Fischer, Gillibrand, Ayotte, Wicker, Sanders, Stabenow

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Senator Fischer: (3:50 PM)

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


Senator Gillibrand: (4:08 PM)

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


Senator Ayotte: (4:12 PM)

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


Senator Wicker: (4:29 PM)

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


Senator Sanders: (4:42 PM)

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


Senator Stabenow: (4:40 PM)

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