use our lawmakers today for your glory, inspiring them to cultivate tough minds and tender hearts. lord, help them to remember that nothing is impossible to those who place their trust in you. may the power of faith create in them both the desire and the ability to do your will. as our senators humble themselves in prayer, prepare their hearts and minds to serve your purpose on earth. lord, give your consolation to
those experiencing sorrow and your love to us all. we pray in your merciful name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nati under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., november 30, 2016. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable tom cotton, a senator from the state of arkansas,
to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g. hatch, president pro tempore. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: the senate has a number of issues to wrap up, including the conference reports on the water resources development act, the energy policy modernization act, and of course the national defense authorization act as well. the action taken by the senate yesterday will allow us to have a final vote on a critical iran sanctions extension act sometime this week. later today, the house is set to vote on the 21st century cures bill, an important medical research and innovation bill that contains a number of bipartisan priorities. once the work is complete, the senate will consider this measure and send it to the president's desk. talks on the continuing resolution are ongoing and i'll have more to say about that in the coming days.
mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: i served in congress now for 34 years. throughout that time, i've tried to be pleasant and helpful to my colleagues. i feel very fortunate to have become personally close and friends with members of congress from all over this great country. basher boxer and i were members of the -- barbra boxer and "were members of the house class of 1982. such fond memories i have of that class. tom carper, dick durbin, and scores of others. we had a huge class. at first glance, barbara boxer and harry reid had very little in common. she's from california, heavily populated liberal state. i was from nevada. a much smaller state in area and
in population. i was the only democrat in my state's delegation, congressional delegation. but i was stunned when i was asked to join the huge california congressional delegation. being from nevada, being part of that largest congressional delegation in america was extremely helpful to me. the californians were good to me in so many different ways, just allowing me to be a part of their meetings every wednesday morning. i was flattered when i was asked to be secretary of treasurery of that large delegation. i have -- i have so many memories of work we did together in california, nevada. howard berman who was the leader of that freshman class from california. he was the head of the steering
committee. don edwards was chairman of the delegation, those meetings we had every morning. the burton brothers and just so many others that were -- went out of their way to help me. but i came to know quickly that barbara boxer was no ordinary public servant. she was relentless. i mean relentless. and dedicated and very principled. she was raised by hard-working first generation immigrants in brooklyn, new york. she attended brooklyn college, graduated with a degree in economics. over the decades we've gotten to know each other's families very well. we talked about each other's children, exchanged family experiences many, many times. but my favorite story of barbara boxer's family is of a time when she was a girl coming home from
elementary school, and her mom, a window that was up high yelling down to her little daughter coming home from school, excitedly yelling out the window of their upstairs apartment, daddy passed the bar. daddy passed the bar. barbara knew that they are dad didn't go to bars but she quickly learned from her excited mother that she was talking about her dad having passed the very, very difficult new york bar examination. i have always remembered that story. in 1965 barbara and stiew moved -- stu moved to northern california, far away from new york. they set down their roots and raised their two children, doug and nicole. stu became a prominent lawyer, barbara a stockbroker. it was in california where barbara began to make her mark very quickly as a trailblazer.
in 1976 after having been in california not very long and that very big county, part of the metropolitan area of san francisco, she became a member of the california board of supervisors. she was elected to that post and she quickly became the board's first woman president. shortly thereafter in 1982, barbara ran successfully for congress. her campaign slogan tells you all you need to know about her because that year her slogan was "barbara boxer gives a damn." that was on all her campaign literature, her posters, everything. so i guess with a slogan like that, it shouldn't be any surprise that she won handedly. in 1992 she was elected to the united states senate. she stood no chance to win. everybody told her that. all the editorials, not only the
california papers but all over the country. barbara boxer was in with the big time and things were going to change for this upstart member of the house of representatives. she tried to move too quickly. she should have stayed in the house. but she won by a really nice margin. surprised everybody except her. in 1992 she was elected to the united states senate, a year that was popularly referred to as the year of the woman and rightfully so. she was part of the memorable class that came here in 1982. dianne feinstein, patty murray, carol moseley-braun, and of course the underdog barbara boxer. in the senate barbara and i have worked together on matters of importance to nevada, california, and our nation. i've watched barbara boxer lead on so many important issues.
i'm only going to name a handful of them. she worked to designate more than a million acres in california as a wilderness, keeping that land in a pristine condition for our children, our grandchildren, and generations to come. and when i say "our," because wilderness in california or in nevada doesn't belong to california or nevada. it belongs to the people of this country. she fought for the pinnacles national monument to become america's 59th national park and it became such. she helped lead the fight for the national wildlife refuge and of course along the california shore line. she has spoken about that so many times. and it succeeded. we have no oil spills on the coast of california because of a number of reasons but no one more responsible for that
nondegradation than barbara boxer. she advocated to eliminate military government waste as a member of the house of representatives and the senate, but it was her first breakthrough where she exposed the outrageous exorbitant costs of purchases made by the military. she did that while she was in the house. why was she taken on the establishment? well, that's who she is. that's who she was. she discovered that our military paid defense contractors unbelievable amounts of money for a hammer, a claw hammer, $430. for a toilet seat, $640. for a coffee maker, $7,622. that's quite a coffee maker. and for an aluminum ladder, that must have been one that would get you over the fence that trump is going to build between mexico and the united states because it cost $74,165.
it was legendary what she has done with the military. ever since she did that, the military was no longer untouchable. barbara boxer proved that. she put an end to all the wasteful spending. yes, she did, barbara boxer. not all of it. some things slipped through the cracks but she sure headed everyone in the right direction. and maybe of a lesser importance but something we all watched very carefully in the house, it didn't happen overnight but she caused the all male house gym to admit female members of congress. and she went up against some big people to do that. the very well known chairman of
the ways and means committee and others but she won. barbara and i have worked together to pocket lake tahoe. we share share that, alpine glal lake. only one other lake like it in the world. that's in siberia. but we feel good about what we've been able to do, promote the richness of this beautiful national treasure lake tahoe. she's also promoted clean energy. i can remember her going after a substance that was in gasoline you put in a car but it ruined the environment. she came out strong against that. again, she prevailed. we no longer do that. she's done a lot to protect our public lands. i only mention just a little bit of what she's done. so i can say without hesitation, without any hesitation that barbara boxer has been one of the best and most effective environmental leaders in the history of that country and --
of this country and that says a lot. she has made california and this entire country a cleaner, health year place. especially as chair and ranking member on the committee of public works. i love that committee. it was a committee i was placed on when i first came to the senate. i was fortunate enough to be chairman of that committee twice. she has done so much in her advocacy. a lot of the things she was not able to declare a legislative victory but she certainly declared a victory in the minds of the american people because she took on the big guys without any fear. barbara is also a champion of women. she's been a ground backer on issues like sexual harassment and women's rights in the wor workplace. access to women's health, clinic violence, she took that o. barbara boxer has worked to protect women's access to health care and make sure that planned
parenthood continues to keep millions of women who depend on their services every year. the fact that barbara will not be here, because as you know a new republican majority has threatened to do away with planned parenthood. i don't know what they expect to do with the two million women who go there every year for help, but that's what they said they're going to do. i -- i can remember oh so clearly because it was such a difficult time working on the affordable care act in my office just a short distance from here. barbara was there a better part of two days. we were facing incredibly contentious issues relating to women's health, and this required close attention. but it worked out. we were able to accomplish this in spite of people who said we couldn't do that. barbara has always been ideological, pure, but with a
sound mix of pragmatism. this is on obamacare and other issues relating to women. and i said -- told her this personally, i have said it publicly, but i want to say it again. barbara has worked -- i've enjoyed working with her, but she has helped and mentored me and led me to understand issues important to the women of america like no one else, and i appreciate it very much. i can remember writing her a letter in my longhand, my cursive, and in that letter, i told her a number of things, but here's something i said, and it's a direct quote. barbara, i have three brothers. i have never had a sister. you're the sister i've never had. that was what i said. to this day, we still refer to each other as brother and sister. stu and barbara are an exemplary team. they're partners in every sense
of the word partner. landa and i have been guests in their southern california home. we have been together many times in nevada. barbara and i have for decades worked together politically, campaigning in different parts of the country, different parts of california and different parts of nevada. we have raised money together for the cause of democrats, we have raised money for each other, and it's always been a pleasure to work with her on this and other issues. barbara and i came to washington together in 1982, 34 years ago. barbara and i will be leaving washington together after 34 memorable years together. so congratulations, senator barbara boxer, on your historic career as a senator for 40 million californians and
300 million citizens of the united states. barbara, remember, you are and always will be my sister. god speed, barbara. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: senator reid, my leader, i can't tell you how humble i feel to hear you talk about my career, to put it in many ways a historic place. i'm going to have a lot to say about your career, what you have meant to me. today i won't get into it. but you are a man, you don't just throw words around. and i know how humble you are, because every time i try to praise you, even in a situation with just a few people around, you look down like you are doing
now, and it makes you uncomfortable. i don't want to make you uncomfortable, so hear is what i am going to say today. i am going to make you uncomfortable in the near future when i talk about your career and what it's meant to me, but today, hearing you talk about me the way you just did, weaving our friendship and our work together and our family friendship has meant a lot to me. obviously, i'm going to miss you, but i will say this -- as we enter into uncharted territories in terms of politics, i know you and i, we're not going to lose our voice, and we will have a platform. we are just not leaving because we're tired of the fight. we're not leaving because we have nothing more to say. we're leaving because we think it's time for the next generation, and i look forward
to -- to working with you in the future, and i mean that sincerely, just fighting for the things we care about, whether it is lake tahoe or it is clean air, whether it is fighting against the ravages of climate change, whether it is fighting for the right of the american people, from children to seniors, to have affordable care act. we're not going into the wilderness that i was able to protect more than a million acres. i'm so proud that you mentioned that. today you have humbled me with your words. i will always be your sister. thank you very much. i yield the floor.
mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, there are lots of disagreements in this chamber between the house and the senate, but i think there's one thing we fundamentally agree on. our system of immigration in this country is broken. now, there are many different ways to approach it in changing it, improving it, fixing it, but
most of us concede something's wrong here. if we have 11, 12 million people living in the united states who are not documented, not legal by our definition, and that's been going on for years, sometimes decades, it raises a serious question about whether our immigration system works, whether it's responsive and whether it serves the best interests of the united states. many of the people who are here once came to the united states on visitors' ceases that they were supposed -- visas that they were supposed to ultimately come to an end and leave, but they stayed, they got married. they had children here in the united states who became citizens. those who think that families represent the large share of undocumented people don't take a look at the families individually. they should, because you may find in one household that of the mother and father and two or three children, only one person
is undocumented, and it might be the mother. the one thing we also came to discover was there were many people who were here undocumented, technically illegal under our system, who were in that condition through no fault of their own. who could that be? well, children. children who were brought here as infants, toddlers, small kids, brought in with their families. they had no voice in the decision to come to america, but the family did, and they grew up here. some of them came at a very early age. they didn't speak the language of their original country. they never visited that country. they thought from the start that they were americans. they went to school, went to class, put their hands over their hearts and pledged allegiance to the only flag they ever knew, sang the only national anthem they really knew, and believed they were americans. at some point in their lives, maybe someone in the household
said let me tell you the stark truth here. you are not legal by this nation's standards. it was because of that group that i introduced a bill 15 years ago called the dream act, and the dream act really defined this category of people who are undocumented, brought here as children, grew up in america, graduated from our schools, didn't create any criminal record in their lifetime, and they were hoping, praying they would get a chance to stay in a legal status as citizens. that's what the dream act was all about. just for these that come to be known as dreamers who came here as children and infants to be given that chance. well, it was a few years ago that i wrote a letter to president obama, signed by senator lugar of indiana, a republican, who shared my feelings and asked the president if he could do something to protect these young people from being deported. we had a number of senators join
me in a subsequent letter, and the president acted, creating something called daca, deferred action for childhood arrivals program. what it boiled down to is if these undocumented young people who came here as children would step forward, identify themselves to our government, pay out about $500 in a filing fee, go through a criminal background check, we would give them temporary two-year, temporary protection from being deported and give them temporary right to work in this country. well, the daca program turned out to be a big success. 740,000 young people were eligible, signed up and cleared to be approved for this daca status. and then came a change in administrations, which will happen in just a few weeks, and questions started being raised what's going to happen to these young people, the ones who
complied with the law as they were told it existed, who did a risky thing in identifying themselves to a government, and paid their fee and went through the background check and now are in the united states. i've met so many of them, thousands of them across this country, the dreamers, those who are daca eligible, those who are daca approved. amazing stories. at loyola school of medicine, the school of medicine in chicago, they decided to open up competition in their medical school to allow these daca eligibles to apply. not to give them a special number of billets or positions in the school, but to say you can apply with everyone else. it turned out for many of these young people from across the united states who dreamed of being a doctor one day, this was the answer to a prayer, and they were ready for it. they competed and they won, and i believe there are about 25, maybe more, who are currently medical students at loyola in
chicago, aspiring to be doctors. now, their life is complicated. they can't borrow gun from the government to go to school. they're not eligible for any federal assistance because they are technically undocumented. so we create add program through our state where they would be able to borrow the money to go to school on one condition. for every year of schooling that is provided by these loans, they have to pledge one year as doctors to serve in underserved areas of our state, whether it is in the inner city or the rural areas. so here at the moment 25 aspiring dreamers in the loyola school of medicine who will be giving us years of service in underserved communities in our state. is that good for you will i will? is it good -- is that good for illinois? is it good for america? you bet it is. i'm from downstate illinois. there are many towns in our state that would beg for these doctors to come in, so they
could keep a local hospital open, so they could have good medical talent when they need t so these dreamers, these dreamers who are now protected by daca, are questioning what their future will be with a new president. there were some powerful words spoken during the course of this campaign about immigration. but i'm heartened by the fact that president-elect trump after the election said that he wanted to try to bind the wounds of this country. and when asked specifically about immigrants, after some of the harsh things he said in the campaign, he said many of these immigrants are terrific people. well, let me say to the president-elect, if you're looking for terrific people when it comes to immigrants, take a look at these daca young people, take a look at these dreamers. they are amazing. i've come to the floor, i think, 100 times -- maybe more -- to tell their stories because it's one thing, as i've just done, to describe them in general. it's another thing to get to meet them. some of these young people have the courage to step up and say,
you can tell me story. i'll send you you a photo. the one today is value e value - valentina gonzalez. she was 6 years old when her parents brought her to the states. she learned english quickly and said --i quote -- "after that i became my parents' right hand. anything and everything that involved speaking to the outside world meant i was in the front translating and representing my parents. it was a lot of responsibility" for a young, undocumented child. in addition to this responsibility, valentina turned out to be gite quite a good student. she received the president's education award not once but twice, once from president bush and then again from president obama. in high school valentina was an
honor student and advanced placement scholar, a leader in student government, a member of an academic honors program and peer leaders where she mentored younger students. somehow she also found time to be the president of the school's environmental group and managed the varsity basketball team. she was quite a student. but georgia state law bans undocumented students from attending that state's top public universities. as a result, she applied and was accepted at darth mudge college -- dartmouth college in new hampshire. she is now a sophomore at dartmouth where she is a premed student majoring in neuroepidemiology. her dream is to become a doctor and to help people to give to their community. to help pay for her tuition, she works as a projectionist at a local theater. keep in mind, as an undocumented
student, she is ineligible for any government federal assistance. she still finds time to volunteer as a mentor for kids in the local community schools. and in her letter to me she said about daca, president obama's program, "i'm beyond grateful because by receiving daca, the u.s. has given me an opportunity to give back to this country that has given me so much. this is my country. i have worked hard to prove myself worthy in the eyes of my american counterparts, and knowing that i'm in a weird limbo in regards to my legal status, doesn't make my dream any easier. my name is registered with the government, so i might be deported if they decide to end daca." let me say clearly to valentina and the other dreamers like her, i am going to go everything in my power as a u.s. senator to ensure that daca continues and to protect you from deportation.
many of you came forward against the best advice of your parents. you had confidence that if you followed the law as it was described to you, if you were open and honest, america would treat you fairly. and that's all i'm asking. for the 740,000 currently protected by daca, for the others who are eligible for it, who will go through a background check and pay their fee, what we're asking for is fairness. these young people came here as kids. they had no voice in the decision to come to america. now they want us to be their voice in terms of their future in america. would america be better if valentina was deported back to uruguay? a country where she hasn't lived since she was six years old. will it be stronger if we lose valentina as a doctor serving a critical part of america? the answer is clear. now is the time for america, this nation of immigrants, to
come together and heal the wounds that divided us during the election. i hope that president-elect trump will understand and will continue the daca program and provide some fairness, some opportunity for these amazing young people. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. enzi: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, i want to start off by reminding everybody of an old but very short hans christian andersen story about an emperor who was convinced by two very clever weavers that they could make clothes that would be invisible to anybody that was unfit for a position or stupid or incompetent and, as a result, everybody thought they could see the clothes until one little boy
said, "the emperor doesn't have any clothes." and then everybody gasped and then realized that was the case. well, we've kind of been weaving a budget through the years that has kind of been like the emperor's clothes. we want everybody to be able to see them and think that we are fit and competent and not stupid. well, as this year quickly draws to a close, we're once again approaching a federal spending deadline that will likely be postponed with another temporary spending bill. in the last 40 years congress has enacted 175 of these continuing resolutions to avoid doing its job. this will be the 176th continuing resolution since the modern budget process was established. the november election results showed that the american people are eager for change. with a new president taking the oath of office on january 20,
january has an opportunity -- congress has an opportunity and a responsibility to get back to work. one of our top priorities must be fixing america's broken budget process, to provide our nation with a responsible fiscal blueprint and help guide our spending decisions now and into the future. let me tell you about america's coming fiscal crisis. america is on a course for a fiscal disaster. sadly, that's not going to surprise many people. we all know the statistics. $20 trillion in debt, on track to grow to $29 trillion in ten years. unchecked entitlement spending that consumes 70% of budget. and the eminent return of trillion-dollar deficits. everyone knows we're in deep trouble, but what's surprising is that congress is not considering ways to fix it. the country's finances are in a
perilous positions, and the federal government has refused to act. we pretend to see the clothes. that's because when it comes to spending money, congress is kind of like a bing eater. we don't want -- binge eater. we don't want to start our diet until after the next dessert. and we never seem to end our desire for new desserts. that will crush future generations' prosperity. the first step to spending within our means is to establish healthy habits. we should stock the fridge with fruits and veg tacialtion not cakes and cookies. america's budget process makes it easy for congress to spend and spend without ever checking its fiscal waistline. and congress never has to consider the fiscally healthy opposes that would put our options that would appellate court putting on 00 healthy path.
america's looming fiscal crisis actually has its roots in the way america's budget and spendings process is laid out. this money funds activities that most people would associate with good government, such as national defense, education, and infrastructure spending. this is the portion of the budget that attracts the most congressional scrutiny. we have limits in place that make it difficult to spend more than what's allotted, and those limits with subject to fierce debate and negotiations every two years or so. we also must pass spending bills to fund these government activities every year. forcing a public debate about where taxpayers' dollars should be spent. this portion of the budget is not growing rapidly and is not the cause of our unsustainable fiscal course. the real culprit is the other 70% of the federal budget. this portion is spent
automatically with regular congressional action -- without regular congressional action or review. let me say that again. the real culprit is the other 70% of the federal budget. this portion is spent automatically without regular congressional action or review. in just 15 years it will consume all government revenues, as debt, interest payments, and entitlements continue to grow rapidly. there are no effective limits to the amount that can be spent on that side of the budget, at least until this spending drives america into bankruptcy. this is how the budget process makes it easy to spend money. there is regular review and strict limits on the small and shrinking portion of the budget, the 30%. but the much larger automatic spending programs are not
regularly reviewed and can grow almost without limit. some automatic spending programs have a dedicated but insufficient source of revenue. for example, social security, medicare and unemployment benefits are funded in part -- in part -- by payroll taxes and insurance premiums. this makes sense. if congress is not going to regularly review a program, there should at least be a source of funding to ensure the program is sustainable. however, the automatic programs have received dedicated revenues are grossly underfunded and many others do not receive any dedicated revenues. that means our government is making promises to pay for these programs, even though they don't have any idea where the money will come from. let me repeat that. the automatic programs that
receive dedicated revenues are grossly underfunded and many others don't even receive any dedicated revenues. that means our government is making promises to pay for these programs, even though they don't have any idea where the money will come from. this chart gives you a little bit of an idea. the chart shows the dedicated revenues for some of the largest automatic spending programs. for example, social security and medicare are each funded, in part, with a dedicated payroll tax. however, payroll taxes are less than benefit payments. you see that social security spending gap over the next ten years is $2.3 trillion or $2, $2,321,000,000,000. medicare's receipts cover only
54% of funding, leaving a funding gap of $4.4 billion, $4,365,000,000,000. these annual cash flow deficits grow worse every year of the budget window, and they'll continue to deteriorate at a faster rate outside the budget window as millions of baby boomers continue to retire. now, i like to phrase this a little bit differently. this is on social security the amount of spending versus the amount of revenue, $12,000 billion in spending but only $10,000 billion in revenue, which leaves the program deficit of $2,321,000,000,000. it's not being funded by social security now. well, instead of revenue percent of spending, i like to shea that we overspent by 18%.
on medicare, $9,590 billion. that's a lot of money. in revenue -- in spending, but the revenue is only $5,225 billion. that's a deficit of $4,365 billion. so, as revenue as a percent of spending is 54%. but it's 46% overspent. 46% ove. some people will say that we shouldn't worry about these programs because we collected money from previous generations that will cover the cost of these programs. they say we have trust funds to
pay for these programs, but you can't trust these government trust funds. there is no way that the federal government puts away cash to be used later. instead they take these deficits, these excesses as they came in in past years when we had less baby boomers. that cash was spent in exchange for bonds being put in the drawer. the boppedzs are with the full faith -- bonds are with the full faith and trust of the government, but it's not real money. in order to spend that, money has to be put in the drawer. yes, there was a surplus in social security, but it was spent. we'll continue to manufacture money to make those payments, but the government has no way to invest money. as an accountant, i can tell you
the federal budget operates on a cash basis, and previous congresses spent that cash as soon as it came in, all the cash. there's no real money stocked away to cover these costs. so when it comes time to pay for these programs, the only money the treasury department can rely on are these dedicated revenues. as the chart shows, they're not sufficient to cover spending. so the treasury department has to take extra money from taxpayers to borrow it in the public debt markets. overall the nonpartisan congressional budget office estimates that the government will spend over $35 trillion on automatic spending programs over the next ten years, but this chart shows these programs will only collect $15.5 trillion o.
$15, 538 billion, but the spending will be $35,333 billion. so as a percent of spending, that's 44%. well, actually that's overspending of 56%. we aren't even taking in half of what we promised. so guess what happens next? the treasury department will ask taxpayers and public debt markets for an additional $20 trillion to pay for these programs. that's why america is facing a trillion dollar deficits, overspending, deficit is another word for overspending. doesn't sound quite as bad as overspending but that's why we're facing trillion dollar overspending amounts in each year. and that's why america's debt is $20 trillion on its way to $29
trillion. it's overspending. rising interest rates. let me talk about that. to make matters worse, the historically low interest rates that america pays on its debt are poised to rise. according to the latest signals from the federal reserve. that's why we have to do something and we have to do something now. incidentally, interest is a mandatory expense. there's no way to avoid it. and it doesn't have any source of revenue other than the general fund. now, we pay almost 2% interest on our $14 trillion and publicly held debt, $14,000 billion. we pay 2% on that that's roughly $220 billion a year excluding the share paid to federal revenues which goes back to the federal budget. but at 2% interest rate, it's not the norm for our government. when interest rates rise as
they're expected to do in the next few years, the $220 billion could more than triple. that's $700 billion, maybe $800 billion a year spent on only the interest on our nation's debt. that's more than we spend on national defense. that's interest as a mandatory expense with no source of revenue. so what's the bad news and the good news? so this is the bad news, but there is good news, too. both the house budget committee under the leadership of chairman tom price and the senate budget committee have been working on solutions that would improve the way congress considers budget legislation. over the last year, the senate budget committee has held a series of public hearings with expert witnesses. we've consulted with budget practitioners from both sides of the aisle, and we've sought advice from its former chairman.
members considered all the ideas presented, even entertaining proposals to abolish the budget committee. if it could be replaced with a better governance structure. the year-long effort demonstrated what budget reform should look like. i intend to pursue these reforms at every opportunity and enact as many possible in the coming months. at a minimum, we need to fix budget procedures in the senate so that the congressional budget is easier to pass and harder to ignore and easier to understand. the budget resolution is the only regular tool that we have that forces congress to examine all spending and revenues, including automatic spending over a ten-year period. unfortunately the budget resolution has evolved into a purely political exercise and that's often ignored. the last passed budget was good for about three months before
waivers overrode the budget. congress cannot continue to lurch from crisis to crisis without meaningful, long-term budget plans. my reforms would fix congressional budgeting by reducing the political impediments to passing a budget resolution. budget proceedings would be more orderly and transparent with less political gotcha amendments that define a budget reliewtion in the senate. my reforms would also make the budget meaningful by requiring a higher vote threshold for legislation that spends billions of taxpayers' dollars without offsetting it and offsetting in a real way. we also need to revise the concepts and rules that determine how we bucket and estimate the -- budget and estimate the cost of legislation. these outdated rules haven't been comprehensively reviewed and updated since 1967 and often lead to confusing or inaccurate
estimates. a new commission of experts should update our federal budget concepts for the 21st century. we should also create new rules that encourage congress to consider the annual appropriations measures on time under regular order. the current process has only been completed four times in the last 40 years. the last time was 1998. that's when there was a lot of social security extra money to spend. this is a disgrace. congress should do its job on time and in an orderly fashion. it should not be negotiating a year's worth of spending in the weeks before the holidays like a college student cramming for mid terms or maybe stuffing on spending like everybody is a budget thanksgiving. one of my proposals borrows an idea from the wyoming state legislature. they said a certain number -- set a certain number of days
every year to consider only budget legislation. if a member wants to consider a nonbudget bill which perhaps would be an emergency, they have to convince two-thirds of their colleagues to agree to take it up without any debate. otherwise, you stick to the spending. i also will encourage enactment of senator portman's bill to end government shutdowns and legislation to move the annual spending process to a b biennial cycle so it does not have to complete all 12 bills each year and each agency would have two years of planning they would be able to count on. we need a fiscal course correction. so addressing america's long-term debt crisis is a daunting challenge that cannot be left to future generations as it has been in the past. the annual budget process is not designed to force through the serious reforms needed to put america's budget back on a sustainable trajectory. nor should an annual majority
driven process be empowered to do so. that's why former senators conrad and judd gregg, the former democratic and bucket committee chairs have advocated for a bipartisan task force operating outside the annual budget process to solve the country's long-term fiscal crisis. a brax style commission similar to introduced by senator coats should be created to set a long-term fiscal target and recommend policy options to achieve that target. and congress must take up and consider those recommendations. this institution cannot continue to willfully ignore these serious threats to our country's future prosperity. this is the major issue of our time and substantial solutions should be considered on the floor of the house and senate. i know it's only fun to invent and spend on new programs, but congress has to be the adult in the room.
they have to recognize whether they're emperor has clothes or not. they can't pretend to see. these bipartisan reforms wouldn't solve all our budget problems, but they are a promising first step towards unsticking the budget gridlock that's gripped washington in recent years. more importantly they would create healthy fiscal habits that would force congress to recognize and begin to address the daunting fiscal challenges this country faces. this crisis isn't going to go away. only the members of congress can fix it. the american people have spoken and we owe it to them to put this country on a better path. these reforms are a necessary first step and congress must enact them as soon as possible. i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will northbound a period of morning business -- be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein up to ten minutes each. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, while he's still in the chamber, let me express my gratitude to the chairman of the budget committee, senator enzi, for his leadership on these very difficult but very important
issues. one of the things i -- i'm most concerned about is that there does no longer seem to be bipartisan consensus for how to deal with our spending problems. and we look at annual budget deficits and we look at the increase in the debt, and we know we have no current means to pay that back and while the federal reserve has basically made money free, in other words interest rates sore low now, we don't have to -- are so low now, we don't have to pay our debt holders as much money now as we will in the future. we all know that this is a ticking time bomb with only about 30% of our federal spending being discretionary or appropriated funds and 70% roughly being on autopilot. and as more and more -- as
interest rates go up more and more, that's going to crowd out more of that 30% that we need to spend on our nation's priorities, like national security. so this is a very, very serious issue, and i'm grateful to the senator from wyoming, the chairman of the budget committee, for his leadership on that. and i look forward to working with him as we work together to try to come up with meaningful solutions. mr. president, we are winding down the final days of the 114th congress, and some of the work that we've been engaged in is coming to fruition. i spoke to the chairman of the environment public works committee who told me he thought the environment and public works, the water resources development bill was coming together and likely will be voted on in the house tomorrow. senator mccain and chairman thornberry in the house, the armed services committee i believe are -- have a national
defense authorization bill that will be voted on friday in the house and then be coming over here to the senate. and we know that we have to by the december 9 deadline pass an appropriation bill which will keep the lights on for the federal government for an undetermined at this point period of time, probably sometime into the next spring when we'll have a new president and a new administration. this afternoon in the house they're going to be voting on another important piece of legislation that i wanted to talk about briefly called the twenty first century cures. this has been a product of a lot of methodical and very deliberate hard work on both sides of the aisle in both chambers, and it will make a big difference in the lives of americans because it will help make our country healthier and stronger. as its name suggests, it helps
develop medical treatments and cures for some of the most tragic health problems facing families today. recently i was at the 75th anniversary celebration of m.d. anderson hospital in houston, texas, and of course it's the premier cancer facility in the country. the hospital some time ago started their own moon shot program and is doing all that it can do to study and research various forms of cancer with the goal to eliminate cancer as a public health threat. of course we know that vice president biden, who is part of that 75th celebration in houston at m.d. anderson, and this administration has their own moonshot to help eliminate cancer, and that will also be part of this 21st century cures bill. but the whole idea of a moonshot, even to the current generation, reminds us at one
time when we thought putting a man on the moon was impossible, outside the realm of possibility. but because of the vision and because of a commitment and a desire to push the bound of our capabilities, they persevered, and we found a way. m.d. anderson's moonshot program serves as another example of american ingenuity, ambition and dogged determination to make the lives of our families and the future generations better than our own. fortunately, as i said, this cures bill the house will be voting on today, which we will vote on next week, will provide funding for cancer and alzheimer's research, among other terrible diseases. so that the very best -- the best medical community in the world can help make great strides in fighting them. this legislation will also fund the battle against opioid abuse, prescription drug abuse, something we've discussed a lot here on the floor during the last year
because of the devastation that it's brought about in many parts of the country. and of course we know that when the opioids aren't available, cheap heroin imported into the united states from south of our border is part of that scourge as well. overdoses and the abuse of opioid drugs are tearing families apart, and this bill will provide additional grant funding to states to combat it and to help people who are already in the grips of this terrible addiction to find a way to freedom. i'm particularly glad that this legislation includes bipartisan mental health reforms ?oan as as -- known as the mental health and safe communities act. i want to express my gratitude on a bipartisan basis for working with us to make sure we include mental health reform as
a part of the 21st century cures legislation. we all know that mental health problems are something that american families have to deal with. i dare say there's probably not a family in america that doesn't have to deal with this in some way or another, either at work, people you go to church with, people you live next door, some way or another mental health problems are rampant. and a lot of that has to do with well-intended but unintended consequences of deinstitution deinstitutionalation of -- deinstitutionalize patients in e 1990's. we contemplated there would be some sort of safety net after they went back to their communities where they would get treatment and get the care they need. unfortunately, what's happened and what my legislation is
designed to address is our jails have become the de facto default mental health treatment facilities in this country. i recently was a, at a meeting of a large county sheriffs association here in washington,d.c., and a friend of mine, the current sheriff of bear county texas, sheriff parlittle, said how would you like to meet the largest health care provider in america? i said, well, sure. and she walked across the floor and introduced me to the sheriff of los angeles county, who runs the los angeles county jail. so you get my point. we are warehousing people in jails and other places when -- and not giving them the treatment they need in order to get their basic underlying problem taken care of. and of course people with mental illness, untreated mental illness frequently engage in petty crimes, trespassing and
other things which end them up in jail. but if they don't get treated, they're going to keep in that turnstile, keep coming back. and of course we all know that the problem of homelessness in our streets. you just walk down the street here in washington, d.c. or any city in the country -- austin, texas -- and you see people with obvious symptoms of mental illness that are not being treated. and so what this legislation does is provides a pathway to treatment primarily by using preexisting appropriations to make grants to our states and local communities so they can deal with these using the very best practices in the country. for example, the federal government already spends about $2 billion a year on grants to state and local law enforcement. so doesn't it make sense to prioritize dealing with this,
these mental health problems, and particularly with the best practices in places like san antonio, texas, where the mental health community and law enforcement and other leaders have come together to try to come up with a program to divert people with mental illness to treatment and to provide additional training to law enforcement to deescalate some of the conflicts that occur, for example, when the police show up and confront somebody with obvious mental illness. if the police don't get the kind of training that they need, then that could end up in a tragedy either for the person being arrested or for the police officer. it's really important that we deal with this in a sensible way, and this legislation helps to do that. again, using some of that $2 billion in grant funding we give to state and local law enforcement, but prioritizing and authorizing some of the very best practices occurring in communities around the country so that more people can benefit from these programs.
this also, mr. president, provides families additional tools. for example, if you have a family member that's suffering from severe mental illness and let's say they're an adult, there's not a whole lot you can do about it if they refuse to seek treatment or to comply with their doctor's orders. there is a means, a very difficult means for temporary institutionalization. for example, you've got to get a doctor's order and then go to court and get somebody basically put in a state hospital or an institution. but they're not there forever. they may be there for 30 days or so until their symptoms abate. because they're complying with their doctor's orders and taking their medication. the great news in mental health treatment is there's a lot of really miraculous treatments that if the person afflicted
with mental illness will comply with their doctor's orders and take their medication, they can lead relatively normal and productive lives. but the great problem is that so often people refuse to take their medication. they start feeling better and they quit and they become sicker and sicker until they become a danger both to themselves and to the community. one of the things this legislation does is provides an additional procedure called assisted outpatient treatment which gives local courts, civil courts the authority to consider a petition whereby in essence a family member could come in and say my son, my daughter, my husband, my relative is having serious problems with their mental illness, and they're noncompliant with their treatment. so, judge, would you please enter an order which essentially is like probation, saying that periodically you have to come back and report to the court on your compliance with the order. but part of that is to follow
your doctor's orders and take your medication. and it just provides another tool. i'm not saying it's a panacea. but it provides family members another tool when their loved ones become mentally ill and when there are no good options for the family members to assure that they'll get the treatment or remain compliant with their doctor's orders by taking their medication. so i applaud the house for taking up these critical reforms. i know congressman tim murphy has worked on this long and hard in the house. there's a lot of other people who've worked on this mental health reform here in this chamber. senator bill cassidy has been a champion. chris murphy, among others. but really the person that's gotten us this far, i think, along -- well, there's two of them. senator alexander and senator murray, the chairman and ranking member of the help committee. but it's taken a bipartisan, bicameral effort to try to get us to this point, and i'm glad
that we'll be voting on this next week after the house passes it today. so with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, absent senate action, at midnight tonight this senate will make one of the biggest mistakes in surveillance policy in years and years. without a single congressional hearing, without a shred of meaningful public input, without any opportunity for senators to ask their questions in a public forum, one judge with one warrant would be able to authorize the hacking of thousands, possibly millions of
devices, cell phones and tablets. this would come about through the adoption of an obscure rule of criminal procedure called rule 41. now, rule 41 isn't something folks are talking about in coffee shops in alaska and oregon and other parts of the country. but i'm convinced americans are sure going to come to members of congress if one of their hospitals, one of their crucial medical programs is hacked by the government. and it's a fact that one of the highest profile victims of cyber attacks are medical facilities, are our hospitals. now the justice department has said this is no big deal. you basically ought to trust us. we're just going to take care of this. and i'll tell you, generally
changes to the federal rules of procedure are designed for modest, almost housekeeping kinds of procedural changes. not major shifts in policies. you know, when you're talking about these kinds of rules, they talk about who might receive a copy of a document in a bankruptcy proceeding. that's what the rules enabling act was for. it wasn't for something that was sweeping, that was unprecedented, that could have calamitous ramifications for americans the way government hacking would. and as i've indicated, this would go forward without a chance for any member of the senate to formally weigh in. now the government says it can go forward with this rule 41 and
conduct these massive hacks, large-scale hacks, without causing any collateral damage whatsoever and ensuring that americans' rights are protected. but oddly enough, again breaking with the way these matters are usually handled, the government won't tell the congress or the american people how it would protect those rights or how it would prevent collateral damage or even how it would carry out these hacks. in effect, the policy is trust us. i think right at the heart of our obligations is to do vigorous oversight. i always thought ronald reagan had a valid point when he said you can trust, but you ought to verify. and that is especially important
where under this policy, innocent americans could be victimized twice. once by the hackers. the second by their government. now, we're going to have the opportunity to do something about it before this goes into effect in just over 12 hours, and i want to emphasize those of us who would like a chance for members of congress to weigh in to be heard, our concern has been bipartisan. senator coons, senator daines, we have worked in a bipartisan fashion on this for months, and this morning we are going to offer three unanimous consent requests to block or delay this particular change in order to make sure that our colleagues have an opportunity to do what i
think is senate 101 -- to have a hearing, to have a review that is bipartisan where senators get to ask questions, to be able to get public input in a meaningful kind of fashion, and i urge every senator to think and think carefully before they prevent this body from performing the vigorous oversight that americans demand of congress. that is right at the heart of what senator coons and senator daines and i are going to be talking about. this rule change would give the government unprecedented authority to hack into americans' personal phones, their computers and their devices, and frankly, i was concerned about this before the election, but we know now that the administration, it's a new administration that will be led by the individual who said he
wanted the power to hack his political opponents the same way russia does. so here's who is going to be affected by these mass hacks. they could be cell phones, desktop computers, traffic lights, a whole host of different areas. during these hacks and searches, there is considerable chance that the hacked device is damaged or broken. that would be obviously a significant matter. don't take my word for it. i would ask unanimous consent at this point, mr. president, to submit for the record an article that i wrote with renorthbound security experts matt blaze and susan landow. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: in the op-ed, it's pointed out that the legislators and the public know next to nothing about how the government conducts the searches and that the government itself is planning to use software that has not been properly vetted by outside security experts. a bungled government hack could damage systems at hospitals or
the producer grid or transportation and other critical infrastructure. the congress has not had a single hearing on this issue, not one. in addition, the rule's enabling act gives congress the opportunity to weigh in, which is exactly what my colleagues hope to be doing now on this important issue. because of these serious damages, i introduced a bill called the stop mass hacking act with a number of my colleagues, including senators daines and paul. this bill would stop these changes from taking effect, and i am here this morning to ask unanimous consent that the bill be taken up and passed. so, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of s. 2952 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration, that the bill be read a third time and passed, and the motions to reconsider be considered made
and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, reserving the right to object, i respect our colleague's right to come to the floor and ask unanimous consent. there are three of them, i understand, that they will be asking for. i will be objecting to all three of them. i will reserve my statement of reasons why following the third. at this point, i object to the unanimous consent request by the senator from washington. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. wyden: mr. president, i want to recognize our colleague from montana, and then i believe after our colleague from montana speaks, my friend from delaware will -- will address the senate. mr. daines: thank you. i want to thank my colleague from oregon, senator wyden, for coming on the floor today to talk about this most important issue.
mr. president, we shop online with credit cards. we order medicine with our electronic health care records. we talk to friends. we share personal information. we skype. we post beliefs. we post photos on social media. we might snapchat fun moments, all the time believing that everything is safe and secure. so it is more important now than ever to ensure that the information that we store on our devices is kept safe, but also that our right to privacy is protected. that's really what we're talking about here today. how can we ensure that our information is both safe and secure? but safe from hacking, but what about safe from government surveillance? certainly, knowledge has made our lives easier. it's also made it easier for criminals to commit crimes and to evade law enforcement. in short, our laws aren't keeping up with 21st century technology advances. but the government solution to
this problem we're talking about today changed rule 41 of the federal rules of procedure represent a major, a major policy shift in the way the government investigates cyber crime. this proposed solution gives the government essentially a blank check to infringe upon our civil liberties. the change greatly expands the hacking power of the federal government, allowing the search of potentially millions of americans' devices with a single warrant. what this means is that the victims of hacks could be hacked again by their very own government. you would think such a drastic policy change that directly impacts our fourth amendment rights would need to come before congress. it would need to have a hearing. it needs to be heard before the american people with full transparency, but in fact we have no hearings, there has been no real debate on this issue. my colleagues and i have introduced bipartisan, bicameral
legislation to stop the rule change and assure to the -- and assure the american people have a voice. the american people deserve transparency, and congress needs time to renew this policy and to review it, to ensure that the privacy rights of americans are protected. the fact that the department of justice is insisting this rule change takes effect on december 1, that's tonight at midnight, frankly should send a shiver down the spine of all americans. my colleagues and i are here today to not only wake americans up with this great expansion of powers by our government, but to urge our colleagues to join this bipartisan effort to stop rule 41 changes without duly considering the impact to our civil liberties. our civil liberties and our fourth amendment can be chipped away little by little until we barely recognize them anymore. we simply can't give unlimited power for unlimited hacking, which puts americans' civil
liberties at risk. again, i want to thank my colleagues from delaware and from oregon for joining me here today, and i'd like to yield to my friend and colleague from delaware, senator coons. mr. coons: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i want to thank my colleagues, senator wyden and senator daines. they have worked tirelessly to address this pressing issue of the pending change to privacy protections contained in a proposed change to the federal rules of criminal procedure. as you have heard, if congress fails to act today, if we fail to thoroughly consider and debate these rule changes, they will go into effect at midnight tonight. they will take effect tomorrow, december 1. and i believe it's essential these rules strike a careful balance, giving law enforcement the tools they need to investigate cyber attacks and cyber crimes and to keep us safe, while also protecting americans' constitutional rights to freedom from unreasonable
searches, our right to privacy. neither the senate nor the house has held a single hearing or markup to evaluate these changes to the federal rules of procedure. the body of government closest to the people has utterly failed to weigh in on an issue that can immediately and directly impact our constituents, our citizens. all the proposed changes are not necessarily bad or good. they are serious, and they present significant privacy concerns that warrant careful consideration and debate. all americans should want criminal investigations to proceed quickly and thoroughly, but as i have said, i'm concerned these changes would remove important judicial safeguards by having one judge, one judge decide on a search that would give our government, the government the ability to search and possibly alter thousands of computers owned by innocent and unknowing american citizens all over our country. members of congress should have an opportunity to consider this information seriously.
we should carefully evaluate the merits of these proposed changes and their ramifications. i think it's our duty to have a frank and open discussion to think about the unintended consequences and to protect our constituents' rights. so two weeks ago, i introduced legislation that would give congress the time to have that conversation, the review the rule act or s. 3475 would delay the changes of rule 41 until july 1 of 2017, next year. and that bill is cosponsored by senators wyden and leahy, baldwin and franken and by republican senators daines and lee and paul. that list of senators from every part of our ideological spectrum is just a reminder that this is not a partisan issue. this is a bipartisan group of senators raising questions and challenges to a proposal by the obama administration's justice department. i think it's important to remind anyone watching or listening that we want to ensure the american people are kept safe from hackers and online criminal activity. we want law enforcement to have the tools to investigate and
address potential threats, but we shouldn't have to sacrifice our rights to privacy and to protection from unreasonable searches and seizures just to achieve that protection. so i encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation and in working together to evaluate these changes to the federal rules of criminal procedure. and so, mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of s. 3475 and that the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. i further ask that the bill be read a third time and passed and that motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i understand the senator from montana will not be offering a unanimous consent request, so if it's all right with our colleagues, let me just explain why i have objected.
i'd yield back to you, the senator from washington. excuse me. the presiding officer: the senator from washington -- the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, i still will be offering the third proposal, so with leave from my colleague, would he like to speak now or would you like to speak after the third one? mr. cornyn: mr. president, i appreciate the courtesy of my friend and colleague from washington, and i will reserve my remarks for after he makes the next u.c. request. mr. wyden: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: when the oregon ducks go to the ncaa title in basketball, i'm going to invite my friend to sit with me, and he'll see oregon in action. mr. president, senator cornyn has now objected to passage of the two bills relating to rule 41, and he is certainly within his rights to do so, so i would
like to offer the theory, not exactly a radical one in my view, that if we can't pass bills with respect to mass surveillance and we can't have hearings, we at least ought to, colleagues, have a vote so that the american people can actually determine if their senators support authorizing unprecedented, sweeping government hacking without even a single hearing. there's a lot more debate in this body over the tax treatment of racehorses than massive expansion of surveillance authority. so in a moment, i'm going to ask unanimous consent that the body moves toward an immediate roll call vote on the stalling mass damaging hacking act which would
delay rule 41 changes until march 31. i don't condone congress kicking cans down the road. this is one example of where with a short delay it would be possible to have hearings, at least one hearing, in both bodies so that the congress could have a chance to debate a very significant change in our hacking policy. the congress has not weighed, considered, amended or acted like anything resembling an elected legislator on this issue. there have been some who have looked into the issue, but still i call it senate 101, you have at least a hearing on a topic with enormous potential consequences for millions of
americans. that hasn't been done. despite a bipartisan bill being introduced in the house and senate days after the changes were approved. lawmakers and the public ought to know more about a novel, complicated and controversial topic, and they would be in a position to have that information if there was a hearing and members on both sides of the aisle could ask important questions. but since the senate has not had a hooshing o -- a hearing on th, lawmakers have still been trying to get answers to important questions. 23 representatives from the house and senate, democrats and republicans, spanning the philosophical spectrum have asked questions that the department of justice has failed to answer, and they barely went through the motions. they spectacularly failed to respond to both concerns of
democrats and republicans in both the senate and the house. i would also ask unanimous consent that the letter that was sent to the d.o.j. signed by myself and 22 bipartisan colleagues from the house and senate be submitted to the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: i would also ask, mr. president, that the response from the department of justice, which i have characterized as extraordinarily unresponsive to what legislators have said be submitted for the record as well. and i would ask unanimous consent that that response be submitted for the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: and colleagues are going to see that substantive, clear questions posed by democrats and republicans in writing were not responded to. so because of the lack of genuine answers from the justice department to this letter by 23 members of congress and the
substantial nature of these unprecedented changes in surveillance policy, i would ask now for unanimous consent for a vote on the smdh act to give congress time to debate these sweeping changes to government's hacking authority. so, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. 3485 introduced earlier today. that at a time to be determined by the majority leader, in consultation with the democratic leader but no later than 4:00 p.m. today, the senate proceed to vote in relation to this bill. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard.
mr. cornyn: mr. president, i know sometimes people when they hear us engage in these debates, they think we don't like each other, we can't work together. they think that, you know, we're so polarized, we're dysfunctional. but actually these senators are my friends. and in addition to being colleagues -- and let me just explain how i think their concerns are misplaced. first of all, we all care about where on the spectrum of privacy to security, how that's dialed in. as the presiding officer knows, as a former attorney general of alaska, we always try to strike the right balance between individual privacy and safety and security and law enforcement, and there is -- sometimes we have differences of opinion as to where exactly on that spectrum that ought to be struck.
but the fundamental problem with the requests that have been made today is that federal rule of criminal procedure 41 has already been the subject of a lengthy three-year process with a lot of thoughtful input, public hearings, and deliberation. as the presiding officer knows, the courts have the inherent power to write their own rules of procedure, and that's what this is -- part of the federal rules of criminal procedure. so what happens is a pretty challenging process when you want to change a federal rule of criminal procedure. you have to get an approval by the rules advisory committee. it's made up of judges, law professors, and practicing lawyers. then it has to be approved by the judicial conference. and then, as in this case, they have to be endorsed by the united states supreme court, which is federal rule of criminal procedure 41 was on may
1, 2016. so if there is any basis for the claim that this is somehow a hacking of personal information without due process of law or without adequate consideration, i just -- i think the process by which the supreme court has set up through the rules advisory committee and through the judicial conference, dispel any concerns that the objections that were raised here were not adequately considered. i'm also told that senator graham from south carolina chaired a subcommittee hearing on the senate judiciary committee -- i believe it was last spring -- on this very issue, so there has been some effort here in the congress to do over-the-sight and to look -- oversight and do look this, although it didn't get the sort
of attention that it's gotten now. but the biggest and most important point to me is that for everybody who cares about civil liberties, and everybody who cares about the personal right of privacy we all have in our homes and the expectation of privacy we have against intrusion by the government without due process, this still requires the government come forward and do what it always has to do when it seeks a search warrant under the fourth amendment. you still have to go before a judge, an impartial magistrate. i still have to show probable cause that a crime has been committed and the defendant can still challenge the lawfulness of the search. the defendant always reserved that right -- the defendant always reserves that right to challenge the lawfulness of the search. so all of these constitutional protections, all of these procedure protections, all the concerns about lack of adequate deliberation, i believe, can be
dispelled by the simple facts. but there is a challenge when cyber criminals use the internet and social media to prey on innocent children, to traffic in human beings, to buy and sell drugs, and there has to be a way for law enforcement, for the federal government, to get a search warrant approved by a judge based on a showing of probable cause to be able to get that evidence so that the law can be enforced and these cyber criminals can be prosecuted. that's what we're talking about here. and all this rule 41 does is creates a circumstance where, if the criminal is using an anonymizing or some way to scramble the i.p. address, the internet protocol address of the computer they're operating from, then this rule of procedure allows the u.s. attorney, the
justice department, to go to any court who will then require probable cause, who will then will allow the defendant to challenge that search warrant but to provide a means by which you can go to court and get the a search warrant and investigate the facts. and if a crime has been committed, to make sure that that person is prosecuted under the letter of the law. so i aappreciate the concerns that my colleagues have expressed that somehow we've gotten the balance between security and privacy wrong here, but i believe that, as a result of the process by which the rules advisory committee, the judicial conference, and the supreme court have approved this rule after three years of deliberation, public hearings, scholarly input, by academicians, practicing lawyers, law professors and the like, that that ought to allay their concerns that somehow this
is an unthought-through or hasty rule that's going to have unintended consequences. and i think the fundamental protection that we all have under the fourth amendment of the constitution to -- against unreasonable searches and seizures and the requirement that the government come to court, in front of a judge, and show probable cause that a crime has been committed and that even once a search warrant is issued, that the defendant can challenge the lawfulness of the search, all of that ought to allay the concerns of my colleagues here that somehow we've gotten that balance between privacy and security right. because i think this does strike an appropriate balance. so for those reasons -- those are the reasons i felt compelled to object to the unanimous consent request. and i appreciate the courtesy and -- of each of my colleagues
here. mr. wyden: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: before i leaves the floor, i just want to engage my friend for a moment or two with respect to his remarks. and he's absolutely right that we have been friends since we arrived here, and we're working together on a whole host of projects right now. so this is a debate about differences of opinion with respect to some of the key issues, and i just want to make a couple of quick points in response to my colleague. my colleague said that there had been an inclusive process for discussing this. as far as i can tell, the vast amount of discussion basically took place between the judges and the government. my guess is if you and i walked into a coffee shop in houston or dallas or in my home state, you
know, coos bay and eugene, people wouldn't have any idea of what was going to happen tonight at midnight. tonight at midnight is going to be a really significant moment in this discussion. my colleague made the point with respect to security and privacy. i definitely feel those two are not mutually exclusive. we can have both. but it's going to take smart policies. my colleague has done a lot of important work on freedom of information act issues. these are complicated, important issues. and nobody up here has had a chance to weigh in. there's been a process with some judges, and i guess some folks got a chance to submit a brief. maybe there was a notice in the "federal register." that's the way it usually works.
but nobody at home knows anything about that. my guess is, none of our hospitals know anything about something like this. and it has real implications for them because our medical facilities, something we all agree on, have been major sources of cyber hacking. these have been major kinds of targets. so, again -- and this is not a kind of thing where somebody is saying something derogative about a person. we just have a different opinion about the process. to me here at home, when people here something about a government -- hear something about a government process, i got to weigh in. that's what people think the process is. not a bunch of judges going off and talking among themselves. the second point that my friend touched on was essentially the warrant kind of process and said, you know, that's what the fourth amendment is all about.
this is about the fourth amendment. now, i think that's worth debating. to me, at a minimum, this is an awful novel approach to the fourth amendment. one judge, one warrant for thousands and potentially millions of computers which could result in more damage to the citizen after the citizen has already been hit once with the hack. so my colleague said that this -- wha----so my colleague said s is what the fourth amendment is about. i think that's a fair point of debate. i would argue that this is an awful novel approach to the fourth amendment. this is not what i think most people think the fourth amendment is. hey, this is about me and somebody is going to have to get a warrant about me. and it's, you know, individuals. so, to me, the senate has now --
and we've still got officially 12 hours to do something about it. but as of now, the senate has given consent to an expansion of government hacking and surveillance. in effect, the senate, by not acting, has put a stamp of approval on a major policy change that has not had a single hearing, no oversight, no discussion. in effect, the senate -- this is not even senate 101. that's what everybody thinks senators are supposed to be about. when we're talking about search and seize iewrks that's an issue for -- when we're talking about search and seizure, that's an issue for congress to debate. and the justice department shouldn't have the ability to at a minimum, as i indicated in my conversation with my colleague from texas, to come up with a very novel approach to the fourth amendment without elected officials being able to weigh
in. now, i'm going to close by way of saying that i think when americans find out that the congress allowed the justice department to just wave its arms in the air and grant itself new powers under the fourth amendment without the senate even being part of a single hearing, i think law-abiding americans are going to ask, so what were you people in the senate thinking? what were you thinking about when the f.b.i. starts hacking the victims of a hack or when a mass hack goes awry and breaks their device? or an entire hospital system in effect has great damage done, faces great damage and possibly puts lives at risk?
my hope is that congress would add protections for americans surrounding the whole issue of government hacking. i have said again and again and again that smart technology policies, smart surveillance policy is built around the policy that liberty and privacy are not mutual. increasingly policies coming out of here aren't doing a whole lot of either. and in this case i think the senate is just abdicating our obligations, and certainly in the digital era, americans do not throw their fourth amendment rights out the window because they use a device that connects to the internet. so i'm going to close,
mr. president, by way of saying i think this debate about government hacking is far from over, and my guess is that senators are going to hear from their constituents about this policy sooner rather than later. and we'll be back on the floor then looking to do what should have been done prior to midnight tonight, which is to have hearings, to involve the public. not just justices and maybe a few people who can figure out how to find that section in the federal register so they can weigh in. americans are going to continue to demand from all of us in the senate policies that protect their security and their liberty. they are right to do so. that cause will be harmed if the senate doesn't take steps
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. ms. warren: i ask the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: thank you, mr. president. i'm glad to be here with my colleagues today to have a chance to talk about the 2 1st century cures bill. on monday i came to the senate floor to speak against a deal that was emerging in the house of representatives around this bill. now when congress first started working on this proposal two years ago, the idea was for democrats and republicans to
work together to improve medical innovation and access to lifesaving cures. and for two years lots of people worked really hard on that effort. we had a chance to bring down the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs. we had a chance to support medical research so we could start to cure diseases like alzheimer's and diabetes. we had a chance to help coal miners whose health care is on the ropes and who are running out of time. unfortunately, the cures bill introduced in the house last week doesn't do any of those things. instead it was a typical washington deal, a deal that ignored what voters want and held a bunch of commonsense, bipartisan health proposals hostage unless congress also agreed to pass a giant give-away to drug companies. so how did this happen? lobbyists. kaiser health news estimated
that the new cures bill has generated more lobbying than almost all of the 1 1,000 bills that have been proposed during this congress. at one point there were about three lobbyists for every single member of congress. and every one of those lobbyists wanted favors, and wow, did they get some doozies here. a provision to make it easier for drug companies to commit off-label marketing fraud, taking pills that are approved for one use and using them for a whole lot of other purposes without any evidence that it's either safe or effective. a provision making it easier for drug companies to hide the gifts they give to doctors who prescribe certain drugs, a giveaway to a major super pac donor who stands to benefit financially from pushing regenerative therapies through f.d.a. even if