Wyden, Coats, Fischer, Whitehouse, Murkowski, Roberts, Heitkamp, Collins, Sullivan

Morning Business

Senator Wyden: (4:06 PM)

  • Spoke on ex-im bank.
    • "Thanks to the export-import bank, companies in Albany can find markets abroad and hire new workers. They manufacture important things like titanium castings. Sellnet is a perfect example, a company that got its start in my home state more than 30 years ago. Today it employs hundreds of people in Oregon and across the northwest and 40% of its revenue comes from overseas. They got off the ground with help from the ex-im bank and it has customers in France, Germany and Asia, and it looks to expand further. These kinds of success stories are ones you see in every single state because these start-ups got help when it was essential to have that added boost to be able to seize opportunities around the world and create high-skill, high-wage jobs."
  • Spoke on hemp.
    • "If you can buy it at the local supermarket, American farmers ought to be able to grow it. And I urge my colleagues to join me, the distinguished Majority Leader Senator McConnell, his colleague, Rand Paul, my colleague, Senator Merkley, in our legislation to address this gap in American law and today join me in celebrating National Hemp History Week by learning more about this safe and versatile crop and the potential it holds to bolster American agriculture and the domestic economy. These products are products that are sold all across America, and we ought to have a chance for our farmers, farmers in Nebraska, farmers in Nebraska and Indiana, to be able to grow this product and reap the benefits of the private economy associated with it."

 

Senator Coats: (4:18 PM)

  • Spoke on Waste of the Week.
    • "Just last month I read yet another frightening headline, frustrating. Veterans affairs improperly spent $6 billion annually, a senior V.A. official says. Improperly spent $6 billion annually. According to an internal memo written by the V.A.'s senior official for procurement, the V.A. has been wasting taxpayer money by violating federal contracting rules to pay for medical care and expenses. Under law, V.A. purchases require competitive bidding and proper contracts, but testimony from deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics Jan Fry, before Congress last month reveals just the opposite is occurring."

 

Senator Fischer: (4:25 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "One of the most hotly debated topics during the committee's markup process was the use of oversea contingency operation funds to meet basic defense requirements. In a world where ISIL continues to expand its reach, Russia has seized Crimea, and pours fighters into eastern Ukraine, and China is intimidating its neighbors and building islands in the South China Sea, we must fund our national defense. To do so, to not do so would be unacceptable. We cannot hold our military hostage to a political controversy. Despite disagreements, the committee has again produced a compromise product. As it has year after year, a product that supports our national defense and the needs of our men and women in uniform. I am inspired by their service, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to protect our great nation, as the full Senate considers the NDAA." 

 

Senator Whitehouse: (4:33 PM)

  • Spoke on citizens united.
    • "So if three-quarters of self-identified Republicans support requiring more disclosure by outside political spending organizations, I would hope that I could get support for this amendment, which will require some disclosure. It would require any company that contracts with the Department of Defense - and they get big contracts, billions -- hundreds of billions of dollars - to disclose all of its campaign spend over $10,000. It is a requirement that would apply tall the corporate officers and board members and anyone who owns 5% or more of the company. When there's that much money sloshing around in the defense budget and when political actors are make the decisions about where that money goes, we ought to be able to connect the dots between those corporations and who they're giving big money to."

 

Senator Murkowski: (4:55 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    •  "The first requires the Department of Energy to assess the impact that lifting sanctions on Iran would have on our global oil markets. We would likely see higher Iranian oil exports even as American producers are prohibiting from accessing global markets. So our friends in Japan, in India, in South Korea, elsewhere would continue importing from Iran in part because they can't get the crude oil from us. They cannot import from us. And that situation is simply unacceptable. We would be lifting sanctions on Iranian oil while maintaining them on American oil. And I have said this, I have made this point, I have repeated it. By leaving in place the ban on oil exports on U.S. producers while at the same time sanctions are relieved on Iranian producers, it effectively sanctions U.S. oil production."

 

Senator Roberts: (5:07 PM)

  • Spoke on D-Day.
    • "I suggest and recommend that all of my colleagues reflect upon the unique leadership of America's greatest general when the future of western democracy was in grave peril. Time is of the essence, and now is the time to complete a lasting memorial and tribute to America's greatest war-time general and president of the United States, whose legacy was eight years of peace and prosperity. The veterans of World War II and their families know this. Their counterparts all over the world know this as well. With the completion of the Eisenhower memorial, their children and grandchildren and generations to come will understand the tremendous commitment undertaken in defense of freedom then and now."

 

Senator Heitkamp: (5:14 PM)

  • Spoke on Vietnam veterans.
    • "Before I begin to talk about the 198 North Dakotans who died while serving our country in Vietnam, I want to first mention and publicly thank a great Vietnam veteran, Jim Shothorst of grand forks. He is a Vietnam veteran, he served in Vietnam from December, 1966 to March, 1968 as a construction engineering with the 169th engineer battalion. He was raised in Mackfield, he lives in Grand Forks. He received his degree from the University of North Dakota and was employed with the grand forks health department for 25 years. Jim's been extraordinarily helpful to the North Dakota congressional delegation. Whenever we needed to gather input or hear from grand forks area veterans. Thank you, Jim, for your service to our country."

 

Senator Collins: (5:38 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    •  "The legislation affirms the strategic importance of our Navy and shipbuilding programs by fully funding the DDG-1000 program and by authorizing $400 million in incremental funding authority toward an additional DDG-51 beyond those included in the current multiyear procurement contract. This additional ship is very much needed by our Navy, and it would fulfill the terms of a 2002 swap agreement between the two major shipbuilders regarding the construction of large-surface combatants. Both my colleague senator Angus King and I advocated for these critical provisions. I am so proud of the highly skilled and hardworking men and women of bath iron with in my state who construct these ships for the Navy."

 

Senator Sullivan: (5:51 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This NDAA bill that we're now debating on the floor focuses on addressing these challenges. It also makes important modernizations to our investments with regard to military weapons, cuts bureaucratic red tape at the Pentagon and ensures that our armed forces remain the most agile and lethal in the world. It upholds our commitment to our service members, to their families, to military retirees and their families. Now, it's remarkable right now as we debate this bill, this critically important bill on the Senate floor, the president of the United States has already come out and said he's going to likely veto it if it's in its current form. He's going to veto the NDAA. Think about that. One of the most important things we're doing to take care of our troops, the president is threatening a veto. Now, during the markup of this bill, many members on the other side of the aisle here, our colleagues, also threatened to work on the amendments but to not vote for the bill."