Reid, McConnell

Opening Remarks

Today –

  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business until 11:00 AM, with Republicans controlling the first half and Democrats controlling the second half.
  • At 11:00 AM, the Senate will proceed to the consideration of H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act, for debate only until 2:30 PM.

 

Senator Reid: (9:37 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    • "The Republican leadership knew for years that these programs were scheduled to expire on June 1, 2015. People who didn't like this act -- and there were a number of them - gave speeches all over the country talking about the act. It was no secret. It was that secret that the act was not that popular in some people's minds. Last year Senator McConnell knew this deadline was looming when he prevented the Senate from debating another version of the U.S.A. FREEDOM Act by conducting one of their hundreds of filibusters stopping President Obama's efforts. The majority leader knew a month ago the deadline was coming and chose to prioritize other legislation over these critical programs."
  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "A bridge collapsed and 30-some people died as a result of that. That's very recently. So how long will we wait to fix these problems? What will it take before Republicans get serious about a solution to our crumbling highways, railroads, and bridges? Democrats understand the urge of the crisis facing our country, and we are ready to work with Republicans to rebuild our bridges, roads, and our railway system. We understand that investing in our surface transportation, including rail, is a job creator and an economy booster. For every $1 billion we spend on these roads, these bridges, our rail system, we create 47,500 high-paying jobs and many other lesser-paying jobs. Before we left for recess a couple weeks ago, we passed a short-term extension for the surface transportation programs. That's the 33rd time we've done that. 33rd time. Now we're back in session; there appears to be no urgency."

 

Senator McConnell: (9:47 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I know my good friend the Democratic leader is frustrated he's no longer setting the schedule here in the Senate. He seems to differ with the order of priorities that we deal with things here. Yesterday he said that debating the defense authorization bill was, "a waste of time." To debate the defense authorization bill in a time of high crisis for our country. Nevertheless, a new majority sets the agenda and the schedule these days. Today the Senate turns to consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2016. In June, not at December, at the end of the year, in a situation in which no amendments are allowed. This legislation which authorizes funds and sets out policy for our military annually is always important. But it's especially important now given the multitude of threats that challenge us as a nation. For instance, the aggressive rise of ISIL. Iran's ambitions for regional hegemony and its accompanying quest for nuclear weapons and both Chinese and Russian efforts to erode American influence and assert domination over their neighbors. It's also important given the need to start thinking about preparing our armed services for the many global threats the next president will confront the day he or she takes office."