Cornyn, Feinstein, Cotton, Sessions

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Senator Cornyn: (11:32 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This bipartisan bill which focuses squarely on the needs of our war fighters and authorizes funding at the same level that the president himself suggested, should not be held hostage to political gamesmanship. So I would encourage the more sensible members of our friends across the aisle to focus on the troops and their families, not the partisan agenda of their leadership. And pass this legislation and provide the funding that our troops need to continue to do their courageous work of keeping our country safe … The legislation that I've offered, the amendment I've offered on the underlying bill, simply reaffirms this existing authority of the president of the United States but encourages the president to not allow our adversaries, like Vladimir Putin to use energy supply for vulnerable countries in Europe as a weapon."

 

Senator Feinstein: (11:48 AM)

  • Spoke on cyber security.
    • "Filing the cybersecurity bill as an amendment to the defense authorization bill prompted a lot of legitimate and understandable concern from both sides of the aisle. People want a debate on the legislation, and they want an opportunity to offer relevant amendments. And to do this as an amendment -- and when Senator Burr discussed it with me, I indicated I did not want to go on and make that proposal, and I think it's a mistake. I very much hope that the majority leader will reconsider this path and that once we have finished with the defense authorization bill, the Senate can take up, consider, and hopefully approve the cybersecurity legislation. I think to do it any other way, we're in real trouble, and this is the product of experience. And so I very much hope that there can be a change in procedure and that this bill -- I know our leader will agree -- could come up directly following the defense bill. 

 

Senator Cotton: (11:57 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The administration helps safeguard our nuclear stockpile in this country. The Obama administration in its budget earlier this year requested approximately $50 million per year for the next five years for the administration to be able to dismantle old or obsolete warheads. My amendment would simply codify President Obama's own budget request, limiting - limiting -- the administration to spend $50 million per year for the next five years on nuclear dismantlement. My amendment also includes a waiver that would allow the president to increase the amount of spending under certain limited conditions. This amendment has been approved not only by the majority but also the minority of the Armed Services Committee. I offer this amendment because of troubling statements from the Obama administration about their intent to accelerate nuclear disarmament, however. Last month Secretary of State Kerry announced that the nuclear nonproliferation review treaty conference that the United States would accelerate its dismantlement of nuclear warheads by 20%. Beyond obsolete or outdated warheads, I don't believe nuclear dismantlement is a priority. New modernization is a priority. We should not be accelerating our nuclear disarmament by up to 20% because it with a send a wrong message to Russia, other adversaries, and out allies."

 

Senator Feinstein: (11:59 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The fact is there are currently approximately 2,400 retired warheads awaiting dismantlement. The rate at which we dismantle these warheads does not have anything to do with the 4,800 warheads that remain in the stockpile, consistent with the New Start Treaty - this is a treaty, it's not an agreement. The administration has committed to accelerating dismantlement, and we should support its goals of eliminating redundant nuclear weapons. I see no reason to imply congressional disapproval for this effort, and micromanage NNSA's weapons activities. Modernization and dismantlement go hand in hand. NNSA routinely shifts employees from weapons stockpiles stewardship and modernization work to dismantlement to keep the work force fully and usefully engaged. It is completely unnecessary to complicate this process, and I object."

 

Senator Sessions: (12:12 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The deployment of United States military forces to any nation in the world for the purpose of defending that nation and a region is an august thing. Obviously, the military might of the United States is unsurpassed. The United States cannot and must not take these commitments lightly. The ramifications of our commitment to the defense of a foreign nation are significant, grave indeed. This nation has every right and a duty to our citizens to ensure that those with whom we partner do their share. The idea that a small nation can simply send an e-mail to the United States calling for more forces whenever they become nervous while taking only limited steps to fund and defend their own country suggests a disconnect with reality. This Senate, by this resolution, is sending a clear call for NATO to do more. It's not too late to maintain this alliance, as the force for good it has always been."