ravaged by the addiction epidemic to be a procedural vote this afternoon and we will take you to the senate floor on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. lord of life, hear our prayers. fill us with your spirit so that we may please you.
empower our lawmakers. help them not to have an excessive focus on temporary things while ignoring an eternal perspective. may their lives bring glory and honor to your name, as you create in them humble and contrite hearts that are willing to serve you and humanity. lord, as our nation prepares to elect a new president, may your providence, not our wisdom, prevail. demonstrate your power so that we may remember that nothing is
too difficult for you. we pray in your merciful name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c, february 29, 2016. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable joni ernst, a senator from the state of iowa,
mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: there's an l epidemic sweeping across our nation, ripping through communities, tearing families apart, striking at the vulnerable, even babies who get to take their first breath. the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic does not discriminate by demographic or socioeconomic status, by age, or by gender. it touches parents and children, neighbors and coworkers in all
50 states. it's ending lives at record-breaking rates, and it's getting worse. deaths from opioids have surged by 200% by the last decade and a half alone. in my home state of kentucky, drug overdoses continue to outpace the number of fatalities from traffic accidents. this is an issue we've been combatting for some time, and we've made some important strides along the way but there is a lot more to do. this week we have an opportunity to take an important step forward. one of the most painful aspects of this epidemic, as i mentioned, is the increasing number of infants who are born dependent on opioids like prescription painkillers and heroin. these children start their lives suffering from drug dependence, which is nearly as hard to imagine as it is heartbreaking. last year i sponsored a bipartisan measure designed to
help address this specific issue, and i appreciate the senior senator from pennsylvania, senator casey, for working across the aisle with me to advance the protecting our infants act through congress. i'm proud to say it was signed into law just a few months ago. it's an example of one of the many steps we've already begun to take as we look to address this epidemic. we took another step forward when the senate voted to confirm the new f.d.a. commissioner. i've been very clear that the f.d.a. must take a stronger approach in regard to this epidemic and its prevention efforts, which is why i appreciated dr. califf's expressed vision for positive change at the agency. i voted for his nomination last week, but as i told him, he should know we'll continue to assure oversight over his agency's response going forward. this week we have another opportunity to take a step forward, an important step forward. before us today is bipartisan legislation that would help
combat the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic at every level. the comprehensive addiction and recovery act, or cara, is the product of a lot of hard work and bipartisan work by a number of senators. i'd like to recognize the chairman of the judiciary committee from iowa and the ranking member from vermont for acting swiftly to pass this bill through committee on a voice vote. i appreciate the assistance and cooperation of other leaders on this important issue, like the chairman of the help committee, and the ranking member from washington. i also want to thank the sponsors of this bill, the junior senators from ohio, new hampshire, and rhode island, and the senior senator from minnesota. these leaders understand the toll this epidemic is taking on our communities. they've studied the issue closely in their home states and they've worked with senators from across the aisle to advance this legislation through the legislative process. it's thanks to their hard work that we're debating this bipartisan bill today. the junior senator from ohio has
called cara the only bipartisan legislation that includes a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to help communities combat this epidemic. it would strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs. it would improve treatment initiatives. it would expand prevention and education and it would give law enforcement more of the tools it needs to fight back against this epidemic. no wonder this bipartisan legislation is supported by more than 130 national antidrug groups. in a recent letter they noted that the only way to stop and reverse current trends was with a comprehensive approach such as that included in the comprehensive addiction and recovery act of 2015. that leverages evidence-based law enforcement and health care services, including treatment. so this bill takes the kind of comprehensive approach that's needed, and at the same time as these groups also noted in their letter, the cost of the bill is
kept low with no impact on mandatory spending. i ask colleagues to join with us in working to pass this bipartisan authorization bill. we'll also have opportunities through the appropriations process this spring to continue important funding just as we did last year. indeed, just a few months ago we appropriated $400 million to opioid-specific programs, nearly one-third more than what the senate appropriated the preceding year. and we understand that all $400 million of those funds still remain available to be spent today. that's right, madam president. all $400 million remains available to be spent. i sincerely hope our friends across the aisle will join us in supporting this legislation to address our national crisis. this is an important bill for each of us in this chamber, and i look forward to taking action today to get us closer to seeing it become law. i've talked about the urgency
and the multifaceted complexity associated with this epidemic and i want to underline the hard work that's being done in the senate to address it. the chairs of the judiciary and help committees, whom i recognized earlier, have been looking at ways to both improve law enforcement tools and increase education and awareness respectively. the chair of the finance committee has, as his committee explored in a hearing last week, been focused on how this issue affects our child welfare system. and of course we again recognize that cooperation of members of both parties, chairs, ranking members and a bipartisan list of sponsors on both sides of the aisle. working together across the aisle with state and local governments, agencies and law enforcement we can help end this crisis once and for all. i look forward to taking the next step toward that objective later today.
mr. reid: mr. president? madam president? sorry about that. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: there was a day when that's all we did, but not so anymore. madam president, history won't forget this misstep by grassley, it says. "history won't forget this misstep by grassley." "the hawkeye" burlington, iowa, the oldest newspaper in the state in iowa. an editorial in iowa's oldest newspaper, as i indicated, "the burlington hawkeye." the misstep is an unprecedented decision by the senior senator from iowa and the republican leader to deny the president to fill the current supreme court vacancy. the editorial ends with this declaration -- and i quote -- "a
few weeks back when the longest tenured senator from iowa passed a vote we lauded his service to us. we noted in casting votes on matters before the senate, he was doing what iowans elected him to do. we gave grassley an atta boy for that. we take it back. we take it back. that's a blistering statement. a revealing statement, a substantive statement. we take it back. there's a lesson that senator grassley and my republican colleagues should learn from this editorial. by refusing to give president obama's supreme court a meeting, a hearing, or a vote, they are banning the oath of office they swore when they became a united states senator. this abdication of their constitutional responsibilities will epitomize their work in the united states as a senator. whatever they may have accomplished through their careers will be secondary to their decision to place
electoral politics over their job. remember, our job is here to vote. that's what we swore to do. to follow the constitution, and the constitution couldn't be clearer on this issue. so the stakes should even be higher for senator grassley than the other republican senators. why? because as judiciary chairman, senator grassley presides over one of the most important and prestigious committees in the entire united states senate. this has been the case for 200 years. 200 years. the senate judiciary committee was established 200 years ago. in 1816 it was one of the original 118 standing committees 20 decades passed, that's how long the committee's been in operation. throughout history judiciary committee chairs have wielded immense power and president martin van buren, when he was in
the senate, senator ted kennedy, senator arlen specter, senator joe biden, judiciary chairmen have prized their independence and guarded it from being man handled. the past chairmen stood firm and faced opposition from presidents and senate leadership. at crucial times in american history, the senate and the nation have looked to the judiciary committee to do the right thing. during the civil war, chairman liman trumble and his committee authored the 13th amendment. the 13th amendment abolished slavery during the civil war. we know during that period of time there was great consternation as to what should be done. even the great president lincoln had trouble deciding what should be done during the early days of the civil war. in 1889, chairman george hoar
from massachusetts and his committee drafted the sherman antitrust act refusing to give in to carnegie, vanderbilt and rockefeller monopolies. that was big-time n independence. in 1937, chairman henry ashers from arizona, who was born in winnemaka, nevada, stood in the way of president roosevelt's attempt to pack the supreme court. chairman ashers was a democrat, just like president roosevelt. yet ashers and the committee maintained their independence even against the wishes of senate majority leader alvin barkley, long-time united states senator. but he became vice president later. imagine that. he was senate majority leader. he was from kentucky. imagine that. judiciary committee chair standing up to a majority leader from kentucky.
the accomplishments of these powerful chairs and many others are the historical models against which the senior senator from iowa will be measured. if he keeps his current obstruction, history will not be kind to his tenure as chairman of the committee. as of today, the chairman has yielded his committee's long-held authority and independence to the republican leader for the sole purpose of weakening president obama, of weakening the presidency of the united states and obstructing the senate's work. the chairman has turned the impartial reputation of the judiciary committee into an extension of the trump campaign. just last month, chairman grassley spoke at a rally for donald trump in iowa. at that rally, the chairman said, and i quote -- "we've had this trend going this way, away from the basic principles that established our government, so we have an opportunity once again to make america great again." before i close quote, let's
remember what he said -- "we've had this trend going this way, away from the basic principles that established our government ." my friend from iowa would do well to look at his own committee as it trends away from , again, the quote, away from the basic principles that established our government. that's what the senator from iowa said at the trump rally. even now he and his committee are wasting millions of taxpayer dollars developing partisan research for secretary clinton. it's been going on many, many months, more than a year, including asking for ma materniy leave, records for staffers and time sheets from our office. just basic staff people. and for months, senator grassley blocked the confirmation of state department officials. even career foreign service officers who are here so we
could give them a raise after their valiant service all over the world. he held that up, and people couldn't understand it. it had nothing to do with secretary clinton. he did it as a way to weaken the presidency of president obama. what he has done is damaged the united states diplomacy worldwide. election day is more than eight months away, but it's affecting nearly every action taken by the grassley judiciary committee. there is much more at stake here than senator grassley's reputation. when committee independence is threatened by partisan politics, the future of this institution hangs in the balance, and when the senate is undermined, our democracy is undermined. future generations will suffer irreparably if the senator from iowa continues to do the bidding of the republican leader and the donald trumps of the new republican party. senator grassley and i have worked together for three decades. the first speech i gave here on the senate floor, my maiden speech, served a couple terms in
the house, i came here. my seat was way back there. i gave my first speech, i talked about the taxpayers' bill of rights. an idea i had in the house, i couldn't get past first base. presiding on the senate that day was senator pryor, david pryor from arkansas who was chairman of the subcommittee on the internal revenue service. senator grassley was also listening. they both contacted me. in fact, i received a note from senator pryor and a call from senator grassley saying i really like that legislation, i'll work to help you, and they did, and we got that passed. so i have nothing personal against senator grassley. i like him. he helped me pass something that was landmark legislation as a brand-new freshman senator. but today as a united states senator, i have a duty to speak when the republican senate
refuses to follow its constitutional obligations to provide advice and consent on the president's supreme court nomination. as a senator, i have a duty to demand that the judiciary committee considers important judicial nominees, especially, especially someone to fill a vacancy on the supreme court. as senate judiciary chair, the senior senator from iowa has a job to do. my criticism, i repeat, is not personal, it's professional, and it's substantive. the senior senator from iowa outlined that job himself when he assumed the chairmanship of the judiciary committee. when he took over as chairman, he promised republicans, and i quote -- "to restore the senate to the deliberative body the founders intended." i mean, listen to that. that's what he said -- "to restore the senate to the deliberative body the founders intended." that's a quote. he said he took the responsibility, another quote, -- "of vetting the
nominees for life-time appointments to the federal judiciary very seriously." close quote. the senior senator from iowa is failing this commitment that he made to himself. he made it. he made the commitment. restore the senate to the deliberative body that the founders intended. the founders are the people that wrote the constitution. he's the first chair of this important committee to take the unprecedented step of refusing to meet, conduct hearings or hold a vote on the supreme court nomination. he is following the republican leaders' call to refuse the president's nominee meeting, the hearing or a vote. the senior senator from iowa, of all people, should know how important a vote is. my friend has a lot of record of not missing roll call votes. 7,545 consecutive votes as of
today. what good are 7,500 consecutive votes if you simply sweep the votes you don't like to take under the rug? it taints this achievement. if he doesn't like president obama's nominee, he doesn't have to vote for the nominee, but don't run from a hard vote, don't hide. what good is the chairmanship if it's a rubber stamp for partisan politics. what good is the chairmanship if it's used to weaken the senate and disrupt our constitutional system of checks and balances, and that's what it does. last week the "des moines register" published an open letter from one of senator grassley's former employees. it was stunning. he worked here in the senate. this man captures what's at stake here, and i quote -- "the institution of the senate has managed to perform its constitutional obligations for well over 200 years. every single nominee for the supreme court that is not withdrawn from consideration has received a vote within 125 days. today i feel nothing but shame for the fact that my senator, my
former friend, will bring that unbroken history to an end." close quote. that was headline last week in the "des moines register." iowa's largest newspaper. i hope the chairman of the judiciary committee doesn't continue down this path. it will not benefit him, his committee, the senate, the state of iowa or this great country. instead he should follow the example of his predecessors and give president obama's supreme court nominee a meeting, a hearing and a vote. he simply should do his job. if he doesn't, history will never forget this unprecedented misstep. history will never forget this misstep by grassley. i yield the floor and ask the chair to announce the business of the day. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 5:00 p.m.
with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the senator from west virginia. ms. capito: thank you, madam president. as we are all aware, the united states is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose deaths. the statistics are just startling. since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in those deaths attributed to the use of open i-team's. mrs. capito: west virginia has the unfortunate distinction of leading the nation in drug-related overdose deaths, more than twice the national average. as i travel across the state, i hear constantly, constantly about the devastation caused by this epidemic. west virginia communities are grappling with the seriousness and pain of addiction. no family or community, mine included, is immune from this
pain. as one of my constituents put it, we must give our young people a reason not to start using something that robs them of everything they have. other west virginians have bravely shared their family's stories of addiction with me. in the powerful words of one of my constituents, it only takes a second -- a few seconds to use drugs but a lifetime to fight. drug addiction is a disease that knows no boundaries, and west virginia is certainly not alone in this fight. my colleagues, as i'm sure, madam president can attest to here in the senate, return each week with similar stories. no matter our political party, we should all agree on one thing. we must act to change these horrifying statistics and to save lives. some states have already been taken -- some steps have already been taken to address this epidemic.
the appropriations bill that we passed last december included funding to expand prevention efforts. it included improved data collection and new treatment services. training for our service members who are battling addiction, and training for the first responders who are responding to these drug overdoses. today, today we hope to begin debate on the comprehensive addiction and recovery act. i want to thank my colleagues, senator portman, senator ayotte and senator whitehouse, for their leadership on this important legislation. this bipartisan bill known as carra addresses the opioid epidemic by -- cara addresses the opioid epidemic by expanding prevention and education, and it also promotes the resources needed for that treatment and recovery. it includes reforms to help law enforcement respond to the drug epidemic, and it supports long-term recovery efforts which we see in my state of west
virginia we don't have enough treatment options, particularly in the long-term recovery area. the legislation also expands the availability of naloxin, a life-saving drug that helps to reduce the effects of an overdose, and we are also creating disposal sites for unwanted prescriptions. cara provides resources for treatment sponsors to incarceration like the successful and expanding drug court programs that operate in west virginia and many other states. we just had a graduation the other day with some great success stories included in that from the drug court. according to the beckley register herald, counties with drug courts have already seen cost savings and deep declines in recidivism rates among their graduates. cara. also provides a provision to improve treatment programs for pregnant women and mothers
who have substance use disorder. another startling statistic is the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. it has increased fivefold from the years 2000 to the years 2012. last fall, i introduced the improving treatment for pregnant and post part emwomen act with senators -- postpartum women with senators klobuchar and whitehouse. the act could play a critical role in preventing neonatal be a stance program and getting treatment to pregnant mothers. last fall i worked with senator markey and others to help restore drug takeback days and keep medication out of the wrong hands. we all probably have some medications in our own medicine chest that are no longer necessary, we don't need to have, they might have been for a family member. it's time to clean out those medicine chests. i participated in last year's program in charleston, west virginia, and was really pleased to see the overwhelming
response. cara focuses on the programs that work and will streamline efforts across multiple federal agencies. in order to further address the needs of our communities, i'm working on several bipartisan amendments on this bill. these amendments include solutions to improving prescribing practices and to prevent overprescribing. too many stories of addiction start with patients taking painkillers after a minor surgery or a minor injury. that is why i'm pleased to be working with senator gillibrand on an effort that will require clear c.d.c. guidelines for prescribing opioids for acute pain -- a tooth extraction, maybe a broken arm. something that doesn't last forever but the pain is acute in the beginning but it fades rather quickly. i also am pleased to be working with senator warren on an amendment that allows doctors to partially fill certain opioid prescriptions. these will reduce the number of
unused painkillers sitting in our medicine cabinets and help to prevent future cases of drug abuse and addiction. in order to reduce the number of overdose deaths, i'm working with senator kaine to allow doctors to coprescribe the life-saving drug when they prescribe an opioid. this would make naloxin for widely available in health care celtings such as v.a. health care centers, dodd facilities and health care clinics. imalso focused on tackling one of the saddest realities of this epidemic. in my state of west virginia, babies born exposed to opioids during pregnancy are approximately three times the national average. every 25 minutes in this countr- every 25 minutes in this country, a baby is born with addiction. nationwide, this condition has increased fivefold from 2000-2012. this amendment will provide
clear guidelines to encourage the creation of residential pediatric recovery centers, like the wonderful lily's place in huntington, west virginia. i'm pleased to be working with senator king from maine and congressman evan jenkins from west virginia on this effort. cara rents a positive -- represents a positive step forward in addressing the opioid crisis. the four amendments that i've outlined i believe will strengthen the bill. they would prevent addiction, promote recovery and cush the scourge of drug addiction in my state and others across this country. there is much work ahead for all of us in this area. the actions we are taking hopefully here this week in washington are simply first steps. this bill builds on the tireless work being done at the state and local levels by communities, law enforcements and health professionals all across this country. they're working together, and by working together, we can change
these statistics and stop more tragedies from occurring, stop the families and tragedy, stop the -- the human tragedy of losing a loved one, of losing that loved one into the work force, losing a mother or father. i urge my colleagues to vote to begin debate on cara this evening and to support this important legislation. my concern, i'm concerned we are in jeopardy of losing the next generation, so we have much work to do. thank you. mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, as we've heard from the senator from west virginia, this week the senate will begin
consideration of a bipartisan bill that targets an epidemic that is raging across the country but apparently it's especially hard-hit -- hard hitting in places like west virginia, ohio, pennsylvania and the like. but this abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin is not just isolated to those areas, even though the leaders of this particular legislation come from places like minnesota and rhode island, ohio and new hampshire. sadly, texas has been no exception. the center of disease control found that in texas, opioid-related drug deaths have increased by 30% since 2002. in houston, which is widely recognized by the d.e.a. and law enforcement officials as a key hub for the trafficking of illicit prescription drugs, it's particularly a problem.
and then in south texas, right next to the u.s.-mexico border, the transnational criminal organizations are exploiting our fofor russ border to increasing the import hard narcotics like heroin which ultimately wreak havoc in towns and cities across america. in 2014 alone, drug cartels successfully smuggled more than 250,000 pounds of heroin across our borders into the united states at a street value of approximately $25 billion. now, these are the same criminals who traffic in human beings, including young girls and boys. these are the same people who traffic in illegal immigrants. these are the same people who traffic in illegal drugs. indeed, this has become such big business and the network so large that these transnational criminal organizations are basically in on everything and anything that will make them
money, including transacting -- transporting these terrible drugs like heroin across the border. as we all know and have heard, this epidemic destroys families, it increases the crime rate and it robs millions of americans of their future. and as i mentioned a moment ago, thousands are dying every year. that's why the bill we're voting on this afternoon, called the comprehensive addiction and recovery act, is so important. it will help give families and law enforcement additional resources to beat drug addiction through proven treatment programs. and i'm proud to cosponsor the legislation. the reason we've been able to move this bill forward so far, passed unanimously out of the senate judiciary committee just two weeks ago, is because it reflects bipartisan input as well as bipartisan concern with this epidemic.
as i mentioned earlier, i'd like to particularly recognize the junior senators from rhode island and new hampshire and ohio -- that's senators whitehouse, portman and ayott ayotte -- for their laserlike focus on this legislation, to make sure it's on the top list of things we need to do this legislative session. by highlighting just how bad the problem is in our country and providing legislation to address it, they are helping us attack this epidemic head-on. but i must say, while so far this legislation has moved forward on a strong bipartisan basis, there are some signals on the horizon that indicate some potential trouble. at a press conference after the judiciary committee unanimously passed the bill, several of our friends on the other side of the aisle were explicit. they said if the senate did not add hundreds of millions of dollars in duplicative funding, they might withhold their
support. well, this legislation is an authorization bill and it does not appropriate funds, and our friends across the aisle know that if an appropriation is added to this legislation, particularly if it's duplicati duplicative, it causes a number of problems. first of all, because a spending bill can't originate here in the senate so it raises a so-called blue slip problem. but perhaps just as importantly, this is not an orderly process by which we determine what is actually needed and to make sure that we are appropriating money in a fiscally responsible sort of way. i don't have to remind the presiding officer or anybody else who's listening that we have a $19 trillion debt in our country. and recklessly throwing money at a problem rather than carefully targeting it in a fiscally responsible way is simply unacceptable. but it seems to be part of the
message that give us what we want or we might hijack a bipartisan bill that would literally save lives. now, i hope i'm wrong and i hope these signals on the horizon don't prove to ultimately be true, but it does seem like this is part of a new political strategy. earlier this month we know that our democrat colleagues blocked a bipartisan energy bill from moving forward on an unrelated issue, something that senator murkowski, chairman of the senate energy committee, the senior senator from alaska, she has been -- shown the patience the job trying to work through this process so we can get back on the energy bill rather than having it hijacked by an extraneous subject that could well and should well be handled in a different way, certainly separately. this is not the way the senate gets anything accomplished. and, as i've said before,
playing political games with important issues like fighting drug addiction is what lost our friends the majority in 2014. so i would urge the democratic leadership to listen to those in their own caucus who have worked alongside of republicans in a responsible fashion to draft and put forward this bill that's so clearly needed in this country. so this afternoon, i hope that we will move forward on the comprehensive addiction and recovery act. i hope we'll consider it, we'll consider amendments that are being offered in good faith on both sides to try to improve the legislation. but what we should not do is allow anyone to hijack this important legislation for partisan purposes. i think we should restrain ourselves from any impulse to do so. it happened, unfortunately, on the bipartisan energy bill. it's been threatened on this legislation. but my hope is that cooler heads
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. a senator: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. a senator: i'm like for vehicle yate the fowrk. the presiding officer: without objection snort i -- i rise in support of the cara act. our country is facing a
prescription drug epidemic and today is a good step toward addressing this crisis. this is a crisis that i have been deal withing since my days as governor of the great state of west v.a. advancement opiate abuse is ravaging not only by state but this entire country. our state has been hit harder than most any other state in the country. drug overdose deaths have soared by more than 700% since 1999. mr. manchin: we lost 600 americans. 600 west virginians, i'm sorry, to opiates last year alone. but our state's not unique. every day in our country 51 americans die from opiate abuse and since 1999, we lost almost 200,000 -- think about that -- 200,000 americans to prescription drug opioid abuse. that's larger than any city we have in the state of west virginia. this bill is an important first step. first of all, it will authorize 77.9 million in grant funding for prevention and recovery
efforts. it would expand prevention and educational efforts, particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers and aging populations to prevent the abuse of opiates and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery. it will expand the availability of natural lax jone to first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives. it will expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescence. it will launch an evidence-based opiate and heroin treatment and intervention program to expand best practices throughout the country. it will also strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion. while this bill is a good start and addresses critical problems, madam president, there's more that needs to be done. i will be offering several amendments to improve the bill by changing the f.d.a.'s mission providing grants for consumer education, and requiring
prescriber training. i firmly believe that we need cultural change at the f.d.a. and that is why i introduced the changing the culture of the f.d.a. act. simply it does exactly what it says, it changes that culture. my amendment to cara based on the changing the culture of the f.d.a. act would amendment the f.d.a.'s mission statement to include language that will require the agency to take into account the public health impact of the nation's opioid epidemic when approving and regulating opiate medications and will hold the agency for addressing the opiate epidemic. it's hard to believe that right now as all these new drugs are coming to the market and all these pharmaceutical mrvers are producing this new product, that basically the mission statement has nerve been -- has never taken into account the nation's opiate epidemic. now we see it truly as an especial depend issue we feel this is a most needed change and will be approved. this solidifies the f.d.a.
recently stated goal to fundamentally re-examine the risk benefit calculations for opiates and ensuring that the agency considers the wider public health effects. we need a change, madam president, in the culture of the f.d.a. but we also need to make sure our advocacy groups who fights this battle every day are armed with the resources they need to stem this tide. i'm also introducing an amendment that would establish consumer education grants through the substance abuse and mental health services administration to raise awareness about the risk of opiate addiction and overdose. this epidemic is one that needs to be fought on all fronts but most importantly, we need to fight it on the front lines with the prescribers, those people who we trust and the training they need. that is why i'm also introducing a amendment that would require medical practitioners receive this pleaded obtaining on the safe prescribing of opiates prior to receiving the renewal
or renewing their d.e.a. registration to prescribe controlled substance. if you stalk to any -- talk to any of our medical physicians throughout the country, they get very little training, very little training as far as in the effects of these drugs. and we think it's well past time they get the needed education and the continuing education so that we can keep ahead of the prescriptions that they're putting on the market that basically the harm they're doing to people every day. according to the national institute of health in 2012 more than 259 million prescriptions were written in the united states for opioid painkillers. that equals one bottle of pain pill for every u.s. adult. can you imagine? one bottle of pain pill for every u.s. adult in this country. it is unbelievable. we are the most addicted nation on earth. 5% of the population in the united states of america, 330 million of us, 7 billion humans
on planet earth. we consume 80% of the opiates in the world. it's just unheard of. and until we ensure that every prescriber has a strong understanding of safe opiate prescribing practices in the very great risk of opiate addiction, abuse and overdose death, we will continue to see too many people prescribed too many of these dangerous drugs which can lead them down the tragic pact of education. there's one other subject i wanted to speak about and i'm hoping that the f.d.a. and the administration will look at it very seriously. and that is one that basically says that we have these professionals. they're called advisory committees. when an opiate is coming to market, i believe and i believe a lot of americans believe this goes to a review process. these professionals basically are looking at this. they make a recommendation whether this drug should be on the market, the need for this drug and the effect of this drug
has on basically people's lives. if they rule against this drug and let's say they have 11-2 ruling such as zohydro did, then that request for that drug to come to market should have to come before congress. and for the f.d.a., their director and their staff, to basically come and explain to congress why this potent piece of -- this potent drug needs to come on the market when basically their advisory committee and those people who are the professionals basically agree not to let it come to market. this is a conversation that has to be had. we have to make sure that we understand why we're putting all these products on the market and the effect that it's going to have. so that's another topic that we hope to talk to also as this bill comes on the market. the bottom line is, i am a pleased that the senate is addressing this epidemic, and i'm glad the senate is working in a bipartisan manner. this is how we need to work to
solve the major challenges our country faces. by working in a bipartisan manner, we will have, as i understand, an open amendment process, which is so needed and critical for us moving needed legislation thriewvment i appreciate that understand a believe nigh amendments will strengthen this bill. but i also believe more needs to be done. we must provide the critical resources needed to stem this tide. i look forward to working with my colleagues to strengthen this bill and to begin to address this crisis head-on. madam president, this country has faced every crisis we've ever had, and we've overcome it. this is one we've never attempted. for some reason it is a silent killer. it is going to take all of us being americans and putting basically our faith that we have that we can fix these problems to solve -- save democrats, save republicans, save independents, save everybody. this cannot be a partisan issue because i can tell you opiates and the addiction of opiates has no partisan home. it is truly bipartisan. it attacks us all.
dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. this week the supreme court, which is lacking a ninth justice for the foreseeable future, for reasons that most of the american public doesn't understand, since my fellow senators, my republican colleagues, simply refuse to do their jobs -- this week the supreme court will hear arguments in yet another case, another conveying tha case thats women's right to health care. the case, whole women's health v. hellerstadt, originated in texas. but as all supreme court cases do, this case has implications for the entire country. it's part of a sustained, coordinated attack on women's rights to make personal, private health care decisions for themselves. it is big government reaching into women's homes and bedrooms, getting between the woman and their health care provider,
between the woman and their religious counselor, it's reaching into women's homes telling women that they no longer have the right to make personal, private health care decisions for themselves and to access safe and affordable care. if the court rules in favor of the texas law, which has closed health clinics across the state -- i mean, imagine that. you are a legislator taking an oath of office in austin, texas, to do the best you can for your state. you pass legislation that closes health clinics, not for financial reasons but for ideological reasons. so if they rule in favor of this texas rule, which has closed health clinics across the state, sets a dangerous precedent that could lead to more clinic closures across the country, and my interest is especially ohio, and ohio will be hit by this, too. these clinics are often the only place that women and men have to turn for their basic health services.
most of the assistance, most of the health care that women are getting at these clinics have nothing to do with abortion, but they're the kind of care that women need in these clinics. millions of women rely on planned parenthood and other clinics like it for lifesaving screenings, for testing, for preventive care, for treatment. in ohio, planned parenthood centers provide health care services to 100,000 -- 100,000 men and women each year. many of them have nowhere else to turn. many of them are moderate-income women. many of them are women working two jobs. many of them go to planned parenthood because they, one, it gives good care; second, it takes good care of them in kind, decent, empathetic ways, and third, it is what they can afford. but a new law in ohio threatens
that access. the bill that was passed by the ohio legislature and signed by governor kasich -- that's governor kasich of presidential primary fame, presidential republican debate fame -- signed by governor kasich a week ago will strip federal funding, not only from planned parenthood -- why they'd want to do that is all about ideology, all about playing to their far-right political base. it will strip federal funding, not only from planned parenthood but any health care facility that could be perceived -- perceived -- as promoting safe and legal abortion. but these health care clinics are mostly not about abortion. they're about providing health care to women, mostly to women. this includes health clinics that simply work with other providers to refer women to other facilities so that women can make decisions that should be between them and their doctors. now, i repeat, so many of my colleagues love to talk about big government, but when big
government, mostly a bunch of privileged, if i may -- privileged white men on the other side of the aisle -- mostly -- when they want to inject themselves between women and their doctors, between women and their families, between women and their religious counselors, it strikes me as, let's just say, hypocritical. let's be clear. so we're talking talking aboute that is far, far more sweeping than just defunding -- that's what they like to say. if you're watching the republican debates, week after week, even when they found like food fights, which it did last week, when you're watching these debates, you can see whenever one of these white privileged men, candidates running for president -- and one other privileged african-american man running for president, whenever thathey say "defund planned
parenthood," the crowd goes wild. that base, for whatever reason with their ideological agenda, doesn't seem to care much about women's health. this is isn't about defunding abortion. the federal government doesn't provide funding for abortion. the federal government does not provide funding for abortion, period. health officials that play it straight, which is 99.-something percent of doctors, real health care fishes, they're scared the new law could take funding away from local health care departments. the law would have a -- quote -- "unquote significant impact on their ability to coordinate with hospitals and insurance companies much so stand back for a second. see what they're doing. a bunch of right-wing, privileged, mostly, white men in the legislature have decided that their political agenda
trumps everything else and they're willing to follow their -- so that they can play to their far-right base, they're willing to jeopardize women's health. they're willing to go right up against what the columbus dispatch says -- few papers in america more conserv conservatin that, when they talk about a significant impact on the department's ability to coordinate with hospitals and insurance companies sm. why would they do that? because they're playing to this far-right base that votes in primaries. because the bill is so broadly written, "we wouldn't be able to work with any hospital in our jurisdiction." this ohio law explicitly targets critical health and health education services for women. don't take my word for t all you have to do is read the bill. it prohibits ohio clinics -- and this chart will show that -- it prohibits ohio clinics and hospitals from using federal dollars for -- and i'm quoting directly from the bill -- "for any of the programs established
by the violence against women act, minority hiv-aids initiative, the infertility prevention project, the personal responsibility education program, the breast and conservative cancer mortality prevention act." think about that. this bill prohibits ohio clinics and hospitals from using federal dollars to implement these laws. it means that the program administered by the administration for children and families and department of health and human services to educate adolescents on abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases -- this legislation that governor kasich signed that these privileged mostly white men in the state legislature, politically far to the right, the bill that they passed and governor kasich signed would mean that we wouldn't be able to use the federal dollars we had
to educate adolescents on abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection. so what are we doing? my extremists on the other side are saying no abortion. okay, no federal dollars for abogs. there aren't federal dollars for abortion. but they're saying no federal dollars to preach abstinence and to educate young people about abstinence and sexually transmitted diseases. so what gives here? what are they doing and why are they doing this to the women in ohio? this bill bars women from accessing cancer screenings and aids prevention and help coping with abuse and violence. do they know no low-income or moderate-income women? do they know no female teenagers that may be could benefit on the one hand young male teenagers that could benefit from some of these programs, from abstinence education, from learning about
contraception, from learning about how sexually transmitted diseases are in fact transmitted? i support a woman's right to make personal, private health care decisions for herself with their doctor. but no matter your personal feelingfeelfeelings about aborty we can agree that programs that have helped bring ohio's pregnant rates down are a good thing. i would insert here, madam president, that ohio right now -- and this is embarrassing for me to say on the senate floor -- my state is 50th for black babies and infant mortality and 47th overall in infant mortality. 47th overall, 50th for black infant mortality. it's stuff like this the reeling tour does. they underfund public health and then undercut because of this legislature's action with governor kasich's signatures, they undercut the violence
against women act, they under-suggest the minority h.i.v./aids initiative, they undercut the personal responsibility education program, they undercutting the breast and cervical cancer mortality prevention program. > the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. -- mr. brown: additional five minutes? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: a woman in new carlisle wrote saying there was a time i could not find full-time employment. i was not eligible for assistance from the government. my husband and i were newly married trying to build a responsible life together. i was 21, had a family history of breast cancer so access to health care was crucial to me. planned parenthood was the only place that would help me look after my health and plan my own family and lifestyle in a way i could afford. another woman in borgman -- she went on to say planned parenthood made an impoverished young woman feel safe, comfortable and valued.
another woman wrote along with many other women, i was treated at planned parenthood. i received a referral to a specialist which saved my reproduction. another woman wrote saying she had a child at 13, gave the child up for adoption. after that, she made the choice to get educated about family planning and birth control. she couldn't afford a family doctor so planned parenthood was where she turned to make sure she never had to go through that experience again. a young woman from columbus told the canton repository newspaper while speaking at the statehouse last month, half the lawmakers looked as though they were about to fall asleep. many were looking at their cell phones. they wouldn't want to listen to a young woman, perhaps a low-income young woman talk about her personal life and what planned parenthood meant to her. what's happening is not all that different in ohio from across the country. an organized attack on women's rights to make health care decisions for themselves. it's not about health or safety. look at these examples. it's about politicians. it's about politicians thinking
they know better than women and their doctors. it's happening as we speak. these so-called trap laws in ohio and in dozens of other states have created gaps in care that threaten women's ability to see the providers of their choice. health clinics in texas shut their door. the supreme court upholds the texas law being challenged. the remaining clinics in the state may be forced to turn their patients away for good. madam president, with the last two minutes i'd like to say a few more words about the current supreme court vacancy. former u.s. attorneys from ohio, washington, california, virginia published an op-ed that ran around the country urging the senate to promptly permit nomination of a nominee to replace justice scalia. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you for that. i close urging, begging,
imploring, beseeching my colleagues on the republican side to move forward on the supreme court nominee. we've not had a supreme court vacancy for as long as a year, since the civil war, because we were at war in the 1860's. the average nomination process for confirming a supreme court nominee of the eight members of the supreme court is only about six weeks. the longest justice thomas took 99 days. this president of the united states was elected to four years, not three-year term. a four-year term. has 300-plus days on his term. i'm disappointed, i'll leave it at that, in my colleagues that have said there won't be hearings. then they said not only will there not be hearings for the president's nomination they won't even meet with the nominee. i find it shameful for this constitution that we -- for this institution that we don't do better than that. i urge my colleagues to go to work, do our jobs, do what we're
sworn in to do, do what we're paid to do and move forward to at least bring this nominee, vote against him or her if you'd like but bring this nominee forward for real senate consideration. i yield the floor and thank senator grassley for allowing me more time. mr. grassley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: well, madam president, it's another day and another tantrum from the minority leader. but it doesn't matter how much the minority leader jumps up and down, how much the majority leader stomps his feet, we aren't going to let liberals get away with denying they -- the american people an opportunity to be heard. letting the american people decide this question is a reasonable approach. it's a fair approach.
and it's the historical approach. it's the approach the other side advocated when the shoe was on the other foot. and it's what the american people deserve. they deserve an opportunity and responsibility that we do it right. instead of rushing to judgment. voters deserve the right to be heard. the american people want a reasonable justice, a person that will make the right decisions. madam president, as the american people continue voting during the presidential election, they face a choice. do they want just another justice who will look to her heart and apply her own ethics and perspectives on deciding important constitutional
questions that impact every american? or do they want a justice who, like justice scalia, adheres to the constitution and the rule of law and decides cases based on whatever, wherever the text takes him or her? we can't overstate, madam president, how critical it is for the american people to understand what is at stake in this debate. today take a little bit of time to discuss the impact that these two different visions would have on everyday americans. many leading court observers believe that adding yet another liberal justice to the court whose decisions are unmoored from the constitutional text would lead to major changes in a
court's jurisprudence. as a recent "new york times" article put it, adding another liberal to the supreme court -- quote -- "would be the most consequential ideological shift on the court, creating a liberal majority that would almost certainly reshape american law and american life." end of quote. so it will impact all of us. according to the same article, a host of supreme court precedents on free speech, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, the death penalty and abortion would be overturned. the article speculates that -- quote -- "abortion rights would
become more secure, gun rights less so, first amendment arguments in cases on campaign finance, public unions and commercial speech would meet a more skeptical reception." end of quote. in that same article one law school dean noted that with another liberal on the court -- quote -- "the judicial debate over the fundamental possibility of obamacare would likely draw to an end." end of quote. so let's consider just a few of the supreme court precedents that would likely be overturned with another liberal justice on the court. first and foremost, it's our second amendment rights that would fall squarely within the
liberals' sights. the heller decision, authored by justice scalia, recognized based on the intent of the framers that the second amendment guarantees an individual constitutional right to gun ownership. again, as one law professor noted in "the new york times," with another liberal in the court -- quote -- "the five would narrow heller to the point of irrelevancy." end of quote. but another said this -- quote -- "if we got a fifth liberal on the court, the pendulum won't swing pretty quickly on gun control. i expect we'd see a major shift in the kind of gun control laws that get approved by the court."
end of quote. in other words, heller and the individual constitutional rights it guarantees would be turned into a relic. it would be an ornament without any practical limiting effect on the government's infringement upon the constitutional right of an individual to have gun ownership. once this happen, all bets are off on the right to keep and bear arms. next, the first amendment right of the american people to make their voices heard would be drastically curtailed if the court overturns citizens united. in fact, as university of chicago law professor said in "the new york times" -- quote -- "citizens united is on every liberal's list of opinions that ought to go." end of quote.
freedom of religion protections under the first amendment wouldn't be far behind. another liberal justice could allow the government to force americans to comply with laws that violate their deeply held religious views. for example, a new justice could provide the fifth vote to overturn the recent hobby lobby decision which recognized the right of the owners of a closely held corporation to resist laws on religious grounds, such as obamacare's contraception mandate. we all know, of course, that free speech protections are being eroded and diluted in this country. you know, on college campuses across the country, speeches are being protected because of the
speaker's viewpoint. debate openly with opponents as justice scalia did, too many want to shut down debate and muzzle anybody who disagrees with them. now what other rights are at stake in this election? incredible -- incredibly, important precedent under the first amendment's establishment clause would be at risk. i'm talking of course about supreme court cases allowing prayer at town hall meetings or permitting low-income parents to receive public school vouchers to defray the cost of the child's private school, including religious schools. and of course while yet another liberal justice could read narrowly the first and second amendments that are in the constitution, he or she could read broadly those rights that are not in the constitution at
all. and yet, another liberal is nominated to the court even reasonable restrictions on abortion enacted into law through the democratic process would be swept away. just a few years ago the court upheld the ban on partial birth abortion by a 5-4 vote in the case of carhart. partial birth abortion is a horrific practice that crushes an unborn baby's skull, killing it while its head is still in the womb. it's one very small step short of infanticide. if the american people elect a liberal during his presidential election and that president nominates another liberal to replace justice scalia, we can all expect a constitutional right to abortion on demand without limitation.
in other words, in the words of one law professor -- quote -- "at-risk precedents run from campaign finance to commerce, from race to religion, and they include some signature scalia projects such as the second amendment. some would go quickly, like citizens united. and some would go slower -- the presiding officer: senator, your time has expired. mr. grassley: i ask for five more -- well, no. maybe four more minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: some would go quickly like citizens united. and some would go slower, but they will go." end of quote. that leads me to a broader point. there's more at stake than the results of any particular case as important as those cases are. the american people need to
consider whether they want their justice to decide cases based on the text of the constitution as it was understood at the time it was adopted, or whether justices are free to update the constitution according to their own morals and political philosophies. should justices apply accepted legal principles through sound -- sound reasoning of new facts or should they do legal back flips to reach their desired public policy goals? this second approach, of course, is not law. instead, it's what justice scalia called legalistic argo bargo, and another quote, jigger y pokery. justice scalia knew that the rule of law was a law of rules.
the rule of law is not a law of whatever is in the justice's heart. when a justice believes as president obama does that any time he views the constitution as unclear, he can apply his own life experience and empathy for his or her favorite causes, the justice has a clear incentive to think that the constitution is unclear. but a justice isn't entitled to read those views into the constitution and impose them on the american people. our constitution sets up a republic, not a government by judiciary, unless the constitution specifically prohibits the democratic process from reflecting the will of the people, the decisions are made by elected individuals who are accountable to the voters. the supreme court plays a very important role in keeping the
branches of the federal government within constitutional powers and keeping the federal and state governments within their constitutional sphere, and it ensures the government complies with the bill of rights. that's the basis for its legitimacy. but when the court reads the constitution in ways that reject the justice's personal policy views rather than the text, it does not act legitimately. instead, it denies the people the legal right to govern themselves. justice scalia understood this better than anyone. the more the courts reach out and grab power it is entitled to hold. the more it legislates from the bench, the more decision it robs from the american people. as a direct result, step by step and inch by inch, liberty is
lost, and as john adams observed -- quote -- "liberty once lost is lost forever." since the days of the warren court, this is what liberal justices have done. under the guise of constitutional interpretation, they have imposed liberalism on the american people. they have done it on issues and in ways that they couldn't achieve through the ballot box. this is the decision facing the american people during this presidential election. if the american people elect -- five seconds. if the american people elect a liberal as their next president and he or she dominates a like-minded judge to replace justice scalia, liberalism will be imposed on the american people to a degree this country has never before witnessed. anyone who cares about these important issues i hope will take very serious note.
i yield. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: thank you, madam president. i rise today to congratulate nebraska's beef producers for continuing to reach new areas of the world with our very high-quality american beef. earlier this month, it was announced that w.r. reserve, a beef processing plant in hastings, nebraska, will have the honor of delivering the first u.s. shipments to israel in nearly 13 years. in december, 2003, israel was one of many countries to suspend imports of u.s. beef following a confirmed case of b.s.e. in the united states. because of this, america's beef producers have been unable to ship their products to this close friend and ally.
however, during my visit to israel last fall, u.s. ambassador to israel dan shapiro asked me to begin a dialogue with the u.s. department of agriculture and find a way to bring nebraska beef to israel. the ambassador was especially interested in serving that nebraska beef at the embassy's annual fourth of july celebration. over the last few months, i have worked with the usda's food safety and inspection service and with officials at the nebraska department of agriculture in a concerted effort to find a solution. i am extremely pleased to inform this body that an agreement was achieved, the ban was lifted and nebraska will supply the first shipments of beef to israel in over a decade. ambassador shapiro was quick to
praise this breakthrough, noting -- quote -- "this agreement gives israeli consumers access to the world's highest quality beef. at the same time it creates and supports jobs in the great state of nebraska." end quote. i couldn't agree with the ambassador more. israel is a critical ally of the united states, and i was pleased to work with the usda and the israeli government to supply the first american beef shipments to israel in over a decade. nebraska's beef producers are the best in the world, and this agreement is a testament to their tireless commitment to delivering safe and high-quality beef to millions of dinner tables around the world. in nebraska, cattle outnumber people more than 3-1.
with nearly $7.2 billion in annual cash receipts, our beef production is the largest sector of the state's economy, and nebraska leads the nation in every aspect of beef production. i'd also like to note that this agreement shows that science-based trade can overcome myth and misinformation. by ending this ban, israel becomes one of the last countries to reopen its market to u.s. beef and abide by international trade regulations. in doing so, this agreement reinforces the progress made by u.s. beef industry to eliminate b.s.e.-related trade restrictions. i also join nebraska agriculture department director greg ibad in
congratulating their reserve. their hard work made this progress after complying with a rigorous inspection process that included regular visits from the israeli government. prior to this agreement, according to the usda, israel imported beef products from other nations worth $405 million in 2014. 95% of these imports originated in latin america, with smaller volumes coming from australia and the european union. now the united states will have the opportunity to showcase our world-famous beef to a new global market, and nebraska is very proud to lead that charge. i was honored to work collaboratively with state, federal and international officials to ensure that nebraska's beef producers
achieved those necessary approvals, and i am proud to represent the people of nebraska. through this agreement, new markets are now open to nebraska producers, businesses and to the communities who rely on them for economic progress. i will continue to work to ensure nebraska's beef producers have the opportunity to do what they do best -- feed the world. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
vitiated, please. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: madam president, last month i came to the floor. in fact, i come to the floor just about every month to highlight the great work that's being done by the men and women of department of homeland security and last month i focused on the folks who work at fema. it's one of 22 agencies who make up collectively the department of homeland security. the newest, youngest department in the federal government. just a few days before my speech, much of the east coast was inupdated, as you may recall, by one of the largest snowstorms that we've had in a long time and fema on that day was working around the clock to prepare for and respond to what could have been a much more devastating storm. we were hit hard but we would have been a lot worse off if not for the preparation and the training that fema had done in the days -- not just the days, not just the weeks, not just the months but literally the years ahead leading up to the storm in order to make us better prepared. for more than a year now,
madam president, i've come to the floor and i have focused on a different agency within the department of homeland security. it will take about two years to knock them all out but we're making some progress there. and i've done so to just to highlight the exemplary work, the important work done by some of the more than 200,000 people who collectively comprise the department of homeland security. they work around the country. they work outside of our country. they work in -- they work in mexico. they work in central america, south america. they work in europe. they work all over the place in order to make us safer in this country. these men and women perform a wide range of vitally important work. they do it every day. they inspect the fruit and the vegetables that arrive in our ports of entry, ports like the port of wilmington in my state, the top banana port in our country. and they patrol our borders, like the border patrol agencies dealing with increased migration from central america. they defend our computer networks in cyberspace, responding to a new and growing
21st century threat. and they keep our president and our vice president and their families and former presidents and their families as well as candidates for -- for those positions as well as foreign dignitaries as safe from harm. they have a lot of work to do. the work of these d.h.s. personnel deployed at the frontlines is made possible in part because of the dedicated work of the men and women behind the scenes at the department of homeland security's management directorate. and as my colleagues have often heard me say, management really does matter. i'll say it again. matter really does matter. -- management really does matter. and there are few places where it's more true than the department of homeland security. the management directorate works to support the missions and employees of all 22 component agencies, which together comprise the department of homeland security. they rent field offices. they buy essential equipment and vehicles. and they help to ensure the
department employees receive the paychecks and benefits that they've worked for and earned. and within the management directorate, the office of the chief of human capital officer works to ensure that the department is doing what's best for its employees while providing department managers with the guidance, the resources that they need to help d.h.s. take care of their own. one member of the management directorate is an especially committed fellow who -- his name is phil nowak. and he is committed to d.h.s. employees, his fellow colleagues. he's the chief of staff of the office in the human chief capital officer. phil grew up not in iowa, not in delaware. he grew up in san francisco not far from where i served in the navy for awhile. he joined the u.s. coast guard right after college. after serving the coast guard for 20 years, he retired as a commander. i was once a commander, my favorite rank, as we both have
served and exchange salutes all the time, madam president. but phil retired as a commander in 2007 and joined the federal emergency management agency to help coordinate of disaster response. in 2010, phil moved to the office of chief human capital officer and in 2013, he took over as chief of staff. as chief of staff, phil supports the work of the chief human capital officer and manager of the work force of the third largest capital -- cabinet agency in our federal government. third largest. and with 22 component agencies and d.h.s. employees stationed literally around the world, phil and his team of 200 men and women certainly have their work cut out for them. supporting department employees and providing them with the resources they need to excel and grow in their work is critical to maintaining a motivated, effective and capable department. with some notable exceptions, we know that many of the components of this relatively young department have struggled with employee morale almost from its inception.
each year the partnership for public service releases its best places to work in the federal government survey. and each year the department of homeland security ranks at or near the bottom of all the agencies when it comes to overall employee morale. with congress imposing shortsighted budget cuts across government, imposing pay freezes and just last week threatening a shutdown of the department of homeland security in the middle of our fight against isis, it's no wonder that sometimes d.h.s. employees feel unappreciated. we probably would too. despite these setbacks, leaders like phil nowak are working every day, every night to right the ship and improve morale at d.h.a. and a bunch of us here in the senate, democrats and republicans, are trying to be helpful in that regard. in providing leadership and direction for human capital management for the department, phil nowak makes sure that the department's efforts to improve morale translate to each of the 22 different component agencies
of the department of homeland security and are felt by each of its 240,000 employees. to help do this, secretary jeh johnson has created what he calls a unity of effort initiative to bring the department of homeland security components together and make the department greater than the sum of its parts. phil leads one of the unity of effort initiatives. it's called the human capital leadership council, which brings together human resources managers from across the department. through this coordination and other unity of effort initiatives, phil's team works hard to better ensure that the department's 240,000 employees feel like part of a larger d.h.s. family. in such a large agency, with so many people with diverse talents and backgrounds spread around the world, it is easy to focus on the broader mission and lose sight of the individuals who help the department achieve its many missions. but phil, i'm happy to say,
hasn't lost sight of them. phil and his team do yeomen's work and they focus on the value that each and every employee adds to the department's mission. it's fitting, then, that phil's colleagues describe him as caring deeply for them and for other employees throughout the department. his commitment to them is clear. it is welcome, it is unwavering. in his own life, phil values professional resilience and in a job that's sometimes overlooked yet incredibly important, i think that's a necessary trait. it's also a fitting quality for a runner. and phil is an avid runner. i like to run but this man, madam president, is the real deal. he has completed both the marine corps marathon and the j.f.k.50-mile ultra marathon twice. i'm not fit to carry his running shoes. and when he isn't running, phil is building or fixing something around the house. he's cheering on the san francisco 49ers and his san francisco giants. i just hope when they're not
playing my detroit tigers. and spending time with his family. his wife of 26 years, christie, their three children sam, elizabeth and andrew. and we're grateful to them for sharing their husband and their dad. phil nowak is just one example of the thousands of men and women at the department of homeland security who work behind the scenes every day -- every day -- to support their colleagues and make our country safer for all of us. phil and his team focus on individuals. they bring together components through a unity of effort and they work tirelessly to improve employee morale. management really does matter and with that, phil and his colleagues at the management directorate, the department's mission to protect our homeland would suffer. so to phil nowak and to his team in the office of the chief human capital officer, to every other hardworking employee at the department of homeland security and at the management directorate for management and i just want to say a couple of
words. thank you. let me say them again. thank you. this past week i was doing some traveling, madam president, and going through some airports and being -- going through -- we usually try to use t.s.a. precheck which goes a little more truthly. people who have -- smoothly. people who have been prescreened. and one place we were flying out of, the early check was over. so we had to be ordinary people. each of those places, the folks at t.s.a., right there at the front line trying to protect us as we fly around the country, around the world in these airplanes, they were doing their job. it is a hard job and i would probably say a thankless job. everyone wants to get through. they don't want to take their shoes or belts off or take their toiletries out. they want to get to their planes and take off and not get harmed, do it all safely. and that's what i do, madam president. a lot of times i'll say to the folks at t.s.a., i'll tell them who i am and the committee that
we serve on and just to let them know that we appreciate the work that they do for all of us, for all of us. every now and then, somebody like including over the weekend, one t.s.a. officer said to me, nobody's ever thanked me before. think about that. nobody's ever thanked m me befo. and i said let me thank you again. deep doing your job well and hopefully you'll get a lot of thanks. so all the folks at d.h.a. who take on a hard job and do it well, we thank you for what you do every day to protect our country, the land of the free and the home of the brave. and may god bless you. and with that, this is a day-night double-header, madam president. that was the day game and what i want to do now is focus on the second half of the story. and as long as my time -- my time would allow me to do that. as the presiding officer knows, i come from the state of delaware and delaware's noted for a number of things. one of the things that we're noted for is before anybody el
else, any other state ratified the constitution, we did. and for one whole week, delaware was the entire united states of america. and we opened it up and we let in maryland and new jersey and pennsylvania, ultimately iowa and other states. and i think it's turned out pretty well most days. but we're the first to ratify the constitution. just up the road from us, my family and i live in northern delaware, and just up the road from us is philadelphia and that's where that constitution was first debated and folks from throughout the 13 colonies came and argued for or against different provisions of how we should set up the structure of our government. one of the hardest provisions that they argued on and debated was whether or not there should be a legislative branch at all. and if there should be, should it just be, like, union cameral, just one -- union cameral, just one, just one legislative body within the one branch or should it be two?
should the number of votes and the power that states have via in accordance -- be in accordance with the size of their state, how many people they have? or how are we going to balance things out? and something was worked out called the connecticut compromise that said that every state will have a senate -- two senators. same number. and they will be part of the united states senate. and the house of representatives would be comprised of folks so that the more people who live in a state, they have more -- more representatives. and that was the connecticut compromise. it was worked out. maybe not a perfect compromise in the eyes of some but it enabled them to move forward and most people think it's fair and reasonable. the -- another really tough issue that they wrestled with those days was with respect to one of the other, the third branch of government, the executive, we have the legislative, and we have the judicial branch. and the question was, what are these judges going to do, these federal judges going to do? how are they going to be appointed, who's going to pick them?
and is it the chief executive officer, should the president be able to name by himself or herself the -- who the judges are going to be, federal judges, supreme court justices? should it be left up to the senate? should it be left up to the house of representatives? should it be a joint effort by the house and senate? should the -- there's to be some role for the president, the chief executive, to play? just how should it work out? and time and time again they voted on this issue at the constitutional convention up in philadelphia. finally, finally after a number of votes that were just not successful, they couldn't come to a successful conclusion. somebody actually called out for a clergy to come in, mr. president, and actually called on divine intervention to help them get over this issue of how to pick judges, how to select the federal judges. and i don't know if it was divine intervention that led them to this one or not but at the end ever the day the deal was this. -- of the day the deal was this.
the president shall nominate, not appoint, not name, but shall nominate folks to serve as federal judges, including the supreme court. and if the congress -- the senate rather would have the opportunity to provide advice and consent to the president. we argued a lot over the years what advice and consent should be, but it makes very clear the president has a job to do with respect to the naming of judges. and i believe we have a job to do as well. about 300 yards from the tavern where the constitution was first ratified on december 1787 in delaware, about 300 yards from there, i with my hand on the bible raised my other hand and took an oath to defend the constitution as governor of delaware. as governor of delaware. and, you know, i never thought, mr. president, very much about what kind of qualities i'd look for in a judge. and my opponent, my republican opponent, a wonderful guy named
b. gary scott in 1992, he and i had 35 jointer appearances today -- joint appearances together, debates. no one ever asked in all those forums what qualities would you look for in the people you would nominate to be a supreme court justice for the state of delaware or a member of the court of chancery which is after court that has national, international role to play. the superior court which also hears not just delaware cases but national cases as well. nobody ever asked me what would you consider. as it turned out that was a very important part of ji job and i'm proud to say delaware judiciary is maybe the highest regarded of any state judiciaries we have. we have a very unusual system, mr. president, where there has to be an equal balance between democrats and republicans on the judiciary. it's not a spoil system. if there's one more republican than a democrat and there's a vacancy, you got to name a democrat. and that's the way the system
works. when i was governor, we had a fellow, a person who had been chancellor of the court of chancery which is a high honor, decided he was going to leave and the -- so we had a vacancy to fill. i named a republican. in that case i actually had the flexibility to name a democrat or a republican. i wanted to name the best person that i thought was interested in serving. my criteria that i used -- mr. president, in nominating people to serve on the bench in delaware, i wanted people who are really smart. i wanted to nominate people who knew the law. i sought to nominate people and the presiding officer will appreciate this who embrace the golden rule. they treat people the way they want to be treated, the folk whos came before them in the courtroom received fair treatment, equal treatment. i wanted to nominate people who worked hard. i wanted to nominate people who had good judgment. i sought to nominate people who were able to make a decision. sometimes people can have a lot of those qualities about you
they just have a hard time making a decision. i didn't want to do that i wanted to have people that could do all those things. my hope is this president will look at democrats, republicans, and independents, and find among them the man or woman who meets all that criteria and more. and more. that's the president's job. i was up at the detroit auto show, mr. president. i don't know if you've been n. i know you have a lot of assembly and operations and supply operations in your state. but i go to the detroit auto show. i've been going for a long time. until recently we built more trucks per capita than any other state so i care who is running g.m. and chrysler. we lost both plants a few years ago when they went into bankruptcy. i still like the detroit auto show most years and to keep in touch with the industry. this last january, a month ago, i was in detroit. it was the opening day of the detroit auto show. tens of thousands of people converging on the auto show.
just a ton of people. going this way, that way, to see the different reveals of the different vehicles that are -- concept cars or new production vehicles that are going to be launched maybe later this year. during the afternoon i'm -- the afternoon i'm looking for a restroom. i find one. so did hundreds of other people. in and out of this one restroom. and i noticed there was an older gentleman who is a custodian standing with his mop and his bucket, his broom outside of the massive -- i walked in. i noticed in spite of all those people, the place was remarkably clean. and when i came out, i said to the janitor, i fipged he was a -- figured he was a janitor who had responsibility for this restaurants. i said to him, i just want to say, sir, this is a really clean restroom. given all the kind of people you've got that are coming in and out of here. i don't know how you do t. i just want to say thank you for doing your job really well.
and he said to me, he looked at me, right in my eye and he said that's my job. he said, this is my job. and he said, i try to do my job well. he said, everybody has a job. everybody has a job. and everybody should try to do their job well. i thought to myself, wow, wow. what insight. what a messaging. and under the constitution the president has a job. and apparently he's moving not with haste but i think with dispatch to try to meet his responsibilities. i don't know that we've ever -- i know we've had any number of times when presidents have nominated supreme court justices in an election year, presidential election year. i know like a dozen or more times it's happened and i think every single time that nominee has been -- we've had hearings for that nominee. there has been the opportunity to debate the nominee, question the nominee, meet with the nominee, and vote, debate here
on the floor and vote on the nomination up or down. i don't know of any time we've not done that, even when a nominee comes to us during a presidential election year. i no he we're in this crazy election -- i know we're in this crazy election season. it's still eight months, nine months before the election. but i hope at the end of the day, just like that janitor at the detroit auto show intent on doing his job. the rest of us have a job to do and we should be in town doing our job. we have that need, that responsibility. i hope we'll fulfill it. the other thing i want to say is baseball, my colleague who's presiding over us now, when he was a house member, we were house members together, we used to play baseball. we played in the congressional baseball game. i think maybe ten years or so together. me on the democratic side, he on the republican side. one or two years i was selected as the most valuable republican player.
i'm a democrat so i wasn't always a great player but i gave it my best. i was -- for an event over the weekend in florida and last week something wonderful happened in florida and arizona. what happened was springing camp opened. pitchers and campers had reported and then the full times started to report. when they start the spring training games in a day or two, i think maybe tomorrow, when the teams take the field, they will take the fields with nine players out on the field. nine players out on the field. when justice roberts was going through the confirmation hearing he said before the judiciary committee, they asked him. what is the job of the supreme court. ho you would you describe it? he said our job is basically to call balls and strikes. our job is to call balls and strikes. baseball teams when they take the field, they've got thine players, nine positions. -- nine players, nine positions. when the supreme court is in -- when they're in session, they have nine justices or at least
they did till the death of justice scalia. just like you can't have a baseball team take the field without the shortstop or without the catcher or even without the second baseman of center field, you can't have them take the field and play well and do their job -- and do their job. at the end of the day the supreme court is a team. they need nine -- thought players but nine justices to be able to do their jobs well and let's keep that in mind. last thing i would say is this. the american people deserve -- are frustrated with us and our inability to get things done. sometimes i can understand why they would feel that way. we have a great opportunity here to get something done. and i hope the president will nominate a terrific candidate. i hope our republican friends will at least have the courtesy of meeting with that man or woman. give him or her a chance to explain themselves, what they're about, have a hearing on that person and give them the honor
of a vote. i think they deserve that. and with that, mr. president, i'm going to yield the floor to my friend from vermont who is the senior democrat on the senate judiciary committee, senator leahy. thanks so much. the presiding officer: let me announce that morning business is now closed and under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 524 which the clerk will now report. the clerk: calendar number 369, s. 524, a bill to authorize the attorney general to award grants to address the national epidemics of prescription opiate abuse and heroin use. the presiding officer: the time till 5:30 p.m. will be equally divided it the two managers or their designees. the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i appreciate that and i appreciate the comments of the senior senator from delaware.
we have plenty of time to get a nomination of the supreme court from the president and to confirm a justice just as this body has done 12 times in presidential election years. i think the most recent of course was when democrats controlled the senate, and we confirmed unanimously president reagan's nomination in an election year, his final year in office. so it can easily be done besides which do our job. we get paid to be here and do our job. we ought to do it. we also have that matter that each one of us has taken a very solemn oath before god to uphold the constitution and the constitution says the president shall nominate and the senate shall advise and consent.
and we ought to just do what we all solemnly sworn to do. i take my oath very seriously. i hope other senators do, too. now today the full nat is going to -- senate is going to begin a discussion about one of the most challenging crisis of our time, addiction to prescription painkillers and other op useds. -- open useds. in vermont, it's tearing apart our families and communities, families and communities i've known all my life. in march 2008, nearly eight years ago when i was chairman of the judiciary committee, i first held a hearing in rut willed, -- rutland, vermont about the challenges it presents in rural parts of our country. there were so many people that wanted to be there, we had to keep enlarging the enview where to -- venue where to hold the
hearing. communities like rutland, vermont were seeking way to get ahead of addiction. but we also learned -- and i think we knew this -- but we also learned there are no easy answers. and we need a comprehensive approach. education, prevention, treatment are essential if we're to reverse the tide in this fight. vermont's all hands on deck example serves as a model for other states and communities across the nation. in fact, mr. president, just last week an article in the christian signs monitor detailed how vermont's pioneering approach has been embraillessed well beyond -- embraced well beyond vermont's boarders. i ask unanimous consent that the article titled in the christian science monitor titled how one state turned its heroin crisis be printed in the record at the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without
objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, opioid addiction is not a new issue. it's not new to me and not new to vermont. but it's about time that the full congress gives us public -- this public health crisis the attention it deserves. the bill we begin to consider today, a comprehensive addiction and recovery act or cara represents a positive step forward. i'm proud to be a cosponsor of it. for decades the knee-jerk response in congress to those who struggled with addiction was misguided. we embraced arbitrary mandatory minimums. we ignored effective treatment options. we pushed addicts further underground away from recovery. such policies reflect a complete misunderstanding of the problem of addiction. at my hearings, everywhere i went, mr. president, we saw police officers, faith community, educators, medical professionals, parents and
addicts coming together. saying not -- no one group had the answer but the community had to come together. because we know addiction is a disease, we know our tools for combating addiction must be the same as for other disease. a commitment to evidence-based education and proven techniques for prevention and treatment and recovery programs. as one who served in law enforcement, i know that law enforcement is an important element in a comprehensive approach. that's why i worked to include in this bill an authorization for funding to expand state-led antiheroin task force. but this legislation is important because it treats addiction as a public health crisis -- as the public health crisis it is. the bill authorized the crucial program that i helped create a - that expands treatment to
comaitd-assisted treatment programs, programs that have been plagued by massive waiting lists. the clinic in chitlin county, new york, has seen its wait list expand to a year. several people have overdosed and died while waiting for treatment. those deaths were probably all preventable. we shouldn't die waiting for treatment. we have to do better. but the bill also recognizes the devastating impact that opioid abuse has on rural communities. just like, mr. president, in your state and every other state, we have rural communities. vermont is predominantly rural communities. my home, where my wife and i have lived since we got married,
is on a dirt road, and weig we w rural america, and we know it's been hit hard by addiction. and emergency medical services in rural communities are often limited. so i'm glad the bill we reported out of committee includes my provision to support our rural communities with the overdose reversalal in locks oafnlt over the last -- reversal naloxone. over the last century, drug rates have declined but there is a real disparity between rural communities and major cities. what we found, mr. president, is the more rural a location, the higher the death rate. getting lifesaving drugs into more hands will save lives across the country, especially in our rural communities that are among the hordes hardest hi.
this is not a part sarin. i thank senators whitehouse and grassley for working with me on this legislation in you ar our i hope we'll soon see its passage here in the senate. but one authorization bill by itself is not going to -- on addiction is not going to end the deaths that we're seeing in rural america and urban america. we need a significant commitment of targeted funding to implement this bill. senator sha shaheen's $600 milln provides those resources. i'm proud to be a cosponsor of that legislation as well. you know, mr. president, this is right now your state, my state, and the other 48 states -- right now. we passed larger emergency supplemental bills to address
swine flu and ebola. passage -- we didn't have ebola in our country, but we passed emergency supplemental bill to address that. we need to address what we have right here within our country today, because swine flu and ebola present the far, far fewer health risks to our communities. we need to take this challenge just as seriously. the bill we're considering today has received strong bipartisan support, deservedly so. but i hope that all the senators supporting cara today will also support senator shaheen's legislation. one goes hand in hand with the other. we need to authorize these advances in dealing with the opioid crisis, but then we actually need to fund them. we can't pretend that solving a
problem as large as opioid addiction costs nothing. we have an opportunity to equip our communities with the support and resources they need to finally get ahead of addiction. programs will save lives. that's a worthy investment. you know, mr. president, it's very easy to say we'll pass a law to stop opioid addiction. we can all feel good about voting for that. who's going to vote for legislation saying let's continue opioid addiction? but -- but, if we don't put the money in it, then basically we're saying we want to feel good, but we're not going to do anything for you. it's -- you know, we spend money worldwide, some of it for good causes, some of it totally wasted. here we have a problem in the united states of america. we're american senators. our priorities are first and
foremost to our country. mr. president, if you saw some of the people i've heard in these hearings all over our beautiful state, some of the families i've talked with across their kitchen table, a young woman who had been addicted now helping counsel others, and the story she told, if you saw it, you'd say, it couldn't be that quick. well, it was and is. these people go across all income brackets, all brackets of education. it is tearing parts of our communities across the country apart. fortunately, we've had some very brave people stand up. i hope senator shaheen's appropriation goes through
because, if it doesn't, we're saying all the right things -- as we should -- except for one thing: we're not going to pay for it. this is too important to say the check is in the mail, just wait and wait. we can do better, mr. president. we can do better. i see no else seeking recognition, so i'd suggest the absence of a quorum and ask the time be equally divided. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 369, s. 524, a bill to authorize the attorney general to award grants to address the national epidemics of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to proceed to i to s. 52a bill to authorize the attorney general to award grants to address the national epidemics of prescription opioid abuse and
mr. grassley: we have an historic epidemic of drug overdose deaths that is gripping our country. over 47,000 americans died from overdoses in 2014. that's an all-time high. incredibly, that's more deaths than resulted from either car crashes or gun violence. addictions to opioids, primarily prescription painkillers and heroin, is driving this epidemic. it's destroying lives, families and communities. quite simply, it's a crisis and it demands action. thankfully, the senate can act this week when we consider s. 524, the comprehensive addiction and recovery act, called cara for short. cara is a bipartisan bill
authored by two democrats and two republicans, senator whitehouse and portman, klobuchar and ayotte. these senators have shown extraordinary leadership on the issue. they deserve credit for crafting a bill that addresses many of the different aspects of this epidemic through evidence-based solutions and best practices. this is a complex crisis that requires a multifaceted solution. over the past few months, i've worked hard with the bill's authors to refine it and move it through the judiciary committee. i'm proud to say that a few weeks ago it passed the committee on a voice vote with no opposition. cara is only the latest bipartisan legislative accomplishment by the judiciary
committee in this congress. we've had 21 bills pass the committee this congress, all with bipartisan support. but there are a few major bills that stand out. last april the committee passed the justice for victims of trafficking act unanimously 19 19-0. the bill enhances the penalties for human trafficking and equips law enforcement with new tools to target predators who traffic innocent young people. the bill passed the senate 99-0 and was signed by the president. in october, the committee passed the landmark sentencing reform and corrections act with a strong 15-5 bipartisan vote. my bill would recalibrate prison sentences for certain drug offenders, target violent criminals and grant judges
greater discretion at sentencing for lower level drug crimes. i'm working hard to build additional support for the bill so that it can be taken up by the full senate. then in december the committee passed my juvenile justice and delinquency prevention reauthorization act, again without any opposition. the bill will ensure that at-risk youth are fairly and effectively served by juvenile justice grant programs. again, we're working hard to move this bill through the full senate. the bipartisan reforms enacted by each of these bills address real problems that affect the lives of many people across the nation and even in my home state of iowa. i'm proud of the work we've done so far and there's a lot more to do. and that brings me back, then, to the heroin and prescription
drug epidemics. it isn't as bad in iowa as it is in many areas of the country, but the eastern part of my state has been hit heavily. the human cost of what's happening across so many of these communities is incalculable. every life that is lost or changed forever by this epidemic is precious, especially for many young people who fall victim to addiction in such an early part of their life. there's so much human potential at stake. many iowans have heard the story of kim brown, a nurse from davenport, iowa, and her son, andy. andy was described pain kills when he had surgery at age 14. whether it was connected to abuse of those pain pills or not, he developed a drug problem
as a teenager that he could not shake. he overdosed on heroin a few times but survived and finally at age 33, he died of drug overdose. tragically leaving behind two young sons. miss brown now speaks out around the state about the heroin epidemic. her story reflects a large -- larger pattern over the last 20 years or so, doctors have increasingly prescribed opioids to help their patients manage pain. for many these medicines have been an answer to their prayers, but for others they have led to a nightmare of addiction. according to numerous studies, prescription opioid addiction is a strong risk factor for heroin
addiction. in some cases those addicted to painkillers turn to heroin to get a similar high because recently it's become cheaper and more easily available. but as miss brown's story reflects, this epidemic is a matter of life and death. in fact, nationally heroin overdose deaths more than tripled between the years 2010 and 2014. but now my fellow iowans are fighting back. last year with the assistance of a new federal grant, the u.s. attorney's office and the cedar rapids police department formed the eastern iowa heroin initiative. this partnership is focused on stemming the tide of heroin abuse through enforcement, prevention, and of course treatment. i've been invited to participate in a town hall with them to
discuss the epidemic and i plan to do that soon. when i do, i want to tell them that the senate has acted on this crisis by passing cara. cara supports so many of the efforts to help stem the tide of addiction that are under way in iowa and across the united states. as the same reflects the bill addresses the epidemic comprehensively supporting prevention, education, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement. cara starts with prevention and education. it authorizes awareness and education campaigns so that the public understands the dangers of becoming addicted to prescription painkillers. it creates a national task force to develop best prescribing practices so that doctors don't
expose their patients to unnecessary risks of addiction. the bill encourages the use of prescription drug monitoring programs like we have in the state of iowa, which helps detect and deter doctor shopping behavior by these addicts. and the bill authorizes an expansion of federal initiatives that allow patients to safely dispose of old or unused medications so that these drugs don't fall into the hands of young people potentially leading to addiction. in fact, along with a few other committee members, i helped start this program called the takeback program in 2010 through the secure and responsible drug disposal act. it's been a highly successful effort. since 2010 over 2700 tons of
drugs have been collected from medicine cabinets and disposed of safely. iowa also has a similar takeback program that's expanding rapidly. cara also focuses on treatment and recovery. the bill authorizes programs to provide first responders with training to use naloxone, a drug that can reverse the efforts of an opioid overdose and directly save lives. naloxone was used hundreds of times by first responders in iowa in 2012. importantly, the brill provides that a set proportion of naloxone funding go to rural areas, like much of iowa that is being affected most acutely.
this is critical when someone overdoses and isn't near a hospital. the bill also authorizes an expansion of the drug free communities act grants to those areas that are most dramatically affected by the opioid epidemic. and it also authorizes funds for programs that encourage the use of medication, assisted treatment, provide community-based support for those in recovery, and address the unique needs of pregnant and postpartum women who are addicted to opioids. finally, the bill also bolsters law enforcement efforts as well. amazingly, in 2007 only 8 % of state and local law enforcement officials across the country identified heroin as the greatest drug threat in their area, but by 2015 that number rose to 38% more than any other
drug. so the bill reauthorizes federal funding for state task forces that specifically address the heroin trafficking issue. i'm also pleased that i was able to include in the bill a reauthorization of the funding for the methamphetamine law enforcement task forces as well. i held a judiciary committee field hearing in des moines last fall about the ongoing meth problems across iowa. and one thing the hearing made clear is that our friends in state law enforcement need all the help that we can give them on that front of methamphetamine as well. all in all, the bill authorizes about 78 million -- $78 million per year to address this crisis. it's no wonder that the bill is supported by such a diverse range of stakeholders, including community antidrug coalitions of america, the partnership for
drug free kids, the national district attorneys association, the major county sheriffs association, the national association of attorneys general, and so many organizations in treatment and recovery. so i urge my colleagues to support this bill and to support it this week when the senate has the opportunity to act to address this terrible epidemic. we owe it to those like kim brown who have lost sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, coworkers to act now, right now. i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. a senator: mr. president, first i want to thank my colleague and chairman of the judiciary committee, chuck grassley. many years ago i went to iowa with senator grassley to set up an antidrug coalition. we had done one in ohio and i was the chair of that and chuck grassley asked if i would come. this is probably 20 years ago, senator grassley and i was in the house. we had a great visit. we had a couple of town hall meetings. mr. portman: this is a guy, chuck grassley who understands the issue, cares about it, has devoted a lot of time and resources to it in iowa. people of iowa know he's sincere about it because he's been on the ground setting up these coalitions dealing with this issue. and frankly it's a little disappointing probably to him and to me to see twerch years later we're -- 20 years later we're facing this issue now and a different issue.
he mentioned the methamphetamines, and opioid addiction problems. 20 years ago it was more marriage, cocaine -- marijuana, cocaine. i think the lesson wefer's learned the -- we've learned is the drugs will come and go. it's always going to be there. we need to keep up the fight and right now we have an urgent problem. that urgent problem was outlined by senator grassley but it is this growing use of opioids that leads to a horrible addiction, that has a grip on so many of our constituents, so many of our lovered ones. over the weekend i had a town hall meeting and i asked after we had talked about taxes and trade and energy and other issues if people would raise their hands if they had been affected by the heroin and prescription drug addiction problem. i said anybody in your family or friends if they'd been affected. half the hands in the room went
up. and unfortunately that's the reality of the situation. in ohio last year we lost almost 2400 people just to overdose deaths. that doesn't account for the fact that so many people are being saved now by naloxone which is something that's encouraged by our legislation that we'll talk about in a secretary. narcan as it's being used. but even those who survive the overdoses of course are seeing their families broken apart, their communities devastated. i talked to a prosecutor over the weekend at one of our more rural counties. he said over 85% of our crime is directly related to this issue now, heroin and prescription drug. often it's people committing crimes to pay for their habit. the people who are the purveyors of these drugs have a business plan. and that is to get you hooked with a relatively low cost at first and then you need more and more to be able to feel the same high. and it gets more and more expensive to the point that it might go from 50 to $100 the
first time to $1,000 to $1500 a day by the end of your addiction. this is how horrible this is and it leads to so many collateral consequences. i am really pleased that the senate voted tonight to proceed to this legislation called cara. the comprehensive addiction and recovery act. and cara is a federal response to this issue. it is attempting to make the federal government a better partner with state and local government, with nonprofits to be able to help to reverse this tide, to deal with this -- again i said urgent problem in our communities. i would call it around epidemic. it certainly is at epidemic levels in my state of ohio. sadly we're the top five in the country they say in terms of overdose deaths but it goes well beyond again just those deaths. its a he so many people who are affected by it negatively and so many who have not been able to fulfill their god given purpose because of this horrible addiction. this legislation called cara is bipartisan. it's comprehensive.
as senator grassley said, he got it through the judiciary committee. i appreciate that. he got it through with something very extraordinary around here which is a unanimous vote meaning nobody objected. that never happens around here. it means every senator is addressing this issue back home, understands it and wants to do something about it. and this legislation is built on common sense and research. experts from around the country who have come in. i want to thank senator sheldon whitehouse who is the lead democrat on this legislation and my lead cosponsor. he and i are the coauthors of this legislation. i want to thank senators kelly ayotte and amy klobuchar who have been terrific partners in this. then there are 34 other bipartisan cosponsors. i want to thank them all for their support. by the way, imple a he excited that this bill can pass and it will pass in the house as well because there's companion legislation. the house bill has 88 cosponsors right now, also bipartisan. so the idea is to get this bill
passed, get it through the house, have it be signed into law by the president of the united states and it's urgent that we do it. this is a bill that not only has a lot of support on both sides of the aisle here but importantly to me it has the support of people who are experts in this field. doctors, those in recovery, experts in treatment, prevention, recovery, law enforcement. the legislation actually comes as -- i hope you can see on this chart. the words are kind of small. it comes from the last few years putting together these experts from all around the country. we had five different -- some at meetings here in washington, d.c. one was at the criminal justice system. we brought in experts from all around the country to talk about treatment and alternatives to incarceration as you'll see in this legislation we have ways to divert people from incarceration, into treatment programs. we think it's part of the way to solve this problem. we then had one that focused on women and the special interests and needs of women who are facing addiction and how to ensure they get into treatment
as we'll talk about later. this has a lot to do with one of the problems out there right now which is more and more babies who are born with addiction and having to take those babies through withdrawal and the care and compassion involved in that is truly impressive but that was a good store -- forum for us. we addressed the consequences of addiction. brought a lot of good people from around the country who understand the science of this and what medication might work, what future medication might be better to deal with it. talked aboutyouth. this is a really important aspect of our legislation. we talk about how do you divert people from getting into it through better education and prevention. finally we had a forum on prevention focusing on ptsd and other issues. i got to visit one of our veterans ports in columbus, ohio. most people who go through that court have mental health issues, most also have now, sadly, opiate addiction issues, usually
starting with prescription drugs and then moving to heroin. as i said, strong bipartisan support for this legislation in the house and senate. it's endorsed by who are than 130 groups now nationwide. and by the way those groups include some groups that you might not expect normally to be together on this the american society of addiction medicine, frafraternal order of police, te children's hospital associations, the national association of addiction treatment providers, partnership for drug-free kids, it's the american society of addiction medicine, it's the national association state alcohol and drug abuse directors, groups that are in all of our states, the national council for behavioral health and of course the major county sheriffs association -- everybody is coming together on this because we thralls this is going to take that kind of a comprehensive approach with all sectors of our community being involved and engaged.
carrcara now has support not ony all of these groups, but because of these groups, they helped us write a better bill. so what does it do? here are the basic elements of cara, first with respect to prevention and education. it does establish new task forces to develop better practices for prescribers. there has been over prescribing, particularly of prescription drugs. these narcotics have been overprescribed to the point that many people end up on heroin as a less expensive alternative to prescription drugs they become addicted to. this task force is an interagency task force that is reporting back to the congress on thousand develop these best practices for the medical community. it also establishes a national awareness campaign with regard to prevention and education. that's critical for us to get word howe out. it has grants to local coalitions. the drug-free communities goes back to the 1990's.
i was the author of that in the house. it is good legislation. it's created or helped create over 2,000 community coalitions around america. i chaired ours in cincinnati for nine years. they do great work. we've now got this new issue, this new threat that we must address. this helps with regard to specific grants where there is a high degree of opiate addiction and the negative consequences of it, to be able to blend with the drug-free communities program. law enforcement provides for the training for naloxone for first responders to prevent overdoses. i think everybody in this chamber has run into this back home. i went to a firehouse recently because we lost a firefighter in a house fire. i went to talk to his shift to thank them for their service and after talking to me about their fallen comrade, they said we're spending more time administering narcan than we are fighting
fires now. a friend of mine in cincinnati told me a couple weeks ago he was responding to an overdose saving someone in the front of a house when an entirely different group in the back of the house, an overdose occurred. last week in toledo, there was a response by emergency medical services to somebody who'd hit a telephone pole. they found him with a syringe in his arm. he had overdosed. while they were responding to him, there were two other overdose calls in toledo, ohio, three thames at the same time. two of the three why saved by narcan. the third died. but our folks in law enforcement are doing a terrific job. they need help to provide them nor naloxone, more training to be sure they can continue to do what they are doing. it is of course not the answer. the answer is prevention and education and better treatment. in the meantime, we have to provide them the help they need. the law enforcement also expands
that's prescription drug takeback programs. we need to do more to expand those, usually done through our law enforcement community. it also authorizes task forces to combat heroin and methamphetamine. which will help coordinate federal and state and law enforcement to deal with this issue. on the treatment and recovery side, it expands medication-assisted treatment for opioid and heroin addiction. it creates programs in the criminal justice system. we talked about that earlier. that's so important. i have been at round table discussions all around my state and a number of treatment centers talking to addicts about how they've gotten into the situation they are in. what advice they have. a young man told me he had an injury. he statisticked using prescription drugs -- he started using prescription drugs. he got addictd. he actually stole from a family maine ended up in the law enforcement system. ended up in jail. it was in jail when he was told for the first time that it was
cheaper to buy heroin. he's now in treatment. he hit rock borntle as h bottom. this is something where we need to figure out a better way to get people diverted, use the criminal justice system to get them into the right treatment program. it supports recovery for youth and building communities of recovery, to get them to make the right decision, ensuring that they get the recovery they need in their high schools where sadly it is now necessary in many of our high schools, in our colleges an universities. it also establishes a task force to review some of the recovery and collateral consequences. this is an interagency task force that is going to report back to us about what is truly, working, what is not working, to ensure we're using the money most effectively. it has treatment services for women and veterans included. this is a special interest of ours in this legislation, expanding treatment for pregnant women struggling with addiction
to avoid this circumstance where babies are born with aen addiction. it also supports care for our veterans, our veterans right now can enter treatment courts following discharge under this legislation. this is important. our veterans have some special needs and special circumstances, often trauma, ptsd, and other things related to their a-- and we find that these veterans courts are incredibly helpful to be able to have them surrounded by fellow veterans to be able to make more progress. finally, it incentivized the states to enact comprehensive initiatives themselves to address the opiate and heroin abuse problem. prescription drug abuse monitoring programs. the federal government has a big role to play because if you are in one state and monitoring one person's prescription drug cases, but that person crosses state lines, it is very difficult. so our legislation expands on what can be done there to ensure that, for instance, my state of ohio knows whether someone has gone to kentucky, west virginia,
pennsylvania, or indiana or michigan to get prescription drugs. so it is a prescription drug monitoring program that works better for every state. prevention and education on honor abuse. this is to incentivize states to do a better job on the prevention education side and of course to prevent overdoses and improve drug treatment. so these are all aspects of this legislation. it is comprehensive because the problem is complex and requires a comprehensive approach. these are just some statistics that we've already talked about some this evening but are shocking. 28,647 americans died in last year which we have dated, 2014, from a drug overdose. 2015 numbers will be higher than that. that's roughly 120 americans dying every day. 27,000 diagnosed cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome in 20136789 th13.
it is even worse this year. this means baby born with addiction. a baby is born dependent on opioids every 19 minutes. i've gone to hospitals in cincinnati and lima, ohio, st. rita's and rainbow baby hospital, incredible caregivers in cleveland, ohio. my wife jane was at nationwide hospital today. these are babies so tiny you can hold them in the palm of your hand. the caregivers take them through a process where they go through withdrawal. we're not sure what the long-term consequences are because we don't have the data yet because this is such a new issue. this has been a substantial increase over the last several years. in ohio, same thing. as i said earlier, 750% increase in the number of babies diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome since 2004. 750% increase in babies born
addictd. so these are the issues that this legislation gets at, and again it does so in a way that is not just bipartisan -- which is important -- and not just house and senate -- which is important; the house has its own companion bill, one that the president will be able to sign into law -- but most importantly, it is because of the input from people all over this country, the experts, people who are recovering themselves, those railroad most affected by this -- those who are most affected by this that this legislation makes sense, motnot just for my state but for the whole country. we had a number of witnesses in the judiciary committee. tanda is from ohio. she a daughter named holly. on her 21st birthday, who had a bright future i ahead of her, very engaged in high school, she tried heroin for the first time. she became addicted. she went into recovery and unfortunately, as in many cases, she had a relapse.
at age 23 her young life was ended with an overdose. her mom, tanda, has set up an organization called holly's song of hope. she testified before the judiciary committee about the importance of her work talking to other mothers and fathers, sons and daughters about the devastating consequences of this heroin and prescription drug addiction. this legislation needs tock passed -- to be passed so that we can help tanda. she testified on behalf of this legislation because she's looked at it, she knows it will make a difference in her life and community. this is an urgent problem, as i said earlier. it's also one that we have a lost bipartisan consensus around. there will be opportunities during this debate to hear from a lot of different people and a lot of of different ideas and amendments to the legislation. that's good. it is good have a debate. but i hope my colleagues own both side -- on both sides of the aisle will keep focused on
getting this done, bodge in terms of providing immediate help to our communities, also providing a structure to more effectively spend funds, this year and, yes, we have funds to spend this year that have been appropriated skint with cara, but also -- consistent with cara, but also next year and the year after. some will support more resources and that's fine. we need to have that debate. i myself think it is a priority and we should be providing the resources to be able to deal with this issue. but i would also urge my colleagues to ensure that we get this over-the-finish line. it is too important. we can't play politics with it. this is one of those issues again, like so few around here, where it got out of the committee without a single dissenting vote. where we've done the right thing to bring in the experts. so i'm pleased with the vote tonight and i urge my colleagues, let's have a good debate on the floorks let's get
this done for the sake of tanda duran and for the other mothers and fathers out there who deserve to have a little help in the fight against opiate aiks d thank you, mr. president. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senate majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i wanted to congratulate the senator from ohio for his extraordinarily leadership on this issue. this is an epidemic that affects us all, and he has stepped to the fore and provided exceptional leadership on this, and i just wanted to commend him for that. now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the help committee be discharged from further consideration of s. res. 365 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 365, designating february 2016 as american heart month and february 5, 2016 as national wear red day. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the committee is discharged. mr. mcconnell: i further ask
consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. res. 37 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 379 celebrating black history month. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: and now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to executive session for the enblock consideration of calendar number 468 through 471 and all nominations on the secretary's desk, that the nominations be confirmed en bloc, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions being in
order, that any statements preallotted to the nominations be printed in the record, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. mcconnell: so, mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, tuesday, march 1. following the prayer and pledge, the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date and time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. further, that following leader remarks, the senate resume consideration on the motion to proceed to s. 524 postcloture. further, that the senate recess from 12:30 until 2:15 to allow for the weekly conference meetings. finally, that all time during recess or adjournment of the senate count postcloture on the motion to proceed to s. 524. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: 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 senator wyden. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, the senate tonight voted to turn its attention to this issue of opioid addiction, and clearly what we know now is that opioid addiction has carved a path of destruction across america, a path of destruction from medford, oregon, to manchester, new hampshire, and during a number of community forums i held just a few days ago across my state, we talked about how we're going to grapple with this great challenge and what it's going to take to really turn the problem around. my home state has the dubious
distinction of ranking fourth worst for abuse and misuse of opioids in america. in my state, citizens made it really clear they are not going to accept being -- and i know from talking with many of my colleagues that all host of states are dealing with this challenge. and what i have been struck by, mr. president, is how opioid addiction keeps manifesting itself in ways that we certainly wouldn't have known about even ten or 15 years ago. i was particularly struck with the parents who told me at home in oregon about high school athletes struggling with addiction to opioids. when i played basketball, dreaming of playing in the nba,
there was never any talk in the locker room about opioids. now the next generation of young athletes seems to be getting caught up in this. they have an injury. young people get down when they are not able to play sports, they get depressed. maybe they go to a party. maybe it starts with some alcohol. maybe it starts with a prescription. but all of a sudden it mushrooms and grows, and this is what parents were telling me at home, and it's clear that the congress cannot set on the sidelines while the opioid addiction problem continues to mushroom. in the coming years, medicare and medicaid are expected to account for over a third of
substance abuse-related spending, so we are talking to the president about billions and billions of dollars each year. as the ranking member of the senate finance committee, which is required to pay for these bedrock health programs, i want to talk just for a little bit tonight about the critical role that these programs are going to play in stemming the tide of opioid abuse. and i'd like to begin by saying that it's my view that the american people are paying for a distorted set of priorities. our people are getting hooked on opioids, there is not enough treatment and vigorous enforcement is falling short. that in my view is a trifecta of misplaced priorities, and the
congress beginning this week -- it's not all going to be done this week -- has the opportunity to develop fresh policies that will begin to right the ship. last week, the senate finance committee held a hearing to discuss the opioid crisis. as i listened to the debate, there was a sense that policymakers are really sort of lined up to choose between two sides. one is tough enforcement which means cracking down on pill mills, fraudsters bill being medicare and medicaid with unneeded prescriptions and unscrupulous abusers who doctor shop for their next bottle of pills. then there is another side that believes that there should be more focus on social services. my own view is what's needed is a better approach that includes
three priorities, more prevention, better treatment and, yes, tougher enforcement. and true success, mr. president, is going to require that all three work in tandem. when it comes to preventing addiction, any discussion has to include how these drugs are prescribed in the first place. and i have come to feel, mr. president, as i got around oregon and i listened to the testimony in the committee, finance committee here recently, what has happened is america for the last 15 or so years have been on a prescription pendulum where doctors were once criticized for not treating pain aggressively enough, today they seem to be criticized for prescribing too many opioids to manage pain. so our challenge in my view is
to work on a bipartisan basis to get this balance right. of course we want our people to have an opportunity for science-based pain management, and we also don't want the indiscriminate prescribing of opioids. it's about getting the balance right with respect to this prescription pendulum that our country has been on for the last 15 or 20 years. i'm pleased that the centers for disease control and prevention is breaking some new grounds with their guidelines for prescribing opioids, and if successful i believe they could provide a meaningful reduction in overprescribing. i've also been concerned about the influence opioid manufacturers have on prescribing practices, so i have sent to the ranking democrat on the finance committee an inquiry to secretary burwell to ensure
that any potential conflicts of interest have been properly disclosed for members of government panels for evaluating the centers for disease control guidelines as a result of funding they received from drug manufacturers. our physicians ought to have the best information of prescribeing these powerful drugs without undue influence from the companies that are manufacturing them. now, in my view, a key piece of solving the opioid addiction puzzle has got to be prompt and effective treatment of those who are dealing with an addiction to opioids. the finance committee, mr. president, has three -- had three witnesses last week -- a witness that was chosen by our distinguished chairman, senator hatch, a witness that i chose, and an expert who was well-thought-of by all sides. and the question really was how
do you solve this opioid addiction challenge if you just restrict access to opioids? i personally believe that that kind of enforcement regime should be part of the solution, and i support that, but if all you do is restrict access to opioids, each of these experts, mr. president, the one chosen by chairman hatch, the one i chose, the independent expert, all of them said if all you do is restrict access to opioids, the addiction does not go away. the addiction doesn't just magically disappear. and i really hope that we can emphasize this as the senate begins our debate. any lasting solution is going to
have to have enforcement which this bill focuses on, but it's also going to have to have treatment and prevention, and we're going to have to improve access to addiction treatment and mental health services. and i know the distinguished president of the senate, like my state, has a lot of rural communities, and it's going to be particularly important to ensure that they are served. and i think the distinguished president of the senate knows, it is not a surprise, that some of the rural communities have some of the highest rates of abuse and opiate overdose in the country. mental health treatment for addiction has certainly gotten short shrift for too long, and it's too important to have that kind of policy, and it's high time for a change. for example, congress ought to also be taking a look at what's called the i.m.v. exclusion, an
out-of-date policy from the 1960's that says services like rehab or some emergency mental health stays in an in-patient setting can't be covered by medicaid. that is a big policy change. i think it's important that we debate it, and i think we all understand finding the vast sums needed for those services would be a unique challenge. mr. president, at the end of the day, this, like so many other important issues, requires that our congress make some tough choices, yet if prevention and treatment are not locked in up front, we ought to realize that if those are our choices to not give adequate emphasis to prevention and treatment, the overall bill is going to come in even higher. pregnant mothers giving birth to
opioid-dependent babies, e.m.t.'s in emergency rooms dealing with overdose calls every night, county jails taking the place of needed substance abuse treatment, able-bodied adults in the streets instead of working in the private sector at a family wage job. america's tax dollars ought to be spent more wisely. so as we begin this debate, as we begin the debate of tackling the opioid scourge that has carved a path of destruction, a path of destruction from one end of the country to another, the senate has got to find the right mix between prevention and treatment and enforcement. it's going to be that kind of strategy, mr. president, a fresh strategy where prevention, treatment and enforcement work in tandem that's going to make a real difference for our families
and our communities struggling to heal. i hope those who may have followed this speech will recognize that i haven't been talking about democrats and republicans here. i have been talking about a set of approaches that we can all work on together, and in fact all three of the witnesses, all three that were before the finance committee made it clear that you had to have those three approaches prevention and treatment work in tandem if you wanted to solve the problem. so i think it's important democrats and republicans recognize what those experts and others have said is going to be necessary to help our families and communities across this country heal. we can do it in a bipartisan fashion, mr. president, and i'm committed to working in just that manner. mr. president, with that, i yield the floor and i would note the absence of a quorum.
democratic leader. mr. reid: there was a day when that's all we did, but not so anymore. madam president, history won't forget this misstep by grassley, it says. "history won't forget this "history won't forget this history won't forget this misstep by grassley, the hawkeye, burlington, iowa, oldest newspaper in iowa. that is what they said. that is the headline. the misstep referenced here is the unprecedented decision to deny the president the right to fill the current supreme court vacancy. but it ends with this declaration