Wednesday, Jun. 10, 2015

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Jun 10 2015 09:39 AM

The Senate convened.  

McConnell, Reid

Opening Remarks

Jun 10 2015 10:05 AM

Today –

  • 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.

 

Senator McConnell: (9:31 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "So the truth is this: ObamaCare never had a web site problem. It had an ObamaCare problem. No amount of wishful thinking or fast talk is going to change that reality. It's not going to change the failures I just mentioned, not going to change the failures I haven't, like the failed class act, the troubled co-ops, the debacle of giving people the wrong amount of subsidy or what we learned yesterday that the I.R.S. may not even be able to verify that many of the people who received a tax credit for health insurance actually bought the health insurance. I'm asking ObamaCare's defenders in the White House and in Congress to redirect their efforts away from the spin and toward the reality instead. We all know that ObamaCare is a law filled with broken promises, higher costs and failure. So let's work together to start over with real health care reform instead. That's the kind of health care outcome that actually would be fabulous for our constituents. It's something that really would be, "Wonderful for America." And it's what we can work together to achieve once Washington politicians move past the failure of ObamaCare."
  • Spoke on cyber security.
    • "The massive cyber-attack Americans read about reminds us all of the need for action on this issue. Building America's public and private cyber defenses won't be easy, but the bipartisan cyber security measure that passed out of the intelligence committee with the support of every single Republican and every single Democrat but one - 14-1 - will increase the ability of the public and private sector to share information and to make us safer. That's why we're going to take it up as part of the defense authorization bill now before us. I hope senators of both parties will come together to support that bipartisan amendment when it comes to a vote."
  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "From coast to coast, there is no end of examples of how our troops and our military enrich the fabric of our communities while at the same time keeping us safe. They're our neighbors. They're our friends. They're our daughters. They're our sons. They're not chess pieces for Democratic leaders to wield in some partisan game. If Democratic leaders are really this worried about fattening up the I.R.S. or adding a new coat of paint to their congressional offices, we can have that discuss. But let's leave our troops out of it and leave their families out of it."

 

Senator Reid: (9:44 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "The latest poll shows a majority of Americans support the law, as they should. So I don't know why my friend has to come here and make up things. ObamaCare has been an important, important thing for American families, an important program for American families. In Nevada, all over America. So I am very disappointed with the state of non-reality that my friend has come here each day this week to talk about ObamaCare and what is wrong with it. Before this law came into being, patients, the American people were subject to premium increases without any notice, cancellations without notice, denials for preexisting conditions I have already talked about and arbitrary limits on how much care insurance would cover."
  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "We have 400 amendments filed and we're not going through these amendments. So he wants to be able to check off the box, saying well, I did cybersecurity. He hasn't done cybersecurity. I have a quote here from him on cybersecurity just a short time ago. "Any issue of this importance deserves serious consideration and open debate." This is what the Republican leader said. He talks about oh, we've done double the amendments done the last couple of bills. It takes two sides in the United States Senate to have amendments heard. The Republicans would not let us have open debate on the armed services bill the last two Congresses. We never even had a debate here. What happened is the two chairs of the committee met in secret and came up with a bill that came to the Senate floor, and we were able to get that done, but for people to come here and say this is the 53rd year we've done a bill, that's a little fictitious itself."
  • Spoke on the budget.
    • "Like ostriches with their heads buried deep in the sand, the majority leader and the Republicans continue to deny the need for a bipartisan budget. They deny the need to fix sequestration, just as they deny the urgent need to authorize the export-import bank, which employs 165,000 people in America as we speak. It expires at the end of this month. They deny the urgent need to fix our roads, rails and bridges. That program's going to expire in six weeks. Creating millions of jobs, millions of jobs. But regardless of what Republicans tell themselves, they can't wish these important issues just to disappear. It's our job to address these matters that affect working Americans. Here we are in June months before funding for the government runs out. We have plenty of time to sit down and work out an agreement that both sides can live with. It appears to me what the Republicans are doing that we're headed for another shutdown."

Durbin, Coats, Gardner, McCain, Mikulski

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 10 2015 11:41 AM

Senator Durbin: (10:04 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "For example, the second-largest investment in breast cancer research is in the U.S. Department of Defense, and there are dramatic stories to be told about what they have discovered and what they have been able to do in the Department of Defense. The suggestion that we should eliminate this research, to me, is a very bad one, and it doesn't reflect the reality of the fright, concern that comes with a diagnosis of breast cancer. I'm prepared for that battle not just on breast cancer but on all the other areas of medical research in the Department of Defense as well as medical research in the National Institutes of Health. If there is one issue that should unite us, Democrats and Republicans, it's medical research. I will tell you the people I represent in Illinois, regardless of party affiliation, believe that we in both political parties should be making this commitment."

 

Senator Coats: (10:15 AM)

  • Spoke on Waste of the Week.
    • "In fact, since its creation, the special inspector for Afghanistan has undertaken 324 investigations. He's a busy man. And has contracted for over $571 million of misspent taxpayer dollars. And this is just in Afghanistan. As you know, we have operations around the world. When we total all this up, who knows what that final number is? I am happy to report that while these numbers are disturbing, there is also progress being made. The special investigator for Afghanistan that I have referred to has made over 200 recommendations for reforms and over 160 of those recommendations have been adopted by the Department of Defense, trying to help safeguard federal dollars. And so I don't want to leave the impression that something isn't being done about this. Nevertheless, it is important that we bring these things to light so that we can put procedures in place that will prevent them from happening again. Also, I'm pleased that title 8 of the bill that we are now debating on this floor, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016, directly addresses defense acquisition policy and management and would make several reforms to the contracting process, so action is being taken."
  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "C.B.O. estimates a 1% reduction in total pay over the same time frame as a result of ObamaCare. Without credibility and all the promises that have been made, so defiantly made by the president. Take my word for it. Period, he said. Not one penny of increase in your premium cost. Keep your doctor. If you like your doctor, keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, keep your health care plan. Whatever misrepresentation of the bill this has been. I have received tens of thousands of contacts in my office by e-mail, by regular mail, by phone calls, by descriptions of the impact that this law has had and the broken promises that have imposed higher premiums, higher co-pays, higher deductibles, higher costs to the American people. So we anxiously await the decision of the Supreme Court which will be coming in several weeks here or less to see where we go next."

 

Senator Gardner: (10:44 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This amendment would require the president to submit a comprehensive strategy within 120 days to promote United States interest in the Asia-pacific region. Similar language was already placed in the House version of the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. The amendment would ensure that the U.S. government is effectively marshaling resources and employing a whole of government approach to implement an effective multifaceted engagement policy in the Endo-Asia pacific region. This region is vital to the United States national interests. For generations to come and the administration's Asia pivot or rebalance policy was intended to reflect that. Again, this is something the administration has talked about for years, this Asia rebalance or Asia pivot. But currently the administration does not seem to have such a comprehensive strategy or approach that seamlessly incorporates U.S. military, diplomatic and commercial activities to make the rebalance an effective policy."

 

Senator McCain: (11:00 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • ""Wall Street Journal," Iraq city of Mosul transformed a year after Islamic State's capture. And I mentioned before ISIS stage attacks in Iraq and Libya despite U.S. airstrikes. And it goes on and on. Meanwhile, the president of the United States will according to media reports, announce today we will send 400 or so more to Iraq, none of which is accompanied by a strategy, none of which is accompanied by forward air controllers so we will continue to see 75% of the combat missions flown return to base without having discharged their weapons, since we have no one on the ground to identify targets. This is instrumentalism at its best or worst, depending on how you describe it. Today I hope we will be able to take some additional amendments. We have a managers' package getting prepared and I believe that Senator Reed and I are moving forward with some amendments that we can have debated and also voted on today."

 

Senator Mikulski: (11:17 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Think of a child that has cerebral palsy, think of a child that might have multiple complications that might require the child to be on a continual respirator. All of these things go on with the stresses of being also a military family. Certainly we can keep the commissaries open so that they can get the food that they need for their family and hours that then work for them. This is what the real life of the military is. And I remember after Desert Storm where the Appropriations Committee met under the leadership of Senators Byrd and Senator Ted Stevens asking General Schwarzkopf what did he need in an after-action report. Said, we need better intelligence, and we worked really hard to up-grade where we are. And he said, we also need better food. We need better food. We need better food for our troops and people need to believe that their families are being taken care of while they're in harm's way."

Cornyn, Feinstein, Cotton, Sessions

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 10 2015 12:32 PM

Senator Cornyn: (11:32 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This bipartisan bill which focuses squarely on the needs of our war fighters and authorizes funding at the same level that the president himself suggested, should not be held hostage to political gamesmanship. So I would encourage the more sensible members of our friends across the aisle to focus on the troops and their families, not the partisan agenda of their leadership. And pass this legislation and provide the funding that our troops need to continue to do their courageous work of keeping our country safe … The legislation that I've offered, the amendment I've offered on the underlying bill, simply reaffirms this existing authority of the president of the United States but encourages the president to not allow our adversaries, like Vladimir Putin to use energy supply for vulnerable countries in Europe as a weapon."

 

Senator Feinstein: (11:48 AM)

  • Spoke on cyber security.
    • "Filing the cybersecurity bill as an amendment to the defense authorization bill prompted a lot of legitimate and understandable concern from both sides of the aisle. People want a debate on the legislation, and they want an opportunity to offer relevant amendments. And to do this as an amendment -- and when Senator Burr discussed it with me, I indicated I did not want to go on and make that proposal, and I think it's a mistake. I very much hope that the majority leader will reconsider this path and that once we have finished with the defense authorization bill, the Senate can take up, consider, and hopefully approve the cybersecurity legislation. I think to do it any other way, we're in real trouble, and this is the product of experience. And so I very much hope that there can be a change in procedure and that this bill -- I know our leader will agree -- could come up directly following the defense bill. 

 

Senator Cotton: (11:57 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The administration helps safeguard our nuclear stockpile in this country. The Obama administration in its budget earlier this year requested approximately $50 million per year for the next five years for the administration to be able to dismantle old or obsolete warheads. My amendment would simply codify President Obama's own budget request, limiting - limiting -- the administration to spend $50 million per year for the next five years on nuclear dismantlement. My amendment also includes a waiver that would allow the president to increase the amount of spending under certain limited conditions. This amendment has been approved not only by the majority but also the minority of the Armed Services Committee. I offer this amendment because of troubling statements from the Obama administration about their intent to accelerate nuclear disarmament, however. Last month Secretary of State Kerry announced that the nuclear nonproliferation review treaty conference that the United States would accelerate its dismantlement of nuclear warheads by 20%. Beyond obsolete or outdated warheads, I don't believe nuclear dismantlement is a priority. New modernization is a priority. We should not be accelerating our nuclear disarmament by up to 20% because it with a send a wrong message to Russia, other adversaries, and out allies."

 

Senator Feinstein: (11:59 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The fact is there are currently approximately 2,400 retired warheads awaiting dismantlement. The rate at which we dismantle these warheads does not have anything to do with the 4,800 warheads that remain in the stockpile, consistent with the New Start Treaty - this is a treaty, it's not an agreement. The administration has committed to accelerating dismantlement, and we should support its goals of eliminating redundant nuclear weapons. I see no reason to imply congressional disapproval for this effort, and micromanage NNSA's weapons activities. Modernization and dismantlement go hand in hand. NNSA routinely shifts employees from weapons stockpiles stewardship and modernization work to dismantlement to keep the work force fully and usefully engaged. It is completely unnecessary to complicate this process, and I object."

 

Senator Sessions: (12:12 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The deployment of United States military forces to any nation in the world for the purpose of defending that nation and a region is an august thing. Obviously, the military might of the United States is unsurpassed. The United States cannot and must not take these commitments lightly. The ramifications of our commitment to the defense of a foreign nation are significant, grave indeed. This nation has every right and a duty to our citizens to ensure that those with whom we partner do their share. The idea that a small nation can simply send an e-mail to the United States calling for more forces whenever they become nervous while taking only limited steps to fund and defend their own country suggests a disconnect with reality. This Senate, by this resolution, is sending a clear call for NATO to do more. It's not too late to maintain this alliance, as the force for good it has always been."

Vitter, McCain, Coats, Cassidy

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 10 2015 01:32 PM

Senator Vitter: (12:25 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Exactly that same sort of rationale that is in the bill with regard to limitations of what the Air Force can do, exactly that rationale also applies to the Army and brigade combat teams. In addition, the same sort of thing is already in this underlying bill with regard to the Navy. There is specific language blocking certain further reductions of aircraft carriers. Again, a major element of force structure. Again, Congress saying no, don't go below this number. That is not justified. That will weaken our overall capability and that will weaken force structure. Again, on the Navy side, this bill, the chairman, the committee have done exactly the same thing. My amendment would simply do something very, very similar and equally as important and justified on the army side with regard to brigade combat teams. So, because of the significance of brigade combat teams to Army readiness and operations, because of the enormous cuts that have already been made in those numbers in the last seven years from 48 to 33, I urge all of my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, to support this commonsense amendment."

 

Senator McCain: (12:39 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "$200 million for directed cyber vulnerabilities of every major D.O.D. weapons system. An independent panel in D.O.D. war games. On and on. It's Department of Defense related. The whole purpose of the defense authorization bill is to defend the nation, to leave cybersecurity out of that, yes, there are some provisions in the underlying bill, but this hones and refines the requirements that we are in badly need of and gives the president tools - the president of the United States and the secretary of defense the tools to try to limit the damage which is occurring as we speak. I want to repeat. I believe my colleague from Indiana, who is a member of that committee, I believe I would ask him, is it four million Americans recently were compromised by cyberattack."

 

Senator Coats: (12:47 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This legislation gives us the opportunity to have a cooperative effort and some of those who resisted the use of this because they think it was potentially a breach of privacy now understand that the breaches are occurring from outside into the United States for those who are enemies of the state, those who are criminal groups, those who are terrorist groups, and while we may have the capacity to deal with this, without this legislative authority, we are not allowed to use it. So what an irony, what an irony that some of those who are saying well, we can't trust the government on this to help us, this is part of - this is a defense. It's like saying we can't trust the Department of Defense, you can't trust the Army or the Navy to protect us from attack because it's government run. Well, now they're saying there are some operations in government here that are part of our defenses that can't be used until we have the authority. And the irony is, is that people's privacies are being breached by all these attempts, and we're denying the opportunity to put the tools in place to stop that from happening."

 

Senator Cassidy: (1:02 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The amendment says the secretary shall give priority under this paragraph to be carried out as funding or appropriations becomes available, first. Secondly, nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede the Army's manning of brigade combat teams at designated levels and it requires congressional defense committee to have a report on the current manning of each brigade combat team of the Army. It also ensures the Army National Guard brigade combat teams are maintained at 26, and this accounts for the deactivation of two air National Guard brigade combat teams previously agreed to. You may ask, why do we need 32 brigade combat teams. At the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, we had 48 brigade combat teams, and things, if you've noticed, in the Middle East are getting worse, not better."

Portman, Boxer, Coons

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 10 2015 02:55 PM

Senator Portman: (1:33 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "My amendment number 1850, modifies and builds on the great work that Senator McCain and Senator Reed and others have already done in the bill, if you look at section 1251 of the bill, there is $300 million aid provided to Ukraine. Our amendment directs the secretary of defense to spend this money to ensure it is the best bang for the buck and that we are really giving them the assistance they really need. It requires the secretary of defense to spend on a number of critical capabilities they need including real-time intelligence, medium and long-range radars, lethal assistance, such as U.A.V.'s and secure communications and training to develop support capabilities at the small unit level and at the brigade level."

 

Senator Boxer: (1:50 PM)

  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "A survey by the National Association of Manufacturers, one of our more conservative organizations, its members found 65% don't believe our infrastructure is sufficient. We know from the Texas Institute Study that traffic congestion in 2011 was 121 billion. People are wasting so much time in traffic. The cost to trucked goods moving on our highway system, $27 billion in wasted time and diesel fuel. So I hear a lot of talk about passing a long-term highway bill. I'm happy about hearing that. I'm starting to hear my Republican friends say, maybe we can do it. I we can do it. We still have fewer construction jobs than we had before the recession. So the clock is ticking. Failure is not an option. Let's get going. Let's come together and do the right thing. Pass the highway bill."

 

Senator Coons: (2:32 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "But Chinese institutions, Chinese export financing institutions have provided an estimated $670 billion in just the past two years. In other words, China has done more in just two years to support the financing of their exporters that our export-import bank has done in its entire 80-year history and at no cost to the taxpayer. The bottom line is that American jobs are at stake in this debate and if we fail to keep the doors open to the export-import bank, we'll fail a lot of American workers. Every year ex-im supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and shuttering it will put them at risk. In fact, as "The Wall Street Journal" reported just this morning, American companies worry that global competition is "So cut-throat that they'd be forced to move manufacturing overseas to ship American manufacturing jobs out of the United States if the ex-im bank does not remain open.""
  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "First, it would allow the secretary of defense to consolidate the various funding streams for the S.P.P., which right now comes from over a half dozen different accounts scattered across D.O.D., which makes it more difficult to provide meaningful congressional oversight. This amendment would allow the defense secretary to combine these funding sources into one National Guard fund to pay for personnel, training, operations and equipment. Second, my amendment would allow the National Guard to determine its core competencies to help combatant commanders determine how best to leverage the National Guard to serve the needs of a partner country. Last, my amendment would establish clear and enhanced reporting requirements to better track the annual performance of our units and make modifications where needed to enhance the program's effectiveness. Critically, this amendment would not increase the program's costs at all."

Wyden, Hatch, Ayotte, Nelson, Kirk

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 10 2015 04:12 PM

Senator Wyden: (2:46 PM)

  • Spoke on cyber security.
    • "Even to the colleagues here who are inclined vote for this bill, I hope all senators will think about whether this is an appropriate process for this sort of legislation. I've already said I believe that senators here are going to be dealing with cybersecurity questions for the rest of their time in public service because in the digital age I think we are going to see a constant evolution in this field with respect to these threats in both the technical and political concerns that are raised by them. So should the Senate really be rushing a bill like this through by tacking it onto an unrelated defense measure? Is this the best way to show once again to the American people that security and liberty are not mutually exclusive, that it's possible to do both? If senators share the concerns I've raised, I hope that they will oppose the cybersecurity amendment, if it is brought up for a vote on the defense bill."

 

Senator Hatch: (3:20 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "Japan and Canada, two of our largest trading partners in the T.P.P., have both stated that they are reluctant to bring their final offers to the table until Congress provides the administration with T.P.A. Trade Promotion Authority ensures our partners that if they reach an agreement, it won't be unraveled when sent to Congress for approval. This allows our negotiators to get the best deal possible on both sides. But especially our negotiators. T.P.A. also ensures that Congress has a meaningful role in crafting the specifics of the agreement by setting objectives, mandating transparency, and requiring periodic up-dates. And under the Senate-passed bill, Congress will have more authority than ever to review and respond to the administration on individual trade agreements. Long story short, T.P.A. is absolutely necessary for advancing U.S. Interests abroad and protecting the opportunities for millions of Americans to earn and compete for our livelihood in an increasingly global trade environment."
  • Spoke on health care.
    • That is why I, joined by Senator Cornyn and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, have introduced legislation that would prevent the Obama administration from bypassing Congress in yet another attempt to subvert key features of welfare reform. I regret that we must take this action. In the past members of Congress have generally been able to find common ground and work on a bipartisan basis to address issues relating to child support. In fact, Congress recently passed and the president recently signed legislation that made improvements to child support enforcement policies. In 2013, the Senate Finance Committee reported a series of ambitious proposals related to child support enforcement. At that time we requested input on these proposals from the Obama administration. At no time did administration officials indicate that the department of health and human services was quietly working to amass a massive overhaul of child support enforcement, much less that it was planning on doing so without the help or input of Congress." 

 

Senator Ayotte: (3:51 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "I am hopeful that Senator Kirk's amendment will get a vote on this Senate floor, that we can get this reauthorized before the expiration date at the end of this month, we can continue to allow this financing for American businesses to continue to sell their products to build them here, to sell them overseas and to create American jobs, because that's what this type of financing allows our businesses to do. This is very important when we think about making sure that we remain competitive, that we have more jobs here, and that we can continue to sell our great products built here in the United States of America around the world. I am very honored to support this amendment. I hope that we will get a vote on this amendment on the defense authorization or get a vote and make sure that we have this passed before the end of this month and this bank expires so that we can have that continuity in this important financing mechanisms for our businesses here in this country."

 

Senator Nelson: (3:58 PM)

  • Spoke on NASA.
    • "And what if this cut - is sustained, and this is a cut from a request of $1.24 billion for this competition for making American rockets safe and creating the spacecraft to take Americans to the space station, it's been cut to $900 million if that cut in the subcommittee is sustained in the full committee and ultimately in the final appropriation bill, it's going to delay us from being able to launch Americans on American rockets instead of 2017, just two years from now, it will delay us another four years, that's four more years of relying on the Russians. Now, I know there are a bunch of senators around here that don't like the fact of the aggressiveness of Vladimir Putin, well, this is one way to wean ourselves from having to depend on them."

 

Senator Kirk: (4:03 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "I'd like to say the export-import bank is set to expire this year on June 30. It allows thousands of American companies to advance their technology overseas without these loans many American jobs would be ceded to China or Europe. 200,000 American workers now depend on ex-im plus 46,000 in my home state of Illinois, they work for these companies and depend on export-import backing to make it. Some people are looking to cut this, a government agency, but it's not, it makes, in the last three years it has earned the U.S. Treasury over $3 billion."

Hoeven, Donnelly, Murphy, Graham, Moran, Shellby

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 10 2015 05:06 PM

Senator Hoeven: (4:05 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Bottom line is the men and women assigned to the nuclear mission in the U.S. Air Force are doing incredibly important work every day for the security of our country and we need to do all we can to support them. We need to provide them with the support they deserve so they can continue to do the job we ask them to do and do it at the level that our security requires. The nuclear force improvement program is a success, and the Air Force needs to extend it into the future and continue to shore up the foundations of our nuclear deterrent, which is itself at the foundation of nuclear of national security. In conclusion, let me say that working on legislation as essential as the defense of our nation is and should be a bipartisan effort. The Senate Armed Services Committee passed this bill out of committee with a bipartisan vote of 22-4. Let's come together to do this for the American people and the men and women, and families who have undertaken the great and noble effort to protect our country."

 

Senator Donnelly: (4:22 PM)

  • Spoke on the Military and Veterans Mental Health Provider Assessment Act.
    • "This legislation requires all D.O.D. primary care and mental health providers that they have received evidence-based training on suicide risk recognition and management and that their training be up-dated to keep pace with changes in mental health care best practices. It also requires D.O.D. to report to Congress on the military's current mental health workforce. The long-term mental health needs of service members and families and how we assure that D.O.D. meets those needs. Finally it requires the Department of Defense to bring us a plan to assess mental health outcomes and D.O.D. care, variations in outcomes across different D.O.D. facilities and barriers to D.O.D. mental health providers."

 

Senator Murphy: (4:49 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • Now, there are some people who will say that this isn't the role of Congress, and I will just state for the record that there are a litany of examples in the past in which Congress has placed commonsense limitations on our authorizations for military force, and in fact the president in submitting a proposed AUMF to the Foreign Relations Committee several months ago, in fact included in that authorization of military force a limitation on ground forces. And so this would be entirely consistent with the history of this body, but also with the proposal that the president has made. I know have having visited our troops in Afghanistan and in Afghanistan that it is easy for us to believe that there is no mission that U.S. soldiers can't take on, that their capability, that their bravery, that their courage, that their adaptability knows no bounds. And they have done admiral work inside Iraq over the course of the last ten years."

 

Senator Graham: (4:58 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "What we're trying to do here is basically show support for the ex-im bank, which is due to expire in June. We're trying to find a vehicle that is a must-pass piece of legislation to keep the bank afloat. I think it's very important to the American economy that American manufacturers not be disadvantaged. The ex-im bank makes money for the American taxpayer. China's ex-im bank is larger than France, Germany, the United States and England combined. What does this mean to the average person when a product's made in the United States, sold into the developing world without the ex-im financing mechanism available to American manufacturers, we're going to lose market share to other countries like China, France and Germany who produce wide-body jets and other products. 89% of the people who get help from the ex-im bank are small businesses."

 

Senator Moran: (5:00 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I came to the floor today to speak in favor of an amendment described earlier in the afternoon by Senator Vitter shall, that makes certain the US Army is able to maintain the current number of brigade combat teams. Sequestration is creating problems in our Army and defense and the concern is that in the process of downsizing the Army as a result of sequestration, and other reductions in available funding, that combat brigade combat teams would be eliminated and Senator Vitter's amendment which I support and am a cosponsor of would eliminate that as an option."

 

Senator Shelby: (5:01 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "In my opinion, after evaluating this issue during a series of hearings in the Senate Banking Committee, there's no compelling case to reauthorize the bank. After years of efforts to reform the export-import bank, it has become clear to me that its problems are beyond repair and that the bank's expiration is in the best interests of the American taxpayers. Nearly 99%, of all American exports, over $2 trillion, are financed without - without - the export-import bank help. Which demonstrates that the subsidies are more about corporate welfare than advancing our economy. I believe that the export-import bank has outlived its usefulness and should be allowed to expire."

Vote Results (Motion to Table Kirk Amendment)

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 10 2015 05:33 PM

Not tabled, 31-65:

Motion to table Kirk Amendment #1986 to H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.

The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Heitkamp, Durbin, Shaheen, Cantwell, Boxer, Whitehouse

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 10 2015 06:08 PM

Senator Heitkamp: (5:34 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "And so, when we have this discussion during T.P.A., the vote on T.P.A., we wanted to have a vote that would guarantee that we would have an opportunity to prevent the ex-im bank from expiring, the charter from expiring. That's not this vote today. Where I am extraordinarily gratified by the show of support, what it really does tell us, if we bring up an ex-im bill on its own, an extension bill on its own, we'll be able to prevent something from happening that could have catastrophic economic results in this country. And so I would urge this body to find a path forward to prevent the ex-im bank charter from expiring, to have a path forward to honor our commitments that were made during an earlier vote so that we can have a vote and actually move this bill forward and not simply have a vote to show support by actually pass a bill."

 

Senator Durbin: (5:36 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "So we understand the procedure that just took place, there was an amendment offered that would have extended the ex-im bank, and then a motion to table it. And I believe 60 members or more voted against the motion to table, which shows a positive sentiment about extending the ex-im bank. And after that vote, the sponsors of the amendment withdrew the amendment from this bill. So at this moment in time I'd like to ask the senator for absolute clarity. We have nothing before us that would extend the ex-im bank in this bill or in any other manner before the end of June when it expires?"

 

Senator Shaheen: (5:38 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "One of the things we heard was testimony from an employee of a company called Goss Manufacturing which makes large printing presses and competes mostly with Germany but with countries around the world. And one of the things she talked about is that they've got $10 million in deals that are sitting on the table at ex-im that they need to have approved before the end of June when the authorization expires. And if those don't get approved, they are not going to be able to create 45 new jobs that they're talking about as being able to create as part of that deal. So if the authorization for ex-im expires, not only is Goss going to have trouble with those jobs, but companies across this country are going to lose jobs that would be created if those financing deals could go through."

 

Senator Cantwell: (5:41 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "I think a lot of people get the impression that this is about big manufacturers and I've always said those guys will take care of themselves. They have lots of people that will take care of themselves. But the small business who will actually lose business on June 30 don't have people here. That is why we're fighting so hard to get a vote before June 30 that actually will go to the house on a vehicle."

 

Senator Boxer: (5:43 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "We were on three sides on the trade vote and I remember how hard you pushed for a commitment, a real commitment which I think in good faith you believe you got. I'm afraid what we got here tonight is quite cynical. It doesn't do anything. I don't get what the point was. Wouldn't it be far better if you got a commitment from the majority leader to set aside some time right after this bill, certainly before the end of this month, because as Senator Cantwell always tells us, the end of the month is the end of the bank; okay? So if we could get a commitment, I'm asking my friend, wouldn't you be willing to agree to a time agreement so that we wouldn't have to take up days and days and days to get this reauthorization done?"

 

Senator Whitehouse: (5:47 PM)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "First, the bill lowers the top marginal corporate income tax rate from 35% to 29%. This would cut American corporate taxes by almost $600 billion over the first decade. Second, it provides workers with a $500 refundable tax credit, $1,000 for a couple. To offset their first $500 paid each year in Social Security payroll taxes. The credit would grow with inflation. The tax credits would return over $750 billion to American households over the first ten years. Third, it would give benefits to Social Security recipients, veterans' program beneficiaries and certain other groups of retirees. At the same level as the tax credit, these benefits would total more than $400 billion over ten years. Finally, the bill would establish a block grant for states, totaling $20 billion in 2016 and growing with inflation to help with low-income needs, rural households and transitioning workers. Governors in these states will know best what to do with the funds."

Wrap Up (The Senate Stands Adjourned)

Wrap Up

Jun 10 2015 06:38 PM

Tomorrow –

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 AM.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business for one hour, with the time equally divided.
  • Following morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.