Thursday, Jun. 11, 2015

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Jun 11 2015 10:00 AM

The Senate convened.

McConnell, Reid

Opening Remarks

Jun 11 2015 10:37 AM

Today –

  • 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.
  • Note: Cloture has been filed on McCain for Burr Amendment #1569 (re: criminal background and cyber security), as amended, to H.R. 1735.


Senator McConnell: (10:02 AM)

  • Spoke on Dr. Billington.
    • "I don't think Dr. Billington is ready to take his scholar cap off quite yet because he's preparing to do la little writing too, and about folks who played an important role in the history of - what else - the library that means so much to him. Dr. Billington has called the Library of Congress the greatest collection of knowledge and copy righted creativity in human history, and I know how proud he is of the many initiatives he's undertaken to expand its reach and its relevance. I noted yesterday that you're unlikely to come across many guys who can say they have been a Princeton valedictorian, a Harvard professor, an expert on the kremlin, a veteran, and a Rhodes Scholar. But that's our librarian of Congress. He speaks seven languages. He's got 42 honorary degrees. And I'm hoping he'll soon be able to start catching a full eight hours sleep every night. Dr. Billington has certainly earned it and we wish him the very best in his retirement."
  • Spoke on cybersecurity.  
    • "We shouldn't wait for the administration to fumble away another four million Social Security numbers or personal addresses before we help them get modernized and up to speed. That hasn't stopped some Democratic leaders from thinking they should try to score some political points by taking down a bipartisan measure to combat cyberattacks. I hope they won't do that. Most Americans would find it awfully cynical for Democratic leaders in the wake of the administration's inability -- inability - to stop such a massive cyberattack to vote against the very same cybersecurity legislation their own party vetted and over whelming endorsed in committee for the sake of scoring political points. We've got a smart, transparent, bipartisan, fully vetted measure before us that can help make our country safer."
  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Kentuckians and Americans know that supporting our troops is never, ever a waste of time. They know that ensuring the military has the tools it needs isn't a game. Here's something else so many of our constituents know. What America needs right now is not a summer of filibusters. But a season of serious bipartisan solutions. That's what this defense bill before us represents, and that's what this new Congress has been doing all year. We've gotten a lot done. There's a lot more we can do, and if rank-and-file Democrats reject their leader's partisan gains in favor of keeping up the bipartisan work that got us to this point instead on a bill they joined with Republicans to pass in committee 22-4, 22-4, then that's just the kind of productive summer we can keep working toward."


Senator Reid: (10:16 AM)

  • Spoke on Dr. Billington.
    • "I admire and appreciate very much my friend, the Republican leader, mentioning Dr. James Billington. Friend of mine. I had a wonderful conversation with him yesterday. I wrote him a nice letter - at least I think so - talking about the work we've done together over these past three decades … His academic record is just really terrific. As a person, he is the best. We've traveled parts of the world with him."
  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The Republican leader is now using this bill, which should be focused on funding our troops to pull these ploys, these diverting, deceitful ploys on cybersecurity and the export-import bank. On cybersecurity, with the Republican leader's blessing, Senators Burr and McCain employed a rarely used device to get a cybersecurity amendment pending with no amendment. Then before any action was taken, the Republican leader quickly filed cloture. When the senate considered the 2012 cybersecurity bill, and we tried so hard to get that up, Senator McConnell complained about cloture being filed too quickly, which I did because they wouldn't let us move at all on the bill. In 2012, here's what he said, "The few days the bill was on the floor, the majority limited its consideration to debate only and then filed cloture." Continuing the quote, "but of course that's kind of par for the course around here. The notion that we should just roll over and waive through these bills without having a chance to approve them and that Democratic senators would be willing to be rolled in such a way is ridiculous, especially on a bill of this significance," by senator from Kentucky."
  • Spoke on the export-import bank.
    • "The Republican leader and his colleagues have reported opposition on a program that supports 165,000 American jobs, jobs here right in our country, many in their own states. Every state in the union benefits. Because they changed their opinion on a bank that returned $7 billion to the Treasury, our Treasury, it's a flip that would make a trapeze artist cringe. We haven't much time. The export-import bank expires at the end of this month. Last night's vote proves there is support. 65 senators voted in favor of support of the bank last month. I ask Republicans to understand where the real cynicism and hypocrisy lies in this chamber."

Hatch, Stabenow, Enzi, Gardner

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 11 2015 11:42 AM

Senator Hatch: (10:34 AM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "Without T.P.A. in place, our negotiating partners have no guarantees that the deal they sign will be one Congress will consider. Without those guarantees, they are less likely to put their best offers on the table, because they will have no assurance that our country can deliver on the deal or any deal they enter into with us. And make no mistake, we need to get good deals at the negotiating table. More than 95% of the world's consumers live outside of our country, the United States. If our farmers, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs are going to compete on the world stage, they need access to these customers. History has shown that high standard free trade agreements expand market access for U.S. exporters and reduce our trade deficits. Most importantly, they grow our economy and create good, high-paying jobs for workers here at home and improve living standards for our citizens and for our trading partners. If the U.S. is going to advance its values and interests in the international marketplace, we need to be writing the rules and setting the standards. We cannot do that if we are sitting on the sidelines."


Senator Stabenow: (10:50 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "It puts an expiration date on the tax credits that make health coverage affordable. Conveniently enough, though, it extends the tax cuts until after the 2016 election. And there's the real danger that when the guarantee of these tax cuts expires in September, 2017, they will not be renewed. By putting that expiration date after the election, it's clear that this bill's first priority isn't finding a way to make health care affordable. Its priority is delaying a massive tax increase until after the election. Its priority is to win election first, dismantle affordable health care coverage second. My hope and frankly my prayer is that the court recognizes what I know to be true, what I know to be true, that the language of this law is consistent with the original intent, which is clear from the very first words of the law."


Senator Enzi: (11:21 AM)

  • Spoke on the Environmental Protection Agency.
    • "Now the administration's moving forward on a back-door cap and tax proposal. They believe the best way to reach their goals at promoting alternative energy sources is to make current sources more and more expensive to produce and to use. This hurts consumers, it hurts jobs, it hurts the economy. It's a simple fact - make it more expensive to mine coal and the coal industry will be less profitable. Make it more expensive to use coal to produce energy and consumers will see a hit on their energy bills each and every month. Make it more difficult to turn a profit with coal and coal workers find themselves with fewer benefits, less job security and a lot less employment, which costs the government for unemployment."


Senator Gardner: (11:29 AM)

  • Spoke on coal.  
    • "In the case of the Colowyo Mine, the 2007 permit is being brought into question by federal court that has given this mine 120 days, the office of surface mining, 120 days to rectify a decision made back in 2007, a court case brought eight years after the 2007 permit was granted, if the 120 days go by and the court decides that the review wasn't complete by the office of surface mining it could result in a shutdown of the Colowyo Mine. As you mentioned this will result in 220 layoffs. Communities in person Colorado of Craig and Meeker will be devastated. This mine is responsible for about $200 million in economic impact to western Colorado, it pays millions, almost $10 million to the federal government in terms of taxes. It pays about a million dollars to the state of Colorado in terms of severance taxes."

McCain, Vitter, Schumer, Rounds, Cotton

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 11 2015 12:33 PM

Senator McCain: (11:35 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "There is no argument for the continued purchase of these rocket engines from the Russians, from Vladimir Putin and his cronies. One of whom is involved in the management, who has been sanctioned by the United States of America. I have confidence that America is capable of building our own rocket engines, and I am confident that we can do that in a reasonable period of time, like one to two years. For us to commit to continued use of these rocket engines and making millions and millions of dollars - in this case $300 million - for Vladimir Putin and his cronies is - the question has to be asked of individuals who want to continue the purchase of these rocket engines from this Russian shell company, why do you want to help Vladimir Putin?"


Senator Vitter: (12:03 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "It deals with brigade combat teams in the Army, making sure we don't cut through fat into meat and bone with regard to that essential part of our force, and I urge bipartisan support of this commonsense amendment in the underlying bill. There's already language that does similar things on the Air Force side and on the Navy side with regard to major, significant, key units in those forces, and it's the same principal that would be applying to the army's brigade combat teams. And this amendment is strongly supported by the national organizations built around both the Army National Guard and the regular Army."


Senator Schumer: (12:06 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "If the Republican leader truly wants a season of bipartisan solutions, well, the winds are blowing in one direction. Sit down with Democrats and let's start negotiating a sensible budget and let's start doing it now. We're ready to sit down this afternoon. We're ready to sit down at any moment that he gives us a signal. Let's get in the room and start the real work of finding bipartisan agreement on the budget. Plain and simple. And one other thing. When the American people ask why is Washington so gridlocked, just look how the majority leader is handling one of the most important parts of what the government does. Where the dollars go. There's gridlock when one side insists it has to get all of its way and not sit down with the other side."


Senator Rounds: (12:14 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I'm proud of my colleagues who serve with me on the Armed Services Committee for coming together to achieve a truly bipartisan, comprehensive bill. Our bill will support our troops and meet the demands of a military that needs to continue its dynamic evolution in the face of ever-more sophisticated threats. I was pleased that a number of the provisions I offered were included in the package we are debating today. Now that we've completed our work in committee and Leader McConnell has brought our bill to the full Senate for debate, we must come together to pass the NDAA, as the Senate has done each year for more than five decades."


Senator Cotton: (12:20 PM)

  • Spoke on Israel.
    • "Earlier this week, the Supreme Court wrongly decided the case of Zbetosky V. Kerry, a decision that impairs Congress' role in foreign policy and is an affront to our close ally Israel. The case concerned the executive branch's refusal to implement a law passed by Congress. The law required State Department officials to offer U.S. persons born in Jerusalem the option of listing Israel as their location of birth on passports and other consular documents. The State Department's practice had been to list the place of birth only as Jerusalem, reflecting the president's policy of not recognizing any national sovereign authority over the holy city. Despite the fact that the president signed the statute into law, the executive branch has fought tooth and nail for 13 years to free itself from what it viewed as the heavy burden of writing the word "Israel" on one line in a tiny number of U.S. passports. And it argued its case all the way to the Supreme Court."

Cardin, Menendez, Flake, Inhofe

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 11 2015 02:40 PM

Senator Cardin: (12:31 PM)

  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "The challenge is, can we find the revenue. And, of course, there we need to work together as Democrats and Republicans. I come to the floor to urge my colleagues, let's work together. That's what the American people expect us to do. They expect us to work together to solve a problem. I don't think there's a member of the Senate who would disagree we should have a robust reauthorization of a six-year transportation program for this country. That our states need it, our country needs it, and we need it for our economy. Let's put aside our own individual differences, let's sit down, work out a bill, let's start working out now, let's not wait to the next deadline."


Senator Menendez: (12:53 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "There's no instantaneous snap-back of we'll put the sanctions back and they'll have effect immediately. You have to tell the world, you have to give them notice that in fact there are sanctions back in effect. You can tell companies that went and did business, you've got to give them time to disinvest from those businesses. And by the time you add that, if experience is a good barometer, we gave at a minimum six months leave time to tell the world this is going to be a sanctionable activity. And then by the time we actually pursued enforcement and implementation of those far beyond close to a year, well that happens to be the time that we're supposedly vying for breakout time. So I am going to continue to come to the floor to continue to shed a spotlight on the challenges that we have with Iran, on the shortcomings of the interim agreement as we hope for a good final agreement."


Senator Flake: (1:10 PM)

  • Spoke on earmarks.
    • "Not a year after the earmark ban was implemented in the Senate, the then-majority leader proclaimed "I've done earmarks all my career, and I'm happy I've done earmarks all my career." Others from both sides of the aisle have argued that a return to earmarking would help to lard up or incentivize votes. But taxpayers don't exist for political horse trading, nor as a reward for powerful members to dole out as tribute. Taxpayers need to remain vigilant against all these kinds of parochial spending that we cannot return to work as we knew it. Now, the moratorium on earmarks in 2010 did put an end to these kind of shenanigans, but as readers of Jurassic Pork will see, the spending on their legacy continues. Now, taxpayers have already seen the end of this movie. We don't need to be treated to a sequel."


Senator Inhofe: (2:21 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "It is an amendment that already has about 21 cosponsors. There was a provision in the bill in the Senate that has to do with commissaries. It is viewed upon as privatizing commissaries. It is not really that. All it is, is an attempt to evaluate the idea of the commissaries being privatized by using five commissaries as test cells to see what kind of result we would get if we did privatize those. Now, what we're doing with my amendment is taking that language out and allowing us to go ahead and do the assessment before we do that. It wouldn't make sense to me that if we wanted to get this done, even if we felt very passionate about privatizing, that we would do it before we had an assessment. So the assessment would be in there first."

McCain (UC), Reid, McConnell (UC)

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 11 2015 03:10 PM

Senator McCain: (2:41 PM)

Unanimous Consent –

  • At 3:00 PM, the Senate VOTE on McCain for Burr Amendment #1569 (re: criminal background and cyber security), as amended, to H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.
  • The Senate call up the following amendments:
  1. Ernst Amendment #1549;
  2. Gillibrand Amendment #1578;
  3. Whitehouse Amendment #1693;
  4. Fischer-Booker Amendment #1825;
  5. Collins Amendment #1660; and
  6. Cardin Amendment #1468.
  • Tuesday, June 16, at 11:00 AM, the Senate VOTE on the following amendments to H.R. 1735:
  1. Fischer-Booker Amendment #1825;
  2. Collins Amendment #1660;
  3. Cardin Amendment #1468;
  4. Gillibrand Amendment #1578;
  5. Ernst Amendment #1549;
  6. Whitehouse Amendment #1693;
  7. Durbin Amendment #1559, as modified; and
  8. Paul Amendment #1543.
  • The amendments be subject to a 60-vote affirmative threshold.
  • Tuesday, June 16, at 3:00 PM, the Senate VOTE on the motion to invoke cloture on McCain Substitute Amendment #1463.
  • (Senator Reid objects)


Senator Reid: (2:42 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "We believe it is an important part of what we need to do, but we should take time to do it right. We should not tacking this important piece of legislation on a bill the president has always said he's going to veto, just so the Republicans are blame Obama for vetoing this bill as well. If the majority would withdraw this cyber amendment and agree to take it up after this bill and we'd do it in a couple days and we could return to working on the defense bill. We cannot take up all these new amendments the chairman of the committee wants to take votes on until we solve this issue."


Senator McConnell: (2:56 PM)

Unanimous Consent –

  • At 3:00 PM, the Senate to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on McCain for Burr Amendment #1569 (re: criminal background and cyber security), as modified, to H.R.1735.
  • (Without objection)
  • Spoke on cybersecurity.
    • "The new Congress has been asked to act and today we are, with a good, strong, transparent, bipartisan measure that is been thoroughly vetted by both parties in committee and that's been available online for months, literally months, for anyone to read. It was endorsed by nearly every Democrat and every Republican in the Intelligence Committee 14-1. It is also backed by a broad coalition of supporters, everyone from the Chamber of Commerce to the U.S. Telecom Association. It's legislation that's all about protecting our country, which is why it makes perfect sense to consider it alongside defense legislation with the very same aim. Cybersecurity amendments can be offered and the debate will continue. So let's work together to advance this measure."

Vote Results (Cloture on McCain Amendment)

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 11 2015 03:31 PM

Not invoked, 56-40:

Cloture on McCain for Burr Amendment #1569 (re: criminal background and cyber security), as modified, to H.R.1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.

The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Sanders, Peters, Cornyn, Toomey

Morning Business

Jun 11 2015 04:42 PM

Senator Sanders: (3:33 PM)

  • Spoke on paid time off.
    • "I am introducing legislation today to require employers to provide at least ten days of paid vacation to workers in this country. This is already done in almost every other major country on Earth, and it is one more way to demonstrate our commitment to real family values. So what we are saying is that if families are overworked, if husbands and wives don't even have the time to spend together with their kids, what family values are about is that at least for two weeks a year people can come together under a relaxed environment and enjoy the family. That is a family value that I want to see happen in this country. The time is long overdue for us to start talking about real family values, not about abortion, not about gay rights, but the values that the American people want to see inscribed in law to protect their families."


Senator Peters: (3:46 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This amendment will authorize joint research and development with Israel on anti-tunnel capabilities. This joint approach will help us work together on research and development against this shared threat. The amendment requires Israel to share in the cost of this research and provides a framework for sharing intellectual property developed together before action is carried out. This amendment would allow the Department of Defense to work with Israel to develop a capability that will be used to protect our homeland and our troops abroad as well as those of our ally. This amendment will make clear that joint research and development on anti-tunnel capability can and should be part of our security cooperation with Israel."


Senator Cornyn: (4:04 PM)

  • Spoke on cybersecurity.
    • "So I hope that the seven Democrats who actually voted to proceed on this cybersecurity bill will get some more allies. I can tell that not all of our friends across the aisle are comfortable with the Democratic leader's direction to block this cybersecurity legislation, and perhaps over the weekend, some will have second thoughts. And I hope as they have those second thoughts they will focus on our collective duty, to our troops and their families and to our duty as members of the United States Senate, to promote and protect the security of the American people. So let's get back to basics. Let's do what the American people elected us to do by voting on a bipartisan bill that will protect our country and provide for our troops."


Senator Toomey: (4:23 PM)

  • Spoke on the Baltimore riots.
    • "How many police lives are we going to sacrifice for this? One? 20? 100? This is outrageous. Each day across America there are 780,000 law enforcement officers who put on a badge and a uniform and they answer the call of those in need no matter the danger. When others run away, they run to the problem. And the rest of us in America rely on these law enforcement officers doing their job. The people who live in high crime areas often ethnic minorities living in high poverty areas of our inner cities, these are the folks who most depend on those officers. And when those officers are held back, we all pay a steep price but the res residents of those communities pay the steepest price. I just hope we in the federal government will stop putting obstacles in the way of law enforcement and start supporting them. I hope we as a nation will stop scapegoating law enforcement and start thanking them. If we fail to reverse the Ferguson effect what we will see is more violent crime and more suffering of our people."

Boozman, Heitkamp, Sullivan

Morning Business

Jun 11 2015 06:01 PM

Senator Boozman: (4:44 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "We live in a dangerous world. We have to stay ahead of those who would seek to harm us, not fall behind them. This is no time to be dismissive of our national security needs. It's also about the livelihood of over 1.4 million men and women on active duty and 718,000 civilian personnel. We're talking about the nation's largest employer. The NDAA help us ensure we're doing everything we need to help them. So I think we can all agree that there's much in this bill that needs to get done. Unfortunately, the White House is taking what should be a bipartisan bill and using it to push for its own political end game, to increase domestic spending and, worse yet, the president has somehow convinced Senate Democrats to go along with this misguided strategy."


Senator Heitkamp: (5:14 PM)

  • Spoke on Vietnam veterans.
    • "Today, as I have for a number of weeks, I rise to speak about 11 North Dakotans who did not come home from the Vietnam War. Each of these men gave his life for our country. Before I begin speaking about the 198 North Dakotans who died during Vietnam, I want to thank my great friend, bill Anderson, of Rutland, North Dakota. Bill is a marine, and he's a veteran of the Vietnam War."


Senator Sullivan: (5:42 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "If leaders on the other side of the aisle believe that protecting the country, taking care of the men and women in uniform, and keeping our promises to them is a waste of time, then we don't belong to different parties; we belong in different universes. In this world, in this universe, in the U.S. Senate, our most important job is to protect this country, and to take care of the men and women who so courageously serve our country. It's not a waste of time to be doing that. It's the most important thing we're sent here to do. We took on oath. We swore to solemnly defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That's what this bill does, and that's what we, members on both sides, are trying to do in terms of improving it with amendments."

Wrap Up (The Senate Stands Adjourned)

Wrap Up

Jun 11 2015 06:25 PM

Monday, June 15 –

  • The Senate will convene at 2:00 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.
  • At 4:00 PM, there is a filing deadline for all first-degree amendments to both H.R. 1735, and McCain Substitute Amendment #1463.
  • At 5:30 PM, the Senate will conduct up to two confirmation VOTES on:
  1. Executive Calendar #131, Matthew T. McGuire, to be United States executive director of the International Bank for reconstruction and development; and
  2. Executive Calendar #132, Gentry O. Smith, to be director of the Office of Foreign Missions.