Rubio, Udall, Durbin, Menendez

Vehicle for Iran Nuclear Bill (H.R. 1191)

Senator Rubio: (12:10 PM)

  • Spoke on NSA.
    • "Let me just back up and point out why are we even having this debate other than the fact that it is expiring? And it is because a perception that be created, including by political figures that serve in this chamber, that the United States government is listening to your phone calls or going through your bills as a matter of course. That is absolutely categorically false. The next time that any politician - senator, congressman, talkinghead, whatever it may be - stands up and says that the U.S. government is listening to your phone calls or going through your phone records, they're lying. This just is not true. Except for some very isolated instances - in the hundreds -- of individuals for whom there is reasonable suspicion that they could have links to terrorism … One day - I hope that I'm wrong - but one day there will be an attack that's successful. And the first question out of everyone's mouth is going to be, why didn't we know about it? And the answer better not be because this Congress failed to authorize a program that might have helped us know about it. These people are not playing games. They don't go on these web sites and say the things they say for purposes of aggrandizement. This is a serious threat and I hope we reauthorize this bill."

 

Senator Udall: (12:16 PM)

  • Spoke on the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act for the 21st Century.
    • "First, the manufacture of a new chemical cannot begin until E.P.A. approves it. More than 700 new chemicals come into commerce each year. Our bill gives E.P.A. the time it needs and keeps these chemicals out of American homes in the meantime. Second, current TSCA has no requirement for evaluating existing chemicals. None. Our bill does and includes deadlines. Even more aggressive than the E.P.A. itself said it was ready for. Third, we require a stronger safety standard for all chemicals to be evaluated. No longer will E.P.A. be required to choose the least burdensome regulation. Its criteria will be safety, science and public health -- never cost or convenience. Fourth, our bill requires for the first time that the E.P.A. protect our most vulnerable populations: Pregnant women, infants, the elderly and workers from chemicals in commerce or manufacturing. Fifth, TSCA is silent on animal welfare in testing. The Lautenberg Act minimizes animal testing and develops a strategy to do so. Finally, we limit the protection of confidential business information so that business can't hide information from the public."

 

Senator Durbin: (12:25 PM)

  • Spoke on for-profit colleges.
    • "There comes a point where we're supposed to step in. The government is supposed to step in. This is our money. Hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers going to these rotten schools that are abusing children, leaving them deeply in debt and then going out of business. Oh, and you shouldn't be surprised, the C.E.O.'s of these schools, they do quite well. The C.E.O.'s of Corinthians went bankrupt, $3 million a year. Not bad, huh? Not bad for what turned out to be a fraudulent enterprise. That's why this week I've joined with several of my colleagues. We sent a letter to the Department of Justice. The Department of Education said we don't know how to go after these individual wrongdoers at these for-profit college corporations. So we said to the attorney general, we hope you will investigate this, look at it. If you cheat on your income tax or defraud the government you'll be held responsible pour for it. Why shouldn't these people who took hundreds of millions of dollars not only from federal taxpayers but at the expense of students burdened with the debt of their schools also be investigated? I think it only stands to reason they should be."

 

Senator Udall: (12:42 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "I will opposite any amendments to the Corker-Menendez bill that would tie the president's hands. Efforts such as the letter sent by 47 members of this body and other efforts to derail negotiations only serve to confound and weaken our position. Politics must stop at the water's edge. The Senate will have ample time to review any agreement and to approve or reject any agreement but our debate is within these halls. It is with each other and with our fellow senators and with our president. The ayatollah has no place in that debate. The Congress should give the president the room he needs to negotiate. This is a world of imperfect choices. And if negotiations fail, make no mistake, our options are limited and likely costly. We are dealing with an unstable region."

 

Senator Menendez: (12:48 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "I say all of those concerns to say to my colleagues even though I passionately believe that this legislation is critical for us, it is not that I don't have concerns, but this legislation is the vehicle by which we can judge. Now maybe these issues will be resolved in a negotiation. I don't know. But ultimately without this vehicle, we have no final say on an agreement, and we have no oversight role established for compliance. I'm concerned that the sanctions relief can, comes without what appears to be a broader Iran policy in terms of how do we contain its acts of terrorism. It clearly is the largest state-sponsored terrorism. We see its hegemonic interest, as a major patron of Assad in Syria, what is happening in Yemen, what is happening in different parts of the region. I'm concerned about its missile technology. There are a lot of elements here of concern at the end of the day. And I would say to my colleagues who feel passionately about some of these amendments that they have offered, this isn't the only bill on which we can consider those things."