Cornyn, Stabenow, Durbin, Sessions, McCain, Reed

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Senator Cornyn: (2:15 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "My amendment would allow us to see the big picture when it comes to just how dependent our allies in the region are on nations that wield their energy supply as a weapon. I just want to make clear, my amendment would not change any of the current law. It simply restates the current authority that the president has in his discretion to allow crude oil and natural gas exports, if determined to be consistent with the national interest. And I would say even though Russia and Europe and NATO are the primary focus, this is not just limited to NATO. It could include allies, important allies of ours in the Middle East like Israel as well. My amendment reiterates that existing authority and it encourages the president to use it to help reduce the vulnerabilities of our allies in Europe and around the world when it's determined to be in our national interest. It doesn't add to that authority, and it doesn't constrain it either."

 

Senator Stabenow: (2:30 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Senator Reed has put forward an amendment that would guarantee we would not only think of security in the context of the Department of Defense, but that we would understand that it is throughout the federal government. All of the various services coming together from border security, cybersecurity, counterterrorism, local police and firefighters on the front lines, the ability to stop weapons of mass destruction, airport security, Ebola protection with the Centers for Disease Control, and so much more. The people of the country understand that it's not just about the Department of Defense, and certainly we need to make sure that even within the Department of Defense budget that we are doing more than budget gimmicks, certainly our troops deserve that."

 

Senator Durbin: (2:41 PM)

  • Spoke on for-profit colleges.
    • "I think we ought to be a lot tougher, holding them accountable for what they've done to these students and their families, holding them accountable to what they've done to taxpayers. You know what happened to Corinthian after it became clear they were lying to us? $1 billion, $1 billion, Mr. And Mrs. Taxpayer. And there are schools like that, unfortunately, across this country. The last point I'll make on this, speaking to the secretary of education and others, the real losers many times are also veterans - veterans. The G.I. Bill. We offered to veterans after they've served our country, the chance to get an education and make a life. They use it, sadly, at worthless colleges and universities. They have a used up a once-in-a--lifetime opportunity. They're left with a debt and a promise that this education will lead to something."

 

Senator Sessions: (2:48 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I have to tell you, colleagues, both the president, our Democratic members, and Republican members believe we're going to have to increase our defense budget. So what is the problem? The problem is, our colleagues are saying, well, you can't increase defense unless you increase non-defense by the same amount. How silly is that? Imagine you got a tight budget at home, a tree falls on your house, emergency, you have to go out and find money, borrow money to fix the roof. Does that mean now you're going to spend twice as much on your vacation? Going to go out and buy a new car you didn't plan to buy because you had to spend more money to fix the house? How irresponsible is that? It's unbelievable to me. This is exactly what is occurring."

 

Senator McCain: (2:55 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This was the product of a bipartisan compromise and it was the most we could responsibly do in the committee to recognize the need for a broader fiscal agreement without denying funding for our military. Every one of us has a constitutional duty to provide for the common defense, and as chairman of this Armed Services Committee, this is my highest responsibility. Funding our national defense with O.C.O. is not ideal but it's far better than the alternative, which is to deny the men and women in uniform $38 billion that they desperately need now, $38 billion that the president requested and $38 billion without which our military leaders have said they cannot succeed. Regrettably, this is what this amendment would do, and I oppose it."

 

Senator Reed: (3:01 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "If this was a one-year temporary fix, you might justify it. But what we're seeing is a pathway that's going to take us every year. More O.C.O., more O.C.O., and more interesting and more remote use of O.C.O. funds. That's the way, unfortunately, it tends to be around here. You go where the money is. And right now the money is in O.C.O. and I think we should step back and do what the chairman has said. We have to fix it. And he is committed to fixing it, but we have to begin now. We have to make the case now. We can't simply sit back and say, well, we'll take it up later."