King, Burr, Hoeven (UC), Cornyn, Burr

USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 2048)

Senator King: (2:00 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    • "That's the hardest for us to counteract, and that's a situation where this ability to track numbers calling numbers can be extremely useful. In fact, it might be the only useful tool, because we're not going to have the kind of specific plotting that we've seen in the past. This is the most dangerous threat that I think that we face today, and to throw aside a protection, a safeguard that I believe passes constitutional or legal muster, that goes the extra mile to protect the privacy rights of Americans by getting this data out of the hands of the government, is one that is worthy of the support and the active work in this chamber to again find that balance, the balance between the imperative, the most solemn responsibility we have in this body to provide for the common defense and ensure domestic tranquility, to protect the safety and security of the people of this country."


Senator Burr: (2:14 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    • "For those who have claimed this program served no purpose prior to 9/11 here's the director of the F.B.I. saying it would have and the Boston Marathon which told us there was no terrorist link and then we come to the 2009 New York City subway bombing plot. In 2009 while monitoring the activities of Al Qaeda terrorist group in Pakistan, NSA noted contact from an individual in the United States, subsequently identified as a Colorado-based Zazzi under section 215, provided the information that helped thwart this plot. I want to say this one time again to my colleagues. This program works. It has worked, it has stopped attacks because we've been able to identify an individual before they carried out the attack. Now, if the threshold that my colleagues who say this has not served any useful purpose meaning you've got to have an attack to be able to prove you thwarted an attack, then, you know, that's not why we've got this program in place. We're trying to get ahead of the terrorist act and in the case of the subway bombings in New York we did that in 2009."


Senator Hoeven: (2:23 PM)

  • Unanimous Consent –
    • The Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of S. 184, the Native American Children's Safety Act, and S. 246, the Lyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act.
    • The committee-reported substitute amendment to S. 246 be agreed to.
    • The Senate pass S. 184 and S. 246, as amended.
  • (Without objection)
  • Spoke on the Native American Children's Safety Act.
    • "I rise today to speak about the Native American Children's Safety Act, S. 184. This legislation which I have introduced along with Senator Tester, is about one thing, making sure that foster children in Native American communities are placed in safe homes. Without this legislation, there will continue to be inconsistent rules guiding the placement of Native American children in foster care. At this time Native American tribes and their tribal courts use procedures and guidelines when placing a Native American child in a foster home that vary significantly from tribe to tribe. S. 184 creates a transparent pathway for the federal government and the tribes to partner together to establish safety standards and policies to ensure the safety of Native American foster care children. Moreover, this bill will strengthen the governance of the tribes and create safeguards for their foster care placement programs and the individuals that those programs serve."


Senator Cornyn: (2:29 PM)

  • Spoke on Texas flooding.
    • "FEMA is just one example that has rapidly deployed resources to help assess the damage done in local communities, and we were both glad to see the president quickly grant Governor Abbott's request for major disaster declaration on Friday night which will help Texans get the resources that they need. I promised Nim and others that I spoke to that I would continue to work with Governor Abbott and our state's congressional delegation to make sure that the federal government provides all the help Texans deserve during this difficult time. So to those suffering today, I want to offer my deepest condolences and prayers. We'll continue to do everything we can here in Washington and in Austin and local communities who have been severely affected to give Texans the help that they need."
  • Spoke on human trafficking.
    • "This is for the women like Melissa Woodward who I have met and she is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. At just 12 years old, Melissa was sold into the sex trade by a family member, as hard as that is to conceive of. Her life became a prison. She was chained to a bed in a warehouse and endured regular beatings and rapes. She was forced to sexually serve between five and 30 men every day. Melissa said at one point she wished she was dead. So as heart breaking as her story is - and it is heart breaking - it is good to know that strong people like Melissa, along with what help we can give and others who wear for them can give, can help them from living a life of victim hood and be transformed by their experience and to regain a new and productive life. So with this law, we begin to provide for people like Melissa the help they need to heal and importantly treat her and others and the victims they are not as criminals."
  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    • "We plan to make minor improvements in the House-passed bill and I think they make a lot of sense, things like actually getting a certification by the director of National Intelligence that this plan to let the telecoms continue to hold this information and then after a court order is provided to then allow that search, but certainly we should want to know whether this actually will work in a way that's consistent with our national security. And so there's essentially the House provisions will be the base bill, are the base bill here but I think the chairman, Chairman Burr, and others on the Intelligence Community, have recommended some really positive commonsense improvements which will make this bill better and working together with the Senate and the House, I think we can make sure these necessary authorities are restored."


Senator Burr: (2:49 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    • "When the government obtains those records from a third-party telecommunications provider, a search has not taken place for constitutional purposes and, therefore, a warrant is not required. This program has been approved over 40 times by FISA Court to exist. The program was instituted by the executive branch. The executive branch could end the program today. Why don't they? They don't because this program is effective. This program has thwarted attacks here and abroad. And I know that individuals have come on the floor and they've said, there's absolutely nothing that shows that section 215 has contributed to the safety of America. And I could only say that they are factually challenged in that. You would not have the majority of the Intelligence Committee on the floor lobbying for this program to continue in its current form, and now we know that that's not going to happen, so we're trying to reach a modification of the current language so in fact we have a greater comfort level that the Intelligence Community can be in front of attacks and not behind them."