Burr, Mikulski, Coats, Brown

USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 2048)

Senator Burr: (3:45 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    • "Myth number five: the FISA court is a rubber stamp. Despite all the claims, the FISA court approves 99% of the government's applications, the FISA court often returns or demands modifications to about 25% of the applications before they're even filed with the court. According to the FISA court chief judge, the 99% figure does not reflect - does not reflect - the fact that many applications are altered prior to the final submission or even withheld from final submission entirely, often after an indication that a judge would not approve them. Now, let me put this in perspective. 25% more of the wiretap applications are approved than of FISA. I mean that says enough right there. Comparison to federal court documents which include a wiretap application is instructive. Of the 13,593 wiretap applications filed from 2008 to 2012, the federal district court approved 99.6. And the only reason that FISA is at 99% is because when the government sees that they're not going to be approved, they withdraw the application. That seldom happens in wiretap applications. Myth number six: there is no oversight in the N.S.A. The N.S.A. conducts these programs under the strict oversight of three branches of government, including a judicial process overseen by Senate-confirmed judges appointed to the FISA court and a chief judge of the United States. Republicans and Democrats in Congress together review, audit and authorize all activities under the FISA, and there are few issues that garner more oversight attention by congressional intelligence committees other than this program."


Senator Mikulski: (4:16 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    • "I don't want to kill time. I'm afraid Americans will be killed. We got to get this legislation and we got to get our act together and we've got to pass it. I want the people to know that we cannot let them down by our failure to act and act promptly. I come to the floor today to say let's pass the U.S.A. Freedom Act and let's do it as soon as we can. There is no reason - I know a vote has been set for 11:00 tomorrow. That that means that it will be almost 35 or 36 hours since the authority's expired. Then it has to go over to the House. So let's kind of move it and let's keep our country safe, and let's get our self-respect back."


Senator Coats: (4:32 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    • "I hope a lot of the American people are listening because they need to understand that much of what they have heard is simply falsity. It's factually incorrect. I'm not going to go into why this has happened, why some members choose to say things like they're looking at every -- and I'm quoting here. It has been said on this floor. "Big government is looking at every Americans' records. All Americans' phone records, all of the time. The N.S.A. collects Americans' contacts from your address book, buddy lists, calling records, phone records, emails. And do you want to live in a world where the government has us under constant surveillance?" None of us want to live in that kind of world. That's why we live in America. That's why America is what it is. This is not Nazi Germany. This is not a communist regime. This is not a totalitarian society. We would not allow that here. Our constitution guarantees us that privacy, and we cherish that privacy and we protect that privacy. But to come down on this floor and make statements like that is - it's irresponsible and it talks about a narrative here that is just not the fact, just not the case."


Senator Brown: (4:55 PM)

  • Spoke on ex-im bank.
    • "According to the ex-im bank's estimates, supported $27 billion in exports, 160,000 American jobs. It reported supporting $250 million in deals in just Ohio alone. My state 60% of which went to small business. Opponents who like to talk about corporate welfare, the same people that by and large vote for trade agreements and tax cuts for the wealthy and trickle-down economics, those same people say this is corporate welfare. No, really it isn't. Our government makes money on this. It's aimed primarily at small businesses. The ex-im bank fills gaps in private export financing. It charges fees and interest on loan rate-related transactions. The ex-im bank covers its operating costs and loan costs. Last year ex-im returned $600-plus million to our Treasury so it doesn't cost taxpayers. It actually brings money to our country, money that otherwise might go to foreign imports, as if we don't have a big enough trade deficit, this would make it worse. We know that our competitors have their own export-import banks. There are some 60 of these around the world. Why should we disarm and put our manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage?"