Cornyn, Ayotte, Wyden, Reed, McCain

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Senator Cornyn: (4:17 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I hope our colleagues in light of this almost contemporaneous occurrence at the office of personnel management and the recurring daily stories about how cyber-attacks are stealing the personal property and represent an intelligence threat and stealing the money of the American people that our colleagues would work with us to do what the American people elected us to do, which is to work together to move forward sensible bipartisan legislation that's important to the country. So I hope our friends across the aisle will listen to the American people instead of their misguided leadership."

 

Senator Ayotte: (4:30 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "It's not right for a military family to rely on his family to help earn retirement benefits and then have that individual commit misconduct but the family is punished, too. My amendment would fix this problem by recognizing that military families serve, too. Remove disincentives to report misconduct and put the sentencing process back in balance. Juries can choose a punishment to fi crime without worry that an innocent family member will suffer as a result. My amendment has been endorsed by ten veteran service organizations and I urge my colleagues to support this important amendment that allows the military justice system to function properly but also makes sure that innocent family members do not suffer and that their service is recognized as well."

 

Senator Wyden: (4:38 PM)

  • Spoke on the Tax Freedom Act.
    • "You have at hand now two radically different pieces of legislation. The first has been on the books now for well over a decade and has been hugely valuable -- in terms of innovation, choice in consumers. That's the permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act in effect taking what we had for over a decade and making it permanent. And with the permanent approach, you've lowered costs for consumers and protect the internet as a bulwark for free speech and commerce promoting American companies and American ideals. So that's approach number one, making permanent something that has worked since 1998. The second approach is the Remote Transaction Parity Act which would raise costs for Americans, hurt small and rural businesses and punish states like Oregon that have kept taxes low. In my view, it would be legislative malpractice to tie these two approaches together. The path forward for the United States Senate should be very clear. That is to take the permanent internet tax freedom act that has sailed through the House and with the ball in our court pass it here."

 

Senator Reed: (4:46 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This amendment would prevent the Army from managing its own force structure, from determining how many brigades it needs, how they are disposed in terms of active, reserve and regular forces. In addition, the way the amendment is paid for to maintain these additional brigades would be to mandate a 1% pay cut to all federal and civilian employees from 2016 to 2017. Not a pay freeze. A pay cut. The Army does not support this amendment. They need the flexibility to manage their forces to respond to the threats as they perceive them in the world, to determine where the forces are mechanized, whether they are located in the National Guard or located in the regular force."

 

Senator McCain: (4:50 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The amendment is bad policy. Congress shouldn't attempt to manage forces. That's the job of the secretary of the Army and the chief of staff. Our job is to authorize and fund. The key is giving Army leadership the flexibility to manage the total Army force given the planned drawdown. In fiscal year 2016 the Army end strength is being reduced and funding adjusted accordingly. The cost to maintain the Army at 490,000 for one year is about $2.4 billion. Of course the senator's amendment does not have any indication where that $2.4 billion would come from. If enacted, the amendment could result in a regular army of tiered readiness. The Army would have a force of 490,000 with a budget for 475,000. We don't want a hollow army like the 1970's. So I would urge my colleague from Louisiana, the sponsor of this amendment, that he should devote his energies and efforts to the repeal of sequestration which is what is forcing these decisions to be made by the Army."