Wednesday, Jun. 17, 2015

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Jun 17 2015 09:32 AM

The Senate convened.

McConnell, Reid

Opening Remarks

Jun 17 2015 09:53 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.
  • Note: Cloture has been filed on the motion to proceed to H.R. 2685, the Defense Appropriations bill.


Senator McConnell: (9:32 AM)

  • Spoke on the defense appropriations bill.
    • "One democratic friend called the appropriation bill a key investment in our national security that funds a number of Hawaii's defense needs. Another Democrat noted it would fund a program that's one of her top priorities. And here's what another Democrat said of the bill, "it will directly protect and grow Connecticut's defense manufacturing industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it supports across our state." And he went on to say "it will implement a well-deserved pay raise for our troops who put their lives on the line each and every day." He concluded by saying "it's a victory for Connecticut," a victory for Connecticut. Now, there is a rousing endorsement of the bill we'll vote on tomorrow. It's no wonder each of these Democratic colleagues voted to endorse the appropriation bill. It's good news for our troops and for their families. It's good news for our country. These Democratic friends must not want to see a victory for Connecticut squashed or one of their top priorities sacrificed for the sake of some ploy to funnel a few more dollars to Washington's big bureaucracies."


Senator Reid: (9:39 AM)

  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • "Having a secure nation also is to make sure we have a good education system, we have a good transportation system, we have a good program to maintain research for health. The most famous in the history of the world organization for investigating disease, national institutes of health, and we know what sequestration did to them once, and they're about to do it again if this little magic game the Republican leader is engineering goes on. They will be cut, just like everybody else, just not defense. And the one thing he fails to mention is the fact that it's all borrowed money. $100 billion, approximately, to get this, what he wants done, is borrowed money, this so-called Overseas Contingency Fund. So, we're going to do what we think is appropriate for the country."
  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "We need a Republican party that sees what President Eisenhower saw 50 years ago, half a century ago, that investing in our infrastructure is a shot in the arm to our economy. There are thousands of shovel ready jobs waiting for Congress to act. On the other hand, if we fail to meet our infrastructure needs, it will be catastrophic. The American Society of Civil Engineers predicts our economy would lose $1 trillion unless we invest in surface transportation. $1 trillion. Let's not forget the safety implications of sitting on our hands. Half of our roads are in poor condition. Tens of thousands of bridges across the country are structurally deficient, railroads are without important life-saving breaking systems and need to be refurbished and parts of them reinvented. Doing nothing is not and should not be an option."

Peters, Durbin, Barrasso, Isakson, Coats, McCain

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 17 2015 11:13 AM

Senator Peters: (9:51 AM)

  • Spoke on his maiden speech.
    • "Federal investment in research and development is just that, an investment that has paid off many times over. Investment in research supports the new technologies and industries of the future, drives job creation and produces technologies critical to our national security. Necessary federal investment in infrastructure and innovation is only possible if those of us here in Congress take our jobs seriously as stewards of taxpayer dollars and look for places to end unnecessary wasteful spending. We also will not be able to accomplish anything without embracing pragmatism and bipartisanship. We cannot focus on whether ideas come from a Republican or a Democrat. We need to focus only on whether the idea has merit and is good for the country."


Senator Durbin: (10:11 AM)

  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • "Sequestration is a mindless cut when it comes to education and health care and medical research I mentioned earlier. So Democrats are saying to Republicans here we are on June 17, our fiscal year ends on October 1, let us not wait until the last minute to sit down and work out this problem. But what we hear from the other side of the aisle is we're not going to do it. We're just going to ignore it. That's the problem in Washington. When you don't face challenges squarely, honestly, on a bipartisan basis. So here's what's likely to occur this week. We're going to vote for an authorization bill on the Department of Defense. Some of us will oppose the way it's being funded, but others will vote for it. And then we'll come to the defense appropriation bill and I think what you will find is a unified effort on the Democratic side to say to the Republicans now is the time to sit down."


Senator Barrasso: (10:22 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "One person said their company is requesting an increase of 14.3% in Connecticut. Democrats say the average may be only 4%. Some people will be paying over 14% more next year. The person asks, does the average worker get a 14% salary increase? That's not what the people of Michigan or Washington or Connecticut or anywhere else thought they were going to get when Democrats called the law the Affordable Care Act. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, the Supreme Court is going to decide whether it's legal or not for President Obama to spend some of the billions of taxpayer dollars that he's been spending on the health care law. Now, the decision could affect more than 6 million Americans. Republicans have been watching this case very closely. We've been working on ideas to protect these people and to protect all Americans from the damages caused by the president's health care law."


Senator Isakson: (10:31 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "So as we look at the results of what's going to happen with King V. Burwell if king is ruled in favor and the courts throw out the subsidies on the Affordable Care Act, we need to first of all do no harm, that nobody immediately loses insurance that they planned on. We need to keep the promise President Obama made and never kept. That's number one. In you be two, we need to get everybody in the same room, Republicans and Democrats alike, providers and beneficiaries alike and let's build a health care system for the 21st century for America. That rewards the best health care system in the world by allowing it to innovate, by encouraging it to compete and not by making arbitrary decisions on cost and taxation which drive people out of the marketplace and out of business."


Senator Coats: (10:38 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I have offered amendment 1877 which both require the secretary of the Navy to submit to both House and Senate Armed Services Committees a report detailing the potential impacts to the industrial base if the July, 2017, start date for the refueling and complex overhaul of the U.S.S. George Washington is delayed by six months, one year or two years. As we have learned last year, when the administration briefly considered postponing the scheduled overhaul of the U.S.S. George Washington, is that such delays only drive up costs because of the uncertainty it creates among the industrial base. I hope to avoid a repeat of this mistake by requiring the Navy to report on the true costs of any delay, and I hope the Senate will agree to this amendment."


Senator McCain: (10:54 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "For the amount of money that Congress appropriated for medical research last year, at the Department of Defense, again, most of which had nothing to do with the military and which the department did not request, we could have bought 12 f-18 super-hornets, or roughly one army brigade combat team. My friends in these days of sequestration, that is not acceptable. Once again, once again, I am sure every member of this body agrees that this research is vitally important to Americans suffering from these diseases, to the families and friends who care for them and to all those who know the pain and grief of losing a loved one. But this research should not be funded by the Department of Defense. It belongs in civilian departments and agencies of our government. Appropriating money in this way only harms our national security by reducing the funding available for militarily relevant materials that helps protect men and women on the battlefield and for military capabilities they desperately need to perform their missions."

Schumer, Cardin, Whitehouse, Menendez, Schatz

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 17 2015 01:48 PM

Senator Schumer: (12:15 PM)

  • Spoke on immigration.
    • "In my home state, dreamers like Kersi are doing amazing thing, studying medicine, working at start-up tech companies and more. If Republicans in the House had their way, these talented people would be putting their skills to use to compete against us rather than working to make America stronger. Like the millions who came here before them, like your ancestors, and my ancestors, they came here because they wanted to be Americans, not because they wanted to get a benefit, not because they wanted to be a leach on society. They wanted to be a full-fledged productive member of the society. Somehow these kids in the House -- I don't even know if they know who these kids are - want to stop that from happening. As we remember this anniversary, we should remember the real human stories behind the DACA program and think how our nation could be made better by sensible immigration reform now."


Senator Cardin: (12:22 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Institute of Health.  
    • "During an 18-month pilot project, the mind at home program helped participants stay safely in their homes for an average of 9.5 months longer than would have been otherwise possible while also improving their quality of life. We have an opportunity to improve the lives of millions of Americans suffering from Alzheimer's and the lives of their family members by building on the success of programs like mind at home. This June in honor of national Alzheimer's and brain awareness month, let us pledge to provide robust, sustained funding for N.I.H. so it can support much-needed research on this devastating disease and let us pledge to support innovative programs like mind at home to improve the quality of life of those currently living with Alzheimer's and their family caregivers."


Senator Whitehouse: (12:28 PM)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "We are now at the stage in the Republican presidential primary where candidates caper and grovel before the fossil fuel industry's political machine, hoping - hoping - that they will be the chosen beneficiaries of fossil fuel election spending. Remember, $900 million from just one group. It looks like that earns the industry a lot of graveling and capering. Eventually - eventually - the Republican Party is going to have to find its true voice on climate change. It can't continue indefinitely as the political arm of the fossil fuel industry in environment in which 80% of Americans want climate action and a majority of youth think that climate denial is ignorant, out of touch or crazy, according to words they selected in the poll. Ultimately the Republican Party is going to have to find its true voice. But until then, America is presented the unseemly spectacle of Republican presidential candidates fighting to have the best position on climate change money can buy."


Senator Menendez: (1:25 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "I am going to conclude but I will be back to point out the unfolding problems dealing with the Mullahs in Tehran, what it means to the national security of the United States, and to our allies in the Middle East and to the stability of the region and to what I am increasingly concerned is the moving of goal posts that move increasingly in the direction of Iran. I remember when we started off this conversation, these negotiations, Iraq, the plutonium reactor. We were told they will dismantle it or we will destroy it. Well, this agreement allows Iraq to continue, reconfigured somewhat but it can be reconfigured back. The president himself has said that there was no need for fordo. Deeply built under a mountain facility enrichment facility. If you want a peaceful nuclear facility program, you don't go deeply into a mountain to ultimately do enrichment, but that's what the Iranians did."


Senator Schatz: (1:39 PM)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "The facts are undeniable. Climate change is real. It's caused by humans. It's happening now, and it's solvable. One solution to climate change is putting a fair price on carbon pollution. Last week, Senator Whitehouse and I introduced a bill, S. 1548, to do just that and to return all of the revenue to American families and businesses. I want to thank Senator Whitehouse for his leadership on this bill, but we want a Republican dance partner. We want conservative leadership on this great challenge of our time. Climate change increases the severity and frequency of storms and natural disasters. This is not only a humanitarian problem but also an economic issue."

Boozman, Grassley, Nelson, Feinstein, Warner, Graham

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 17 2015 02:55 PM

Senator Boozman: (1:49 PM)

  • Spoke on the Environmental Protection Agency.
    • "Under this modest bipartisan legislation, the E.P.A. will be able to protect federal waters without expanding its power. I appreciate Senator Barrasso for his efforts. Last week my colleagues and I who serve on the environment and public works committee moved this legislation forward. This is a step in the right direction, to protecting the rights of landowners while protecting our nation's waters. I look forward to supporting this commonsense legislation on the senate floor and encouraging my colleagues to do the same. Congress must build on the progress that we've made toward better water quality and we can do this best by protecting the role of states, local communities, and private citizens to be a part of the process. "


Senator Grassley: (1:56 PM)

  • Spoke on the bill Transitions to Independence Act.
    • "The federal government can't just order states to do better. The Supreme Court's made that clear. The federal government needs to provide states the right incentives to achieve better outcomes. That is the goal of the bill that I'm introducing, Transition to Independence Act. This bill creates a five-year, ten-state Medicaid demonstration program. States participating in the demonstration program will receive Medicaid bonus payments for meeting achievement targets for individual integrated employment. Simply stated, as states move people with disabilities to integrated settings, they get more money. States can also achieve additional funding for agreeing to give up new congregate placements. States can achieve additional funding for ending vocational rehabilitation for congregate settings. States can achieve funding for taking action that will grow the work force serving people with disabilities. Finally, states can achieve funding for taking steps to improve interagency collaboration. Too much of our disability policies occur in isolated silos where people in charge of a policy don't talk to each other. So the basis of my legislation is the left hand ought to do what the right hand is doing."


Senator Nelson: (2:08 PM)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "Just last month, experts at C.B.O. estimated that with climate change, hurricane damage will skyrocket over the next 60 years. Why? As the Earth heats up, because when the sun rays reflect off the Earth and reflect back into space, if the greenhouse gases are there, they act as a shield. It traps the heat. Where does 90% of the heat go? It goes in the world's oceans. The hotter the water, the more fuel for a more ferocious hurricane. Floods, droughts, heat waves, sea level rise, wildfires, melting sea ice, these are costly and deadly consequences. And regardless of what it takes, the science, the economics, the corporate executives, the moral imperative, and the Pope, they've all called attention to let's not suffer the same fate as other canaries in the coal mine."


Senator Feinstein: (2:21 PM)

  • Spoke on the NBA championship.  
    • "It was an amazing performance. All season long Clay Thompson was an offensive dynamo stepping up when the team needed him most. And of course Dramond, Harrison Barnes and others and what a season for rookie coach Steve Kerr. He spent his whole life in basketball but only a hand full of months as coach under his belt. And he took an undersized team with little playoff experience all the way. It was a dream come true. I'd like to congratulate the Warriors owners as well as the team's president. I've had the privilege of meeting these three people. Oakland can be very proud of them, and they are building a new arena in San Francisco, so the whole bay area will have an opportunity to participate in this team's glory."


Senator Warner: (2:28 PM)

  • Spoke on technology.
    • "If we have an economy increasingly built on sharing and renting and not ownership, that could have tremendous ramifications. I mentioned five years ago no one had ever heard of Air BND or Uber. While we don't know what the disruptive technologies like tomorrow might look like, we know that same-day drone deliveries and 3-d printing are right around the corner. What we do know is this: That some version of this sharing economy is here to stay. As policy-makers, we need to ask the right questions, discuss the appropriate rules of the road, and how and when we need to get out of the way. Instead of trying to make this new economy look like the old, Washington should encourage more innovation. And we need to work to create more opportunities and more up-ward equal mobility for everyone."


Senator Graham: (2:45 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "There are three things the IAEA wants to look at before they can pass judgment over how far the nuclear military program has gone down the road and I can't imagine any deal that doesn't fully and completely answer every question about possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program. Because if you don't understand what they've done in the past, you don't know where you are in terms of going forward. You can't have a meaningful inspection regime until you understand what they tried to do in terms of a military dimension. So I really do appreciate Secretary Kerry calling me. The one thing we learned about the Iranians and their nuclear program, they cannot be trusted. They have lied, they have cheated at every turn. There can be no wiggle room. Anytime, anywhere inspections is absolutely a must. Understanding their possible military dimensions is an absolute ingredient along with others. So I'm glad I received this phone call from Secretary Kerry, but all of us need to be aware of who we're dealing with when it comes to the Iranians and get every I dotted and T crossed before you entertain a deal with the Iranians."

McCain (UC)

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 17 2015 03:04 PM

Senator McCain: (2:55 PM)

  • Unanimous Consent –
  • The time until 4:00 PM be equally divided.
  • At 4:00 PM, the Senate VOTE on the motion to invoke cloture on H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.
  • If cloture is invoked, the time count as if it was invoked at 10:00 PM tonight.
  • (Without objection)

King, Gardner, Hatch, McCain

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 17 2015 04:03 PM

Senator King: (2:57 PM)

  • Spoke on World Refugee Day.
    • "World refugee day is coming up Saturday and I'd like to highlight something that has come up spontaneously in one of our Maine cities that is making a difference in the lives of young people, particularly young refugees from Somalia, Sudan, and other African countries, helping them to expand their own horizons. As the roots of our refugee and immigrant population continue to grow stronger in Maine and in the process strengthen our communities, a group called Tree Street Youth is helping to nurture that growth one student at a time."


Senator Gardner: (3:10 PM)

  • Spoke on the Ports Act.
    • "The legislation I have introduced known as the Ports Act prevents this kind of economic disruption. The Ports Act would discourage disruptions at ports and incentivize speedy resolution by expanding the well known Taft-Hartley process. The president of the United States may not be willing to adequately protect the economic rights and interests of American citizens but the Ports Act would solve this by granting state governors Taft-Hartley powers currently reserved for the president. A governor from any state would have the opportunity to form a board of inquiry and start the Taft-Hartley process whenever a port labor dispute is causing economic harm. Once the board reports back any governor can petition formula courts to enjoin the slowdown or lockouts at their state."


Senator Hatch: (3:20 PM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "Despite the claims of uninformed critics, Republicans in Congress have been working for months to ensure a transition plan will be ready when the court delivers its ruling and make no mistake, we will do our best to be ready. At the same time, Republicans in both chambers have worked together to put forward substantive and workable alternatives that would permanently replace the president's health care law with reforms that increase patient choice and reduce the role of the federal government in health care. I'm a coauthor of one such plan, it's called the Patient Care Act. I along with Chairman Alexander and Upton in the House released the latest version of this plan earlier this year. The plan has gotten high marks from a number of analysts and publications. So while it's a common refrain among the supporters of Obamacare that chaos will ensue if the court rules against the federal government in king versus Burwell, the facts tell a much different story. Republicans in Congress will be ready to respond quickly and decisively to any possible outcome."


Senator McCain: (3:45 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Now at the behest of their leadership - and perhaps the president of the United States -- they are so torqued up about O.C.O. that they may vote against this legislation's passage, and that, my friends, is an abrogation of their responsibility of the men and women who are serving this country. And if they choose to vote against this legislation on the grounds that they are opposed to the funding mechanism used to do so, then they have their priorities up-side down, and I intend to tell the American people about it because I believe that we're not serving the men and women who are serving this country to the best of their ability, are not receiving the support that they need and deserve from the Congress - from the Senate of the United States of America."

Vote Results (Cloture)

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Jun 17 2015 04:59 PM

Invoked, 84-14:

Cloture on H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.

The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Wrap Up (The Senate Stands Adjourned), Moran

Wrap Up

Jun 17 2015 05:12 PM

Tomorrow –

  • The Senate will convene at 9:30 AM.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business for one hour, with Republicans controlling the first half and Democrats controlling the second half.
  • Following morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.
  • Note: Cloture has been filed on the motion to proceed to H.R. 2685, the Defense Appropriations bill.


Senator Moran: (4:59 PM)

  • Spoke on the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. 
    • "I rise this evening in support of more than 1,700 high school students who happen to be in our nation's capital in fact this week. They are part of the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. During this year's tour, students will participate in leadership training and gain firsthand insight into the legislative process. And those electric cooperatives that sponsor these kids coming to Washington, D.C. from my state, yours and every other state across the country, electric cooperatives are more than just polls and wires. They're about people and communities. And recognizing that youth are the future of those communities is what the rural electric cooperative program is all about."