Thursday, Jun. 4, 2015

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Jun 04 2015 09:30 AM

The Senate convened.

McConnell, Reid

Opening Remarks

Jun 04 2015 09:59 AM

Today –

  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act, for 30 minutes of equally divided debate time.
  • At approximately 10:15 AM, the Senate will conduct up to two VOTES on the following amendments to H.R. 1735:

1.Portman Amendment #1522 (Stryker lethality upgrades); and

2.Bennet Amendment #1540 (VA medical facilities).

 

Senator McConnell: (9:32 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The Senate the will continue its work on the National Defense Authorization Act today. Both the Republican and Democratic bill managers have called for senators on both sides to get their amendments offered so we can get the process moving. I would urge all of my colleagues to do so."
  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "I speak to you now in the wake of a bombshell admission from the administration that many insurers are now requesting to raise premiums by double digits all across the country. Numbers for Kentucky, for instance, just came out yesterday. Most of the insurers on the commonwealth's ObamaCare exchange are looking to raise premiums. Some of the proposed increases are as high as 25%, and some Kentuckians may now face double-digit premium increases for the second or even the third year in a row. This is more bad ObamaCare news for the people I represent, and in some states the proposed increases are even more alarming, if you can believe it. Kentuckians can look next door for proof of that where some Hoosiers could be hit with a 46% jump in their premiums, or they can look south to Tennessee, they'll see the premium hikes of 36% have been proposed."
  • Spoke on Shew Mann.
    • "I had the pleasure of meeting with Shew Mann, the speaker of the Burmese Parliament on his visit to Washington. It was the third time we've met. We had a cordial but frank discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing his country in 2015. There are obviously many issues that fall into both categories. When it comes to challenges, there's the need for the government to do all it can to protect and assume responsibility for members of a long-suffering religious minority group, the Rahinga, thousands who have been faced to take to the high seas to escape persecution. There's the long-standing need for the government to continue its work with other ethnic minorities toward a permanent peace agreement that calls for political settlements. In order to end a conflict as old as the modern Burmese state itself."

 

Senator Reid: (9:46 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "So people are extremely satisfied with health care. And the Supreme Court should understand seven million people who are happy with their health care, who are receiving subsidies for their insurance to take care of themselves would lose that. They would lose these subsidies. It would be a devastating blow to seven million people but also to the economy. And those people who don't need subsidies benefit significantly. The people who have had increased premiums, my friend was very, very selective in who he chose because people having increases are very, very minimal. I'll have more to say about that at some subsequent time in the near future, I should say. ObamaCare is working. Reports out this week, all the targets have been met as to people who purchased insurance, and they're paying their premiums."
  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • "The congressional Republicans incorporated sequestration into their recent budget resolution. That resolution leaves sequestration cuts in place for parts of the budget that affect the middle class, and it also directly threatens national security. There are many examples of this. How does it affect the middle class? The list is really endless. Cuts investments in roads and bridges, rail and transit. That costs jobs, lots and lots of jobs, hundreds of thousands of jobs, and put travelers at risk and weakens our economy. Sequestration cuts education. That means fewer children with a shot at going to school. They can't do that. They don't have a shot at success. Fewer Americans who can afford college; that's the way it is. Less economic opportunity for millions of Americans. Sequestration cuts research. Leaves fewer chances to beat cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's."

McCain, Reed, Bennet, Gardner, Portman

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 04 2015 10:34 AM

Senator McCain: (9:59 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "So I understand that my friend from Rhode Island will be proposing an amendment later on to nullify the funding of O.C.O., which would then, by the way, have the effect of reducing the funding and authorization rather dramatically and cancel many vitally needed programs, equipment, and training for the men and women who are serving in the military, and that's fine. But that'll be defeated. And once it's defeated, I hope -- I hope and pray that we will then move forward with the amendment process, which has been absent for the last two years - totally absent for the last two years - and not for the first time in 53 years, not pass a defense authorization bill through the Congress of the United States. For 53 years, through Democrat and Republican majorities, through liberal and conservative, we have authorized because our highest responsibility is the security of this nation. And I urge all of my colleagues, we want to have this fight, have it on the appropriations, the money bill."

 

Senator Reed: (10:09 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "And what we've done, effectively, in the bill - and I think it's not because it's the chairman's first choice, it's the only available option given the budget resolution -- is that we have taken the overseas contingency accounts, bulked them up dramatically, and sent a new pathway, which next year, unless we resolve this issue of the Budget Control Act, welcome back again with more money for O.C.O., and the following year, and also, as pointed out, we will have situations where we will find some very strange things happening in our O.C.O. account because we can't fund legitimate concerns of the government in other areas because of caps, and that's essentially is what happened in the 1980's. That's why we have medical research money in the Department of Defense. Not just the Department of Defense does it but because that was the only option in the 1980's. I think the other issue here which is very implicit in our activities is that this bill is aimed at the department of defense and military activities of the department of energy. Our national security is much more than that."

 

Senator Bennet: (10:13 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "We have to hold the V.A. accountable to our taxpayers so we can move forward on the rocky mountain region veterans for the care they need. And the V.A. and Congress are going to have to work hard together to get this project back on track. Finding the money to do this will be painful. It will be difficult, which is why we need to ensure that we account for every dollar that's been spent. But failing to complete this hospital is not an option. It would be a broken promise. Having a half-finished hospital in Colorado would be a national disgrace and we cannot allow it to happen on behalf of our veterans, it would be a disservice, worse than a disservice. A broken promise of the worst kind to the hundreds of thousands of veterans across the rocky mountain region and throughout the United States, I urge my colleagues to support this amendment."

 

Senator Gardner: (10:16 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Along with the chairman of the Veterans' Committee who has joined us on the floor today, Johnny Isakson, Senator Isakson, who is here today with us who is in support of this amendment to bring more accountability to the V.A. system so that we can understand what went wrong when they were building not only the Aurora facility, but what went wrong around the country as project after project has seen cost overruns and delays. Veterans gathered this past week in Colorado to rally to finish the damned thing. And we have a Veterans Administration who time and time again has failed to take into account the necessary measures, policies to fix it and to prevent it from ever happening again. And with this amendment, we can start to find out where they went wrong and to hold them accountable. When the only person who has been fired is the person who said we were going to have a problem, there's something wrong with that."

 

Senator Reed: (10:18 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "First, the Army has the capability going forward, if this program becomes so critical and they raise it to high priority to request a reprogramming of funds, to move money from one less significant priority to this program. That's an option that you have, and that's an option they may well choose to use. But it will only be after their careful consideration of the other priorities that are facing the Army. And I think that's the way, a better way to do it. The other factor that I would point out is the pay-for for this program is the foreign currency accounts. Basically that's a hedge within the Department of Defense for their international transactions and the value of the U.S. dollar versus other currencies. Well, the dollar is strong, and so there appears to be additional, excess funds in that account. But currency over the next year could change dramatically. And we've already put significant pressure on this supposed excess funding."

 

Senator Portman: (10:25 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "If we wait another 12 months, another year to do this, who knows what's going to happen. I know one thing, having been in Eastern Europe recently. Those countries in Europe, our NATO partners in particular but also Ukraine, they are looking to the United States of America to show the commitment that we have made on paper to ensure that we have that commitment in terms of our capability on the ground in Europe. Again, this is an issue where I think we should come together as Democrats and Republicans. It is a bipartisan amendment. I commend Senator Peters for identifying this need with the army. I understand Senator Reed's concern that this came late in the process, but it's here. The request has been made."

Vote Results (Portman Amendment)

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 04 2015 11:02 AM

Agreed to, 61-34:

Portman Amendment #1522 to H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.

The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Vitter, McCain, Shaheen, Markey, Barrasso, Gillibrand

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 04 2015 12:15 PM

Senator Vitter: (11:02 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I'll return to the floor to more fully lay out what this amendment does but fundamentally it tries to protect our force structure, our personnel, in particular, the core component of brigade combat teams as the Pentagon, as the defense department deals with curtailed resources. I'm very concerned, as are so many of us, that as defense budgets are cut, personnel and core resources in terms of end strength, including brigade combat teams, will suffer cuts that go well beyond fat into meat and bone. We need to limit that. We need to avoid that. And this amendment would do that with regard to brigade combat teams."

 

Senator McCain: (11:04 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "For the benefit of members, an agreement with Senator Reed, we will be having Shaheen amendment followed by side-by-side Markey and Cornyn. And those votes we are planning on but haven't confirmed, will probably be around 1:45 PM. And that would complete our activities. But that is not totally agreed to, but that's the plan."

 

Senator Shaheen: (11:06 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "So again, let's be clear what we're talking about. The Supreme Court has ruled it is unconstitutional to deny federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples and their children, and yet due to unrelated provisions of the federal code, state legislatures have the ability to indirectly deny federal benefits to certain disabled veterans and their families. Solely because they are in a same-sex marriage. It is unjust and according to the Supreme Court it is unconstitutional. Now, my amendment is not new to the Senate. Last Congress, the Veterans' Affairs Committee approved it by a voice vote, and earlier this year, 57 senators voted in favor of a budget resolution amendment on this issue. Now, when we vote, hopefully very soon on this amendment, senators will have the opportunity to end an unjust and unconstitutional provision of law that discriminates against veterans."

 

Senator Markey: (11:14 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "To have a resolution here today to be saying we should be exporting oil, no, ladies and gentlemen, that's not how we should be discussing this issue. How did we get into the Middle East? We got into the Middle East, yes, protecting Israel, but we got in because of our addiction to oil. Not my words. President Bush's words. We have to break our dependence upon imported oil. Increasing fuel economy standards, that's a big part of it. Having this fracking revolution to produce more oil here, that's part of it. And renewables, that's a big part of it. But we're still at the earliest stages of this strategy. We we've completed it, know we're successful, then let's talk about the generosity we're going to expect from American consumers at the pump to pay higher prices for gasoline."

 

Senator Barrasso: (11:51 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "Hardworking Americans, working every day to try to put food on the table and pay their taxes as well. Republicans are offering better solutions, real solutions that will end these outrageous and expensive ObamaCare side effects. That means giving Americans freedom, choice and control over their health care decisions. Republicans understand that hardworking American families can't afford ObamaCare any longer. Democrats need to admit that their health care law has been and continues to be an expensive failure. If they're ready to do that, then Republicans will work with them to help give people the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower cost."

 

Senator Gillibrand: (12:04 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    •  "I am urging my colleagues to hold the military to that higher standard. Enough is enough with the excuses and with the promises, because throughout the last year, we have continued to see new evidence of how much farther we actually have to go to solve this problem. We have a very simple choice. We can keep waiting, hoping that the reforms we put in place -- that we actually forced the military to put in place will somehow restore trust in the system, while an average of 52 new lives are shattered every day, three quarters of whom will never come forward because they see what happens around them. They don't trust the system. They don't see how justice is possible, because commanders hold all the cards. Or we can do the right thing and act. We can accept a system where, according to the D.O.D. themselves, three out of four servicewomen and nearly half of servicemen say sexual harassment is common or very common, or we can do the right thing and act."

Kaine, McCain (UC)

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 04 2015 12:36 PM

Senator Kaine: (12:14 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I rise to say that the amendment that my colleague from Rhode Island, our ranking member, proposes does exactly that. It does exactly that. It takes the $38 billion that is in our budget which I believe should be spent on defense, and it says this money should be spent on defense but it should be spent the right way as part of the base budget, not as part of O.C.O. It puts a fence around those dollars and says the money should there and is there for defense because the nation needs it but defense will keep the moneys from being utilized until we fix the B.C.A. caps on defense and nondefense accounts. And if we do fix the B.C.A. caps, that money will be available and because of language included by the chair of the committee in the mark, fixing the budget caps would move the money from the O.C.O. account into the defense base budget where it should be."

 

Senator McCain: (12:24 PM)

  • Unanimous Consent –
  • At 1:45 PM, the Senate vote on the following amendments to H.R 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act:
  1. Shaheen Amendment #1494 (spouse definition); and
  2. Tills Amendment #1506 (c-130 aircraft).
  • There be no second-degree amendments in order to any of these amendments.
  • The Shaheen amendment be subject to a 60 affirmative vote threshold.
  • (Without objection) 

McCain (UC)

McCain (UC)

Jun 04 2015 12:38 PM

Senator McCain: (12:24 PM)

  • Unanimous Consent –
  • At 1:45 PM, the Senate vote on the following amendments to H.R 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act:
  1. Shaheen Amendment #1494 (spouse definition); and
  2. Tills Amendment #1506 (c-130 aircraft).
  • There be no second-degree amendments in order to any of these amendments.
  • The Shaheen amendment be subject to a 60 affirmative vote threshold.
  • (Without objection) 

McCain, Flake, Reed, Nelson, King, Blunt

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 04 2015 01:48 PM

Senator McCain: (12:25 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "At a time of crippling budget cuts under sequestration, the Defense Department can't afford to waste its limited resources for the benefit of sports leagues that rake in billions of dollars a year. Each of the four service chiefs have warned before the Senate Armed Services Committee this year sequestration is damaging our military readiness and putting American lives in danger. We must conserve every precious defense dollar we have at our disposal, which the NDAA does through the important reforms and which our amendment would support by ending taxpayer-funded soldier tributes at professional sports events. In addition to ending this shameful practice, this amendment calls upon professional sports leagues like the NFL to donate - to donate -- these ill-gotten profits supporting charities supporting veterans and their families. The NFL raked in revenues totaling some $9.5 billion, the absolute least they can do to begin to make up for this misjudgment is to return those taxpayer dollars to charities supporting our troops, veterans and military families."

 

Senator Flake: (12:35 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The problem is, when some teams are accepting money to do what has been termed "Paid-for Patriotism" then it cheapens all the other good work that is done by these sports teams and others. So it is important that we stop this practice and make sure that when fans are there and they see this outpouring of support for the military that they know it's genuine. Because there is a great deal of patriotism by those who attend these games. We want to make sure that people recognize that it's done for the right reason. That's the reason to bring this forward, and again I want to thank the senior senator from Arizona for his work on this and other efforts to fight wasteful spending and make sure that the funding that goes to our military and that we appropriate for the Department of Defense and authorize for the Department of Defense is used for military purposes."

 

Senator Reed: (12:36 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I believe our best approach is to stay with the language in the underlying bill at section 136, which to the credit of Senator Tillis, he was very adamant about including, you'll have a careful review of the operational capacity of the Air Force to support airborne operations. It would include the ability of commanders from the corps level, 82nd special operation commanders to combat on whether the Air Force is doing this. A review and analysis, we could make better decisions about the allocation of Air Force aircraft. Ironically - and again it strikes me that simply moving these aircraft, which is sort of one-of-a-kind aircraft to pope would not help the air born operations of our military forces and they would simply involve additional costs and they would not be part of the ability of our air force and our mobility command to support a wide range of missions."

 

Senator Nelson: (12:51 PM)

  • Spoke on Beau Biden.
    • "When a child predeceases the parent, it is a grievous occasion, and we have been grieving for the president of the Senate, the vice president of the United States, for what he has been going through; his whole family. It is my belief that Joe Biden has known for some period of time the progression of the cancer on his son Beau, and as a result, he has continued to carry on his public duties while at the same time carrying this huge, huge burden. I would like to enter in the record the speech that Joe Biden made to the Yale graduating class about two weeks ago at class day. Mr. President, I'd like to enter that into the record."

 

Senator King: (1:08 PM)

  • Spoke in the ex-im bank.
    • "As I mentioned, allowing the export-import bank to expire is a kind of unilaterally disarmament in global competition. It makes no sense. 60 other countries have similar kinds of programs, and we take ours away, what we're doing is handcuffing our businesses while the rest of the world is moving forward with their programs to support exports. I used to start speeches in Maine by saying simply 5%. And people would look at me and say what is he talking about, 5%? Five percent is the percentage of the world's population that lives in North America. If our businesses are going to ultimately by successful, we have to sell into the rest of the world. We have to be able to export. And this, the export-import bank is a very valuable tool in order to facilitate the exports of goods from the United States. There's bipartisan support."
  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Yes, we need to think about strategic tax reductions in ways and areas that will actually help stimulate the economy. I don't understand why having some guy that's managing money in New York, paying half the tax rate that his secretary makes, is a stimulus to the economy. And yet, that's what we're doing. We've got to be looking at this problem in a comprehensive way. We've got to look at health care costs. We've got to look at the effects of demographics on federal expenditures over the next 20 to 30 years. And we've got to look at investments that will help our economy to grow. You and I worked hard on this bill. I think it's an important bill for the future of this country. I think it's an important bill to protect the national security, to provide for the common defense, but I think we need to do it in an honest and open way and not try to fill a short-term budget gap with money that our children and our grandchildren are going to have to repay."

 

Senator Blunt: (1:32 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "First I believe the military's mental health screening process can be improved. We've learned a lot about mental health and behavioral health over the past 15 years. I believe we can continue to adapt and frankly last year's defense authorization bill had important steps in this direction that I was able to get in the bill when I was a member of the committee last year, not just the Appropriating Committee, the defense appropriating committee that I serve on now but the defense authorizing committee that I served on then. The amendments I will offer will improve the pre-deployment health assessment and post deployment health reassessment by requiring that all service members be screened, that they don't have to meet some criteria that every member of the service may not meet. It's important while people are serving to establish the things that have happened to them so later if they need to come back and ask - years later, perhaps, for assistance in what truly was a post event that was caused by their service but didn't show up for a number of years." 

Vote Results (Shaheen Amendment)

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 04 2015 02:16 PM

Not agreed to, 53-42:

Shaheen Amendment #1494 to H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.

The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Vote Results (Tillis Amendment)

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 04 2015 02:38 PM

Agreed to, 50-42:

Tillis Amendment #1506 to H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.

The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Vitter, Stabenow, Daines, Donnelly

Morning Business

Jun 04 2015 04:00 PM

Senator Vitter: (2:56 PM)

  • Spoke on the Environmental Protection Agency.
    • "Last fall, we took a similar vote while I was in the House of Representatives to repeal this harmful regulation. And my colleague from Wyoming, Senator John Barrasso, has a bill, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act. It's a good bill that provides clarity for how the E.P.A. should and should not define waters of the United States. I know the chairman of the environment and public works committee, the senator from Oklahoma, Senator Inhofe, intends to move this bill through his committee soon, and I'd like to offer my support for that legislation. We've seen time and again that this administration will attempt to overreach the limits of what the executive branch should do, and when it comes to the E.P.A.'s overreach, the waters of the United States isn't the exception, it is the norm."

 

Senator Stabenow: (3:03 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "So when we look at overall, securing those things at home and abroad, whether it's making sure beyond Department of Defense, that we are funding our border security, cybersecurity, counterterrorism, police and fire, stopping W.M.D.'s, airport security, Ebola protections or it's investing in our own people in all of this to create the opportunity for strong businesses and entrepreneurs and educated work force or infrastructure, making sure that we have those airports and we have those roads. We need next week to vote "yes" on Senator Reed's amendment, because that's what it's all about. Safety, real security, growing the economy of our country. Our people deserve better than budget gimmicks that are in this bill."

 

Senator Daines: (3:15 PM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "In 2007 President Obama said himself that by the end of his first term, Obamacare would, "Cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family's premium up to $2,500 a year." Montanans haven't seen their premiums decrease by $2,500 a year. It's not even close. Unfortunately, this is the predictable resort and result of forcing a partisan piece of legislation through Congress without transparent consideration or bipartisan input. We need to ensure health care is affordable and it needs to be accessible for all Montanans and that starts with repealing ObamaCare, repealing its costly mandates, repealing its burdensome taxes and repealing the senseless regulations. ObamaCare is not working and it isn't popular. This law is a bureaucratic nightmare that hurts small businesses."

 

Senator Donnelly: (3:31 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Finally, a cooperative threat reduction program at the Department of Defense will continue to secure weapons of mass destruction all around the world, as it did with Syria's chemical weapons and dangerous pathogens. This has made a noticeable difference in reducing threats to our country. I take particular pride in this program, since the enduring legacy of my fellow Hoosier Senator Richard Lugar, who has done our nation and the world a great service as a champion for nuclear nonproliferation. He and Senator Sam Nunn were extraordinary leaders, and we are proud to try to follow in their tradition. Let me again thank senator sessions for the productive and bipartisan relationship we have had on this subcommittee and members on the subcommittee for taking part in our hearings and in crafting the provisions under this subcommittee's jurisdiction. I look forward to working with our colleagues to pass this important legislation."

Senator Wyden: (4:06 PM)

  • Spoke on ex-im bank.
    • "Thanks to the export-import bank, companies in Albany can find markets abroad and hire new workers. They manufacture important things like titanium castings. Sellnet is a perfect example, a company that got its start in my home state more than 30 years ago. Today it employs hundreds of people in Oregon and across the northwest and 40% of its revenue comes from overseas. They got off the ground with help from the ex-im bank and it has customers in France, Germany and Asia, and it looks to expand further. These kinds of success stories are ones you see in every single state because these start-ups got help when it was essential to have that added boost to be able to seize opportunities around the world and create high-skill, high-wage jobs."
  • Spoke on hemp.
    • "If you can buy it at the local supermarket, American farmers ought to be able to grow it. And I urge my colleagues to join me, the distinguished Majority Leader Senator McConnell, his colleague, Rand Paul, my colleague, Senator Merkley, in our legislation to address this gap in American law and today join me in celebrating National Hemp History Week by learning more about this safe and versatile crop and the potential it holds to bolster American agriculture and the domestic economy. These products are products that are sold all across America, and we ought to have a chance for our farmers, farmers in Nebraska, farmers in Nebraska and Indiana, to be able to grow this product and reap the benefits of the private economy associated with it."

 

Senator Coats: (4:18 PM)

  • Spoke on Waste of the Week.
    • "Just last month I read yet another frightening headline, frustrating. Veterans affairs improperly spent $6 billion annually, a senior V.A. official says. Improperly spent $6 billion annually. According to an internal memo written by the V.A.'s senior official for procurement, the V.A. has been wasting taxpayer money by violating federal contracting rules to pay for medical care and expenses. Under law, V.A. purchases require competitive bidding and proper contracts, but testimony from deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics Jan Fry, before Congress last month reveals just the opposite is occurring."

 

Senator Fischer: (4:25 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "One of the most hotly debated topics during the committee's markup process was the use of oversea contingency operation funds to meet basic defense requirements. In a world where ISIL continues to expand its reach, Russia has seized Crimea, and pours fighters into eastern Ukraine, and China is intimidating its neighbors and building islands in the South China Sea, we must fund our national defense. To do so, to not do so would be unacceptable. We cannot hold our military hostage to a political controversy. Despite disagreements, the committee has again produced a compromise product. As it has year after year, a product that supports our national defense and the needs of our men and women in uniform. I am inspired by their service, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to protect our great nation, as the full Senate considers the NDAA." 

 

Senator Whitehouse: (4:33 PM)

  • Spoke on citizens united.
    • "So if three-quarters of self-identified Republicans support requiring more disclosure by outside political spending organizations, I would hope that I could get support for this amendment, which will require some disclosure. It would require any company that contracts with the Department of Defense - and they get big contracts, billions -- hundreds of billions of dollars - to disclose all of its campaign spend over $10,000. It is a requirement that would apply tall the corporate officers and board members and anyone who owns 5% or more of the company. When there's that much money sloshing around in the defense budget and when political actors are make the decisions about where that money goes, we ought to be able to connect the dots between those corporations and who they're giving big money to."

 

Senator Murkowski: (4:55 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    •  "The first requires the Department of Energy to assess the impact that lifting sanctions on Iran would have on our global oil markets. We would likely see higher Iranian oil exports even as American producers are prohibiting from accessing global markets. So our friends in Japan, in India, in South Korea, elsewhere would continue importing from Iran in part because they can't get the crude oil from us. They cannot import from us. And that situation is simply unacceptable. We would be lifting sanctions on Iranian oil while maintaining them on American oil. And I have said this, I have made this point, I have repeated it. By leaving in place the ban on oil exports on U.S. producers while at the same time sanctions are relieved on Iranian producers, it effectively sanctions U.S. oil production."

 

Senator Roberts: (5:07 PM)

  • Spoke on D-Day.
    • "I suggest and recommend that all of my colleagues reflect upon the unique leadership of America's greatest general when the future of western democracy was in grave peril. Time is of the essence, and now is the time to complete a lasting memorial and tribute to America's greatest war-time general and president of the United States, whose legacy was eight years of peace and prosperity. The veterans of World War II and their families know this. Their counterparts all over the world know this as well. With the completion of the Eisenhower memorial, their children and grandchildren and generations to come will understand the tremendous commitment undertaken in defense of freedom then and now."

 

Senator Heitkamp: (5:14 PM)

  • Spoke on Vietnam veterans.
    • "Before I begin to talk about the 198 North Dakotans who died while serving our country in Vietnam, I want to first mention and publicly thank a great Vietnam veteran, Jim Shothorst of grand forks. He is a Vietnam veteran, he served in Vietnam from December, 1966 to March, 1968 as a construction engineering with the 169th engineer battalion. He was raised in Mackfield, he lives in Grand Forks. He received his degree from the University of North Dakota and was employed with the grand forks health department for 25 years. Jim's been extraordinarily helpful to the North Dakota congressional delegation. Whenever we needed to gather input or hear from grand forks area veterans. Thank you, Jim, for your service to our country."

 

Senator Collins: (5:38 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    •  "The legislation affirms the strategic importance of our Navy and shipbuilding programs by fully funding the DDG-1000 program and by authorizing $400 million in incremental funding authority toward an additional DDG-51 beyond those included in the current multiyear procurement contract. This additional ship is very much needed by our Navy, and it would fulfill the terms of a 2002 swap agreement between the two major shipbuilders regarding the construction of large-surface combatants. Both my colleague senator Angus King and I advocated for these critical provisions. I am so proud of the highly skilled and hardworking men and women of bath iron with in my state who construct these ships for the Navy."

 

Senator Sullivan: (5:51 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This NDAA bill that we're now debating on the floor focuses on addressing these challenges. It also makes important modernizations to our investments with regard to military weapons, cuts bureaucratic red tape at the Pentagon and ensures that our armed forces remain the most agile and lethal in the world. It upholds our commitment to our service members, to their families, to military retirees and their families. Now, it's remarkable right now as we debate this bill, this critically important bill on the Senate floor, the president of the United States has already come out and said he's going to likely veto it if it's in its current form. He's going to veto the NDAA. Think about that. One of the most important things we're doing to take care of our troops, the president is threatening a veto. Now, during the markup of this bill, many members on the other side of the aisle here, our colleagues, also threatened to work on the amendments but to not vote for the bill."

Wrap Up (The Senate Stands Adjourned)

Wrap Up

Jun 04 2015 06:08 PM

Monday, June 8 –

  • The Senate will convene at 3:00 PM.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business for one hour, with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each.
  • Following morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.
  • Note: There will be no roll call votes on Monday, June 8. The next roll call vote will occur on Tuesday, June 9 at approximately 12:00 PM.