Tuesday, Jun. 9, 2015

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Jun 09 2015 10:00 AM

The Senate convened.

McConnell, Reid

Opening Remarks

Jun 09 2015 10:22 AM

Today –

  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business for one hour, with Republicans controlling the first 30 minutes and Democrats controlling the second 30 minutes.
  • Following morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 1735, the Nation Defense Authorization Act.
  • At 12:30 PM, the Senate will recess until 2:15 PM for the weekly caucus luncheons.
  • At 3:00 PM, the Senate will VOTE on Reed Amendment #1521 (overseas operation contingency funding) to H.R. 1735. 

 

Senator McConnell: (10:05 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "Only 11% of Americans say that ObamaCare is a success. Perhaps he'll keep realties facing the middle class in mind. Instead of jousting with reality again, perhaps he'll address the concerns constituents who write in every day who tell them how the law is hurting them. Maybe he'll address the Kentuckian who wrote to tell me this, "I cried myself to sleep." I cried myself to sleep, said this Kentuckian who wrote me about this law. That's how she felt after losing health coverage with her employer and then being forced - forced - into an exchange plan she called subpar with a nearly $5,000 deductible. Now, how helpful to most middle-class people is a health insurance policy with a $5,000 deductible? She said "I work hard for every penny I earn, and this is completely unacceptable." It's also another example of a law that's failed. And the sooner President Obama can come to grips with that reality, the sooner we can work together to replace the fear and anguish of ObamaCare with the hope and promise of true health care reform."
  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "It's the first duty of the federal government to protect the nation. Senator McCain wrote in his piece. And with global threats rising, it simply makes no sense - no sense - to oppose a defense policy full of vital authorities that our troops need. And for a reason, he said, that has nothing to do with national defense spending. He's right. Here's what I'm asking today. I'm asking every sensible Democratic colleague to keep on side with the American people and pull these party leaders back from the edge. I'm asking my friends across the aisle to join us to support wounded warriors instead of more partisan brinkmanship, to give our troops a raise instead of giving gridlock a boost. And I'm asking them to work with us to defeat the contingency funding amendment offered by the senior senator from Rhode Island so that we can keep this bill intact and consistent with the budget resolution. The new Congress has been on a roll in recent months, getting things done for the American people in a spirit of greater openness and cooperation."

 

Senator Reid: (10:12 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "Understand 80% of every dollar that's charged by an insurance company of premiums, 80% of it has to go toward caring for people. If it doesn't, there are rebates, and hundreds of thousands of Americans during the last few years have gotten rebates as a result of insurance companies not spending 80% of the money that they get in premiums for health care. The sad commentary is that insurance companies took advantage. They took advantage by not insuring the people who had preexisting disabilities, and these are people who had some of the disabilities they said were preexisting was the fact that you are a woman. Some insurance companies charge more for the same care if you are a woman and not a man."
  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Unless we deal with the impact of sequestration more broadly, middle-class America will suffer drastic cuts in things that matter to them the most. Cuts in priorities like education, job creation, life-saving research. Sequestration nondefense programs is also an attack on military families. For example, sequestration threatens to cut V.A. Spending, health care spending for military, job training for returning veterans, schools that teach children in military families and heating assistance for veterans who are struggling. We're going to be fair to military families just as millions of other working Americans, we need to fix sequestration for more than just the Pentagon. We need to fix it for defense and nondefense programs jointly. Defense and nondefense are certainly things we cannot separate. That's what the reed amendment is designed to achieve through bipartisan negotiations."

Thune, Barrasso, Capito, Nelson, Hirono, Manchin, Markey

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 09 2015 11:34 AM

Senator Thune: (10:19 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Incredibly, however, the president has threatened to veto this important legislation. His reason - the president doesn't want our military to receive the increased levels of funding prescribed in this bill unless, unless the president's nondefense funding priorities receive an increased level of funding. Apparently, President Obama is willing to hold up funding for our nation's military until Congress provides more funding for agencies like the I.R.S. and the E.P.A. while the president can certainly make his case to Congress when it comes to funding government agencies, holding troop funding hostage for political purposes is reckless and irresponsible, and if that weren't enough, the White House is busy lobbying Senate Democrats to abandon bipartisan efforts that went into this bill and back up a presidential veto. The National Defense Authorization Act plays a key role in keeping our nation safe. The president's attempt to hijack this bill for his political purposes is wrong, and I very much hope that he will consider the implications of what he's doing and rethink that threat."
  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "Now, before ObamaCare, $1,600 would have been enough to pay for the entire annual premium for some individual insurance plans. While the ObamaCare exchanges unravel, health insurance costs on the exchanges are soaring. Insurers have requested double-digit premium increases on 676 individual and small group plans for 2016. More than six million people are enrolled in plans facing average rate increases of 10% or more. Around the country, rate increases of 20%, 30%, 40% and even 50% are common. One health care plan in Arizona is seeking a rate increase of 78.9%. So much for the president's promise that his health care plan would, "bring down the cost of health care for millions." In my home state of South Dakota, proposed rate increases range up to 44.4%."
  • Spoke on the Environmental Protection Agency.
    • "We've had this nearly $400 million investment to make the plant cleaner and more efficient in order to satisfy the E.P.A., and now the Obama E.P.A. wants to shut it down. The Obama E.P.A. should not push regulations that result in higher utility costs for consumers, less grid reliability and fewer jobs. Affordable and reliable energy helps grow the economy and helps low- and middle-income families make ends meet. Unfortunately the E.P.A.'s rule will only increase electrical rates and hurt those who can afford it the least by forcing our most affordable energy sources off-line. I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this burdensome rule and to prevent the serious, serious economic burden that it will impose on middle-income families in this country."

 

Senator Barrasso: (10:35 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "According to the study, this works out to $1,375 per newly insured person per year under Obama's health care law. Of course people's premiums are going through the roof. The health care law created to raise 20 different taxes. Maybe President Obama today should explain why one dollar out of every four that Washington spends on health care should go to bureaucracy instead of to caring for patients. The president's health care law is hurting hardworking American families who are going to have to pay premiums of 40% to 50% more next year. It's hurting the hospitals that are supposed to provide the actual health care to those patients. It's wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on overhead and bureaucracy instead of providing care for sick people. ObamaCare is an expensive disaster. Now, that's not just my opinion. A new poll came out the other day from CNN. It found only 11% - only one in nine Americans - say the law is a success."

 

Senator Capito: (10:45 AM)

  • Spoke on the economy.
    • "I introduced the Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act, the ARENA Act with Leader McConnell, my fellow West Virginian Joe Manchin and many of my colleagues. This would protect families and businesses from electricity rate increases, reduced electrical reliability and other harmful effects of the Clean Power Act. The ARENA Act would require that any greenhouse gas standards set by the E.P.A. for new coal-fired plants are achievable by commercial power plants including highly efficient plants that utilize the most modern state-of-the-art emissions control technologies. Back in February, I asked E.P.A. acting administrator Janet McKay to explain why, despite multiple invitations from federal and state legislators, the E.P.A. did not hold a public hearing on its proposed Clean Power Act in West Virginia, given the large role that coal plays in our economy and our electricity generation."

 

Senator Nelson: (10:50 AM)

  • Spoke on the sequester.  
    • "So it's time for us to get rid of the sequester. We did it before two years ago with a bipartisan budget, the one known as Murray-Ryan. We need to do it again. Otherwise, right now we are wasting our time working on bills that have no chance of becoming law. And we need to fix the budget caps for defense and nondefense spending. Not a Band-Aid when you have got an artery that is gushing blood. Now, if it were not just this, there are other examples. Take, for example, a program that I have some familiarity with, our nation's space program. Here we are, we have been trying for now since 2010, since Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican from Texas, and I passed a NASA authorization bill that put us on the course that will ultimately, as the president has now announced, taken us to Mars. But we can't get the policy updated because we can't pass another NASA authorization bill. So what happens? It goes to the Appropriation Committee."

 

Senator Hirono: (11:00 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The bill before us takes $38 billion out of the base budget at the Department of Defense and moves it into the O.C.O. budget. The O.C.O. budget is not subject to budget control caps. The reason for this is that O.C.O. funds are intended to support the unknown unknowns that arise. Using the O.C.O. account to fund non-contingency items is irresponsible. It is a one-year fix and adds to our budget deficit. It's not fair to our commanders on the ground who have told us that we need to fix sequester permanently so they can prepare for the long term. Using the O.C.O. account to shield the D.O.D. from sequester has been called a gimmick by many. I am for a strong national defense. However, the foundation of our military strength is the strength of our economy. It's the strength of our communities. It's the strength of our future. Failing to fix sequestration for both defense and non-defense will undermine the strength of our national defense."

 

Senator Manchin: (11:07 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The bottom line is that we need to get our long-term budget that reduces the deficit in line. And increasing the O.C.O. money that this bill has in it right now only hurts that goal. It makes it much more difficult and elusive. The defense budget needs to be based on this long-term military strategy which requires the Department of Defense to focus at least five years into the future. This is only a one-year plan. You think it's not going to be extended and extended and extended? You think we're just going to start it and stop it in one year? I don't think so. The fiscal responsibility approach we need to take is fixing the B.C.A. caps. We're hearing about the whole thing of sequestration, how horrible it is. Well, let me tell you how you can fix it. Sit down and put a budget that's realistic, that puts our long-term financial plan solid."

 

Senator Markey: (11:17 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I am very disappointed that the defense authorization bill we are considering today uses a budget gimmick to end sequestration cuts for defense spending but continue to impose mandatory cuts for critical domestic priorities like education, health care and medical research. This legislation transfers nearly $40 billion in defense spending to a glorified slush fund called the overseas contingency operations account or O.C.O. account as a way to avoid triggering sequestration cuts. Let's be clear. O.C.O., really stands for "Open Checkbook Operation" for our budget. And it stands for outrageous cop-out by the G.O.P. instead of cutting funding for defense, Republicans choose instead to cut programs for the defenseless. This isn't responsible budgeting. It is a cynical game. The majority is attempting to avoid its responsibilities under sequestration."

McCain, Reed, Enzi, Schumer, Mikulski

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 09 2015 12:44 PM

Senator McCain: (11:24 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "And finally, actually this is a piece from "Politico" today, "actually the United States does have a strategy to fight the Islamic state, a State Department spokesman says. The president was referring to a specific plan to improve the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces and the Pentagon is working on that plan right now. But absolutely we have a strategy, Kirby said Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." I would be overjoyed to have that plan, a complete strategy and that plan presented to the Congress and the American people. It would be a wonderful event. And the fact is they have no strategy and they have no policy and the world is on fire and here we are, here we are going to try to pass an amendment which would deprive the men and women who are serving of the means and wherewithal to defend this nation. I hope my colleagues will strongly reject the amendment that will be pending before this body."

 

Senator Reed: (11:36 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "My amendment would keep the pressure on for permanent solution to B.C.A. caps and sequestration by requiring that the B.C.A. caps be eliminated or increased in proportionality in equal amounts for security and non-security spending before the additional O.C.O. funds are available for obligation or expenditure. Let me again emphasize we are not taking away these funds. We are simply saying what I think makes a great deal of sense. Until we develop an approach to B.C.A. that allows us to provide for a comprehensive defense of the nation and to invest in the economic health of the nation, then these funds will be reserved. Once we do that, then automatically all the funding that is inherent in this bill becomes available to the department of defense. We have heard colleagues on both sides of the aisle talk for years now about the need to resolve the B.C.A., to end sequestration."

 

Senator Enzi: (12:11 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "We can't continue to afford the interest on the debt if we keep doing that. Americans are working harder than ever to make ends meet. Shouldn't their elected officials be doing the same thing? By tackling these issues honestly and directly, we can help ensure that our nation is safe and secure by investing in America's armed forces while also maintaining fiscal discipline. On a related note, the Senate Budget Committee has produced an in-depth analysis of the O.C.O. funding system as part of its June bulletin published today. 

 

Senator Schumer: (12:26 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "They need to know that programs that benefit them - suicide prevention, sexual assault -- will be fully funded when other defense priorities come back into the base budget in future years. Our military brass needs to know that the weapon systems they're relying on four years from now but being paid out of O.C.O. This year can be funded and finished. So our military doesn't serve budget gimmicks. They deserve real support. What my friends on the other side of the aisle have done with this O.C.O. increase is a budgetary sleight of hand. Halfhearted attempt to fund the defense department while leaving key middle-class programs behind. Our defense department gets budget workarounds and exceptions while hardworking families must continue to feel the harsh cuts imposed by sequestration. That's a double standard because we need both for a strong America."

 

Senator Mikulski: (12:32 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Defense Secretary Ash Carter said our defense industry partners need stability, a long-term plan, and not crisis-by-crisis-by-crisis. General Allen, army vice chief of staff, "O.C.O. does not give you the predictable funding to plan the force that we need." I want to make another point. The defense of the United States of America doesn't lie only with D.O.D. That's our war fighting machine. But we have other programs that are related to national security that come out of domestic discretionary spending that are shortchanged and are shrinking and quite frankly I'm concerned about it. What am I talking about? In order to have national security, you need to have a State Department. You need to have a State Department to do the kind of work that involves diplomacy, working with nation around the world on the needs of these nations and also to engage in important negotiations like we have now on the Iran nuclear, that's not done by generals, that's done by diplomats."

 

The Senate stands in recess until 2:15 PM for the weekly caucus luncheons. 

Cornyn, Stabenow, Durbin, Sessions, McCain, Reed

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 09 2015 03:11 PM

Senator Cornyn: (2:15 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "My amendment would allow us to see the big picture when it comes to just how dependent our allies in the region are on nations that wield their energy supply as a weapon. I just want to make clear, my amendment would not change any of the current law. It simply restates the current authority that the president has in his discretion to allow crude oil and natural gas exports, if determined to be consistent with the national interest. And I would say even though Russia and Europe and NATO are the primary focus, this is not just limited to NATO. It could include allies, important allies of ours in the Middle East like Israel as well. My amendment reiterates that existing authority and it encourages the president to use it to help reduce the vulnerabilities of our allies in Europe and around the world when it's determined to be in our national interest. It doesn't add to that authority, and it doesn't constrain it either."

 

Senator Stabenow: (2:30 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Senator Reed has put forward an amendment that would guarantee we would not only think of security in the context of the Department of Defense, but that we would understand that it is throughout the federal government. All of the various services coming together from border security, cybersecurity, counterterrorism, local police and firefighters on the front lines, the ability to stop weapons of mass destruction, airport security, Ebola protection with the Centers for Disease Control, and so much more. The people of the country understand that it's not just about the Department of Defense, and certainly we need to make sure that even within the Department of Defense budget that we are doing more than budget gimmicks, certainly our troops deserve that."

 

Senator Durbin: (2:41 PM)

  • Spoke on for-profit colleges.
    • "I think we ought to be a lot tougher, holding them accountable for what they've done to these students and their families, holding them accountable to what they've done to taxpayers. You know what happened to Corinthian after it became clear they were lying to us? $1 billion, $1 billion, Mr. And Mrs. Taxpayer. And there are schools like that, unfortunately, across this country. The last point I'll make on this, speaking to the secretary of education and others, the real losers many times are also veterans - veterans. The G.I. Bill. We offered to veterans after they've served our country, the chance to get an education and make a life. They use it, sadly, at worthless colleges and universities. They have a used up a once-in-a--lifetime opportunity. They're left with a debt and a promise that this education will lead to something."

 

Senator Sessions: (2:48 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I have to tell you, colleagues, both the president, our Democratic members, and Republican members believe we're going to have to increase our defense budget. So what is the problem? The problem is, our colleagues are saying, well, you can't increase defense unless you increase non-defense by the same amount. How silly is that? Imagine you got a tight budget at home, a tree falls on your house, emergency, you have to go out and find money, borrow money to fix the roof. Does that mean now you're going to spend twice as much on your vacation? Going to go out and buy a new car you didn't plan to buy because you had to spend more money to fix the house? How irresponsible is that? It's unbelievable to me. This is exactly what is occurring."

 

Senator McCain: (2:55 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This was the product of a bipartisan compromise and it was the most we could responsibly do in the committee to recognize the need for a broader fiscal agreement without denying funding for our military. Every one of us has a constitutional duty to provide for the common defense, and as chairman of this Armed Services Committee, this is my highest responsibility. Funding our national defense with O.C.O. is not ideal but it's far better than the alternative, which is to deny the men and women in uniform $38 billion that they desperately need now, $38 billion that the president requested and $38 billion without which our military leaders have said they cannot succeed. Regrettably, this is what this amendment would do, and I oppose it."

 

Senator Reed: (3:01 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "If this was a one-year temporary fix, you might justify it. But what we're seeing is a pathway that's going to take us every year. More O.C.O., more O.C.O., and more interesting and more remote use of O.C.O. funds. That's the way, unfortunately, it tends to be around here. You go where the money is. And right now the money is in O.C.O. and I think we should step back and do what the chairman has said. We have to fix it. And he is committed to fixing it, but we have to begin now. We have to make the case now. We can't simply sit back and say, well, we'll take it up later."

Vote Results (Reed Amendment)

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 09 2015 03:49 PM

Not agreed to, 46-51:

Reed Amendment #1521 to H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.

The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Fischer, Gillibrand, Ayotte, Wicker, Sanders, Stabenow

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 09 2015 05:11 PM

Senator Fischer: (3:50 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I rise to speak about Senate Amendment 1825, the Maritime Administration Enhancement Act, which would reauthorize the maritime administration for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. Mirad will and traditionally has been added to the National Defense Authorization Act on the Senate floor. It strengthens our national security through our numerous programs to maintain a U.S. Merchant Marine Fleet. Under the bipartisan amendment, Mirad will authorize $380 million, which is similar to the levels authorized in the House NDAA. This bipartisan agreement to authorize Mirad spending above current authorized levels as requested by the White House, while providing support to Mirad's national and economic defense programs."

 

Senator Gillibrand: (4:08 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "In my close review of 107 cases from 2013 from our four largest military bases, one for each service, I found that nearly half of those who did move forward to report in an unrestricted report, half of them withdrew from their case during the first year. So we can talk all we want about reporting, reporting. Well, if half of those who report withdraw during the year of their prosecution, it shows there's no faith in the system. Survivors do not have faith in the current system. Under any metric, the system remains plagued with distrust and does not provide fair and just process that survivors deserve. Simply put, the military has not held up to the standard posed by General Dempsey one year ago when he said the Pentagon was on the clock. I urge my colleagues to hold the military to this higher standard."

 

Senator Ayotte: (4:12 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "My amendment specifically highlights the tunnel threat on our southern border. It calls on the administration to use the anti-tunneling capabilities developed to help Israel to better protect the United States, and our people and our interests and our border ensure this amendment will help Israel, our closest and most reliable ally in the Middle East. It will help us defeat the use of terror tunnels, and it will better equip officials on our southern border to find and shut down tunnels that are being used to smuggle drugs and can be used to smuggle other dangerous items into the United States of America by these criminal syndicates and again as the commander of our southern command has said he believes this network can also be used by terrorists. Not surprisingly, this effort and this amendment has received strong bipartisan support, and I want to thank all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle that have sponsored this amendment."

 

Senator Wicker: (4:29 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "First, it would authorize the same amount of funding as requested by the president. Second, it contains one of the most substantive defense reforms we've seen in years. It would adopt $10 billion worth of efficiencies that would pave the way for long-term savings at the Department of Defense. Third, the bill champions greater efficiency by reducing bureaucracies at the Pentagon and reforming the weapons acquisition system. Just because we need to spend more money for defense doesn't mean we need to spend more money to hire bureaucrats and staffers at the Pentagon. Fourthly, it's very important to point out the reforms in this bill make sure that the men and women who fight for our country, including those who are wounded or who have retired have the quality of life, health care and support they deserve. Fifth, this bill would modernize the military retirement system, something that has been recommended to us by experts in the military and by retired military people."

 

Senator Sanders: (4:42 PM)

  • Spoke on income inequality.
    • "So the time is long overdue for us to start investing in our young people, to help them get the jobs they need, to help them get the education they need, and to help them get the job training they need so they can be part of the American middle class. The answer to unemployment and poverty is not and cannot be the mass incarceration of young Americans of all races. It is time to bring hope and economic opportunity to communities throughout this country. Last week I introduced legislation with Congressman John Conyers and Senator Debbie Stabenow to provide $5.5 million to immediately begin funding states and localities throughout this country to employ one million young people between the ages of 16 and 24 and provide job training to hundreds of thousands of young Americans."

 

Senator Stabenow: (4:40 PM)

  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "We need to together do what the American people expect us to do, to sit down and do what has been done over the course of history in the United States: fund a long-term transportation bill that moves us forward in our economy and jobs and creates the kind of competitive edge that we have traditionally had in the United States. A "D" on roads is an embarrassment. We need our majority to step up with us, our Republican colleagues. We are waiting. We are anxious. We are anxious to put together a long-term strategy on funding our roads and bridges. Pretty basic. This is pretty basic when we look at the responsibilities that Congress has on behalf of the American people. Airports, railroads, both short rail for agriculture as well as our long-distance rail, roads, bridges, all of the other things that comprise the basics for America. 52 days. 52 days away from the highway trust fund going empty. Let's get busy. It's time to make sure that we are doing the right thing and moving the country forward."

Whitehouse, Murphy, Cassidy, Collins, Barrasso

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 09 2015 06:39 PM

Senator Whitehouse: (5:08 PM)

  • Spoke on the Gaspee.
    • I would like to thank the Gaspee Days Committee for their continuing efforts to host this annual celebration and to my friend, State Representative Joe McNamara for his work each year in making this event so special. I come to the floor every year at this time to speak about the burning of the Gaspee because as proud as I am of what those brave Rhode islanders did back in 1772, I'm also disappointed that their story has largely been lost to history outside our little state. I hope these speeches will help new generations to learn about this important American event. In Rhode Island, of course, we will never forget. As Mr. Harrington wrote in his piece in "The Providence Journal," through the ages, noble Rhode Islanders have named their daughters Hannah in honor of the ship that long ago led a fledgling young country toward independence and helped create the finest nation ever born of man."

 

Senator Murphy: (5:21 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "You can't just reassemble the ability to make that particular good, complicated tubing that goes inside one of the most complicated pieces of machinery in the United States Navy, a submarine, you can't just do that overnight. And so at the very least we should be getting all of the information that we need to do proper oversight on this process of granting waivers. And so I've been pleased at the willingness of Chairman McCain and his staff, along with the ranking member, Senator Reed, to work with us on this amendment, this sunlight amendment, this disclosure amendment. Hopefully over the course of today or tomorrow we'll be able to include this in one of the managers' packages that we adopt here on the Senate floor and will allow us to have a more robust conversation on how why on earth we spent U.S. taxpayer dollars on this van when $3 million at the height of the auto crisis could have gone to an American company making a similar vehicle."

 

Senator Cassidy: (5:49 PM)

  • Spoke on the Patient Freedom Act.
    • "Continuous coverage protects those with preexisting conditions, and we mentioned the price transparency. In this way, Republicans will give states the option to choose. Again, they can stay on ObamaCare if they want. They have that option now. They can do nothing and it goes away because if the Supreme Court rules that the subsidies have been implemented illegally, or they can go with the Patient Freedom Act. The Patient Freedom Act which gives patients the power by lowering costs, lowering the costs by eliminating mandates, returning power over insurance back to the commissioners who govern closest to those who actually will be using the insurance and then giving the patient the power of portability, protection against preexisting conditions and the power of price transparency."

 

Senator Collins: (6:05 PM)

  • Spoke on the Patient Freedom Act.
    • "Here's how it would work. The federal government would provide funding directly into the health savings accounts of individuals insured through the Patient Freedom Act. These funds would be phased out for higher income individuals. The aggregate funding for these per-patient, per-capita grants would be determined based on the total amount of funding that the federal government would have provided in the form of ObamaCare subsidies in each state, plus any funding each state would have received had they chosen to expand their Medicaid program, even if like the state of Maine they had chosen not to do so. In addition to federal funds, individuals and employers could make tax-advantaged contributions to these health savings accounts. The bill even provides for a partial tax credit for very low-income individuals who do receive employer-based coverage, but it would help these workers pay for their deductibles and co-pays. Individuals who are insured under the Patient Freedom Act would receive debit cards tied to their health savings accounts, which they could use to purchase a high-deductible health plan, to pay directly for medical expenses or pay premiums for a more generous health insurance policy."

 

Senator Barrasso: (6:24 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The President's economic advisors said that LNG exports would "create tens of thousands of jobs in the United States. Jobs that, "Would arise in natural gas production, manufacturing, and a range of sectors including infrastructure investment, and transportation." The president's economic advisors also stated that U.S. L.N.G. exports would have, "a positive geopolitical impact for the United States." Specifically they explained that U.S. L.N.G., "Builds liquidity in the global natural gas market and reduces European dependence on the current primary suppliers, Russia and Iran." Again, these aren't my words, this is from the White House. Congress has a choice. We can continue to watch Putin use natural gas as a weapon against our allies and partners, or we can take a meaningful step to help our friends. My amendment boosts the security of our NATO allies and friends around the world."

Wrap Up (The Senate Stands Adjourned)

Wrap Up

Jun 09 2015 06:42 PM

Tomorrow –

  • The Senate will convene at 9:30 AM.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business for one hour, with Democrats controlling the first half and Republicans controlling the second half.
  • Following morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.