Floor Updates

Brown-OH, Hutchison, McCain, Graham, Hoeven, Blumenthal

MORNING BUSINESS

Mar 01 2012

01:59 PM

Senator Brown-OH: (12:42 PM)
  • Spoke on auto industry.
    • SUMMARY "It's so important that the president continues to move forward, and i hope more aggressively, on the whole issue of auto supply parts. We saw just ten years ago - we in a deficit with china of about $1 billion in auto parts. Today we have a trade deficit with China on auto parts of almost $10b. So I know how concerned the president is. I know that American auto companies, including Honda, want to source more and more of their products in the United States of America. They want those products to be manufactured here in addition to being assembled here and manufactured here. It obviously means it will be close to the final assembly point in the critical mass that these manufacturers want to grow jobs. So we're seeing a partnership now that we've never seen in my lifetime, I believe, between the auto industry and the United States government. Not for the government to have ownership, not for the government to tell the auto industry what to do, but the government to make the business climate for these auto companies more and more favorable and that's what's good We've seen the manufacturing job growth for more than 20 months takes us in the right direction. It's important that the naysayers just kind of dropped - they can say whatever they want about the auto rescue I don't really much care but I do care that this body, the United States Senate, focus its efforts on how do we cooperatively grow this industry. It means more union auto workers going to work. It means more nonunion auto supply chain workers going to work but all of these are good-pay jobs and that's what - what do we care about more here than - than preparing an environment for good-paying jobs that put people back to work and can help them join the middle class."

Senator Hutchison: (12:52 PM)
  • Spoke on the Secure IT Act.
    • SUMMARY "The parts of our bill that will strengthen our cyber security in this country are I think accepted in the areas where we already have expertise in this area. For instance, our bill will help prevent the spread of cyber attacks from network to network and across the internet by removing barriers to sharing information about threats, attacks and strategies for improvement of defenses. We remove these barriers through addressing the antitrust laws that would allow companies that are sharing information not to be threatened with antitrust suits because this is a security issue, it's not a competitive issue. Secondly, we want to have liability protections for those who disclose cyber threat information with their peers. These are things that would be in everyone's interest for us to do and we do need to address it in legislation. The liability and antitrust protections are available to all companies that would share information, not just those that share with the government but where they can talk to each other, understanding each other's systems. Further, the Secure IT Act would provide that federal contractors providing electronic communication or cyber security services to federal agencies share cyber threat information related to those contracts. Of course, when they have contracts with the government, those are going to be very important communications systems that would require the sharing of information about threats that might jeopardize the systems' security. In addition, the government will develop procedures for the timely sharing of classified, declassified and unclassified information to ensure that information needed to secure networks is fully accessible to trusted parties. We are concerned that there are other bills out there that will add another new bureaucracy, another layer of regulation that is not necessary and brings in another agency that would overlay the security agencies that already have systems in place. It would also allow the regulatory bodies for certain areas of interest to handle the cyber security rather than another overlay of a new department. I think, that so many people in our country who are in business feel that they are just overwhelmed with duplicative regulations and different agencies that they have to report to. We want to streamline who they have to report to and try to use existing structures and existing regulatory authorities to deal with each individual company or industry so that we don't have to give them yet another new bureaucracy that would then have regulations if they are deemed to be critical infrastructure. That's when it becomes the regulatory threat. We believe that the private sector is more aware of individual security needs, better equipped than the Department of Homeland Security to secure its own network working with the regulators."

Colloquy: (Senators McCain, Graham, Hoeven, Blumenthal)
  • Spoke on the American NGO workers headed home from Egypt.
Senators McCain: (1:24 PM)
  • SUMMARY "These young people were from national democratic institute and the international republican institute and freedom house, unfortunately, had to go to our embassy because they were going to be prosecuted under then Egyptian law and I'd like to begin by saying that our ambassador to Egypt, Ann Patterson, may be one of the finest diplomats that this nation has produced. the more the senator from South Carolina and I travel and the more representatives at the U.S. ambassadors that - embassies that we meet and have - have - have discussions and travel with, these people are enormously good and we are proud that they represent the united states, particularly Ann Patterson. She has worked tirelessly since this whole crisis began, and I believe that the majority of the credit for what the success outcome as far as our American citizens are concerned can be directly attributed to her dedication, her hard work, her tireless efforts day and night on behalf of these young people. so we are extremely proud of her."

Senator Graham: (1:28 PM)
  • SUMMARY "I'd like to add my gratitude and recognition of Ambassador Patterson, her whole team, the whole State Department team on the ground. They did a very good job making the case to the Egyptian government ... I think the reason this happened was because the collaboration between the State Department, the delegation, every aspect. American government and the people on the ground in Egypt I think understood the value of the U.S.-Egyptian relationship and the judicial system finally made a wise decision but to those left behind, we're certainly standing with you, and you will not be forgotten If this had not been resolved, if they insisted on prosecuting and having the American citizens questioned, appear in cages before an Egyptian court based on an outlandish accusation, what kind of reaction would we have had in the united states and what damage would it have done to U.S.-Egyptian relationship in your opinion?"

Senator Hoeven: (1:34 PM)
  • SUMMARY "Taking this initiative to sit down with General Marshall Tanta w. Eu, who is the leader of the military council, but also the leaders of the freedom and justice party, which is the majority party now in the parliament, and of course that is the Muslim brotherhood. We sat down with the Muslim brotherhood as well. I think those meetings were extremely important in helping to foster an understanding that broke the logjam. I too want to commend the work of our ambassador, Ambassador Ann Paterson. She did an outstanding job. I want to thank Secretary Clinton and the people at the State Department for their diligent efforts but I must say having the opportunity to be part of a delegation led by Senator McCain and Senator Graham gave us the opportunity to talk to the Muslim brotherhood, gave us the opportunity to talk to the leaders of the freedom and justice party and the next day they put out a statement, which I agree was very important in helping move things forward, because what they said in that statement were two things, two things that I do think helped break the logjam. First, that they support nongovernment organizations. They support nongovernment organizations. They recognize that these NGO's do important work, and they want to address the laws in Egypt to make sure that they have good laws that will enable the NGO's to continue. The second thing they said, which I felt was particularly important is they also expressed their concern about NGO workers and that those NGO workers be treated fairly."
Senator Blumenthal : (1:41 PM)
  • SUMMARY "Yes, we should be encouraging these nongovernmental organizations that are committed to the cause of democracy and human rights and civil society, their work in Egypt and in places like Tunisia and other areas of the Middle East as well as around the globe where democracy and freedom are at risk and sometimes at grave peril has been enormously important. I was so proud and grateful to be part of this trip led by Senator McCain and to really hear and see the kind of respect that there is in the world for his views, for his leadership as well as for Senator Graham's, and the receptiveness is probably an understatement, that field Marshal Tantawi, leaders in parliament, others in leadership had for his statements about the importance of allowing these Americans, these seven Americans who committed no crime, to leave that country and the power of his and senator graham's statements, the ability of our colleagues, such as Senator Hoeven and Senator Sessions, to speak not on behalf of the United States, because we were not there to negotiate, but really on behalf of public opinion in the United States, I think was very instrumental and shows the importance of the interchanges and the relationships that can be built when we interact face-to-face on the ground with our peers and contemporaries in foreign countries. Not that we were speaking as military people or as diplomats, but simply in reflecting the opinion of people in the united states that these Americans, innocent of any crime, should be permitted to leave the country."

Senator McCain: (1:43 PM)
  • SUMMARY "Don't you find it striking that these new parliamentarians, they were most eager to have inter-parliamentary association with us? They wanted to come to the United States to have further relations between the two elected bodies. I was very impressed by that."
Senator Blumenthal : (1:43 PM)
  • SUMMARY "I was extraordinarily impressed by their eagerness to see what democracy looks like as it really works. Remember, some of these individuals have been in prison for long periods of time. Some of them under the most brutal conditions, many of them tortured while they were there, with little exposure to the real world of democracy. I think in answer to the Senator from Arizona's question would be very helpful to them and in fact on a number of occasions, we invited them to come to this country I think that all of us feel Egypt is really a linchpin for our relationship to that area of the world going forward. So much that's exciting is happening in that part of the world, and Egypt is so critical to it."

Senator Graham: (1:46 PM)
  • SUMMARY "We will be continuing to provide economic assistance, but the end game is to create a functioning society that we can do business with, where we can create jobs in America. The main thing to do in the short term is to maintain the military relationship. the reason Egypt did not become Syria when you had people rising up against the autocratic regime is because the army stood up against the people. The relationship we've had with the Egyptian people for over 30 years paid dividends. the Egyptian officers coming to American military academies and schools have been maintained as we go forward. honor the treaty with Israel, make sure you write a constitution worthy of a bright future in Egypt and to all the political leaders in Egypt, the world is watching, the Arab world is watching, and if you have a narrow agenda, if you have an exclusive agenda, then you will be doing your country a disservice. So we will be a willing partner but not under any and all circumstances. Maybe we've learned our lesson that you just can't have partnerships without basic principles. we look forward to working with the Egypt parliament and people, but you have the chance to change the course of history. don't lose the opportunity."

Senator Hoeven: (1:49 PM)
  • SUMMARY "There's no question in my mind that the relationships that Senator McCain and Senator Graham have built overseas made a difference for the United States and our foreign policy and this is a clear example of it. When we sat down with Field Marshal Tantawi, when we met with the other government leaders, even when we met with the Muslim brotherhood, the fact that there was a relationship there, that they knew these individuals, there was some level of trust there that enabled us to engage in very important communication that produced a message that I think was integral to resolution of this situation which could have been a very bad one. So - these relationships matter when we talk about working with other countries, particularly in that part of the world when there are so many differences between our countries and how we operate, having some relationships where people can sit down, have these discussions and talk about how we work together and foster some mutual agreement and some mutual understanding is vitally important."