Reed, McCain, Nelson, Merkley, Burr

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Senator Reed: (11:57 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "My proposal is certainly just to fence the additional O.C.O. money until we could in fact collectively as a Congress, what we have to do and what so many people both sides have argued, until we could repeal, reform, modify, extend the Budget Control Act, much as we did due to the great efforts of Senator Murray and Congressman Ryan, which gave us the head room to actually pass legislation, not just the Department of Defense but in other agencies, that allowed us to continue the work of the government and allowed us to protect the nation. My proposal in the committee did not succeed, but I will renew that request. We have, I think, made great progress in the legislation. I think the last step is to get us into the position where we have essentially recognized that the B.C.A. caps has to be limited."


Senator McCain: (12:39 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I am told by the majority leader that he would like to have this legislation completed by the end of next week. That means that we have a lot of work to do. We already have a number of amendments that have been filed. I would ask my colleagues to have their amendments in hopefully by, say, tomorrow afternoon when the senator from Rhode Island and I will ask unanimous consent that no further amendments be considered. We want to give every senator an opportunity to have their amendments thoroughly vetted and debated and voted on, if that's their desire."


Senator Nelson: (12:42 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "If we continue to budget like this, not only in defense but in non-defense as well, non-defense areas that directly affect defense, what do I mean? The Coast Guard, the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the D.E.A., customs, border patrol, air traffic control, T.S.A., all things in the federal government that are going to be under this artificial meat-ax approach of cutting across the board, all of those agencies directly affect the national security. And so what we have been doing is artificially avoiding what is the obvious. It's sequestration. It's this meat-ax cut across the board. So I want us, as we discuss this budget now highlighted first by Senator Reed, it's time for us to start talking about how we're going to get rid of the sequester."


Senator Merkley: (12:51 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.  
    • "Yesterday we passed the U.S.A. FREEDOM Act, and it was quickly signed by our president because it was so important to put it in place. And it contained two items that I want to draw particular attention to. One is that there should be no secret spying on U.S. citizens here in the United States of America. And, second, there should be no secret laws here in the United States of America. And these two items are very closely connected together. Our nation was founded upon the principles of liberty and freedom. Fundamental to the exercise of those principles is the right to privacy, to be free from unreasonable intrusions."


Senator Burr: (1:04 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.  
    • "I couldn't let the statements that were just made go without a degree of fact check. There is no secret court. Secret court means we don't know it exists. The every member of the United States Senate, every American knows that the FISA court exists. And the FISA court exists because, just like this body, the Senate of the United States, when we take up classified, top-secret legislation, we shut these doors, we clear the gallery, we cut the TV off because it can't be heard in public. As a matter of fact, every court in the country operates in secret sometimes when they've got sensitive information that can't be shared. I wish my colleague would say which can't be shared, can't be shared because it can't be public. There's some things that don't meet that classification, and to get up here and talk about secret courts and secret laws, we pass the laws, and the courts enforce the laws, and they're challenged, and we've got committees and we've got members that do oversight. And it is unfactual to stand on this floor and say we've got secret courts and secret laws. That's why the Senate and the House made a mistake this week."