Thune, Grassley, Ernst, Durbin

The NDAA (H.R. 5515)

Senator Thune: (4:02 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "Mr. President, when we took up tax reform, we had one goal, and that was to make life better for hardworking Americans, and that involved a couple of things. For starters, it involved putting more money in Americans' pockets right away by cutting their taxes. And Americans are already seeing the tax relief that we passed in their paychecks. But we knew tax cuts, as helpful as they are, were not enough. We wanted to make sure that we created the kind of economy that would give Americans access to the jobs, wages, and opportunities that would set them up for security and prosperity in the long term."
  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "We have accustomed to having the best fighting force in the world and assuming we can meet every military threat. But military strength doesn't just spring up. It has to be developed. Once developed, it has to be maintained, but in recent years we haven't met this responsibility. While we have the very finest soldiers in the world, they don't always have the tools they need to defend our nation. Budgetary impasses paired with increased operational demands has left our armed forces and delayed 21st century weapons and equipment. Other powers hostile to the United States have been building up their militaries. As a result, Mr. President, our military advantage has been steadily eroding."


Senator Grassley: (4:24 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the 2008 tornadoes and flooding in Iowa.
    • "National disasters test the metal of humanity by every measure. My Iowans were tested in 2008. Unfortunately, parts of Iowa like Mason City are experiencing flooding once again almost ten years to the day. Ten years ago 88 of our 99 counties were declared a national disaster. Epic floods and E5 tornadoes ripped holes through the center of many neighborhoods. Thanks to civic leadership, thanks to bootstrap mentality, tireless volunteers and members of the National Guard answered the call to survive and thrive from the crisis."


Senator Ernst: (4:39 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "This amendment would establish a cap on former presidents' monetary allowances which are currently unlimited and fund resources like office space, staff salaries, cell phone bills, and more. Under this amendment, former presidents would receive a $200,000 annual pension and an allowance capped at $500,000, a total of $700,000 in annual benefits. It would then reduce the allowance dollar for dollar by each dollar of income a former president earns in excess of $400,000. The national debt is over $20 trillion. We cannot afford to generously subsidize the perks of former presidents to the tune of millions of dollars, and with that, Mr. President, I'd like to make my amendment pending."


Senator Durbin: (4:41 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "I don't have any history with it. It is interesting and coincidental that today is the 94th birthday of President George Herbert Walker Bush, the first president of the United States to ever live to the age of 94, a World War II-decorated veteran, a man who served his country in so many different ways. This effort to eliminate the expenses and amount that's paid to him as a former president I'd not seen before today. I am told that this amendment would save the Treasury $4.3 million a year, so I would like to suggest to the senator from Iowa - I'm going to make an official request in this regard -- we can do much better than to $4.3 million a year in deficit reduction."