Cornyn, Heinrich, McConnell, Reed, McCain

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Senator Cornyn: (12:07 PM)

  • Spoke on the defense appropriations bill.
    • "I believe that to be consistent after such a big vote, as I anticipate we will have on the defense authorization bill, that any notion of blocking the appropriations bill that would actually pay for those policies to be carried out should simply evaporate. I hope our colleagues across the aisle, many of whom have said they actually support the policies behind this legislation, would defy their party's leadership and their misguided advice about blocking this legislation in order to extract a negotiation on more government spending and would decide instead to move this legislation forward. The brave men and women in Texas and throughout the country who are fighting on our behalf deserve nothing less. And I hope our colleagues who are even considering for a moment the idea of blocking the funding that would actually help pay our troops would reconsider and cast their vote in support of the troops and not cast their vote in favor of some cynical political strategy which will undermine our support for our troops."

 

Senator Heinrich: (12:34 PM)

  • Spoke on immigration.
    • "That bill would have modernized our immigration system to meet the needs of our economy, provided an accountable pathway to earned citizenship for the undocumented workers currently living in the shadows, including making the DREAM Act the law of the land, and it would have dramatically - dramatically -- strengthened security at our borders. Accountable immigration reform received 68 votes in this body and demonstrated the kind of legislation that we can pass when we do work together. As a nation, we value the twin promises of freedom and opportunity. Those ideals are important no matter where you were born. However, too many of my Republican colleagues don't see it that way. Several of them want to rescind or even defund DACA and to roll back the progress that we've seen made over the past three years. Why would we end such a successful program? What I would say to those who would do this is come back to the table. And work with us to pass immigration reform. We need pragmatic solutions to fix our broken immigration laws, and we need them now. Let's make the dream a reality after all.

 

Senator McConnell: (12:47 PM)

  • Spoke on the South Carolina shooting.
    • "This is a true tragedy that something like this could occur at a house of worship makes it even worse. It's always awful when one of these things happens, but to happen at a house of worship makes it even worse. Churches should be a place of refuge, a place where people feel safe and secure, a place of mercy, a place of compassion. The depth of loss these families must be feeling is simply awful. So I want the American people to know the Senate is thinking of them today and the victims that they love. We're also thinking of the entire congregation at this historic church. We'll continue to do so as more about this - we'll continue to do so as more about this tragedy is learned in the hours and days to come. But our hearts go out to the families who have been affected by this awful tragedy."

 

Senator Reed: (1:13 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "We had a very good debate, and I thank again the chairman for encouraging that debate, allowing it to take place and then coming to a vote. We lost 54-46. We had strong support on our side of the aisle, but it was a fair and full debate, and we lost. The result, though, is the problem remains. We are in a situation where if we continue down this pathway, we will see the O.C.O. account as an escape valve for defense where everyone else is subject to sequestration. And I don't think that's good. I don't think it's good to defense. It's certainly not good for these other agencies and it's not good for our national security. There are many that say don't worry about that. This is just an authorization bill, that the appropriations bill is where we'll have the appropriate discussion and debate. I think that's going to happen. But my view is that if authorization and appropriations are so closely related that we couldn't ignore one and we couldn't ignore this."

 

Senator McCain: (1:24 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I would just remind my friend, however, the title of this legislation is to authorize appropriations. To authorize appropriations. Not to appropriate, but to authorize appropriations. That is the task of the appropriations committee. And so, the O.C.O. issue which he and I are largely in agreement with, should have been repeal of sequestration. That is an issue that should be addressed where the authority lies in appropriations. Not in authorization. We can't increase our decrease a single penny of authorization except what was given to us through the budget committee process which was votes and decisions made on this floor on the budget. So I say with respect and friendship, if there is a problem here, it's not with the authorization. It's not with the authorization. We don't spend a penny. We authorize the expenditure of money, and that is an issue that my friend from Rhode Island and I disagree with."