Floor Updates

Moran, Paul, Lieberman, Collins

Morning Business/Postal Reform bill (S. 1789)

Apr 17 2012

11:19 AM

Senator Moran: (10:14 AM)
  • Spoke on Iran.
    • SUMMARY "Iran's nuclear program threatens American interests. First Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons jeopardizes the security of the United States. If last two nations to acquire nuclear weapons, Pakistan and North Korea, have presented numerous challenges to America's security interests. North Korea provoked a condemnation last week when it launched a rocket. In Pakistan a December report in the Atlantic called into question the security of that country's nuclear arsenal stating that Pakistan regularly transports nuclear weapons throughout its city streets without much security. If Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, other nations in the middle east may soon follow. Saudi Arabia has already said it will consider seeking nuclear capabilities if Iran's program is not stopped. Second, a nuclear Iran could increase support for terrorism. Irons had is already one of the leading sponsors of terrorism, funneling weapons and money and training for terrorists, including Hezbollah and Hamas. With a nuclear weapon Iran and its allies may be emboldened to carry out even more attacks. Furthermore, what would prevent Iran from giving nuclear weapons, sharing its capabilities with one of the terrorist groups? Third, a nuclear Iran could exert more influence over world oil markets. A direct link exists between volatile oil prices and Iran's nuclear program. Prices have risen when tensions increase and when tensions recede, prices typically decline. American consumers and businesses are directly affected by volatile prices that negatively impact our economic well-being. Although Saudi Arabia has pledged to boost production to make up for the loss of Iranian oil, this will reduce that spare production capacity and leave our country and global economies vulnerable to any reduction in supplies whether from conflicts within oil producing nations or natural disasters. Finally, other a nuclear Iran would threaten the safety of American troops serving in the Middle East. For years Iran has supported tariffs groups that targeted and killed American troops. They supported the terrorists responsible for the 1996 attack on U.S. military residents in Saudi Arabia that killed 196 our service men. Iran has long-range missiles that could hit baseness the region including ones in turkey, Afghanistan, Bahrain and Kuwait. And Iran's nuclear program threatens the existence of our ally, Israel. President of Iran has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." If Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, they will have the capability to do the things they speak up. Understandably, Israel is worried. Israelis know too well the price of war because they have witnessed that war and destruction. They know what can happen when evil men gain the ability to carry out evil deeds. While some would have us believe that its Israel's problem, we should not be fooled. Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens owl nations who care about peace and stability. We cannot leave Israel to deal with this crisis alone. American leadership is needed now more than ever to stop Iran."

Senator Paul: (10:36 AM)
  • Spoke on the Paul amendment to end aid to Egypt.
    • SUMMARY "I offered this amendment earlier this spring when Egypt was detaining our citizens, pro-democracy workers and was not letting them leave the country. Since then they have let them leave the country but sort of in an insulting fashion in the sense that they have let them leave when we had to pay basically ransom. We had to pay about $5 million in ransom. $300,000 per person to let them leave Egypt. So they came home and Egypt could only get paid if the administration certified they were pro-democracy. Within days Secretary Clinton released the said aid and said they were achieving their democratic goals. I wrote a letter to Secretary Clinton and asked her not to do this because the prosecution still goes on. The U.S. citizens had to pay $300,000 in bills but had to sign a statement saying they're coming back for the trial. Everybody signed of said if doubt they're ever going back to Egypt for those show trials but then it gets worse. It turns out that in December of last year President Obama signed an executive order - this is order 135-24 - that gives Interpol, the International Police Organization, gives them immunity in our country. We also have an extradition treaty with Egypt meaning if you're accused of a crime in Egypt, we can send you back. The danger is, are these pro-democracy workers safe in the United States? You have Interpol agents in the united states who now have immunity, we have an extradition treaty with Egypt. There are definitely problems to allowing this to go on. This is an indication to me that maybe Egypt is not pursuing democratic goals and maybe certifying them as a democratic country is not in our best interest and maybe sending nearly $2 billion of taxpayer money to Egypt who continues to prosecute our citizens is not a good idea ... This amendment will say no aid to Egypt until they end this prosecution. No aid to Egypt until they end these red letter warrants that they've asked on U.S. citizens to be extradited back to Egypt. We can't allow U.S. citizens to be sent to a foreign country to be tried in a country where blasphemy is a crime. Those are not American values, those are not American ways, and we can't allow U.S. citizens to be subject to foreign laws and foreign crimes. So I will ask today for a vote on an amendment that will end Egyptian aid or at least delay Egyptian foreign aid until they relinquish this persecution of our citizens."

Senator Lieberman: (11:08 AM)
  • Spoke on the Postal Reform bill.
    • SUMMARY "I rise to urge all of our colleagues to support the pending cloture motion filed by the leader so that we can begin a debate that will help decide whether the United States Postal Service, this iconic American institution created more than two centuries ago, embedded in the constitution, created in the age of ink wells and quill pens, will survive in the age of e-mail and the internet. To me, this cloture vote should be an easy one. Because if you vote against cloture, you're essentially saying two things I think. One is you don't want to do anything. And if you don't do anything, the Postal Service is going to run out of money and his its borrowing limit later this year, forcing it to miss payments and unnecessarily to begin to shut back or close down operations, which is the last thing the country needs at this point. Frankly, the other thing that you'll be doing if you think we should do nothing is to leave the - the Postmaster General of the Postal Service with an unlimited right to take steps that I believe a majority of members of this body don't want to be taken precipitously, without considering alternatives, and that is closing thousands of post offices around the country, including in small towns and rural areas and dramatically and quickly cutting back on the number of mail processing facilities and, therefore, the standards by which mail is delivered and the speed with which it's delivered in this country. So I hope our colleagues consider this an easy vote which is simply not to turn away from the crisis that the Postal Service is in We have a substitute that's a bipartisan proposal that I think will help really save the post office but also force it to begin to make tough, cost-efficient steps to keep itself in fiscal balance. Let me just give you a sense of the scope of this. The Postal Service today, if it were a private corporation, would be the 35th largest company in the United States based on revenue. But putting it just ahead of Apple. And it would be the country's second largest employer just behind Wal-Mart. The 32,000 post offices in America represent more domestic retail outlets than Wal-Mart, star bucks and McDonald's combined."

Senator Collins: (11:13 AM)
  • Spoke on the Postal Reform bill.
    • SUMMARY "There are many different views on how to save the Postal Service but there can be no doubt that the Postal Service is in crisis. We are at a critical juncture. Without passing legislation, the Postal Service will simply be unable to meet its payroll perhaps as soon as this fall. We simply cannot allow that to happen. The Postal Service is vital to our economy. It is the linchpin of a trillion-dollar mailing industry that employs nearly 8.7 million Americans in fields as diverse as printing, catalog companies, paper manufacturing, newspaper and magazine publishers. These industries and the jobs that they sustain are in jeopardy. If we fail to act, we will deliver a critical, crippling blow to the postal service. As Senator Lieberman has indicated, the Postal Service is in crisis ... First-class mail volume has dropped by 23% over the past five years, 12% over the past two years. The Postal Service has a debt to the U.S. Treasury of $13 billion and will max out its credit limit of $15 billion this year. We have to address this crisis. It would be irresponsible for members to simply vote "no" on the motion to proceed if they have other ideas on how to address this crisis. I have urged a full and open and fair amendment process so that members can bring forth their alternative plans for saving the postal service. But we simply cannot allow the Postal Service to fail. The stakes are too high for our economy and for Americans across this country. Finally, I would remind my colleagues that the postal service's roots go back to our constitution. This is an organization that is vital to our heritage and to our future."