Klobuchar, McCain, Durbin, Grassley, Reed, Hatch, Reid, Feinstein

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Senator Klobuchar: (10:24 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I rise today to discuss the Metal Theft Prevention Act which I filed as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. In a moment I'm going to ask unanimous consent to make this amendment pending but first I'd like to explain why this amendment is so important. I've been working on this legislation for years. Senator Schumer is a cosponsor. In the past I've had support for this bill as cosponsors in Senator Hatch, in Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Hoeven. Why has there been bipartisan support in the past for this bill? Well, I think we all know that this is a public safety issue. Metal thieves have targeted labs, power stations, and gas lines, causing blackouts, service disruptions and even dangerous explosions. In September of 2013, four people were injured in an explosion at a University of California Berkeley electrical station, officials blamed it on copper theft that occurred two hours before the explosion."

 

Senator McCain: (10:29 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • I would point out to the senator from Minnesota that we started on this legislation in the committee in May, we're now well into June, many weeks, we're two weeks into the consideration of this legislation, and the senator from Minnesota comes to the floor with a compelling amendment. I suggest that the next time around that the senator from Minnesota raise the issue with the authorization committee and also when the bill first comes to the floor rather than waiting two weeks before having a compelling interest in this very serious issue."

 

Senator Durbin: (10:34 AM)

  • Spoke on the Stanley Cup.
    • "It was a great night for Blackhawks fans and the culmination of a tremendous team effort. Antoine Vermet, acquired at the trade deadline, had two Stanley cup goals in the final. Goaltender Scott Darling stood tall in the net when his team needed him the most in relief of Corey Crawford when called upon against Nashville. Duncan Keith was an iron man, earning the Conn Smyth trophy for play-off M.V.P. while logging over seven hundred minutes of ice time in 23 games. I can't tell you how happy I am for those Blackhawks and all of their amazing fans and their Stanley Cup championship. It's been a thrill to watch this team throughout the years, and I look forward to seeing President Obama host the Stanley cup champion Blackhawks yet another time at the White House."

 

Senator Grassley: (10:40 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "In other words, the amendment would provide the government the ability to prosecute those who finance or otherwise provide material support for terrorists. Naturally, these are complex crimes that aren't committed by just one person. They involve entire networks that need to be stopped in their tracks. This provision will help do that by making sure that those who provide material support to terrorists don't escape justice. Third, the amendment would add these offenses to the list of those crimes that are predicates for wiretap applications. As the law now stands, prosecutors can't request a traditional criminal wiretap against a terrorist suspected of breaking these new laws. But at the same time they can get a wiretap to investigate a long-list of less serious offenses. Again, it doesn't make sense. In fact, this is a dangerous omission."

 

Senator Reed: (10:46 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "First, the senator is chairman of the committee which jurisdiction lies for this particular amendment, so he has complete, in fact, more than complete authority to bring it up in regular order and bring it forward to the floor. In addition we have been advised by the Department of Justice that these provisions are not necessary given the scope of existing law with respect to terrorists and with respect to anyone who conducts a terrorist act and perhaps an example of that is the Boston bombing where there is now someone condemned to death for terrorist activities, not involving a nuclear device but I hardly think he would get any less of a sentence regard less of the device he used. For all these reasons, I would object."

 

Senator Hatch: (10:49 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Political reality demands that's we reject partisan grand standing and work together on this must-pass bill. Over the last two weeks the majority leader and the chairman have led a debate on this bill that represents the Senate at its finest. We have considered the bill on time, a needed change from recent years when it restores the Senate's proper voice in national defense. We've held hours upon hours of debate on the floor. As part of the open amendment process the Senate considered an amendment from the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee that would condition the funding level on the domestic spending increases sought by our democratic colleagues. Despite my disagreements on the substance I want to commend the ranking member for his sincere advocacy and for his determination to put his plan before this body for an up-or-down vote. As that report shows, a majority strongly disagrees with the minority's alternative having voted on it, it is time for the senate to wrap up our debate and pass this bill."

 

Senator Reid: (10:57 AM)

  • Spoke on Kirk Kerkorian.
    • "He would not take a comp for anything. Everything he paid for. One of the last times he went to a fight, he also would not sit at ringside. He wanted to be up away from everybody. In 2008, he was worth $16 billion. I don't know how much he was worth when he died, but he's given huge amounts of his wealth away. His job for Tony Mandikicken and others to give the rest of his money away. It's a sad day for me and the people who knew Kirk Kerkorian. But he lived a full life. His two daughters. He has taken care of everybody that was always around him. He paid his help well. I just wish I had the ability to articulate what a wonderful human being Kirk Kerkorian was. I will always remember him, and I will always - when I talk about people who know something about business, I have to interject the name Kirk Kerkorian."

 

Senator Feinstein: (11:09 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This amendment is still necessary because interrogation techniques were able to be used which were based on deeply flawed legal theory, and those techniques, it was said, did not constitute torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment. These legal opinions could be written again. In 2009, President Obama's executive order settled the issue as former policy, and this amendment will codify a prohibition on a program that was already defunding at the end of the Bush administration. C.I.A. Director John Brennan has clearly stated that he agrees with the ban on interrogation techniques that are not in the army field manual."

 

Senator McCain: (11:16 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "We must continue to insist that the methods we employ in this fight for peace and freedom must always, always be as right and honorable as the goals and ideals that we fight for. I believe past interrogation policies compromised our values, stained our national honor and did little practical good. I don't believe we should have employed such practices in the past and we should never permit them in the future. This amendment provides greater assurances that never again will the United States follow that dark path of sacrificing our values for our short-term security needs. I also know that such practices don't work. I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners does not produce good, reliable intelligence. Victims of torture will offer intentionally misleading information if they think their captors will believe it. I firmly believe that all people, even captured enemies, possess basic human rights which are protected by international standards often set by America's past leaders. Our enemies act without conscience. We must not."