Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2018

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 5515, the NDAA.
  • Note: on Tuesday, June 12, cloture was filed on McConnell (for Toomey) Amendment #2700 to Inhofe Amendment #2282, as modified, to H.R. 5515, the NDAA.
  • Note: on Tuesday, June 12, cloture was filed on Inhofe Amendment #2282, as modified, to H.R. 5515, the NDAA.
  • Note: on Tuesday, June 12, cloture was filed on H.R. 5515, the NDAA.

 

Senator Alexander: (6:10 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
    • "I'd like to take a few minutes to put Senator McConnell's leadership in perspective. That perspective begins in the year 1969. I was 29 years old and working in the Nixon White House. Senator Howard Baker, Jr., of Tennessee said to me, you might want to get to know that smart, young legislative assistant for Marlowe Cook. Marlowe Cook was Kentucky's newly elected Republican senator. That smart, young legislative assistant was 27-year-old Mitch McConnell. If anyone has known him for a long time, the evolution of Mitch McConnell's leadership isn't hard to trace."

Smith, Whitehouse, Lee, Perdue

The NDAA (H.R. 5515)

Jun 12 2018

Senator Smith: (4:50 p.m.)

  • Spoke on campaign finance reform.
    • "That's why I'm fighting so hard to reform our campaign finance system. One of the most important things we can do is to enact a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision. In my very first month as a senator, I cosponsored Senator Tom Udall's legislation to do that. A few wealthy donors shouldn't dominate the political conversation in this country. But reversing citizens united isn't the only thing necessary to restore fairness to our political process. We should also pass Senator Whitehouse's Disclose Act, which I'm proud to cosponsor. This legislation requires super PACS and big political spenders to disclose to the public exactly where their donations are going. No constitutional amendment is required for this key measure."

 

Senator Whitehouse: (5:07 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "Mr. President, a crash takes place in a system when conditions in that system reach a tipping point and the system rapidly destabilizes. Climate change promises a lot of tipping points in Earth's natural systems. Ocean acidification, for instance, reaching a tipping point where species like the pteropod have trouble forming their shells and populations of those species crash taking down the trophic levels below them. Polar warming releasing trapped methane from tundra and hyper accelerating the greenhouse effect. At the more local level, seasonally linked species reacting to changing seasons can get out of phase with one another so the feeder and its food source no longer overlap in time. And then they have a crash."

 

Senator Lee: (5:36 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "I would like to respond for a moment and speak for a few minutes about a bipartisan compromise that I introduced with the senior senator from California, Senator Feinstein. The legislation I'm referring to is called the Due Process Guarantee Act. And Senator Feinstein and I have introduced this as legislation and it has been offered up as an amendment to the legislation now before this body to the National Defense Authorization Act. Alexander Hamilton called arbitrary imprisonment one of the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyrants, and with good reason. The Constitution includes safeguards against this form of tyranny, including the right of habeas corpus and that American citizens would not be deprived of life, liberty, by the government."

 

Senator Perdue: (5:56 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tariffs.
    • "We spent billions of dollars behind the Marshall Plan to do just that with Japan and all of East Asia. We then set up trade deals that we knew would help their economy grow, and that made sense then. It no longer makes sense to have an un-level playing field with the rest of the world just so they can develop. Let me give you a reason why. One of the reasons is that because of the American consumer and taxpayer, global poverty over the last 50 years has been reduced dramatically, by some estimates of over 60%. Let me say that again. Global poverty because of the American taxpayer and the American worker has been reduced over 60%."

Thune, Grassley, Ernst, Durbin

The NDAA (H.R. 5515)

Jun 12 2018

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."

Rounds, Klobuchar, Gillibrand

The NDAA (H.R. 5515)

Jun 12 2018

Senator Rounds: (3:30 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "I will share with you that I thought what our friend from Tennessee was trying to do was an honest attempt to bring back to Congress Section 1 or Article 1 responsibilities that we have over a period of years allowed or delegated to the executive branch. I also share with the senator, I thought while the debate was a very healthy one, I felt at this stage of the game it would not be appropriate in that the president is operating with these tariffs and I probably could not support his bill, but I thought he should have an opportunity to have a debate. But let me now share what the chairman or the ranking member who was acting as the chairman in this particular case is doing is protecting the National Defense Authorization Act and making it as - as viable as possible long term to survive both in the House and in the Senate."

 

Senator Klobuchar: (3:40 p.m.)

  • Spoke on net neutrality.
    • "This bill received bipartisan support and was passed by the senate in this very room. Now it's up to the House to do the same. The internet should remain free and open for all who use it and fight to save net neutrality. Well, that fight is far from over. I have joined Senate Democrats in urging Speaker Ryan to immediately schedule a vote on the bill to save net neutrality protections. They can do this. So to keep the pressure on, it will take all of us working together. Private sector partners, business, small business, nonprofit advocates to tell our government officials at the local, state, and federal level let's take that vote, that good vote in the senate as a signing that it's - as a sign that it's time to change the policy."

 

Senator Gillibrand: (3:48 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "I believe that our service members deserve a military justice system that is worthy of their sacrifice. That means one that is both professional and fair. And I think every one of my colleagues in this chamber agree that this is a priority no matter where you are from, no matter your background. Some of my newer colleagues may be less familiar with this issue so I'm going to tell you what I'm talking about. We all deeply revere our service members which means it's not easy to talk about problems in an institution that we treasure so greatly in this country. But the fact is the military has a problem with sexual assault. It is pervasive. It is destroying lives, and it's been going on for years."

Paul, Graham, Corker, Inhofe

The NDAA (H.R. 5515)

Jun 12 2018

Senator Paul: (2:43 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "So some people oppose the Bill of Rights - opposed the Bill of Rights and said we don't need this because it's so obvious that no one in their right mind would ever argue that an American citizen or someone apprehended or accused of a crime in the United States would be held without limit, would be sent to a camp in another country and held forever without a trial. None of our Founding Fathers ever imagined that could happen. And yet, here we are. Here we are at a time where just four or five years ago, this body passed a bill that says an American citizen can be detained forever. That an American citizen accused of a crime in the United States could be sent to a foreign camp and held forever without trial. When you mention this to people, people are incredulous."

 

Senator Graham: (2:49 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "For 33 years I was a military lawyer, a prosecutor, defense attorney, and a military judge. I think I know the difference between fighting a crime and fighting a war. When it comes to fighting a war, if you capture somebody who's part of the enemy force, senator Paul, the last thing we worry about is how to try them. We want to hold them under the law of war to gather intelligence, to make sure we understand what this person knows about enemy operations. We had 450,000 German and Japanese prisoners in the united States. Guess what? Not one of them had a lawyer."

 

Senator Corker: (3:10 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "What our president has chosen to do in recent times is declare that almost everything that he's dealing with relative to tariffs is a national security issue. And when he does that, what that means is he does not have to lay down a grounds for having done that. He can just determine that it's in our national security interest to put in place tariffs on other countries, whether it's automobiles, whether it's steel, whether it's aluminum, or whether it's some other issue. He can just wake up one morning without going through any of those processes and decide that on national security grounds he is going to put tariffs in place. Article I of the Constitution declares that Congress is the determiner on tariffs."

 

Senator Inhofe: (3:16 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "So a lot of people that want to put things that are non-germane and very often controversial, they want to put 0 on that because they know it's going to pass. Senator corker is not the only amendment that is a problem amendment to this. There are two other non-germane amendments, one by Senator Lee and one by Senator Paul. They say if I don't get a vote on my amendment, then I'm going to stop all other amendments from coming up, so nobody gets to have an amendment."

Cornyn, Nelson

The NDAA (H.R. 5515)

Jun 12 2018

Senator Cornyn: (12:04 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
    • "As majority leader, Senator McConnell is a member of a storied group that includes the likes of Charles Curtis, the first official majority leader of the Senate, who was fame use for his - famous for his Native American ancestry and racing horses, I'm told. The group includes Robert Taft from Ohio, who would work latest into the night studying the rules of the Senate. It includes Lyndon Baines Johnson from my state, who would go on to become president as well as Mike Mansfield from Montana, Johnson's whip, who went on to serve as majority leader for 16 years. And in more recent times there's been great statesmen like Bob Dole, Trent Lott and Bill Frist."

 

Senator Nelson: (12:15 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
    • "Mr. President, while the senator from Kentucky is here, I want to get his attention and just to say the very laudatory comments that the majority whip has said about the senator, I can add to the accolades of the senator from Kentucky by pointing out that he and I have a common trait, a common denominator between us. We both married above ourselves. And the fact that his wife, the Honorable Elaine Chao, now our secretary of transportation, former secretary of labor, it is truly one of the remarkable couples in the nation's capital of political leadership. And I congratulate him on the comments from the majority whip today."
  • Spoke on the Pulse nightclub shooting.
    • "They were there celebrating Latin American night at a gay nightclub in one of the largest massacres in U.S. history only to be eclipsed by the massacre a year ago in Las Vegas of 59 people, eclipsing 49 deaths. But in that carnage, a number of people severely wounded. And of those who did not actually have the physical wounds, the mental and emotional wounds that are not unlike the PTSD that our soldiers suffer and have to be treated for years and years. Well, that's true in the Orlando community as a result of the massacre at the pulse nightclub. And so Orlando is mourning again at this two-year mark."

Inhofe, Reed, Markey

The NDAA (H.R. 5515)

Jun 12 2018

Senator Inhofe: (11:27 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "So anyway, we have been trying to set that up, and we have not been shortchanging or shortcutting anyone's ability to be heard on their amendment because we've already gone through 300 of these in committee and it passed unanimously to the floor. That's something that doesn't happen very often. And I hope that we can have more amendments throughout this process. We're working to get consent to do that. And I think we can make it happen. We want an open amendment process. Everybody wants that. I recently got back from visiting with American troops around the word, Afghanistan, Poland, Kuwait, just to name a few. When I meet with these troops, I go and talk to the enlisted guys in the mess hall. You can find out a lot more sitting down and eating with the guys in the mess hall in Afghanistan than you can having a hearing here in Washington, D.C. One of the things I learned last week is that our troops want to know if we're really doing all we can."

 

Senator Reed: (11:34 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "Let me thank the senator from Oklahoma for being very thoughtful and informative of all the current procedural status. We all hope to work through another package of managers' amendments that could be submitted. Looking at the amendments that we've seen so far, they all, regardless of what position you take on their position, all seem to be serious, substantive and in our view worthy of a vote. We just have to work out the procedure to get to those votes. There may be something in the future that's offered that seems to be very difficult, and I won't say that we have not in the past on our side stood up and said, you know, we object. But at this juncture, we seem to be - Senator Inhofe and I - in harmony in trying to find ways to vote for the proposals that we've seen presented to us and ask and request votes on those proposals by our colleagues."

 

Senator Markey: (11:36 a.m.)

  • Spoke on North Korea.
    • "Now, after witnessing heated rhetoric from both sides, the unexpected turn towards diplomacy by President Trump and Kim Jong-un was, by all account, a very welcome development. As there is no military solution to the North Korean crisis, I was encouraged to see direct engagement and I have long advocated for this approach. However, I am concerned that the agreement signed this morning does little to address the threats and challenges we face. First, the text of the statement was the most vague and least detailed of any signed by North Korea over the past three decades."

Schumer, Ernst, Sanders

The NDAA (H.R. 5515)

Jun 12 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:36 a.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
    • "Before I begin my remarks, I want to congratulate our Republican leader on becoming the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate. My friend, Leader McConnell, reached that milestone today. It's no secret we disagree on a whole lot of issues, both political and philosophical, but that doesn't mean we can't or don't work together or that I don't admire the qualities that have helped make him the longest serving Republican leader. He understands his caucus and represents them well."
  • Spoke on North Korea.
    • "Now, on North Korea, in the early hours of the morning, President Trump and Chairman Kim met in Singapore for the first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and the leader of North Korea. It was a welcome improvement to see the two of them having a dialogue rather than engaging in name calling and saber rattling. Certainly, Americans feel better about talking than name calling and threats of war, which had characterized the relationship up until now. Though we are all rooting for diplomacy to succeed, we must be clear-eyed about what a diplomatic success with North Korea looks like."

 

Senator Ernst: (10:45 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "I'm calling on my colleagues across the aisle to clear this bill or else I will fight for a vote on it in the NDAA. My legislation, the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act, would establish a cap on former president's monetary allowances which are currently unlimited and fund resources like office space, staff salaries, cellphone bills, and more. 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."

 

Senator Sanders: (11:02 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "This morning, I want to say a few words about why I am voting no, to talk about the number of amendments that I have offered to this bill, and to express my very serious concerns about our nation's bloated military budget, particularly in light of the many unmet needs we face as a nation. Also, I must express a very serious objection to the fact that we are dealing with a $716 billion piece of legislation that is more than half of the discretionary budget, and yet we will in all likelihood not have a process which allows for amendments to be debated. $716 billion at a time when in Louisiana, as I understand it, they are now going to be cutting food stamps for hungry children, where schools throughout this country don't have enough money for books or for teachers' salaries."

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Jun 12 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 5515, the NDAA.
  • The Senate will recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. to allow for the weekly policy lunches.

 

Senator McConnell: (10:05 a.m.)

  • Spoke on North Korea.
    • "Just a few hours ago, President Trump, Secretary of State Pompeo, Security Advisor Bolton and the rest of the delegation ended their meeting with North Korean officials. This was an historic first step in negotiations. In the words of the joint statement agreed to by the United States and North Korea, both sides committed to pursuing a lasting and robust peace regime and complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The next steps in negotiations will test whether we can get to a verifiable deal which enhances our relationship with northeast Asia and our allies."
  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "This legislation builds on the landmark bipartisan budget agreement Congress and the president reached earlier this year. That deal established the outlines for the largest year-on-year increase on funding for American armed forces in 15 years. Now this NDAA will authorize the use of those resources for the priorities that matter most to the men and women who serve our country and to their commanders who plan for the future. The legislation will equip our all-volunteer force to meet a variety of challenges abroad, -- abroad, but its impact will be felt here at home where its service members will receive top-notch training and expanded support services for themselves and their families."
  • Spoke on Larry Kudlow's recent heart attack.
    • "And now on another matter, I want to share the Senate's warmest wishes for a speedy recovery of Larry Kudlow, assistant to the president, who is currently recovering at Walter Reed from what we were told was a small heart attack. Larry is not just a famously happy warrior for pro-growth, pro-opportunity economics, he's also widely regarded really as one of the best guys in Washington."
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "By now it's no secret that under the last administration our nation's economic recovery was slow, stunted and almost exclusively focused on the largest urban centers. Between 2010 and 2016, that's where more than 90% of population growth happened. It's where nearly three-quarters of new jobs went. Most everywhere else in our small cities, small towns, rural areas, families heard lot of talk of what my Democratic friends called an economic recovery, but they saw none of these effects in the small towns and small communities. It's no surprise after seeing their communities suffer under eight years of Democrats' policies, millions of Americans are ready to take a different route."