they run out of people that won't turn them in that they stole from. then they start stealing from anybody they can break into their home, their neighborhoods, their communities, anything they can do to get their hands on the money that gives them the fix they need for their addiction. then they end up with a felony. then the system basically spirals down.so this young man e everything he could get his hands on. then went to a methadone clinic. they tell you, we have methadone and seboxiy. these are wonder drugs, they tell you. they tell you they'll get you off heroin. they never do. people get on these two drugs and they he can't get off of them either. he went to the clinic. i'm not sure what dosage they started on. until recently he was on 120 milligrams a day, 120 milligrams a day. that's a lot.
he had lost his take-homes, wheys they give him to self-medicate. so he had to drive from mercer count to beaver county every day. he had trouble holding down jobs, so if he didn't have the money, he couldn't get what he needed. the clinic then only takes cash or credit card. i have helped my son finance his home, cars, lots, everything i can -- that i do was getting paid. i would pay these to protect my credit. this is the father's credit and mother. i might not get my money back. so here recently i started stopping, cut him off cold turkey. now he has pawned most of what he's had in his house for cocaine. he said it is to help him with methadone withdrawals. i'm not sure but his wife is getting ready to leave him. their son has been living with me since 2015. my wife and i have tried to find him a detox -- inpatient detox.
they say he doesn't meet their criteria. my son hasn't had methadone since february of 2016. the only place i found that may take him is the behavioral health of appalachian regional in beckley for his depression and bipolar. they will help him to be safe. he is on west virginia medicaid. west virginia won't pay for t i am so afraid i will lose my 34-year-old son to this dilemma. i hope there is somebody out there who can get him free so we can live and prosper. said that's only one son. i have another son who is 30 years old. he, too, has become addicted. and he has mental health issues. i paid his rent for two months to remove him from my home, just to get him out because he was so disruptive in searching for alternatives. he has been going to southern
highlands for years for his bipolar treatment. he has been seeing the same physician. he has checked himself into the pavilion in mercer county several times but checks himself right back out and he says it is because they won't give him his medications they wants. this is another problem that we have. a lot of people -- a lot of people that go to the hospitals or go to their clinics, if they don't get what they want, they report and give a bad report to the doctor or the medical facility and it hurts them on their reimbursement from medicare and medicaid. it's crazy and we have a he piece of legislation to change that also. he has been prescribed culapins or neuropins. he pleasers to take them once a day or more than prescribed. i hear he diverts them for other drugs. he hasn't had a job in years. i don't know what to do with -- to help my two sons. i know the system hasn't seemed to benefit them at all. but they still get their
medications and, et cetera. kind of keeps their addiction going on. if they don't get the prescribed ones, they search for street drugs and will sell their own souls and even mine and their mother's to get what they need. he basically throws up his hands and say, wheys a parent to do? for months it is hard to see your child in pain and easier to give them money and so forth. i have learned, that is only enabling them. but it is too many out there that is too easy for them to get the drugs. we must put strict controls on methadone clinics. and methadone clinics do not work and should not be prescribed to everyone. it should be professionals who basically prescribe people who should go to methadone and they should be closely regulated and not let them keep our families hostage for life. two counselors and -- two, counselors need to understand what a is successful
treatment and failure. why keep them in the same type of program just to give them the fix they're looking for when they're never going to get cured? don't keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. let's get them out of this type of a situation. it's not working. what's next? people are begging for help. they truly are. in your beautiful state, madam president, and all of our states, it is just atrocious what is going on. so we've got legislation we're all working to a positive end heard and i think that we can put our politics aside. this is not democrat or republican. i have said it over and over. this doesn't have a home. this is a killer. it's an epidemic. 200,000 have died. in my state of west virginia last year, 630 west virginians died of legal prescription overdoses -- legal -- this is not counting illicit.
legal prescription overdoses. so i am committed to fighting this with every breath i have in my body. i thank you all and i hope you would consider the pieces of legislation that we can work on in a bipartisan fashion to help every state and every person in america. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. rubio: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: madam president, i have six unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rubio: thank you, madam president. we are debating -- we are on the motion to proceed to the national defense authorization act, and there's so many different aspects that we need to touch upon. the senator from west virginia actually just touched on one of them. a lot of people may not consider it that way, but the threat posed to the united states by transnational criminal groups operating out of mexico and
other parts of the western hemisphere are a direct threat to the security of our people. we had a hearing earlier today in the subcommittee, the western hemisphere subcommittee, and we heard testimony from government officials and the administration talking about the threat that's being posed. here is the bottom liefnlt you have these multibillion-dollar, multinational entities operating just south of our border. we all have heard about el chapo guzman and the si sinaloa carte, but others as well. and they are both growing poppy opeopenpop --poppy opiates. there's a prescription fentanyl administered in hospitals. this is a synthetic version, non-pharmaceutical, and basically 100% of the stuff they are growing is being trafficked directly into the united states. and there is not a state in the union or territory in our country or jurisdiction presented by any member of the senate which has not been deeply
impacted by this war they are waging against us. the so it was an insightful hearing and remind us that we need to deal with the treatment aspects because people are sick and they need help as if it was a disease, not a crime. the other aspect of it is the people who are pushing the stuff into our country, deliberately targeting us -- and they are murderers. and they are not just killers because they kill innocent people. they are murderers because they know that the people they are selling these drugs to, they are deliberately trying to hook them on these drugs. they know and read about the level of overdose deaths we have seen. there is a military-to-military relationship between our national defense parts of our government and our partners in mexico and other countries and will continue to be and there has to be because these groups need to be defeated or they will continue to spread their poison and their death into cities, towns, and our states.
another aspect of i national defense which people don't obvious think about is the issue of human rights. some so much of the instability that's happening around the world that we have to respond to militarily out of our national security interests are driven by the violation of human rights. and p oftentimes our soldiers, our saicialtion our servicemen and women when they are called to engage militarily or be present militarily in any part of the world are also having to deal with the consequences of what's happening from a human rights perspective. and where it gets difficult is that in many -- is that in many cases many of the countries that are violating the human rights happen to be military allies of ours. it is always a balance that people argue. but no matter what our arrangements may be with any potential military partner anywhere in the world, we should never back away from the cause of human rights. for not only is it the right thing to do, which speaks to our values as a people and a nation, imu human right sses also a leading cause of instability. it is what leads people to take
-- that the violation of human rights leads to this instability. it is what causes people to take to the streets to try to get rid of their governments and leaders. so i wanted to come to the floor to bring to your attention an on-going human rights issue that weighs heavily on all of us. every day people are unjustly detained, tortured, publicly shamed and murdered often at the hands of their own government. their crime is simply disagreeing with the government, disagreeing whether through expwrurnallism, peaceful organizing or simply being in a different religion. in jail cells around the world sit innocent men and women who wanted to freely express themselves in the society they live. the vast number of political prisoners is a sobering reminder of how much work remains to uphold basic human rights and advance democratic values. from cuba to china, from turkey
to saudi arabia, people are suffering for exercising the freedoms that our creator gave them. now, i say the phrase "political prisoners," but i want to remind that you these prisoners oftentimes are just ordinary people like us, people who dream of a greater fetch future for their country, people who envision a better life for their families and loved ones. they're journalists, bloggers, many are human rights activists, some are politicians, we also have pastors and mothers and fathers and students. america tradditionally has been a voice for those oppressed. we as a country, as a people, have engaged in what ronald reagan once described as -- quote -- "the age-old battle for liberty and human dignity." this is why last september my
office launched a social media campaign we call "expression, not oppression qush qush designation i should say #expressionnotoppression we put a human face on the suffering inflicted by the repressive regimes around the world. today i wanted to come here to share the stories of some of the people we've championed in the past year. in 2014 tibet tan writer dawas.tsomo was detained for breaking laws. to this day she is missing. today china is one. most repressive countries in the entire world. in cuba, matters are just as serious, if not worse. beat, public acts of shame, and termination of employment are well-known consequences of disagreeing with the castro regime. the castro regime has rearrested
almost all of the 53 political prisoners it released as part of the supposed normalization of relations that president obama undertook at the end of 2014. remember the 53 names on that list of people they were going to let go as part of the normalization? virtually all 53 of them have since then brnen -- since then been rearrested. one of the most prominent groups who has stood up is a group, the ladies in white. many of the women who make up this dpriewp are the wives and relatives of jailed dissidents, protesting the unlawful imprisonment of their husbands and sons and brothers and fathers. so each sunday following catholic mass, the ladies in white take to the streets in a silent march. they are often harassed, arrested, and even beaten by the cuban government. just last sunday the leader of the ladies in white wasarrested
smed she will soon be placed on trial and could face up to five years in prison. in sort of treatment hasn't stopped them. week after week they continue to protest the castro regime and fight for the freedom of their nation and of their loved ones. in the disaster that has become venezuela due to its ink competent -- incompetent tyrant leader nicholas menudo, an incompetent clown, in venezuela we've seen one of the most prominent venezuelan opposition leaders, leopoldo lopez arrested and sentenced to 13 13 years on charges of terrorism, murder, grievous bodily harm and public incitement. sound like pretty serious charges. here is the reality. lee owe pole dough lopez,
governor in a country, was imprisoned for advocating for a peaceful change in the venezuelan govment that's why he is in jail. since the venezuelan's government's crackdown began in the year 2014 -- in february of 2014, dozens of innocents have been killed. thousands beaten and targeted for ink timidation and hundreds more jailed.. not to mention most of these political prisoners are men. do you know what happens? do you know what happens to the wives of these men in jail when they go visit their spouses in prison? they are often stripped searched by male guards in front of their families as the act of ultimate humiliation. this is what we're dealing with in venezuela. in late march of this year the venezuelan national assembly passed a law that would extend amnesty to more than 70 political prisoners in venezuela because they had an election. and in that election, even though they always steal
elections in venezuela, the maduro government does, the loss was so overwhelming they couldn't steal this election. so the opposition, one control of the venezuela national assembly and they passed a law that extended amnesty to more than 70 political prisoners who are in venezuelan jails because they oppose maduro, not because they committed a crime. to no one's surprise, the tyrant maduro promised to block it because he claimed it was unconstitutional. only a few weeks later he proposed the law -- he sent the law to the supreme court and urged them to overturn it. for days after his request the supreme court, a supreme court which is illegitimate because it is completely stacked with his cronies, granted him his wish and declared the law unconstitutional. so this is why there's been a coup d'etat in venezuela. that's why the democracy has been canceled, why there is now a tyranny. you have an elected national assembly being ignored. you have a supreme court being stacked with cronies that are
basically a rubber stamp for the tyrant. and the result is the gross violation of human rights, most prominently the case of leopoldo lopez. in pakistan, we've seen proponents of religious freedom murdered for criticizing blasphemy law. in march of 2007, shabaz bhatti, the only christian to serve in pakistan's cabinet, was shot to death by the pakistani taliban outside of his mother's home. five years have passed and the pakistani government failed to bring his murderers to justice and failed to attempt to reform the blasphemy law that continues to encourage violence, murder with impunity. as a result, numerous other prisoners of conscious in pakistan suffer behind bars. finally as president obama visited vietnam this week, a vietnamese blogger and human rights activist named ngu yen
vinh was languish in a state prison for having voiced the wrong opinions about his government. there are cases, only a few of what we have highlighted in our #suppressionnotoppression campaign. i would like to submit for the record a complete list of all the prisoners we have featured. they span the globe from iran to burma. all these men and women were seen as a threat to the leaders of their nations. but i, and i agree you do as well, see them as heroes. just because they aren't fighting on a battlefield doesn't mean they aren't putting their lives on the line for the greater good of their people and their nation. in a country where we are free to express ourselves, it's hard to grasp this risk. it is difficult to imagine a prominent journalist in the united states fearing for his or her life solely for doing their job. or to fathom a popular blogger facing the death penalty solely
for expressing their thoughts. well, this should be just as unimaginable to jail -p independent journalists in the rest of the world. the families of the prisoners i mentioned today have also paid a price. most of these families, they spend their days and nights unsure if they will ever again see their loved ones. there are no visiting hours. there are no phone calls. in the cases of many on death row, their families often find out they have been executed on the state-run media. children are being left to grow up on their own, wondering whether their mother or father has gone, wondering if they will ever feel their embrace again. but there are reasons to be hopeful. for when free people speak out it can make a difference in the lives of the oppressed. as a result of numerous international efforts including our #suppressionnotoppression campaign some prisoners have been reunited from their families, although they may not be able to return to their home countries. we saw this in the case of the
human street artist no one as el sexto. we saw it in the case of prominent azerbaijan ni human rights activist leja who has been allowed to travel to the netherlands for medical care and be reunited with her daughter. once released many agreed their advocacy on their behalf was a great encouragement to them and their families and likely resulted in better treatment or speedier release. a few years ago famed soviet dissident sharansky testified on capitol hill. he said of himself and fellow prisoners of conscience in the ussr that we could never survive even one day in the stpaoupb -- in the soviet union if our struggle was not the struggle of the free world. we should take to heart the sentiment he expressed and embrace the cause of political prisoners. we must do everything we can to raise awareness of the brutality
taking place in rue pressive regimes. we must not forget the hundreds of people who are being tortured or deprived of their lives for trying to bring freedom to their lands while illegitimate governments cling to power. even with our strategic allies such as saudi arabia we can never stop insisting that they show respect for women, for all human life and the god-given fundamental rights of all people. oppressed peoples do not stay oppressed forever. repressive governments do not stay in power forever. the human yearning to be free and achieve a better life for one's self and one's family eventually cannot be restrained. today i pray for those who are victims of their own government. i pray for the release of prisoners of conscience and their families. and i pray that our own country stands firmly by i want principles in call for the sacred right for every man and woman and child to be free. lastly, on a point of personal privilege, i'd like to take a moment to thank maggie doherty
who has been a valuable member of my legislative team for the past five years and specialized in issues of human rights around the world. her expertise and her passion on these issues has been invaluable to me and to my staff. her service to our country, to the people of florida, to the senate and to many individuals and families like the ones i just mentioned who suffer around the world, it will not be forgotten. so i thank you for your service, maggie, and i wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. with that, madam president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: i rise to discuss the frank r. lautenberg democrat cal safety for the 21st act. this is landmark legislation that will honor the legacy of our dear colleague frank lautenberg. i had the privilege to serve with frank for a number of years and know how passionately he wanted to undertake this challenge of the toxic substances that are in our everyday products, our household products that are causing cancer, causing other diseases because we have completely failed to regulate them. and so i so much appreciate that frank lautenberg took on this cause, pushed it forward and presented it in a bipartisan fashion, a fashion that continued following his death. in this congress, this bill is the equivalent of a aoupb corn, as the -- a unicorn as the phrase go.
a bipartisan, bicameral compromise that majorly reforms a badly broken law. it has brought democrats and republicans together to take action to protect public health. i've tpelgt -- felt privileged to be a part of this coalition that worked toward a final bill for over a year. this process has not been easy, but things that are worth doing rarely are easy. i think it's important to recognize some of the real champions in this process. of course i recognize frank lautenberg and all he did to put this in motion. following his death senators tom udall and david vitter deserve a tremendous amount of credit for having the bold vision to come together to carry the torch of bipartisan compromise after his passing. their persistence, their dedication in this effort through thick and thin has been remarkable. chairman inhofe also deserves a
great deal of credit for his work to shepherd this bill through the environment and public works committee and, hopefully, we will have it to the floor of the senate and certainly the result of the bicameral negotiations that have been completed and the bill has now gone through the house and is coming back over here. i'd like to commend ranking member barbara boxer for her leadership, her determination to make this the strongest bill it could possibly be. her determination to make sure that the ability of state stack was not compromised knowing her state, california, has been a major leader, one of the few states that has gone after toxic chemicals and set an example for the country. her tenacity unquestionably has led to a stronger bill. senator markey, as the subcommittee ranking member brought enormous depth of knowledge and leadership to this
process and was instrumental in the negotiations. and finally, i special want to thank senators whitehouse and booker who teamed up with me to push for important changes before the markup in committee and who have been tremendous partners ongoing through the process. there are many others, of course, in the senate and in the house on the republican side, the democratic side who have played a role in getting this bill to where it is now. a few small steps from being signed into law. i would like to specifically thank the environmental defense fund. on any project like this, you need forces inside the building, but you need forces outside the building marshaling expertise, creating a conversation among grass roots proponents, bringing their expertise, their insights to bear. their lead senior scientist richard denison played an
instrumental role in the preparation of this bill. many americans do not know that the chemicals in their household products are completely unregulated. it's been 40 years since the last major reform to our federal chemical laws took place. and there's been absolutely no action of any kind since 1991 when there was a failed effort to regulate asbestos, which again, citizens believed must surely be regulated given its incredible impact on the public health for our nation. but for 40 years the law has been badly broken, and for 40 years generations of americans have been exposed to unsafe chemicals. and the federal government has been powerless to act. that's four decades too long. the most powerful nation on the
earth should not be powerless to regulate toxic chemicals in our everyday products. now we are on the cusp of passing a historic bill that will change all of that. and how bad is this problem? last year i partnered with the environmental defense fund and with researchers at oregon state university to find out just that. the oregon state university researchers developed a small silicone wristband that picks up toxic chemicals that each of us is exposed to every day in the air and water around us, in our furniture, in our household products. 25 participants each wore one of these silicone wristbands for a week, and then the wristbands were taken to a laboratory to analyze what the individual had been exposed to. these results were sobering. each participant had been
exposed to at least ten potentially dangerous chemicals. beth slavik, a reporter for "the williamet. e week" reports going through her household, trying to find out which products were the culprits so she could get rid of them, but largely she couldn't find the source. she wrote, and i quote, "even if i had found the source, i wouldn't have been safe from worry. you can try to avoid certain synthetic themselves in your own home, but try avoiding them at work or on the bus, products with industrial chemicals such as those sprinkled in car pets and cushions supposedly to keep them from bursting into flame break down and they're in our
dust. as the information packet for the wristband experiment explained, you can't shop your way out of the problem. now, beth mentioned the issue of industrial chemicals that are put into our carpets supposedly to keep them from bursting into flames, and there is quite a story behind these flame retardants in our and our upholstery and our foam cushions, and it's not a story that will make any of us feel good. it will make all of us feel we need to have this bill passed, however. let me tell you that here's the challenge. these flame retardants are cancer causing. the chemistry got a bill passed requiring them to be put into household products like foam and upholstery and carpets. now, imagine that you're a new mother or a new father and your
little baby is down there on the carpet, their nose one inch from the floor, and then you read about the fact that that carpet is permeated with cancer-causing chemicals, that those chemicals cling to the dust that comes from the carpet as it's worn out or walked on or so forth, and that virtually every child gets exposed in this fashion, increasing their risk of cancer. wouldn't you as a mother or father go that is outrageous? why doesn't congress do something about that? we are now poised to do something about that, to regulate cancer-causing toxic chemicals in our household products. it's way past time, but we have to seize this moment and make it happen.
madam president, right now, americans are powerless to protect themselves from chemicals that hurt pregnant women, chemicals that hurt young children, chemicals that can hurt their child's development, chemicals that could cause cancer. since tsca passed in 1976, over four million babies were born with birth defects. 15 million babies were born preterm. since 1976, 21 million people in the united states died of cancer. and just since the fifth circuit case that struck down the environmental protection agency's ban on asbestos in 1991, about 375,000 americans have died from mesothelioma, a disease directly linked to asbestos exposure.
so clearly, we need to change our law and replace a dysfunctional law with one that will work. this bill is set up in a fashion that it will take on the most serious high-risk products that are already in our environment, the high-risk molecules and have a thorough process for studying them and then acting appropriately in the cases where citizens are exposed to those products. this bill provides a process for looking at the future chemicals before they're put into our products, before they cause health problems for americans, before they cause disease, before they cause cancer, before they cause birth defects, before they are attached to dust that gets into the lungs of our little babies crawling on carpets.
that would be a tremendous improvement. we'll make sure that everyday products are safe before they're in our classrooms, before they're in our workplaces, before they're in our homes. because of this bill, the e.p.a. will have the tools and resources needed to evaluate all the dangerous chemicals that are already in the market, and they will have the muscle to eliminate unsafe uses. there is nothing more important than protecting the health and well-being of americans now and for generations to come. one key element of this dialogue has been on whether it compromises the ability of states to act when they detect chemicals that they are concerned about, and this bill has been specifically constructed to make sure states have that power. any law written before april 22 is grandfathered. certainly any bill that has been
written to control lead pipes in homes that was written in the past is grandfathered. you don't have to worry about any sort of pause or preemption of state activity. any time that the federal government says that there is a high-priority chemical, one they're going to take a close look at, there is a period of time called scoping, and in that period of time any state that proposes a rule, all action on that rule is grandfathered. they can go right ahead. if a state has passed a law in that period, the law is grandfathered. and then during the period of time, which is referred to as risk evaluation following the scoping and determining what particular forms of exposure are ones that create a risk, during that time, the only thing that would cause a state to be unable to act is if it was exactly the
same chemical in exactly the same use. out of the hundreds of thousands of chemicals in the world. and furthermore, even then, even then there is a waiver that says a state can act, if they show there is a scientific paper that shows that that chemical is a risk, if they are not violating the supremacy clause of the constitution and they are not violating the clommers clause of the constitution. so in fact states have full power to operate throughout these phases as a result of these various clauses. the bipartisan team that has worked on this has run a marathon together, and now after many, many miles, innumerable meetings and late nights, we are just inches from a momentous improvement over current law.
current law completely 100% dysfunctional four decades, leading to the exposure of our children, our babies, ourselves, everyone in america to huge lists of toxic chemicals. now senators in this chamber will get a lot of attention for their work on this, but i want to note that behind the scenes the staff has labored day and night. a bipartisan team of staff. they work many late -- worked many late nights, they had many sleepless moments to try to figure out and finesse good policy and a path that would keep this bipartisan effort rolling forward. i especially want to thank my staffer who has taken the lead on this issue, adrian deveny. he has done a tremendous job.
he's put in an enormous amount of time, contributing substantial expertise and worked hard to reach out to other staff members, other offices to listen and understand the challenges, the many perspectives and find a way forward. he made sure that when things were tense, lines of communication stayed open. and because people stayed in the room, listened to each other, the staff and the senators, bipartisan, bicameral basis, remain committed to the vision laid out by frank lautenberg, that we will no longer allow americans to be routinely exposed to toxic chemicals in their household products. that means taking on the existing chemicals, and that means having a process for new chemicals before they are introduced, making sure that they do not pose a new challenge, a new disease, a new risk. the finish line is within sight,
and it's up to all of us to get there for the sake, the health of every american. let's get it done. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. wicker: madam president, are we in morning business? the presiding officer: we are postcloture. mr. wicker: i wish to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wicker: let me congratulate my friend from oregon for his remarks. and simply to point out to the chair and to my fellow members that this is another example of bipartisan accomplishments in the united states senate and in the house. this represents a lot of work on both ends of the building, republicans and democrats coming together. this is about to get done, as my
friend said, and once we put this on top of a number of accomplishments, including education, including dealing with the zika virus, including dealing with the drug problem, and so many other things that we have actually been able to get legislation done, sent to the president, signed into law to help make our country better and stronger and better protected. so i appreciate what my friend has said about the tsca bill and i'm optimistic about it also. now, switching gears to the national defense authorization act, madam president, i'm optimistic about that also. obviously, we had hoped to pass the bill before memorial day as a tribute to the people who have gone before us and paid the
ultimate sacrifice for the freedom that we enjoy as americans. obviously, the bill has taken longer than i hoped it would, and for reasons that are hard for me to understand, nevertheless we're going to get to it. we are on the bill now, and we're going to hopefully finish it the week after the memorial day recess, and i very much appreciate the fact that we're going to pass another bipartisan ndaa bill which will be signed by the president. it's going to give the defense to give our troops the opportunity to have the tools, equipment and resources they need in a very dangerous world. it funds the defense department at $602 billion, and our friends should know and the public
should know, madam president, that this $602 billion is the figure requested by the president of the united states, so we are coming with a bipartisan number. we've had some questions on the part of our friends on the other side of the aisle about spending elsewhere, but we should -- we should be clear and there's no question about it the president requested $602 billion for defense, and this bill gives our troops and the president that $602 billion. it deals with such important issues as preserving the progress we've made in afghanistan, continuing our fight against the islamic state, bolstering readiness against an aggressive russia, standing up on behalf of one of our most important allies, the state of israel, in a very, very troubling time. earlier this year, director of
national intelligence james clapper said it correctly. he reiterated the reality of unpredictable instability. and that's what we're facing, madam president. so this bill is designed to address that. also, i would mention that it is designed to alleviate some of the shortages caused by the budget control act when it was passed in 2011. the world is a lot different today than it was in to 11 -- in 2011. the across-the-board defense cuts as a last resort which were never really intended to take place. collectively, we should have addressed the mandatory programs where the spending problems actually are. but instead over the past six years, the budget control act has required almost $200 billion in defense cuts. it remains the law of the land. the sequestration remains the law of the land, and we'll
return unless congress acts in 2018. the army now has 100,000 fewer soldiers than it did four years ago. the marines will be nearly 5,000 below their optimal force. our air force is the smallest it's ever been in the history of the air force. and with 272 ships in the fleet, the navy is well below its requirement of 308 ships. i'm pleased to serve as chairman of the sea power subcommittee of the armed services committee and as such i was happy to work with other members of the subcommittee on the navy and sea power title to this bill. i want to thank my colleagues, senator hirono of hawaii, the ranking democrat member of the subcommittee for her leadership. as i said, we're years away from
achieving the navy's ship requirement of 308 ships. there's also no plan to meet the national defense panel's recommendation for more ships, either 323 at a minimum or up to 346 ships. so we're well away from what we really need to do to protect america and our freedom of movement around the globe. meanwhile, the navy has significant budget constraints. it's 2017 request is $8 billion less than the 2017 value, present value from last year's budget. but we worked on a number of items to do the best we can with the money we v. first, we looked at the viability of the 30-year shipbuilding plan. secondly, we worked to ensure that limited taxpayer dollars are used wisely. thirdly, we look forward to the
future and what should be required of our future surface combatant ships and what costs might constrain the budget, and fourthly, we worked to ensure that the navy and marine corps can continue to provide force protection around the world. so thanks to the members of my subcommittee and my ranking member, senator hirono for that but sea power is only one part of the bill. it may be the one that i worked on more carefully, but other parts of the national defense authorization bill, as you know, madam president, there's no authorization in the bill for another round of base closings. i very much support that provision and believe that no further base closing rounds should be authorized, and we don't. also, there's an extension of prohibitions on the closing of guantanamo bay and prohibition
of transfer of any detainees from there. and support for the recommendation of the national commission on the future of the army regarding aviation force structure. i advocated the creation of this commission along with my colleague, senator graham, in the wake of unvetted proposals to cut the national guard and reallocate hill patch chi hill copt -- -- i'm glassed we addressed that problem and on the way i think hopefully week after week to passing this important bill. it's fitting that americans will gather on memorial day in the next few days remembering the patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice and honoring the patriots who are today voluntarily stepping forward to make our country strong and great and help all of our citizens enjoy the freedoms that we have today. so i'm glad to be part of this bill. i congratulate the leadership of
the committee and the senate, and i look forward to passing this defense bill without further delay. and i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that on monday, june 6, not with strange rule 22 following morning business the motion to proceed to s. 2943 be fred to and the senate proceed to the consideration of s. 2943, and senator fischer or her designee be recognized to offer her amendment number 4206. further, that the time until 5:30 p.m. be equally divided between the managers or their designees and that at 5:30, the senate vote on the fischer amendment with no second-degree amendments in order to the amendment prior to the vote. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: now, madam president, i ask consent that at 1:30 p.m. today, the senate proceed to executive session for the en bloc consideration of calendar number 462 and 4 of 3 -- 463, there be is a minutes of
debate only on the nominations equally divided in the usual form, that upon the use or yielding back of time, the senate vote on nominations in the order listed without intervening action or debate, that if confirmed the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, the senate -- the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate resume legislative session. without any intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection so ordered. a senator: madam president -- the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi bick wick -- mr. wicker: i ask unanimous consent that commander andrew cook, a defense legislative fellow in my office be granted floor privileges during the remainder of this session of congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wicker: thank you, madam president. ms. stabenow: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, madam president, we're here just a few days before memorial day where
all across the country, americans are going to go to parades to pay tribute to troops who made the ultimate sacrifice. they will invite friends and family over and fire up the grill. i think we all look forward to those family those family gatherings. or atea usually do over this holiday weekend. this year they might supersecond thoughts. i -- might have second thoughts. i know i'm getting asked by my family. not because of rain or something more frightening but since the beginning of the year, public health experts have been warning us about a severe threat to moms and babies. the zika virus. it causes severe damage to fetal brains causing birth defects and even death. zika is not just coming to the united states, it's already here. and people are concerned and they want us to act. there are already more than 150 pregnant women in the united states who have been infected and we're hearing more every
day. we have four in michigan so far and the threat is growing. we're fort nat -- fortunate to have doctors and scientists from the centers of disease control and national institutes of health who have the skills and knowledge to get zika under control. i have great confidence in their ability to create a vaccine, to do what needs to be done on testing, to get the information we don't have right now on the full impact of the zika virus. these brilliant minds are ready to go to work in a lab to find a treatment, develop a vaccine. they can help protect the health of babies, of pregnant moms, of women of child bearing age. we're now hearing about different kinds of reactions to the zika virus in men as well. so we're still learning every single day. but that work will be costly, specifically these doctors and scientists ask for $1.9 billion,
and they include an extremely detailed action plan for where the money would go and the work that would be done. but unfortunately we have not yet sent an appropriation to the president of the united states to sign so they can get to work. republicans in congress have said no to the full request. senate republicans have agreed to $1.1 billion, and i'm glad we've been able to get agreement to be able to move something forward as a first step, even though it's not what the scientists and doctors have said needs to happen. i signed on because if was -- it was the best we could get at the moment and we've got to get started. but what is incredibly concerning is that the house of representatives was even more shortsighted. they only gave researchers one-third of what they asked
for, a third of what they say they need to go into the lab, develop the vaccines to protect our children, to protect pregnant moms, and to protect all of us that may be impacted in some way. on top of that in the house, they're using gimmicks to disguise the fact that they're raiding one public health fund to pay for another. so it's like a fire, and you send a fire engine out. and then another fire starts on the other side of town. and instead of sending a different fire engine out, you just take the one and send it to the other fire. wait a minute. people wouldn't put up with that in the community and they certainly aren't going to put up with what we are seeing coming out of the republicans in the house. so they're playing games and denying the doctors and researchers the money they need to keep us safe. many of these members talk tough about keeping americans safe,
but right now we have a frightening virus that's getting more severe every passing day and yet republican colleagues, particularly in the house, have no sense of urgency. and we haven't seen a sense of urgency to take the senate compromise out of an appropriations bill, put it into an emergency bill, and send it to the president. madam president, i can't imagine how scary this must be for a pregnant woman right now, even for women in michigan where the threat is far less severe than other parts of the country. and yet when my own family members, when others across michigan, friends i talk to, others that i have had a chance to talk to in the last couple of weeks turn on the television, they have to hear from
republicans in washington who refuse to take this threat seriously. we've got to take this seriously. make no mistake, this is a major public health emergency. you know, these mosquitoes are not picking and choosing whether they're going to bite democrats versus republicans. the reality is this is a public health emergency for all americans, and we need to treat it as that. for republicans to go home before memorial day without dealing with this threat is incredibly insensitive and irresponsible. we have work to do. it's another case where we need to make sure we're doing our jobs. we're here. we're willing to do that. we must equip our doctors and medical researchers with the tools they need to keep our families safe. for a threat of this scale, we should not be delaying in any
way and we can't do this on the cheap. we can't only do part of it. we have to do what needs to be done with the doctors, the researchers, the people we trust in our country. we have some of the most bill yants or the most -- brilliant or the most brilliant minds in the world. they're telling us what needs to be done but they need the resources to be able to get it done. the richest nation in the world can't afford to take the steps necessary to defeat the world's most urgent public health cris crisis. really? i don't think so. it's time to act. madam president, i would yield back. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: madam president, i would ask unanimous consent for senator inhofe and i -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. vitter: excuse me. first i ask unanimous consent to end the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: now i would ask unanimous consent since senator
inhofe and i want to speak on the same important topic for us to speak back to back for up to 15 minutes total. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. vitter: thank you, madam president. madam president, we rise together, with so many other members of the senate, on a bipartisan basis to strongly support the chemical safety bill which has passed the u.s. house of representatives with enormous bipartisan support and is ready to pass here in the senate. madam president, this is a long day coming. first of all, this is an element of federal law that has been in dire need of updating. all stakeholders, left, right and middle, have said that for decades. and secondly, we have been working on this specific bill, this solution to that problem for over five years. i started over five years ago with what you would, i think,
reasonably characterize as a republican proposal in contrast to a clearly democratic proposal by then-senator frank lautenberg, and we had these competeing partisan proposals -- competing partisan proposals for some time, but in early 2013, we made a very determined effort to try to bridge that divide and come up with a strong bipartisan proposal to achieve two absolutely necessary objectives. one, to make sure we fully protect the health and safety of all americans with regard to chemicals that are in products that we use every day. that's paramount. that has to happen. and two, to make sure we do it in such a way that allows american companies to remain science and innovation leaders in this important sector of our economy.
now, madam president, i have to say when we started these discussions in early 2013, i think both of us, mike lautenberg and i were very cynical about our chances of success. we were miles apart, but we were determined to get this done, we get and negotiated, discussed in good faith, our staffs did as well, and that led to a real breakthrough, a bipartisan bill to update this area of environmental law with regard to chemical safety in 2013, and in 2013, we introduced the first bipartisan proposal with regard to that. sadly, frank lautenberg passed just shortly after we completed that work and introduced that bill, but i'm very happy that many others took up the cause led on the democratic side by
tom udall of new mexico. many others were involved -- i see senator booker here, frank lautenberg's successor in that new jersey senate seat. he has been involved. certainly the chair of our committee, jim inhofe, has been extremely involved in the weeds in a positive way in -- and supportive, and that led over these three years since the introduction of the first version of the bill to this strong bipartisan bill we have before us that passed the house with overwhelming support. not many things pass the u.s. house of representatives with that sort of overwhelming support, i think a total of 12 no votes. not many things come to the u.s. senate with this sort of near-unanimous or near-unanimous support, and nothing in the last several decades in the category
of major environmental legislation has done that, and so this is a major achievement, and it's a positive achievement when you look at the substance of the legislation. it ensures proper protection of health and safety for all americans because these are chemicals in products that we use and touch every minute of every day that enhance our lives and quality of life. and it's a workable regulatory regime that does it in a workable way so that american companies in this sector and a lot of them i'm proud to say are in louisiana can remain science and innovation leaders. that's why it has wide spread industry support. that's why it has widespread support among many other groups, including environmental groups. that's why it garnered such an overwhelming bipartisan vote in
the u.s. house of representatives, and that's why it has overwhelming bipartisan support here in the senate. the senate version of this bill passed by voice vote. there were no articulated objections to it. it had passed by voice vote with very, very strong support. that remains the base of this bill. that remains the heart and soul of this bill. the final version, the bill we're considering now, has been posted online for almost a week under the house rules. that needed to happen. it happened late last week, and that's been publicly available for some time, certainly enough for all members to dissect and digest it. and so i encourage final positive action on this bill to move us forward in a significant way, and with that, i yield to the chairman of the committee
who has been a great leader to advance this cause, senator inhofe. mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: first let me thank the senator from louisiana. it's been a -- it's been a long fight, a long time. of course we understand that bonnie lautenberg, who has been a very significant part of the discussion as we go along, she is here today. she is living this historic day with us. i say historic day because the united states senate can take the final steps necessary to send the frank r. lautenberg chemical safety for the 21st century act to be signed into law. that could happen today. and today the senate can pass a bill with a tremendous amount of support. i think the senator from louisiana articulated it very well. we had individuals from the far right, the far left all in agreement. i would like to add to that we have an impressive list of
groups that are supporting this, one being the obama administration, the american chemistry council, the environmental defense fund, the u.s. chamber of commerce, the humane society, national association of manufacturers, march of dimes, american petroleum institute, national wildlife federation, the alliance of automobile manufacturers, americans for tax reform, national association of chemical distributors, and the american fuel and petrochemical manufacturers. everybody. we're talking about labor unions, manufacturers. very rare. i agree with the senator from louisiana, i don't recall in my experience here ever having this array of support from organizations and people that we have with this. so i have been working along with that group since 2012, and then senator lautenberg approached me and asked for my help. i think that was the time that republicans became a majority -- no, we were still a minority at that time, but he wanted to
be -- to have everyone involved in this from the different parties, the different philosophical realms, and that's exactly what happened. i know my friend bonnie lautenberg, as i mentioned, she is here today. i have never seen a bill in process that has garnered the support of one like in this case the widow of frank lautenberg. she is there all the time making sure that this proper tribute that we're going to make today becomes a reality. so just some of the -- i think the key provisions haven't been covered already by my friend from louisiana. let me just join him in thanking all our friends from the left and our friends from the right for joining together on something that's really good for america. one thing that hasn't been talked about very much is the number of jobs. i talked to a large group of manufacturers yesterday, and they said we never talk about the jobs.
there are jobs that are overseas today because of the uncertainty that is here in terms of how we are treating chemicals in this country. they can't put forth the money that's necessary and the resource that's necessary unless they know that there is certainty that they're going to be able to use whatever chemicals they have to use to produce whatever it is they're producing. so where are they now? they're in china and they're in india, they're in mexico. there are places where they don't have to deal with this -- with this problem. so that's a major thing that is happening. let me go ahead and at this point, madam president, i want to make a unanimous consent request. i ask unanimous consent that at a time to be determined by the majority leader in consultation with the democratic leader, the chair lay before the senate the message to accompany h.r. 2576. further, that the majority leader or his designee be recognized to make a motion to concur in the house amendment to
the senate amendment, that there be no other motions in order, and that there be up to three hours of debate equally divided between the two leaders or their designees on the motion. finally, that upon the use or yielding back of time, the senate vote on the motion to concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment with no interintervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: reserving the right to object, one of the pledges i made to the people of kentucky when i came here was that i would read the bills. this bill came here on tuesday. it's 180 pages long. it involves new criminalization, new crimes that will be created at the federal level. it includes preemption of states. it includes a new federal regime which would basically supersede regulations or lack of regulations in louisiana or
texas or oklahoma. and so i think it deserves to be read, to be understood and to be debated, and so i object to just rushing this through and saying oh, you can't read the bill. i told people, everybody involved in this, i just want to read the bill. we have been working on it now for two days looking at the bill. we have been talking to people who worked on the bill. is it not unreasonable to ask that we have time to read a bill? here's the other problem. every day in my office, business comes into my office and what do they say? we're regulated to death. we're sick and tired of regulators from the executive branch take are out -- that are out of control. what does this bill do? takes the power away from the states and create as new federal regulatory regime. here's the whole problem. people are now saying please regulate us and then when they get overregulated they say please stop regulating us. we should think through how we're going to do things around here. we should take the time to read
the bills. we should take the time to understand the bills. so i will continue to object until we've had time to look at the bill thoroughly. with that i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. a senator: madam president, let me just say i regret an objection to this very reasonable path forward. mr. vitter: no one objects to all members of the senate reading the bill. i encourage all members of the senate to read the bill. there has been and is continuing opportunity to do that. as you heard, that unanimous consent request wasn't rushing through anything. it was a three-hour debate and a roll call vote. the final version of the bill has been publicly available for everyone to read, dissect and digest for about a week. it is largely similar to the
senate version that passed months ago to which there was no objection raised. that passed by voice vote. so there is no impediment to everyone having adequate time to read and digest the bill. and the final version has been available for that purpose for about a week. so i think it's unfortunate we can't move forward in this sort of clear, reasonable and straightforward way, but we certainly will in the near future. and i look forward to that. mr. inhofe: madam president, i regret that the senator from kentucky has left the chambers here because the two things that he mentioned were the criminal provisions and the preedges. the provisions and preemption have been with us for six months, not two days, three days but six months.
that's exactly what we voted on way back in december. so it's -- you can't ask for more time than that to consider the provisions of a bill. the other things we're all supporting the two component of the bill, that is the criminal provisions and the preemption. again, they've been here for six months. and i would ask that we have a chance to reconsider. we know this thing is going to pass. we know when we get back it will pass. it will pass because we have to go through all the procedures of a cloture vote on motion to proceed and all of that. so we know it's going to pass. that's not the issue. it's just that if we could do it now instead of two weeks from now. there are people making decisions today as to what they're going to be doing and what products they're going to be manufacturing, where they're going to do it and to put that off for two more weeks after we've been working on this for six months is not fair -- not a
fair way to conduct business. so i hope we'll still later on today have an opportunity to get this done today. there's no reason not to. everyone is for it. every group that i mentioned is for it. and every democrat, republican, liberal, conservative, they're all for it. so this is our opportunity to get it done. there's still time today to do that and i hope between now and 1:45, which is the scheduled time for our vote, that that will be a reality. with that i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. a senator: i'm really grateful that my chairman of my committee, environmental committee of public works so eloquently about the issues surrounding this bill. i'm new to the united states senate, at least in senate terms because i've been here for about two and a half years, but i've never seen such a broad-based coalition involved in supporting a bill, a coalition that extends from the far right to the far left, a coalition that brings
industry and activists together, a coalition that brings environmentalists together as well as those who seek economic growth. mr. booker: this is a tremendous coalition but even more so for me as a relatively new senator. it's been one of the greatest privileges i've had in the senate to work together in such a cooperative way to bring about legislation that you really could build such a broad base of support. i really do applaud my colleagues. i applaud the chairman and the ranking member. i applaud all the members on the e.p.w. committee and others for working on a bill that really does earn in my opinion, speaking as a man from new jersey, that really does earn the right to have the name of my predecessor, frank lautenberg, on it. senator lautenberg was a giant in new jersey. he served this country with distinction. he was a veteran. he was a public servant. he actually ran a business and
grew it to be a mighty one in my state and beyond. you cannot truly begin to appreciate the void that was left by him, but the great thing about it, that this champion of transportation, of infrastructure, of consumer safety, of fighting for his fellow citizens, that this champion's work where he began working in partnership with senator vitter to try to move this forward and then sadly died, this is one of his great legacies, one of his great contributions was his effort to begin what has now been a multiple--year effort to reform the toxic hazardous chemical law. senator lautenberg's efforts really were the instigating factor, the ignition of this success that we're having today of such a broad based bill, such broad base support. it reflects his work, his efforts and his legacy. and so i'm very proud that i had
the honor really of finishing senator frank lautenberg's term in the senate last year. and during that time and still today, i see on a daily basis the urgency around his efforts. i know that after senator lautenberg passed, his spirit was still very much manifest in this area when his wife, bonnie lautenberg, took up the important cause and served as one of the fiercest champions in strengthening this bill that we're talking about now. she was down here working, lobbying, nursing, pushing, conjolling, convincing, making sure that we got to this day. so i'm very proud that during my two and a half years i was able to enter into the work to get this legislation to where we are today. i saw senator tom udall and his leadership, and i want to praise that. i've seen how tireless he was working on this, and i'm
grateful for senator udall, senator vitter, chairman inhofe, everyone's staff as they worked together to get this bill to where we are today. at the beginning of 2015, my colleagues, senator whitehouse, senator merkley and i began by negotiating with senators udall and vitter to make what we saw as urgently needed improvements to this bill. working together i'm proud that we were able to make those improvements to the preemption provisions that were involved in some of the things that my colleague from kentucky were just talking about, making sure that states still had a role in the process, still had power and authority in this process, and in fact had the ability now to company enforce -- coenforce with the federal government around this bill. i was also very proud of a provision in this bill that will significantly minimize new animal testing and potentially save tens of thousands of animals from unnecessary suffering. i'm proud that a revised bill passed out of the e.p.w.
committee with strong bipartisan support again and i'm proud that since the e.p.w. committee has improved this bill, senators udall and vitter have stayed at the negotiating table continuing to take input from folks on both sides of the aisle, continuing to make this a better and better bill. in fact, senators merkley, durbin, boxer, the bill sponsors and others have really done additional changes to make this bill strong. we would never have gotten this strong of a tsca reform bill if it wasn't for the work of people on both sides of the political aisle, if it wasn't for the work of people with an industry, if it wasn't for the work of advocacy groups, if it wasn't of the work of groups that i've come to respect, a tremendous amount like the environmental defense fund whose early engagement and constant pressure played such an important role. this is one of those rare moments where you have a full court press, both sides of the aisle as well as individuals
that are representing multiple sectors all coming together to make a strong bill. now, i tell you, they're making a strong bill because everyone was in agreement. the legislation we had now, decades old, the tsca bill was broken. it was broken in that it did not protect consumer safety. it was broken that it did not give predictability and certainty to industry. it was broken because it put america's health at risk, whether it's children or our seniors. it created an environment where people could get sick. it had no teeth. it had no strength. so now we have a bill that when it becomes law, because i agree with senator inhofe, this is not a question of if. with this kind of bipartisan, bicameral support, when this bill becomes law, it will protect american families. it will protect our children from dangerous chemicals and give industry certainty that it
needs. so i urge my colleagues to pass the frank lautenberg bill today. i want to thank everyone again. this is a result of a tremendous coalition of efforts, a symphony of focus and work, of people coming together to do something that many people think is rare here in the united states senate, that we all could work together across partisan lines to make good legislation. mr. president, thank you and i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: i want to recognize today david mcbee of arkansas as this week's arkansan of the week for his charitable contributions to his north arkansas community. by day he's the regional manager at avest banks branch. he spends much of his free time
after work and on the weekends volunteering for several causes in the area. last year david's leadership helped the branch become the top fund-raiser in the state for the cotter backpack program, a local charity that provides backpacks of food to schoolchildren in need. his efforts lead to cotter school risk the spirit of arkansas award two years in a row. david also spends countless hours organizing the annual cotter warrior 5k color run each fall and earlier this year, david planned a community feed the pack day where volunteers collected change at intersections and various other sights around the mountain home and gasvill gasville area and dd the proceeds. on weekends you can find david at the football field where he's one of the voices of the arkansas tornadoes, a local semi professional football team. i think cotter high principal amanda brit said it best when she wrote in her nomination he's always j to step? and help with anything we need.
his dedication to the community is arkansas at its best. i'm proud to reck nieses his many contributions in this small way of the on behalf of all arkansans thank you for all you do to make our home state a better place. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. a senator: plant, i would like to ask unanimous consent to lay gown the nomination. the presiding officer: under the previous order the senate will proceed to executive session for en bloc consideration of the following nominations which the clerk will
report. the clerk: nominations, united nations, laura s. h. when olgate of virginia to be representative to the vienna office, international atomic energy, laura s. h. holg ate of virginia to be the representative. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be 16 minutes equally divided for the consideration of these nominations. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. a senator: madam president, i rise today to talk about an issue that affects all of us in this chamber and all of our communities who represent. i also rise on behalf of the 200,000 ohioans who are currently struggling with an addition to prescription drugs or opiates, heroin and prescription drug addiction has gripped our country. mr. portman: unfortunately we're facing an epidemic now and i want it rise today to talk about how we can do a better job to address that. this is the seventh time i've come to the floor of the senate to speak on this issue since the
comprehensive addiction and recovery act passed the united states senate back on march 10. that vote by the way was 94-1 showing that again members from every single state are affected by this and want to address it. cara, the comprehensive addiction recovery act is a good start. it will make a big difference because it is comprehensive. it ie dresses every aspect of -- addresses every aspect of the issue from education and prevention through treatment and recovery. it helps our law enforcement folks. it helps get these prescription drugs out of our communities. it is a good piece of legislation that i hope we'll be able to get to the president's deck for signature. for the first five weeks i came to the floor, madam president, i talked about the fact that i hoped the house would act. i urged the thousands act quickly on this emergency that's affecting our communities. last week i came to the floor to say thank you to the house because they did act. stloated on 18 separate -- they voted on 18 separate bills. combined they were a response to this epidemic. i think that was a very important step forward. i am encouraged that now
the two chambers, the house and the senate, are trying to figure out a way to come up with one bill that can be sent to the president for his signature. i do think the legislation we passed in the senate is more comprehensive. i think preventing this addiction in the first place, keeping people out of the funnel of addiction, is incredibly important. it has been 77 days since the senate passed cara. and we lose about 120 americans a day to drug overdoses now. about one every 12 minutes. this means, madam president, we have lost about 9,000 americans -- 9,000 americans to drug overdoses since the senate passed its legislation back on march 10, behigh. by the way, about 300 ohioans have lost their laiives to heroin and prescription drug overdoses. in 2014 in fact ohio had the second-most
overdoses of any state in the union. the fifth-highest overall death rate. i'll be home tomorrow and have the opportunity to visit with some people who are trying to help on this issue. but everywhere i go, i am bheerg t last night i had a tele-town hall meetings. we have about 25 ohioans on the phone at any one time. someone called in to talk about our legislation, cara. joe from delta, ohio, said he had been a heroin addict for 15 years, said he was 33 years old. said he had a stroke when he was 25 that was related to his use of heroin. he said he had been in and out of treatment programs, was clean now, but he was tired of going to funerals. he said he'd been a pallbearer at about 20 funerals of friends who had died from overdoses. he said he was ready to straighten out his life and get back on track. i also talked about how though that is, that the
grip of this addiction is so strong that it is difficult to go through a treatment program and into recovery and come out clean. he said that he liked our legislation because he believes there should be more treatment out there. he said many people who want to go to treatment cannot get the treatment that they need. we also talked about the stigma that's attached to addiction, that many people don't go forward even to tell their families, much less get into treatment, because of the stigma that's around this disease. stories like joe's, unfortunately, are in the headlines every day, and just since i spoke on the floor last week, more headlines coming out of ohio. it is everywhere, by the way. it knows no zip code. so it is in the iran -- so it is in the inner city, the per capita use may be higher than in the inner city. "the "plain dealer"" raises the awareness of this issue, helping in terms of the prevention side of this.
i think it will also help people to be able to seek treatment. the stories that "the "cleveland plain dealer" requestings "talk about includes a fentanyl overdose death of an honor student at north olmstead high school. they include the story of a bright, young graduate of ohio university. he used drugs like vicodin, percocet, drugs that we all know the names of. he abused them, money started missing from his mom's wallet. items went missing from the home. he told his brother he didn't want to keep using, he wanted to stop. he said that he had a disease and it is a disease. he sought treatment. went into rehab, what's called the flee clinic at cleveland, ohio. i've seen the good work they dovment sadly, he relapsed and just two weeks later his brother found him dead in his bedroom with a needle stuck in his arm. he was 25 years old. these stories continues to be told because this is what's happening in our communities.
mary jo tracano was a grandmother who had pain, prescribed painkillers to deal with her chronic pain. like so many oh, she became addicted to them. when they rang out, this grandmother switched to heroin. it is les less addictive, more accessible. she was found in an been a donned house in her late 50's. she is are stories from one town, cleveland. there'll they can happen in your hometown. again, no zip code in the country is safe from this strong grip of this particular addiction. just this last friday police in niles, ohio, received d 100,000 worth of heroin from one man. three days later a prison guard pled guilty to getting drugs into the prison system. in columbus, a mom pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter after her daughter ingested
heroin. fentanyl by the way is a synthetic form of heroin. it has similar qualities except it is much stronger, often as much as 50 times stronger than heroin and many of these overdose deaths in cleveland unfortunately are due to this fentanyl that's often laced with the heroin. in fact there have been more deaths in cleveland, ohio, in this first quarter than ever. in fact we're looking at doubling probably the number of overdose deaths if we continue on this pace in cleerld, ohio, as compared to last year. this is how serious it is in my state and your state, wherever you live. on may 10, an ohio state trooper deed $20,000 in heroin. three days later three people died in miriam county in one 24-hour period. every one of these victims had a family. every one of these victims had friends or classmates who are now suffering themselves. it shouldn't this be way but that's just the tip
of the iceberg. in addition to the 9,000 americans who we have lost since this legislation passed the united states senate, think about this: there are hundreds and thousands more who are wounded, who are lost their -- who have lost their jobs, who have been driven to theft or job because the dprug is everything. and this is what i hear, what i heard last night in the town hall, what i hear from other recovering addicts. the drug becomes everything. therefore, the families are torn apart. therefore, the job means nothing. therefore, they turn to theft when they've never before crossed that line into committing a crime. that's the status quo today. getting a comprehensive bill to the president's desk for signature and getting it to our communities will help. it has got to be comprehensive because we know it is not going to work if it just addresses one side of the issue or another. there's been debate over funding in this legislation. more funding some have said is the answer to all of our problems. s unfortunately, some have tried to politicize this a little bit, and i suggest what they're
doing is not going to help because what we need to do is get a comprehensive bill oit there that talks about what we -- when we provide funding, it goes to the evidence-based programs we know works. this legislation is based on three years of work. we brought expert in from all over the country. we had conferences about how to help our veterans, how to help pregnant wombs, how to help ensure that we have more people who are given the right kind of treatment, medication-assisted treatment to get back on track. yes, i have supported more funding and we should continue to try to get more funding into this problem. but it's not just a matter of putting more money against t it is also a matter of spending that money wisely. that's what this legislation does. more money, yes. it has $08 million to $100 million in additional if i funding. but it also has funding that is going to be used ford what we know works. we need to do this soon because this epidemic is
growing. cara insists that we are targeting this funding towards evidence-based education treatment recovery programs. 130 national antidrug groups support this legislation because of the fact that they were part of putting it together. they know what works out there and what doesn't work. that is national effort. it's one that will save lives. and it will make a difference in so many other people's lives, to begin to actually turn the tide on this epidemic. this legislation again is one that 94 united states senators supported, with only were unsenator opposing t that shows again how in every single state this has become an issue that has to be addressed because it's affecting everybody in every community. cara has a number of things on prevention education that are incredibly foreign keep people out of the funnel of addiction, to help people make the right decisions, particularly in their teens and parents and other caregivers and populations. it does more keeping people aware of this connection between prescription drug and
addiction. for people to know that helps them to avoid being in a situation where they are, like this grandmother in cleveland we talked about exposed to more and more painkillers and became addicted to them. cara also improves treatment by expanding the availability of naloxone. this is the miracle drug that can actually stop and reverse an overdose. law enforcement agencies, first responders support our legislation because they appreciate the fact that there is more funding for this naloxone, also called narcan, wil but also more training so that people have the training to be able to save live us and reverse these overdoses. it also expands treatment for prisoners who are suffering from addiction disorders with evidence-based treatments, we can break this cycle of addiction and crime. prosecutors have told me in some counties in ohio more than 80% of the crime is now directly related to the opioid addiction. 95% of the people in jail in prison are going to be released some day and about half end up
going back in three years. this revolving door has to do with this drug issue. and what happens when people go back and forth in the prison system is families are tomorrow morning apart, crime is increased in our neighborhood, many of these crimes committed to pay for an addiction. so breaking that cycle is going to help ex-offenders stay out of prison and to help them be able to live out their god-given purpose. cara also expands disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our kids. it the would strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to allow states to monitor what goes on in their own state but also the state next to them. if somebody is being being monitored for using prescription in one state but can simply cross the state line, that doesn't solve the problem. this provides a monitoring program that's interoperable between the states. they're part of a comprehensive afroach an -- approach to an epidemic.
we need more funding but also need some of these changes in law to be able to spend the money more effectively. mr. president, i know these statistics about drug abuse are heartbreaking and thepg they can being very discourage but there are also many stories of hope we should not forget and those stories are inspiring. it is about those who are struggling and find a way to get their lives back together. ashley brenner near youngstown started using drugs when she was 13. by 16 she had gone to cocaine. by 18 she was addicted to painkillers. when she was 24, she switched to heroin when the pain pills became too expensive and hard to get. she said, "when i was in addiction, i was living in hell. it just takes over your mind. everything i did was using was to feed my addiction. the drugs became everything." then she decided to get help. she was ready. she didn't want to live like that anymore. she checked into trumbull memorial
hospital. it took her 18 months to recover. "i had to relearn how to walk, talk, everything without dope. it was like being born again." 4 years later she is clean. she has full custody of her sons. she is working for the trumbull county children's services. she helping others fighting adifntle she is beating this. treatment can work. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. portman: i hope we can send 24 t this to the white house as soon as possible to allow those americans to live out their god-given purpose. i yield back my time. mr. cardin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: shortly we will be voting on laura whholgate to the iaea. i urge my colleagues to vote for her confirmation.
she came through the senate foreign reels committee and strongly recommended by that committee. ms. holgate's extensive experience makes her qualified to serve in this position. she served in the senior positions in the department of energy and the department of defense for 14 years, building and leading global cocoa listings to prevent states and terrorists from acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction. she currently serves as the senior director for weapons of mass deficit reduction and threat reduction on the national security council. having this post filled with a highly qualified nominee has never been more critical. the position in the united states representative to multiple u.n. agencies s. as well as the iaea and includes the office on drugs and crime, the united nations high commissioner for refugees, and the international monetary -- money laundering network among many others. this position covers a range of other issues that the iaea including north korea, the
international atomic energy agency in the coming years will be responsible for monitoring and verifying the nuclear agreement with iran, confronting north korea's continued violations of its obligations and dealing dealing with a variety of other threats. we need laura holgate in this position to represent u.s. interests and i urge my colleagues to support her nomination. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the question occurs on the nomination of laura holgate to be representative to the vienna office of the united nations. all in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. the question occurs on the nomination of laura holgate to be representative to the international atomic energy