tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN June 13, 2018 3:30pm-5:29pm EDT
mr. murphy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator connecticut. mr. murphy: i'd ask consent that i speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, we have begun the period of time in the year when insurance companies start to declare what their intention is with regard to rate increases, and the news is not good for american health care consumers. i'm going to be joined on the floor today by a few o my colleagues to talk about what the impact of these radical increases in premiums are going to be for our constituents. the news is not good. but it's frankly no surprise
because now for a year and a half the trump administration has been waging a very deliberate assault on the american health care system, trying to sabotage it as retribution for the country not agreeing to overturn the affordable care act, which now enjoys widespread popularity across the country. and this deliberate campaign of sabotage, beginning on the first day that trump got in office with an executive order leading up to these last two weeks in which the trump justice department is trying to rule that protecting people with preexisting conditions is unconstitutional, has had an impact, has had an impact. and so it to jus quickly run through for you what we have seen thus far with respect to premium increases all across this country as a result of the trump administration and
republicans' campaign of sabotage. first is in maryland. the highest increase we saw in maryland -- these were announced about a month ago -- was one plan announcing a 91% increase, a one-year, one-time 91% increase in premiums, almost a doubling of premiums for a p.p.o. plan in maryland that was primarily being used by people with preexisting conditions, people who were sk. theeahat this plan is going up by 91% is because, as the trump administration and this congress take steps to move healthy people off of insurance plans, either to no insurance at all or to junk plans, only the sick people or people with preexisting conditions are left on plans like the carefirst p.p.o. plan, a 91% increase. who can afford of any kind of middle income in maryland a 91% increase? virginia is not much better. they filed at about the same time. one plan asked for a 64%
increase in virginia. again, i don't know many families who are making $30,000 a year who can afford a one-year 64% increase in premiums. an remember, medical -- overall medical inflation in this country, meaning the amount of increase on a percentage basis in medical costs from year to year is about 6%, is about 6%. so if you were just passing along the costs to your consumers, the rate should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 5%, 6%, or 7%. instead, in virginia, it's 64%. senatorially is going to -- senator merkley is going to speak about oregon. but premiums in oroing up by double digits, 14%. washington state is looking at a premium increase of 30%. the kaiser plan in washington is asking for a 30% incree. 20%.tatewide average i right
kaiser in washington says the rate changes in our plan are primarily driven by claims experienced in the single risk pool, medical inflation and pr the risks in tisk n mrship due to the elimination of the individual mandate. that is the change that the republicans made to the affordability. maine -- well, you're actually in decent shape in maine. in maine you are avenue only -- in medical you're only seeing a 10% increase. in one of the most populous states in the country, new york, the news is catastrophic, a 39 increase in premiums in the largest health insurance plan in new york. this is fidelis, which is on the state health care ehanges, asking for a 39% increase. and let me just read to you what the new york department of financia services said about
this requested 39% increase. with respect to indivua market, theingle biggest juification offered by inre for requested increases is the trump administration's repeople of the individual mandate penalty. the mandate, a key component of the a.c.a., helped mitigate against increase by ensuring thier ins rs have contributed -- attributed aboutalf of their requested increases to the risk they're seeing because of this a.c.a. repeal. it is not as if the republicans didn't know what was going to happen. the c.b.o. said that rates will go up by at least 10% in the first year, if you repeal that part of the affordable care act. and that 13 million people will lose insurance. that's what happens when rates go up by 40%. some people just cannot afford to pay it. d soheth the number is 39% or 91% or 64%, these rate increases th are happening because of this camign of
sabotage by the trump administration are simply unaffordable. before i turn this over to senator merkley, let me just quickly run through what i am talking about. january 2017, president trump signs an executive order telling all his agencies to dismantle the a.c., despite the fact that congress didn't repeal the affordable care act and never would repeal the affordable care act. in a of 2017 h cuts open enrollment in half for the affordable care act, just to try to make sure that fewer people can sign up for health insurance. republicans in may start voting to try to take insurance away from 23 million people -- tually one of the proposals would have taken insurance away from 30 million people. they finally settle on legislation in december of 2017 that takes insurance away from 13 million people and drives costs up by at least 10%. the trump administration in ebb hownsurance companies toart a expand the use of junk plans. these are planst cer very
little. theyight not cover prescription drugs or mental health or addiction care, but they're cheaper, so healthy people tend to move to these plans, leaving the sick people on the plans that are now going up by 39%. and the final cherry on top is that the administration right now as we speak is making an argument before the supreme court that the remaining scraps of the affordable care act the republicans left are unconstitutional. the protection for people with preexisting conditions -- the protection for people with preexisting conditions which trump promised over and ove over again to keep -- lesley stahl pned him down in a "60 minutes" interview and said, you're going to keep the protections for preexisting conditions, you're going to keep the part of the affordable care act that is wildly popular, aren't you? and he sated, yes, i am going to keep that part. and in fact he has now instructed his department justice to break that promise and argue the unconstitutionality of the statute of the united states, that statute being the portion of the affordable care act that protects people with preestg conditions. believe me, insurance companies
are paying attention to this unending witheri assault on the affordable care act and the american mechanic system. that's why you are seeing these big premium increases. and so we want to make sure that our colleagues understand what's happening here. that the american public understands what's happening here. these increases in health care costs are unprecedented, but they are not surprising, given what this administration and what this congress has been doing. ment with that, i will yield the floor, seeing -- and so with that, i will yield the floor, seeing senator merkley. mr. merkley: thank you it. i thank my colleague for letting us come down to talk about this trumped-up health care in america. prices are going up specifically because of the policy of president trump and his team. the sabotage is under full steam. ongbut l before the sabotage occurred, we had 2017 here on the floor of the senate five
different versions of trying to wipe out health care for american citizens. they varied in range from wiping out health care for 22 million to wiping out health care to 30 million men's. how is it in a we the people republic that people could come down here and vote to wipe out health care for millions of people across this country? quite simply, we have a team in power that believes in poweul and the rich and they have health care, so they don't care autess. but we should be here fighting for the ordinary citizen in america. what's more important to peace of mind than the knowledge that if your loved one gets sick or injured, they'll get the health care they need and you won't go bankrupt in the process? th's why this is so important to americans. and just by a little bit, just by a thin one-vote margin, when
they created those efforts to destroy health care last year in 2017, we thought, aah, thank goodness the people triumphed in this chamber. ha,hen we had taxn that bi, that tax bill that was written for the wealthy and well-he connected rather than the people. it borrowers $is.5 trillion and gives most of it to the wealthiest americans. and embedded in that terrible assault on the finances of america, that terrible failure to address the fundamentals ofto thrive -- health care and education and living-wage jobs and good housing -- embedded in that was pulling the plug on the insurance pools. what does that mean? it means that, well, the healthiest can jump o of the pool and when they do that, they leave sicker people and the price goes up.
the price goes up, so more of the healthy people jump out of the pool and the price goes up. this is known as the insurance death spiral. ordinary citizens -- to ordinary citizens it is known as double-dynel i thias in the cost of your health care policies brought by these republicans and donald trump. t ts deliberate effort of sabotage -- well, the sabotage didn't end by pulling the plug on the insurance pool. no, then we had the effort to undermine the marketplace where people can compare policies and get policies that abide by the health care bill of rights shall the patient bill of rights. things like, yes, you can buy a policy that gives you the same price as everyone else, even if you have preexisting conditions. that health care bill of rights. the health care bill of rights that said that preventive testing is free because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. what did the team trump do? well, they cut the enrollment period in half. they cut funding for outreach by
up to 92%. they slashed the budget for tieing so that people would know that there was an open period and the opportunity to get the health carela by 90%. nine out of $10. they put up anti-marketplace propaganda. they periodically proceeded to shut down the website so that people would get frustrated trying to sign up for insurance. well, that's a real winner. make it hard for people to sign up for heah care. st bad does it have to get, this attack on ordinary americans, by this administration? making it difficult, sometimes impossible, for people to sign up. for hours at a time, right in the mdle of an open enrollment period, wiping out the cost-sharing subsidies so that health care will be more expensive for people who have the least means. and then we have even more. we have the junk in policies,
these junk insurance policies that make you feel good, they're very cheap, you can buy them and they're good for filling your filing cabinet, but when it comes to actually getting health jud, they don't pay for anything. that's a junk policy. it's really a predatory policy to try to say to people, here, buy this, and you have insurance. but you don't really, not when you need it. and that really is another assault on an ordinary american about the peace of mind of having health care when you're injured or when you're sick. so there we are. we thought this assault had gone as far as it could possibly go. someday the people of this country will rise up in election and proceed to say we really do believe in that vision of our constitution that we, the people, vision of our constitution of the united states of america, we believe in that vision, and we want an
elected body that believes in that vision. but a new assault came just days ago in which the president, the president who had promised to make sure that every health care policy was cheaper than it was before, and that turned out to be a lie. the one who said every person will be covered, and that turned out to be a lie. the one who said whatever happens, i will absolutely make sure we continue to protect americans whoave preexisting conditions, that they'll get the same or better treatment than they have now. and what does he do? he issues an order and says we're not going to defend the requirement that people preexisting conditions can get health care at the same price as everyo else. what's this called? this is called a sellout. this is called a deception. this is called a whopper.
this is called an assault on dinarymericans when it comes to health care. this is why insurance rates are going up all over the country. double digit increases in every state, even my state, which tried to protect ordinary people by wiping out and borrowing those junk plans but was assaulted by the rest of the sabotage. and this isn't limited just to connecticut, to my colleague from connecticut, oro my state of oregon. it's state after state after state, including the state of virginia. and that's why -- i'm yielding before my colleague from virginia speaks to my colleague from oregon, my senior senator from oregon who knows so well, has been in this chamber fighting for peace of mind in health care for year after year after year. this is why we must come together a nation and repair
our health care system, a simple, seamless health care system that does right. mr. wyden: mr. president. the presiding offic: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: i don't want to make thi a cake-tossing contest but i also want it understood that my colleague from oregon has done invaluable service to the country by showing the importance of what is happening at the border where there is an effort in effect to traumatize children and separate kids from their parents. i look forward to working with my colleague, and we're going to do some work on it in oregon. i certainly don't want to hold up my friend from virgini and appreciate senator murphy. mr. president and colleagues, before i came to the congress, i was codirector of the oregon gray panthers, senior citizens group for about s years. and back then we were talking about ways in which to move forward on health care, to
advance the rights of our people, to improve the quality of lif this country. and there was often a bipartisan coalition to do that, to make those advancements. in the last year, however, there een bn unprecedented effort to turn back the health care clock. we see it with the effort to sell junk insurance, which in effect iolves the trump health and human services department saying to states, well, it's really pretty much okay to discriminate. just don't be too obvious with it. and then we saw the effort to strip away the medicaid guarantee of nursing home coverage for older people. and now senator murphy, senator kaine, and my colleagues are here on the flooro talk about
the trump administration's effort to unravel the law, the current law that bars insurance companies from beating the stuffing out of people with preexisting conditions. that's the way it used to be, folks. if you had a preexisting, you know, condition and you weren't healthy or wealthy -- and that's what you face if you have a preexisting condition -- you were just really in badpe. if you're healthy, you pay your bills. if you're wealthy, you pay the bills. but millions who had preexisting conditions would just get clobbered, clobbered with premium hikes, so they couldn't get coverage at all. so finally we said in the affordable care act, we're actually going to start moving
the clock forward, and we're going to bar insurance companies from discriminating against those with preexisting conditions. this is particularly important for the 67 million women under 65. an enormous number of women in this country who have a preexisting condition, and they have over the last few years counted on the health care protections i've just in the affordable care act as a health care safety net, as a back stop, protections that say they can't be charged more because they needed maternity care and other essential serves. protections that say they can't be denied coverage due to a preexisting condition. that means everything from ovarian cancer to asthma. every year those who switch jobs
or stop working perhaps to take care of a loved one, and women often perform those roles, they now have the assurance that they can have the mobility of being able to move up in the workforce if theyive in virginia or connecticut or oregon, and they see the opportunity to a better job if they have a preexisting condition. without these protections, they're locked in, they're locked into the workforce. what we're doing is saying that we wan tse protections to stay so that women and all americans have the opportunity to secure advancements, when they have the skills and the talents to move on to another job. so these fundamental health care rights disappear if the presiden and the republin state attorneys general are able
to unravel the law of the land. this is really a head scratcher, folks. it's one thing for an administration to say, senator kaine, senator murphy, they want to come to the congress. they want to come to the appropriate committees. my colleagues serve on one of them. i serve on the other. and say we want to pass a law that changes preexisting condition policy. we wouldn't be for it, but at least that's a legitimate debate. they're not talking about doing that. they're not talking about coming to congress. and you know why they're not coming to the congress? because they know that their effort to unravel preexisting condition policy would not have a pulse up here. they wouldn't be able to get any traction for it. so what they're doing is going through the back door. they're trying to use very complicated legal process, and
it's going to be very hard to follow about the supreme court and t purchase requirement and the tax and the like. but make no mistake about it, this is an effort to unravel the law of the to deny protections to women, protections that insure that if they have a preexisting condition, they don't have to go to bed at night in pure panic, worried that they could wake up in the morning and they could lose everything. so, mr. president, i'll have plenty more to say about it. this is especially important because it escalates the tru administration's campaign of health care discrimination against american women. and this is really going to take a tl on 65 million -- 67 million women under 65, people
who, as i said, without this protection are going to go to bed at night, in myw, with an enormous fear and an enormous sense of uncertainty of what's ahead where they could lose everything. mr. president, with that, i thank my colleagues for their courtesy, senator murphy for bringing these efforts to the floor so frequently, and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: mr. president, uld also like to rise to talk about this importantue of health care. i have heard my colleagues, senator murphy, senator merkley, senator wyden and i know senator murray will speak in a minute. and we are focusing upon the grave damage that this administration is doing to the health care of americans. but i thought maybe i'd inject just a little bit of good news into this discussion. the good news i want to describe
is positive advances that are still taking place because of the affordable care act, even despite the best efforts of the administration to kill the affordable care act. because senate colleagues joined together on the floor nearly a year ago to defeat efforts to repeal the affordable care act, even as the sabotage has been going on, there has been an advance in my state that is very, very significant. two weeks ago my state legislature, after a four-year debate, decided to become the 33rd state that accepted medicaid expansion. mr. president, and to my colleagues, if you want to know whether what youin this chamber matters, that vote in august of last year that preserved the affordable care act enabled my state to embrace medicaid expansion, and in one stroke of one vote, for 100,000 -- 400,000 virginians have the ability now to have health insurance, many of them for the first time in their
life. that's nearly 5% of our population. thesare working-age adults, most of them worki,any working multiple jobs but they have not been abl to afford health insurance. but because this b sed the affordable care act, we were to in the stroke of a vote provide health insurance for 400,000 people, people who now know they can be taken care of if they get injured or if they're in an accident. but even if they're completely healthy, they the peacef mind and don't go to bed at night with the anxiety of what's going to happen to my family if i'm in an accident. what will happen to my wife if she gets ill. and s the affordablre just holde of this sabotage effort by the trump administration, it's actually still advancing in places like virginia. and number of other states have referenda on the ballot to do exactly what virginia just did. we do not need to stand still. we need to defeatotage and then we need to move ahead. my colleagues have stressed the
various ways in which the trump administration has tried to undermine the health care of americans, and i don't need to go over them at length. limiting en0 rollment periods -- enrollment periods, eliminating the individual mandate, injecting uncertainty over the payment of cost sharing, all of those things are leading insurance companies to increase rates when they announced rate increases in my state recently. some insurance companies want to increase rates by as much as 64%. and the good news is, at least if there is any good news, they're not being shy about explaining the reason. they're telling us exactly the reason that they're increasing the r, and the increasi rates because of specific identified policies of this administration to punish americans and raise their health insurance costs. that's what the insurance companies are stating. and as senator wyden mentioned, now republicans are in court with the administration to try
to defeat, defeat the protection that the affordable care act gave to people with preexisting conditions. this is not just a few people in my state or nationally. this is tens of millions of americans, virginians that have cancer, diabetes, or even lesser conditions than in the past, and potentially in a trump administration future that get kicked to the curb as a result. want to tell youne story about preexisting condition, because it's my family story, and then i will conclude because i want my senate colleague from washington, who's been leader on this effort, to offer her perspective. you think about preexist conditions, there's all kinds of preexisting conditions but some people don't know hoye broad this definition -- how broad this definition has been used by insurance companies to just basically deny anybody coverage if they could think of a single reason or simple reason to do so. i'm not going to get into my
fa's medal history but i will tell you this. there's five of us. i have to submit we are virtually the healthiest family in the united states because the only hospitalizations for the five of us in our life a family of five has been three child births. my wife being in the hospital three times to deliver healthy children. right after the affordable care act passed, when the ban on discriminating against someone on preexisting conditions was going into effect, i for the first time -- neither my wife nor i had a job with an employer that was offering a group plan and so we needed to buy insurance on the individual market. my wife is a super-diligent consumer and made numerous calls and two insurance companies turned us down because of preexisting conditions; one, a preexisting condition of my opinio tugh not serious enough to ever put me in the
hospital and one because of a preexistinonti of within of kids, also not sufficient to put that youngster in the hospital. the insurance companies said we'll write a policy for some of your family but we won't write it for all of your family. safety tip -- do not tell my feyou will write an insurance policy but not for one of her three kids. that is not a good thing to do. when my wife heard that, she said, i want to know what i'm speaking to because what you're suggesting to me is against the law. no, it is not against the law. it is company policy. we can turn your child down, ms. holten. no, you can't. put a supervisor on the line. my wife said, this is now against the law. you cannot turn my child down because of a preexisting condition. and after some backing and forming and the ruffling of pages, the supervisor said, you're right. we apologize. that policy that we told you that could be for four can now
be for five. but if this could happen to a family like mine that had never d a hospitalization other than delivering a child, this was happening over and over and over again. why w adminis nt to return to those days? it's shocking and it's heartless and we're going to do everything wean in the court and here in congress, as well as together in dialogue with the public, to make sur that this iortant protection is not ripped out of the hands of american families. congress needs to act to stop the trump administration's sabotage, to preserve the affordable care act, i hope we will take up the murray murray-alexander bill that will stabilize the insurance market through provision of reinsurance, through cost-sharing payments. there's no reason we can't take this up, and then we need to move ahead even further on proposals like the one i have in with senator bennet, medicare x,
to make sure ever person in this country can buy a policy developed by medicare on the individual insurance exchange if they choose. i'm glad to be joined together by colleagues who are so passionate abouttecting the health care of american families and based on the results in virginia, which had avoided medicare expanon for years, only to finally wake up and realize we need to do it, i know that we will prevail in this effort because it is what the american public wants us to do. with that, mr. president, i'd love to yield the floor to m colleague from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i want to thank my colleague from virginia for his personal compelling reason why what the administration is doing is so wrong. that could happen to anyone and do hpen to everyone. and i so appreciate that and i want to thank my colleague from connecticut for bringing us together today to highlight this. there's so much going on in the country, and we don't want this to get lost because itill
impact every single family, because we are here today to tuck about president trump's -- to talk about president trump's ongoing effort to sabotage health care for literally millions of families in our country. as we've talked about, last week the trump-pence administrion showednce again that there is no limit how low and how baseless they will go to appeal to extreme republican donors and their special interests. president trump's department of justice announced it will ignore years of precedent and abandon its duty to defur laws in court. it will abandon our laws that prevent insurers from denying people with preexisting condition coverage or charging people more because of their gender or raising premiums without limit for seniors. this decision also makes it clear president trump is ignoring the lessons he should have learned last year, because around this time last year icans we trying to jam through the president's partisan
health bill, filled with oposal that would have scrapped those patient protections, spiked premiums and health care costs, imposed an age tax on our seniors, would have gutted medicaid and thrown our entire health care new mexico chaos. the health care bill ultimately failed as people across the country stood up, spoke out loudly and make it very clear that they didn't support president trump's sabotage agenda. but president trump didn't listen. instead, he has continued to undermine health care for our families at every available opportunity. and republicans have been lockstep with him the entire way. like when president trump expanded loopholes to aow junk insurance plans that don't include important consumer protections, like when congressional republicans jammed throug a partisan tax b to undermine our health care laws, like when president trump
announced radical new restrictions on federal family planning funding based on an ideology that wouldesult in less access to health care for millions of women across the nation and a gag rule that will terfere with provi' rang of reproductive health service with their patients. those steps were all designed to make it harder for women and families to get the care they need. last week president trump's administration took yet another step to undermine the health care system. in a nearly unprecedented move, the trump administration announced it would no defend the affordable care in court. the trump administration announced it would abandon the parts of the law that prevent health care discrimination against women, again seniors, and against those with preexisting conditions. that decision goes against years
of legal precedent. it goes against, for sure, the wishes of families across the country who want their government to care about patients, not partisan politics, and it even goes against the promises of many republicans who claimed they were going to fight r tse important patie protections. republicans may not be listening, but i got to tell you, familieshe cnt ve been speaking up loud and clear. they want us to fight for them and for their health care policies that can help them get the care that they need. while president trump and attorney general sessions have never fought for patients, as their latest decision makes abundantly clear, democrats have never stopped fighting for them anwe are not going to stop now. we remain dedicated to working towards commonsense solutions thatelp bringur hlth care costs down and begin to fix some of this damage that's been done by president trump.
we actually had a bipartisan deal that would accomplishhat goal but unfortunately republican leaders made clear from the start they'reot interested in lowering premiums, theye not interested in stabilizing our marketplace, and they're not interested in fixing this problem. instead, they are interested in helping special interests. they're interested in donors. and they're interested in catering to the extreme right. despite their move to throw a wrench in our important bipartisan work, i want you to know democrats are at the table. we'll be here all of august ready to work to fix this for families in washington state, across the country. i hope going forward that cooler heads will prevail and republicans will return to the table and join us on finding solutions to lower patients' costs and strengthen health care in our country. rather than continuing to help president trump sabotage it. that's whaen my state want. i know that's what families across the country want.
thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: i've always said that our nation's health care system isee repair. that's why we keep coming back to try to fix it and make it better. but every west virginia deserving access to quality, affordable health care. i am very concerned that our country is at risk of l moving backward. when people ask why did i vote against repealing the health care law, i always say it is because we need to make sure those with preexisting conditions don't go bankrupt paying for basic health care. most people today, if they don't have insurance, and especially those who've had preexisting condition insurance, are one heth care crisis away from bankruptcy. what's happening today san unfortunate political move. the only reason this lawsuit -- and i say that again. the only reason this lawsuit is moving forward is because my friends on thether side have failed more than 50 times trying n t of that t tax c
bill that just went through had this in it, repealing basically the mandate on the health care, which throws it into turmoil and is why we're in a lawsuit right now. right now 20 u.s. attorneys general including the attorney general from west virginia are suing to allow insurance companies to once again deny vege to west virginians with preexisting conditions. every single time they voted fot ey were trying to achieve. what makes this works worse is we have -- what makes thisorse is we have a bipartisan compromise led by senator alexander and senator murray with 12 republicans and 12 democrats. this bill includes important steps that will help reduce health care costs for west virginia families, and this agreement shows what is possible when we put people before politics. what we did is after the last repeal on the floor failed we got together and put a fix in. we have a reinsurance program. we hav a way to maintain and
try to educate people how they woulsehe health care, their newfound wealth in health care in a more effective and efficient way. this is what we should be doing, but, nope, there is a political promise to repeal, so we keep doing every angle that is being thrown at us. this last one, as far as going through the court system and then having also the judicial system being involved to stop pef my state and alle on the across the country. let me tell you how many west virginians are impacted. with a state of over 1.8 mill this one -- this one move right here, this one move affects 800,000 west virginians. we're talking about people that have all types of things that could be preexisting condition, have a child wh a heart defect, asthma, you name it. er they're going to be able to say, preexisting condition, we're not going to insurance you. or the cost will be so high, you can't afford t so we're impacting some west requirians. on monday i asked this emto share their stories with me in
my office. real people that you can put a face and a name and a story and also some empathy to this. i will read a few letters if i may, mr. president. i have one from kim kevin crar from pkersburg. see says, i find myself writing to plead for a sane policy related to m friends my community, nigh country and myself. when health care policy is centered around quick profits, a medical tsunami is sure to follow. i live with my adult son who was born with down's syndrome. he is 33 and i am 60. he is healthy for now but does have a couple of preexisting conditions and risk factors which could very possibly need attention as he grows older. the mere thought that i would have to pay out of pocket for his health careue to policy changes in the years to come is mind-boggling. perhaps today his care is not exactly on the table, but it has been this past yearnd will most likely be again. i am at preretirement age. i work full te and am in good
health. but i take medication to maintain a healthy blood pressure. this is already a preexisting condition. medicare is still down the road for me. as a nurse, i know the importance of screening for certain conditions. but removing coverage of preexisting conditions puts mei2 situation. if i go for recommended health screenings and a condition is fo iou be c by my current insurance. my employment situation should change, as it is possible for any of us, when i would have a preexisting condition, that would either not be covered or make my premium so high that i would have to wonder if will be able to provide for other basic needs, like a appropriate housing. many in my family, my circl of friends and my community and state would be in this terrible predicament. any diagnosis would be a barrier to treatment in essence. no insurance company apparently wants to cover sick people. it makes me wonder why we would call it insurance at all. perhaps in washington too many of you have lost touch with the very real stress and anxiety thats created with health care
accessibility is unattainable. do any of you understand what it is like to live wondering when the medical tsunami will come you? hope that the wave won't strike but it is just beyond the horizon and you have no idea if and when it is coming or how to survive t the current mandate for coverage of a preexisting condition assures better health and insurance treatments. it gives us all some peace of mind if we become ill and aows usoocus on getting healthy. please care about our people. please keep mandated coverage for preexisting conditions. thank you. i've caitlin from elkview. i am 22-year-old west virginian who grew up p i was diagnosed with anorexia and have struggled with it for years. m tnkl that the a.c.a. created provisions that will allow plea to remain 0 on my
parents' insurance until i am 26 but worry that my preexisting conditions could prevent me from getting insured in the future. losing health insurance would mean me losing access to my mental health medication as well as making it difficult to assess further treatment. i also worry about how lack of coverage for my preexisting condition could prevent me from affordable care in the future. i hope to devote my lifeo public service which does not pay well enough foro aff high medical bills. this is something that particularly worries me as i get older and am thinking about whether i will be able to afford to start a family. i hope that you will continue to defend the affordable care act, particularly its provisionshat protect people with preexisting conditions and women's health in general. larry from lewisburg, shortly after being diagnosed with cancer in my mid 40's, the health insurance company that i paid for coverage went bankrupt. faced with a preexisting
condition, i was uninsured until i began receiving medicare about 20 years lat. even though iad been therapeutically treated and had no symptoms of return of tumors more most of that time, an adult step daughter has m.s., epilepsy and other health challenges. she works full time and the end of preexisting insurance protectionould be life-threatening to her. my final letter is from mary clare. dear senatory htas diagnosed with lupus shortly after obamacare became reality. i was ableo afford health insurance for her because of the affordable care act. lupus is an auto immune disease that can and eventually affect any part of the body at any time. an insurance company faced with underwriting my daughter simply will not insure her ever unless
mandated by government to cover preexisting conditions. she has had multiple trips to the emergenhald have bankrupted her and had she not been covered. plse do not forget her when you tell stories on the senate floor. this is not democrat or republican. this is about all of us. we all face this in all of our states. and what we're saying is this, moving down this pathway because of not enforcing that part of the affordable care act, when we have a fix, truly a democrat-republican fix, bipartisan, led by lamar alexander, our senator from tennessee; patty murray, our senator from the state of washington. this is a shame. and when i say this is a tough place, especially when you have solutions to fixing problems that challenge all of us, that's all we're asking for, mr. president. please be considerate of these people. please do not throw caution to the wind, throw the baby out with the bath water, and 800,000
west virginians who would lose their insurance. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: mr. preside, i rise this afternoon to address the national defense authorization bill that is under consideration. we'll be probably wrapping it up this week. first i want to address an amendment that senator c and iave filed. it is an amendment that is related to the topic at hand, which is our security, because it is an amendment that would restore to congress the authority to have the final word on the deployment of tariffs, taxes on american consumers when purchasing goods that originate overseas, tariffs that are implemented, imposed with the
justification that our national security depends upon. these are often referred to as the section 232 tariffs, because that is the section of trade law that authorizes these tariffs. the short version, mr. president, is i think we ought to be having a debate and a vote on whether or not this responsibility that the constitution clearly gives to congress should be restored to congress. it's my view that should. senator corker and i have sought a vote on this. it appears at this point that despite biparsan support for this amendment, we may not be able to have a vote. but ink we should, and i think we should seriously consider continuing debate on the national defense authorization act bill until such time as we're able to address this important amendment. the other amendment i want to discuss is an amendment that i have filed and which will get a vote. it will get a vote tomorrow. and i'm going to urge my colleagues to support this. let me start by reminding my
cogu sething that i hope we all learned a long time ago, and that is the very, veryir provision of thed stetes constitution after the preamble, the very first operative portion of our constitution, article 1, section 1, states, and i will quote, all legislative powers herein granted shalle vested in a congress of the united states which shall consist of a senate and a house of representatives. i can't think of a more clearer, succinct and straightforward and unambiguous way to make the point that writing laws is the domain, it is the respo of congress. mr. president, in the course of writing laws, sometimes we delegate some of that authority. sometimes we delegate it to our staff. we ask them to do the drafting. we're still responsible because we're members of congress. and sometimes we delegate it to
the executive branch, and we call that rule making. we authorize the relevant agencies or cabinets to develop the rules that will implement the legislation. t i would argue senuously that is still part of the legislative function, and as such it's a delegation but it should not be an abdication of our responsibility. congress should accept the responsibility for this rule making, and we should be accountable for it, because that's part of our job. so that brings me to the defense authorization bill, specifically title 17, there is a called the foreign investment risk review pho detention acts. what -- modernization act. it is a dramatic provision of the authority given to cfius, it stands for the committee on foreign investment in the united states. so there's this big expansion of authority that cfius gets, and
part of the way in which this bill, this underlying bill in the national defense authorization act, part of the way it expands cfius's authority is by a huge delegation of legislative authority. it tkpwrapbdz the administration normal -- it grants the administration es discretion to grant the rules by which this expansion of power will be implemented. let me explain what cfius is about. cfius is charged with reviewing foreign investments in america. foreign-based companies that choose to, wish to invest in an american company, if there is a national security concern involving the investment, if there is a risk that's identified, then cfius,s committee, is charged with recommending that the president block the transaction if it's considered to be a threat to our security. and under existing law, the president has the authority in fact to block such a transaction.
so, for instance, if a russian company were going to attempt to purchase lockheed martin, a big defense contractor, a big supplier of very important, sensitive, and advanced military equipment to our armed services, armed fs,n such a case cfius would take, i think, a pretty quick review of that and recommend a no, and the president would almost certainly block such a transaction. so we understand there is a sensible need for this committee to exist and to do its work. so let's get back to the underlying legislation before us. under exist law, under current law, the range of transactions that cfius can review for this purpose of determining whether it's a threat to our national security is pretty narrow. it's fairly narrow. and i think there are legitimate concerns that it's too narrow, especially considering aggressive and even hostile acts
that are taken under the auspices of the chinese government to acquire sensitive american technology. so as i say, there's this delegation of authority to broaden that, and i would argue that this rule making, the decisions that cfius will make as it implements and develops these rules that we're going to empower them to develop, that's really going to decide which kinds ofransactions will be permitted to go forward and which ones will not. the rule making, not so much the legislation itself, but the subsequent rule making is going to really set the scope of cfius review and their process. let me give you a couple of examples. there are many, many rule makings required of the cfius committee by this legislation. a couple of examples is passive investments by a foreign-based entity.
a passive investment in a u.s. company is meant to be excluded from cfius review. so that would be allowed. that would not be subject to the review. but guess what? cfius gets toefe what constitutes a passive investment. that's a pretty big power. a second example is a critical infrastructure and technology compan those are the companies that we're concerned about, right? critical infrastructure and technology companies arehe ones that have sensitive technology that we might not want to fall into hostile hands. and so that's the category in which there's an automatic trigger for a cfius review. well, guess what? cfius going to write the rules to decidehat constitutes a critical infrastructure in technology companies. i don't know what they're going to conclude. i'm pretty sure if you're manufacturer of a chip that goes into a very cutting-edge
military application, that almost certainly woulde a technology company we'd want on the list. but it says critical infrastructure. what about a power company that produces electricity that feeds into our grid? what about a company that provides water, munical water supply? what about a supplier to one of those companies, or a consultant to one of those? i think you could ask a lot of interesting questions about what kind of companies ought to qualify. and we've delegated that. that will be decided by someone else. that will be in the rule making process. then there's the case of who has to -- for whom a transaction must submit a form to cfius, must go under cfius review. and there's some criteria in the legislation. but then the final catchall is that cfius will have the authority to require these reviews for other transactions as it sees fit.
what could be more broad and sweeping than that? so basically cfius can itself decide to write the rules in such a way that they will have the power to review any transaction they want. so, this is really remkable in term of of how much power is being delegated to the executive branch to write these rules. and so the rules could be written in a way that they're written too broadly. and if they're too broad, it could have a chilling effect on foreign direct investment in the united states, which is a huge source of jobs and economic growth. when foreigners bring their capital to the u.s. and invest it here because america is one of the most attractive places in the world to invest. on the other hand, if they write these rules too narrowly, it could be that cfius doesn't have sufficient authority and transactions that we ought to be blocking don't get blocked because the rules were written too narrowly. mr. president, there's no member
of the senate who can know in advance whether or not the rule making is going to strike the right balance, and that's what we need here. that's what we want. what we want is the right balance so that we're stopping the transactions from bad actors, but permitting the transactions from harmless sources that will help our economy. so since we can't know in advance whether this rulemaking will be done in the appropriate fashion, why wouldn't we insist on the responsibility of overseeing this and in fact having final say to make sure that this is done properly, that the right balance is struck? in fact, isn't that our responsibility under the constitutional authority and responsibility given to us. so this is what my amendment is all about. what my amendment simply does is it would require congress to approve the major rules -- not
every last rule, but all the important major rules that cfius would develop pursuant to this legislation that we're probably going to pass later this week. and congress would have to approve it before it could go into effect. it would be approved by a simple majority vote. it would not be subject to a filibuster. there would be a strict time limit, so congress would have to respond quickly when the rules are finished. and if congress were to reject one of the rules, cfius can modify it so that we get to a conclusion. my amendment does not give congress the power to consider individual transactions. sul't be our domain. and it doesn't authorize congress to review eveule, as i say, only the major rules, ulhave a big impact on ourh economy. so what are the practical consuences if my amendment were to be adopted, mr. president? it would sply assure that the administration would work with us as they were adopting the
rules, knowing that they needed to pass these rules in the house and senate, they would consult with us and say, hey, here's what we're thinking in terms of how we define critical infrastructureensitive technology. he's what we're thinking about what should constitute a passive investment, and all the other dozens of cases where they would be making big decisions, they'd run it by us, and we'd have dialogue and we'd get to a place where there's an agreement. that's what would happen. actually, that's exactly what should happen. now, i heard some concerns expressed about my amendment. some have said, wait a minute. if you get your amendment pass, congress will never approvefese. i couldn't disagree more. congress is about to vote overwhelmingly. we voted in committee unanimously to grant cfius this broad new authority. the members of this body thi
we should broaden the transactions -- why wouldn't we support sensible rule making that would allow cfius to do what we asked them to do. i think it is implausible that congress wouldn't support this. others have suggested, well, you don't really need this because you have the congressional review act as a mechanism that allows you to repeal a rule if congress doesn't like it. the c.r.a. wouldn't work in this case at all. the c.r.a. requires the president to sign a bill repealing a recently passed bill. what president will sign a bill repealing a rule or regulation that the president just passed. the c.r.a. rule works when there's a new administration. when the trump administration came in, working together with congress, the president and we repealed a number of regulations by previous administration, but a president isn't going to
sign anything repealing his own regulations. i appeal to my colleagues to support this legislation. for my republican colleagues, 39 of us are cosponsor of the reins act. the ains act would -- reins act would require congressional review of every regulation throughout the entire government every time a new rule is passe under the reins act,in could have to -- would have to vote before it could go into effect. ifhe reins act that 39 of my colleagues have cosponsored, we wouldn't have this because it would ought -- it would automatically come under the reins act and automatical have to come back for a vote. i can't, for the life of me, can't understand why any republican who supports the reins act wouldn't are support this and i hope all of my republican colleags will. i appeal to my democratic colleagues as well for the
simple, fundamental reason that this is a responsil we should accept the responsibility that the constitution assigns to us. let's be honest, a big majority of our democratic colleagues voted against confirming several members of cfius. a big number of democrats voted against secretary miewn, they -- mnuchin, they voted against secretary secretary of statepoint. they are on cfius -- if my democratic colleagues had such serious reservations about the work product that wouldfrom they voted against confirming them, you would t you would want the opportunity to have some say on their work product. that's what this is about. so i can't imagine that my democratic colleagues would take the position that they must not
have any say over the trump administration's rulemaking. they've never suggested so much confidsence i administration thatou nt to forgo that opportunity. so i would hope that my democratic colleagues would join me in this as well. look, mr. president, what this comes down to is i think we should accept responsibility for the work that we do and the work that we delegate, and let's make sure that this really important and necessary expansion of cfius authority is done right, and the way we do that is we make sure that congress has the final say over the rulemaking. i urge my colleagues to support the amendment and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: thank you, mr. president. as everyone in this chamber knows, passing the defense
authorization bill is a tradition that has taken place without interruption for 56 years. that means regardless of political party or t disagreements we may have on other issues, we cangree is, the importance of a strong national defense. this year we consider the national defense authorization act against the backdrop of a changing world. america faces challenges from nations seeking to upend our rules-based international order. these nations aim to undermine the united states and her allies and disrupt the american-led system of international commerce and security that have been the foundation of global prosperity since the end of world war ii. america is at a crossroads, and as we look out at the forces that threaten our security, we need to be ready to defend our way of life.
in europe, a newly emboldened russia, under the control of putin, seeks every opportunity to exertts malign influence, undermineemocci, flaunt international law, and bully our nato allies. in asia, expansionist china is working to coerce its neighbors, invest millions in military modernization, construct illegal, artificial islands, and challenge american leadership across the globe. in short, we have reentered an era of great power competition. if we value our security and our pros party, we -- prosperity, we must be prepared to support the men and women of our military so that they are able to win in this environment. earlier this year secretary of
defense jim mattis presented congress with the national defense strategy. this blueprint for the nation's defense thoroughly emphasis is the fact that interstate competition is now the focus of our un statenational security. the priorities laid out in the n.d.s. provide a road map for confronting these challenges head-on, and now is the time to fund them. that is why i am proud to stand before you in support of the fy- 2019 defense authorization act. with this legislation, we take important steps to ensure our nation's defense is ready to deter and defeat great power adversaries. this year's ndaa provides $716 billion in fiscal year 2019
national defense, a direct investment to build an agile, capable force that is prepared to take on the threats of the 21st century. this authori closely aligns with the core tenets of th.d.s. it provides key investments in modernization priorities that will help prepare our military to defeat threats identified secretary mattis and position our forces to be more lethal against our major foes. first and foremost, this legislation fully supports the sustainment and the modernization of our nuclear forces. i serve as a chair of the subcommittee on strategic forces whose jurisdiction include nuclear forces, missile defense, and national security of oure p. the subcommittee increased investments in each of these
areas i order to speed the development of next-generation capabilities and to meet the unfunded priorities of the military service branches and o our war fighters. additionally, the bill before us today fully supports the administration's 2018 nuclear posture review, which charts a responsible path forward to make sure that our nuclear forces continue to deter strategic attacks on our homeland and also to assure our allies. across all spectrums, this legislation helps support the needs of the warfighter and the goals o our natiol security. amount sea, the fy-2019 ndaa includes over $23 billion for shipbuilding to fully fund ten through combat ships and
accelerate funding several future ships so we can continue to ensure free navigation across the world's oceans. on land, i authorizes more than $1.5 billion to procure 25 tanke the next combat vehicle which is $70 million more than the request to ensure that we are prepared to fight and that we are prepared to fight and to win. and in the air, it ensures our forces are ready by authorizing nearly $400 million for the rc-135 famy of intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance platform which is at the 55th wing at aauford air for base in
alaska. we must continue to meet and defeat the adversaries of tomorrow. that is why this legislation makes significant investments in building the future force, to keep our military a stephead, this ndaa authorizes an increase of more than $600 million above the administration's request for science, technology, and testing programs, including $75 million for university research conducted at innovative locations like the university of nebraska. all told, the fy-2019 ndaa provides a wide spectrum of investment that will help our military stay ahead and ensure that we never have to face an adversary with equal capabilities. just as importantly, this bill
demonstrates the belief of the united ss senate that the most important asset in our arsena not weapons, it' not a weapon platform, but it is the men and women who wear the uniform. with that in mind, the fy-2019 ndaa provides a 2.6% pay raise for members of the armed forces and authorizes nea $ 146 million -- billion dollars for military personnel, including costs of pay, allowances, bonuses, and benefits. we all know that meeting the challenges of tomorrow means having the best talent. it also means having a process in place to incentivize career progress and retain those
uniformed service members who excel in their fields, and that is why this legislation also makes important, much-needed reforms that will modernize our personnel system. for decades, the personnel management system has remained stagnant. now with the reforms included in this bill, we have the oppounity to bring the system in line with the changing needs of the modern military. the fy-2019 ndaa plays the groundwork for new career flexibility and prodes additional opportunities for the highest performers to advance, opening doors to allow the best and the brightest to take on tomorrow's leadership roles. at the end of day, we must be preparedo t face anncerta future. this bill is about ensuring america's security in a volatile
world. as the national defense strategy made clear, our nation is faced, quote, with a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory. end quote. i think all of us in this chamber can agree that environment requires us t stand united and to stand ready as a nation. for that reason, i am proud to say that this year's defense authorization bill expands our capabilities across every domain to meet these threats. ultimately, passing this legislation is about fulfilling the promise we made to our men and women in uniform to give them the best tools to wage the most effective fight and ensure that america is never outmatched
on the battlefield. there may be much uncertainty in this world, but you can count on this, there is no more professional, dedicated, or lethal fighting force in the world than the united states military. let's vote to kp it that way. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. presidg officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: mr. president, as we consider this year's defense authorization act, i rise today to honor my esteemed colleague and friend, senator john mccain. as a member of the armed services committee for the past past f senat mccain hasn for t worked tirelessly to steer this essential legislation through the united states senate. under senator mccain's
leadership, the ndaa has authorized pay raises for troops invest -- troops, invested in modern equipment and advanced training. it has helped to restore militaryeadiness and provided american allies the support needed for security missions around the globe. as we all know, senator mccain has been a fixture in the senate during every ndaa debate, wagging his finger and raising his voice, he mustered the rest of us to support and defend our troops. he made it a priority to reduce wasteful spending and crack down on waste, fraud, and ase year after year under senator mccain's leadership, the senate armed services committee has identified billions of dollars in unnecessary spending at the department of defense, and because of his efforts, we have reinvested savings in providing critical military capabilities for war fighters, meeting the unfunded priorities of our service chiefs, and our
combatant commanders and supporting critical national security priorities. the fact that congress has approved ndaa legislation every year that he has been involved in this process speaks to his ability to unite his colleagues around what matters most. while senator mccain is missed here, his physica presence is missed, his influence and legacy will remain for years to come. in this body and certainly with. mr. president, i'd like to say a few words about a people who was reported to t floor last week, susan brnovich. judge brnovich has been nominated to be a district judge for the seat in arizona, a seat that needs to be filled.
judge brnovich is the right person to fill this seat. she has spent her entire career in her area and i commend her for that. upon her confirmation, judge brnovich will join the bench along with dominique lanza who the judiciary reported to the floor in april. mr. lanza will fill another seat on the arizona district court that has remained vacant for far too long. he, too, is the right person for the job. just two weeks before the committee considered mr. lanza's nomination, he and his colleagues at the u.s. attorney's office coordinated with federal and local law enforcement in phoenix to raid the homesf backpage.com's owners. they seized the backpage.com bsicted those responsible for trafficking young girls online through the company's website, and thanks to mr. lanza's effort, among others, backpage.com is no longer operational, which means the largest online human trafficking scheme in the
country has been shut down. unfortunately, after being reported favorably to the floor two months ago, mr. lanza's nomination has stalled on the senate floor. iee no reason, mr. president, that a man who helped shut backpage should be languishing on the floor for what should be a unanimous vote. i see no reason that my friend judge brnovich who has dedicated her career to representing her fellow arizonans to face the same fate. i urge my colleagues to promptly confirm these two eminently qualified individuals and allow them to take their seats on the federal bench. with that, i yield the floor. the presidg officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk
mr. inhofe: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call in progress be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: mr. president, it was my intent -- and i will be doing it but i wanted to give a chance for senator paul to be on the floor wn i do this. as we have said over and over again. i have to say senator reed and i have worked very closely in trying to get these amendments in pla i can remember years in the past when there were people who objected to any amendments and we ended up without amendments and we had to pass a bill that didn't have an open amendment process on the floor. we wanted an open amendment ocess on the floor. i'm talking about we being the democrats, republicans, the leadership on both sides of the aisle. we have committed to that. we have tried to do that. unfortunately under the senate rules, one senator can stop and object to moving on an amendment. now, if that happens and
continues, the same thing -- i remember four times in the past when we ended up without any amendments at all because one person objected. and so we have -- we're faced right nowh situation where i have to -- do you want to hold that? sorry about that. look, kay and i have been married 58 years. when she calls, i answer! bu anyway, it's our intent to open it up so people can have their amendments, can offer their amendments. we can vote them down, vote them up, whatever we want to do. what i have right now, we have several amendments that are -- i'd like to make a motion to adopt them en bloc. now, these amendments are amendments that have been cleared on both sides. there are ten of them. they are all ten germane amendments.thr amendments, one t
amendment 2289, schatz, bennet 1617, shaheen, number 2686, heitkamp 2695, lee 2723, hatch 2755, cruz 2598, and tester 2818. now, these amendments, these ten amendments, they are all germane , they are cleared on both sides, and i would ask unanimous consent that the amendments be called up en bloc. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. paul: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kencky. mr. paul: reserving t rhto object. the right to a trial by jury is the most precious a ancient right. a few minutes ago on the senate floor, 68 senators voted to give a vote on the senate floor on whether or not anybody accused or captured and accused of a crime will get a trial by jury. it's in the bill of rights. over two-thirds of the senate
voted for it, enough to pass a constitutional amendment voted for it, and one person is denying a vote on this. the senior senator from south carolinaoes not believe thebi oe accused of a crime. think about that. this is not about me. this is abone senator from south carolina who souch objects to the bill of rights that he doesn't want it to apply to people accused of a crime. so yes, i do most strenuously object. mr. inhofe: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i do regret again -- let me repeat what was just objected to. it is ten amendments cleared on both sides. democrats are all for them, republicans are all for them. i suggest the senator, junior senator from kentucky is for all of these amendments, too. if we don't have any of these amendments, then what amendments will we have? and what good does it do to offer an objection to these amendments that have -- that are
all germane just because he's upset with some senior sator from another state? i'm thinking now where do we go from here? where we gorom here is i'm going to offer another block of votes as soon as we have some that are all germane and agreed to on both sides. when that happens, i'm hoping there won't be objection i hope we can break this logjam. if not, what's going to happen is we are going to end up voting for this bill. we know it's going to pass. it's passed for 57 consecutive year so it's going to pass, but it will pass without the amendments of those individuals who have wanted an ope amendment process, which i have wanted, which my democrat colleague froe made that effort for a long period of time. so a concerned. i think that it could end up that we will have -- it's not as
if we haven't had amendments. i want to say this, because in our committee, we had some 300 amendments that we actually considered. so we went through the amendment process. so wave a lot of input from other members, but, again, we were committed to the open amendment process. it looks like we are not g to get it so far. i just ask, i just ask that whatever is causing my good friend from kentucky to object to these amendments will be satisfied by some change. if he wants to vote on his amendment, let him go and pursue someplace, but i hate to hold this bill hostage. we have -- i just got back from being with our troops all over the world. i was in centcom, ucom, i was in africom, talking to our troops over there. they know in this bill, their pay raises are there, their benefits are there. this is something we need to
do -- if there is one thing that needs to be done, it's this bill. i think maybe there is something wrong with the system that says that if i can't have my way and get a vote on my bill, therefore i'm going to kill everybody else's bill, everybody else's amendment. and that is what i'm afraid is maybe happening now. so'my friend from kentucky will reconsider and allow us to pass bills. it has nothing to do withhe amendment the senator from kentucky has. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. inhofe: i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: i ask unanimous consent to have a colloquy with the senator from maryland. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cotton: thank you, mr. president. the senator and i have done a lot of work together on an issue that is a genuine threat to our national security. that's the threat of chinese telecom companiesalin ste our technology, infiltrating our telecom networks, and hacking into the data, not just of our
government or our military, but also private senior citizens. -- private citizens. earlier this year, i asked the directors of all four major intelligence agencies -- the c.i.a., the n.s.a., the f.b.i., and the d.i.a. -- if they would use products made by z.t.e. or wawei. none of them raised their hand. you are the leader of an american intelligence agency. what about members of your family or your neighbors? your friend, church members? for the a single one recommended they would use a huawei or z.t.e. product. i hope those up in the gallery aren't using a huawei or z.t.e. product. if you are, you might want to buy a different one. that's because these companies are dangerous to our national security and to your privacy. huawei and z.t.e.rearof the chinese party it was an engineer for the people's liberation army. the company's livelihood
consists of lgely a steady stream of government contracts and its greatest claim to fame is stealing the secrets of american companies. that's why it's under investigation by the department of justice and for violating sanctions against iran. and z.t.e. is no better. they broke our laws by doing business with north korea and iran and then it lied about it to u.s. iestigators. that makes it a repeat offender. that's why the new director of the n.s.a. committed at his hearing committing to the given the history, it would be reckless to let huawei and z.t.e. infiltrate their products into our country's communications infrastructure. whether it's switches or routers or any other kind of equipment, allowing them to do so would give the chinese government a
backdoor into our first responder networks, our electric grid, and a lot more than that. that's why the federal communications dmition proposed -- commission proposed a rule to prohibit the use of universal service funds buy equipment from these and why i and other members have urged the department of agriculture to do the same thing with r.u.s. funds. these companies have proven themselves to be untrustworthy. at this point i think t only fitting punishment would be to give them the death penalty. that is, to put them out of business in the united states. the only reason huawei is the second largest smartphone maker in the world and z.t.e. the fourth, though, is because we've let the run wild for too long. we've given them access to our markets, even as they broken our laws and abused the rights of our citizens. but if we refuse to do business with them, things would change very quickly, believe me. which is why senator van hollen and i introduced our amendment
that was adopted earlier this week. it would prohibit all federal agencies from buying any kind of equipmentr services from huawei, z.t.e., or any related companies. it would also prohibit any american comny from receiving u.s. taxpayer form of grants or loans should they usewe or z.t.e. products. and finally, our amendment would reinstate the original denial order for the purchase of american goods and service on z.t.e. to hold accountable for breaking our laws. i would say i don't see this amendment as contradictory or harmful to the administration's strategy when it comes to china and north north korea. if anything i -- i think it's complimentary. is originally imposed the death penalty in the form of a denial orde of ping pleefded for life without parole, so to speak, the administration agreed to a tough series of actions. this is the first real concrete action the united states has
taken against huawei and.t., but i and the senators in this chamber believe the death penalty is the appropriate penalty. just as our maximum pressure campaign brought north korea to the table, strengthening our sanctions on z.t.e. will show china that we are finally serious about stopping its theft of our intellectual property, preventing it from infiltrating our communications network and from violating the privacy rights of our citizens. if we weaken sanctions against z.t.e., we will signal to china and to the rest of the world that they can act contrary to our sanctions with impunity. that's a message we cannot afford to send and that's why i'm pleased that the senate agreed to include our amendment in the national defse authorization act. now i'd like to conclude by turning to the senator from maryland with whom i've workedin on this matter, not only on this legislation but in the senate banking committee and ask him
how he sees the threat posed by huawei, z.t.e., and companies like them. mr. van hollen: well, i want ta start by thanking my colleagu the senator for aras for his long-time leadership on a range of important national security issues, including his attention and focus on the threat posed by huawei and z.t.e., which, as he explained,re two chinese telecommunications companies that pose a risk not just to our security butlso to the privacy of american citizens. and this is a threat that is here and now, and it's not one that we've not been aware of for a long time. and i think it is important to look back because this didn't sneak up on us overnight.
if you go back to the year 2012, the house intelligence committee sounded the alarm on huawei and z.t.e. in a bipartisan report that stated, and i quote, china as the means -- has the means, opportunity, and motive to u telecommunications companies for malicious purposes, unquote. and, quote, based on available and unclassified -- excuse me -- based on classified and unclassified information, huawei and z.t.e. cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and, thus, pose a security threat to the united states and to our systems. that was the house intelligence committee report in the year 2012. d since then, the evidence has grown even stronger. we know that the government of china exercises significant control over its telecommunications firms and
that z.t.e. and huawei have close and very long-standing ties to the government. we also know that china is one of the world's most active perpetrators of economic espionage and cyber attacks in the united states. in 2015, the f.b.i. issued a report huawei making it clear that the government of china relies on signals intelligence to spy on american citizens. and american intelligence officials have long warned that beijing could harness this technology to steal data, eavesdrop on conversations or carry out cyberattacks. and we just saw the testimony most recently in february from the leaders of the top u.s. intelligence agencies. senator cotton rempled the -- cotton referenced the testimony of the f.b.i. director and others. i just want to the
testimony f.b.i. director chris ray who said, quote, we're deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don't share our values, to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications netwo that provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure. it provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information, and it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage. that is why a part of this amendment contains that very portant provision that the senator from arksas mentioned that would prohibit u.s. taxpayer dollars from being spent to purchase any of these equipments from huawei or z.t. the pentagon just recently prohibited the sale of these devices on u.s. military bases.
the f.c.c. has also proposed steps to discourage american companies from using products from huawei and z.t.e. it stands to reason and is totally consistent with that sent inment that -- sentiment that we make it clear tt u.s. federal government agencies should not be purchasing this equipment that threatens our national security.ne of those c, z.t.e. in specific, has not only -- not only represents the kind of threat that we've been discussingut alsoas been a repeated and flagrant violator of u.s. law. they were caught a number of s for cheating and instead of coming clean, they tried to cov it up. cheat again and they were caught again. here's what the department of commerce said in its report just this past april about z.t.e.
it said that they engaged in, quote, a multi-year conspiracy to violate u.s. trade, the u.s. trade embargo against iran, to obtain contracts to supply, build, and operate and maintain telecommunications networks inside iran.s. original equipment. and that z.t.e. was illegally shipping telecommunications equipment to north korea in violation of the export administration regulations. the commerce department went on to explain that z.t.e. finally after getting caught multiple times admitted to engaging in an elaborate scheme to hide the unlicensed transactions from the u.s. government by deleting, destroying, removing, or sanitizing materials or information. in fact, it turns out that they were violating our sanctions regime against notnly iran and north korea but also sudan,
syria, and cuba. in fact, they had elaborate flow charts at z.t.e. showing exactly how the were going to do this. and then when we confronted them and they said they were going to come clean, instead they rewarded their top executives with bonuses. and that's why the secretary of commerce issued the sanctions and imposed the blocking order on t se of u.s. telecommunications components to z.t.e. in april, he explained that the message z.t.e. sent from the top was essentially to evade and then lie about what theyere doing with respect to u.s. san well, it's very important that we send a message. and we needo sd a message consistent with what the secretary of commerce did last april because it's really
important as the senator from arkansas said that we let countries know that we mean what we say. and they are a multiple and fragrant violator of those sanction laws ande can't let them off the hook with the slap on the risk. because if we do that, it will undermine our credility with respect to our sanctions on noh korea, which are very important in focusing the thei -- on the goal ofea on nucleazing t korean penia. it will send the wrong message to countries around the world that if we catch you and you cheat again and we catch you, you can just cut a deal that ends up beinglap on the risk. and so that is why i'm very pleased to join with the senator from arkansas offering this
bipartisan amendment in addition to the two of us, there are a number of other senators, a bipartisan group, supporting this legislation. and i'm glad that it's been incorporatedn the legislation. and with that, i want to turn it back over to my friend from arkansas and just ask him if he has any further thoughts on this very important issue before us today. mr. cotton: i thank the senator from maryland for his remarks. once again for working together in sh a constructive fashion. as he said, we've had a number of senators from both parties sponsoring our amendment. i think that reflects the concern that both republicans and democrats alike have about the threat thathinese telecom companies like huawei and z.t.e. pose it our national security and to our citizens' privacy. our amendment is an important first step to ensure that they're not doing business with the federal government or any fis that are relying on u.s. taxpayer dollars. and also that z.t.e. in
particular faces the stiffest penalties possible for its recidivist behavior in violating sanctions and lying to u.s. investigators. t we still have more to do and i suspect we'll be back together either in the senate banking co the senate floor to try to ptect o dozens' safety and their privacy from companies that are in essence arms of the chinese communist party. and we'll be working together in the coming months as this bill moves forward to be reconciled with the house of representatives to ensure that this very important language stays in the bill in its time version and then gets passed into law. mr. van hollen: if i may, i just want to emphasize that final point made bthe senator of arkansas whicht's i going to be very important that we keep this provision in the defense authorization bill as it winds its way through the process. and i am confident that there's a bipartisan commitment to doing exactly that because we cannot
back away at this point. backing away would send a really bad signal toot z.t.e., huawei, other violators of our sanctions or any of our other adversaries that are considering violating u.s. law and u.s. sanctions. mr. cotton: and i couldn't agree more with that. in fact, the house version of the natural defense authorization act does include language that is similar, not identical, to our language. and to my knowledge, it passed without any objection in the house, from either democrats or republicans, again just showing how widespread our concern in congress is with chinese tellly come companies like z.t.e. and huawei. i' confint tha worki together with the senators and our house counterparts that the final version on which we'll vote later this year will have very tough language that will move us in the right direction in protecting our citizens'
the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you. reserving the right to object, senator cotton from arkansas and i were just on thelo this past 15 minutes explaining why this bipartisan provi is inthe e bill. because of the threats posed by huawei and z.t. and with respect to z. specific h. -- and with respect to z.t.e. specifically because of its multiple, flagrant violations of u.s. law and removing that dish that provision with a send a bad signal to anybody around the world watching that you can violate u.s. sanctions law with impunity a we shouldn't be doing that. i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. perdue: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. perdue: i don't disagree that we need to send a str message to people doing business with the united states.
however, the commerce department has imposed severe fines -- in th in the z.t.e. case, a $1.7 billion fine, in addition to penalties and compliance measures on z.t.e., including the firing of its entire board and all senior executive leadership. now, mr. president, that's not dissimilar to a commerce violation right here inunited s. if someone violates the rules and laws of our land, there are fines, pes, and compliance measures that go along with that. in rards to these harsh penalties, senator ross has just said, and i quote, the strictest and largest settlement fine that has ever been brought by the commerce department against a violator of export controls, end quote. the commerce department has leveled a harsh but justified penalty. i agree. we need to send a strong message, and i think this does just that. however, the current ndaa managers' package would trample on the separation of powers and
undercut the trump administration's authority to impose these penalties. my amendment would prevent this year's ndaa from limiting the export control authority on the secretary of commerce. i don't dispute the threat that z.t.e. products pose. but remem the majority of the products are made here in the united states. our products should not use products from z.t.e., huawei, or any other company with such close links to the kleins government. the underlying ndaa still pronates the department of defense from purchasing z.t.e. product but we should not tie the hands of the administration to enact penalties as it sees fit, particularly in these times of aggressive actions by foreign players. i do ask unanimous consent that this -- that it be in order to call up amendment 2870 to amendment 2822. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president?
the presiding officer: is the senator restating his unanimous consent -- mr. perdue: yes, i ask unanimous consent that -- rry, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that it be in order to call up amendment 2870 to amendment 2282. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. van -- mr. van hollen: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from inn *eup. a senator: i heard my colleague from maryland and arkansas. therefore i object. mr. donnelly: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. a nator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. the presiding officer: i rise to discuss my efforts on senate armed services committee on behalf of of the people of indiana for a defense bill that supports indiana's role in our nation's defse, that protects america's security interests and defense-related jobs. mr. donnelly: before i get to