip from the southern tip of South
America to the tundra of the northern Arctic. Along the way, flocks of
red knots stop for lunch, and they stop for lunch in Delaware. They
stop for lunch along our beaches in Delaware. They stop and lunch on
horseshoe crab eggs, often doubling their weight during this process.
It is quite a spectacle.
Horseshoe crabs have been around for millions of years. Every year,
during certain parts of the year, they lay their eggs and they lay them
along the Delaware beaches, and the red knots come in and swoop them up
and go to town, literally, doubling their weight before they head north
or head south.
People come from all over the world to witness this. When they come
from all over the world, they stay in our hotels. They eat in our
restaurants. We have no sales tax. They shop safe with no sales tax.
For us, it is a pretty good thing, and it is an even better deal for
the red knots. They benefit and, frankly, so do we in our economy.
So while some might suggest that providing Endangered Species Act
protections for the lesser prairie-chicken would hinder economic
development, given our experience in Delaware, I have a different
perspective based on our experience with threatened and endangered
species in the First State.
Delaware is not the only State that pays homage to our Nation's
iconic birds. In fact, five National Football League teams use birds as
their mascot, including the Seattle Seahawks, the Arizona Cardinals,
the Atlanta Falcons, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
In addition, the great State of Louisiana is known as the Pelican
State. Today, the distinctive brown pelican is thriving along the
Louisiana's coast because of the Endangered Species Act. To the west,
the well-loved California condor actually became extinct in the wild in
the year 1987. But with the help of the Endangered Species Act, there
are now more than 550 condors in the wild. Unfortunately, Endangered
Species Act protections for the lesser prairie-chickens have been
delayed for decades. Now the species is in serious peril, which is why
we should not wait any longer.
Some of our colleagues who oppose this rule for the lesser prairie-
chicken have claimed that the Fish and Wildlife Service did not
properly account for longstanding voluntary conservation efforts. That
is just not true. While I commend the voluntary actions to conserve the
lesser prairie-chicken, science shows existing efforts are not nearly
enough to protect and recover this species.
That said, even with the data clearly demonstrating the need for
enhanced protection for this extraordinary bird, the Fish and Wildlife
Service worked hard to create a flexible rule that would mitigate the
negative impacts on impacted industries.
Specifically, the many years of volunteer conservation actions are
not for naught. Under the Biden rule, those voluntary actions remain
the foundation for current habitat and conservation plans to protect
lesser prairie-chickens, while allowing continued industry operations.
Under the rule, farmers, ranchers, and energy producers can generally
continue their normal activities, as long as they adhere to reasonable
conservation plans. That is true even if these activities have a small
negative impact on this species. And this flexibility applies to the
range for the entire northern population, including all known habitats
in Kansas, in Colorado, and in Oklahoma, and about half of the State of
What is more, the Fish and Wildlife Service delayed the effective
date of this rule for 60 days to allow more time to work with partners
and to work with stakeholders. Doing so allowed impacted industries to
create conservation plans and minimize disruption to activity in the
region. The Service also continues to collaborate closely with States
to ensure that all interested parties have the tools that they need in
order to comply with the rule.
Despite this effort by the Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure a
smooth implementation, this CRA resolution would take a sledgehammer to
the rule. And this CRA is, indeed, a sledgehammer. If enacted, this
resolution would not only invalidate the rule issued by the Fish and
Wildlife Services, but it could also prevent the Service from ever
issuing a listing for the lesser prairie-chicken in the future.
To put it simply, enacting this resolution could set this species on
a path to continued decline and eventual extinction. The resolution
also undermines the Endangered Species Act. How is that, you ask? Well,
this resolution violates the basic premise that the law should be
applied based on science and not politics.
In 2019, an intergovernmental panel issued an alarming report. What
did the report say? That report found that roughly 1 million species on
our planet are endangered of extinction. Let me just say that again. In
2019--4 years ago--an intergovernmental panel issued an alarming
report. What did it report? They found that roughly 1 million species
on our planet are in danger of extinction.
We know that preserving our planet diversity is critical for
innovation, it is critical for human health, and it is critical for our
environment. And the Endangered Species Act is our best tool for
protecting species and preserving environment.
Let me conclude this afternoon by offering a reminder of what is at
stake here today: Extinction is forever. Let me say that again.
Extinction is forever.
Overturning this listing may well mean the permanent loss of an
iconic American species. That would harm our planet that we pass on to
future generations and the communities and cultures that hold lesser
prairie-chickens in high regard.
For all of these reasons, I oppose this resolution, and I strongly
urge our colleagues to join me and others in voting no.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Baldwin). The junior Senator from Nevada.
Ms. ROSEN. Madam President, as you have heard from my colleagues
before me, there are serious concerns about the job-killing resolution
that we will be voting on this evening and the effects it will have on
our solar industry and American workers.
For years, solar has been a growing source of clean, low-cost energy
and economic development in States all across our Nation. And it is a
source of jobs--good-paying, union jobs--right here in the United
America's domestic solar industry is made up of more than 10,000
businesses--large and small--located in every single State, employing
over 250,000 Americans. I will repeat that: employing over 250,000
Americans. In fact, my State of Nevada has the most solar jobs per
capita of any other State in this great Nation.
When we talk about the solar industry, we are talking about an
industry that is generating hundreds of thousands of American jobs and
supporting American workers, while at the same time helping us to
transition to clean renewable energy.
Thanks to historic investments we secured in the bipartisan
infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act, the American solar
industry is experiencing an unprecedented boom.
Last year, a new solar project was installed in the United States
every 44 seconds and, in fact, the demand is only expected to increase.
This is only going to create more jobs and help make us more energy
For example, the average solar installer in Reno, NV, makes about
$80,000 a year. It is a good job. That is a job that lets a family pay
their rent, buy groceries, put something away for their kids' college
and for their own retirement. These are the kinds of jobs we should be
creating, and we are, thanks to these historic investments.
That is why I have been a champion of our domestic solar industry and
have been fighting back against attacks on it from my colleagues--well,
frankly--on both sides of the aisle. That is why I led a bipartisan
group of Senators last year to push President Biden to pause additional
retroactive solar tariffs after a Commerce Department investigation.
Well, they threatened to destroy our domestic solar industry and kill
tens of thousands of American jobs.
But at this moment--this moment--our American solar workers are at
risk. My workers in Nevada are at risk. Those $80,000-a-year jobs are
at risk. And all of the progress we have made to transition to clean
energy, all the good-paying jobs that we have created, and all of the
solar projects that are lowering energy costs for families--well, they
are all at risk, too.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed a Congressional Review
Act. This resolution rolls back the 2-year pause on these additional
solar tariffs. If enacted, this resolution will decimate our American
solar industry. So let me be crystal clear: Enacting additional
retroactive tariffs on imported solar panels themselves will kill--will
absolutely kill--the American solar industry, and it will kill any
chance we have to meet our climate goals. It will kill the current
American solar jobs.
I know that some of my colleagues have said that supporting this
resolution is being pro-worker. Well, I am just going to say that that
is wrong. No one can say they are pro-worker while at the same time
voting to kill good-paying American jobs. And that is exactly what this
resolution will do.
I don't even know why this is on the table. Are we seriously going to
tell that solar installer that he is out of a job? Are we going to put
his family on unemployment just for politics?
I am going to repeat it: Supporting this resolution and killing
American jobs, it hurts workers and their families. Period.
Opposing this resolution means being on the side of American workers.
It means being on the side of unions like IBEW, the laborers, the
operating engineers, the carpenters union, who are all urging a ``no''
All of us here in this Chamber agree that we have to strengthen
domestic manufacturing; we all agree we have to be competitive with
China; and we all agree that we have to be energy independent.
That is what this current pause on additional tariffs--that is what
this current pause helps us to do because, right now, solar panel
manufacturers in the United States can only meet about 15 percent of
the demand for American solar projects.
So thanks to the investments made by the Inflation Reduction Act, we
are going to greatly ramp up our domestic solar manufacturing, creating
jobs, making us energy independent right here at home.
But it is going to take time. It will take time to ramp up domestic
solar manufacturing so it can provide more than 15 percent of U.S.
demand. Our current solar industry's best success depends on the steady
supply of solar panels to install. We can't cut off supply of important
solar panels by enacting massive retroactive tariffs that will just
kill solar projects; it will kill American jobs; and it will hurt
So what can we do?
Well, what we can do is have a bridge that allows us to do both: keep
our domestic solar industry alive while we invest and bolster our
domestic manufacturing so that we can be competitive with China. That
is exactly what this pause helps us to achieve.
Enacting retroactive tariffs will even directly harm U.S. solar panel
manufacturing businesses by cutting off their major source of solar
cells--a key component in the panels--making it that much harder for
them and us to compete with China. That is why I am leading the effort
to block this resolution and to keep the pause in place.
So I urge my fellow colleagues to join me and be on the side of
workers by protecting good-paying American union jobs, to join me in
fighting to meet our climate goals, and to join me in making our Nation
more competitive with China by voting against this job-killing
resolution and saving America's solar future. Hundreds of thousands of
American solar workers, their families, and our communities--well, they
are counting on us.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. WARNOCK. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Midtown Atlanta Shooting
Mr. WARNOCK. Madam President, I rise today in shock and sorrow and in
grief for my home State. And, if I am honest, I rise really with a deep
sense of anger about what is happening in our country in the area of
gun violence and death.
I stood here in March of 2021 after a gunman went on a rampage across
Metro Atlanta and snatched eight precious souls--people with families
and friends who loved them dearly. And here I am standing again, this
time with the tragedy having occurred in midtown Atlanta, right in my
While this is still a developing situation, according to media
reports, so far, at least five people were shot--five--on a random
afternoon. There has been one fatality. The others were taken to the
I want to take a moment and thank law enforcement officials for
keeping us as safe as they can. I want to thank them for their work
trying to apprehend this individual.
I am also thankful for local media who are keeping all of us
informed, and I am grateful for our first responders, the people in
healthcare, the people on the front lines. We count on them every day
to care for those who are injured, to respond to people in peril. That
is what makes this particular shooting ironic and deeply upsetting,
because it underscores the fact that none of us is safe no matter where
we are. This happened in a medical facility where people are trying to
So I want to underscore that, because there have been so many mass
shootings--in fact, about one every day in this country this year--
that, tragically, we act as if this is routine. We behave as if this is
normal. It is not normal. It is not right for us to live in a nation
where nobody is safe no matter where they are.
We are not safe in our schools; we are not safe in our workplaces; we
are not safe at the grocery store; we are not safe at movie theaters;
we are not safe at spas; we are not safe in our houses of worship.
There is no sanctuary in the sanctuary. We are not safe at concerts; we
are not safe at banks; we are not safe at parades; we are not safe in
our own yards and in our own homes. Now, today, we can add medical
facilities to that list.
And, still, we have done so very little in this building to respond--
and in the American political square at large. I think there is an
unspoken assumption. I think that the unspoken assumption is that
``This can't happen to me. This won't happen to me. It won't happen to
people that I love.'' But, with a mass shooting every day, the truth is
the chances are great.
I shudder to say it, but the truth is, in a real sense, it is only a
matter of time that this kind of tragedy comes knocking on your door.
Then, in a deeper sense, I think it is important for us to recognize
that it is already happening to you. You may not be the victim of a
mass shooting. You may not know anyone who is the victim of a mass
shooting yet, but in a real sense, it is already happening to all of
Dr. King was right:
We are tied in a single garment of destiny, caught up in an
inescapable network of mutuality. Whatever affects one
directly, affects all indirectly.
This is knocking on all of our doors, and I feel this this afternoon
in a very real sense--I feel it in my bones--because my own two
children were on lockdown this afternoon.
I have two small children, and their schools are on lockdown in
response to this tragedy. They are there. I am here. I am hoping and
praying that they are safe, but the truth is none of us are safe.
As a pastor, I am praying for those who are affected by this tragedy,
but I hasten to say that thoughts and prayers are not enough. In fact,
it is a contradiction to say that you are thinking and praying and then
doing nothing. It is to make a mockery of prayer. It is to trivialize
faith. We pray not only with our lips; we pray with our legs. We pray
by taking action.
Still there are those who want to convince us that this is the cost
of freedom. To them, we have to say no. This ongoing, slow-moving
tragedy in our country--mass shootings as routine--is not the cost of
freedom; it is the cost of blind obstinance, a refusal to change course
even when the evidence suggests we must do something different. It is
the cost of demagoguery--those who want to convince us that commonsense
gun reform is somehow a call to take everybody's guns. This is not the
cost of freedom. Dare I say it is the cost of greed--gun lobbyists
willing to line their pockets even at the cost of our children.
And so we must act.
I am proud of the fact that we did, after 30 years, pass some gun
safety legislation here in the last Congress. It was a significant
piece of legislation, but, obviously, it was not enough. There are 87
percent or more of Americans who believe that we ought to have
universal background checks, and still we can't get it. Think about
that. In a country where everybody says we are divided--and there are
deep divisions, to be sure. There is disagreement on this issue, to be
sure. But in a country where there is 87-percent agreement on
something, there is no movement on it in Congress, which means that
that is a problem with our democracy. The people's voices have been
squeezed out of their democracy, and there is a growing chasm between
what the people actually want and what they can get from their
We saw it in a stark and ugly way a few weeks ago when we had two
brave, young legislators stand up in Tennessee--three, in fact. The
same legislature that refused to do anything on gun violence came down
on them with all of their might and expelled them from the legislature.
We have to stand up against these anti-democratic forces at work in
our country, and we have to give the people their voices back. If we
refuse to act while our children are dying and in a moment when no one
is safe, then shame on us. Shame on us if we allow this to happen, and
we do absolutely nothing.
Saint Augustine, the African bishop of the early church, said that
hope has two beautiful daughters. He said they are both beautiful,
Anger and Courage--anger with the way things are and courage to see
that they do not remain as they are.
I am pleading; I am begging all of my colleagues on both sides of the
aisle to remember the covenant that we have with one another as an
American people. Stand up in this defining moment, and let's do
everything we can to protect all of us and, certainly, all of our
children. We owe it to the people who have sent us here.
I know there are those who will look at this moment and say:
Politically, do you really think we can get anything done here? They
will ask if this is the time given the state of politics in our country
I respond with the words of Dr. King, who said that the time is
always right to do what is right, and that time is right now.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The senior Senator from Mississippi.
United States Navy
Mr. WICKER. Madam President, I come before the Senate this afternoon
to discuss the U.S. Navy's ability to deter conflict in the Pacific. As
China's navy has grown, ours has shrunk, and we are running out of time
to tilt the balance of power back toward the United States and ensure
that deterrence does not fail in the Western Pacific.
For centuries, American naval power has proven the decisive factor in
our security and prosperity. The U.S. Navy secured our victory in the
American Revolution during the 18th century. It enabled our
transformation into a world power in the 19th century. It defeated
adversaries in two world wars in the 20th century, and it will decide
our success or failure this century.
China's rising strength on the seas is a direct threat to
international peace and security. Their ability to exercise total
control of the major sea lanes strikes at the heart of free and market-
based economies in Asia and around the globe. For a few minutes today,
I will outline the threat, our lack of preparedness, and what it will
take for us to deter China from acting in an irresponsible way.
The Chinese Communist Party understands a truth that 19th century
American CAPT Alfred Thayer Mahan summarized when he said, ``Whoever
rules the waves rules the world.'' Beijing knows a great navy is a
necessary step in their march for regional dominance.
And so, while our own shipyards were closing and downsizing and our
shipbuilding budgets shrank, China went to sea.
According to the Secretary of the Navy, China has more shipbuilding
capacity in just one shipyard than we have in our entire industrial
base. By the end of this decade, China is expected to have a fleet of
440 warships. If the Navy's latest 30-year shipbuilding plan is a
guide, we would have only 290. Of course, the statutory requirement
enacted by the Congress and signed by the President of the United
States is 355.
A Chinese navy of the size I mentioned--440--and a strength relative
to our own directly endangers our partner Taiwan, our allies in Japan
and in the Philippines, and our military bases in the Pacific. More
Chinese ships means more sea-based Chinese vertical launch cells--
missile delivery systems, which are the primary offensive tool of any
navy. A recent analysis found Beijing has more vertical launch cells
than the United States and our allies combined. Those cells, in
addition to China's extensive sensing capabilities on the ground and in
space, increase their advantage in the Western Pacific as our Navy
plays an away game far from home.
These troubling facts demand a decisive response. Yet our Navy has
failed to keep up. The Department of Defense recently delivered another
30-year shipbuilding plan that fails to meet Congress's requirement.
Their plan contains three building options, only one of which would
grow the fleet to
the legally required battle force size of 355 ships. Even then, it
would take two decades to get there.
This is not a blueprint for long-term American command of the sea.
Instead, the administration is ceding control of the Western Pacific to
dictator Xi Jinping and his Communist fleet. In fact, we are still
living off the remains of the Reagan-era defense buildup, retiring
ships we built at the end of the Cold War, without replacing them. Our
shipbuilding pace has slowed. At the peak of the 1980s production
surge, we constructed four Los Angeles-class attack submarines every
year. Today, we struggle to build just two advanced submarines
Some put a positive spin on this policy, labeling it a ``strategic
pause'' or saying this is a deliberate strategy of ``divest to
invest.'' Whatever the catch phrase, it is dangerous. We are shrinking
our fleet and leaving our sailors to fight a war without the tools to
In some cases, technicians are forced to repair destroyers by taking
parts off of other destroyers just to meet deployment requirements. One
of our most vital submarines in the Indo-Pacific, the USS Connecticut,
sustained damage 2 years ago and will likely not be repaired for
another 5 years--another 5 years. Congress has already appropriated $50
million to repair the Connecticut, and we will probably need to set
aside more funds. The USS Boise--one of our fast-attack nuclear
submarines--has spent 8 years in dry dock--8 years in dry dock--to
receive rudimentary maintenance--8 years. This is absolutely
unacceptable. It will cost over $350 million to repair the Boise on top
of the costs associated with keeping it in port for nearly a decade.
A diminished fleet size is not just about numbers; it has other
cascading negative effects, particularly on our sailors. When we have
fewer assets and yet ask our Navy to perform the same mission, we make
sailors take longer deployments. That means a lower quality of life and
higher stress on our ships and on our sailors, both of which impede our
readiness efforts--and our recruitment and retention, I might add.
This diminished naval strength leaves us in a dangerous near-term
situation with China, whose ambitions to dominate Asia loom large over
the next decade.
Time is not on our side. We have promising new military technology
set to come online in a decade or more, but China will likely reach its
strongest position against us much sooner, well before that new
technology of ours is in operation. That, combined with the retirement
of ships built in the 1980s, has led some to dub the coming decade as
the ``terrible 20s.''
Our Navy struggles to meet basic requirements, while Xi Jinping
visits Chinese military installations and tells its sailors to prepare
for war. This discrepancy led Director of Naval Intelligence RADM Mike
Studeman to say that we have ``China blindness.'' It is no small thing
for a one-star to tell us we are blind to the capabilities and urgency
of our chief adversary's military.
We are short on time, but we are not out of time. We do not want a
conflict with China. China and the United States can prosper and
coexist, but the best way to achieve peace is deterrence. To deter
China in the short term and restore our long-term maritime strength, I
propose three concrete steps that we can take right now.
First, we need to make a monumental investment in maritime
infrastructure. Our shipbuilders are ready to build more, but they need
the investments in machine tooling, workforce, and materials.
As our Chief of Naval Operations recently testified, our Navy should
get a second shipyard for Constellation-class frigate construction, and
we should increase investments in our submarine industrial base if we
have any hope of implementing the AUKUS deal. The AUKUS deal is a 2022
agreement in which we promised to sell submarines to Australia as fast
as we can build them.
Congress can spark a renaissance of shipbuilding by offering a demand
signal for a major maritime buildup. Alongside a bipartisan group of
Representatives and Senators, I have introduced the SHIPYARD Act to
offer just such a demand signal.
The act authorizes $25 billion of investment in our shipbuilding
efforts. It empowers our shipyards to build the future of the U.S. Navy
fleet and could be immediately implemented into this year's defense
Increased funding could push the Department of the Navy's Shipyard
Infrastructure Optimization Program to new levels of efficacy. This
would add to the success we are already seeing, and there is no time to
Second, we must immediately give the Navy the capabilities they need
to deter a conflict in the next 5 years. This means taking technologies
and concepts that are already on the shelf and integrating them into
our Western Pacific posture. We should be forging ahead with purchases
of sea mines, unmanned platforms, and long-range munitions, which would
all be relevant and capable in the near term.
We also need to accelerate our efforts to field maritime target cells
to ensure our fleet is properly able to coordinate and target
adversarial assets far from our shores.
Third, we should continue to boost the programs within the Navy that
are already making major strides toward deterring China. Commandant of
the Marine Corps David Berger's Force Design 2030 has transformed the
Marine Corps into the cutting edge of our deterrent posture in the
Pacific, and General Berger needs a fleet of amphibious ships to
complete the job. Congress should step up and add funding for
amphibious ships in this year's NDAA. Multiyear block buys would also
signal demand to the shipbuilding industry.
These programs will be difficult and will, of course, cost money, but
failing to complete them will facilitate China's advance and be much
more difficult and much more expensive in the long run.
We are in our most dangerous national security moment since World War
II. We are in our most dangerous security moment since World War II,
and we must urgently restore our naval deterrent to meet the moment.
Others have recognized this throughout our history. Reflecting on the
dark days of World War II in early 1942, Winston Churchill wrote:
The foundation of all our hopes and dreams was the immense
shipbuilding program of the United States.
Once again, the peace and security of the free world depends on our
Navy. We need to rebuild it with haste.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The senior Senator from Ohio.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter From Birmingham Jail
Mr. BROWN. Madam President, it is an honor to join my colleagues of
both parties on the floor today to read one of the greatest pieces of
writing of the 20th century, Dr. King's letter from the Birmingham
I thank Senators Warnock, Tillis, Casey, Capito, Boozman, and Rosen
for joining me.
Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that after I speak briefly,
you will recognize, in this order, Senators Warnock, Tillis, Casey,
then me, then Capito, then Boozman, then Rosen.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, our former colleague, Doug Jones from
Alabama, began this bipartisan tradition. It happened in his State, and
it is an honor to carry it.
Today, we recommit to Dr. King's mission--equal rights for all--to
ensuring that every voice is heard and to the dignity of work.
On Friday, we marked Workers Memorial Day, when we honor workers
killed on the job over the past year and throughout our history. People
don't talk enough about what Dr. King was doing when he was
assassinated. He was killed in Memphis while fighting for sanitation
workers, AFSCME Local 1633, some of the most exploited workers in our
He traveled there following the death of two sanitation workers on
the job. Not only was it a segregated neighborhood in Memphis, but, of
course, even the garbage truck was segregated. Two White workers worked
in the cab, and two Black workers worked in the back of the truck. They
were killed when the truck malfunctioned and crushed them.
Dr. King understood the deep connection between workers' rights and
civil rights. Speaking to those workers, he said:
[W]henever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and
is for the building of
humanity, it has dignity and it has worth. . . . All labor
Until we have equal rights for all and dignity for all workers, our
work here remains unfinished. We have a long road left to travel. It is
up to us to push our country further along the road. That is the
message to me in Dr. King's words in the letter we read today.
Just a quick preface of what this letter was about and then we will
turn to Reverend Warnock. In April 1963, Dr. King was held in a
Birmingham, AL, jail for the supposed crime of leading a series of
peaceful protests and boycotts. The goal was to pressure the business
community to end discrimination in their hiring for local jobs.
Some White ministers from Alabama had taken issue with the boycotts.
They told him: Dr. King, slow down. We are supporting you. We are for
voting rights, too, but slow down. Don't move too fast. Don't demand
too much all at once.
Dr. King rejected that premise.
It is up to all of us--as citizens, as leaders, as members of our
churches in our communities--to get to work to demand justice and
equality now, not at some hazy, far-off point in the future that never
seems to get here.
Dr. King made that point more eloquently and persuasively than any of
us ever could. So I will turn to my colleague, the Reverend Senator
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The junior Senator from Georgia.
Mr. WARNOCK. Thank you so much.
I am deeply honored to participate in this great tradition started by
Senator Doug Jones of Alabama during his tenure and carried out by my
colleague Senator Brown.
I am always honored to revisit these words from Dr. King from the
letter from a Birmingham jail. So without delay:
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came
across your recent statement calling my present activities
``unwise and untimely.'' Seldom do I pause to answer
criticism of my working ideas. If I sought to answer all of
the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have
little time for anything other than such correspondence in
the course of a day, and I would have no time for
constructive work. But since I feel you are men of genuine
good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I
will try to answer your statement in what I hope will be
patient and reasonable terms.
I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham,
since you have been influenced by the view which argues
against ``outsiders coming in.'' I have the honor of serving
as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,
an organization operating in every southern state, with
headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five
affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is
the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently
we share staff, educational and financial resources with our
affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in
Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a non-violent
direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We
readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our
promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am
here because I was invited here. I am here because I have
organizational ties here.
But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is
here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left
their villages and carried their ``thus saith the Lord'' far
beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the
Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the
gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman
world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom
beyond my home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to
the Macedonian call for aid.
Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all
communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and
not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice
anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in
an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment
of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all
indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the
narrow, provincial ``outside agitator'' idea.
Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be
considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
Now, you deplore the demonstrations taking place in
Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to
express a similar concern for the conditions that brought
about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would
want to rest content with the superficial kind of social
analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple
with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations
are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more
unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the
Negro community with no alternative.
In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps:
collection of the facts to determine whether injustices
exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We
have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be
no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this
community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly
segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of
brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly
unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved
bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in
any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal
facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro
leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the
latter consistently refused to engage in good faith
Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with
leaders of Birmingham's economic community. In the course of
the negotiations, certain promises were made by the
merchants--for example, to remove the stores' humiliating
racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend
Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian
Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all
demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized
that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs,
briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many
past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow
of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative
except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present
our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the
conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful
of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a
process of self purification. We began a series of workshops
on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: ``Are you
able to accept blows without retaliating?'' ``Are you able to
endure the ordeal of jail?'' We decided to schedule our
direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that
except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the
year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would
be the by product of direct action, we felt that this would
be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants
for the needed change.
Then it occurred to us that Birmingham's mayoral election
was coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone
action until after election day. When we discovered that the
Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene ``Bull'' Connor, had
piled up enough votes to be in the run off, we decided again
to postpone action until the day after the run off so that
the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues.
Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and
to this end we endured postponement after postponement.
Having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct
action program could be delayed no longer.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Murphy). The Senator from North Carolina.
Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, I will continue:
You may well ask: ``Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches
and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?'' You are
quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the
very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks
to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a
community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced
to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue
that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of
tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may
sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not
afraid of the word ``tension.'' I have earnestly opposed
violent tension, but there is a type of constructive,
nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as
Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in
the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of
myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative
analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for
nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society
that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and
racism to the majestic heights of understanding and
brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to
create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably
open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in
your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland
been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue
rather than dialogue.
One of the basic points in your statement is that the
action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is
untimely. Some have asked: ``Why didn't you give the new city
administration time to act?'' The only answer that I can give
to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must
be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it
will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the
election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the
millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much
more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both
segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status
quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable
enough to see the futility of massive resistance to
desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure
from devotees of civil
rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not
made a single gain in civil rights without determined
legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an
historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up
their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the
moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture;
but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to
be more immoral than individuals.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never
voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by
the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct
action campaign that was ``well timed'' in the view of those
who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation.
For years now I have heard the word ``Wait!'' It rings in the
ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ``Wait''
has almost always meant ``Never.'' We must come to see, with
one of our distinguished jurists, that ``justice too long
delayed is justice denied.''
We have waited for more than 340 years for our
constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and
Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political
independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace
toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it
is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of
segregation to say, ``Wait.'' But when you have seen vicious
mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your
sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled
policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and
sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty
million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of
poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you
suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering
as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she
can't go to the public amusement park that has just been
advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her
eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored
children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to
form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to
distort her personality by developing an unconscious
bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an
answer for a five year old son who is asking: ``Daddy, why do
white people treat colored people so mean?''; when you take a
cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after
night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because
no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and
day out by nagging signs reading ``white'' and ``colored'';
when your first name becomes ``nigger,'' your middle name
becomes ``boy'' (however old you are) and your last name
becomes ``John,'' and your wife and mother are never given
the respected title ``Mrs.''; when you are harried by day and
haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living
constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to
expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer
resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating
sense of ``nobodiness''--then you will understand why we find
it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of
endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be
plunged into the abyss of despair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, I will continue the reading of Martin
Luther King's letter from the Birmingham jail.
I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and
unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety
over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a
legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to
obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing
segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may
seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One
may well ask: ``How can you advocate breaking some laws and
obeying others?'' The answer lies in the fact that there are
two types of laws: Just and unjust. I would be the first to
advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a
moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a
moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree
with St. Augustine that ``an unjust law is no law at all.''
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one
determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a
man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of
God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the
moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An
unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law
and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is
just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.
All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation
distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives
the segregator a false sense of superiority and the
segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to
use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin
Buber, substitutes an ``I it'' relationship for an ``I
thou'' relationship and ends up relegating persons to the
status of things. Hence, segregation is not only
politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it
is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that
sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential
expression of man's tragic separation, his awful
estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I
can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme
Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to
disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally
Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust
laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power
majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not
make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the
same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a
minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself.
This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation.
A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a
result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in
enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the
legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation
laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts
of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming
registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even
though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a
single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such
circumstances be considered democratically structured?
Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its
application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge
of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in
having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But
such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain
segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment
privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.
I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to
point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the
law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to
anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly,
lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I
submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience
tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of
imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the
community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the
highest respect for law.
Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil
disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of
Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at
stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who
were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain
of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws
of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a
reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience.
In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive
act of civil disobedience.
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in
Germany was ``legal'' and everything the Hungarian freedom
fighters did in Hungary was ``illegal.'' It was ``illegal''
to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am
sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have
aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a
Communist country where certain principles dear to the
Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate
disobeying that country's antireligious laws.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.
Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I will continue.
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and
Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few
years I have been gravely disappointed with the white
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the
Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is
not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but
the white moderate, who is more devoted to ``order'' than to
justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of
tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice;
who constantly says: ``I agree with you in the goal you seek,
but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action''; who
paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for
another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of
time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a
``more convenient season.'' Shallow understanding from people
of good will is more frustrating than absolute
misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance
is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that
law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice
and that when they fail in this purpose they become the
dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social
I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that
the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the
transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the
Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive
and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity
and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in
nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension.
We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is
already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can
be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be
cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with
all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and
light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its
exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the
air of national opinion before it can be cured.
In your statement you assert that our actions, even though
peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate
violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like
condemning a robbed man because his possession of money
precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like
condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to
truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by
the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock?
Isn't this like condemning Jesus because his unique God
consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God's will
precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see
that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is
wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his
basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate
violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the
robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject
the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for
freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother
in Texas. He writes: ``All Christians know that the colored
people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is
possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has
taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish
what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to
earth.'' Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception
of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is
something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure
all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used
either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel
that the people of ill will have used time much more
effectively than have the people of good will. We will have
to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words
and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence
of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels
of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of
men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard
work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social
stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge
that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to
make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending
national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is
the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of
racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.
You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At
first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would
see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began
thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two
opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of
complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of
long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and
a sense of ``somebodiness'' that they have adjusted to
segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who,
because of a degree of academic and economic security and
because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become
insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is
one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close
to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black
nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation,
the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim
movement. Nourished by the Negro's frustration over the
continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement
is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have
absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded
that the white man is an incorrigible ``devil.''
I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that
we need emulate neither the ``do nothingism'' of the
complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black
nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and
nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the
influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became
an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not
emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am
convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced
that if our white brothers dismiss as ``rabble rousers'' and
``outside agitators'' those of us who employ nonviolent
direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent
efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and
despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist
ideologies--a development that would inevitably lead to a
frightening racial nightmare.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The
yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is
what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has
reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something
without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously
or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and
with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow
brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United
States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward
the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this
vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should
readily understand why public demonstrations are taking
place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent
frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let
him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on
freedom rides--and try to understand why he must do so. If
his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways,
they will seek expression through violence; this is not a
threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my
people: ``Get rid of your discontent.'' Rather, I have tried
to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be
channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct
action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But
though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as
an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I
gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label.
Was not Jesus an extremist for love: ``Love your enemies,
bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and
pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute
you.'' Was not Amos an extremist for justice: ``Let justice
roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing
stream.'' Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel:
``I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.'' Was not
Martin Luther an extremist: ``Here I stand; I cannot do
otherwise, so help me God.'' And John Bunyan: ``I will stay
in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my
conscience.'' And Abraham Lincoln: ``This nation cannot
survive half slave and half free.'' And Thomas Jefferson:
``We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are
created equal . . . `` So the question is not whether we will
be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will
we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists
for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of
justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men
were crucified. We must never forget that all three were
crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two
were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their
environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for
love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his
environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are
in dire need of creative extremists.
I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need.
Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I
suppose I should have realized that few members of the
oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate
yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the
vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong,
persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however,
that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the
meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to
it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big
in quality. Some--such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry
Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton
Boyle--have written about our struggle in eloquent and
prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless
streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach
infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of
policemen who view them as ``dirty nigger-lovers.'' Unlike so
many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have
recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for
powerful ``action'' antidotes to combat the disease of
segregation. Let me take note of my other major
disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the
white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some
notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each
of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I
commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on
this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship
service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic
leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College
several years ago.
But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly
reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do
not say this as one of those negative critics who can always
find something wrong with the church. I say this as a
minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was
nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its
spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as
the cord of life shall lengthen.
When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the
bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt
we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the
white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be
among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright
opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and
misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been
more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind
the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.
In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with
the hope that the white religious leadership of this
community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep
moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our
just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped
that each of you would understand. But again I have been
I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish
their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision
because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white
ministers declare: ``Follow this decree because
integration is morally right and because the Negro is your
brother.'' In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon
the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the
sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious
trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our
nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many
ministers say: ``Those are social issues, with which the
gospel has no real concern.'' And I have watched many
churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly
religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction
between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.
I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama,
Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering
summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the
South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing
heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her
massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have
found myself asking: ``What kind of people worship here? Who
is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of
Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and
nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a
clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices
of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided
to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright
hills of creative protest?''
Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep
disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But
be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can
be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes,
I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the
rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the
great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the
body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred
that body through social neglect and through fear of being
There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the
time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed
worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the
church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas
and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that
transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early
Christians entered a town, the people in power became
disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians
for being ``disturbers of the peace'' and ``outside
agitators.'' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction
that they were ``a colony of heaven,'' called to obey God
rather than man. Small in number, they were big in
commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be
``astronomically intimidated.'' By their effort and example
they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and
gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the
contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an
uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status
quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church,
the power structure of the average community is consoled by
the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things
as they are.
But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before.
If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit
of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit
the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant
social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every
day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church
has turned into outright disgust. Perhaps I have once again
been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably
bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world?
Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church,
the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the
hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some
noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken
loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us
as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have
left their secure congregations and walked the streets of
Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of
the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone
to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their
churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow
ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right
defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has
been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning
of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a
tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. I
hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this
decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the
aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no
fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if
our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the
goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation,
because the goal of America is freedom.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
Ms. ROSEN. Mr. President, I would like to continue finishing the
letter from the Birmingham jail:
Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up
with America's destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at
Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched
the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across
the pages of history, we were here. For more than two
centuries our forebears labored in this country without
wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their
masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful
humiliation--and yet out of a bottomless vitality they
continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible
cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now
face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the
sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are
embodied in our echoing demands. Before closing I feel
impelled to mention one other point in your statement that
has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the
Birmingham police force for keeping ``order'' and
``preventing violence.'' I doubt that you would have so
warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs
sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt
that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were
to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here
in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse
old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see
them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were
to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give
us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I
cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police
It is true that the police have exercised a degree of
discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense they
have conducted themselves rather ``nonviolently'' in public.
But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of
segregation. Over the past few years I have consistently
preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must
be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear
that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends.
But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps
even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.
Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather
nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in Albany,
Georgia, but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to
maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As T. S. Eliot
has said: ``The last temptation is the greatest treason: To
do the right deed for the wrong reason.''
I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and
demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their
willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the
midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize
its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the
noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and
hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that
characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old,
oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two
year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a
sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride
segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical
profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: ``My
feets is tired, but my soul is at rest.'' They will be the
young high school and college students, the young ministers
of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and
nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going
to jail for conscience' sake. One day the South will know
that when these disinherited children of God sat down at
lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is
best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in
our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation
back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep
by the founding fathers in their formulation of the
Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it
is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you
that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing
from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is
alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters,
think long thoughts and pray long prayers?
If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the
truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to
forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the
truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to
settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to
I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also
hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to
meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil-rights
leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let
us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will
soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be
lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not
too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and
brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their
Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.
Mr. BROWN. Thank you, Senator Rosen.
Thank you to my colleagues who joined us today to read these powerful
words: Senators Warnock, Tillis, Casey, Capito, Boozman, and Rosen.
This is a diverse group on the floor today whose States reflect the
and wonderful diversity of our great Nation, from the Deep South to the
Mountain West, to the Industrial Midwest. We represent different
places. We may disagree on many things, but we love this country. We
know we can do better for the people who make it work.
Dr. King and the civil rights leaders of his generation did more than
just about anyone to push this country to live up to our founding
ideals and to make the dream of America real for everyone. Protesting,
working for change, organizing, demanding our country do better--those
are some of the most patriotic things all of us can do. That is Dr.
King's charge in this letter.
My favorite single line certainly in this letter and maybe in all of
Dr. King's preachings and teachings and writings: ``Progress never
rolls in on [the] wheels of inevitability.''
``Progress never rolls in on [the] wheels of inevitability.'' It
rolls in because we make it so. That is our charge.
Think about that campaign Dr. King was waging when he was martyred in
Memphis. Think about who he was talking to--a union, Sanitation Workers
Local 1613, AFSCME. Think of the circumstances. This was a very
segregated Memphis. He was in a segregated, White neighborhood. Even
the sanitation trucks where these workers were working were segregated.
The cab of the truck was two White workers; the back of the truck was
doing the actual lifting and picking up garbage--two Black workers.
In February, before Dr. King first visited, the garbage truck--there
was a torrential downpour in this White, segregated neighborhood. There
was nowhere for these Black sanitation workers to go. They crawled in
the back of the truck. It malfunctioned and crushed these two workers.
That is why Dr. King was in Memphis the first time and the second time.
As he wove together worker rights and civil rights and labor rights,
he told these workers:
What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an
integrated lunch counter if he doesn't earn enough money to
buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee?
Those workers were vital to their community. They worked hard to
provide for their families. They were denied fair pay, denied political
rights, denied basic safety on the job.
Now, the Presiding Officer today is Senator Cortez Masto from Nevada,
who has joined in so many efforts on the Senate floor to fight for
workers, to fight for the dignity of work, to fight for safety and
civil rights and worker rights. It is not a coincidence that the
workers who are so often the most exploited are low-income workers,
especially Black workers.
Until all workers have the dignity they have earned, Dr. King's work
will remain unfinished. It means paying all workers a living wage. It
means giving them power over their schedules. It means providing good
benefits and safety on the job. It means letting them, if they so
choose, organize a union. It is about the dignity of work. All workers
get a fair share of the wealth they create. When we empower workers, we
bring us closer to the society Dr. King envisioned where all labor has
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Cortez Masto). The Senator from Ohio.