tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN May 24, 2018 9:30am-11:31am EDT
nomination of james evans to the u.s. ambassador to luxembourg with a vote to limit debate at 1:45 eastern this afternoon. senate is not scheduled to be in session tomorrow or next week as they'll be out for a state work period. new to live senate coverage here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, sustainer of humanity, thank you for faithfully providing for all of our needs. when we have trusted your guidance,
you have consistently ordered our steps doing for us more than we can ask or imagine. today, give our lawmakers a generous portion of your wisdom. remind them that your wisdom is pure, peace loving, considerate, humble, merciful, and impartial. provide our senators with power to carry out their responsibilities in a way that honors you. and lord, as memorial day approaches, we praise you for all of the sacrifices made for
this land we love. we pray in your great 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 nation 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., may 24, 2018. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable dean heller,
a senator from the state of nevada, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g. hatch, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations. the clerk will report. the clerk: nominations, federal deposit insurance corporation, elaine -- jelena mcwilliams to be chairperson of the board of directors. jelena mcwilliams to be a member of the board of directors.
mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: majority leader. mr. mcconnell: we're in the mid midst of quite a productive week. yesterday this body did its part in fulfilling an important promise to our nation's veterans. we passed
the v.a. mission act by a wide bipartisan margin. having already passed the house, this truly landmark bill will now head to the white house where the president will soon sign it into law. it will bring more options and
greater flexibility to veterans who spent years driving long distances to the nearest v.a. care facility only to face long lines and waiting lists when they got there. it will bring more peace of mind for veterans of all eras and their families who faced uncertainty and limitations as their needs for care have evolved. this legislation continues, expands, and improvethis the successful veterans choice program that has already helped millions of veterans nationwide including more than 23,000 kentuckians last year alone. thanks to the stalwart leadership of chairman isakson and the veterans affairs committee, the hard and fast time and distant thresholds that kept too many veterans out of choice programs will soon be gone. the providers we trust to provide topnotch care for our heroes will have greater guidelines for prescribing opioids and more tools to attract and retain experienced
professionals. i've heard from kentucky veterans exactly what this bill will mean for them. one wrote, kentucky disabled veterans greatly appreciate that congress has finally -- is finally taking action to correct deficiencies in the caregiver program. another explained that the legislation, quote, strikes the right balance to make sure we strengthen the v.a. system and provide veterans with the best care possible. so i want to congratulate my friend chairman isakson once more on this achievement. i'm proud the senate stepped up to the plate and showed america's veterans that on our watch, a promise made is a promise kept. what's more, we already confirmed two executive branch nominees and will process two more before the end of the week. first up is jelena mcwilliams, president trump's well qualified pick to chair the fdic board of directors. this week we've also seen an impressive proposal to reform the way congress handles workplace claims, especially claims of harassment.
the democratic leader and i strongly support this proposal as do our colleague senator blunt and senator klobuchar. all this comes in addition to two major senate-passed bills that passed the house this week and are now headed to the president's desk to become law. the legislation championed by our colleague senator johnson which will give terminally ill patients the right to try experimental drugs that are still making their way through the full f.d.a. approval process and the major streamlining of dodd-frank regulations for smaller lenders and community banks thanks to the leadership of senator crapo. this legislation will help secure access to credit for middle-class families and small businesses and the president will sign it just a few hours from now. it's also important activity under way at the committee level. chairman. mr. barrasso: is leading the -- chairman barrasso is leading the way to expand america's waterways infrastructure. chairman shelby and
appropriations committee today have already begun their work on the annual funding bills. mr. mcconnell: mr. mcconnell: while in the committee's robust discussions, i look forward to bringing the appropriations bills they craft here to the senate floor. earlier this week, the armed services committee began considering this year's defense authorization bill. they have a solid foundation on which to build thanks to the historic agreement reached earlier this year that delivered the highest year on year increase of funding for our armed forces in 15 years. one bill after another, one confirmation after another, the senate continues to produce major accomplishments that will directly improve the lives of the american people. now, on that subject, yesterday brought another piece of exciting news for american workers and middle-class families. the u.s. manufacturer united technologies announced new plans to invest $15 billion right here in america and hire 35,000
american workers in the next several years. this fortune 100 company makes a wide variety of engineered products from jet engines to elevators. now, because of this favorable climate for business growth, investment, and job creation, they're putting billions into research and development and capital investment. and creating tens of thousands of new jobs openings. and to fill some of these job openings, the company is partnering with community colleges, high schools, and other workforce training programs. this all comes on the heels of the company's other recent investments, like a new 93,000 square foot facility in lansing, michigan, and a new 80,000 square foot facility in folly, alabama. what's making all this possible? according to united technologies, the competitive tax system resulting from u.s. tax reform is encouraging global
companies such as united technologies to make long-term investments and innovation in america. this announcement is exactly the kind of headline you'd expect to see in an america that is growing again. it's exactly what you would expect to happen as republican policies continue to get washington, d.c. out of the way of american workers and job creators and let them do what they do best, build an economy that's the envy of the rest of the world. yesterday's announcement was no isolated incident. we're hearing announcements like this from job creators large and small, if national employers to main street businesses in my state of kentucky and all across the country. back in 2013 under democrats' policy agenda, more than two-thirds of u.s. manufacturers reported that a hostile business climate due to taxes and regulation was a primary obstacle in their way. that was in 2013. today just 16 months into this
unified republican government, fewer than one in five say that. and this comeback for american manufacturing men's new job openings -- means
new job openings, more prosperity for our small towns and cities and higher take-home pay for more middle-class american families. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. schumer: madam president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, madam president. so this morning i'd like to address four issues at varying lengths. the recent news on
the north korea summit, the russia probe, the proposed recision of ebola funding and a word about the upcoming memorial day holiday. first, on the very recent news that president trump has canceled the planned summit with kim jong-un of north korea. the fear many of us had was that the summit between president trump and kim jong-un would be a great show that produced nothing enduring. if a summit is to be
reconstituted, the united states must show strength and achieve a concrete, verifiable, enduring elimination of kim jong-un's nuclear capabilities. second, on the russia probe, today on capitol hill, department of justice, f.b.i., and inintelligence community officials are scheduled to brief members of congress on a few issues related to special counsel mewler's investigation into putin's meddling in the 2016 election. there will be two briefings. one, for house republican partisan who has relentlessly harassed the justice department to reveal sources and methods to him for the sole purpose of interfering with and denigrating the special counsel's investigation. and after several requests, the department of justice will also brief a bipartisan gang of eight
on the same information separately later in the day. while we believe no briefing should occur, it's a good thing that the gang of eight will be briefed. the overwhelming fact remains that a separate meeting with a known partisan whose only intent is to undermine the mueller investigation makes no sense and should be called off. what is the point of a separate briefing if not to cause partisan trouble and create a he said-she said scenario. so damaging to the way our officials in the justice department have always worked. representative nunez, the architect of this sham briefing, no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt. he lost all claims to objectivity long ago with his ridiculous late-night charade at the white house and his conduct on the house intelligence
committee. culminating in a document of innuendo and whitewashing that's come to be called the nunez memo derisively. the reason leader pelosi and i requested a gang of eight briefing was because that's the process for congress to review sensitive and potentially classified information. it's been the process for decades. reason being, the gang of eight is already read into sensitive national security information and because the gang of eight is bipartisan. when one party representative nunez who so clearly wants to distort national security information for partisan purposes, asks for a solitary briefing, there shouldn't be a briefing at all. our preference would still be for the justice department to cancel the briefing today. but if it goes forward, there should be one briefing and one briefing only. bipartisan gang of eight.
it's also wholly inappropriate that general kelly is at all involved in these briefings. the white house should never be allowed to interfere in an ongoing d.o.j. investigation, but it's absolutely beyond the pale that they're interfering in an investigation involving the president and his campaign. the person and peep being investigated are being briefed on their investigation before it concludes. that doesn't happen in our justice system no matter who you are. americans will rightly wonder why general kelly was present. to erase their doubts? he should skip the meeting. alongside all the capital action on capitol hill today, president trump continues to fabricate a false narrative about deep staked bias against his presidency. this is what a child does. you look at them like they're doing something wrong and they
blame something else. they try to divert your attention. that's how the president's can'ting. yesterday -- acting. yesterday he tweeted. look how things turned around on the deep criminal state. well, mr. president, i direct you to your own secretary of state. you just appointed him, promoted him. here's what he said yesterday. quote, i don't believe there's a deep state at the state department. the employees at the c.i.a. nearly uniformly were achieving -- were aimed at achieving america's objectives. unquote. that's the president's own secretary of state, own former c.i.a. director dispensing with this notion of a deep state. now, the president says there were spies in his campaign. it's all in the same vein of his other conspiracy theories. remember? president trump said that obama tapped his phones. that was false. he said that -- he has said before that russia did not
interfere in our elections. that was false. why should we think the claim that there was spies in his campaign is any different? he makes it up as he goes along to divert attention from the real issue, that russia tried to influence our elections, did influence our elections, and there may, may, may -- we don't know for sure but we've got to find out -- been collusion with members of president trump's campaign and even president trump in that regard. that's serious stuff. we've already had 13 indictments. it's beyond any doubt that russia did try to influence our elections. we need to find out who participated. that's an imperative. for the future of this country. the president acting like he's got something to hide keeps trying to subvert the
investigation. simply inventing enemies out of shadows and sowing division in our country. if it were anyone else, we'd call it paranoia. meanwhile, the president continues to risk our national security by using an unsecured cell phone for some of his communications. when "the washington post" asked a national security expert, the odds of a foreign adversary having gained access to the president's unsecure cell phone, the expert responded 100%. the question is how many foreign powers. so while president trump points the blame finger in every direction and was relentless that hillary clinton broke security protocols, he is guilty of creating a real national security threat every time he picks up his cell phone to call sean hannity or rudy giuliani.
it's amazing. it's utterly amazing the times we're living in and it amazes me so that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle still remain silent. still remain silent. who would have thought? on ebola. in early may, president trump proposed rescinding $252 million meant to combat the ebola virus, another in-- and other infectious diseases. not only are these recisions a slap in the face of the bipartisan budget process, but they are dangerous to our national health and security. just last week a new case of the ebola virus was confirmed in the democratic republic of the congo and at least two dozen people have already died from this most recent outbreak. let's not forget how vociferously my friends on the other side of the oil criticized president obama for how he handled the ebola outbreak in 2014. once again donald trump totally
contradicts what he said in the past with what he's doing now. here's what donald trump tweeted in 2014. ebola has been confirmed in new york city with officials frantically trying to find all of the people and things he had contact with. obama's fault. well, does he now say that it's trump's fault? what mind bending hypocrisy. now that he's president, donald trump proposes rescinding the same funding congress passed to help handle the ebola crisis in 2014 and that continues to keep america safe. god for bid this funding is rescinded and ebola outbreaks reemerge. it would actually be president trump's fault. the president should withdraw his recision request for this funding. as senator leahy and his colleagues on the state and
foreign appropriations subcommittee asked in a letter this week, that funding should be free for usaid to use it as congress intended. and donald trump ought to learn from his past statements if he can blame obama for not fully going after the ebola outbreak in 2014, why is he cutting money for ebola now? finally, mr. president, on a solemn note. before the memorial day weekend, i want to express my deep and abiding gratitude to the men and women in the armed services who gave their last full measure of devotion in defense of our nation and our freedom. this morning i'm thinking of one veteran, larry riley, sr., of syracuse, new york. he was known to us by his naval rank chief riley. chief riley served on the u.s.s. frankie evans along with his son who carried his name larry riley, jr. the frankie evans sunk
tragically in a training accident just outside the combat zone during the vietnam war killing 74. chief riley survived the accident. larry, jr., did not. because the department of defense did not consider the frank e. evans disaster a wartime casualty, it was a short distance outside the combat zone, you will not find larry wylie jr. as name on the black wall a few miles from here. none of the names of the 74 sailors who died that day grace the vietnam memorial. chief riley spent much of his energies in the years since the war trying to right that law to get his son and his son's fellowshipmates who perished in that tragedy their rightful place in our nation's history. chief riley, i regret to inform
everyone, passed away earlier this week. we who knew chief riley remember him fondly. we send our condolences to his friends and his family along with the message that his cause does not die with him. in his honor, we will continue to pressure the pentagon to recognize the frank e. evans and those who were killed when it had its tragedy to recognize the frank e. evans on the vietnam memorial. this weekend, as we honor our fallen veterans in big cities and small towns throughout this grand country, i'll be thinking of chief riley and his son. may we never forget the sacrifice they made, along with so many others, so that we may all enjoy the full blessings of liberty. i yield the floor.
current map does not even come close to doing this. i certainly was not alone in my surprise when i saw the coverage shown on the map released by the f.c.c. in late february. it portrayed my home state of mississippi as basically a wireless hot spot with only 2% of my state not covered with reliable 4gl.t.e. connection. this was an absurd conclusion based on what was actually taking place on the ground. that would mean that 98% of my state should have one of the fastest mobile broadband connections on the market. ridiculous. i doubted that the map was accurate based on my own experiences, but i wanted to know what others had to say, so i did a survey in april. i sent out a survey asking
mississippians to tell me about their issues with connectivity. their responses which totaled more than 1,800 supported my conclusion that the f.c.c. map is just wrong and something needs to be done about it. the responses also reaffirmed what is at stake if the f.c.c. does not correct the situation and get these maps right. mississippians and americans across this great country need better service so their children can do their homework. they need it so they can facetime with loved ones who are away from home in military service. they need it for jobs. they need it for health care. a bad connection is inconvenient, to be sure, but it means so much more to public safety and jobs. americans in rural areas should not be at a disadvantage because of where we live.
strong, dependable broadband paves the way for economic growth for us all, and it allows for life-giving telehealth and cutting edge agriculture technologies. no one thinks my state is an exception to the f.c.c. map. i have yet to hear from my colleague in this united states senate who thinks this national map accurately reflects the coverage back in our state. so i propose we continue to work together with legislation to direct the f.c.c. to get this right. let's harness the best data for closing the digital divide. let's make sure decisions are informed by the most accurate maps possible. now, what's at stake here? $4.53 billion is what's at stake
here. and the way we're headed now with this program and with this inaccurate map is that phase two of the mobility fund is about to go forward with funds being distributed based on a map that is absolutely wrong. so my bill would do four things that i think would help. my bill would give challengers more time to voice their concerns and submit better data. it would require the f.c.c. to extend the challenge process by 90 days. my bill would also require the f.c.c. to disclose which phones should be getting 4-g l.t.e. service so consumers can know whether their service meets these expectations. in addition, it would require the f.c.c. to provide monthly updates on the percentage of areas on the map that are being
challenged and the number of challengers. and fourth, we would monitor the effectiveness of mobility fund phase two program by the agency offering annual updates on how mobile wireless service is being expanded. and if anyone in the senate, if anyone in the house, if anyone that could hear me today has a better idea, i'm open to adding that to the bill. but at the end of the day, rushing through this challenge process is not in the best interests of americans who are waiting for fast wireless coverage. it's not in the best interests frankly of the commission. they need to take the time to get it right, and we are out to help them doing that. there will be original cosponsors from both sides of
the aisle today when i drop the bill. those who want to be part of the challenge process need time and resources to put forward sound information, information to help the f.c.c. develop a map that truly portrays broadband limitations in this country. an accurate map would also help ensure the proper use of billions of taxpayer dollars, public dollars to lead to real results to get us where we need to go. we cannot go forward. we should not go forward with the data we have. and my legislation today would take a big step in ensuring that before we distribute this -- these billions of dollars, we make sure we know what we are talking about, we have the right information, and that we get it right. thank you, and i yield the
mr. lee: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: i ask unanimous consent to suspend the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. lee: mr. president, last week the trump administration proposed new rules to finally bring federal policy back in line with federal law. this should not be controversial in a republic committed to the rule of law. but this new policy, such as the question of abortion, which tempts all three branches of our federal government to turn truth, justice, and the law inside out in the service of violence. president trump, to his credit, is resisting those temptations in affirming what the law should do. affirming the fact that the law should in fact do what the law
says. the particular law in question is the public health service act. every year it allocates hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to public health centers across the country. under the 1970 statute, no public health service dollars, quote, shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning. that is the bill was expressly written to fund health care for lower-income communities, including family planning services. but not to fund or facilitate abortion, which of course is the opposite of health care. yet, in the 1980's the government accountability office found they were colocating abortion, providing service and keeping two sets of books. this put patients and policymakers and taxpayers in an
impossibly position. regulators preventing this obvious abuse of the law were complemented. subsequent democratic presidents rescinded these regulations leaving the abortion industry free to indulge its ever-growing appetite for americans' blood and treasure. this is the unacceptable status quo that the trump administration would correct. by reinstating some of those prior regulations, president trump is following through on his campaign promise to the american people to get taxpayer money out of the abortion industry. this is to his great credit. wherever you stand on the question of legalized killing of unborn children, it's essential that we draw the line at taxpayer funding of it. the new rule would indeed reduce the flow of federal dollars to abortion providers, including the $1 billion behemoth of the grizzly industry, planned
parenthood. and even a modest step in this direction, in this case about 15%, is to be commended. in addition to incremental reform, this new rule is also a clarifying asset. after all, it does not deny that planned parenthood or any co-located clinics anything. it doesn't deny anything to them. it simply offers them a choice. and given planned parenthood's protestations that abortions are just a tiny fraction of what planned parenthood does, the choice should be easy enough. if despite their billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies and private donations, planned parenthood and its accomplice organizations can't afford two local facilities, one for abortion and one for nonabortion care and counseling, they will just have to choose which clinic to keep open. they will have to decide or
perhaps just publicly admit what business it is that they're really in. health care or abortion. life or death. of course we already know the answer. that's why planned parenthood is widely expected to lead a lawsuit to block the regulation just as soon as it's implemented. as "the new york times" recently put it, abortion is to planned parenthood what the internet is to facebook. that is, like justice and the rule of law are to the american republic. or abortion on demand legal regime today is doubly unjust, first because it was created by judges rather than elected lawmakers. and second because it denies the undeniable humanity of the unborn. president trump's new policy would improve the law on both counts. first, it would bring back the administration of the law into line with congress' clear
statutory text. and second, it would signal that in this white house the protection of innocent human life will be the guiding principle that it should be in any civilized society. the new rule will protect americans' right to protect themselves and the unborn from taxpayer-funded abortions and, hopefully, create just a little more space for the weakest and the most vulnerable among us to grow, to thrive, and to hope that we will one day see that inevitable day not so far from now when our laws and our hearts answer the immutable call of justice, of love, and respect for the dignity of the human soul. are thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
mr. president. donald trump promised during his inaugural address to fight for, quote, the forgotten men and women of our country. but the donald trump -- brian montgomery is the latest in a line of bankers, lawyers, investors, and consultants who cashed in on their big time public service and now want back in. mr. montgomery has just been confirmed to be the commissioner of the federal housing administration, the f.h.a., which provides taxpayer-backed mortgage insurance which helps millions of americans buy homes they might not otherwise be able to afford. lenders makes loans to these families because the f.h.a. gives them some protection in case the family dwawts. there are strict rules about who qualifies. unless managed well, the f.h.a.
could expose tapes to millions of dollars in losses. mr. montgomery knows something about the f.h.a. he was the commissioner from 2006 to 2009, while the housing market was flying high and when it all came crashing down. since almost the day he left, he's been making buckets of money selling his knowledge to banks who broke the rules and are trying to escape the consequences. so here's what i mean. one month after leaving the f.h.a., mr. montgomery founded and became vice chairman of a new company called kollingwood group, known in the housing finance industry as a specialist in helping firms navigate f.h.a.-related penalties and lawsuits. hey, who better to navigate the rules at the f.h.a. than the guy who just used to be in charge of
the f.h.a. one of their clients was wells fargo. they were in trouble for defrauding f.h.a., and in 2016, paid h.u.d. a $1.2 billion fine. that's billion with a b. wells fargo admitted that from 2001 to 2008 it had lied to the f.h.a. about whether certain loans were eligible for f.h.a. insurance. mr. montgomery was in charge of the f.h.a. from 2006 to 2008 and let that fraud happen. after he left, he goes to the other team, giving wells fargo the inside scoop on how to beat the wrap. coming wood represented u.s. bank and they paid $200 billion for defrauding f.h.a. in its settlement, they admitted that from 2006 to 2011, it
repeatedly certified for f.h.a. insurance mortgage loans that did not meet h.u.d. underwriting requirements. the taxpayers paid mr. montgomery to manage the f.h.a. for three of those years, and he didn't stop the fraud. when he left, u.s. bank paid him to help him get away with it. i guess it pays to be an inside guy. i have seen some amazing cases of people spinning through the revolving door, but this one might take the cake. first montgomery runs an agency that puts taxpayer money on the line. while there, he looks the other way as the banks submit piles of fraudulent mortgages. the government then loses millions and millions of taxpayer dollars. then mr. montgomery waltzes out the door and one month later starts a company advising the
same big banks on how to pay the government back as little as possible for frauds they committed on his watch. he may have the best of intentions, but we can never expect the american people to trust washington if we approve nominees like mr. montgomery. it is bad enough that he put taxpayer money at risk by looking the other way as the banks committed fraud and then bad enough that he got rich working for those same banks, but now the senate is letting him go back and do it all over again. no way. it is finally time to crack down on the revolving door. mr. president, i'd like to speak on another matter now, and i ask consent that my speech appear in the appropriate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: mr. president, ten years ago, as the economy lurched toward a financial
crisis, millions of american families braced for the impact. over the next few years almost nine million families lost their jobs and millions more lost their homes and their savings. giant banks pillars of wall street for generations, crumbled brings communities across this country with them. in the aftermath of the crisis, congress passed commonsense rules to make sure that wall street could never again crash the economy and leave american families with the wreckage. but donald trump thinks that dodd-frank is, quote, a disaster, and he has promised to do, quote, a big number on the safeguard that it created. he hired an army of bankers and bank lawyers from wall street to do the deed, and now jelena mcwilliams is the latest piece
in the puzzle. in the runup to the crises, giant banks proved to be terrible risks and ended up sucking down billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts to survive. to fix this dodd-frank directed them to set strong capital standards that limited how much risk the big banks could load up on and required them to hold enough cushion to survive in case their bets went bad. now, policymakers and regulators from both sides of the aisle agreed that these regulations made our economy safer. former fdic chair, two republican appointees, recently wrote in the wall wurnt -- wall street that this would weaken resiliency. current fic chair said that
strong capital requirements were, quote, among the most important post-crisis reforms and has opposed joint efforts by the fed and the treasury to undermined them. ms. mcwilliams would drop that opposition. in fact, she wasn't sure there was anything wrong with it before the crisis. that is not the only rule she would role back. donald trump's wall street mercenaries have taken aim at a lot of post-crisis rules, and everything we know about ms. mcwilliams suggests that she will support those efforts. here's what's on the agenda. first, there's the volcker rule which prohibits banks from gambling with grandma's checking account. banks are looking to scrap this rule even though they are raking in, literally, record profits,
but the fdic has to agree before there are any changes. as soon as ms. mcwilliams is confirmed, bingo. sorry, grandma. next guidance that prevents banks from offering abusive short-term loans, similar to pay day loan protects. the fdic says they can have at it. with ms. mcwilliams in charge, it only a matter of time before the fdic banks get in charge. and there is a bank that serves all creditworthy customers in their community, regardless of the color of their skin. lending discrimination is rampant even though 90% of banks pass their c.r.a. exams. but banks and the trump appointees they send to washington want to make the test for passing even easier. under ms. mcwilliams, the fdic
evidently won't stand in the way. i could go on and on. here's the thing. it's not just that i disagree ms. mcwilliams, it is that the senate republicans are stacking the debt to allow ms. mcwilliams make these decisions without any discussion. the five-member fdic board is supposed to be split between republicans and democrats. but the senate is confirming -- moving to confirm ms. mcwilliams before the white house has even nominated a democratic vice chair for the agency. if ms. mcwilliams moves forward, the fdic will be under complete republican control for an indefinite amount of time. democrats should oppose the mcwilliams nomination on this basis alone. ms. mcwilliams is the latest
trump appointee who thinks the biggest problem with our financial rules is that the government is just too darn hard on the banks. most americans don't feel that way. they want tougher rules on wall street, not weaker ones. we should listen to them because they are the ones who pay the price when things go wrong on wall street. i urge my colleagues to vote no. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
senator mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i would ask that the quorum call be be dispensed with. the presiding officer: the senate is not in a quorum call. the senator recognized. mr. cornyn: thank you, mr. president. this weekend we honor those who have fought on the front lines
of battle and made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the united states of america. these men and women represent america at its best, a nation that is restless and unwavering in combating tyranny and defending human rights and liberty across the globe, a nation that is unafraid to call evil by its name and then work to eradicate it through force, if necessary, even at great cost to ourselves and our people. today in advance of the holiday weekend i want to say thank you to the 200,000 military men and women stationed in my state, the state of texas, and to the 1.7 million veterans who call texas home. thank you for having served over the course of so many years in the face of so many dangers and at such great individual sacrifice. of course, many of their predecessors gave their lives defending our country on the bloody fields at getties field,
in the trenches on the front during the storming at normandy and during shock and awe in baghdad. these are just some examples, each of them unique but none of them we should ever forget. we should also thank those military families of those warriors. i pray they find peace on monday when many of them will place flowers on military gravesites and speak privately to their loved ones who have passed on. in just a few days i'll have the chance to speak to young texans who thought hard about their future and the future of of our country and decided they want to attend our u.s. military academies. these talented high school students are the cream of the crop. they've been accepted to our nation's five prestigious military service academies and will be gathering together in san antonio on monday. this academy send-off, even
though i'm not the one who's nominated them -- we invite everyone who has been nominated and their families -- this sendoff is an inspiration to me. at a time when people talk about the next generation and america's future, they reassure me that our country still produces talented, patriotic young men and women who want to serve their country and want to preserve our freedom. meeting these young people making such bold and selfless decisions speaks well of the character of our nation's next generation. then i'll be heading down to georgetown, texas, just outside of austin, to a community called sun city that has a large veteran population. there i will join in celebrating memorial day at a place where patriotism is not a dirty word. in sun city, it's not an act,
either. loving one's country, honoring fallen soldiers is simply a given, and i know there will be a lot of american flags on full display. in the few days leading up to memorial day, we should also reflect on our duty as members of congress and as a nation to support our military service members and their families and ask whether we are living up to our end of the bargain here in washington, d.c. just yesterday we took a very important step in that regard by passing the veterans administration mission act, which includes some of the most substantial reforms to the veterans health care system in years -- lowering the barriers to care for veterans and giving them more treatment options. it also simplifies the bureaucratic system of community care and streamlines them from seven to one. it expands the family caregivers program, which i became
convinced was important in visiting wounded warriors at walter reed when frequently because of the catastrophic injuries suffered a spouse would have to quit his or her job and basically tend to the needs of that wounded warrior. just as a practical matter, providing assistance in addition to the medical care they were receiving. so expanding family caregiver -- the family caregiver program is, i think, a step in the right direction. we also address opioid prescription guidelines for outside providers and encourage the hiring and retention of more veterans administration health care professionals. so there's a lot to talk about when we go home for memorial day, and i look forward to talking to our active duty military and our veterans and demonstrating that we're doing more than just talking about it. we're actually doing something that will make a difference in their lives. i'm also looking forward upon our return to continuing our
hard work on the national defense authorization act, something the presiding officer is intimately involved in, which was marked up yesterday in the armed services committee. for 57 straight years, the defense authorization bill has been signed into law by presidents of both parties, and through the hard work of congressional majorities led by both parties. this legislation -- this year's legislation will help ensure our military has what it needs to achieve the most difficult missions we've -- they've ever faced and embark on those that will inevitably arise tomorrow. i've spoken quite a bit about the china threat recently at this podium, and that country bears mention again right now because of its connection to the defense authorization act. as the chairman of the house armed services committee said recently, it is in the endopacific region where the united states faces a near-term
belligerent threat armed with nuclear weapons and also a longer-term strategic competitor. china is that longer-term strategic competitor, of course, and that's what congressman mac thornberry was talking about. but we can't just stop with china and north korea. we need to talk about russia, iran, the civil war and terrorist threat arising out of syria in the middle east. all of those are important in our deliberations on the defense authorization bill because the ndaa prioritizes military readiness across the globe where american leadership remains indispensable. it promotes security and stability in the endo-pacific, particularly through military exercises with our allies, and it improves taiwan's defense capabilities, keeping our commitment to taiwan that was
established a long time ago. but the defense authorization bill is important for reasons that hit much closer to home as well. in past years this bill, as authorized, needed improvements that texas -- at texas military facilities like fort hood, joint base san antone yes, the red river army depot and ellington field. it has also given our troops a much-needed pay raise and advanced ships and ground vehicles. all of these have implications in texas. so as we get closer and closer to memorial day, let's remember that our -- what our armed services have given for us, including their very lives, and everything they've given to us, which is our freedoms that we enjoy every day. and let's make sure we keep up our end of the bargain here in washington with legislation like the v.a. mission act and the defense authorization bill and at home with our patriotism and
our frequent signs of appreciation for their service to our great country. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. donnelly: mr. president, i would like to thank my colleague from texas for his inspiring words, for his devotion to texas veterans, and to american veterans across our country. as we approach member memorial -- as we approach memorial day, this is a time to honor our fallen soldiers and to reflect on theenormous sacrifice that the men and women have made for us. i rise today to recognize the service and ultimate sacrifice of four hoosier service members who gave their lives defending our country in the last year.
the sacrifice of ryan lary, jonathan hunter, mark bonner and clayton cullen will not be forgotten. in july 2017, we lost navy corpsman ryan lary. he died with 15 other service members when a military refueling aircraft crashed in a soybean field in mississippi. he was 30 years old. born in anderson, ryan was described as selfless, impatient, and humble. he played football at shenandoah high school in middletown where he graduated in 2005. two years after graduation, ryan joined the navy and served our country in deployments to afghanistan and iraq. during his service, he earned a purple heart while wounded in
battle. last august army sergeant jonathan hunter was killed in afghanistan. jonathan was born in columbus. he was a man of faith who loved his country and his family. before joining the army, jonathan played football at columbus east high school. then he pursued his dream of becoming a music producer before enrolling at indiana state in terre haute. he left college to join the army. he was 23 and just 32 days in his first deployment when he and a fellow soldier were killed in a suicide bombing attack on a nato convoy in southern afghanistan. jonathan was posthumously awarded a purple heart as well as a bronze star. in january we lost sergeant first class mark bonner of the indiana army national guard. mark was born in fort wayne.
after graduating from elmhurst high school in 1993, he answered the call to serve his country. he enjoyed being at the lake. he was a fan of the notre dame fighting irish. he served in the army and in the indiana national guard. mark had completed tours in both iraq and kuwait, and he died at fort hood, texas, where he was training for his third deployment. -- for his country. he was only 43 years old. also in january we lost another hoosier, army first lieutenant clayton cullen. clay graduated from north nox high school in 2011 where he played soccerrer and served as student body president. after high school he earned a degree from indiana university and was in the school's rotsy
program. he was 25. he was 25 when he died when the helicopter he was aboard with another service member crashed at the national training center at fort irwin, texas. each of these men has left behind family and friends and loved ones who miss them every day and miss them more tomorrow and even more the following day. as we pay tribute to these service members, let us also recognize their families. our hearts go out to every one of them. not only -- them, not only on memorial day, but every day, at everything from family dinners to get togethers and holidays someone's missing their husband or their brother o