Senate Session - March 21, 2018

The Senate voted 97-2 to pass H.R.1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. The bill would make websites accountable for facilitating the sale of children online by allowing prosecutors to use both state sex trafficking and prostitution laws to prosecute websites that sell victims of trafficking.

Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 10:59:18 AM

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    C-SPAN.

  • 10:59:28 AM

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    LIVE PICTURE OF A SNOWY U.S. CAPITOL WITH GOVERNMENT OFFICES AND SCHOOLS…

    LIVE PICTURE OF A SNOWY U.S. CAPITOL WITH GOVERNMENT OFFICES AND SCHOOLS IN THE AREA CLOSED BECAUSE OF THE THIRD, ACTUALLY THE FOURTH NOR EASTER IN FOUR WEEKS. FSO HITTING THE AREA. THE SENATE IS ABOUT TO COME IN TO FINISH WORK ON AN ONLINE SEX TRAFFICKING PROSECUTION BILL. VOTE EXPECTED TO GET UNDERWAY IN THE 4:00 HOUR. DOUG JONES OF ALABAMA ALSO WOULD BE GIVING HIS MAIDEN SPEECH. THAT IS SET FOR 1 P.M. EASTERN. GOVERNMENT FUNDING EXPIRES TOMORROW. FROM THIS SNOWY SCENE WE WILL LEAVE THIS HERE AND GO LIVE TO THE COZY INDOORS OF THE U.S. SENATE.

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  • 11:00:09 AM

    THE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE

    THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. THE CHAPLAIN, DR. BARRY BLACK, WILL LEAD…

    THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. THE CHAPLAIN, DR. BARRY BLACK, WILL LEAD THE SENATE IN PRAYER.

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  • 11:00:55 AM

    THE CHAPLAIN

    LET US PRAY. IMMORTAL, INVISIBLE, GOD ONLY WISE, WE PRAISE YOU THAT THOSE…

    LET US PRAY. IMMORTAL, INVISIBLE, GOD ONLY WISE, WE PRAISE YOU THAT THOSE WHO TRUST IN YOU WILL NOT LACK ANY GOOD THINGS. WE THANK YOU THAT YOU ARE THE SOURCE OF OUR STRENGTH AND THE STRENGTH OF OUR LIVES. GUIDE OUR LAWMAKERS IN ALL THEIR UNDERTAKINGS. STAY CLOSE TO THEM AND INFUSE THEM WITH YOUR SPIRIT OF WISDOM. MAY THEY STRIVE FOR YOUR APPROVAL INSTEAD OF SEEKING THE APPROBATION OF HUMANITY. WHEN OUR SENATORS FACE TROUBLES, RESCUE THEM FROM EACH ONE, ENABLING THEM TO TELL OF YOUR EXCELLENT GREATNESS. GIVE THEM THE GRACE TO RECEIVE THINGS AS THEY ARE, WHILE RESOLVING BY YOUR GRACE TO MAKE THEM WHAT THEY OUGHT TO BE. WE PRAY IN YOUR STRONG NAME. WE PRAY FOR THE VICTIMS AND FAMILIES OF THE GREAT MILLS SCHOOL SHOOTING. WE PRAY IN YOUR STRONG NAME. AMEN.

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  • 11:02:39 AM

    TEMPORE PLEASE

    PLEASE JOIN ME IN RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO OUR FLAG. I PLEDGE…

    PLEASE JOIN ME IN RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO OUR 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.

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  • 11:03:22 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

  • 11:03:24 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 11:03:25 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I'D LIKE THIS MORNING TO GIVE AN UPDATE FOR MY COLLEAGUES GIVEN THE…

    I'D LIKE THIS MORNING TO GIVE AN UPDATE FOR MY COLLEAGUES GIVEN THE CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH THE WEATHER AND ALSO AS WE MOVE TOWARD A CONCLUSION OF THE OMNIBUS. I'VE SPOKEN TO THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER. IT'S MY EXPECTATION WE'LL MOVE FORWARD WITH VOTES TODAY HOPING TO MOVE THEM FORWARD ON THE SEX TRAFFICKING BILL, MOVING THEM UP IN THE DAY, HOPE TO ACCOMMODATE SAFE TRAVEL SO WE WILL NOTIFY EVERYONE WHEN VOTES ARE SCHEDULED. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:04:16 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL:

  • 11:04:24 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 11:36:42 AM

    MR. PORTMAN

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 11:36:43 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    -L THE SENATOR FROM OHIO.

  • 11:36:45 AM

    MR. PORTMAN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENTER INTO A COLLOQUY WITH SOME…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENTER INTO A COLLOQUY WITH SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES.

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  • 11:36:48 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE IS IN A QUORUM CALL.

  • 11:36:50 AM

    MR. PORTMAN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 11:36:52 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 1865, WHICH THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 11:37:08 AM

    THE CLERK

    CALENDAR NUMBER 339, H.R. 1865, AN ACT TO AMEND THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF…

    CALENDAR NUMBER 339, H.R. 1865, AN ACT TO AMEND THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934, AND SO FORTH AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 11:37:21 AM

    MR. PORTMAN

  • 11:37:23 AM

    MR. PORTMAN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'D LIKE TO ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENTER INTO A COLLOQUY…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'D LIKE TO ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENTER INTO A COLLOQUY ON THAT LEGISLATION WITH SOME OF MY LEADERSHIP COLLEAGUES HERE ON THIS ISSUE. FIRST SENATOR JOHN THUNE, CHAIR OF THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE, VERY INVOLVED IN THIS ISSUE.

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  • 11:37:38 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:37:39 AM

    MR. PORTMAN

    SENATOR RICHARD BLUMENTHAL AS WELL, WHO IS THE COAUTHOR OF THE LEGISLATION…

    SENATOR RICHARD BLUMENTHAL AS WELL, WHO IS THE COAUTHOR OF THE LEGISLATION AND COCHAIR OF THE TRAFFICKING CAUCUS. SENATOR CLARE McCASKILL. RANKING MEMBER OF THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON SESSIONS AND SENATOR HEIDI HEITKAMP, ONE OF THE ORIGINAL SPONSORS OF THIS LEGISLATION.

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  • 11:37:58 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:38:00 AM

    MR. PORTMAN

    I'M PLEASED TO BE JOINED BY MY COLLEAGUES THIS MORNING HERE IN THIS…

    I'M PLEASED TO BE JOINED BY MY COLLEAGUES THIS MORNING HERE IN THIS CHAMBER AS WE BEGIN THE PROCESS OF DEBATING THE AMENDMENTS THAT ARE BEING OFFERED AND MOVING TOWARD A FINAL VOTE ON THIS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION TO DEAL WITH SEX TRAFFICKING, WHICH UNBELIEVABLY IN THIS CENTURY IN THIS COUNTRY IS ACTUALLY INCREASING. ALL THE EXPERTS SAY IT'S INCREASING BECAUSE OF THE PRESENCE OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS ONLINE THAT ARE USING THE RUTHLESS EFFICIENCY OF THE INTERNET TO SELL WOMEN AND CHILDREN. IT'S FITTING THAT THIS GROUP IS BIPARTISAN BECAUSE THIS PROCESS HAS BEEN BIPARTISAN, COMING UP WITH THIS LEGISLATION ALL ALONG. IT'S REALLY THE CULMINATION OF TWO YEARS WORTH OF WORK. A LOT OF GREAT WORK, INVESTIGATION BEING DONE BY THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATION, ALSO GOOD WORK DONE BY THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE THROUGH REGULAR ORDER. WE WOULD NOT BE ON THE VERGE OF SENDING THIS BILL TO THE PRESIDENT'S DESK WITHOUT THE HARD WORK OF EVERY SENATOR WHO WILL BE ON THE FLOOR THIS MORNING. I'D LIKE TO RECOGNIZE A SIXTH MEMBER OF OUR GROUP WHO CANNOT BE HERE BUT WHOSE PASSION ABOUT THIS ISSUE MEANS THAT ALTHOUGH HIS PRESENCE IS NOT HERE, IT IS FELT. AND THAT'S SENATOR JOHN McCAIN. BOTH SENATOR McCAIN AND HIS WIFE CINDY McCAIN HAVE TAKEN ON THIS ISSUE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING THROUGH THE McCAIN INSTITUTE AND SENATOR McCAIN, THROUGH OUR WORK ON THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS AND ALSO IN HELPING US WITH THIS LEGISLATION. WE WISH THEY COULD BE HERE FOR THE FINAL VOTE ON THIS BILL BECAUSE I KNOW JOHN McCAIN IS WATCHING RIGHT NOW AND WISHING HE COULD BE HERE WITH US. AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO HIS RETURN HERE TO THIS CHAMBER. BUT I WANT TO THANK THEM ON BEHALF OF ALL OF US FOR THEIR HARD WORK ON THIS ISSUE OVER THE YEARS. YOU'LL HEAR FROM MY COLLEAGUES TODAY, MR. PRESIDENT, ON A NUMBER OF THINGS WE'VE DONE IN THIS CONGRESS IN THIS PROCESS OF PUTTING TOGETHER THE RIGHT LEGISLATIVE FIX TO BE ABLE TO TAKE AWAY AN IMMUNE ITTY UNBELIEVABLY THAT SOME OF THESE EVIL WEBSITES HAVE UNDER FEDERAL LAW TO BE ABLE TO SELL PEOPLE ONLINE. YOU'LL HEAR ABOUT THE 18-MONTH INVESTIGATION INTO ONLINE TRAFFICKING AND INTO BACKPAGE.COM. YOU'LL HEAR ABOUT STORIES OF ONLINE SEX TRAFFICKING AND SOME OF THE INJUSTICE EXPERIENCED BY SOME OF THE VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS WHO HAVE COME TO US BACK HOME IN OUR STATES AND COME HERE TO TESTIFY BRAVELY HERE IN THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS. YOU'LL HEAR ABOUT SOME OF THE CALLS FROM THE COURTS AROUND THE COUNTRY FOR US TO PASS LEGISLATION TO FIX THIS PROBLEM. THE PROSECUTORS, THE U.S. ATTORNEYS, THE PEOPLE BACK HOME WHO ARE EAGER TO PROSECUTE ON THESE CASES BUT CAN'T BECAUSE OF A FEDERAL LAW. YOU'LL HEAR ABOUT THE WORK OF THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE, AS I SAID EARLIER, HELPING US COME UP WITH A COMMONSENSE TARGETED BILL THROUGH THE REGULAR ORDER TO BE SURE WE WOULD HAVE NOT JUST THE BEST LEGISLATIVE PRODUCT BUT WE WOULD HAVE BUY-IN FROM MEMBERS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE. I WANT TO COMMEND SENATOR JOHN THUNE FOR DOING THAT. HE CHAIRS THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE WHICH HELD A HEARING ON THIS LEGISLATION, SESTA, LAST SEPTEMBER AND WAS REPORTED OUT OF COMMITTEE AFTER MAKING A FEW CHANGES TO THE LEGISLATION WHICH CLARIFIED THE INTENT IN A BE POSITIVE WAY. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I'D LIKE TO YIELD TO MY COLLEAGUE, JOHN THUNE.

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  • 11:41:03 AM

    MR. THUNE

    MR. PRESIDENT, I TOO WANT TO RECOGNIZE AND SAY TO SENATOR PORTMAN, WHO'S…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I TOO WANT TO RECOGNIZE AND SAY TO SENATOR PORTMAN, WHO'S BEEN A LEADING VOICE IN THE SENATE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING WHAT A GREAT JOB HE HAS DONE GETTING US TO THIS POINT. THIS WAS A, A LONG, MULTIMONTH, AS HE SAID, TWO-YEAR EFFORT. SENATOR PORTMAN HAS BEEN ABSOLUTELY RELENTLESS IN PUSHING AND DRIVING THIS PROCESS FORWARD, AND I COMMEND HIM FOR HIS IMPORTANT WORK WHICH WILL CULMINATE TODAY, I CERTAINLY HOPE, WITH A BIG BIPARTISAN VOTE IN SUPPORT OF THE LEGISLATION IN FRONT OF US. I ALSO WANT TO COMMEND BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS THAT WORKED HARD TO DRAFT THE STOP ENABLING SEX TRAFFICKERS ACT WHICH INCLUDES SENATOR TPWHRAOUPL THAT YOU -- TKPWHRAOUPL THAT YOU -- SENATOR BLUMENTHAL, SENATOR HEITKAMP AND SENATOR PORTMAN AND SENATOR McCAIN WHO HAS BEEN AN ADVOCATE FOR ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE FOR SO MANY YEARS AND WISH HE COULD BE HERE TO PARTICIPATE AND TO BE ABLE TO VOTE FOR ITS PASSAGE. BUT WE KNOW THAT HIS WORK OVER THE YEARS HAS PLAYED AN INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT ROLE IN GETTING US TO WHERE WE ARE TODAY. THIS GROUP ALSO HELPED LEAD THE EFFORT TO CONDUCT IMPORTANT INVESTIGATORY OVERSIGHT THAT HAS HELPED US TO GET TO THE POINT WHERE WE ARE TODAY. LAST YEAR AS SENATOR PORTMAN POINTED OUT I CHAIRED A COMMERCE COMMITTEE HEARING ON HIS BILL WHERE WE HEARD TESTIMONY FROM EXPERTS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ISSUE. WE LISTENED CAREFULLY TO WHAT OUR WITNESSES HAD TO SAY, AND AFTER THE HEARING WE WORKED TOGETHER TO MAKE SOME TARGETED CHANGE TO THE LEGISLATION. AND THE BILL THAT ULTIMATELY ADVANCED FROM OUR COMMITTEE ENJOYED, AS SENATOR PORTMAN POINTED OUT, SOLID SUPPORT FROM THE INTERNET INDUSTRY. IT PASSED THE SENATE COMMERCE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY. THE BILL IS STRONGLY SUPPORTED BY MEMBERS OF BOTH PARTIES. WE RACKED UP LOTS OF BIPARTISAN SUPPORT, 68 OUT OF 100 SENATORS NOW COSPONSORS OF THIS BILL. THE BILL IS SUPPORTED BY THE WHITE HOUSE, AND SO WE KNOW THAT AS SOON AS IT LEAVES THE SENATE IT WILL LAND ON THE PRESIDENT'S DESK WHERE IT WILL BE SIGNED INTO LAW. SUPPORTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT ORGANIZATIONS, ORGANIZATIONS THAT FIGHT SEX TRAFFICKING AND BY FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS. AT OUR COMMERCE COMMITTEE HEARING, MR. PRESIDENT, WE ALSO HEARD SOME POWERFUL, POWERFUL TESTIMONY FROM YVONNE AM BRING TO A -- YVONNE AMBROSE WHOSE DAUGHTER WAS SEX TRAFFICKED BEFORE SHE WAS MURDERED. SHE WAS A BRIGHT LOVING GIRL WHO DREAMED OF BECOMING A DOCTOR IN THE AIR FORCE. INSTEAD SHE WAS RAPED AND MURDERED BY A MAN TWICE HER AGE WHO SOUGHT HER FOR SEX AFTER SEEING HER ADVERTISED ON AN INTERNET SITE. MS. AMBROSE'S POWERFUL TESTIMONY HELPED THE MEMBERS OF OUR COMMITTEE UNDERSTAND THE TERRIBLE PAIN THAT VICTIMS OF SEX TRAFFICKING AND THEIR FAMILIES ARE EXPOSED TO. AND I'M VERY THANKFUL TO HER FOR SHARING DESIREE'S STORY. THIS BILL HAS ALREADY CLEARED THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, MR. PRESIDENT, BY AN OVERWHELMING MARGIN, AND I ENCOURAGE MY COLLEAGUES HERE IN THE SENATE TO REJECT ANY ATTEMPTS TO SLOW THIS BILL DOWN WITH AMENDMENTS. THIS HAS BEEN VERY CAREFULLY AND THOROUGHLY VETTED THROUGH THE MANY PROCESSES THAT SENATOR PORTMAN DESCRIBED. WE NEED TO GET THIS BILL OVER THE FINISH LINE, ON THE PRESIDENT'S DESK, AND SIGNED INTO LAW, BECAUSE THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN OUT THERE WHO ARE WAITING FOR OUR HELP. SO, AGAIN, I COMMEND SENATOR PORTMAN AND HIS COLLEAGUES HERE IN THE SENATE WHO HAVE WORKED TIRELESSLY ON THIS. AND I HOPE WE HAVE A BIG OUTCOME TODAY AND THAT WE DO SOMETHING REALLY MEANINGFUL TO ADDRESS A SCOURGE THAT THIS COUNTRY NEEDS TO GET RID OF. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD BACK TO THE SENATOR FROM OHIO. AND I KNOW THERE ARE OTHERS HERE WHO HAVE JOINED US WHO I THINK INTEND TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR DISCUSSION.

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  • 11:44:57 AM

    MR. PORTMAN

    AGAIN, I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FROM SOUTH DAKOTA WHO HAS BEEN AT THE…

    AGAIN, I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FROM SOUTH DAKOTA WHO HAS BEEN AT THE FOREFRONT HERE AND GETTING IT THROUGH THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE WITH A UNANIMOUSLY VOTE FRANKLY WAS EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS THAT MANY ON THE OUTSIDE HAD. THEY THOUGHT THIS MIGHT BE A TIME FOR THOSE WHO ARE AGAINST THE LEGISLATION TO STOP THE BILL, BUT INSTEAD WE WERE ABLE THROUGH TESTIMONY TO SHOW THAT THIS IS A COMMONSENSE, TARGETED APPROACH THAT WILL MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE WE REPRESENT WITHOUT AFFECTING THE FREEDOM OF THE INTERNET. AND THAT'S THE RIGHT BAM -- BALANCE THAT SENATOR THUNE HELPED US TO GET TO. SENATOR BLUMENTHAL IS HERE AND WAS A FORMER STATE PROSECUTOR AND HAS A SPECIAL BACKGROUND IN PROSECUTING THESE CASES AND, THEREFORE, JOINS ME IN ENSURING THAT THIS LEGISLATION ALLOWED FOR OUR STATE PROSECUTORS, THE LOCAL PROSECUTORS WHO ARE GOING TO TAKE MANY OF THESE CASES BE ABLE TO SUE THESE WEBSITES ONLINE USING THE CURRENT SHIELD. AFTER THIS LEGISLATION, THESE PROSECUTORS WILL BE ABLE TO SUCCESSFULLY PROSECUTE THESE CASES. WITH THAT, I YIELD TO SENATOR BLUMENTHAL.

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  • 11:46:11 AM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I AM PROUD TO BE HERE AS A FORMER ASSOCIATE…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I AM PROUD TO BE HERE AS A FORMER ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND STATE PROSECUTOR. I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR MOST OF MY CAREER, AND I'M PROUD TO STAND HERE NOW IN THIS CHAMBER FOLLOWING THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE WHOSE DEDICATION TO THIS CAUSE HAS BROUGHT US TO THE FINISHLINE, AND MY -- FINISH LINE, AND MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR PORTMAN, WHOSE LEADERSHIP ON THIS BILL IS INVALUABLE. I WANT TO SECOND A NUMBER OF POINTS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE BY SENATOR PORTMAN AND SENATOR THUNE, MOST ESPECIALLY ABOUT THE COLLABORATIVE EFFORT INVOLVED IN THIS BILL, BIPARTISAN CHAMPIONING OF A CAUSE WHOSE TIME HAS COME, AND PARTICULARLY TO OUR COLLEAGUE JOHN McCAIN AND HIS WIFE CINDY McCAIN, WHOSE ENERGY AND SPIRIT, COURAGE AND STRENGTH HAVE REALLY BEEN AIN'T SEPARATION TO -- AN INSPIRATION TO ALL OF US, I ALSO WANT TO THANK SENATORS HEITKAMP, WHITEHOUSE, AND CORNYN, BECAUSE THEIR CONTRIBUTION HAS BEEN ENORMOUS AS WELL. THERE IS A FACE TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THIS COUNTRY. HERE IS ONE OF THE FACES. DESIREE ROBINSON, WHOSE STORY YOU JUST HEARD FROM SENATOR THUNE, IS ONE SUCH FACE. HER VOICE IS STILL -- HER VOICE COULD NOT BE HEARD DIRECTLY, BUT HER MOTHER, YVONNE AMBROSE, CAME TO OUR COMMITTEE AND TALKED ABOUT HER BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER WHOSE LIFE WAS LOST AS A RESULT OF SEX TRAFFICKING. SHE WAS KILLED AFTER SHE WAS RAPED AND AFTER SHE WAS SOLD. AND HER STORY ALONE HELPED US ACHIEVE UNANIMOUS APPROVAL IN THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE FOR THIS BILL, AND I HOPE IT WILL LEAD US ALSO TO AN OVERWHELMING VOTE TODAY ON THE BILL BEFORE US. I HOPE AS WELL IT WILL LEAD US TO DEFEAT AMENDMENTS THAT WOULD, IN EFFECT, KILL THIS BILL, AMENDMENTS THAT MAY BE WELL INTENTIONED BUT IN FACT HAVE AN EFFECT CONTRARY TO THEIR STATED PURPOSE. THIS BILL IS COMPLETELY BIPARTISAN FROM BEGINNING TO END. IT IS THE RESULT OF TIRELESS WORK OF ADVOCATES, SEX TRAFFICKING SURVIVORS AND A BIPARTISAN COALITION OF SPONSORS. ITS COMPANION LEGISLATION PASSED IN THE HOUSE 388-25. IT IS THE PRODUCT OF STAKEHOLDER CONSENSUS. IT HAS THE SUPPORT OF EVERY MAJOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION, EVERY MAJOR LAW ENFORCEMENT GROUP, EVERY PART OF THE TECH COMMUNITY, IF NOT UNANIMOUS, AT LEAST MANY OF ITS LEADERS. AND THIS BILL ESSENTIALLY WOULD CLARIFY SECTION 230 OF THE COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT THAT WAS NEVER INTENDED TO GIVE WEBSITES A FREE PASS TO AID AND ABET SEX TRAFFICKING. IT WAS NEVER INTEND IT HAD TO I'M EWE NIEZ -- IMMUNIZE COMPLETELY THOSE WEBSITES SO THEY COULD KNOWINGLY FACILITATE SEX TRAFFICKING. THOSE WORDS ARE IN THE BILL, KNOWINGLY FACILITATE. AND THE PURPOSE OF OUR MEASURE IS VERY SIMPLY TO GIVE THOSE SURVIVORS THEIR DAY IN COURT RIGHT NOW -- RIGHT NOW THE COURTROOM DOORS ARE BARRED TO THEM AS A RECENT COURT OF APPEALS OPINION REMARKED OUTRAGEOUSLY SO, AND IT WOULD ALSO OPEN AVENUES OF PROSECUTION TO LAW ENFORCEMENT WHERE THEY ARE CURRENTLY ROADBLOCKED. MY EXPERIENCE COMBATING SEX TRAFFICKING AT THE STATE LEVEL LED ME TO COLAUNCH AND COCHAIR THE SENATE CAUCUS TO END HUMAN TRAFFICKING WITH SENATOR PORTMAN SEEKING TO FIND SOLUTIONS TO THIS PROBLEM. I WAS TOLD AS A STATE PROSECUTOR THAT I COULD NOT PURSUE ACTION AGAINST CRAIG'S LIST OR OTHER SITES NEARLY A DECADE AGO BECAUSE OF THAT SECTION AND THE INTERPRETATION OF IT. SO, CLEARLY, THE WEBSITES FACILITATING KNOWINGLY, ENCOURAGING, AND PROFITING FROM SEX TRAFFICKING MUST FACE REPERCUSSIONS IN THE COURTROOM. FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT TO SUCCEED IN COMBATING SEX TRAFFICKING, THERE HAS TO BE CONSEQUENCES. THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN REPORTED AN 840% INCREASE IN SUSPECTED CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING FROM 2010 TO 2015 ALONE, AND THAT SPIKE, IT FOUND, QUOTE, DIRECTLY CORRELATED TO THE INCREASE USE OF THE INTERNET TO SELL CHILDREN FOR SEX. THOSE NUMBERS FAIL TO TELL THE FULL STORY. IN FACT, THIS PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS. THIS PICTURE OF DESIREE SHOWS HER AS A YOUNG GIRL SMILING. IN FACT, HER MOM TOLD US HER SMILE COULD LIGHT UP A ROOM. SHE WAS A SUCCESSFUL STUDENT WHO DREAMED OF BECOMING A PHYSICIAN IN THE AIR FORCE. WHEN SHE WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL, A SERIES OF MEN REACHED OUT TO HER ON SOCIAL MEDIA. THEY PRESSURED AND MANIPULATED HER INTO SELLING HER FOR SEX AND THEN ADVERTISE HER ON BACKPAGE.COM. HER MOM, YVONNE, TOLD US WHAT HAPPENED NEXT. ON DECEMBER 23, 2016, A 32-YEAR-OLD MAN BY THE NAME OF ANTONIO ROZALOS WAS LOOKING THROUGH BACKPAGE.COM FOR A PERSON TO HAVE SEX WITH. HE KNEW BACKPAGE.COM WAS A SITE TO GO TO FIND YOUNG UNDERAGED GIRLS TO HAVE SEX WITH. HE CAME ACROSS MY DAUGHTER IN THE POSTING, NEW GIRL IN TOWN LOOKING TO HAVE FUN. DESIREE WAS DRIVEN TO ANTONIO'S RESIDENCE BY THE PIMPLE, -- BY THE PIMP TO HAVE SEX WITH A MAN TWICE HER AGE. THIS WAS THE LAST DAY OF MY DAUGHTER'S LIFE. ON DECEMBER 23, 2016, MY DAUGHTER, WAS THE LAST DAY ON EARTH. SHE WAS BEATEN AND STRANGLED ALL BECAUSE SHE SAID NO. SHE SCREAMED FOR HELP AND THERE WAS NO ONE AROUND TO HELP HER. YVONNE AMBROSE HAD THE COURAGE TO COME TESTIFY BEFORE US, AND I REPEATED THIS -- PART OF HER TESTIMONY NOT BECAUSE IT IS ENONLYING OR PLEASANT, BUT IT IS THE HARD, UGLY TRUTH ABOUT SEX TRAFFICKING. IT IS THE REASON THAT WE MUST PASS THIS MEASURE, AND IT IS ALSO THE REASON WHY WE NEED TO DEFEAT THE AMENDMENTS THAT WOULD SEND THIS MEASURE BACK TO THE HOUSE AND IT'S POSSIBLE DEMISE. EVERY ONE OF THE GROUPS THAT I MENTIONED EARLIER, INCLUDING DESIREE'S LAWYER, HAVE URGED US TO DEFEAT THESE AMENDMENTS. AND I WANT TO READ JUST ONE OR TWO SENTENCES FROM THE LAWYER THAT I RECEIVED TODAY FROM -- A LETTER THAT I RECEIVED TODAY FROM DESIREE'S LAWYER ABOUT THE SO-CALLED MODERATION AMENDMENT. QUOTE, AT FIRST GLANCE IT APPEARS THAT THE MODERATION AMENDMENT IS DISGUISING ITSELF AS A GOOD SAMARITAN AMENDMENT, HOWEVER, IN A NUTSHELL, IT'S EFFECT IS A REALLY BAD FAITH SAMARITAN IMMUNITY. END OF QUOTE. THIS MEASURE IS NARROWLY TAILORED. IT WOULD ENSURE THAT STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT CAN JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST THESE CRIMINAL WEBSITES. IT PROVIDES SURVIVORS A RIGHT OF ACTION THAT WOULD BE NOT ONLY A SOURCE OF RELIEF FOR THEM BUT ALSO A MEANS OF REMEDY. AND THE AMENDMENT, THE GOOD SAMARITAN AMENDMENT, UNFORTUNATELY, PERHAPS UNINTENTIONALLY, WOULD SIMPLY PROTECT THE WEBSITES. NOW, THE PEOPLE WHO COMPLAIN AND TAKE ACTION CERTAINLY DESERVE PROTECTION. IT'S IN THE CURRENT LAW. ONE OF THE REASONS THAT WE WANT TO DEFEAT THIS AMENDMENT IS THAT IT WOULD PROBABLY HAVE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES IN PROTECTING WEBSITES THAT IDENTIFY SEX TRAFFICKING ADS AND THEN LEAVE THEM UP IN ORDER TO CONTINUE PROFITING FROM THEM. BUT THE LETTER FROM DESIREE ROBINSON'S ESTATE, GINA ABONIE, OBJECTING TO THIS AMENDMENT I THINK IS A POWERFUL REMINDER THAT WE NEED TO STICK TO WHAT WE HAVE AND WHAT WE KNOW WILL WORK. I ASK THAT LETTER BE INCLUDEDDED AS PART OF THE RECORD.

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  • 11:57:58 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:58:00 AM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

    FINALLY, THERE IS A FUNDING AMENDMENT THAT HAS BEEN OFFERED AS WELL, WHILE…

    FINALLY, THERE IS A FUNDING AMENDMENT THAT HAS BEEN OFFERED AS WELL, WHILE WELL INTENTIONED, IT WOULD DERAIL THIS LEGISLATION. IT WOULD PROVIDE MONEY TO ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS TO INVESTIGATE AN PROSECUTE WEBSITES THAT CRIMINALLY FACILITATE HUMAN TRAFFICKING. THIS AMENDMENT TOO IS OPPOSED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES. YESTERDAY I PUT THEIR LETTERS INTO THE RECORD. EVERY MAJOR LAW ENFORCEMENT REPRESENTATIVE AGENCY OPPOSES IT BECAUSE, AND I'M QUOTING, ONE OF THOSE LETTERS, THE FUNDING AMENDMENT IS A POISON PILL THAT IS DEAD ON ARRIVAL IF SENT BACK TO THE HOUSE. SO LET ME CONCLUDE SEM MY BY SAYING -- SIMPLY BY SAYING, I BELIEVE THIS MEASURE ACCOMPLISHES SOME POWERFULLY IMPORTANT PURPOSES. IT WOULD NOT CRIMINALIZE SO-CALLED HARM REDUCTION COMMUNICATION INFORMATION THAT'S DESIGNED TO ENSURE THAT WOMEN AND MEN WRAPPED UP IN COMMERCIAL SEX TRADE CAN AVOID VIOLENCE, PREVENT H.I.V., AND ACCESS COMMUNITY AND SUPPORT SERVICES. H.R. 1865 WAS NOT DESIGNED TO TARGET WEBSITES THAT SPREAD HARM REDUCTION INFORMATION, AND THE LANGUAGE OF THE BILL MAKES THAT CLEAR. THE PURPOSE OF THIS BILL IS MUCH MORE NARROWLY FOCUSED AND A WEBSITE USER OR OPERATOR MUST INTEND TO FACILITATE PROSECUTION IF THEIR GOAL IS TO SAVE LIVES BY LIFESAVING INFORMATION, THEY HAVE NOT VIOLATED THE LAW, AND, FINALLY, THIS LEGISLATION, I WANT TO MAKE ABSOLUTELY CLEAR, IS NOT INTENDED TO PREJUDICE THE RIGHTS OF ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN VICTIMIZED BY A CRIME ONLINE OTHER THAN SEX TRAFFICKING. FOR EXAMPLE, I DISAGREE WITH THE COURTS THAT HELD THAT THE COMMUNICATION DECENCY ACT IMMUNIZES ONLINE FIREARM SALES LIKE ARMS LIST FOR FACILITATING LEGAL GUN SALE. WHILE THIS LEGISLATION DOES NOT ADDRESS THOSE LIMGHTSES, NO ONE BELIEVES THAT CONGRESS BELIEVES THEY WERE RIGHTLY DECIDED. AGAIN, MY THANKS TO ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES AND MOST ESPECIALLY TO SENATOR PORTMAN FOR HIS HA WORK, HIS LEADERSHIP, AND HIS COURAGE IN TACKLING THIS TOUGH PROBLEM WHICH SHOULD BRING ALL OF US TOGETHER. MAKING SESTA THE LAW OF THE LAND WILL HELP SAVE LIVES. IT WILL SPARE OTHERS THE FATE OF DESIRAE ROBINSON. IT WILL MAKE SURE THAT MORE PARENTS SEE JUSTICE AND THAT SURVIVORS HAVE THEIR DAY IN COURT AND LAW ENFORCEMENT THE RIGHT TO PURSUE THESE WRONGDOERS. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, AND I YIELD BACK.

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  • 12:01:24 PM

    MR. PORTMAN

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FOR HIS COMMENTS AND MORE IMPORTANTLY FOR HIS…

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FOR HIS COMMENTS AND MORE IMPORTANTLY FOR HIS LEADERSHIP ON THIS ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE PROCESS OF DRAFTING THE LEGISLATION. I AM NOW GOING TO YIELD TO ONE OF MY OTHER COLLEAGUES. IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S SENATOR HEITKAMP WHO WILL BE THE NEXT TO SPEAK. SHE IS FROM NORTH DAKOTA, NOT SOUTH DAKOTA, AS WE TALKED ABOUT EARLIER WITH SENATOR THUNE, AND HAS A SIMILAR PASSION FOR THIS ISSUE. SHE HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN THIS ISSUE FOR MANY YEARS AND IS ALSO ON THE COMMITTEE WHERE WE DID THE P.S.I. WORK WE TALKED ABOUT EARLIER. I APPRECIATE HER BEING ONE OF OUR SIX ORIGINAL COSPONSORS, HELPING US TO DRAFT THIS TARGETED, FOCUSED LEGISLATION THAT DEALS DIRECTLY WITH THE PROBLEM WE HAVE SEEN AROUND THE COUNTRY THAT WAS DISCUSSED BY SENATOR BLUMENTHAL. WITH THAT, I'D LIKE TO YIELD TO MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR HEITKAMP.

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  • 12:02:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA.

  • 12:02:14 PM

    MS. HEITKAMP

    I AM SO PROUD TO STAND HERE WITH MY FIVE COLLEAGUES, BUT I ALSO HAVE TO…

    I AM SO PROUD TO STAND HERE WITH MY FIVE COLLEAGUES, BUT I ALSO HAVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE ONE THAT'S NOT HERE, AND THAT'S SENATOR JOHN McCAIN WHO HAS BEEN AN ABSOLUTE CHAMPION, ALONG WITH HIS WIFE, ON ATTACKING THIS PROBLEM. FIVE YEARS AGO WHEN I MET CINDY McCAIN, ONE OF THE FIRST WORDS OUT OF HER MOUTH WAS WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS? WORKING WITHIN THE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE WHERE SO MUCH OF THIS WORK GOT DONE BOTH IN THE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE BUT ALSO IN THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS, I CAN'T SAY ENOUGH ABOUT THE COMMITMENT OF THAT COMMITTEE BUT IMPORTANTLY THE COMMITMENT OF THE LEADERSHIP OF THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS, BOTH SENATOR PORTMAN AND SENATOR McCASKILL WHO WORKED IN TANDEM, WHO ENGAGED THEIR VERY, VERY CAPABLE STAFF, WHO DID THE INVESTIGATION THAT LED TO THE EXPOSURE OF THE ISSUES THAT LED TO A COMMITMENT, A BIPARTISAN COMMITMENT TO DEVELOP AND PASS THIS BILL. BUT I DO WANT TO SAY THAT I KNOW THAT JOHN AND CINDY ARE WITH US TODAY IN SPIRIT, THAT I KNOW CINDY'S PROBABLY WATCHING BECAUSE SHE IS VERY, VERY EXCITED THAT FINALLY WE'RE GOING TO GET THIS DONE, AND THIS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT TOOL, THIS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT PIECE OF STOPPING HUMAN TRAFFICKING, WHICH HAS BEEN HER LIFELONG OBJECTIVE AND PASSION. AND SO TODAY WE STAND NOT JUST WITH THE COLLEAGUES THAT ARE HERE ON THE FLOOR BUT ALSO WITH OUR GREAT FRIEND, SENATOR JOHN McCAIN, AND HIS BEAUTIFUL AND ACTIVE AND WONDERFUL WIFE, CINDY McCAIN. SO I WANT TO KIND OF SAY THE OTHER REASON WHY I'M REALLY PROUD IS THIS IS WHY I CAME TO THE UNITED STATES SENATE, TO WORK ACROSS THE AISLE TO ADDRESS MAJOR ISSUES AND CHALLENGES, TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF SOME OF THE MOST VULNERABLE HUMAN BEINGS IN OUR COUNTRY. WE'RE HERE TODAY ON THE CUSP OF PASSING A BILL THAT WILL PROVIDE VICTIMS A REAL OPPORTUNITY TO SEEK JUSTICE AND RECOVER DAMAGES FROM WEBSITES WHO PROFITED ON THEIR PAIN OF BEING SOLD FOR SEX, WHILE ALSO PROVIDING NEW TOOLS TO PROSECUTORS, INCLUDING MY FORMER COLLEAGUES, THE STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL, TO GO AFTER THESE SITES AND AFTER THEIR OWNERS. AGAIN, I WANT TO THANK SENATOR PORTMAN AND SENATOR BLUMENTHAL FOR THEIR TIRELESS WORK IN TRYING TO FASHION THE RIGHT MIX OF UNDERSTANDING OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS TOOL WE CALL THE INTERNET, BUT ALSO TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS IS NOT USED AS A TOOL FOR INCREDIBLY BAD ACTORS WHO WOULD PREY ON THE MOST VULNERABLE AMONG US. AND SO DRIVING THIS BILL AND FORGING A COMPROMISE WAS NOT EASY. THIS WAS NOT EASY. NO ONE SHOULD THINK THAT THIS CAME TOGETHER EASILY OR THAT WE DIDN'T HAVE MANY MOMENTS WHERE WE DID OUR OWN SOUL SEARCHING, THOSE OF US WHO ARE COMMITTED TO THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND THOSE OF US WHO ARE COMMITTED TO FREE ACCESS OF MEANS TO EXPRESS OUR OPINIONS AND DO OUR BUSINESS. SO WHAT I WILL TELL YOU IS THIS IS A BIG THING. THIS ISN'T A LITTLE THING. THIS IS A BIG THING, NOT ONLY BECAUSE WE ARE DOING IT IN A BIPARTISAN WAY BUT THAT WE ARE SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF THE MOST VULNERABLE HUMAN BEINGS IN THIS COUNTRY. THE SALE OF HUMAN BEINGS FOR SEX ON THE INTERNET, I CAN'T IMAGINE A MORE HEINOUS ACT, AND IT'S HAPPENING IN ALL OF OUR COMMUNITIES. IT'S HAPPENING IN OUR STATES EACH AND EVERY DAY. WHEN I BEGAN MY JOURNEY TO THE UNITED STATES SENATE, I ENGAGED AND STARTED VISITING WITH MY OLD FRIENDS IN NORTH DAKOTA LAW ENFORCEMENT. AS I HAVE SAID MANY TIMES HERE, I AM A FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL FROM THE GREAT STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA AND HAVE GREAT FRIENDS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT, AND THEIR MESSAGE WAS SIMPLE. THEY WERE SEEING A LOT MORE DRUGS. OBVIOUSLY, NORTH DAKOTA WAS EXPERIENCING AN OIL BOOM AND THAT WAS CREATING SOME SOCIAL UPHEAVAL. ADDITIONAL CRIME, ADDITIONAL CONCERN ABOUT CRIME. BUT THEY THEN TOLD ME SOMETHING I DIDN'T EXPECT. WE'RE SEEING THIS INCREDIBLE RATE AND INCREASE IN PROSTITUTION, AND I THOUGHT ABOUT THAT AND I THOUGHT WELL, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN AND HOW DO WE INVESTIGATE IT, AND SO MANY PEOPLE WOULD ARGUE THAT THIS IS A VICTIMLESS CRIME AND NOT A PRIORITY. AND WE STARTED LOOKING BEHIND THIS. MY COLLEAGUES IN LAW ENFORCEMENT IN NORTH DAKOTA STARTED DOING THINGS, AND THEY DID SOMETHING THAT PEACE OFFICERS ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY DO. THEY SAT DOWN WITH THE WOMEN THEY WERE ARRESTING AND THEY STARTED LISTENING TO THEIR STORIES, AND THE STORIES WERE HEART BREAKING. THE STORIES OF BEING PREYED ON AS YOUNG GIRLS, EITHER IN THEIR HOME OR AS THEY WERE RUNNING AWAY. THE STORIES OF HOW THEY GOT IN THE LIFE. AND MANY, MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES IN LAW ENFORCEMENT BEGAN TO SAY THESE WOMEN ARE NOT CRIMINALS. THEY ARE VICTIMS. AND WE BEGAN TO LOOK AT WHAT HAS LED TO THIS HUGE EXPLOSION, AND WE STARTED EXAMINING ALL THE WEBSITES, ALL THE PLACES WHERE WITH THE TWEAK OF A WORD OR WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE ANONYMOUS ANONYMOUS -- IN THE OLD DAYS, YOU WOULD HAVE TO STAND OUT PERHAPS ON A STREET CORNER, BUT NOW YOU CAN BE ANONYMOUS, AND THAT IT GAVE THOSE PERPETRATORS, THOSE EVIL HUMAN BEINGS YET ANOTHER AVENUE. AND THAT'S WHEN WE STARTED LOOKING AT BACKPAGE.COM AND OTHER SITES LIKE IT THAT SELL HUMAN BEINGS FOR SEX, AND THAT OCCURS IN EVERY CORNER OF OUR COUNTRY, IN THE SMALL AND BIG STATES, AND IN THE SMALL AND BIG COUNTIES, AND IN OIL COUNTIES AND OUT EAST IN FARMING COMMUNITIES. AND SO NO ONE SHOULD BELIEVE THAT WE ARE IMMUNE OR SOMEHOW LIMITED BECAUSE OF IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN HERE BUT NOT THERE. ONE THING THAT WE HAVE LEARNED IS THAT IT IS HAPPENING EVERYWHERE. AND TODAY, TODAY WE ARE SAYING NO MORE. THE STOP ENABLING SEX TRAFFICKING ACT WOULD CRACK DOWN ON THESE HORRIFIC CRIMES ONLINE AND PROVIDE JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS, AND TODAY IT IS GOING TO PASS THE SENATE WITH BROAD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT AND HEAD TO THE PRESIDENT'S DESK TO BE SIGNED INTO LAW. IN MANY INSTANCES, WEBSITES HELP TRAFFICKERS SKIRT LAW ENFORCEMENT THROUGH ONLINE ADVERTISING AND CONTINUE TO DO WITHOUT PENALTY BY CLAIMING THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS. I REMEMBER WHEN WE IN THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS SUBPOENAED AND HAD A CHANCE TO QUESTION THE WITNESSES IN BACKPAGE.COM, AND THEY STARTED TALKING ABOUT THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS. I POINTED OUT TO THEM THAT NOTHING THAT THIS BODY CAN DO CAN AFFECT SOMEONE'S FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS. THEY WERE NOT ALLEGING OR SAYING THEY WERE PROTECTED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT. THEY KNEW THAT WOULDN'T FLY. THEY SAY -- SAID THEY WERE PROTECTED BY THE TERMS OF THE COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT. NOW, LIKE SENATOR BLUMENTHAL, I NEVER BELIEVED THAT THE COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT PROTECTED THEM FROM PROSECUTION OR PROTECTED THEM FROM CIVIL PENALTY IF THEY WERE COMPLICIT AND IN FACT ABETTED THESE CRIMES. I NEVER BELIEVED THAT, BUT THERE WERE JUDGES IN AMERICA WHO DID. AND WE MET AND SAW A LOT OF THOSE JUDGES AND READ A LOT OF THOSE OPINIONS AND SAID WE CANNOT LET A LAW OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS, A LAW ON THE BOOKS IN OUR COUNTRY ALLOW PERPETRATORS WHO SELL CHILDREN FOR SEX TO BE ABSOLUTELY -- TO ABSOLUTELY AVOID ANY CIVIL OR CRIMINAL PENALTY. WE CANNOT ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN. NOT A LAW OF THIS COUNTRY. WE DON'T HAVE THE ABILITY TO RESTRICT OR MODIFY THE FIRST AMENDMENT IN THIS BODY, BUT WE DO HAVE THE ABILITY TO AMEND A LAW THAT IS BEING USED INAPPROPRIATELY TO PROTECT THE MOST HIDEOUS CRIMINALS IN AMERICA. SO NO LAW, NO LAW SHOULD PUT ANYONE GOFF LIABILITY IF THEY ARE ACTIVELY INVOLVED AND COMPLICIT IN SELLING CHILDREN FOR SEX. SO AS WE STAND HERE TODAY, WE KNOW THAT WE ARE DOING SOMETHING THAT WE HOPE WOULD HALF MORE OFTEN IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. WE'RE STANDING FOR THOSE VICTIMS, THOSE PARENTS, THOSE CHILDREN, THOSE WOMEN WHO ARE STILL IN THE STRUGGLE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING, THOSE CHILDREN WHO ARE STILL IN THE STRUGGLE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING. WE ARE STANDING WITH THEM TODAY TO SAY NO MORE. AND PEOPLE WHO WILL ILLEGALLY PROFIT FROM SELLING CHILDREN FOR SEX ARE GOING TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE, SO THE MESSAGE NEEDS TO GO FROM THIS BODY, IT NEEDS TO GO FROM THE SIGNATURE OF THIS BILL TO THE FACT THAT THAT PROTECTION THAT YOU HAVE BEEN ALLEGING INAPPROPRIATELY OF HIDING BEHIND THE COMMUNICATION DECENCY ACT ENDS, AND IT ENDS WITH THE PASSAGE OF THIS BILL. I COULDN'T BE PROUDER OF THE WORK THAT MY COLLEAGUES, SENATOR McCASKILL AND SENATOR PORTMAN, DID ON THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE. YOU EXPOSE THE FACTS THAT LED TO THE ARGUMENT THAT LED TO THE PASSAGE OF THIS BILL, AND I AM PROUD TO STAND WITH YOU, I AM PROUD TO WORK TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS BILL IS APPROPRIATELY IMPLEMENTED, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO THE FIRST PROSECUTION OF SOMEONE WHO SELLS CHILDREN FOR SEX ON THE INTERNET BY PROFITING FROM THE WEBPAGE THAT THEY CREATE. WITH THAT, AGAIN, SENATOR PORTMAN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR EXCELLENT WORK. SENATOR McCASKILL, THANK YOU FOR YOUR EXCELLENT WORK. I PROUDLY STAND WITH YOU TODAY AND KNOW THAT WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE TODAY. TODAY THE UNITED STATES SENATE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE MOST VULNERABLE HUMAN BEINGS IN OUR COUNTRY. THANK YOU. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 12:12:22 PM

    MR. PORTMAN

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FOR HER EXPERTISE AND EXPERIENCE SHE BROUGHT TO THIS…

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FOR HER EXPERTISE AND EXPERIENCE SHE BROUGHT TO THIS EFFORT. AS SHE SAID IN THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS, WE SPENT 18 MONTHS DIGGING DEEP, TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHY THIS WAS HAPPENING, WHY YOU HAD AN INCREASE IN TRAFFICKING IN THIS COUNTRY, IN THIS CENTURY, AND INCREASINGLY WE WERE TOLD THIS IS BECAUSE OF THE INTERNET MOVING FROM THE STREET CORNER TO THE SMART PHONE, TRAFFICKING SURVIVORS AND VICTIMS TOLD US THIS STORY, BUT SO DID THE EXPERTS. SENATOR HEITKAMP JUMPED IN AND THE LEADERSHIP OF THAT SUBCOMMITTEE INCLUDED SENATOR McCASKILL. SHE IS NO LONGER THE RANKING MEMBER. SHE HAS GONE ON TO BIGGER THINGS, TO BE RANKING MEMBER OF THE FULL COMMITTEE, BUT DURING THIS INVESTIGATION OF THIS 18 MONTHS, SHE WAS THE RANKING DEMOCRAT ON OUR SUBCOMMITTEE. I APPRECIATED WORKING WITH HER THERE. SHE IS A FORMER PROSECUTOR. SHE KNOWS HOW TO DIG DEEP FOR THIS INFORMATION. SHE HAD A GOOD STAFF. SHE ALSO WAS VERY HELPFUL TO US IN HELPING TO ENFORCE THE SUBPOENAS. I'LL LET HER TELL THE STORY, BUT THIS IS REALLY INCREDIBLE. WE KNEW THIS ONE WEBSITE, BACKPAGE.COM, WAS ENGAGED IN THIS EFFORT BECAUSE WE HEARD ABOUT IT ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. MY HOME STATE OF OHIO, WOMEN, GIRLS WOULD SAY THEY WERE TRAFFICKED ON BACKPAGE. IF I TALKED TO A DOZEN VICTIMS OR SURVIVORS, TEN WOULD SAY BACKPAGE. AND THE NATIONAL GROUP SAID 75% ON BACKPAGE. THAT'S THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN NUMBER. ANOTHER GROUP SAID NO, IT'S 80%. IN OTHER WORDS, WE KNEW THIS WAS HAPPENING, BUT WE COULDN'T GET THE INFORMATION BECAUSE ALTHOUGH WE SUBPOENAED DOCUMENTS AND SUBPOENAED THEIR TESTIMONY, THEY REFUSED TO SHOW UP AND THEY REFUSED TO GIVE US DOCUMENTS. SO WE HAD TO GO THROUGH AN EXTRAORDINARY PROCESS. AGAIN, I WILL LET SENATOR McCASKILL TALK ABOUT IT, BUT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 21 YEARS, THIS SENATE DID SOMETHING THAT WAS CRITICAL TO OUR INVESTIGATION. I JUST AGAIN WANT TO THANK HER FOR HER HARD WORK. I'D LIKE TO YIELD TIME TO HER TO TALK ABOUT THAT.

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  • 12:14:25 PM

    MS. McCASKILL

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WANT TO THANK MY COLLEAGUES.

  • 12:14:31 PM

    MRS. McCASKILL

    WE SPENT A LOT OF TIME ON THE FLOOR THANKING EACH OTHER, WHICH IS A GOOD…

    WE SPENT A LOT OF TIME ON THE FLOOR THANKING EACH OTHER, WHICH IS A GOOD THING. UNFORTUNATELY TOO OFTEN WE GO BACK TO TRIBAL WARFARE AFTER WE THANK EACH OTHER, BUT THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHERE WE HAVE WORKED TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. I THINK THOSE THANKS ARE JUSTIFIED, PARTICULARLY IN THIS CASE WHEN THERE HAS BEEN AN HONEST AND TRUE BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO GET AT A REALLY SERIOUS PROBLEM IN THIS COUNTRY. IT WAS A PLEASURE TO WORK WITH MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR PORTMAN, AS WE DID THIS INVESTIGATION. SO HOW DO I COME TO THIS PLACE? WELL, I COME TO THIS PLACE AS SOMEBODY WHO SPENT A SIGNIFICANT PART OF MY CAREER IN THE COURTROOM PROSECUTING SEX CRIMES. I THINK I CAN SAY WITH CONFIDENCE THAT I HAVE PROSECUTED MORE SEX CRIMES THAN ANY OTHER MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. I CAN'T SPEAK FOR THE HOUSE BECAUSE I'M NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE BACKGROUNDS OF ALL THE HOUSE MEMBERS, BUT I SPENT YEARS AS AN ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR AND PART OF THAT TIME I WAS THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE OFFICE, AND FOR SOME REASON THEY THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD REASON TO HAVE ME HAVE EXPERTISE IN THE AREA OF SEX CRIMES, WHICH I WAS HAPPY TO TAKE ON THE RESPONSIBILITY OF HANDLING A LOT OF THOSE CASES AS A YOUNG ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR, GOING INTO THE COURTROOM AND ARGUING CASES TO JURIES, HOLDING THE HANDS OF VICTIMS, CRYING WITH THEIR FAMILIES AND TRYING TO FIND THAT SPECIAL SPOT THAT'S CALLED JUSTICE IN A SYSTEM THAT SOMETIMES IS STACKED AGAINST THE VICTIMS OF THESE KINDS OF CRIMES. I WENT ON TO BE THE ELECTED PROSECUTOR IN KANSAS CITY AND TRIED TO CONTINUE OUR STRONG STAND AGAINST ALL FORMS OF SEX CRIMES, INCLUDING PEOPLE WHO WERE BEING -- PROFITS THAT WERE BEING MADE OFF PEOPLE WHO WERE SELLING SEX. I DO THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT WHEN WE BEGAN THIS INVESTIGATION IN THE SENATE, WE WERE DEALING WITH SOMEONE WHO DIDN'T WANT TO COOPERATE. AND WHAT WE LEARNED THROUGH THE INVESTIGATION WAS THAT THIS LAW AS IT EXISTS NOW WAS THEIR PROTECTOR. THEY WERE BEING PROTECTED FOR THEIR BAD ACTS BY AN OUTDATED LAW THAT WAS BEING TWISTED AND DISTORTED TO ALLOW THEM TO MAKE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF PROFIT. AND, FRANKLY, MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF PROFIT OFF TRAFFICKING YOUNG WOMEN FOR SEX. SO PROSECUTION OF CASES IS NOT DRIVEN BY HEADLINES. IT'S NOT DRIVEN BY PRESS CONFERENCES. IT'S NOT DRIVEN BY PHOTO OPS. PROSECUTION OF CASE IS DRIVEN BY EVIDENCE, AND YOU ONLY GET EVIDENCE AFTER A THOROUGH AND COMPLETE INVESTIGATION. THERE HAS TO BE IN DEPTH. CAN YOU IMAGINE -- SENATOR PORTMAN, I KNOW YOU WILL RELATE TO THIS. CAN YOU IMAGINE IF WHEN BACKPAGE SAID WE DON'T WANT TO TALK TO YOU, WE SAID, OKAY, THAT'S FINE. WHEN BACKPAGE SAID WE REFUSE TO BE INTERVIEWED, WE JUST SAID OKAY, NO PROBLEM. WE DON'T HAVE ANY EVIDENCE OF WRONGDOING. LET'S JUST GO ON OUR WAY. INSTEAD WHEN WE WERE CONFRONTED WITH THEIR STUBBORN UNWILLINGNESS TO PARTICIPATE IN A UNITED STATES SENATE INVESTIGATION, WE DID WHAT WAS NECESSARY TO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE. AND IT INVOLVED THE COOPERATION OF THE ENTIRE SENATE. ONCE THEY REBUFFED OUR SUBPOENAS AND REFUSED TO SHOW UP AND ONCE THEY SAID, NO, WE DON'T HAVE TO GIVE YOU ANYTHING BECAUSE OF THE CURRENT LAW AS IT RELATES TO SECTION 230, WE SAID, NO, THAT'S NOT TRUE. AND WE GOT THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES SENATE TO BACK US UP. EVERY SINGLE MEMBER. NOW I DON'T KNOW HOW UNUSUAL IT IS IN THIS DAY AND AGE TO HAVE ZERO ON ONE SIDE OF THE LEDGER IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. BUT I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU, SENATOR PORTMAN, BUT I'VE SEEN IT VERY FEW TIMES. THERE'S USUALLY ONE OR TWO THAT HANG OUT THERE FOR SOME REASON OR ANOTHER, NO MATTER HOW UNCONTROVERSIAL A PIECE OF LEGISLATION IS. BUT IN THIS INSTANCE WE GOT EVERYBODY. EVERYBODY WHO VOTED SAID YES, LET'S TAKE BACKPAGE TO COURT AND ASSERT OUR ABILITY UNDER THE CONSTITUTION TO INVESTIGATE, AND THE LAW TO INVESTIGATE. AND SO WE TOOK THEM ALL THE WAY TO THE SUPREME COURT, AND WE WON THAT CASE. AND THE, WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND BECAUSE THERE WERE LOTS OF FOLKS AROUND THE COUNTRY THAT WERE TRYING TO GET AT BACKPAGE'S CONDUCT, BUT THEY ARE ABLE TO USE THIS LAW TO PROTECT THEMSELVES. AND SO THERE'S TWO THINGS WE DID THAT WERE VERY IMPORTANT FOR PROSECUTORS AND TO OUR INVESTIGATION. THE FIRST THING WE DID WAS WE SENT THE WHOLE FILE OVER TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR REFERRAL. SO IT SITS THERE NOW, ALL OF THE INFORMATION WE HAVE ABOUT BACKPAGE AT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. AND I'M HOPEFUL THAT THEY ARE USING THAT INFORMATION AND ALL THE DOCUMENTATION WE WERE ABLE TO OBTAIN TO PURSUE BAD ACTS AND CRIMINAL VIOLATIONS BY BACKPAGE. THE OTHER THING WE DID WITH THE VOTE OF THE SENATE AND THE COOPERATION OF THE SENATE IS WE OPENED UP OUR FILES TO ANY PROSECUTOR ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THE COUNTRY. AND I WOULD CERTAINLY CALL ON THE ATTORNEYS GENERAL OF THIS COUNTRY AND CALL ON THE LOCAL PROSECUTORS IN THIS COUNTRY TO ACCESS THESE DOCUMENTS THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO THEM TO USE IN INVESTIGATIONS THEY HAVE OF PEOPLE WHO MIGHT BE ACTUALLY USING -- HAVE USED BACKPAGE TO TRAFFIC YOUNG WOMEN AND SOMETIMES CHILDREN. SO NOW WHY IS THIS LAW SO IMPORTANT, IF I'M LOOKING AT THIS THROUGH A PROSECUTOR'S LENS? NOW ALL THE PROSECUTORS IN THE COUNTRY CAN GO AFTER ANYONE WHO KNOWINGLY FACILITATES SEX TRAFFICKING ONLINE. NOW I'M NOT SAYING ACCIDENTALLY, AND I'M NOT SAYING THAT IT SLIPPED THROUGH AND THEY DIDN'T KNOW IT. I'M TALKING ABOUT KNOWINGLY FACILITATE, WHICH IS WHAT BACKPAGE WAS DOING, WE LEARNED ONCE WE GOT ALL THEIR DOCUMENTS. THEY WERE KNOWINGLY FACILITATING SEX TRAFFICKING ON THEIR WEB PAGE THE NOW NOT ONLY CAN INDIVIDUALS WALK IN THE COURTHOUSE AND GET A MOMENT OF JUSTICE THROUGH CIVIL ACTION, ATTORNEYS GENERAL CAN NOW TAKE CIVIL ACTION EVEN IN FEDERAL COURT AGAINST THESE WEBSITES. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, WHERE MOST CRIME IS PROSECUTED IN THIS COUNTRY, THEY CAN GO AFTER THESE FOLKS. AND I DON'T THINK MOST AMERICANS REALIZE -- I KNOW A LOT OF MISSOURIANS DON'T REALIZE THAT UPWARDS OF 90% OF THE CRIME THAT'S PROSECUTED IN THIS COUNTRY IS DONE BY LOCAL PROSECUTORS. F.B.I. AGENTS DON'T ANSWER 911 CALLS. F.B.I. AGENTS GET TO PICK WHERE THEY INVESTIGATE. U.S. ATTORNEYS GET TO CHOOSE WHICH CASES THEY TAKE. NOT LOCAL PROSECUTORS. THEY TAKE EVERYTHING. EVERY CRIME THAT IS COMMITTED IN THE JURISDICTION THEY HAVE TO GO AFTER. THERE MAY BE CONCURRENT FEDERAL JURISDICTION AND THEY MAY WORK WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ON A BANK ROBBERY OR MAYBE ON A MURDER WHERE THE BODY WAS MOVED ACROSS THE STATE LINE. BUT I DON'T THINK MOST AMERICANS REALIZE THAT FOR MOST CRIMES IN THIS COUNTRY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOESN'T EVEN HAVE JURISDICTION. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CANNOT PROSECUTE A RAPE CASE ANYWHERE EXCEPT THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OR A TERRITORY. THAT'S ALL STATE AND LOCAL PROSECUTORS. SO THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS BILL TO SOMEONE WHO IS DEEPLY STEEPED IN LOCAL PROSECUTIONS IS THE TOOL IT GIVES OUR FRONT LINE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THIS COUNTRY. THE PEOPLE THAT ANSWER THE 911 CALLS, THE PEOPLE WHO RESPOND TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM WHEN THE YOUNG 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL WANDERS IN LIKE SHE DID IN ST. LOUIS SAYING SHE HAD BEEN TRAFFICKED UP AND DOWN THE INTERSTATE AND WAS COMING IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM FOR HELP. IT WASN'T THE F.B.I. THAT RESPONDED. IT WOULD BE THE LOCAL POLICE THAT RESPONDED TO THAT EMERGENCY ROOM TO FIND OUT WHAT THE FACTS WERE AND DETERMINE HOW TO GO FORWARD. SO THIS IS A NEW TOOL IN THE TOOLBOX OF THE FRONT LINE OF CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS IN THIS COUNTRY, AND I'M SO PROUD TO HAVE BEEN A PART OF IT. I KNOW THAT THERE ARE GOING TO BE SOME AMENDMENTS OFFERED. I'M CONFIDENT THEY WILL BE VOTED DOWN. BY THE WAY, EVERYONE WANTS TO SUPPORT MORE RESOURCES FOR THIS. SO THE NOTION THAT MORE RESOURCES IS ONE OF THE AMENDMENTS IN AN EFFORT TO TRY TO AMEND THE BILL SO IT HAS TO GO BACK TO THE HOUSE IS ONE OF THOSE JUJITSU MOVES THAT WE DO AROUND HERE, FRANKLY, THAT'S NOT ALWAYS PRODUCTIVE. OF COURSE WE ALL SUPPORT MORE RESOURCES FOR SEX TRAFFICKING PROSECUTIONS AND INVESTIGATIONS, BUT WE DON'T WANT TO AMEND THIS BILL RIGHT NOW BECAUSE IT'S GOT TO GET TO THE PRESIDENT'S DESK SO WE CAN GET BUSY AND GET AFTER THIS CRIME AND DO WHAT WE NEED TO DO IN THIS COUNTRY TO HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE WHO ARE PROFITING OFF THE BACKS OF PEOPLE WHO SELL CHILDREN FOR SEX. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR, AND I THANK MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR PORTMAN, FOR ALL OF OUR WORK AND COOPERATION ON THIS ISSUE.

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  • 12:24:15 PM

    MR. PORTMAN

    ISSUE.

  • 12:27:07 PM

    BACKPAGE.COM YOU

    MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 12:35:25 PM

    MR. NELSON

    MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 12:35:26 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM FROM L IFFUL.

  • 12:35:27 PM

    MR. NELSON

    I THANK THE SENATOR FROM OWE FOREHIS GRACIOUS COMMENTS. AND I JUST SIMPLY…

    I THANK THE SENATOR FROM OWE FOREHIS GRACIOUS COMMENTS. AND I JUST SIMPLY WANT TO SAY MY PART AS TO WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT THAT WE PASS THIS LEGISLATION BECAUSE IT'S VERY OBVIOUS THAT AN UNTOLD NUMBER OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN THE U.S. ARE BEING SOLD INTO SEXUAL SLAVERY VIA THE INTERNET. AND WE NOW HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT BY PASSING THIS LEGISLATION. AND IT'S SO BAD BECAUSE WITH JUST A FEW CLICKS OR A FEW PUNCHES ON AN IPHONE, VICTIMS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE AND PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, ALL ACROSS, ARE BEING ENFORCED -- ARE BEING FORCED INTO BRUTAL SLAVERY AND UNSPEAKABLE CRIMES. I WANT TO REPEAT THAT. I WANT AMERICANS TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON BEHIND THE SCENES, THAT WOMEN AND CHILDREN ARE BEING FORCED INTO SEX SLAVERY IN MODERN-DAY AMERICA, AND COULD VERY WELL HAPPEN TO SOMEONE THAT YOU KNOW. YOU KNOW, WE HAVE CONTINUING STORIES OF OUR HISTORY OF HOW SLAVERY BROUGHT TO THE NEW WORLD HAD HAPPENED. FIRST TO ARABIA OFF THE EAST COAST OF AFRICA, AND THEN OF COURSE THE EUROPEAN NATIONS LET -- LATER IN GOING DOWN WITH SHIP CAPTAINS, THE PORTUGUESE ACTUALLY ENDED UP HAVING THE MOST OF SLAVES TRANSPORTED TO THE NEW WORLD, PRIMARILY TO SOUTH AMERICA. BUT OF COURSE THE ENGLISH GOT INTO THE ACT. MOST OF THE EUROPEAN NATIONS GOT INTO THE ACT OF THESE UNSPEAKABLE CRIMES OF SLAVE SHIPS GOING DOWN TO THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA EITHER ENSLAVING THEMSELVES, AFRICANS, OR GETTING INTO AGREEMENT WITH A PARTICULAR TRIBE THAT WOULD THEN GO OUT AND CAPTURE MEMBERS OF AN OPPOSING TRIBE. AND OF COURSE YOU'VE HEARD OVER AND OVER THE STORIES, UNTOLD STORIES OF THE UNHUMANITY OF STACKING PEOPLE -- INHUMANITY OF STACKING PEOPLE BOD BODY TO BODY IN THE HULLS OF THESE SLAVE SHIPS. AND IT FINALLY TOOK A CIVIL WAR TO SETTLE THE ISSUE. THAT WAS SLAVERY. THAT WAS SLAVERY THAT WE OPPOSED AND NOW ALL OF OUR LAWS TRY TO PROTECT AGAINST. BUT HERE IN MODERN-DAY AMERICA THE SAME THING IS HAPPENING, AND IT'S HAPPENING BECAUSE OF THE ADVENT, THE ADVANCES OF TECHNOLOGY NOW USING THE INTERNET. AND IF THIS IS NOT A WAKE-UP CALL, I SIMPLY DON'T KNOW WHAT IS. ACCORDING TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING TO THE HOTLINE, JUST MY STATE OF FLORIDA HAS CONSISTENTLY RANKED IN THE TOP FIVE STATES IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASES. FLORIDA WAS THIRD IN THE COUNTRY FOR THE NUMBER OF CASES REPORTED IN 2016 AND 2017, AND THAT'S JUST WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT. AND SO IT'S JUST UNACCEPTABLE AND IT'S WRONG. TENS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS, PREDOMINANTLY WOMEN AND CHILDREN CHILDREN, ARE SUBJECTED TO THIS HORRIFIC REALITY. AND YOU CAN IMAGINE THE PAIN AND THE SUFFERING WHICH THEY ARE SUBJECTED TO. AND NO WERE UNIN THE COUNTRY SHOULD HAVE TO ENDURE THIS KIND OF FORCED SLAVERY. NO CHILD OR WOMAN IN FLORIDA, IN AMERICA SHOULD EVER BE TRAFFICKED FOR SEX. AND TO EVEN CONTEMPLATE THAT SHOULD OFFEND ANY PERSON'S SENSE OF DECENCY AND HUMANITY. AND SOY THE QUESTION -- AND SO THE QUESTION BEFORE THE SENATE TODAY, THANKS WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF A NUMBER OF OUR COLLEAGUES, THE QUESTION BEFORE THE SENATE TODAY IS, WHY AREN'T WE GOING TO DO EVERYTHING THAT WE CAN TO STOP THIS HEINOUS PRACTICE? AND SO THE BILL THAT WE ARE CONSIDERING ON THE SENATE FLOOR WOULD HELP US SHUT DOWN DESPICABLE WEBSITES THAT ENABLE THIS SEX TRAFFICKING. DON'T KID YOURSELF. THESE SHADY AND SHE IS HIGHLY PROFITABLE WEBSITE OPERATORS KNOW FULL WELL HOW THEIR SITES ARE BEING USED. AND WHAT'S MORE, THEY'RE HIDING BEHIND A DECADES' OLD LEGAL SHIELD TO I AM IMMUNIZE THEMSELVES FROM -- TO IMMUNIZE THEMSELVES FROM PROSECUTION. AND WE'VE GOT TO CHANGE THAT LEGAL SHIELD THAT WAS SET UP A DECADE AGO FOR A DIFFERENT PURPOSE. AND SO THE BILL BY SENATORS PORTMAN, BLUMENTHAL, McCAIN, HEITKAMP, AND MYSELF -- AND NOW MANY OTHERS -- WOULD ELIMINATE THE SAFE HARBOR IN LAW FOR SEX TRAFFICKERS, AND IT WOULD ALLOW STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL, OTHER STATE AND LOCAL PROSECUTORS, AND THE VICTIMS THEMSELVES TO GO AFTER THE WEBSITES THAT KNOWINGLY PROVIDE A PLATFORM FOR SEX TRAFFICKING. IT WOULD ALSO MAKE KEY CHANGES TO FEDERAL CRIMINAL LAW TO ENABLE LAW ENFORCEMENT TO BETTER TARGET THE WEBSITES. SO IT'S SIMPLE. THAT'S THE PURPOSE OF THE LEGISLATION. LET'S GET IT PASSED OUT OF HERE, GET IT SIGNED INTO LAW, AND LET ALL OF THESE VARIOUS LAW ENFORCEMENT ENTITIES BE ABLE TO DO THEIR JOB. THIS LEGISLATION IS AN EXTENSIVE PRODUCT BY OUR CONGRESSIONAL COLLEAGUES ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS BASIS. IT PROVES ONCE AGAIN THAT WHAT WE OUGHT TO BE DOING AROUND HERE ON ALMOST EVERYTHING AND YET WE RARELY DO -- IT PROVES ONCE AGAIN, IF YOU CROSS PARTISAN LINES AND PUT THINGS TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN WAY, THAT THEN YOU CAN TACKLE THE IMPORTANT LIFESAVING ISSUES SUCH AS THIS ONE. AND WE CAN GET SOMETHING DONE. LET'S SHOW TODAY THAT WE CAN GET SOMETHING DONE. SOMETHING THAT REALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE TO AMERICANS. AND SO IT'S A PRIVILEGE FOR ME TO BE INVOLVED IN A BIPARTISAN WAY WITH THIS LEGISLATION AND TO HAVE WORKED WITH OUR COMMERCE COMMITTEE TO GET A UNANIMOUS VOTE OUT OF THE COMMITTEE. I HOPE THAT THIS LEGISLATION IS GOING TO SERVE AS A WAKE-UP CALL TO THE MORALLY BANKRUPT WEBSITE OPERATORS. WE'RE COMING AFTER YOU. AND IT SEEMS LIKE EVERY DAY WE HEAR OF NEW WAYS THAT THESE BAD ACTORS ARE EXPLOITING INTERNET CONTENT AND DATA TO UNDERMINE SOCIETY. OBVIOUSLY THE INTERNET HAS BEEN MAGNIFICENT FOR SO MANY OF US. BUT NOW WHEN TECHNOLOGY ADVANCES, YOU HAVE TO BE ON YOUR GUARD ABOUT HOW NEW TECHNOLOGY IS USED FOR THE BAD OPERATORS. THIS BILL IS GOING TO ADDRESS THAT. WE CAN'T SIT BY IDLY ANY LONGER. WE'VE GOT TO ACT TODAY. MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 12:44:33 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 12:44:35 PM

    OFFICER MAJORITY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT AT 1:45 P.M. TODAY, SENATOR WYDEN BE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT AT 1:45 P.M. TODAY, SENATOR WYDEN BE RECOGNIZED FOR UP TO 60 MINUTES TO OFFER AND DEBATE CONCURRENTLY HIS AMENDMENTS NUMBER 2213 AND 2212. THAT THOSE BE THE ONLY AMENDMENTS IN ORDER AND THAT FOLLOWING THE USE FORAYING BACK OF THAT TIME -- OR YIELDING BACK OF THAT TIME, THE SENATE VOTE IN RELATION TO THE AMENDMENTS IN THE ORDER LISTED WITH A 60-VOTE AFFIRMATIVE THRESHOLD REQUIRED FOR ADOPTION OF EACH AMENDMENT. FINALLY, THAT FOLLOWING DISPOSITION OF THESE AMENDMENTS, THE BILL BE READ A THIRD TIME AND THE SENATE VOTE ON PASSAGE OF THE BILL AS AMENDED, IF AMENDED, WITHOUT DEBATE.

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  • 12:45:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 12:45:20 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, I'M PLEASED TO REPORT THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS PACKAGE…

    SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, I'M PLEASED TO REPORT THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS PACKAGE IS CURRENTLY BEING FINALIZED. I WILL HAVE MORE TO SAY ONCE THE BILL HAS BEEN FILED, BUT I'M PROUD TO ANNOUNCE IT WILL MEET A NUMBER OF VITALLY IMPORTANT OBJECTIVES. THIS INCLUDES THE LARGEST YEAR ON-YEAR INCREASE IN FUNDING FOR OUR SERVICE MEMBERS IN 15 YEARS. ALONG WITH MAJOR STEPS FORWARD FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT AND BORDER SECURITY, FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST OPIOID ADDICTION, FOR OUR VETERANS, AND FOR A NUMBER OF OTHER PRIORITIES. BUT BEFORE WE TAKE UP THAT MEASURE, THE SENATE HAS A VERY IMPORTANT PIECE OF BUSINESS TO TACKLE. THIS AFTERNOON, WE'LL VOTE ON THE ANTISEX TRAFFICKING LEGISLATION WE HAVE BEEN CONSIDERING THIS WEEK. I WANT TO THANK SENATOR PORTMAN WHO HAS WORKED HARD TO ADVANCE THIS REFORM, CHAIRMAN THUNE FOR SHEPHERDING IT THROUGH THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE. MANY OF US HAVE PAID CAREFUL ATTENTION TO THE SCOURGE OF CHILD TRAFFICKING OVER THE YEARS. IT'S BEEN A HIGH-PRIORITY ISSUE FOR ME, FOR EXAMPLE, SINCE BEFORE I ARRIVED IN THE SENATE, BUT AS TRAFFICKERS MOVE THEIR CRIMES FROM THE STREET CORNER TO THE SMARTPHONE, THE DATA TELL US UNAMBIGUOUSLY THAT MORE ACTION IS REQUIRED. THE LEGISLATION BEFORE US REFORMS A MISUSED PROVISION IN A 1996 TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT WHICH CURRENTLY SHIELDS COMPANIES THAT FACILITATE AND PROFIT FROM THE DISGUSTING EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN. LATER TODAY, MY COLLEAGUES WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO IMPLEMENT COMMONSENSE REFORM WITH THE POTENTIAL TO CHANGE VULNERABLE CHILDREN'S LIVES FOR THE BETTER. I URGE EVERY ONE OF US TO VOTE TO PASS IT. NOW, ON A FINAL MATTER, MADAM PRESIDENT, WE HAVE BEEN TALKING FOR MONTHS ABOUT THE WAYS TAX REFORM IS HELPING TO JUMP-START THE ECONOMY, BOLSTER FAMILY BUDGETS, AND MAKE LIFE BETTER FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS. JUST A FEW MONTHS IN, MANY SUCH STORIES HAVE ALREADY MADE FRONT-PAGE NEWS. THE TAX REFORM BONUSES, RAISES, AND BENEFITS FOR FOUR MILLION WORKERS AND COUNTING. THE NEW INVESTMENTS AND NEW HIRING FOR BUSINESSES LARGE AND SMALL. THE BIGGER PAYCHECKS FOR MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICANS AS THE I.R.S. WITHHOLDS LESS OF THEIR MONEY. BUT OTHER EXCITING PARTS OF THIS ONCE IN A GENERATION REFORM AREN'T RECEIVING THE ATTENTION THEY DESERVE. TODAY, FOR EXAMPLE, IS AN INITIAL DEADLINE FOR STATES TO NOMINATE AREAS THEY WOULD LIKE TO BE DESIGNATED AS OPPORTUNITY ZONES. THIS IS THANKS TO A PROVISION INCORPORATED INTO THE TAX REFORM THROUGH THE UNFLAGGING DEDICATION OF OUR COLLEAGUE, SENATOR SCOTT. THE PREMISE HERE IS SIMPLE. THE BEST WAY TO BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO STRUGGLING COMMUNITIES IS NOT TO INVENT SOME NEW FEDERAL PROGRAM. IT ISN'T TO THROW GOVERNMENT MONEY INTO ONE MORE TOP-DOWN TAX AND SPEND SCHEME. NO, THE BEST WAY TO HELP RURAL AREAS, SMALL CITIES AND SUBURBS LEFT BEHIND BY THE OBAMA ERA POLICIES IS TO GET THE GOVERNMENT'S FOOT OFF THE BRAKE AND LET THE FREE ENTERPRISE SYSTEM FLOURISH. IT'S TO MAKE THOSE COMMUNITIES ATTRACTIVE TO OPEN BUSINESS, CREATE NEW FACILITIES, AND CREATE GOOD-PAYING JOBS. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT TAX REFORM DOES. BY DEFERRING CAPITAL GAINS TAXES ON INCOME THAT'S INVESTED IN DISTRESSED AREAS THAT RECEIVE THIS OPPORTUNITY ZONE DESIGNATION. AS ONE ESTIMATE HAS IT, THREE-QUARTERS OF ALL THE JOBS CREATED FROM 2010 TO 2016 WENT TO MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREAS. ONLY 3%, 3%, MADAM PRESIDENT, WENT TO RURAL AMERICA. THIS PROVISION COULD HELP CHANGE THAT. I KNOW THERE IS A LOT OF EXCITEMENT IN MY STATE OF KENTUCKY FROM COAL COUNTRY TO FARMING COMMUNITIES AND EVERYWHERE IN BETWEEN. OBAMA-ERA OVERREGULATION WAS HOLDING OUR ECONOMY SHORT OF ITS FULL POTENTIAL. THESE OPPORTUNITY ZONES OFFER A SHOT AT REAL RELIEF. ACCORDING TO OUR CABINET FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, KENTUCKY MAY DESIGNATE AS MANY AS 144 NEW ZONES, PRIORITIZING GROWTH IN AREAS THAT NEED IT MOST. OR TAKE WEST VIRGINIA. AS MY FRIEND, SENATOR CAPITO, RECENTLY NOTED, HER STATE UNDERSTANDS THE PROBLEM ALL TOO WELL. ONE RECENT STUDY SUGGESTED THAT WEST VIRGINIA HAS THE THIRD HIGHEST PROPORTION OF ITS POPULATION LIVING IN ECONOMICALLY DISTRESSED COMMUNITIES. OPPORTUNITY ZONES WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO HER STATE. OF COURSE SO WILL THE REST OF TAX REFORM. A FEW WEEKS BACK, SENATOR CAPITO REPORTED THAT WORLDWIDE EQUIPMENT IN WEST SULFUR SPRINGS PLANS TO REINVEST $8 BILLION INTO ITS OPERATION, INCLUDING MORE THAN A THOUSAND EMPLOYEE BONUSES, ALL THANKS TO TAX REFORM. I IMAGINE WEST VIRGINIANS ARE QUITE GLAD THAT SENATOR CAPITO USED HER VOTE TO MAKE TAX REFORM A REALITY. IT'S A SHAME THEIR SENIOR SENATOR DIDN'T FOLLOW SUIT. IT'S A SHAME HE AND EVERY OTHER DEMOCRAT TRIED TO BLOCK HIM FROM TAKING EFFECT. FORTUNATELY, THIS PRESIDENT AND THIS CONGRESS DIDN'T LET THAT STOP US. WE ACCOMPLISHED TAX REFORM ANYWAY BECAUSE WE'RE COMMITTED TO FIGHTING FOR ALL AMERICANS.

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  • 12:50:55 PM

    MS. MURKOWSKI

    MADAM PRESIDENT.

  • 12:50:56 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ALASKA.

  • 12:50:57 PM

    MS. MURKOWSKI

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I'M PLEASED TO BE ON THE FLOOR THIS MORNING TO THANK AND…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I'M PLEASED TO BE ON THE FLOOR THIS MORNING TO THANK AND TO SUPPORT MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR PORTMAN, SENATOR NELSON WHO HAVE LED THE EFFORT HERE BEFORE US, AN EFFORT THAT WOULD END SEX TRAFFICKING OVER THE INTERNET OR CERTAINLY WORK TO REDUCE IT. AS WE THINK ABOUT THE SCOURGE THAT IS BROUGHT UPON OUR CHILDREN THROUGH A MEANS AND A WAY, WE LIKE TO THINK OF THE INTERNET AS A POWERFUL TOOL, BUT TO KNOW THAT IT CAN BE A POWERFUL TOOL THAT -- THAT TRULY, TRULY IS DEVASTATING TO OUR CHILDREN, DEVASTATING TO OUR FAMILIES, CALLS FOR ACTION. I'M PLEASED TO BE ABLE TO JOIN THEM TODAY IN URGING FOR PASSAGE OF THE SEX TRAFFICKING BILL THAT WE HAVE BEFORE THE SENATE. I THINK WE ALL KNOW THAT THERE ARE MANY, MANY REASONS WHY WE NEED TO DETER THE USE OF INTERNET RESOURCES BY PREDATORS. THE WISDOM OF THIS IS PRETTY APPARENT ON ITS FACE. THIS LEGISLATION IS FOR THE PROTECTION OF OUR CHILDREN, THE MOST VULNERABLE AMONG US. BUT I HAVE AN ADDITIONAL REASON FOR URGING THE ADOPTION OF THIS LEGISLATION, AND THAT'S THE PROTECTION OF NATIVE WOMEN, THE PROTECTION OF NATIVE WOMEN AND GIRLS FROM PREDATORS. I HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THE TRAFFICKING OF NATIVE WOMEN AND GIRLS FOR -- FOR AS LONG AS I HAVE BEEN HERE IN THE SENATE, NOW SOME 15 YEARS. AT FIRST, THE EVIDENCE WAS PERHAPS ANECDOTAL. WE HAD F.B.I. AGENTS THAT WERE FAMILIAR WITH TRAFFICKING PATTERNS. THEY WOULD COME TO US AND THEY WOULD SAY THAT ALASKA NATIVE WOMEN WERE HIGHLY DESIRABLE COMMODITY -- JUST EVEN USING THAT TERMINOLOGY, IT'S JUST SO OFFENSIVE, BUT THAT'S HOW THEY WERE VIEWED, WAS A DESIRABLE COMMODITY FOR SEX TRAFFICKING BECAUSE THEY COULD BE TRAFFICKED EITHER AS -- AS WHITE WOMEN OR AS ASIAN WOMEN. THERE IS A BODY OF EVIDENCE THAT WHEN MANY ALASKA NATIVE WOMEN OR GIRLS LEFT THEIR VILLAGES TO COME INTO TOWN, TO COME TO THE CITY, THAT THEY WOULD -- THEY WOULD LITERALLY BE STALKED BY PREDATORS WAITING TO RECRUIT THEM. WE CERTAINLY SEE THE PREVALENCE OF SEX TRAFFICKING IN COVENANT HOUSE, WHICH IS OUR YOUTH HOMELESS SHELTER. WE HAVE REPORTS THAT ONE IN FOUR HOMELESS YOUTH IN ANCHORAGE ARE VICTIMS OF SEX TRAFFICKING. 42% OF THEM ARE ALASKA NATIVE. AND AS I HAVE BEEN HERE IN THE SENATE OVER THESE YEARS, THE WAY THAT -- THAT THESE WOMEN AND GIRLS HAVE BEEN RECRUITED, HAVE BEEN TRAFFICKED HAS CHANGED. NO LONGER DO YOU -- DO YOU HAVE THE PREDATORS THAT ARE KIND OF LURKING IN THE CORNERS, HANGING OUT ON THE STREET CORNERS. IT IS -- IT'S THE INTERNET. AGAIN, IT'S THIS POWERFUL TOOL THAT IS AVAILABLE TO DO SO MUCH GOOD THAT IS NOW BEING USED FOR -- FOR A PREDATORY PURPOSE. AND WHILE WE DON'T HAVE THE INTERNET COVERAGE IN ALASKA THAT YOU HAVE IN THE BIG CITIES OF THE LOWER 48, IT IS USED, THE INTERNET IS USED TO RECRUIT GIRLS FOR SEX TRAFFICKING ALL OVER. I CERTAINLY HAD THAT CONFIRMED IN MY LAST VISIT WHEN I MET WITH THE F.B.I. AGENTS IN CHARGE IN ANCHORAGE. IT WASN'T TOO MANY WEEKS AGO, THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA AND I CAME TO THE FLOOR TO TALK ABOUT THE URGENCY OF ADDRESSING THE GROWING NUMBER OF MISSING AND MURDERED NATIVE WOMEN IN AMERICA. SENATOR HEITKAMP CHARACTERIZES THE PROBLEM AS EPIDEMIC, AND I AGREE WITH HER. I DO THINK IT IS AN EPIDEMIC. NATIVE WOMEN ARE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE IN UNPRECEDENTPRECEDENTED PROPORTIONS. NOT ALL OF THESE VICTIMS ARE TRAFFICKED, BUT SOME ARE TRAFFICKED, AND THEN THEY GO MISSING, AND WHEN THEIR SERVICES ARE NO LONGER NEEDED OR THEY FIND THEMSELVES CONTROLLED BY A PARTICULARLY VIOLENT PREDATOR, THEY NEVER BECOME UNMISSING. UNTIL THEIR BODIES MAY BE COINCIDENTALLY FOUND, AT WHICH POINT THEY ARE FINALLY REGARDED AS MURDERED, GONE. AND I SAY TODAY THAT THERE IS AN URGENCY TO KEEP NATIVE WOMEN AND GIRLS AWAY FROM PREDATORS, AND WHILE TURNING OFF THE INTERNET ON RAMP TO RECRUITMENT MAY NOT COMPLETELY SOLVE THE PROBLEM, IT IS A WORTHY EFFORT IN ITS OWN RIGHT. IT IS ONE TOOL THAT WE NEED TO RATCHET THAT. WE HEAR FROM THE SPONSOR OF THIS BILL AND FROM SO MANY THAT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. IT IS NO LONGER TOLERABLE. IT'S TIME THAT WE ATTACK THE PROBLEM OF SEX TRAFFICKING AT THE SOURCE, AND THAT MEANS DOING ALL THAT WE CAN, ALL THAT WE CAN TO MAKE THE INTERNET A VERY INHOSPITABLE PLACE FOR THE SEX TRAFFICKER AND THOSE WHO ENABLE THE IMMORAL AND THE DISGUSTING TRADE IN OUR FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE TEN REQUESTS FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET DURING TODAY'S SESSION OF THE SENATE. THEY DO HAVE THE APPROVAL OF THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY LEADERS.

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  • 12:56:36 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    DULY NOTED.

  • 12:56:41 PM

    MS. MURKOWSKI

    MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

  • 12:56:53 PM

    MRS. FISCHER

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 12:56:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA.

  • 12:56:56 PM

    MRS. FISCHER

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO DISCUSS H.R. 1865, THE ANTIHUMAN…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO DISCUSS H.R. 1865, THE ANTIHUMAN TRAFFICKING LEGISLATION CURRENTLY BEING CONSIDERED HERE ON THE SENATE FLOOR. HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING CRIMINAL ENTERPRISES IN THE WORLD. MORE THAN 20 MILLION PEOPLE IN OUR NATION AND AROUND THE GLOBE ARE AFFECTED BY THIS MODERN-DAY FORM OF SLAVERY. THE CRIMINALS WHO CARRY OUT THESE HEINOUS ACTS OFTEN GO AFTER THE VULNERABLE, SUCH AS YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAVE RUN AWAY FROM HOME, OR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. WOMEN AND GIRLS ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED, ACCORDING TO THE INTERNATIONAL LABOR ORGANIZATION, 55% OF TOTAL VICTIMS WORLDWIDE ARE WOMEN AND GIRLS. TRAGICALLY, CHILDREN ARE FREQUENTLY TARGETED. THE PERPETRATORS TRAP THEIR VICTIMS IN UNCONSCIONABLE AND VIOLENT SITUATIONS, FORCING THEM TO COMMIT SEXUAL ACTS AGAINST THEIR WILL. THIS PRACTICE OCCURS IN NEARLY EVERY AREA CODE. IT'S HAPPENING CLOSER TO HOME THAN WE EVEN REALIZE. A REPORT PUBLISHED BY CREIGHTON UNIVERSITY AND THE WOMEN'S FUND OF OMAHA FOUND THERE ARE 900 INDIVIDUALS FOR SALE ONLINE EVERY MONTH IN NEBRASKA. ALMOST ALL OF THEM FEMALE. OUR GOVERNMENT HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO STAND UP AND DO SOMETHING TO PROTECT WOMEN AND CHILDREN FROM EXPLOITATION. FIGHTING THE HORRIFIC SCOURGE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS PRIORITY FOR ME, AND IT'S A PRIORITY FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE. IN 2015, WE PASSED THE JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS TRAFFICKING ACT, AND IT WAS SIGNED INTO LAW. I WAS PROUD TO BE A COSPONSOR OF THAT LEGISLATION. THE BILL SET UP A DEFICIT-NEUTRAL FUND TO SUPPORT TRAFFICKING VICTIMS. THROUGH ENHANCED REPORTING AND MECHANISMS TO REDUCE DEMAND, THIS LAW PROVIDES CARE FOR VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. IMPORTANTLY, THE BILL ALSO PROTECTS VICTIMS IN COURT BY TREATING TRAFFICKERS AS VIOLENT CRIMINALS. LABELING TRAFFICKERS IN THIS WAY MEANS THAT CONVICTS CAN NOW BE DETAINED WHILE AWAITING JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS. THE JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS TRAFFICKING ACT REPRESENTS A STRONG EFFORT BY CONGRESS TO STAND AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING. MR. PRESIDENT, I AM PROUD THAT AT HOME, NEBRASKANS ALSO ARE RALLYING TOGETHER AND TAKING ACTION TO STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING. THIS PAST JANUARY, NEBRASKA ATTORNEY GENERAL DOUG PETERSON LAUNCHED DEMAND AND END, A PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN TO STOP CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING. THIS CAMPAIGN AIMS TO BUILD ON THE MOMENTUM FROM LEGISLATIVE BILL 289 PASSED BY THE NEBRASKA UNICAMERAL WITH SIGNIFICANTLY HEIGHTENED PENALTIES FOR THOSE PERPETUATING AND PROFITING FROM HUMAN LABOR AND SEX TRAFFICKING. WHILE I WAS A MEMBER OF NEBRASKA'S UNICAMERAL FROM 2005 TO 2013, OUR STATE MADE SEVERAL IMPORTANT LEGISLATIVE STRIDES TO ADDRESS KEY POLICIES RELATED TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING.IN 23005, THE UNICAMERAL PASSED A LAW ESTABLISHING A MISSING PERSONS CLEARINGHOUSE IN NEBRASKA. THE LAW CREATED A CENTRALIZED DATABASE WITH INFORMATION ON INDIVIDUALS WHO WENT MISSING WITHIN OUR STATE. KNOWN AS JASON'S LAW FOR A YOUNG OMAHA MAN WHO WENT MISSING IN 2001, LB-111 WAS AN IMPORTANT ADVANCEMENT TO ENSURE VITAL INFORMATION-SHARING AND TO PREVENT THE MISSING FROM BECOMING ANONYMOUS. ADDITIONALLY, IN 2012, THE UNILATERAL CAMERAL PASSED LB-1145 TO INCREASE PENALTIES FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND ESTABLISH A TASK FORCE TO EXAMINE ISSUES IN NEBRASKA PERTAINING TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING, INCLUDING IT'S SCOPE, POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS, AND HOW TO ASSIST TRAFFICKING SURVIVORS. MOST RECENTLY, I AM PROUD TO HAVE JOINED THE DEMAND AN END CAMPAIGN AND OFFER MY SUPPORT OF A.G. PETERSON'S WORK ON THIS FRONT. NOW IS THE TIME TO BE RESPONSIVE AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL TO STOP THIS EVIL. MR. PRESIDENT, THAT BRINGS ME TO THE LEGISLATION BEFORE US TODAY. THE STOP ENABLING SEX TRAFFICKERS ACT OR SESTA. I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE HARD WORK OF THE SENATOR FROM OHIO AND THE SENATE COMMERCE COMMITTEE IN MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO BE HAVING THIS CONVERSATION TODAY. NOT ONLY DID THIS LEGISLATION PASS THE COMMITTEE, BUT IT RECEIVED A UNANIMOUS VOTE. LAST FALL DURING A HEARING OF THE SENATE COMMERCE COMMITTEE, MS. YVONNE AMBROSE SHARED A HEARTBREAKING STORY WITH OUR MEMBERS. SHE TOLD US ABOUT HER DAUGHTER DESIREE. DESIREE WAS A WONDERFUL YOUNG WOMAN WITH MUCH POTENTIAL. SHE WAS A HIGH SCHOOLER AND A MEMBER OF THE JUNIOR ROTC. SHE DREAMED OF ONE DAY BECOMING A DOCTOR IN THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE. LIKE SO MANY TEENAGERS, DESIREE WAS ON SOCIAL MEDIA BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO CONNECT WITH FRIENDS AND MAKE NEW FRIENDS. SUDDENLY ON ACCIDENT, DESIREE FOUND HERSELF IN THE SHADOWS OF THE INTERNET ON A WEB PAGE CALLED BACKPAGE.COM, A PLATFORM WHERE MENG WERE ABLE TO FIND HER, INTIMIDATE HER, PRESSURE HER, AND USE HER TO MAKE A PROFIT. ON CHRISTMAS EVE 2016, DESIREE WAS MURDERED GRUESOMELY BY A 32-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO BOUGHT HER SERVICES ONLINE. SADLY, DESIREE'S STORY IS NOT UNIQUE. THE MURKY EDGES OF THE INTERNET ARE STILL ENABLING PREDATORS ALL OVER THE WORLD TO ENGAGE IN SEX TRAFFICKING. MEANWHILE, WEBSITES LIKE BACKPAGE.COM CONTINUE TO SELL AND EXPLOIT PEOPLE FOR PROFIT. BETWEEN JANUARY 2013 AND MARCH 2015, BACKPAGE.COM EARNED NEARLY NEARLY100% OF ITS PROFITS FROM ADOPT ADVERTISEMENTS. THE INTERNET IS GIVING CRIMINALS AN AVENUE TO COMMIT THESE CRIMES AND CERTAIN WEBSITES ARE KNOWING KNOWINGLY FACILITATING THEIR ACTIVITIES AS PART OF AN ORGANIZED NETWORK. COMPOUNDING THE ISSUE, PHONES MAKE IT EASIER FOR TRAFFICKERS TO COMPLETE TRANSACTIONS. ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN REPORTS OF ONLINE CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING SKYROCKETED BY MORE THAN 800% BETWEEN 2010 AND 2015. ANALYSIS OF THIS MAJOR INCREASE SHOWED THAT IT IS DIRECTLY CORRELATED TO THE INCREASED USE OF THE INTERNET TO SELL CHILDREN FOR SEX. IN THE MONTHS FOLLOWING DESIREE'S MURDER, A CHICAGO NEWSPAPER HEADLINE READ, "TEEN'S TRAGIC DEATH SHOWS IT'S BUSINESS AS USUAL AS BACKPAGE.COM." THE INTERNET CAN NO LONGER BE A PLACE WHERE THE PERPETRATORS OF THESE ATROCIOUS CRIMES CAN HIDE. IT CAN NO LONGER BE BUSINESS AS USUAL. AND THAT'S WHERE SESTA'S PROVISIONS COME IN. SESTA WOULD ENSURE THAT SECTION 230 OF THE COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT CANNOT BE USED AS AN EXCUSE ANYMORE FOR WEBSITES THAT KNOWINGLY FACILITATE SEX TRAFFICKING. IT ALSO WOULD GIVE STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT CLEAR AUTHORITY TO ENFORCE CRIMINAL STATUTES AGAINST WEBSITES. I'VE BEEN DISMAYED TO HEAR ABOUT THE OBSTACLES THAT STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT HAVE FACED WHEN ATTEMPTING TO PROSECUTE ENTITIES KNOWING THEY PARTICIPATE IN TRAFFICKING ACTIVITIES ONLINE. IN ITS CURRENT FORM, SECTION 230 PROTECTS WEBSITES AND THE INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS FROM LIABILITY FOR CONTENT THEIR USERS CREATE. THIS HAS ALLOWED WEBSITES THAT DEPEND ON USER CONTENT LIKE TWITTER AND YOUTUBE TO FLOURISH. BUT IT HAS BEEN MISUSED TO EFFECTIVELY PROVIDE IMPUNITY FOR BAD ACTORS MAINTAINING WEBSITES THAT FACILITATE SEX TRAFFICKING. SESTA IS CRITICAL TO EMPOWERING SURVIVORS, PROVIDING THE LEGAL TOOLS NEEDED TO SEEK AND RECEIVE JUSTICE FROM ALL THOSE INVOLVED IN THESE MONSTROUS CRIMES. AS A COSPONSOR OF SESTA, I HOPE THAT MY COLLEAGUES WILL PASS THIS MONUMENTAL, BIPARTISAN, AND BICAMERAL BILL TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING TODAY. AND I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO VOTE AGAINST AMENDMENTS THAT WOULD DERAIL THIS IMPORTANT AND VITAL LEGISLATION. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:06:23 PM

    MR. JONES

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 01:06:24 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA.

  • 01:06:26 PM

    MR. JONES

    MR. PRESIDENT, FIRST LET ME BEGIN BY EXPRESSING HOW HONORED AND HUMBLED I…

    MR. PRESIDENT, FIRST LET ME BEGIN BY EXPRESSING HOW HONORED AND HUMBLED I AM TO BE A MEMBER OF THIS BODY AND TO REPRESENT THE GREAT STATE OF ALABAMA. I BEGAN MY CAREER RIGHT HERE FRESH OUT OF LAW SCHOOL IN 1979, WORKING AS STAFF COUNSEL TO SENATOR HOWELL HEFLIN ON THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. THERE ARE ONLY THREE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE WHERE I SERVED AS A STAFFER THAT CONTINUE TO SERVE TODAY -- SENATOR LEAHY, SENATOR HATCH, AND SENATOR COCHRAN. TWO OF THOSE THREE, SENATORS HATCH AND COCHRAN, WILL BE RETIRING THIS YEAR. SENATOR COCHRAN IN JUST OVER A WEEK. AND A GRATEFUL NATION THINGS THEM FOR THEIR SERVICE. -- THANKS THEM FOR THEIR SERVICE. FOR ME PERSONALLY I AM HONORED TO HAVE COME FULL CIRCLE WITH THEM AND I WISH THEM WELL IN THEIR LIFE AFTER THE SENATE. I WANT TO THANK MY COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE FOR WELCOMING ME TO THIS BODY. MANY OF WHOM ARE HERE WITH ME TODAY BRAVING THE WINTERY WEATHER OUTSIDE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR FRIENDSHIP, YOUR ADVICE, YOUR WILLINGNESS TO INCLUDE ME AND MY STAFF IN THE GREAT WORK YOU ARE DOING. I PARTICULARLY WANT TO THANK MY SENIOR COLLEAGUE FROM ALABAMA, SENATOR SHELBY, AND HIS STAFF. I AAPPRECIATE THEIR -- I APPRECIATE THEIR GRATEFULNESS IN HELPING ME AS A FRESHMAN SENATOR. AND MY FAMILY -- MY AMAZEING WIFE LOUISE, INCREDIBLE KIDS, CARSON, CHRISTOPHER, WHO SO FULLY SUPPORTED ME IN MY QUEST TO REACH THE SENATE, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY IN MY LIFE. I HAVE GROWN WITH THEM AND CERTAINLY BECAUSE OF THEM. OF COURSE MY SISTER TERI, WONDERFUL PARENTS WHO I AM BLESSED TO HAVE AROUND TODAY, AND MY GRANDPARENTS WHO ARE NOT. THEY INSTILLED IN ME THE VALUES OF FAMILY, FAITH, PATRIOTISM, RESPECT FOR OTHERS, AND A WORK ETHIC THAT HAS GUIDED ME THROUGHOUT MY LIFE. FINALLY, I WOULD BE REMISS IF I DID NOT TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO PAY SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO MY MENTOR AND FORMER SENATOR WHOSE SEAT I NOW HOLD, THE LATE-HOWELL HEFLIN OF ALABAMA. HE WAS A REMARKABLE MAN WHOSE LARGE, LUMBERING FRAME AND SOUTHERN DRAWL WOULD OFTEN MASK HIS AMAZING INTELLECT. HIS COMPASSION AND SENSE OF JUSTICE FOR HIS FELLOW MAN FORGE ADD PATH -- FORGE THE A PATH. HE CAME TO THE SENATE IN 1979 AT A TIME WHEN BIPARTISANSHIP WAS MORE THAN JUST A CAMPAIGN SLOGAN OR A SOUND BITE. IN THOSE DAYS WHEN SENATORS SPOKE OF BIPARTISANSHIP, THEY TRULY MEANT IT. THEY WOULD NEVER COMPROMISE PRINCIPLES BUT WOULD COMPROMISE WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES ON THE SERIOUS ISSUES OF THE DAY IN ORDER TO MOVE THIS COUNTRY FORWARD. BY THE TIME HE LEFT THE SENATE IN 1997, SENATOR HEFLIN SENSED A CHANGE IN THE POLITICAL CLIMATE, AND HE WAS CONCERNED ABOUT IT. HE WROTE IN A PARTING ESSAY, "OUR CONSTITUTION ITSELF CAME ABOUT THROUGH A GREAT SERIES OF COMPROMISES. IT WAS NOT WRITTEN BY IDEOLOGUES WHO CLUNG TO THEIR WAY OR NO. COMPROMISE AND NEGOTIATION, THE HALLMARKS OF NEGOTIATION, AIMED AT ACHIEVING MODERATE CENTRIST POLICIES FOR OUR COUNTRY SHOULD NOT BE VIEWED AS NEGATIVES." WHICH LEADS ME TO THE REASONING I RISE TODAY. I WANT TO SPEAK ABOUT AN ISSUE THAT HAS EVADED THE BROAD, BIPARTISAN DISCUSSIONS AND MODERATION THAT SENATOR HEFLIN SPOKE OF. INSTEAD, IT SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN AN ISSUE WHERE FOLKS QUICKLY TAKE SIDES AND OFTEN CRITICIZE THOSE WHO THEY DISAGREE WITH. IT'S TIME, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT WE HAVE A SERIOUS, PRAGMATIC, AND PRACTICAL DISCUSSION -- NOT A DEBATE OR NEGOTIATION -- BUT A DIALOGUE ON THE STEPS THAT WE CAN TAKE TO REDUCE THE HARM CAUSED BY GUN VIOLENCE IN THIS COUNTRY. I KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, WITH JUST THOSE WORDS PEOPLE ACROSS THIS COUNTRY MAY HAVE ALREADY STARTED REACHING FOR THEIR PHONES TO START TWEETING OR POSTING WITHOUT ANOTHER WORD, WITHOUT KNOWING WHERE I MIGHT STAND ON THIS ISSUE. THAT JUST SEEMS TO BE THE WAY IT IS IN AMERICA THESE DAYS. WHICH IS SO UNFORTUNATE BECAUSE ONCE YOU TAKE A SIDE, IT IS HARD TO COME OFF. IN THE WAKE OF YET ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING AND THE RISING VOICES OF YOUNG PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY, IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY, OUR DUTY TO HAVE A SERIOUS DISCUSSION ABOUT GUNS AND GUN SAFETY. BUT THAT CONVERSATION HAS TO BE TWOFOLD. WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THE DEADLY CONSEQUENCES THAT CAN FOLLOW WHEN A GUN IS IN THE WRONG HANDS BUT ALSO RECOGNIZE AND RESPECT THE FREEDOM TO OWN AND ENJOY GUNS BY LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS, AS GUARANTEED BY THE SECOND AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. THOSE TWO CONCEPTS, MR. PRESIDENT, ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. BUT BEFORE I JUMP INTO THE ACTIONS I BELIEVE WE CAN TAKE TODAY, I WANT TO GO BACK AND EXPLAIN JUST A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHERE I COME FROM. GROWING UP IN ALABAMA, I LEARNED TO SHOOT FROM MY FATHER AND GRANDFATHER. I WAS NOT MUCH OF A HUNTER IN MY YOUTH, BUT WHETHER IT WAS CANS OR BOTTLES ON A TREE LOG OR THE OCCASIONAL SKEET, WE ALSO ENJOYED SHOOTING AND ALWAYS HAD A FEW GUNS IN THE HOUSE. A DISTINCTION BETWEEN A HUNTER AND SOMEONE WHO ENJOYS SHOOTING IS SIGNIFICANT. TO THIS DAY I STILL HAVE MY FATHER'S OLD.22 RIVAL, MY GRANDFATHER'S PISTOL THAT HE GAVE ME AND A COUPLE OF SHOT GUNS I GOT AS A KID. BUT MY INTEREST IN HUNTING BEGAN WHEN NIGH YOUNGEST SON CHRISTOPHER WHO WAS BORN 20 YEARS AGO THIS PAST MONDAY, AT AN EARLY AGE HE WAS FASCINATING WITH HUNTING, SO WITH MY WIFE'S BLESSING, I TOOK UP THE SPORT SO THAT HE COULD LEARN GUN SAFETY AND CONSERVATION FROM ME. TODAY I THINK I'M MORE PASSIONATE ABOUT IT THAN HE IS. I CONSIDER MYSELF AN AVID HUNTER -- DEER, TURKEY, QUAYLE, WHATEVER THE SEASON MIGHT BE IN ALABAMA. WITH THE CAMPAIGN LAST YEAR THATTEN TO TRANSITION INTO THIS OFFICE, THIS PAST DEER SEASON WAS SOMEWHAT OF A BUST FOR ME BUT WITH THE START OF TURKEY SEASON, I AM ANXIOUS TO GET BACK INTO THE WOODS. FRANKLY, I ALSO ENJOY GUNS. I ENJOY SHOOTING THEM. I LIKE HOW THEY'RE MADE. THE POWER AND THEIR HISTORY. I OWN MANY OF THEM, ONLY STORY STORED IN A LOCKED -- ALL STORED IN A LOCKED GUN SAFE THAN WHAT IS LARGER THAN WHAT MY WIFE ORIGINALLY APPROVED OF YEARS AGO. SHOOTING THEM ON THE RANGE AND HUNTING IS A BOND I SHARE WITH MY SON AND FRIENDS. SO WHILE I KNOW THAT GUNS AND GUN CONTROL ARE DIFFICULT ISSUES THIS THIS COUNTRY, I CAN TELL YOU THEY ARE COMPLICATED FOR ME, TOO. BUT AS A UNITED STATES SENATOR TODAY AND MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT, I HAVE MANY OBLIGATIONS. AND I BELIEVE THAT THE FIRST OBLIGATION OF GOVERNMENT IS TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS. WE SPEND UNIMAGINABLE AMOUNTS OF MONEY FIGHTING OUR ENEMIES ABROAD AND TERRORISTS WHO WOULD ATTACK US AT HOME. YET ON MANY LEVELS WE FAIL OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN EVERY MORNING WHEN WE PACK THEIR BACKPACKS AND SEND THEM INTO HARM'S WAY, OR WHEN THEY PICK UP WHAT THEY THINK IS A TOY OR A REALLY COOL WEAPON THAT THEY'VE SEEN ON TELEVISION OR IN THE MOVIES AND IT TURNS OUT TO BE A KILLING MACHINE THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE NEVER HAD ACCESS TO AND DON'T KNOW HOW TO HANDLE. WE FAIL THE ABUSED WOMEN, MEN, AND CHILDREN OF OUR SOCIETY WHEN WE LET OUR FAMILY AND RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS LEAD TO A MURDER. WE FAIL PARISHIONERS IN CHURCH, EMPLOYEES AT WORK, CONCERT AND THEATER GOERS WHEN THEY ARE CAUGHT OFF GUARD BY A HAIL OF BULLETS FROM A DISTURBED INDIVIDUAL. WE FAIL THOSE WHO ARE SIMPLY IN THE WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME WHEN STREET VIOLENCE BREAKS OUT AND A STRAY BULLET TAKES AN INNOCENT LIFE. WE FAIL VETERANS AND OTHERS IN SOCIETY SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION AND POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS AND OTHER MENTAL DISORDERS WHO DECIDE THAT LIFE IS SIMPLY NOT WORTH LIVING. WE FAIL PEOPLE OF EVERY WALK OF LIFE, OF EVERY AGE IN EVERY CORNER OF THIS COUNTRY EVERY DAY. GUN DEATHS CONTINUE TO RISE. IN 2016 OVER 38,000 PEOPLE DIED IN THIS COUNTRY BECAUSE OF GUNFIRE. 15,000 OF THOSE DEATHS WERE HOMICIDES. ALMOST 23,000 WERE SUICIDES. EPIDEMIC-TYPE NUMBERS. AND NEARLY 500 WERE ACCIDENTAL. WE FAILED IN ALABAMA, TOO. IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS WE'VE LOST A POLICE OFFICER IN MOBILE WHO WAS SHOT AND KILLED WHEN RESPONDING TO A DOMESTIC DISPUTE. WE LOST A 1-YEAR-OLD BOY WHO WAS ACCIDENTALLY SHOT IN THE BACK BY HIS 2-YEAR-OLD BROTHER WITH THEIR PARENTS' GUN. WE LOST A BEAUTIFUL, YOUNG 17-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO WAS ABOUT TO HEAD OFF TO COLLEGE BECAUSE ONE OF HER CLASSMATES BROUGHT A GUN TO SCHOOL AND HE WAS SHOWING IT OFF WHEN IT ACCIDENTALLY FIRED. LAST WEEK WE LOST A DEDICATED NURSE AT BIRMINGHAM HOSPITAL WHEN A DISGRUNTLED FORMER EMPLOYEE SHOWED UP AT THE HOSPITAL AND OPENED FIRE. JUST YESTERDAY, AS I WAS FINALIZING THESE REMARKS, I LEARNED THAT A FORMER CLIENT OF MINE WAS SHOT AND KILLED BY HIS GIRLFRIEND'S MOTHER AS HE WAS PICKING UP HIS 3-MONTH-OLD BABY FROM A VISIT. THE LIST COULD GO ON. SIMILAR TRAGEDIES TAKE PLACE EVERY WEEK IN EVERY ONE OF OUR STATES. THESE STORIES DON'T GRAB NATIONAL HEADLINES BUT THEY ARE EXAMPLES OF THE GUN VIOLENCE THAT HAS BECOME COMMONPLACE IN OUR COMMUNITIES. IN 2016 ALABAMA HAD THE SECOND HIGHEST RATE OF GUN DEATHS IN THE NATION. THAT MEANS 1,046 ALABAMAIANS WERE KILLED BY GUNS THAT YEAR. WORSE YET, OUR GUN DEATHS INCREASED BY A STAGGERING 34% BETWEEN 2005 AND 2016. AS A FORMER PROSECUTOR, I WORKED CLOSELY WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT. I'VE SEEN FIRSTHAND WHAT WEAPONS IN THE WRONG HANDS CAN DO TO FAMILIES, COMMUNITIES, AND SOCIETIES. WHEN I WAS U.S. ATTORNEY, WE HAD A PROGRAM CALLED ISOLATING THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT WHERE WE TRIED TO CRACK DOWN ON ILLEGAL WEAPONS IN OUR COMMUNITIES. AS MOST OF YOU KNOW, MY CAREER WAS DEFINED BY PROSECUTING THE KILLERS OF CHILDREN. IT WAS SEPTEMBER 15, 1963, WHEN A BOMB PLACED OUTSIDE THE LADIES LOUNGE OF THE 16th STREET BAPTIST CHURCH IN BIRMINGHAM EXPLODED KILLING FOUR BEAUTIFUL YOUNG GIRLS. I WISH I COULD TURN BACK TIME AND DO SOMETHING THAT WOULD HAVE PREVENTED IT ALTOGETHER. HAD I OR ANYONE ELSE HAD THAT MOMENT, IT MIGHT VERY WELL BE ONE OF THOSE YOUNG GIRLS GIVING THIS SPEECH TODAY AND NOT ME. I STAND IN THAT MOMENT NOW AND SO DO YOU. SO DOES OUR COUNTRY. I BELIEVE WE FINALLY REACHED A TIPPING POINT REGARDING GUN VIOLENCE NOW, NOT BECAUSE OF THE SHOOTING IN PARKLAND, FLORIDA, BUT THANKS TO THE MILLIONS OF YOUNG VOICES ACROSS THIS COUNTRY LED BY STUDENTS AT MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL. MUCH LIKE THE STUDENTS WHO TOOK TO THE STREETS OF BIRMINGHAM IN 1963, WERE ATTACKED BY FIRE HOSES AND POLICE DOGS, WHO WOKE THE CONSCIENCE OF AMERICA'S CIVIL RIGHTS, THESE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN ARE WAKING THE CONSCIENCE OF AMERICANS REGARDING GUN VIOLENCE. ONE OF THOSE YOUNG MEN WAS HERE WITH ME AS MY GUEST IN THE GALLERY TODAY. YOU KNOW, WE CAN SPEND DAYS IN THIS CHAMBER DEBATING THE MEANING OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT. WE CAN LET OUR NATION FURTHER DIVIDE ITSELF WHILE MORE LIVES ARE LOST. WE CAN FRET ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT US ON SOCIAL MEDIA OR WHETHER WE MIGHT LOSE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS. WE CAN AGAIN CHOOSE THE PATH OF INACTION IN THE FACE OF YET ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING AND EXPECT DIFFERENT RESULTS. OR WE CAN TAKE ANOTHER PATH. LET US FIND WHAT WE CAN AGREE ON. ACT ON IT AND BEGIN TO MAKE OUR COUNTRY A SAFER PLACE. WE CAN BE REASONABLE HERE BECAUSE WE ALL WANT THE SAME THING. A SAFER COUNTRY, A SAFER WORLD. AT ITS CORE THE SECOND AMENDMENT WAS AN EFFORT TO PROTECT AMERICANS. LET US DO THE SAME. BUT IN ORDER TO DO THAT, WE NEED TO BUILD MORE TRUST IN THIS BODY AND ENCOURAGE CAMARADERIE. MORE IMPORTANTLY, WE NEED TO FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE THE WAY WE TALK ABOUT DIFFICULT ISSUES IN OUR COUNTRY AND SET AN EXAMPLE FOR OUR FELLOW AMERICANS TO FOLLOW, TO DIAL DOWN THE RHETORIC. REMEMBER THAT FOR EVERY ACTION, THERE IS AN EQUAL AND OPPOSITE REACTION IS NOT JUST ONE OF NEWTON'S LAWS OF MOTION BUT ALSO ONE OF POLITICAL RHETORIC. EXTREME VIEWS PROMOTE EQUAL BUT OPPOSITE EXTREME VIEWS. FOR THOSE WHO WANT MORE GUN RESTRICTIONS INSTEAD OF FOCUSING YOUR ENERGY ON BANNING CERTAIN WEAPONS, WHICH FRANKLY AND AS A PRACTICAL MATTER JUST SIMPLY CANNOT PASS THIS CONGRESS, FOCUS INSTEAD ON EFFORTS TO KEEP THOSE WEAPONS AND OTHERS OUT OF THE HANDS OF THOSE WHO WOULD DO US HARM. YOU CAN'T SIMPLY DEMONIZE THE N.R.A. AND PRO-GUN GROUPS. I KNOW THESE GROUPS SOMETIMES TAKE WHAT MANY INCLUDING ME CONSIDER EXTREME POSITIONS. THEY ALSO REPRESENT MILLIONS OF LAW-ABIDING GUN OWNERS WHO ARE CONCERNED THAT THEIR RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS ARE AT RISK. FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS, GUN OWNERSHIP AND ENJOYMENT IS A CULTURAL ISSUE WITH DEEPLY HELD BELIEFS. ADDRESSING THE ISSUE IS SIMPLY NOT LIKE REGULATING STOCK TRANSACTIONS OR CUTTING TAXES. AND TO THOSE WHO WOULD SEEK TO MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO LIKE THE N.R.A. OR ANYONE ELSE, PLEASE STOP USING SCARE TACTICS TO TRY AND CONVINCE LAW-ABIDING GUN OWNERS THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS HELL-BENT ON TAKING THEIR GUNS AWAY. THAT IS SIMPLY NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT. WE ALSO NEED TO GET PAST THE IDEA THAT MORE GUNS IN SOCIETY WILL MAKE US ALL SAFER. THE STATISTICS AND THE DATA SIMPLY DO NOT SUPPORT THAT. WE DON'T NEED GUNS IN THE HANDS OF SCHOOL TEACHERS. SIMPLY HAVING MORE GOOD GUYS WITH GUNS IS NOT THE SOLUTION. AMERICANS JUST SIMPLY DO NOT WANT TO RETURN TO THE DAYS OF THE WILD WEST. THIS TOPIC LIKE SO MANY OTHERS HAS BECOME A SPACE THAT IS LESS ABOUT HAVING A THOUGHTFUL CONVERSATION AND INSTEAD EVOLVED INTO A CLASS OF CULTURES. AS LEADERS WE MUST REJECT THE US AGAINST THEM MENTALITY BECAUSE ULTIMATELY WE ARE ALL AMERICANS WHO ARE UNITED BY A COMMON BOND OF SHARED VALUES AND LOVE OF COUNTRY. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE THE FORCES THAT SEEK TO SO DIVISION AND DISCORD. THE CHALLENGE AND OUR MISSION IS TO PREVENT THEM FROM SUCCEEDING. WE CAN SEIZE THIS MOMENT BY CHANGING CONVERSATION AND OUR COUNTRY. LET'S START A PRODUCTIVE DIALOGUE AND WORK TOWARD A COMPREHENSIVE BILL THAT INCLUDES IDEAS WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO AGREE ON. THERE ARE ALREADY A HALF A DOZEN PROPOSALS IN THIS BODY THAT HAVE BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. MY FRIEND FROM CONNECTICUT, SENATOR MURPHY, OUTLINED THEM JUST THE OTHER DAY. BUT THEY BEAR REPEATING HERE. BUMP STOCKS MAKE IT A CRIME. BAN BUMP STOCKS AND MAKE IT A CRIME TO POSSESS OR MANUFACTURE THEM, AS SENATOR FEINSTEIN HAS PROPOSED. THE PRESIDENT AND THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SHOULD BE COMMENDED FOR TAKING THE FIRST STEPS OF REGULATION BUT THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA SHOULD GO ON RECORD ABOUT THIS DEADLY ACCESSORY. WE SHOULD PASS THE FIX NICS LEGISLATION PROPOSED BY SENATORS CORNYN AND MURPHY. THE NICS SYSTEM IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE DATA THAT GOES INTO IT AND THEIR BILL WOULD BLOCK BONUS PAY FOR POLITICAL APPOINTEES THAT FAILED TO UPLOAD RECORDS TO THE SYSTEM AND AWARD STATES THAT FOLLOW THE UPLOADING PLAN, WOULD CREATE DOMESTIC ABUSE AND VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAM TO GIVE STATES THE ABILITY TO SHARE INCENTIVES, TO SHARE INFORMATION TO PREVENT COMMON CONVICTED OF A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRIME FROM PURCHASING A GUN. FIX NICS IS A GOOD START TO OVERHAULING OUR BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM. AS SENATOR MURPHY SAID THE OTHER DAY, IT IS A GOOD-BASED BILL ON WHICH TO BUILD. BUT FRANKLY WE HAVE TO DO MORE ON BACKGROUND CHECKS. WE HAVE TO REQUIRE BACKGROUND CHECKS ON ALL GUN SALES, WHETHER IT IS AT A GUN SHOW OR OVER THE INTERNET OR BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS. IT CAN BE AS SIMPLY AS GOING TO A LICENSED DEALER OR A LOCAL POLICE STATION TO HAVE A BACKGROUND CHECK RUN ON A PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER OR TRANSFEREE. IT MAY BE INCONVENIENT, BUT IT WILL SAVE LIVES. WHEN UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS, HOWEVER, I WOULD ALSO SUGGEST A COUPLE OF COMPANION MEASURES. FOR INSTANCE, IN MY VIEW IT IS ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE FOR A FAMILY MEMBER TO SELL OR GIVE A GUN TO ANOTHER CLOSE FAMILY MEMBER AS THEY SHOULD BE PRESUMED TO KNOW WHETHER THEIR RELATIVE IS PROHIBITED FROM HAVING A GUN. WE CAN CONSIDER OTHER EXCEPTIONS FOR THOSE WHO CARRY A VALID CONCEAL CARRY PERMIT OR BETWEEN LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS. BUT IN CARVING OUT THOSE EXCEPTIONS, WE SHOULD ALSO INCREASE BOTH CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR ANYONE WHO KNOWINGLY TRANSFERS A GUN TO A PROHIBITED PERSON AND PROVIDE THE NECESSARY FUNDS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO PROSECUTE THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHEN APPROPRIATE. WE CAN TAKE STEPS TO DETER PROHIBITED INDIVIDUALS FROM EVEN TRYING TO PURCHASE A GUN. SENATOR TOOMEY'S NICS DENIAL NOTIFICATION BILL WOULD ALLOW REPORTING TO STATE AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES WHEN SOMEONE HAS TRIED TO PURCHASE A GUN AND HAS BEEN DENIED AND IT WOULD REGARD D.O.J. TO REPORT TO CONGRESS ON SUCH PROSECUTIONS. TO HIS CREDIT, ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS HAS ANNOUNCED THAT D.O.J. WILL VIGOROUSLY PROSECUTE THOSE WHO MAKE FALSE STATEMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR BACKGROUND CHECKS. WE SHOULD ENSURE THAT HE HAS THE RESOURCES TO DO SO. WE SHOULD CLOSE THE SO-CALLED CHARLESTON LOOPHOLE AS PROPOSED BY SENATOR BLUMENTHAL. THIS LOOPHOLE ALLOWS A PURCHASER TO RECEIVE A FIREARM AFTER THREE DAYS REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEIR BACKGROUND CHECK HAD BEEN COMPLETED OR NOT. WE CAN CREATE CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS FOR CONCEALED CARRY PERMITS AND HOLDERS AND OTHERS BUT NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO TAKE POSSESSION OF A FIREARM UNTIL THEY HAVE CLEARED A BACKGROUND CHECK. CURRENT LAW PROHIBITS A FIREARMS DEALER FROM SELLING A PISTOL TO ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 21. THAT HAS BEEN THE LAW FOR MANY YEARS WITHOUT ANY REAL CHALLENGE. THE SAME LOGIC BEHIND THIS PROHIBITION SHOULD APPLY TO THE SALES OF PISTOLS AND SEMIAUTOMATIC WEAPONS TO THOSE UNDER THE AGE OF 21. SENATOR KLOBUCHAR HAS FILED A BADLY NEEDED PIECE OF LEGISLATION TO EXPAND THE DEFINITION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TO INCLUDE DATING PARTNERS AND ELIMINATE THE BOYFRIEND LOOPHOLE THAT ALLOWS CERTAIN DANGEROUS INDIVIDUALS TO ACCESS GUNS AND EVADE LAWS MEANT TO PROTECT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS. WE CAN IMPLEMENT AT LEAST A THREE-DAY WAITING PERIOD FOR THE PURCHASE OF ANY PISTOL OR SEMIAUTOMATIC WEAPON, AND WE CAN INCREASE PENALTIES FOR THOSE WHO STEAL FIREARMS. STATES THAT HAVE IMPLEMENTED WAITING PERIODS HAVE SEEN SIGNIFICANT DECREASES IN SUICIDES. WE CAN ALSO REPEAL THE DICKY AMENDMENT AND OPEN THE DOOR FOR NEW RESEARCH ON GUN FOR VIOLENCE PREVENTION. NO ONE, NO ONE IS HAPPY WHEN INNOCENT PEOPLE DIE BECAUSE OF A GUNSHOT. AND LAW-ABIDING GUN OWNERS SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID OF STUDIES ON HOW TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF GUN DEATHS IN THIS COUNTRY. WE CAN DO MORE TO STOP MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES FROM TURNING DANGEROUS BY ALLOWING ENFORCEMENT OR FAMILY MEMBERS TO SEEK A COURT ORDER WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL POSES AN EXTREME DANGER TO THEMSELVES OR OTHERS. OR PREVENT THEM FROM GETTING ACCESS TO FIREARMS. SENATORS FEINSTEIN, BLUMENTHAL, AND GRAHAM HAVE ALL PROPOSED VERSIONS OF THE EXTREME RISK LAWS. FOR TOO LONG GRIDLOCK AND PARTISANSHIP HAVE STOOD IN THE WAY OF COMPROMISE. BUT I DIDN'T COME HERE TO DO NOTHING AND I DON'T THINK ANY OF YOU DID EITHER. TODAY WE FACE A DIFFICULT PROBLEM BUT NOT AN INSURMOUNTABLE ONE. TO FIND SOLUTIONS WE MUST DEMAND COURAGE OF OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER. AS HISTORY HAS SHOWN, WE FACE GREATER CONSEQUENCES WHEN INACTION, CERTAINLY GREATER CONSEQUENCES WITHIN ACTION ON GUN VIOLENCE. SO I'VE ASKED ALL OF US TO CONSIDER THIS QUESTION. WHAT IS OUR COLLECTIVE LEGACY AS REPRESENTATIVES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE MEMBERS OF THIS HALLOWED INSTITUTION? I BELIEVE IT'S TO LEAVE THIS BODY AND OUR COUNTRY BETTER THAN WE FOUND IT. AND WE CAN ONLY DO THAT IF WE RISE TOGETHER TO CONFRONT THE UNKNOWN. I'VE GIVEN TALKS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY ABOUT THE PROSECUTIONS OF THE 16th STREET BAPTIST CHURCH BOMBING. AND I AM ALWAYS REMINDED OF A PASSAGE FROM THE POEM "THE CURE OF TROY" WHICH WAS WRITTEN BY THE IRISH POET SHAMISH HANEY AS A TRIBUTE TO NELSON MANDELA. VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN OFTEN QUOTES THIS PACKAGE WHERE HANEY WROTE HISTORY SAYS DON'T HOPE ON THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE BUT THEN ONCE IN A LIFETIME THE LONG TIDAL WAVE OF JUSTICE CAN RISE UP AND HOPE AND HISTORY RHYME. WITH THE CONVICTIONS OF TWO FORMER KLANSMEN FOR THE MURDER OF THOSE FOUR YOUNG GIRLS, THE LONG FORETIDAL WAVE FOR JUSTICE ROSE UP AND HOPE AND HISTORY RHYME IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA. AND FOR ME AND I HOPE FOR YOU, WHEN I WALK THE HALLS OF THE SENATE OFFICE BUILDINGS AND I COME THROUGH THOSE DOUBLE DOORS ON TO THE SENATE FLOOR, I REALIZE THAT EVERY DAY WE AS A COLLECTIVE BODY HAVE THAT SAME OPPORTUNITY, WHETHER IT IS FOR DREAMERS OR VOTING RIGHTS OR VICTIMS OF SEX TRAFFICKING OR IN THIS CASE OUR CHILDREN WHO ARE DEMANDING ACTION ON GUN VIOLENCE, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD THAT TIDAL WAVE OF JUSTICE AND HAVE HOPE AND HISTORY, BUT WE HAVE TO HAVE THE COURAGE TO SEIZE THE MOMENT. I DON'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS ON HOW TO DO IT, BUT I'M WILLING TO WORK WITH EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU TO FIND IT BECAUSE THAT'S WHY WE WERE SENT HERE, TO FIND THOSE ANSWERS SO THAT THE TIDAL WAVE OF JUSTICE WILL RISE UP. PLEASE LET US WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE IT HAPPEN SOONER RATHER THAN LATER. MR. PRESIDENT, THANK YOU, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 01:32:39 PM

    A SENATOR

    FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 01:32:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ALASKA.

  • 01:32:42 PM

    MR.SULLIVAN

    ARE WE IN A QUORUM CALL?

  • 01:32:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WE ARE NOT.

  • 01:32:46 PM

    MR.SULLIVAN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD LIKE TO JOIN THE BIPARTISAN GROUP OF COLLEAGUES WHO…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD LIKE TO JOIN THE BIPARTISAN GROUP OF COLLEAGUES WHO HAVE BEEN COMING DOWN TO THE FLOOR TO TALK ABOUT THE VERY IMPORTANT BILL WE HAVE BEEN DEBATING AND WILL BE VOTING ON IN ABOUT AN HOUR, AND THAT IS TO HELP PROTECT OUR CHILDREN ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTRY FROM THE HORRIBLE SCOURGE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING, SEX TRAFFICKING. IT IS THE STOP ENABLING SEX TRAFFICKERS ACT AND IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THE WHOLE COUNTRY AND IMPORTANT FOR MY STATE OF ALASKA. WE HAVE A BIG PROBLEM IN ALASKA WITH THE CHALLENGES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, SOME OF THE HIGHEST RATES IN THE COUNTRY. WE ALSO HAVE A BIG PROBLEM WITH THE CHALLENGES OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING, SEX TRAFFICKING. A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK, THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN IN AMERICA. IT HAPPENS IN AMERICA. HORRIBLE -- IT'S A HORRIBLE ISSUE TO TALK ABOUT, BUT IT HAPPENS IN OUR COUNTRY. AS A MATTER OF FACT, THERE WAS A STUDY LAST YEAR ON YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN IN ALASKA RECEIVING SERVICES FROM A HOMELESS SHELTER FOR TEENAGERS -- ACTUALLY MY WIFE JULIE WORKS AT THIS HOMELESS SHELTER -- AND ONE IN FOUR GIRLS AND ONE IN FIVE BOYS WERE REPORTED BEING VICTIMS OF SEX TRAFFICKING WHO USE THE SERVICES OF THIS TEEN HOMELESS SHELTER. THAT'S A HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE NUMBER, A VERY VULNERABLE SOCIETY THAT WE NEED DO MORE TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE. AND WHAT WE DO IN THIS LEGISLATION, MR. PRESIDENT, IS WE'RE TAKING THE FIGHT TO ONE OF THE PLACES IN THIS COUNTRY WHERE HUMAN TRAFFICKING, SEX TRAFFICKING HAS REALLY EXPLODED, AND THAT'S THE INTERNET. SO THE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION WE ARE DEBATING RIGHT NOW WILL ENSURE THAT WEBSITES AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS ON THE INTERNET AND THE COMPANIES RELATED THAT KNOWINGLY, AND THAT'S AN IMPORTANT WORD, KNOWINGLY FACILITATE SEX TRAFFICKING WILL BE HELD FOR THEIR ACTIONS. IT WILL OVER THE INTERNET AND GIVE MORE RESOURCES TO STATE PROSECUTE TOASTER GO AFTER THESE HEINOUS CRIMES. I THINK YOU'RE SEEING IN THE REMARKS FROM A WHOLE HOST OF SENATORS THIS MORNING THAT WE'RE GOING TO MAKE REAL PROGRESS IN THE FIGHT IN ONLINE SEX TRAFFICKING WITHOUT THREATENING THE YEARS OF PROGRESS WE MADE IN CREATING A FREE AND OPEN INTERNET. AS SENATOR PORTMAN, ONE OF THE LEADERS OF THIS EFFORT, ALONG WITH MANY OTHER SENATORS, BLUMENTHAL, SENATOR McCAIN, HIS WIFE CINDY HAS BEEN A REAL CHAMPION AND ADVOCATE FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING ISSUES THROUGHOUT AMERICA. SO MANY SENATORS HAVE BEEN SAYING THIS IS A COMMONSENSE TARGETED APPROACH TO ADDRESSING THIS VERY BIG AND GROWING PROBLEM. SO WE'RE GOING TO VOTE IN ABOUT AN HOUR -- AND I HOPE ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES WILL DO THE RIGHT THING AND VOTE AND REJECT THESE AMENDMENTS THAT ARE PUT OUT THERE AS HELPFUL, BUT TO BE HONEST, THEY ARE MEANT TO BRING DOWN THE BILL. WE CANNOT ALLOW OUR CHILDREN, WHETHER IN ALASKA OR ACROSS THE COUNTRY, TO BE LIEWRD INTO THIS KIND -- LURED INTO THIS KIND OF HELL. THE MORE WE HEAR IN TESTIMONY THE MORE WE RECOGNIZE WHAT IS GOING ON THE INTERNET IS HELL, MOSTLY FOR THE YOUTH OF AMERICA. OUR CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE SOLD ONLINE OR ANYWHERE ELSE, AND, UNFORTUNATELY, MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS HAPPENING AND IT IS HAPPENING A LOT. LARGELY BECAUSE OF THE INTERNET, THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN REPORTED FROM 2010 TO 2015 AN 846% INCREASE OF CHILDREN BEING TRAFFICKED. OVER 800% INCREASE IN AMERICA. NOW, I KNOW A LOT OF AMERICANS THINK, WAIT, REALLY? THAT'S A PROBLEM IN ASIA, OTHER COUNTRIES, SOUTHEAST ASIA. IT'S A GROWING PROBLEM IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. WE NEED TO ADDRESS IT. AS OTHERS HAVE SAID ON THIS FLOOR, SEX TRAFFICKING HAS MOVED FROM THE STREET CORNER TO THE SMART PHONE WHERE IT HAS BEEN MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO DETECT, MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO STOP, AND IT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WE SEE THIS DRAMATIC INCREASE OF RACE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THIS COUNTRY. NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, WE HAD IN THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE A HEARING THAT COVERED THIS BILL. SOME OF THE MEMBERS OF THE TECH INDUSTRY WERE OPPOSED, BUT I THINK THE OVERWHELMING SUPPORT THAT CAME OUT OF THAT HEARING WAS DRIVEN BY THE REAL-WORLD TRAGEDIES THAT WE STARTED TO HEAR FROM. HUNDREDS, THOUSANDS OF THEM ACROSS THE COUNTRY THAT HAVE OCCURRED BECAUSE OF REALLY LACKS LAWS AND IMMUNITY ON THE INTERNET THAT WAS NOT INTENDED FOR COMPANIES OR INDIVIDUALS WHO DEAL IN SEX TRAFFICKING AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING. BUT WHAT WE SAW FROM THE REPORTS AND THE INVESTIGATIONS THAT SENATOR PORTMAN AND OTHERS DID WAS THAT THAT'S ACTUALLY WHAT WAS HAPPENING. SO, FOR EXAMPLE, SENATOR BLUMENTHAL EARLIER TODAY WAS TALKING ABOUT THE VERY MOVING, REALLY TRAGICALLY SAD, MOVING TESTIMONY THAT WE HEARD LAST SEPTEMBER IN THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE FROM YVONNE AMBROSE WHOSE DAUGHTER, 16-YEAR-OLD DESIREE ROBINSON WAS TRAFFICKED ONLINE BY A PIMP ON THE WEBSITE BACKPAGE.COM. SHE WAS LATER RAPED AND MURDERED BY A 32-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO FOUND HER ON THAT WEBSITE. THIS IS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, 16-YEAR-OLD GIRL. AND IF YOU WATCHED THE TESTIMONY OF HER MOM IN FRONT OF THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE, YOU'D BE VOTING FOR THIS BILL TODAY. HER MOM ENDED HER RIVETTING AND VERY SAD TESTIMONY BY SAYING, IF THERE WERE STRICTER RULES IN PLACE FOR POSTING ON THESE WEBSITES, MY CHILD WOULD STILL BE HERE WITH US TODAY. IT WAS A WRENCHING STORY AND ONE, UNFORTUNATELY, THAT TOO MANY AMERICAN MOTHERS AND FATHERS ARE TELLING US. SO WE'RE GOING TO VOTE ON THIS TODAY, AND I HOPE ALL MY COLLEAGUES VOTE FOR MORE PROGRESS, BUT, MR. PRESIDENT, AS YOU KNOW, THERE'S ACTUALLY -- THERE'S ACTUALLY PROSTIVE -- POSITIVE PROGRESS THAT'S BEEN GOING ON THIS ISSUE. A LOT OF TIMES WHEN YOU READ THE NEWS, YOU ALWAYS HEAR ABOUT CONFLICT AND HOW THERE IS NO PROGRESS IN THE SENATE. WE HAVE HAD A LOT OF ISSUES, BUT THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF BIPARTISANSHIP. IN THIS AREA, THERE HAS BEEN SIGNIFICANT BIPARTISAN PROCESS TO START FINALLY ADDRESSING THIS GROWING PROBLEM IN AMERICA WHICH, AGAIN, IS REMARKABLE WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THAT, YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN TRAFFICKED FOR SEX IN THIS COUNTRY. SO IN 2017 WE PASSED BIPARTISAN PASSAGE OF THE ABOLISH HUMAN TRAFFICKING ACT. IN 2015, WE PASSED THE JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING ACT. BOTH WERE INTRODUCED BY MY FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE FROM TEXAS, SENATOR CORNYN. SENATOR THUNE HAS BEEN A LEADER ON THESE ISSUES IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS PASSING THE NO HUMAN TRAFFICKING ON OUR ROADS ACT AND COMBATING HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN COMMERCIAL VEHICLES ACT WHICH FOCUSED ON THE BIG PROBLEM THAT WE'VE SEEN IN TERMS OF THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM IN AMERICA BEING USED FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING. SENATOR GRASSLEY, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, WE PASSED HIS BILL, THE TRAFFICKING VICTIMS PROTECTION AND REAUTHORIZATION ACT WHICH BROUGHT MORE SERVICES TO VICTIMS OF THESE HEINOUS CRIMES. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, WE'RE MAKING PROGRESS, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. BUT THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT POINT. DESPITE THE STRONG RECORD OF ADDRESSING HUMAN TRAFFICKING, WHEN IT COMES TO THESE CRIMES, ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS WE NEED MORE OF IN AMERICA TO ADDRESS THEM, BECAUSE THEY ARE GROWING, IS RESOURCES -- RESOURCES. TO PUT IT BLUNTLY, THERE'S TOO MANY CASES, TOO MANY OF THIS HAPPENING -- TOO MUCH OF THIS HAPPENING, AND NOT ENOUGH RESOURCES, MONEY, OR PROSECUTORS TO PUT THE BAD INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE DOING THIS BEHIND BARS. NOW, MANY OF THESE CASES, AND YOU SEE MANY CASES INVOLVING HUMAN TRAFFICKING ARE FEDERAL CRIMES, AND THAT USUALLY REQUIRES FEDERAL PROSECUTORS TO GO AFTER THESE FEDERAL OFFENSES. AND AS WE ALL KNOW, THERE ARE LIMITED AMOUNTS OF ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEYS, FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS TO DO THIS. SO WHAT HAVE WE DONE? WHAT HAVE WE DONE IN THE LAST FEW YEARS? WHAT ARE WE DOING TODAY IN THIS VOTE TO HELP ADDRESS THIS? WELL, WE'VE BEGUN TO CHANGE THIS ISSUE OF RESOURCES TO GO AFTER THE PERPETRATOR OF THESE HEINOUS CRIMES IN A MUCH BETTER WAY BY ALLOWING STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL, STATE DISTRICT ATTORNEYS TO ACTUALLY PROSECUTE THESE CRIMES, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE FEDERAL CRIMES. WE ARE DOING SOMETHING IN THE LAW THAT SAYS WE NEED MORE PROSECUTORS, WE NEED MORE INVESTIGATORS, WE NEED MORE RESOURCES, LET'S UNLEASH THOSE IN THE STATE TO HELP US ADDRESS THIS GROWING PROBLEM THROUGHOUT OUR COUNTRY. SO WE'RE DOING THAT. AND WE DID IT, MR. PRESIDENT, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING ACT IN 2015. NOW, THIS BILL, WHICH IS, LIKE I SAID, SENATOR CORNYN WAS THE LEAD ON THIS. THIS BILL ACTUALLY INCORPORATED A BILL THAT I HAD AUTHORED AND HAD A LOT OF COSPONSORS ON CALLED THE MAN ACT COOPERATION ACT. WE PUT THAT IN AS PART OF THE BROADER BILL IN 2015. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, THE MAN ACT IS FEDERAL LAW THAT MAKES IT A CRIMINAL OFFENSE TO TRANSPORT SOMEONE ACROSS STATE LINES FOR THE PURPOSES OF PROSTITUTION AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING. IN MY EXPERIENCE BACK HOME IN ALASKA AS ATTORNEY GENERAL, WE HAD CHALLENGES IN THIS REGARD. AS A MATTER OF FACT, THERE WAS A VERY NOTORIOUS CASE OF A BAD MAN, A VERY CORRUPT MAN. A LOT OF PEOPLE KNEW HIM IN ALAS CAME. HE WAS ENGAGED IN THIS KIND OF ACTIVITY WITH YOUNG GIRLS FROM THE NATIVE VILLAGES IN MY STATE. WE INVESTIGATED THIS AND REALIZED THAT HE VIOLATED NOT A STATE LAW BUT A FEDERAL LAW. VERY CLEAR. HUMAN TRAFFICKING VIOLATION OF THE MAN ACT. SO MY OFFICE WHEN I WAS ATTORNEY GENERAL, WE WENT TO THE FEDS AND WE SAID HERE YOU GO. HERE'S THE EVIDENCE. THIS GUY VIOLATED THE MAN ACT. HE'S A BAD MAN. HE SHOULD GO TO JAIL. AND WE NEED TO SEND A SIGNAL. WELL, IT'S A RATHER LONG STORY. IT'S A SAD STORY, MR. PRESIDENT. BUT FOR WHATEVER REASON AND I'VE WONDERED FOR YEARS AND I'VE LOOKED INTO THIS FOR YEARS, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WOULDN'T TAKE THE CASE. WOULDN'T TAKE THE CASE. SO I SAID TO THE FED, WELL THEN LET MY PROSECUTORS TAKE THE CASE. WE'LL TAKE THE CASE. YOU JUST NEED TO CROSS DESIGNATE US. LET THE STATE A.G.'S OFFICE TAKE THESE FEDERAL LAWS. PROSECUTE THEM AGAINST THIS GUY. WE'LL DO IT. THEY STILL DIDN'T ALLOW US TO DO IT. THERE WERE RUMORS IN ALASKA, WHAT WAS GOING ON, WAS THERE SOME KIND OF DEAL CUT BETWEEN THE FEDS AND THIS GUY WHO WAS A REAL BAD GUY, WHO WAS IN JAIL FOR SOMETHING ELSE? BUT WHEN I GOT HERE TO THE SENATE, I SAID WE ARE NOT GOING TO LET THAT KIND OF INJUSTICE HAPPEN AGAIN. WE ARE NOT GOING TO HAPPEN THAT KIND OF INJUSTICE HAPPEN AGAIN. BECAUSE THAT WAS AN INJUSTICE. A MAN WHO VIOLATED THE MANN ACT, CLEARLY COMMITTED THE CRIME OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING, IS A FREE MAN RIGHT NOW. SHOULDN'T BE THE CASE. SO AS PART OF THE JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS -- OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING ACT IN 2015, WE HAD A PROVISION, MY BILL THAT ESSENTIALLY SAID THIS, IF A STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL BRINGS A MANN ACT, A HUMAN TRAFFICKING VIOLATION CASE, FEDERAL CASE TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES SAYING WE NEED TO BE CROSS DESIGNATED TO GO DO THIS, TO PROSECUTE, MAYBE THE FEDS DON'T HAVE THE RESOURCES, MAYBE THEY DON'T HAVE THE TIME, THEN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL ALLOW THE CROSS-DESIGNATION FOR MORE STATE A.G.'S TO PROSECUTE THESE CASES. UNLESS IT WOULD UNDERMINE THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE. SO THAT'S IN THE LAW. STATE A.G.'S RIGHT NOW CAN GO PROSECUTE MANN ACT CASES. THAT'S MORE RESOURCES, MORE INVESTIGATORS, MORE PROSECUTORS. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT'S GOING TO BE IN THE LAW WE'RE VOTING ON TODAY. BECAUSE ONE OF THE ELEMENTS, AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT OF THE STOP ENABLING SEX TRAFFICKERS ACT THAT WE'RE VOTING ON AND DEBATING RIGHT NOW IS TO ALLOW STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL THE POWER AND THE AUTHORITY TO BRING ACTIONS AGAINST THOSE WHO VIOLATE FEDERAL LAW FOR INTERNET INTERNET-BASED SEX TRAFFICKING. SO WE'RE BRINGING THE RESOURCES IN THESE KIND OF CASES. THAT'S AN IMPORTANT INNOVATION AND A DEVELOPMENT IN THE BILL THAT WE'RE VOTING ON TODAY. SO JUST LIKE IN THE PREVIOUS LEGISLATION, STATE A.G.'S CAN NOW BRING THESE CASES, IF WE PASS THIS LAW TODAY, THAT WILL MEAN MORE RESOURCES, MORE INVESTIGATORS, MORE PROSECUTORS FOR THE PERPETRATORS OF THESE HEINOUS CRIMES. SO ALL THE BAD GUYS OUT THERE WHO ARE UNDERTAKING THESE CRIMES CRIMES, WHEN WE VOTE TO PASS THIS LEGISLATION TODAY, THAT'S GOING TO BE A BAD DAY FOR YOU. BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO HAVE MORE RESOURCES AND THE ABILITY TO PUT YOU IN JAIL WITH THIS VOTE TODAY. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, AS I MENTIONED, WE HAVE A BIG, BIG PROBLEM IN THIS COUNTRY. WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO IN TERMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING, SEX TRAFFICKING. IT'S REALLY HITTING ALL PARTS OF AMERICA. BUT CONGRESS IS FOCUSED ON IT AND I'M HOPEFUL THAT WE'LL PASS THIS LEGISLATION THIS THIS AFTERNOON FOR ONE MORE STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION ON ADDRESSING THIS. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 01:51:53 PM

    A SENATOR

  • 01:51:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 01:51:56 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, BEFORE I BEGIN MY REMARKS ON THE LEGISLATION BEFORE US, I…

    MR. PRESIDENT, BEFORE I BEGIN MY REMARKS ON THE LEGISLATION BEFORE US, I JUST WOULD LIKE TO COMPLEMENT -- COMPLIMENT OUR NEW COLLEAGUE SENATOR JONES ON A SUPERB MAIDEN SPEECH. I THOUGHT HE WAS SO GRACIOUS WHEN HE REMEMBERED SENATOR HEFLIN. I SERVED WITH SENATOR HEFLIN. AND I THINK SENATOR JONES IS GOING TO BE VERY MUCH IN THAT TRADITION. AND I JUST WANT TO TAKE A QUICK MINUTE AND COMMEND OUR NEW COLLEAGUE FOR LAUNCHING HIS TIME IN THE SENATE IN AN EXTRAORDINARY WAY. MR. PRESIDENT, I CALL UP AMENDMENTS NUMBER 2212 AND 2213 AS PROVIDED FOR UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER AND I ASK THAT THEY BE REPORTED BY NUMBER.

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  • 01:52:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE AMENDMENTS BY NUMBER.

  • 01:52:50 PM

    THE CLERK

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON, MR. WYDEN, PROPOSES AMENDMENTS NUMBER 2212 AND…

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON, MR. WYDEN, PROPOSES AMENDMENTS NUMBER 2212 AND 2213 TO H.R. 1865.

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  • 01:53:01 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 01:53:02 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 01:53:04 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT MY HOUR BEGIN NOW FOR…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT MY HOUR BEGIN NOW FOR SPEAKING ON THIS SUBJECT. WE'RE A BIT BEHIND BUT NOT MUCH. I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE HOUR THAT HAS BEEN ASSIGNED TO ME BEGIN AT THIS TIME.

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  • 01:53:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:53:24 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I STAND ON THE SENATE FLOOR TODAY IN FIRM AGREEMENT WITH MY…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I STAND ON THE SENATE FLOOR TODAY IN FIRM AGREEMENT WITH MY COLLEAGUES THAT THE CONGRESS MUST DO MORE TO COMBAT THE SCOURGE OF SEX TRAFFICKING. IT IS A PROFOUND AND TRAGIC FAILURE OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS THAT TRAFFICKING CONTINUES TO PLAGUE OUR COUNTRY AND IN FACT HAS ACTUALLY INCREASED. FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS FAILED TO ROOT OUT AND PROSECUTE THE TRAFFICKERS, EVEN WHEN THEY HAVE BEEN OPERATING IN PLAIN SIGHT. SO, TOO, HAVE THE BIG INTERNET COMPANIES FAILED WHEN IT COMES TO SEX TRAFFICKERS WHO OPERATE ON THEIR PLATFORMS. MR. PRESIDENT AND COLLEAGUES, I FEAR THAT THE LEGISLATION BEFORE THE SENATE NOW IS GOING TO BE ANOTHER FAILURE. I FEAR THAT IT'S GOING TO DO MORE TO TAKE DOWN ADS THAN TO TAKE DOWN TRAFFICKERS. I FEAR IT WILL SEND THESE MONSTERS, THESE EVIL PEOPLE WHO TRAFFIC BEYOND THE GRASP OF LAW ENFORCEMENT TO THE SHADOWY CORNERS OF THE DARK WEB, A PLACE WHERE EVERYDAY SEARCH ENGINES DON'T GO, AND IT'S GOING TO BE EVEN EASIER FOR CRIMINALS, THESE VICIOUS TRAFFICKERS, TO FIND A SAFE HAVEN FOR THEIR EXTRAORDINARILY EVIL ACTS. MR. PRESIDENT, IN MANY RESPECTS, THIS DEBATE MIRRORS ONE THE CONGRESS WENT THROUGH A LITTLE BIT MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO. BACK THEN I THINK IT WOULD BE FAIR TO SAY NOT A WHOLE LOT OF SENATORS KNEW MUCH ABOUT THE INTERNET. IN 1995, HAD A LAUDABLE GOAL THE SENATE SAID IT WANTED TO PROTECT KIDS FOR ACCESSING PORNOGRAPHY ONLINE. BUT THE RESULTS OF THOSE GOOD INTENTIONS ONE UNFORTUNATELY A BAD POLICY. A POLICY CALLED THE COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT OF 1996. BEHIND THAT POLICY WAS A FUNDAMENTAL MISUNDERSTANDING OF BOTH THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE INTERNET AND THE MODERN APPLICATION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT. THE LAW DIDN'T JUST GO AFTER THOSE TARGETING PORNOGRAPHY TO MINORS. IT TOOK SPEECH THAT WAS LEGAL IN THE REAL WORD AND MADE IT ILLEGAL ONLINE -- WORLD AND MADE IT ILLEGAL ONLINE. AND IT PRODUCED A PARADISE FOR THE LEGAL TRICKSTER CREATING NEW WAYS TO SUE OVER SPEECH AND ADVERSELY AFFECTING SCORES OF AMERICANS, MEDICAL PROVIDERS, ARTISTS, WRITERS OF LITERATURE, AND MORE. AS SHOULD HAPPEN WITH POORLY WRITTEN POLICY, ALL BUT ONE PART -- ALL BUT ONE PART OF THE COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT WAS STRUCK DOWN BY THE SUPREME COURT. THE ONE PIECE OF THE LAW LEFT STANDING WAS SECTION 230, WHICH I WAS THE COAUTHOR OF WITH FORMER CONGRESSMAN CHRIS COX. AND WHAT SECTION 230 WAS ALL ABOUT WAS LAYING OUT THE LEGAL RULES OF THE ROAD FOR THE WEB. THEY WERE INNOVATIVE NEW BUSINESSES AND THEY WERE SPROUTING ALL OVER, NOVEL FORMS OF COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA, AND THEY WERE ALL CONNECTING AND INFORMING PEOPLE IN NEW WAYS. BUT IT SEEMED CLEAR THAT A QUICK WAY TO STRANGLE THIS PROMISING SET OF DEVELOPMENTS IN THEIR INFANCY WAS FOR THESE COMPANIES, THESE NEW COMPANIES, TO BE HELD LEGALLY LIABLE FOR EVERY PIECE OF CONTENT THAT USERS POSTED ON THEIR PLATFORMS. NOW, WHEN SECTION 230 WAS WRITTEN, NOBODY COULD HAVE FORESEEN ALL OF THE EFFECTS. BUT HERE'S WHAT WE DID KNOW BACK THEN. FIRST, WE WANTED SMALL BUSINESSES TO START OUT FOCUSING ON HIRING ENGINEERS, DEVELOPERS, AND DESIGNERS RATHER THAN WORRYING ABOUT HOW THEY HAD TO HIRE A TEAM OF LAWYERS. SECOND, WE WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT INTERNET COMPANIES COULD MODERATE THEIR WEBSITES WITHOUT GETTING CLOBBERED BY LAWSUITS. I THINK DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS HERE WOULD AGREE THAT THAT'S A BETTER SCENARIO THAN THE ALTERNATIVE, WHICH MEANS WEBSITES HIDING THEIR HEADS IN THE SAND OUT OF FEAR THAT THEY'D BE WEIGHED DOWN WITH LIABILITY. THIRD, WE WANTED TO GUARANTEE THAT BAD ACTORS WOULD STILL BE SUBJECT TO ALL THE FEDERAL LAWS, WHETHER THE CRIMINALS WERE OPERATING ON A STREET CORNER OR ONLINE WASN'T GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. AND WE WERE DETERMINED TO STATE THAT EXPLICITLY. FOURTH, WE WANTED TO PROTECT THE INTERNET FROM THE WHIMS OF STATE AND LOCAL LEGISLATORS. THIS BODY HAS THE AUTHORITY TO REGULATE INTERSTATE COMMERCE. AND I WOULD ASK ANY OF MY COLLEAGUES TO OFFER UP AN EXAMPLE OF HOW SOMETHING COULD BE MORE INTERSTATE THAN THE INTERNET. NOW, IT MAY NOT SATISFY SOME PUBLICITY-SEEKING LOCAL OFFICIAL WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S ROLE HERE, BUT THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THE ROLE OF THE CONGRESS LEADING ON SOMETHING THAT IS CLEARLY INTERSTATE IN NATURE, IT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. FOR THE MOST PART, THE FRAMEWORK WORKED BETTER THAN I EVER IMAGINED IT WOULD. AS A RESULT, SECTION 230, THE SMALL, GUTSY ENTREPRENEUR -- SAY AN ENTREPRENEUR IN NORTH CAROLINA -- WITH A BIG DREAM WORKING OUT OF THEIR GARAGE HAS A REAL SHOT AT SUCCEEDING. MARGINALIZED GROUPS OF VULNERABLE AMERICANS HAVE A BETTER OPPORTUNITY THAN EVER TO MAKE THEIR VOICES HEARD BECAUSE OF SECTION 230. SMALL NONPROFITS HAVE THE ABILITY TO TAKE THEIR CAUSES NATIONWIDE. ONE SCHOLAR, DAVID POST, EVEN WROTE THAT THE 230 LAW CREATED $1 TRILLION WORTH OF ECONOMIC VALUE IN THE PRIVATE ECONOMY. HE SAID, AND I QUOTE, IT IS IMPOSSIBLY -- I IMPOSSIBLE TO IMAGINE WHAT THE INTERNETS ECOSYSTEM WOULD LOOK LIKE WITHOUT IT, HE SAID. MY WIFE SAW THAT ARTICLE, LOOKED AT ME AND SAID, WELL, DEAR, EVEN A BLIND SQUIRREL OCCASIONALLY FINDS AN ACORN. BUT SETTING ASIDE SPOUSAL KIDDING, TO ILLUSTRATE WHY THE PROTECTION THAT COMES FROM SECTION 230 IS SO IMPORTANT, I'M GOING TO TURN NEXT TO WHAT THINGS WOULD BE LIKE WITHOUT IT. IMAGINE IF YOU'RE STARTING A FORUM SITE DEDICATED TO DISCUSSING KNITTING. NOW IF EVER THERE WAS A TOPIC THAT SOUNDED DRAMA-FREE, THAT WOULD BE IT. BUT SUPPOSE SOMEBODY GOES ON THE SITE AND SHARES A PATTERN THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO SHARE. SUDDENLY YOUR WEBSITE IS FACING A COPY RIGHT INFRINGEMENT LAWSUIT. MAYBE THE CONTROVERSY, KNITTING VERSUS CROCHETING, GETS OVERHEATED, AND THE USERS START TRADING BARBS. SUDDENLY YOU HAVE PEOPLE SLINGING DEFAMATION SUITS AT YOUR ITTY BITTY FORUM HOSTS. THEN SOMEBODY IS INJURED BY AN AUTOMATIC NEEDLE THREADER THEY READ ABOUT IN A COMMENT THREAD. SUDDENLY YOU'RE A CODEFENDANT IN A LIABILITY SUIT ALL BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T HAVE THE PROTECTION OF SECTION 230. NOW IMAGINE HOW HARD IT WOULD BE TO LAUNCH A PLATFORM THAT'S OPEN TO DISCUSSION OF ANY TOPIC WHEN EVEN THE SIMPLEST, MOST NARROWLY FOCUSED WEBSITE ON THE NET CAN BECOME A MAGNET FOR LAWSUITS. THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH LAWYERS IN THE WORLD TO HANDLE ALL THAT LITIGATION. MY SENSE IS WE'VE GOT A LOT OF CONSTITUENTS WHO SAY THANK GOD. SO IN THE ABSENCE OF SECTION 230, THE INTERNET AS WE KNOW IT WOULD SHRIVEL. ONLY THE PLATFORMS RUN BY THOSE WITH DEEP POCKETS AND AN EVEN DEEPER BENCH OF LAWYERS WOULD BE ABLE TO MAKE IT. MOREOVER, SECTION 230 ISN'T JUST ABOUT HOBBIES IN COMMERCE. IT PROTECTS THE COORDINATION OF FREE SPEECH, PARTICULARLY AMONG VULNERABLE GROUPS OF AMERICANS. THAT'S THE REASON WHY ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE LIBERTARIAN CATO INSTITUTE, THE PROGRESSIVE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN, AND THE ACLU HAVE VOICED SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT THE LEGISLATION BEFORE THE SENATE. YOU SURE DON'T SEE THOSE THREE GROUPS LINED UP SIDE BY SIDE VERY OFTEN, BUT THEY'RE HERE NOW. AND IT IS BECAUSE WITHOUT THE PROTECTIONS OF SECTION 230, CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS EXERCISING THEIR RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH COULD BE COWED BY THEIR MORE POWERFUL POLITICAL OPPONENTS. FOR THIS EXAMPLE, IMAGINE A NONPROFIT ORGANIZING A CAMPAIGN IN SUPPORT OF A LOCAL BALLOT MISSION. THEY USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO BUILD AWARENESS AND PROMOTE UPCOMING RALLIES AND EVENTS WITH ONLINE DISCUSSION BOARDS. BUT WITHOUT SECTION 230, POWERFUL INTERESTS OPPOSED TO THEIR WORK COULD JUST SWOOP IN AND EFFECTIVELY SILENCE THAT NONPROFIT WITH AN ONSLAUGHT OF LITIGATION. HOSTILE INDIVIDUALS COULD POSE A AS SUPPORTERS AND MAKE COMMENTS ON THE NONPROFIT'S WEBSITE THAT WOULD EXPOSE THE GROUP TO LIABILITY SUITS. I THINK IT'S PRETTY OBVIOUS THERE WOULD BE AN ENORMOUS CHILLING EFFECT ON SPEECH IN AMERICA. MR. PRESIDENT, NOW I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENTER INTO THE RECORD THE STATEMENTS FROM THE CATO INSTITUTE AND THE ACLU OPPOSING THE LEGISLATION BEFORE THE SENATE.

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  • 02:06:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:06:35 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:14:06 PM

    MOTTO DON'T

    MOTTO: DON'T SPREAD EVIL. WITH ALL THAT SAID AND DONE, IT'S NOT JUST THE…

    MOTTO: DON'T SPREAD EVIL. WITH ALL THAT SAID AND DONE, IT'S NOT JUST THE INTERNET COMPANIES WHO FAILED TO PROPERLY RESPOND TO THE CHALLENGES OF OUR TIMES. WHEN IT COMES TO SEX TRAFFICKING, WHICH IS THE UNDERLYING ISSUE THE SENATE WORKS ON TODAY, OUR COUNTRY HAS FAILED THE VICTIMS AT ALMOST EVERY LEVEL. FOR EXAMPLE, THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT COULD HAVE AND ABSOLUTELY SHOULD HAVE INVESTIGATED THE WEBSITE BACKPAGE YEARS AGO FOR ITS ROLE IN PROMOTING SEX TRAFFICKING. BUT THE FACT IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FELL DOWN ON THE JOB. BACKPAGE'S ACTIVITIES WERE NO SECRET. SO IN THE ABSENCE OF ACTION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, A SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE LED BY OUR COLLEAGUES SENATORS PORTMAN AND McCASKILL CONDUCTED THEIR OWN INVESTIGATION AND SUBPOENAED KEY DOCUMENTS. AMONG THOSE DOCUMENTS WERE E-MAILS THAT APPEARED TO SHOW THAT BACKPAGE WAS ACTIVELY WORKING WITH SEX TRAFFICKERS TO CREATE ADVERTISEMENTS. THAT MEANT THAT BACKPAGE WAS NOT DUE PROTECTION UNDER SECTION 230. IN FACT, A LAWSUIT IN BOSTON WAS GIVEN THE GO-AHEAD BASED ON THAT PRECISE FINDING. AND IT HAS BEEN WIDELY REPORTED THAT THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT NOW HAS ITS OWN INVESTIGATION UNDER WAY, ALTHOUGH IT'S COMING YEARS AND YEARS TOO LATE. THIS SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED EONS AGO, AND IT IS ONLY ONE EXAMPLE OF WHERE THE GOVERNMENT'S EFFORTS HAVE FALLEN SHORT. NOW, FOLLOWING WHAT I HAVE DESCRIBED, THE TWIN FAILURES OF THE BIG TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES AND FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT, THIS BODY IS RESPONDING TO A VERY SERIOUS, SERIOUS MORAL CHALLENGE WITH FLAWED POLICY CHANGES. IN MY VIEW, THE LEGISLATION BEFORE THE SENATE WILL PROVE TO BE INEFFECTIVE. IT WILL HAVE HARMFUL, UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. AND IT COULD -- IT COULD -- BE RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL. NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, I TAKE A BACK SEAT TO NO ONE WHEN IT COMES TO POLICIES THAT FIGHT THE SEX TRAFFICKERS, BRING THEM TO JUSTICE, AND HELP THE VICTIMS OF THEIR HIDEOUS CRIMES. I HAVE USEED MY POSITION ON THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE TO BE ONE OF THE AUTHORS OF LAWS TO SUPPORT VICTIMS AND PROVIDE ONGOING FUNDING PAID FOR BY THOSE CONVICTED OF CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN. I'VE WORKED WITH OUR COLLEAGUES, SENATOR CORNYN, SENATOR PORTMAN, SENATOR KLOBUCHAR, TO WRITE LAWS TO IMPROVE THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM, TO HELP PREVENT KIDS FROM BECOMING VICTIMS IN THE FIRST PLACE. I PUT MY RECORD UP AGAINST ANY MEMBER OF THIS CONGRESS WHEN IT COMES TO PASSING LAWS THAT WHILE DEFINITELY NOT GOING FAR ENOUGH BEGAN THE EFFORT TO PROVIDE THE TOOLS TO FIGHT THIS SCOURGE. BUT THE BILL BEFORE US TODAY IS NOT GOING TO STOP SEX TRAFFICKING. IT'S NOT GOING TO PREVENT YOUNG PEOPLE FROM BECOMING VICTIMS. AND I'M GOING TO DESCRIBE WHY THAT'S THE CASE. FIRST, AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TAKES THE VIEW THAT AN IMPORTANT PROVISION OF THE BILL IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. IN MY JUDGMENT, THAT'S ANOTHER ISSUE THE CONGRESS OUGHT TO ADDRESS BEFORE SENDING A BILL TO THE PRESIDENT'S DESK. BUT, INSTEAD, IT JUST LOOKS LIKE EVERYBODY SAYS, WE'LL DRIVE IT THROUGH AS IS. SECOND -- AND THIS IS AN ASTOUNDING DEVELOPMENT -- THE LEGISLATION BEFORE THE SENATE IS GOING TO MAKE IT HARDER, NOT EASIER, TO ROOT OUT AND PROSECUTE SEX TRAFFICKERS. AND LET ME JUST READ WHAT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HAS SAID RECENTLY THAT PROVES THAT THIS BILL IS GOING TO MAKE IT HARDER TO ROOT OUT AND PROSECUTE SEX TRAFFICKERS. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE RECENTLY SAID THAT THIS LEGISLATION WOULD -- AND I QUOTE -- EFFECTIVELY CREATE ADDITIONAL ELEMENTS THAT PROSECUTORS MUST PROVE AT TRIAL. COLLEAGUES, I WOULD JUST SAY THAT YOU'RE HEADING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION IF YOU HAVE LEGISLATION THAT WOULD RAISE THE BURDEN OF PROOF IN CASES AGAINST SEX TRAFFICKERS. IMAGINE THAT. WITH NATIONWIDE CONCERN ABOUT THE EVIL OF SEX TRAFFICKING, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HAS SAID THAT THIS BILL WOULD ACTUALLY RAISE THE BURDEN OF PROOF IN CASES AGAINST SEX TRAFFICKERS. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WROTE A LETTER TO CHAIRMAN GOODLATTE OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE THAT LAYS OUT THE CONCERNS I'VE JUST DESCRIBED. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT, MR. PRESIDENT, TO ENTER THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT LETTER INTO THE RECORD.

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  • 02:20:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:20:13 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, THAT IS NOT THE ONLY PROBLEM WHEN IT COMES TO ENFORCING…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THAT IS NOT THE ONLY PROBLEM WHEN IT COMES TO ENFORCING THIS LAW. THE BILL BEFORE THE SENATE IS FOCUSED ON TAKING DOWN ONLINE ADVERTISEMENTS, NOT ON CATCHING CRIMINALS OR PROTECTING VICTIMS. TAKING DOWN THE ADS DOESN'T MEAN THAT THE PIMPS AND PREDATORS SAY, OH, GOOD... WE'VE SEEN WHAT THE SENATE IS DOING. WE'RE NOW GOING TO START FOLLOWING THE RULES. WHEN THE ADS COME DOWN, COLLEAGUES, THE CRIMINALS WILL GO AS FAST AS THEY CAN TO THE DARKEST CORNERS OF OUR SOCIETY. INSTEAD OF STOPPING TRAFFICKING, THE BILL IS GOING TO PUSH IT TO THE DARK WEB, THE DARK ALLEYS, OVERSEAS, THE DARK WEB WHICH YOU CAN'T GET TO WITH TRADITIONAL SEARCH ENGINES. CAREER FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, THE EXPERT INVESTIGATORS, ARE THE PEOPLE WHO KNOW HOW TO ROOT OUT THE TRAFFICKERS UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES. THEY'VE GOT EXPERTISE THAT STATE AND LOCAL ENFORCERS DON'T HAVE. SO MY VIEW IS, BY HANDING NEW AUTHORITIES TO LOCAL OFFICIALS, THE BILL MOVES IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. IN MY VIEW, THE RIGHT APPROACH IS TO MAKE SURE THAT CAREER EXPERT FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND INVESTIGATORS HAVE THE RESOURCES THEY NEED TO GET THE JOB DONE. ONE OF THE AMENDMENTS I WILL BE OFFERING TODAY PROVIDES $20 MILLION A YEAR FOR FIVE YEARS TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO SPEND IN COORDINATION WITH THE F.B.I. AND HOMELAND SECURITY TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE -- PROSECUTE -- THOSE THAT CRIMINALLY FACILITATE SEX TRAFFICKING. THE BOTTOM LINE IS IF SENATORS WANT LAW ENFORCEMENT TO DO A BETTER JOB OF STOPPING THOSE LIKE BACKPAGE, MY AMENDMENT GIVES THE RIGHT PEOPLE THE RESOURCES THEY NEED TO BRING THESE MONSTERS TO JUSTICE. I HEARD OUR COLLEAGUE FROM ALASKA, SENATOR SULLIVAN, A GOOD FRIEND, TALK AT SOME LENGTH ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT IT WAS TO HAVE RESOURCES TO FIGHT THE SCOURGE OF THESE TRAFFICKERS WHO GET MORE AND MORE SOPHISTICATED. THEY'RE GANGS, THEY'RE PEOPLE WHO ARE VERY CLEVER AT STAYING OUT IN FRONT OF THE LAW. WHEN THEY'RE IN THE DARK WEB, IT'S GOING TO TAKE RESOURCES TO FIGHT THEM AND PUT THEM BEHIND BARS. SO OUR COLLEAGUE FROM ALASKA, SENATOR SULLIVAN, SURE OUGHT TO BE FOR THIS AMENDMENT BECAUSE THIS AMENDMENT OFFERS REAL MONEY RIGHT NOW TO PROSECUTE THESE MONSTERS AND GET THEM BEHIND BARS. FINALLY, THE BILL BEFORE THE SENATE PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK OF THE OPEN INTERNET. I DON'T EVERY SINGLE DAY QUOTE THE EDITORS OF THE "WALL STREET JOURNAL," BUT I'VE ALWAYS HAD A MOTTO THAT I'LL SHOUT OUT ANYBODY WHEN THEY'RE RIGHT. THE "JOURNAL" RECENTLY SUMMED UP THE IMPACT OF THE BILL. THEY SAID THIS IS DEFINITELY GOING TO BE AN ONLINE LAWSUIT BONANZA. THEY PREDICT ANY WEBSITE THAT SHOULD HAVE KNOWN -- QUOTE, SHOULD HAVE KNOWN CRIMINAL ACTIVITY, TOOK PLACE ON ITS PLATFORM WILL BE A TARGET FOR LAWSUITS. ANY MESSAGE BOARD OR CHATROOM WHERE USERS INTERACT WITH EACH OTHER CAN BECOME A NEW TARGET FOR LITIGATION. WITHOUT SPECIFIC PROTECTIONS FOR COMPANIES THAT MAKE GOOD-FAITH EFFORTS TO FIND AND STOP CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR ON THEIR PLATFORMS, THIS LEGISLATION COULD ACTUALLY PUNISH COMPANIES THAT TRY TO MODERATE THEIR USERS' POSTS BUT LET SOMETHING SLIP THROUGH. JUST BY LOOKING FOR ILLEGAL MATERIAL, A WEBSITE COULD BE SETTING THE TABLE TO BE SUED OVER ANYTHING THAT THEY DIDN'T FIND. THE SECOND AMENDMENT I'LL BE OFFERING WOULD CLARIFY THIS ISSUE. IT'S WHAT'S KNOWN AS THE GOOD SAMARITAN CLAUSE, AND WE FELT STRONGLY ABOUT IT SEVERAL DECADES AGO. IF COMPANIES DECIDE AS A RESULT OF A POORLY WRITTEN BILL THAT THEIR ONLY SAFE OPTION IS TO PUT THEIR BLINDERS ON AND IGNORE VIAL, ILLICIT CONTENT, THAT'S BAD FOR EVERYBODY EXCEPT FOR THE CRIMINALS. SO I WANT TO ELIMINATE THAT UNCERTAINTY, AND I WANT PARTICULARLY THESE SMALL START-UP COMPANIES -- THEY'RE SO IMPORTANT FOR OUR FUTURE -- KNOW WHAT'S A DOUBT THAT -- TO KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT THAT THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO MODERATE THE CONTENT USERS POST. SO IN TECHNICAL LANGUAGE, WHAT THIS AMENDMENT SAYS IS NEITHER THE PRESENCE NOR THE ABSENCE OF AN ATTEMPT TO MODERATE CONTENT ONLINE BY ITSELF WILL TRIGGER LIABILITY. BUT THE "JOURNAL" RAISED MORE THAN THE GOOD SAMARITAN ISSUE. JUST AS BAD, BY PASSING THIS SECTION, SECTION 230, COURTS MIGHT MAKE IT HARDER TO PROSECUTE WEBSITES FOR OTHER CRIMES. HERE'S WHAT "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL" EDITORS SAID. IF CONGRESS PROVIDES A CARVE-OUT FOR SEX TRAFFICKING, COURTS MIGHT CONCLUDE THAT SECTION 230 IS INTENDED TO BE APPLIED NARROWLY FOR OTHER CRIMES AND MAKE IT HARDER TO PROSECUTE WEBSITES THAT ARE COMPLICIT. SO I DO FEAR THAT THIS BILL IS GOING TO SET OFF A CHAIN REACTION THAT LEADS THE CONGRESS TO CUT AWAY MORE CATEGORIES OF BEHAVIOR FROM SECTION 230, DISMANTLE THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK THAT'S GIVEN THE UNITED STATES THE POSITION -- MR. PRESIDENT, OUR POSITION AS A TECH ECONOMY SUPERPOWER DID NOT HAPPEN BY OSMOSIS. IT HAPPENED BECAUSE 20 YEARS AGO THERE WAS AN EFFORT TO TRY TO LAY OUT A SENSIBLE, LEGAL FOUNDATION, A SENSIBLE, LEGAL BASIS FOR THE INTERNET, AND THAT IS WHAT IS UNDER ARIZONA TACK TODAY. -- UNDER ATTACK TODAY. SO IF THIS LEGISLATION THAT CHIPS AWAY AT SECTION 230 IS A BAD IDEA FOR THE INTERNET, IF YOU'RE FOLLOWING THIS DEBATE, YOU PROBABLY WANT TO KNOW WHY THE BIGGEST INTERNET COMPANIES ARE BIG CHEERLEADERS FOR IT, THE BIG COMPANIES LIKE FACEBOOK. IT'S BECAUSE IT'LL PULL UP THE LADDER IN THE TECH WORLD, LEAVING THE ESTABLISHED GIANTS ALONE AT THE TOP. AS I'VE SAID, SECTION 230 FROM THE BEGINNING WAS ALL ABOUT GIVING THE LITTLE GUY THE BEST POSSIBLE CHANCE TO SUCCEED. THAT'S WHAT THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT, MR. PRESIDENT. THE BIG GUYS CAN TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES, BUT WE WANT TO HAVE A POLICY THAT ENCOURAGES INNOVATION, AND THAT'S THE START-UPS. THAT'S BEEN A BEDROCK OF MY TIME IN PUBLIC SERVICE. CHIPPING AWAY AT THE LAW THAT'S GOING TO CURTAIL THE CULTURE OF INNOVATION, THE BARE-KNUCKLED COMPETITION THAT'S BEEN THE DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC OF THE INTERNET FOR MORE THAN TWO DECADES, DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE TO ME. NOW, THE COMPANIES THAT HAVE REACHED THE TOP OF THE INTERNET ECONOMY, THEY'RE KIND OF WORRIED ABOUT WHETHER THEY'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO KEEP THEIR PLACE AT THAT ALTITUDE. REGULATORS ONCE FEARED THAT MICROSOFT WOULD DOMINATE THE WAY AMERICANS INTERACTED WITH THE INTERNET, BUT THEN A LITTLE COMPANY CALLED GOOGLE APPEARED ON THE SCENE. FACEBOOK, A HALF-TRILLION-DOLLAR COMPANY, GOT OUT OF ITS INFANCY BY DISPLACING A COMPETITOR CALLED MYSPACE. I JUST THINK COLLEAGUES OUGHT TO KNOW, THESE ESTABLISHED COMPANIES WOULD DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING TO AVOID BEING DISPLACED THEMSELVES. FACEBOOK IS TRYING TO MAKE CLEAR THAT THEY WILL DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING NOT TO BECOME ANOTHER MYSPACE. TODAY FACEBOOK IS UNDER ATTACK FOR ALLOWING THE RUSSIANS TO INTERFERE WITH OUR ELECTIONS. THEY'RE UNDER ATTACK FOR GIVING HATE GROUPS A PLATFORM TO SPREAD THEIR VILE. THEY'RE UNDER ATTACK FOR GIVING CONSPIRACY THEORISTS THROUGH THEIR ALGORITHMS A PLATFORM TO LURE IN THE UNSUSPECTING. AND THEY ARE A UNDER ATTACK FOR STORING FAR MORE PERSONAL INFORMATION THAN THEIR USERS EVER SUSPECTED. IT'S A GREAT TOOL FOR CONNECTING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS, BUT IT'S ALSO SOMETHING A SMALL TEAM OF WELL-CAFINATEED CODERS COULD DUPLICATE AND IMPROVE ON IN TERMS OF FAWNGS QUALITY WITHOUT -- FUNCTION QUALITY WITHOUT A LOT OF DIFFICULTY AND SOME OF THE BAGGAGE FACEBOOK HAS PICKED UP OVER THE LAST SIX MONTHS. SO HOW DO THEY STAY ON TOP? ONE WAY IS TO ACQUIRE THE COMPETITION. YOUNG PEOPLE ALWAYS TELL ME NOBODY UNDER 30 USES FACEBOOK. THE NEW GENERATION CERTAINLY USES INSTAGRAM. THEY MIGHT KNOW IT'S PART OF THE SAME MEGA COMPANY BOUGHT OUT BY FACEBOOK. BUT YOU CAN'T BUY EVERYBODY. SO YOU GO TO THE OLDEST TRICK IN THE BOOK. MAKE IT HARDER FOR NEW COMPANIES TO GET IN THE GAME. YOU DON'T HAVE TO COMPETE IF THERE'S NO COMPETITION. AND THAT'S WHERE THIS LEGISLATION COMES IN. IF INTERNET START-UPS ARE NO LONGER PROTECTED BY SECTION 230 AND THEY'RE EXPOSED TO THE THREAT OF NEAR CONSTANT LITIGATION, IT'S GOING TO BE A LOT TOUGHER FOR THEM TO SECURE INJECTIONS OF FUNDING AND GROW. FEWER VENTURE CAPITAL FIRMS WILL BE WILLING TO RISK THEIR DEEP POCKETS IF THEIR EARLY-ROUND INVESTMENTS ARE SWALLOWED UP BY LEGAL FEES INSTEAD OF PAYING FOR CODERS. BUT IN THE EYE OF THE GIANT ESTABLISHED CORPORATIONS, A WORLD WITHOUT SECTION 230 ISN'T SEEN AS MUCH OF A THREAT. $50 MILLION A YEAR IN LIABILITY STATEMENTS FOR THESE BIG COMPANIES, A DROP IN THE BUCKET FOR THEM, THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS. AND IT'S AN ADDED BENEFIT IF THE COST IS TOO HIGH FOR NEW COMPANIES TO BE ABLE TO GET IN THE GAME. THE BIG -- THE BIGGEST OF THESE INTERNET COMPANIES ARE TRYING TO HOLD ON TO THEIR POSITION AT THE TOP WITH ALL THEIR MIGHT, AND THEY ARE CERTAINLY VERY INTERESTED IN USING THE GOVERNMENT TO DO IT. THAT'S BEEN TRUE OF A LOT OF INDUSTRIES BEFORE THEM AND IT SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE THAT IT HAPPENS AGAIN IN THE TECHNOLOGY AREA. THE FACEBOOKS OF THE WORLD WILL TELL YOU HOW IMPORTANT SECTION 230 WAS TO THE INNOVATION OF THE LAST 20 YEARS. YET THEIR TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES LIKE I.B.M. WHO HAVEN'T DONE A LOT OF INNOVATING FOR THE LAST 20 YEARS THAT WANT TO SEE SECTION 230 DONE AWAY WITH ENTIRELY, ENTIRELY FOR TRUMPED UP REASONS. SO FOR BUSINESS LET'S NOT MISTAKE WHAT THIS DEBATE IS ALL ABOUT FOR A LOT OF THESE BIG MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES. IT'S NOT ABOUT RIGHT OR WRONG. IT'S ABOUT DOLLARS AND CENTS. SO WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? AS "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL" OBSERVED, THE LAWSUIT BONANZA IS IN THE WORKS. PRETTY IRONIC THAT A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS AND A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT ARE GOING TO CREATE THE BIGGEST NEW SOURCE OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR TRIAL LAWYERS IN DECADES. FOR THE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS, THIS BILL MEANS BIGGER IS BETTER, NOT BETTER FOR INNOVATION, NOT BETTER FOR CONSUMERS, BUT BETTER FOR THE PROFITS OF THOSE LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE REACHED THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN FIRST. IT IS SAFE TO EXPECT A SLEW OF PROPOSED NEW EXCEPTIONS TO SECTION 230. WHEN SOMEBODY IS INJURED, THEY AND THEIR FAMILIES WANT RECOURSE BUT OUR LEGAL SYSTEM IS WOEFULLY BAD AT DELIVERING JUSTICE. IT'S UNFORTUNATELY FAR BETTER AT FACILITATING DEALS, OFTEN UNJUST DEALS BECAUSE NUMBERS ARE FAR EASIER THAN DOING RIGHT. THIS FAILURE MEANS THAT A LINE OF INJURED PARTIES WILL BE PETITIONING TO FEED THE SORT OF RECKRECONPENSE ONLY THEIR MEMBER OF CONGRESS CAN PROVIDE. SECTION 230 IS VERY LIKELY THE REASON WE HAVE A MULTITUDE OF BILLION DOLLAR INTERNET EMPLOYERS AND THE EUROPEANS HAVE EXACTLY ZERO. WHERE COMPANIES AREN'T HIDING BEHIND THE TRADE BARRIER OF THE GREAT FIRE WALL OR OTHER ARTIFICIAL MARKET FORCES. AMERICAN INNOVATION HAS WON OUT OVER THE REST OF THE WORLD. I THINK IT IS PRETTY HARD TO SEE OUR COUNTRY THRIVE AND PROSPER WITHOUT THE KIND OF LEGAL FOUNDATION I'VE DESCRIBED TODAY WITHOUT THESE 230 PROTECTIONS AND A WHOLE HOST OF SCHOLARS HAVE POINTED OUT THIS IS A UNIQUE LAW IN THE WORLD. IT'S THE CASE WHERE THE UNITED STATES GOT THE TEMPERATURE RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING, AND IT HAS LED TO OUR DOMINANCE IN TECH. BUT IF THE UNITED STATES GOES OUT AND PUTS ALL THOSE CRACKS, THOSE POTENTIAL CRACKS, THE REAL CRACKS INTO THE FOUNDATION OF SECTION 230, I'D WAGER THERE ARE PLENTY OTHER COUNTRIES THAT ARE GOING TO CHANGE THEIR LAWS TO SIPHON AWAY OUR COMPANIES AND TAKE THE JOBS THEY CREATE. THE FACT IS, AND I'M NOT SURE WE IN THE SENATE THINK ABOUT IT EVERY DAY, WE'RE IN A FIGHT FOR THE INTERNET LITERALLY EVERY DAY. OUR INTERNET COMPANIES AREN'T ENGAGED IN THE FIGHT. THEIR INTEREST IS CURRYING FAVOR WITH NATIONS WHERE THEY WISH TO DO BUSINESS, THE CHINESE, THE IRANIANS, THE RUSSIAN, EVEN OUR EUROPEAN ALLIES ARE MANEUVERING TO IMPOSE A MORE OPPRESSIVE VIEW OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION ON INDIVIDUALS AROUND THE WORLD. AND UNFORTUNATELY, THEY'VE GOT A LOT OF ALLIES HERE AT HOME. FREE SPEECH HAS NEVER BEEN FREE, AND IT IS OFTEN NOT POPULAR. IT WAS RESTED FROM THE GRIP OF A DOMINATING STATE AND IT OUGHT TO BE -- IT MUST BE DEFENDED BY EVERY GENERATION LEST THE STATE RECLAIM CONTROL. TODAY IN MY VIEW, THE SENATE IS LOOKING AT TAKING A REAL STEP BACKWARD AND DOWN A PATH THAT THIS BODY WILL REGRET. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 02:50:58 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 02:50:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 02:51:13 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    BUDGET POINT OF ORDER AND THE MOTION TO WAIVE, THERE BE TWO MINUTES…

    BUDGET POINT OF ORDER AND THE MOTION TO WAIVE, THERE BE TWO MINUTES EQUALLY DIVIDED PRIOR TO THE VOTE.

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  • 02:51:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:51:24 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE PENDING AMENDMENT NUMBER 2213, OFFERED BY SENATOR…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE PENDING AMENDMENT NUMBER 2213, OFFERED BY SENATOR WYDEN, WOULD VIOLATE THE SENATE PAYGO RULE, THEREFORE I RAISE A POINT OF ORDER AGAINST THIS MEASURE PURSUANT TO SECTION 4601A AGAINST THE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION ON THE BUDGET FISCAL YEAR 2018.

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  • 02:51:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 02:51:52 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, PURSUANT TO SECTION 904 OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT OF…

    MR. PRESIDENT, PURSUANT TO SECTION 904 OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT OF 1974 AND THE WAIVER PROVISIONS OF THE BUDGET RESOLUTIONS, I MOVE TO WAIVE ALL APPLICABLE SECTIONS OF THAT ACT AND APPLICABLE BUDGET RESOLUTIONS OF THE PENDING AMENDMENT AND I ASK FOR THE YEAS AND NAYS.

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  • 02:52:14 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    AND NAYS.

  • 02:52:29 PM

    A SENATOR

    THE SENATOR FROM OHIO.

  • 02:52:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OHIO.

  • 02:52:33 PM

    MR. PORTMAN

    MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS IN RELATIONSHIP TO AN AMENDMENT THAT HAS BEEN…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS IN RELATIONSHIP TO AN AMENDMENT THAT HAS BEEN OFFERED BY MY COLLEAGUE MR. WYDEN. IT HAS TO DO WITH FUNDING FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR DEALING WITH TRAFFICKING. I APPRECIATE THE INTENT BEHIND IT, BUT I WILL TELL YOU AS ONE OF THE LETTERS SAID FROM THE LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY THAT ARE OPPOSING THIS AMENDMENT, THIS IS A POISON PILL. THIS WOULD -- WE HAVE LAW ENFORCEMENT FROM THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE, THE NATIONAL DIRECT ATTORNEYS, ALL THE NATIONAL GROUPS OPPOSING THIS AMENDMENT BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO PASS THE UNDERLYING LEGISLATION AND DO IT NOW TO PROVIDE THE JUSTICE THAT THE VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING DESERVE.

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  • 02:53:10 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 02:53:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 02:53:13 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I BELIEVE STRONGLY THAT CONGRESS MUST DO MORE TO COMBAT THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I BELIEVE STRONGLY THAT CONGRESS MUST DO MORE TO COMBAT THE SCOURGE OF SEX TRAFFICKING AND BRING THESE MONSTERS TO JUSTICE AND ACTUALLY PUT THEM BEHIND BARS. I HAVE HEARD MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE TALK AGAIN AND AGAIN ABOUT HOW MORE RESOURCES ARE NEEDED TO FIGHT THIS EVIL. THIS IS THE ONLY PROPOSAL ON OFFER TO ACTUALLY PUT MORE DOLLARS INTO THE HANDS OF PROSECUTORS TO GET THE CRIMINALS BEHIND BARS AND IT'S GOING TO BE HARDER TO PROSECUTE THEM NOW THAT THEY HAVE MOVED TO THE DARK WEBB. MY COLLEAGUE SAID THAT THERE ARE PROSECUTORS AGAINST IT BECAUSE MY COLLEAGUE WORKED AS HARD AS HE COULD TO TELL PROSECUTORS TO SAY IF ANY OF THIS IS ADDED, IT WILL DIE IN THE HOUSE. LET ME TELL MY COLLEAGUES WHEN WE PUT MORE MONEY TO PROSECUTE THESE MONSTERS AND IT PASSES, THE OTHER BODY WILL PASS IT IN ABOUT 15 MINUTES. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO VOTE FOR THE ONLY AMENDMENT THAT WILL ACTUALLY PUT THESE CRIMINALS BEHIND BARS BECAUSE WE'RE PUTTING REAL MONEY INTO THAT EFFORT. AND I YIELD.

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  • 02:54:00 PM
  • 02:54:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE QUESTION IS ON THE MOTION TO WAIVE. THE YEAS AND NAYS HAVE BEEN…

    THE QUESTION IS ON THE MOTION TO WAIVE. THE YEAS AND NAYS HAVE BEEN ORDERED. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 03:22:00 PM

    Senate Vote 60 - On Passage of the Bill H.R. 1865

    Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017

    Bill Passed (97 - 2)
    Yea

    Vote Details: Yea - 97
    Republican - 49
    Democratic - 46
    Independent - 2

    Vote Details: Nay - 2
    Republican - 1
    Democratic - 1

  • 03:26:42 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE ANYONE WISHING TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, ON THIS…

    IS THERE ANYONE WISHING TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, ON THIS VOTE THE YEAS ARE 21. THE NAYS ARE 78. THREE-FIFTHS OF THE SENATORS DULY CHOSEN AND SWORN NOT HAVING VOTED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, THE MOTION IS NOT AGREED TO. THE POINT OF ORDER IS SUSTAINED, AND THE AMENDMENT FAILS. THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

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  • 03:27:03 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK TO THE BODY FOR ONE MINUTE.

  • 03:27:08 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:27:13 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, COULD WE HAVE SOME QUIET HERE.

  • 03:27:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE WILL BE IN ORDER. THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 03:27:31 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS CLEAR, IN MY VIEW, THAT WHEN COLLEAGUES FACE SO MUCH…

    MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS CLEAR, IN MY VIEW, THAT WHEN COLLEAGUES FACE SO MUCH POLITICAL HEAD WIND THAT THEY DON'T FEEL COMFORTABLE SUPPORTING SOMETHING I KNOW THEY ALL BELIEVE IN VERY DEEPLY -- I BELIEVE EVERY SENATOR BELIEVES THAT THERE OUGHT TO BE REAL MONEY TO GO AFTER SEX TRAFFICKERS. SO I'VE SPOKEN TO COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE, AND THEY HAVE TAKEN A REAL POUNDING ON THESE AMENDMENTS. MY SENSE IS THAT THERE WOULD ALSO BE OPPOSITION TO WHAT I THINK IS ANOTHER PRACTICAL, GOOD IDEA, WHICH IS THE GOOD SAMARITAN AMENDMENT. AND BECAUSE, MR. PRESIDENT, AS I STATED, I ANTICIPATE HAVING TO TURN BACK TO THIS TOPIC IN SHORT ORDER AFTER THE EFFECTS OF THIS BILL BECOME CLEAR, I AM GOING TO SAVE THIS TOPIC FOR A VOTE AT THAT TIME. AND I WOULD ASK CONSENT TO WITHDRAW AMENDMENT NUMBERED 2122.

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  • 03:29:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE REMAINING AMENDMENT IS…

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE REMAINING AMENDMENT IS WITHDRAWN.

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  • 03:29:22 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    WITH THAT AMENDMENT HAVING BEEN WITHDRAWN --

  • 03:29:29 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 03:29:34 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THAT AMENDMENT HAVING BEEN WITHDRAWN, I WOULD ASK…

    MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THAT AMENDMENT HAVING BEEN WITHDRAWN, I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THERE NOW BE TWO MINUTES FOR DEBATE, FOR DEBATE EQUALLY DIVIDED PRIOR TO THE VOTE ON PASSAGE.

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  • 03:29:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION. WHO YIELDS TIME? A SENATOR: MR.…

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION. WHO YIELDS TIME? A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 03:29:58 PM

    A SENATOR

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 03:29:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OHIO.

  • 03:30:00 PM

    MR. PORTMAN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I STRONGLY URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO JOIN USING IN SUPPORTING…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I STRONGLY URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO JOIN USING IN SUPPORTING THIS LEGISLATION. MOST OF YOU ARE COSPONSORS ALREADY. IT STRIKES THE RIGHT BALANCE. IT DOES ALLOW VICTIMS TO GET THE JUSTICE THEY DESERVE. IT ALLOWS US TO HOLD THESE EVIL WEBSITES ACCOUNTABLE THROUGH PROSECUTION.

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  • 03:30:14 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE IS NOT IN ORDER.

  • 03:30:21 PM

    PORTMAN WHILE

  • 03:30:27 PM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

  • 03:30:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT.

  • 03:30:29 PM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

    THANK YOU TO MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR PORTMAN, FOR HIS HARD WORK. WHEN WE…

    THANK YOU TO MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR PORTMAN, FOR HIS HARD WORK. WHEN WE BEGAN THIS LEGISLATION, NO ONE GAVE US A CHANCE BECAUSE OF THE ENTRENCHED AND POWERFUL INTERESTS AGAINST US. THIS MEASURE WILL UNLOCK THE COURTHOUSE DOORS TO SURVIVORS AND TO LAW ENFORCEMENT WHO CAN STOP SEX TRAFFICKING, A SCOURGE -- MODERN-DAY SLAVERY IN THIS COUNTRY. I THANK SO MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES FOR COSPONSORING IT AND FOR HELPING TO LEAD THIS EFFORT, WHICH WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF COUNTLESS YOUNG GIRLS AND WOMEN -- AND MEN -- WHO ARE VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 03:31:12 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 03:31:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON. AND THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. THE SENATOR…

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON. AND THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. THE SENATOR OREGON.

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  • 03:31:21 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    AS STATED SEVERAL HOURS, A I STAND FIRMLY WITH COLLEAGUES WHO BELIEVE MORE…

    AS STATED SEVERAL HOURS, A I STAND FIRMLY WITH COLLEAGUES WHO BELIEVE MORE MUST BE DONE TO FIGHT THE SCOURGE OF SEX TRAFFICKING AND PARTICULARLY PUT THESE MONSTERS BEHIND BARS. THE BILL BEFORE US, IN MY VIEW, TAKES A FLAWED APPROACH. WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IS THE CRIMINAL SEX TRAFFICKER IS GOING TO HEAD TOWARDS THE DARK WEB. THIS IS A PLACE YOU CANNOT ACCESS WITH THE TRADITIONAL SEARCH ENGINE. IT IS GOING TO BE HARDER WHEN THEY ARE IN THE SHADOWY CORNERS OF OUR COUNTRY OF THE INTERNET IN ORDER TO PROSECUTE THEM. IT'S ALSO GOING TO CHIP AWAY AT THE FOUNDATION OF THE NET THAT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR VULNERABLE PEOPLE. IT'S WHY THE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN FUND HAS MADE IT CLEAR THAT THEY ARE OPPOSED TO THE BILL. WE SHOULDN'T BE PUTTING AT RISK VULNERABLE GROUPS AND SMALL START-UPS. GIVEN THAT, I BELIEVE THAT THIS BILL, WHICH WILL CLEARLY PASS, WILL BE SOMETHING THE UNITED STATES SENATE WILL COME TO DEEPLY REGRET. I'LL BE OPPOSING THE BILL.

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  • 03:32:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATORTHESENATOR FROM'S TIME HAS EXPIRED. THE CLERK WILL READ THE…

    THE SENATORTHESENATOR FROM'S TIME HAS EXPIRED. THE CLERK WILL READ THE TITLE FOR THE TIME.

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  • 03:32:38 PM

    THE CLERK

    H.R. 1865, AN ACT TO AMEND THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934 AND SO FORTH AND…

    H.R. 1865, AN ACT TO AMEND THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934 AND SO FORTH AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 03:32:45 PM

    OFFICER QUESTION

    OFFICER: QUESTION NOW OCCURS ON PASSAGE OF H.R. 1865.

  • 03:32:50 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    I ASK FOR THE YEAS AND NAYS.

  • 03:32:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE APPEARS TO BE. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE…

    IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE APPEARS TO BE. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 04:14:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ON THIS VOTE THE YEAS ARE 97, THE NAYS ARE 2. THE BILL IS PASSED.

  • 04:14:19 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

  • 04:14:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 04:14:21 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION FOR THE EN…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION FOR THE EN BLOC CONSIDERATION OF THE FOLLOWING NOMINATIONS, EXECUTIVE CALENDAR 596 AND 671.

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  • 04:14:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE BE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 04:14:38 PM

    THE CLERK

    NOMINATIONS, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, DAVID JAY RYDER OF NEW JERSEY TO…

    NOMINATIONS, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, DAVID JAY RYDER OF NEW JERSEY TO BE DIRECTOR OF THE MINT, FINANCIAL STABILITY OVERSIGHT COUNSEL, THOMAS E. WORKMAN OF NEW YORK TO BE A MEMBER.

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  • 04:14:51 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE VOTE ON THE NOMINATIONS EN BLOC.…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE VOTE ON THE NOMINATIONS EN BLOC. THAT IF CONFIRMED, THE MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE, EN BLOC, THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY INFORMED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION, NO FURTHER MOTIONS BE IN ORDER AND ANY STATEMENTS BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD.

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  • 04:15:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE QUESTION IS ON THE NOMINATIONS EN BLOC. ALL IN…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE QUESTION IS ON THE NOMINATIONS EN BLOC. ALL IN FAVOR SAY AYE. OPPOSED. THE AYES HAVE IT. THE NOMINATIONS ARE CONFIRMED EN BLOC.

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  • 04:15:21 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION FOR A PERIOD…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION FOR A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK THEREIN FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH.

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  • 04:15:29 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:15:31 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE BE DISCHARGED FROM FURTHER…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE BE DISCHARGED FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF S. RES. 438 AND THE SENATE PROCEED TO ITS IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION.

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  • 04:15:38 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 04:15:41 PM

    THE CLERK

    SENATE RESOLUTION 438, COMMEMORATING THE 150th ANNIVERSARY OF THE…

    SENATE RESOLUTION 438, COMMEMORATING THE 150th ANNIVERSARY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.

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  • 04:15:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE COMMITTEE IS DISCHARGED AND THE SENATE WILL PROCEED…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE COMMITTEE IS DISCHARGED AND THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

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  • 04:15:53 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I FURTHER ASK THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE AGREED TO, AND…

    I FURTHER ASK THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE AGREED TO, AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE.

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  • 04:16:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:16:03 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES…

    NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS BUSINESS TODAY, IT ADJOURN UNTIL 10:30 A.M. THURSDAY, MARCH 22. FURTHER, THAT FOLLOWING THE PRAYER AND PLEDGE, THE MORNING BUSINESS BE DEEMED EXPIRED, THE JOURNAL OF PROCEEDINGS BE APPROVED TO DATE, THE TIME FOR THE TWO LEADERS BE RESERVED FOR THEIR USE LATER IN THE DAY. FINALLY, I ASK THAT FOLLOWING LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK THEREIN FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH.

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  • 04:16:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:16:31 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    SO IF THERE IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK THAT…

    SO IF THERE IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK THAT IT STAND ADJOURNED UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, FOLLOWING THE REMARKS OF SENATORS GRASSLEY, DURBIN, LEE, AND SASSE.

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  • 04:16:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:23:23 PM

    MR. SASSE

  • 04:23:24 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA.

  • 04:23:26 PM

    MR. SASSE

    MR. PRESIDENT, YESTERDAY, AT THE WHITE HOUSE, TWO TERRIBLE THINGS…

    MR. PRESIDENT, YESTERDAY, AT THE WHITE HOUSE, TWO TERRIBLE THINGS HAPPENED, AND IT SHOULDN'T BE DIFFICULT TO CONDEMN BOTH OF THESE THINGS AT ONCE. FIRST, AT THE MODE YUM IN THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS ROOM, IT WAS SUGGESTED THAT THE U.S. GOVERNMENT IS UNSURE IF PUTIN'S REELECTION WAS PERHAPS LEGITIMATE, FREE, AND FAIR. OR PERHAPS THE U.S. IS MORALLY INDIFFERENT TO THE QUESTION OF WHETHER PUTIN'S REELECTION WAS FAIR, FREE, AND LEGITIMATE. IT WAS NOT FAIR OR FREE OR LEGITIMATE, AND IT MATTERS. THE SECOND HORRIBLE THING THAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY IS THAT THE PRESIDENT'S CONFIDENTIAL BRIEFING MATERIALS FOR HIS CALL WITH VLADIMIR PUTIN WERE ANONYMOUSLY LEAKED TO THE PUBLIC. THAT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN. THE PRESIDENT'S CALL, CONGRATULATORY CALL, WAS TERRIBLY ILL-ADVISED, BUT THAT DOESN'T CHANGE THE FACT THAT THE LEAKING OF THE CONFIDENTIAL BRIEFING MATERIALS FOR HIS CALL WERE ALSO WRONG. IT SHOULDN'T BE DIFFICULT TO SAY BOTH OF THESE THINGS. THEY'RE BOTH TRUE, SO WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO SAY BOTH OF THEM AT ONCE. OUR PEOPLE ARE VERY DIVIDED RIGHT NOW, MR. PRESIDENT. THEY'RE UNCLEAR ABOUT WHO WE ARE AND HOW WE CONCEIVE OF OURSELVES ON THE GLOBAL STAGE. OUR TRIBALISM HAS RUN AMOK. IF YOU LISTEN TO SOME OF OUR CABLE NEWS TODAY -- I HAVEN'T, BUT I SUSPECT THAT WHAT YOU WOULD FIND IS THAT ON CERTAIN NETWORKS, THERE IS ONLY DISCUSSION OF THE LEAKING AND NO DISCUSSION OF WHAT A TERRIBLE ABANDONMENT OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY YESTERDAY'S FAILURE TO CONDEMN PUTIN'S PHONY SHAM REELECTION WAS, AND ON THE OTHER NETWORKS, I IMAGINE YOU'RE GOING TO GET EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE STORY, WHERE THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS HOW STUPID THIS CALL WAS TO VLADIMIR PUTIN AND NOTHING ABOUT THE LEAKS. THAT ISN'T HELPFUL FOR BUILDING A NATION OF 320 MILLION PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT WE STAND F TOGETHER. HERE'S WHAT'S TRUE. A PRESIDENT'S STAFF SHOULDN'T LEAK. IN CASES OF PRINCIPLE, YOU MAY NEED TO RESIGN, SO RESIGN. DO THE RIGHT AND HONORABLE THING IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR CONSCIENCE IS COMPELLED TO DO SO, AND RESIGN YOUR POSITION AND GO OUT AND PUBLICLY MAKE A CASE FOR WHY A CERTAIN POLICY IS FAILING. BUT THAT'S A DIFFERENT THING THAN ANONYMOUSLY LEAKING THE SERVICE THAT A PRESIDENT HAS. NOT JUST THIS PRESIDENT BUT ANY PRESIDENT HAS TO MAKE HIS OR HER DECISIONS, TO DELIBERATE WITH THEIR STAFF, TO PLOT THEIR ACTIONS. LEAKS LIKE THIS WEAKEN US, BOTH AT HOME IN TERMS OF PUBLIC TRUST IN OUR INSTITUTIONS AND OUR PUBLIC SERVANTS, AND THEY WEAKEN US ABROAD IN TERMS OF WHETHER OR NOT WE HAVE ANY COHERENCE TO WHO WE ARE AS A PEOPLE AND HOW WE MAKE OUR DECISIONS. BUT NOW, AS TO THIS DECISION TO FAIL TO CONDEMN PUTIN'S SHAM REELECTION, IT'S VERY FOOLHARDY. VLADIMIR PUTIN IS NOT A FRIEND. VLADIMIR PUTIN IS A DESPOT. THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WAS WRONG TO CONGRATULATE HIM, AND THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY WAS WRONG TO DUMP -- TO DUCK A SIMPLE QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT PUTIN'S REELECTION WAS FREE AND FAIR. IT WAS NOT. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW THAT. THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE KNOW THAT, AND THE WORLD KNOWS THAT. AND YESTERDAY, WHEN THE WHITE HOUSE REFUSED TO SPEAK DIRECTLY AND CLEARLY ABOUT THIS MATTER, WE WERE WEAKENED AS A NATION AND A TYRANT WAS STRENGTHENED. AROUND THE WORLD, THERE ARE TWO GREAT SYMBOLS OF AMERICA FROM THIS CITY. THE FIRST IS THE DOME OF THE CAPITOL IN WHICH WE STAND. THIS BUILDING TESTIFIES TO THE STRENGTH OF OUR SELF-GOVERNMENT AND TO OUR BELIEF IN INHERENT HUMAN DIGNITY. BUT THE OTHER SYMBOL THAT COMES FROM THIS CITY THAT'S KNOWN AROUND THE WORLD IS THE PODIUM IN THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS ROOM. TUCKED INTO A SMALL ROOM AND SURROUNDED BY MEMBERS OF A FREE PRESS, IT IS SIMPLY THE FREE WORLD'S BIGGEST MEGAPHONE. IT SYMBOLIZES AMERICANS' COMMITMENT TO THE UNIVERSAL DIGNITY, NOT JUST OF 320 MILLION PEOPLE, THE CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY, BUT TO 7.6 BILLION MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN ACROSS THE GLOBE. SPEAKING CLEARLY ABOUT TYRANTS IS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE DO. IT IS NOT SEEKING MONSTERS TO DESTROY. FOR MORE THAN 200 YEARS, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD THIS. FOR MORE THAN 200 YEARS, ADMINISTRATIONS OF BOTH PARTIES HAVE CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD THIS. AT TIMES IN THE PAST, PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS HAVE MADE MISTAKES. THEY HAVE SPLIT HAIRS, THEY HAVE SMOOTHED EDGES, THEY HAVE DODGED, THEY HAVE HEDGED. BUT WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY AT THE PODIUM IN THE WHITE HOUSE? THE DODGE ON PUTIN BROKE WITH THE BASIC AMERICAN MORAL TRADITION. IT BROKE FAITH WITH OUR CORE VALUES. IT BROKE TRUST WITH FREEDOM SEEKERS ACROSS THE GLOBE. THIS VERY DAY, THERE ARE DISSIDENTS ALL OVER THE GLOBE STRUGGLING AGAINST TOTALITARIAN REGIMES IN DARKNESS, AND TO THEM, AMERICA HAS ALWAYS SAID AND AMERICA STILL SAYS WE SEE YOU, WE STAND WITH YOU. WE MAY MAKE LONG AND DELIBERATE DECISIONS ABOUT HOW WE ENGAGE IN THE WORLD AND ABOUT WHAT PARTICULAR COMMITMENTS ARE PRUDENT TO EXERCISE AT DIFFERENT TIMES WITH DIFFERENT ALLIES, BUT WE HAVE ALWAYS SPOKE UNEQUIVOCALLY ABOUT THE UNIVERSAL DIGNITY OF 7.6 BILLION PEOPLE. TO THOSE WHO STRUGGLE, WE HAVE ALWAYS SAID WE SEE YOU, AND WE STAND WITH YOU. THESE SIMPLE TRUTHS MATTER. THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY MATTER, AND WHEN WE DON'T AFFIRM THESE BASIC TRUTHS, IT IS A FAILURE TO WHO WE ARE. IT IS A FAILURE TO DO WHAT WE DO, AND IT IS A BETRAYAL, NOT JUST TO THE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE DENIED FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS IN RUSSIA THIS WEEK, BUT IT IS A FAILURE TO PEOPLE ALL ACROSS THE GLOBE WHO ARE STRUGGLING IN DARKNESS AGAINST TYRANTS. EACH AND EVERY MEMBER OF THIS SENATE, ALL 100 OF US, WAS ELECTED IN THE KIND OF FREE AND FAIR ELECTION THAT VLADIMIR PUTIN FEARS, THE KIND OF ELECTION THAT HE WOULD NOT WIN. VLADIMIR PUTIN IS A COWARD. VLADIMIR PUTIN IS A DESPOT. JUST THIS MONTH, VLADIMIR PUTIN TRIED TO ASSASSINATE A POLITICAL DISSIDENT AND HIS DAUGHTER ON NATO SOIL IN THE U.K. AND GIVEN THAT WE HAVE TAKEN AN OATH IN THIS BODY AFTER OUR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS TO UPHOLD AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION, GIVEN THAT, WE OUGHT NOT IN THIS BODY FIND IT DIFFICULT TO SAY BASIC TRUE THINGS LIKE WE CONDEMN LEAKS BY THE PRESIDENT'S STAFF AGAINST HIM. WE ALSO CONDEMN VLADIMIR PUTIN'S SHAM ELECTION. WE CONDEMN A RUSSIAN DESPOT THAT AIMS TO MAKE SOVIET TYRANNY GREAT AGAIN. I YIELD BACK.

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  • 04:45:00 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 04:45:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 04:45:03 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO SPEAK IN MORNING BUSINESS AND ASK UNANIMOUS…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO SPEAK IN MORNING BUSINESS AND ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT --

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  • 04:45:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:45:09 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, BACK IN 1985 I WAS A SECOND-TERM MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF…

    MR. PRESIDENT, BACK IN 1985 I WAS A SECOND-TERM MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND A MEMBER, I WAS PROUD TO SAY, OF THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE. THE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN WAS A MAN BY THE NAME OF JAMIE WHITLEY. HE WAS FROM THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI. HE WAS A MISSISSIPPI DEMOCRAT. YES, THERE USED TO BE MISSISSIPPI DEMOCRATS. JAMIE WHITTEN HAD BEEN A WITNESS TO A GREAT DEAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY. HE WAS ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE AS A NEWLY MINTED CONGRESSMAN FROM MISSISSIPPI. ON DECEMBER 8, 1941, WHEN FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT DELIVERED HIS DAY OF INFAMILIARY SPEECH. HERE I WAS SPEAKING TO THIS SAME MAN 44 YEARS LATER, AND I WAS A JUNIOR MEMBER OF HIS APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE. I KNEW THAT AOPENINGS PROS UNDER THE HOUSE RULES HAD SEVERAL -- I KNEW THAT APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE HOUSE RULES HAD SEVERAL MEMBERS THAT WERE REPRESENTED ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE. SO ONE DAY I WENT TO CHAIRMAN WHITTEN FROM MISSISSIPPI AND SUGGESTED TO HIM THAT I WOULD WANT TO BE ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE ON THE SLOT RESERVED FOR APPROPRIATIONS MEMBERS. CHAIRMAN WHITTEN LOOKED DOWN AT ME AND HE SAID, WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE? I SAID, WELL, I THINK IT'S GOOD BECAUSE THE BUDGET COMMITTEE MAKES THE SPENDING DECISIONS AND BLUEPRINTS THAT APPROPRIATIONS AND OTHER COMMITTEES FOLLOW. HE KIND OF SET BACK IN HIS CHAIR AND CHAIRMAN WHITTEN SAID TO ME, WELL, IF YOU WANT TO BE ON THAT COMMITTEE, YOU CAN BE ON THAT COMMITTEE, BUT I WANT YOU TO REMEMBER ONE THING -- THE BUDGET COMMITTEE DEALS IN HALLUCINATION HALLUCINATIONS AND THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE DEALS IN FACTS. I'LL NEVER FORGET THAT EXCHANGE. I SERVED ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, AND AGAIN IN THE SENATE ON THE SAME BUDGET COMMITTEE, AND HAVE COME TO BELIEVE THAT CHAIRMAN WHITTEN WAS NOT THAT WRONG IN HIS CONCLUSION. I CALL THAT WHITTEN'S LAW. IT REMAINS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS I'VE LEARNED ABOUT THE FEDERAL BUDGET. BUT I LEARNED OTHER LESSONS FROM MISSISSIPPI POLITICIANS AND ONE OF THEM IS A MAN BY THE NAME OF THAD COCHRAN, MY COLLEAGUE FROM THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI AND ONE OF MY FRIENDS. HE COCHAIRS THE DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONSDEFENSEAPPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE WITH ME. I SHOULDN'T SAY "COCHAIRS." THAD COCHRAN HAS TAUGHT ME AND MANY OTHERS ABOUT THE FEDERAL BUDGET AND PUBLIC SERVICE. HE'S MAN OF HUMILITY AND INTEGRITY, A MAN OF HIS WORD. HE IS A CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN WHO VALUES PRINCIPLED COOPERATION OVER POINTLESS CONFRONTATION. HE PREFERS COMMON GROUND TO SCORCHED EARTH BECAUSE HE KNOWS IT'S BETTER TO BUILD ON. SENATOR COCHRAN AND I HAVE SERVED TOGETHER IN THE SENATE FOR MORE THAN TWO DECADES. FOR MUCH OF THAT TIME, WE'VE BOTH BEEN ON THE SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE. HE'S BEEN THE COMMITTEE'S RANK MEMBER AND CHAIRMAN TWICE. I CAN ONLY THINK OF A TIME OR TWO WHEN HE AND I DISAGREED SO COMPLETELY HON AN ISSUE THAT WE FOUND OURSELVES UNABLE TO FIND THAT PRINCIPLED COMPROMISE. SOME MAY CALL THAT OLD SCHOOL. I CALL IT LEADERSHIP IN A REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY. SENATOR COCHRAN'S SKILL AS A NEGOTIATOR HAS SERVED MISSISSIPPI AND THE UNITED STATES EXCEEDINGLY WELL. HE'S HELPED KEEP HIS STATE AND OUR NATION STRONG AND SAFE AND ECONOMICALLY SOUND. IN A TIME THAT INCREASINGLY PRIZES QUICK PROFITS AND SHORT-TERM COMMISSION, THAD COCHRAN HAS HELPED TO PROTECT AND INCREASE AMERICA'S INVESTMENTS IN SCIENTIFIC, TECHNOLOGICAL AND MEDICAL RESEARCH. THAT IS A PROUD PART OF THE LEGACY THAT HE LEAVES. HIS VOICE IS CALM AND QUIET, BUT DON'T BE FOOLED. WHEN IT COMES TO PROTECTING THE INTERESTS OF HIS STATE OR HESITATION, HE IS TENACIOUS. THAT WAS NEVER MORE APPARENT THAN THE WEEKS AND MONTHS FOLLOWING HURRICANE KATRINA IN 2005. SENATOR COCHRAN HELPED SECURE APPROPRIATIONS THAT ENABLED THOUSANDS OF HOMEOWNERS IN MISSISSIPPI TO REBUILD AFTER THEIR INSURANCE COMPANIES TURNED THEM DOWN. AS THE FORMER CHAIRMAN AND NOW RANKING MEMBER OF THE AAPPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE DEFENSE SUBCOMMITTEE, I WORKED CLOSELY WITH SENATOR COCHRAN TO PROTECT CRITICAL NATIONAL SECURITY PRIORITIES IN MY STATE ILLINOIS AND HE'S WORKED HARD FOR HIS STATE. BEHIND EVERY SENATOR, OF COURSE, ARE HARDWORKING STAFF MEMBERS, WITHOUT WHOM WE COULD NOT DO OUR JOBS. SENATOR COCHRAN'S PERSONAL STAFF AND HIS COMMITTEE STAFF ARE FIRST-RATE PUBLIC SERVANTS. I WANT TO THANK THEM, TOO. THEY HAVE A BEEN PART OF A WINNING TEAM WITH SENATOR COCHRAN. THEIR HARD WORK AND LOYALTY ON HIS BEHALF AND ON BEHALF OF THE SENATE HAS SERVED THIS NATION WELL. I WASN'T SURPRISED THE OTHER DAY WHEN I LEARNED THAT SENATOR COCHRAN HAD BEEN AN EAGLE SCOUT. I WAS SURPRISED TO LEARN, HOWEVER THAT'S CORRECT ONCE FAILED IN PURSUIT OF A BOY SCOUT MERIT BADGE AS A YOUNG MAN. HE LEARN ADD LESSON FROM THAT EXPERIENCE THAT HE SAID HAS STAYED WITH HIM ALL HIS LIFE -- ALWAYS BE PREPARED. THAD COCHRAN $'S ADHERENCE TO THAT LESSON, HIS SKILL AS A NEGOTIATORS AND DEEP INTEGRITY ARE QUALITIES WE WOULD ALL DO WELL TO EMULATE. I THANK SENATOR THAD COCHRAN AND WISH HIM ALL THE BEST AS HE DEPARTS THE SENATE AND THANK HIM FOR HIS SERVICE TO MISSISSIPPI AND AMERICA. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENTER INTO A SEPARATE PART OF THE RECORD THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT.

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  • 04:50:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:50:37 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. LAST WEEK, MR. PRESIDENT, CONGRESSWOMAN LOUISE…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. LAST WEEK, MR. PRESIDENT, CONGRESSWOMAN LOUISE SLAUGHTER OF NEW YORK PASSED AWAY AFTER REPRESENTING THE ROW CHESTER AREA OF NEW YORK FOR MORE THAN THREE DECADES. SHE WAS TOUGH, UNFAILINGLY GRACIOUS, AND WONDERFULLY EFFECTIVE IN HELPING PEOPLE THROUGHOUT HER LIFE. LOUISE CARRIED TITLES YOU DON'T SEE OFTEN AROUND HERE. SHE WAS THE CONGRESS' ONLY MICROBIOLOGIST. SHE WAS ALSO A BLUES AND JAZZ SINGER AS WELL. SHE WAS A FIGHTER FIRST AND FOREMOST, EARNING RESPECT OF THEIR COLLEAGUES, EVEN THOSE WHO DISAGREED WITH HER. SHE HAILED FROM HARLAN, KENTUCKY, THE DAUGHTER OF A BLACKSMITH. LOUISE COULD TRACE HER LINEAGE TO THE LEGENDARY DANIEL BOONE. SHE WENT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY TO STUDY MICROBIOME J.I. GEE AND TO HONOR HER SISTER WHO PASSED AWAY DUE TO PNEUMONIA AT A YOUNG ANALYST LOUISE WENT ON TO SERVE IN THE MONROE COUNTY LEGISLATURE BEFORE JOINING CONGRESS IN 1986 TO REPRESENT THE ROCHESTER, NEW YORK, ASIAN WHICH INCLUDES THE AREA AROUND THE HISTORIC SENECA FALLS CONVENTION. SHE WAS ONLY ONE OF 29 WOMEN IN CONGRESS WHEN SHE FIRST ARRIVED AND QUICKLY BECAME A TRAILBLAZER FOR THE AMERICAN WORKER AND WOMAN. LOUISE COAUTHORED THE LANDMARK VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN'S ACT IN 1994, CURBING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND AIDING ITS VICTIMS OF SHE HELPED SHEPHERD THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT THROUGH CONGRESS AS THE VERY FIRST WOMAN TO CHAIR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES RULES COMMITTEE. HER STORIED CAREER HAS INCLUDED DEFENDING HER CONSTITUENTS AGAINST BIG BUSINESS AND BRINGING NATIONAL ATTENTION TO PRESSING MEDICAL ISSUES. SHE INTRODUCED THE FIRST LEGISLATION BARRING GENETIC DISCRIMINATION IN 1958. IT FINE AALLY BECAME LAW IN 2008. SHE INTRODUCED A BILL TO FIGHT DRUG-RESISTANT BACTERIA. PRESIDENT OBAMA INCORPORATES PARTS OF HER PLAN TO IDENTIFY SUPER-BUCKS AND INCREASED FUNDING FOR NEW ANTIBIOTIC INTO THE ADMINISTRATION'S NEW INITIATIVE TO ENCOURAGE THE RESPONSIBLE USE OF ANTIBIOTICS IN LIVESTOCK. SHE ALSO INTRODUCED THE FIRST BILL TO BAN INSIDER TRADING BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS. SHE DID ALL OF THIS AND SOME OF IT CONTROVERSIAL AND STILL WON THE RESPECT OF HER COLLEAGUES. I WORKED WITH HER ON MANY PROJECTS FROM THE BICAMERAL HIGH-SPEED AND INNER CITY PASSENGER RAIL KAW DOUSE DEMANDING THE SUPREME COURT ADOPT AN ETHICS CODE. IT WAS NOT A CO-INKS DENSE THAT ON THE DAY THE NEWS OF HER PASSING BROKE, THE WORDS "NICEST" AND "ROCHESTER" WERE TRENDING ON TWITTER IN WASHINGTON, D.C. SHE WAS SMART AND KIND AND ALWAYS FUNNY. SHEILA BE MISSED BY HER COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS, AND FAMILY, INCLUDING HER THREE DAUGHTERS MEGAN, EMILY, AMY, ROB INAND SEVEN GRANDCHILDREN. AND ONE GREAT-GRANDCHILD HENRY. LOUISE WAS A GREAT CONGRESSWOMAN. I AM GOING TO MISS HER AS A COLLEAGUE AND A FRIEND. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK CONSENT THAT THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT BE PLACED IN A SEPARATE PART OF THE RECORD.

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  • 04:53:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:53:56 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, THERE IS A CRISIS THAT WE FACE IN THIS COUNTRY INVOLVING…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THERE IS A CRISIS THAT WE FACE IN THIS COUNTRY INVOLVING DACA. IT IS A CRISIS CREATED WHEN PRESIDENT TRUMP ANNOUNCED THENT OF THE PROGRAM ON SEPTEMBER 5 OF LAST YEAR AND GAVE US A DEADLINE OF MARCH 5 OF THIS YEAR TO COME UP WITH AN ALTERNATIVE. MANY OF US, INCLUDING SELF, BATTLED -- INCLUDING YOURSELF, BATTLED MIGHTILY TO DO THAT. WE NEVER COULD COME UP WITH A PROPOSAL IN WHICH THE PRESIDENT ACCEPTED. AS A CONSEQUENCE, THE DESTINY OF THESE DACA RECIPIENTS IS UNCERTAIN. THEY ARE NOW TEMPORARILY PROTECTED BY AN INJUNCTION FROM TWO DIFFERENT FEDERAL LAWSUITS, AN INJUNCTION WHICH COULD END IN A MATTER OF WEEKS OR MONTHS. IN THE MEANTIME, THEIR STATUS SO UNCERTAIN THAT IT'S DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO MAKE PLANS FOR THEIR LIVES. THAT'S WHERE WE ARE TODAY. DACA HAS BEEN A HUGE SUCCESS. IT IS A PROGRAM DESIGNED TO GIVE THOSE BROUGHT HERE AS CHILDREN, TODDLEERS, AND INFANT AN OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME PART OF AMERICA AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME CITIZENS ONE DAY. DACA WAS AN EXECUTIVE ORDER OF PRESIDENT OBAMA, WHICH PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS NOW ABOLISHED. THERE IS NO PROTECTION OTHER THAN THE COURT INJUNCTION FOR THOSE WHO ARE FACING THE END OF DACA. YESTERDAY I CONVENED A MEETING WITH SOME OF MY SENATE COLLEAGUES WITH THE SECRETARY FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, KIRSTJEN NIELSEN. SHIRE'S WHAT WE LEARNED. AS OF YESTERDAY, MORE THAN 35,000 DACA RENEWAL APPLICATIONS ARE PENDING BECAUSE OF THESE COURT ORDERS. WHILE PENDING RENEWAL APPLICATIONS, 10,000 WERE FR RECIPIENTS OF DACA WHOSE PROTECTION HAD ALREADY EXPIRED. TENS OF THOUSANDS MORE DREAMERS HAVE DACA PROTECTION DUE TO EXPIRE SOON. AROUND 13,000 DACA PERMITS COULD EXPIRE IN MARCH, ANOTHER 5,300 IN APRIL AND NEARLY 14,000 MORE IN MAY. UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A PERSON IS PROTECTED BY DACA AND LOSES THAT PROTECTION. TECHNICALLY THEY CAN BE DEPORTED. IN ADDITION, THEY CANNOT LEGALLY CONTINUE TO WORK IN THE UNITED STATES. THERE IS SOME GOOD NEWS, THOUGH. SECRETARY NIELSEN PROMISED ME THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WILL NOT DEPORT ANY DACA RECIPIENT WITH A PENDING DACA APPLICATION, EVEN IF THEIR DACA STATUS HAS EXPIRED. I THANK HER FOR THAT COMMITMENT AND I INTEND TO HELD HER TO THAT COMMITMENT. MANY LIVES ARE AT STAKE. HOWEVER, FOR DACA RECIPIENTS WHOSE STATUS HAS EXPIRED, THAT SAME DEPARTMENT WILL NOT AUTHORIZE THEM TO WORK UNLESS AND UNTIL DACA IS RENEWED. SO THERE CAN BE A GAP IN THEIR EMPLOYMENT. UNDERSTAND THE PEOPLE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT ARE NOT FOLKS BY AND LARGE WITH PART-TIME JOBS. THEY'RE TEACHERS, THEY'RE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS, SOME OF THEM ARE SERVING IN OUR MILITARY. WHAT WE NOW KNOW ABOUT THE EXPIRATION OF THIS WORK PERMIT IS THAT TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DACA-ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS COULD BE FORCED LEAVE THEIR JOBS WHILE THEIR AAPPLICATIONS FOR RENEWAL ARE PENDING AND BEFORE THEY ARE APPROVED. THEN CONSIDER THE FATE OF DREAMERS WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR DACA BUT NEVER REACHED THE NECESSARY AGE TO ATTAIN THAT STATUS. THEY CAN NO LONGER APPLY FOR DACA BECAUSE PRESIDENT TRUMP'S DECISION PROHIBITS THEM AFTER SEPTEMBER 5. IF A CHILD TURNS 15, THE YOUNGEST AGE AT WHICH THEY CAN APPLY FOR DAKOTA, THEY ARE NOW BLOCKED FROM APPLYING BECAUSE OF THE PRESIDENT'S DECISION. THE NONPARTISAN MIGRATION POLICY INSTITUTE ESTIMATES THAT IN ADDITION TO 800,000 DACA RECIPIENTS, THERE ARE AN ADDITIONAL ONE MILLION DREAMERS ELIGIBLE FOR DACA. BECAUSE OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S DECISION TO END DACA, 1.8 MILLION DREAMERS ARE AT RISK OF DEPORTATION AND CANNOT WORK TO SUPPORT THEMSELVES AND CONTRIBUTE TO THE ONLY COUNTRY THEY KNOW AND THE COUNTRY THEY LOVE. PRESIDENT TRUMP CALLED ON CONGRESS TO LEGALIZE DACA, BUT HE'S UNFORTUNATELY REFUSED TO ACCEPT SIX DIFFERENT OFFERS -- BIPARTISAN OFFERS TO ACHIEVE THAT. THE ONE OF THOSE OFFERS ALSO INCLUDED $25 BILLION FOR HIS WALL AND YET HE WOULDN'T ACCEPT IT. LET ME TELL YOU A STORY OF ONE OF THESE YOUNG PEOPLE, AS I'VE DONE BEFORE. I'VE COME TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE MORE THAN 110 TIMES TO TELL THESE STORIES. I JUST THINK WHEN YOU HEAR THE STORIES OF AN INDIVIDUAL, IT HELPS YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THE REAL ISSUE IS. THIS IS A PHOTO OF IRVING CALDRONE, THE 112th DREAMER A. TALKED ABOUT ON THE SENATE FLOOR. WHEN HE WAS SEVEN MONTHS OLD, IRVING WAS BROUGHT TO THE UNITED STATES FROM MEXICO BY HIS PARENTS. HE LIVED IN CALIFORNIA FOR TEN YEARS, THEN MOVED TO TEXAS WHERE HE CURRENTLY LIVES. HIS CHILDHOOD MEMORIES INCLUDE DISNEYLAND, GOING TO THE BEACH AND CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS AND THE 4th OF JULY WITH HIS FAMILY. IRVING FOUND OUT HE WAS UNDOCUMENTED WHEN HE WAS 12 YEARS OLD. AT FIRST HE DIDN'T BELIEVE IT BECAUSE HE SAID THERE WAS NOTHING ABOUT ME THAT WASN'T AMERICAN. THEN AS HE GOT OLDER HE REALIZED HE COULDN'T GET A DRIVER'S LICENSE, HE COULDN'T WORK, HE COULDN'T SAVE MONEY FOR COLLEGE. BUT HE DIDN'T GIVE UP. IN HIGH SCHOOL, IRVING MAINTAINED A 4.0 GRADE POINT AVERAGE. HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE HONOR SOCIETY AND STUDENT COUNCIL, SERVED ON THE FUTURE BUSINESS LEADERS OF AMERICA, PLAYED BASKETBALL AND VARSITY CONTINUES. BECAUSE OF HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS, HE WAS ACCEPTED INTO THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN. IN COLLEGE HE SERVED AS DIRECTOR OF THE HISPANIC BUSINESS STUDENTS ASSOCIATION AND UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP THE GROUP ADOPTED A STREET TO CLEAN. IRVING ORGANIZED EVENTS FOR UNDERREPRESENTED HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS AND MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS AND VOLUNTEERED AT AN ORPHANAGE EVERY THANKSGIVING. HE GRADUATED GRADUATED WITH A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION. THANKS TO DAKOTA CREATED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA, THEN ELIMINATED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP LATER, IRVING WAS ABLE TO PUT HIS DEGREE TO WORK. FOR THE LAST YEAR HE HAS WORKED AS AN INFORMATION BUSINESS ANALYST AT GENERAL MOTORS. HE CREATES SOFTWARE SYSTEMS FOR ONE OF THE LARGEST AUTOMAKERS IN THE UNITED STATES. HE WROTE ME A LETTER AND HERE'S WHAT HE SAID. I'VE ALWAYS FELT COMPLETELY AMERICAN. I'VE BEEN HERE SINCE I WAS 7 MONTHS OLD. IT'S THE ONLY PLACE I KNOW AND THE ONLY PLACE I'VE EVER CONSIDERED HOME. BEING AN AMERICAN IS NOT SOMETHING THAT IS JUST GIVEN TO YOU. IT'S ABOUT THE WORK YOU PUT IN. I FEEL I'VE CONTRIBUTED TO AMERICA. MR. PRESIDENT, I DO, TOO. IT WOULD BE AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY TO DEPORT SOMEONE LIKE IRVING WHO'S OVERCOME SO MANY OBSTACLES AND HAS SO MUCH TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR COUNTRY. PEOPLE LIKE IRVING CATERONE ARE THE REASON THAT MORE THAN 400 BUSINESS LEADERS SIGNED A LETTER TO CONGRESS URGING US TO PASS A BIPARTISAN DREAM ACT. THE LETTER SAYS AND I QUOTE, THESE BUSINESS LEADERS SAY, DREAMERS ARE VITAL TO THE FUTURE OF OUR COMPANIES AND OUR ECONOMY. WITH THEM WE GROW AND CREATE JOBS. THEY ARE PART OF WHY WE WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE A GLOBAL, COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE. PRESIDENT TRUMP CREATED THIS CRISIS. BUT INSTEAD OF WORKING TOWARD A SOLUTION, HE HAS STOPPED EVERY EFFORT THAT WE'VE TRIED TO MAKE ON BEHALF OF DREAMERS. NOW IT'S UP TO THE REPUBLICAN LEADERS IN CONGRESS TO TAKE YES FOR AN ANSWER AND ACCEPT ANY ONE OF THE SIX BIPARTISAN SOLUTIONS WHICH WE PUT ON THE TABLE TO SAVE THESE YOUNG PEOPLE. CONGRESS SHOULD DO OUR JOB AND MAKE THE DREAM ACT THE LAW OF THE LAND OR WE WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR FORCING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TALENTED YOUNG IMMIGRANTS OUT OF THE WORK FORCE AND PUTTING THEM AT RISK FOR IMMEDIATE DEPORTATION. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK CONSENT THAT AFTER THE LAST STATEMENT THAT TWO ITEMS BE ENTERED INTO THE RECORD.

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  • 05:01:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:01:49 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

  • 05:01:53 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    FLOOR.

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115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 1850 (After 589 days)
  • Debate1107 Hours
  • Quorum Calls434 Hours
  • Votes306 Hours

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)