Vitter, McCain, Shaheen, Markey, Barrasso, Gillibrand

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Senator Vitter: (11:02 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I'll return to the floor to more fully lay out what this amendment does but fundamentally it tries to protect our force structure, our personnel, in particular, the core component of brigade combat teams as the Pentagon, as the defense department deals with curtailed resources. I'm very concerned, as are so many of us, that as defense budgets are cut, personnel and core resources in terms of end strength, including brigade combat teams, will suffer cuts that go well beyond fat into meat and bone. We need to limit that. We need to avoid that. And this amendment would do that with regard to brigade combat teams."


Senator McCain: (11:04 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "For the benefit of members, an agreement with Senator Reed, we will be having Shaheen amendment followed by side-by-side Markey and Cornyn. And those votes we are planning on but haven't confirmed, will probably be around 1:45 PM. And that would complete our activities. But that is not totally agreed to, but that's the plan."


Senator Shaheen: (11:06 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "So again, let's be clear what we're talking about. The Supreme Court has ruled it is unconstitutional to deny federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples and their children, and yet due to unrelated provisions of the federal code, state legislatures have the ability to indirectly deny federal benefits to certain disabled veterans and their families. Solely because they are in a same-sex marriage. It is unjust and according to the Supreme Court it is unconstitutional. Now, my amendment is not new to the Senate. Last Congress, the Veterans' Affairs Committee approved it by a voice vote, and earlier this year, 57 senators voted in favor of a budget resolution amendment on this issue. Now, when we vote, hopefully very soon on this amendment, senators will have the opportunity to end an unjust and unconstitutional provision of law that discriminates against veterans."


Senator Markey: (11:14 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "To have a resolution here today to be saying we should be exporting oil, no, ladies and gentlemen, that's not how we should be discussing this issue. How did we get into the Middle East? We got into the Middle East, yes, protecting Israel, but we got in because of our addiction to oil. Not my words. President Bush's words. We have to break our dependence upon imported oil. Increasing fuel economy standards, that's a big part of it. Having this fracking revolution to produce more oil here, that's part of it. And renewables, that's a big part of it. But we're still at the earliest stages of this strategy. We we've completed it, know we're successful, then let's talk about the generosity we're going to expect from American consumers at the pump to pay higher prices for gasoline."


Senator Barrasso: (11:51 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "Hardworking Americans, working every day to try to put food on the table and pay their taxes as well. Republicans are offering better solutions, real solutions that will end these outrageous and expensive ObamaCare side effects. That means giving Americans freedom, choice and control over their health care decisions. Republicans understand that hardworking American families can't afford ObamaCare any longer. Democrats need to admit that their health care law has been and continues to be an expensive failure. If they're ready to do that, then Republicans will work with them to help give people the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower cost."


Senator Gillibrand: (12:04 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    •  "I am urging my colleagues to hold the military to that higher standard. Enough is enough with the excuses and with the promises, because throughout the last year, we have continued to see new evidence of how much farther we actually have to go to solve this problem. We have a very simple choice. We can keep waiting, hoping that the reforms we put in place -- that we actually forced the military to put in place will somehow restore trust in the system, while an average of 52 new lives are shattered every day, three quarters of whom will never come forward because they see what happens around them. They don't trust the system. They don't see how justice is possible, because commanders hold all the cards. Or we can do the right thing and act. We can accept a system where, according to the D.O.D. themselves, three out of four servicewomen and nearly half of servicemen say sexual harassment is common or very common, or we can do the right thing and act."