tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 13, 2014 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT
mr. reid: is the vote pending still? the presiding officer: anyone wishing to vote? anyone wishing to change their vote? if not, the yeas are 97, the yeas are 1, the bill as amended has been passed. mr. reid: move to lay that on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i move to proceed to calendar number 329 which is the bill to support sovereignty and democracy in the ukraine. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 329, s. 2124, a bill to support sovereignty and democracy in ukraine and for other purposes. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to consideration of calendar number 317, the homeowners
flood insurance affordable act, there be up to 45 minutes of debate prior to vote on passage of the bill, that the majority controlling 30 minutes, republicans controlling 15 minutes. further, upon disposition of that legislation the senate preepped to -- proceed to -- i'm sorry, that upon disposition of h.r. 3370, the senate proceed to consideration of s. 2137, that the bill be read a third time and the senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill, that he'll he each bill be subject to a 60-vote affirmative threshold with all of the above occurring with no intervening action or debate. finally, there be two minutes equally divided between the votes, senator combrurn be recognized up to 30 minutes following the votes for his remarks relative to the flood insurance bill. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that following disposition of s. 2137 the
senate proceed to executive session to consider two nominations, number 647, 551. two separate calendar matters, mr. president. that the senate proceed to vote with no intervening on the nominations in the order listed, the motion to reconsider be made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate, that any related statements be printed in the record, the president immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate resume legislative session. that there be two minutes of debated and that the votes be 10 minutes in length. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to consideration of h.r. 3370. the clerk will report.
the clerk: calendar number 317, h.r. 3370, an act to delay the implementation of certain provisions of the biggert-waters flood insurance reform act of 2012 and for other purposes. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there are now 45 minutes for debate. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. leahy: -- mr. lee: this particular bill has not been examined in committee, not in the senate and not even in the house. it was rushed to the floor of the house without amendment and it's being rushed to the floor here without amendment. this is not how the legislative process is supposed to work, especially not here in the united states senate. my opponents may say that we already had our chance to impact this policy, but what we have before us now is a different bill, a bill that we've never
seen before. this bill is not a conference report. it takes zero cues from the senate bill. not a single representative of the american people has been given the opportunity to offer even a single amendment to this legislation. all i've been asking for is a vote on an amendment that eliminates certain insurance rebates for second homes. my amendment would not change homeowners' flood insurance policies or even reduce the new taxpayer subsidy we're going to give them. it simply removes a retroactive reimbursement for second homes. essentially, we ask that working families around the country, including taxpayers in my state, not have to cut an additional check to the owners of coastal vacation houses. i know of no one who objects to my provision on policy grounds. let me repeat that. i don't know of anyone -- not one person -- who has raised a
policy objection to the amendment that i've offered. it is an objective improvement to the underlying policy, and this is what the senate is supposed to do. yet the supporters of the bill have been blocking any amendments that may garner bipartisan support to hold together a deal that has been negotiated in a back room, written in secret by only a few members, perhaps with the influence of a few people who may be interested in that. these masters of the university, as my friend, senator sessions, has sometimes referred to them, are shutting the american people out of the process. i asked for ten minutes and a vote on a single unobjectionable, germane amendment to a bill that the public has never before seen. but it seems that this may, too, be a bridge too far for the master of the university, as my friend from alabama likes to call -- of the universe, as my friend from alabama likes to call them. in an effort to change one of
the more offensive policies in the bill, one that provides a refund of premiums paid under the law of owners with vacation homes that are already $20 billion in the hole, i have agreed to a vote on my amendment as stand-alone bill. i have assurances from the house majority leader that he'll work together to get the policy considered in the house, and i take him on his word. i urge my colleagues to support my bill to protect the american people from being asked to fund the refund of premiums paid under current law to owners of second homes and vacation homes. thank you, mr. president. i yield back time. mr. menendez: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i rise to urge a "yes" vote for feignafinal passage of the homes
flood insurance act, and i'll say that the senate went through a considerate, deliberate process where amendments were openly considered. i believe that at the end of that process there was a 67-32 vote. we don't normally get two-thirds of the senate agreeing on major issues, but we did at that time on a bipartisan effort. my understanding is that the legislation that ultimately we are considering today, which is basically foundationally what we agreed to here, with some changes in the house for which there was vigorous back-and-forth negotiation passed by over 300 votes of the house of representatives. so it seems to me that it has a broad bipartisan support and was vigorously debated in that chamber. we have an opportunity to once
again, after the bill that we just passed, to show once again this body can work. we've had a respectable debate on good-faith amendments that were germane to the bill and lived up to the ideals of the senate when it was before us. we were able to have bipartisan negotiations to improve the house-passed version of our bill, so it provides the levels of relief that's necessary. and, as a result, we're now poised to pass some crit call legislation with, i believe, overwhelmingly bipartisan support, which provides real relief to millions of american families. and just very briefly, because i hope to basically not use all the time so we can come to a vote and get our members on their way, but this new legislation is, first of all, budget-neutral; it does not add a dime to the deficit, nor does it hurt the solvency of the national flood insurance program; and it prevents sky-rocketing rate increases by
implementing the following measures: one, it creates a fire wall on annual rate increases. it repeals the property sales trigger that was depressing the values of homes. it repeals the new policy sales trigger. it reinstates grandfathering. it refunds homeowners who overpaid. and it has something that i think is incredibly important, that i think was so important when we passed biggert-waters that i included my amendment in the banking committee, an affordability goal. let us, yes, have the ability to ensure the solvency of the national flood insurance program. but let us have an affordability mechanism, which fema was under the law that exists today required to report to the congress so that we could ultimately come up with an affordability mechanism that would ensure that we have a
solvent program, that we have an affordable program. because at the end of the day, insurance is about spreading risk over a wide pool, and in doing so keeping rates affordable. well, with rates that i heard from homeowners in new jersey that went from $1,000 to $10,000 or $15,000, not only is that not affordable, but you're going to ultimately reduce the size of the risk pool in the national flood insurance program. that means that's going to continue to drive up the cost, and you have a self-fulfilling cycle that ultimately does not provide for solvency. so we've kept some of the most important reforms in th reformsr biggert-waters but we've kept affordability, we've kept the real estate market at a time that it desperately needs help to be able to continue to prosper, that people's most
significant, most significant asset in their life -- they've built a lifetime to buy a home, and that's where they ultimately have their greatest asset, and that's where they leverage for their kid's education or emergency in health care, on a whole host -- plan for retirement. so for millions of people in my state and across the country who ultimately did the right thing, followed the rules, paid their premiums, met the higher standards, now to be told that in addition to, in new jersey's case, the consequences of hurricane sandy and throughout the northeast or flooding in colorado or the mississippi, and a whole host of other places, that despite they did everything right with no fault of their own, and having paid their fees, they are now with rate shock, inability to keep flood insurance, which sometimes triggers a default on their mortgage, if they have a mortgage, or makes it impossible
to sell their home. so, that's what we are rectifying here in the congress. that's what our collective purpose is. so i urge a strong "yes" vote. finally, i want to thank my colleagues who have worked with me in a bipartisan basis -- on a bipartisan basis: my lead cosponsor, senator isakson. i don't think there is anybody in the senate that has a greater depth of knowledge in the real estate industry and how this legislation affects that but also understands the consequences to individual families and has worked in an incredibly strong way so we could get to this bipartisan moment. i appreciate all of his work. and i have to say, the tenacio tenaciousness and the ability to bring us to this point of senator landrieu, who has become an expert, out of necessity, from what happened in her state with hurricane katrina, the people of louisiana are extraordinarily fortunate to
have her as one of their senators, and she has been a guiding light throughout this process, tremendously helpful in getting us to today. and lastly, i appreciate the leadership on both sides to get us to this moment so we could have this vote. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: i'm going to be very brief in the interest of time. i just want to thank senator menendez for his leadership, senator landrieu for her leadership. without their work, this would not havment let me tell yo happ. the putting themselves and this country at greater risk in those areas that are prone to flood t aggressively addresses the need we have to make this system more solvent and make it work better. the senate will be solve solve
ago grater problem for those in flood amplest it will be doing the right thing at the right time to correct an unintended consequence of an action of the united states congress. i commend senator menendez and senator landrieu, thank them for their effort and yield back my time. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: first, i thank my colleague for letting me butt in here. i want to praise the three people on the floor here. you could say, without who eachf whom is wouldn't have happened. senator men nen derks menendez,r sponsor of the bill. johnny isakson, in his friendly and gentle way brought many people on board and prevented many people from blocking it. the and probably the dynamo -- we would all agree, the dynamo
of this operation, mary landrieu. i would say mary landrieu and i have had probably 200 phone calls in the last month about flood insurance, three or four a day. whenever there was a blockage, she was like a jackhammer getting through it. so thank you. i'm going to be very brief as well, not quite as brief as my colleague from georgia but brief for me and brief for the senate. this is a very important day for the people of new york. we have thousands and thousands of homeowners who either have had their flood insurance rise or are fearful of their flood insurance rising. most of them are middle-class people in places like staten island, brooklyn, queens, the rockaways, ought to the southern shore of long island and you the hudson river. -- an and up the hudson river. to be a homeowner, is to have their piece of the rock, if you are a middle-class person. it is ail all you own. to have that takenway from you
by an irrational washington force called biggert-waters made no sense. yet when people's flood insurance bills went up from $500 to $4,000, when they were told if they sold their house it might go up to $10,000, their piece of the rock, their home was in true jeopardy. we all know that there's an increase in flooding. we all know the huge damage katrina and sandy did. but to phu put it on the back of home owns, as fema was doing by increasing rates and expanding flood maps, made no sense. and we had so many people in new york who were damaged -- and i know this is true of my colleague from new jersey as well -- who were damaged by sandy, who painstakingly rebuilt their home, getting some money from fema, some money from sandy, but going to relatives and friends.
and after their home is finally rebuilt to be told, now here's your $5,000 flood insurance bill when she is people are i these ? it was awful, a double whammy. this bill is not perfect but it will stop all of that. it grandfathers people in, so people who sell their home will not see the price go way up. and because of the efforts that we made here in the senate, the bill the house is sending us has an individual limit on how much flood insurance can go. 18% is still not as low an amount that we would like. and we may be able to revisit that down the road. but it certainly is not a 700% or 2,00,000% or 5,000 increase, which is what people are getting. so this is a good day. it is a good day for the coastal areas throughout america, the areas by rivers throughout
america, and you know what it means? that the american dream, working hard, buying a home, and having your little piece of the rock, will not be destroyed by some unknown, misunderstood, and irrational force from washington called flood insurance. flood insurance will now be a friend once again, rather than a foe. i yield the floor. ms. landrieu: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: i will speak only for two minutes now because i know that people are anxious to vote on final passage of this bill, and i will speak at length after the vote. i just want to say thank you to the two leaders that are on the floor, senator menendez from new jersey, senator johnny isakson from georgia. they were the team that brought a coalition together when it was very hard, and still is difficult to build a coalition here on any subject.
this subject is complicated. it's difficult. and there are very strong feltings on all -- feelings on all sides. there are different parts of the country that look at this different ways, and there are debts that need to be paid attached to this pravment so this walsh -- this was not an easy negotiation, and they both did an extraordinary job keeping us on track. number two, this compromise -- and that's what it represents, the best of the compromise was in fact debated at length on this senate floor. it was debated at length in the house of representatives. and it was voted on by 37 -- by 67-32 in the senate favorably, and 306-91 in the house favorably. the minority view represented by the senator from utah which would throw this bill into a conference committee right now, is not what the american people want. it's not what the majority of
republicans or majority of democrats want, as demonstrated by the vote that i just put into the record. now we could all take this bill and rewrite sections of it that would work better for our home state, but that's not what this place is about. this place is not about perfection. it's about the art of the possible. and it's about listening to our constituents and responding to them when they have a great need. and in the state of louisiana, i have 400,000 people that today think that they could lose their homes. many of these families, that's the greatest asset they have. and they are close to losing it. they don't want us to go to the conference committee and perfect this bill. they want us to pass it today, right now. and that's what i think we're going to do. you know, i know that the senator from utah is
disappointed. he may know masters of the universe. i'm still looking for them because i could use a lot of more wisdom and strength. and so if they are around here, i'd like them to present themselves. but right now all we have is each other and human beings trying to do the very best we can with a difficult circumstance. it may not be a perfect bill but it got, again, the concept of this bill, 67 votes in the senate and 306 votes in the house. and we really passed it in record time given the pace around here. so i'm very proud. i see the senator from florida. i know he wants to say a word. mr. nelson: would the senator yield? ms. landrieu: yes, i will. mr. nelson: i want to say thank you to the senator from louisiana who has been the spark plug behind this whole thing. and as a result of your hard work, there are a lot of people in florida that are going to be saved unconscionable increases. thank you. ms. landrieu: thank you. so i will yield and turn the
floor over to the leader, senator menendez and i think maybe the time is going to be yielded back. mr. menendez: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mends i understand that -- mr. menendez: i understand we're going to be able to act on the lee bill with a voice vote. as a result i ask consent that the order of respect to a 60 affirmative vote threshold be vitiated with all the provisions of the previous order be remaining in effect. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: mr. president, i think that in the interest of getting this bill to the president's desk and giving relief to flood victims across the country and many other homeowners, we will yield back
the balance of our time and ask nor the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. without objection, all time is yielded back. the clerk will read the title of the bill for the third time. the clerk: h.r. 3370, an act to delay implementation of certain provisions of the biggert waters flood insurance act and for other purposes. the presiding officer: the question is on passage of the bill. the yeas and nays have been ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
if not, the ayes are 7, the nays are 22 and the bill is passed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to consideration of s. 2137 which the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 2137, a bill to ensure holders of flood insurance policies under the national flood insurance program do not receive premium refunds for coverage of second homes. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote on s. 2137. who yields time? is there objection. is there objection? without objection, all time is yielded back. the clerk will read the title of the bill for a third time. the clerk: s. 2137 a bill to
ensure that holders of flood insurance policies under the national flood insurance program do not receive premium refunds for coverage of second homes. the presiding officer: hearing no further debate, all those in favor say aye. opposed say no. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill is passed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of commerce, ann mad ais an kumar of california to be assistant secretary of commerce
and director general of the united states and foreign commercial service. department of state, timothy m. broas of maryland to be ambassador to the kingdom of the netherlands. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote on the kumar nomination. is there objection? without objection. all time is yielded back. the question occurs on the nomination. all all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote on the broas amendment. is there objection?
without all time is yielded back. the question occurs on the nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it and the nomination is confirmed. under the previou m. -- under the previous order the motions to reconsider are made and laid on the table. the president will immediately be notified of the senate's action and the senate will resume legislative session. the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: thank you. i will try to make my remarks short. i know several of my colleagues have a place they need to be. i was at a committee hearing this afternoon and could not contribute to the debate on the floor on the flood program. i have about eight months left in the senate and i want to
remind us of what we've just done. we've solved a very short-term problem and made it a long-term problem, significantly worse. and we didn't really do our work because we were in such a hurry to take the political pressure off of the increases in the flood rate insurance. addressing that issue was important, and i agree that we had -- we needed to make some adjustments. but what we did is we chose politicians to win and the future to lose in this country when it comes to flood risk mitigation and flood risk costs to the american public. there are some positive things in the bill? yes. but what we did once again in this country was we put our political positions ahead of best interests of this country. the biggert-waters bill was a great reform bill, and what happens is when we passed it we
didn't recognize the tremendous rate increases that many people would have. we spent in the last five years in this country $1.6 billion at fema reevaluating all the floodplains in this country. and the whole purpose behind that was to really put at risk of what is out there based on what we have and slowly get to the point where we're actually measuring the risk. what have we done when we passed this bill and sent it to the president? what you did is you asked everybody in the future to continue to pay an exorbitant amount of money for their insurance so people who are at risk won't have to pay ultimately what is due to them. and the only time we're going to see that actually happen is now
when a property sells. vacation homes are excepted. i understand that we're not going to give rebates back to people. i understand that. but the big problem is we undermine the incentive to mitigate for risk. we now have a new flood insurance program. we have $18 billion worth of problems. we're getting ready to go to $26 billion, $28 billion worth of problems and that's on the head of our kids. we once again chose a position to put our kids at risk so we politically can be better off because we're going to alleviate the parochial scream rather than actually fix the scream. we're going to alleviate it. and we've eliminated all that. so my disappointment is not that we respond to parochial requests. it is we didn't do the hard work of addressing the problems and
address some of the parochial problems and anecdotal notes of massive increaseness flood insurance, and we could have done both but we chose not to. that is so heartbreaking to me and to this country that we continue to choose the politically expedient path that will bury our kids when we didn't have to and that is a function of a lack of real leadership and addressing the real problems rather than treating the symptoms of the problem which is what we've did. we have wasted $1.6 billion essentially. we might recover it 30 years from now. but the flood insurance program is now not in any better shape and won't be in any better shape 20 years from now than it is today. so i hope we're happy that we've solved the parochial problems. but when you go to sleep tonight, think about who's going to pay that bill. and it isn't the people that are
getting the benefit from the very large subsidized flood insurance. it's the kids in this country and what isn't going to be provided for them. it is those on the really low rung of ladder economically that we're not going to have the finances to actually care for those that need the care the most from us, but really the well heeled or the more well heeled and the more well connected tha*pt, they won again -- well connected, they won again. the builders and developers won. real estate firms won. less than .2% of this whole thing, without even modifying biggert-waters, applied to people in the lower 40% of the income in this country. less than .2%. 70% applied to the top 20% of the people in this country. so we gave a break to the best well-off, most well-off people
in this country. those are the numbers. you can't dispute those numbers. so because they screamed and don't want to pay their fair share, we've now damaged the future potential for our children. so i say congratulations we continue to do the same thing, and no wonder the american people say what's up with congress? they don't have the courage to make a difficult, tough decision. what they do is always make the political expedient one. that's exactly what we did today. that's exactly what the house did today. to me, it is sickening. i yield the floor. oh yeah, madam president, i would just like to be recognized to change a vote, ask unanimous consent unanimous consent on roll call vote 77 i voted aye, it was my intention to vote nay. i ask unanimous consent i be permitted to change my vote since it will not affect the
mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: what now is the pending business? the presiding officer: motion to proceed to s. 2124 is the pending business. mr. reid: and what is that? 2124, what is the subject matter? the presiding officer: the ukraine bill. mr. reid: thank you very much, madam president. i ask unanimous consent that at a time to be determined by me after consultation with senator mcconnell the motion to proceed be agreed to, there be an hour of debate equally divided between the leaders or their designees, that upon the use or yielding back of that time there will be read a third time and passed with all the above occurring with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: madam president, reserving the right to object -- the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: madam president,
the majority leader has asked that we move and pad -- pass this legislation which was considered in the senate foreign relations committee, was open for amendment. several amendments were adopted. several were rejected. and by a vote of 14-3 the senate foreign relations committee reported out this bill. why should we care about this legislation? i will try to be as brief as possible, but i urge my colleagues' attention to the latest "new york times" report today "russia massing military forces near border with ukraine." russian forces are massing near the border with ukraine, airborne, ground capabilities, example, an individual added, noting that the parachute drop was on a scale not seen since
the collapse of the soviet union. the forces there are by -- the training of units involve at least assault artillery batteries, assault helicopters and at least 14,000 soldiers. as we speak vladimir putin is either planning on or contemplating an invasion of eastern ukraine. we've seen the movie before, provocateurs, people having to come and restore order. there is no order and then we see military intervention. and then there is going to be another referendum such as supposed to take place on sunday in the crimea, which i predict 80% of the vote will do so when that is clearly not what the will of the people of crimea are. so -- incredibly, incredibly there will be an objection from
this side to this legislation when the people of ukraine are crying out for our help and our assistance. my friend from -- senator barrasso will now be proposing the house amendment that has not one single sanction in it. not one sanction. i'm surprised that the senator would want to propose a bill that doesn't have any punishment for the russians for what they are doing right now. and then another one of my colleagues will probably come out and object to us passing, taking up and passing the bill that was put through the senate foreign relations committee, open to amendments in a process that could not be criticized by anyone. so what's the message we're sending to the ukrainian people? what's the message we're sending them? that we have a problem with a fix for the i.m.f.. and then also there are some who are demanding changes in the regulation by the treasury
department concerning campaign contributions. why what -- what has happened? where are our priorities? is the i.m.f., no matter whether it's fixed or not fixed with this legislation, more important than the lives of thousands of people? is that what we're talking about here? i will say to my friends who were objecting to this -- and there are a number of them on my side -- you can call yourself republicans. that's fine because that's your voter registration. don't call yourself reagan republicans. ronald reagan would never, would never let this kind of aggression go unresponded to by the american people, and we're not talking about -- we're not talking about troops on the ground. we are talking about responses that impose sanctions and punishment for vladimir putin, who clearly has said that his goal -- the greatest disaster of the 20th century was the
dissolution, the collapse of the then-soviet union. we know what vladimir putin is all about, and we know what he understands. so now because of an i.m.f. fix, or a campaign finance fix, we are now going to reject a piece of legislation that was done in a bipartisan basis with the leadership of the chairman who i see on the floor, of which i'm proud, ranking member, senator corker of tennessee, and we're going to say no. and you know the most ridiculous thing about all of this is? that the majority leader has filed cloture. we have well over 60 votes. so we're going to be back in about 11 or 12 days, whatever it is. cloture will have been expired. it's well over 60 votes. and we will pass this. instead our signal to the people of ukraine today as russian military forces are massing on
their border, wait a minute, it's more important that we get our campaign finance regulations fixed. it's more important that we have the i.m.f. fix is a higher priority than the lives of the men and women in the ukraine. i've been embarrassed before on the floor of the senate, i will tell the president, but i haven't been embarrassed this way about members of my own party. one of the most proudest aspects i've always felt of our republican party and the leadership of ronald reagan and others is we stood up for people. we stood up for people when the iron curtain was there. we stood up for natan scharansky. we said tear down this guy. now we've got this guy and what are we saying? no. a shameful day. i will not
object. mr. menendez: madam president, reserving the right to object, and it is not my ultimate intention to object, but hopefully to persuade my colleagues not to object, you know, i have been watching my colleagues on television, in committee, on the senate floor rail about what is happening in the ukraine, rail about the lack of action from their perspecti perspective, and here we are at a moment that after a very considered process in the senate foreign relations committee, which i'm privileged to chair, working alongside with the ranking member, senator corker, and with colleagues such as senator mccain, a distinguished member of the committee, with a very strong
bipartisan vote on a major piece of legislation, that in fact when it comes time to act, we have those who say "noings" even thoug"noings" --who say "no," ey go on tv and bemoan the lack of afntle i finaction. i find it incredibly difficult to suggest that what the house passed can be the only response to what is happening in the ukraine. yes, it is a loan guarantee, which we include in our legislation. but, by the way, everything we do we pay for. so for those who are fiscally conservative and are concerned about it, we pay for what we seek to do. that cannot be said of the house. secondly, we go beyond a loan guarantee, as important as that loan guarantee is to making an expression to the ukrainian government, to the ukrainian people, to our partners in europe and in nato.
we say that there has to be responsibility taken for those who corrupted the ukrainian government, for those who undermined its sovereignty, for those who unde undermined its security. so we have provisions, both permissive and mandatory, to sanction individuals who are found -- have been found to, in fact, so corrupted the circumstances and/or affected the territorial integrity or sovereignty of the ukraine. one of them is sponsored by senator mccain, which was adopted unanimously, mandatory provision. you want to be doing something about russia. you can not do it with the house bill. you can only do it with the senate bill. and now the i.m.f. -- i respect
people who for some reason have an ideological difference about monetary decisions. but you want to talk about security, you will not have security in the ukraine if you cannot stablize it monetarily. and a $1 billion loan guarantee is not enough to make that happen. it is the i.m.f. that is going to be the singular force to create economic stability inside the ukraine, which is fundamental to meeting our security challenge as well. now, to hold i.m.f. reform hostage to the question of whether unlimited campaign money can go in our elections without deciding whether or not that is being done appropriately under the law, as it exists, is outrageous. there is a reason we care about ukraine. it is not simply because we want to do the right thing by a country that has been invaded in
the crimea and for which thousands of russian troops and equipment are amassing along its border in eastern ukraine. it is because this has a global consequence. if the west doesn't act, what will china say when it's looking at it's territorial desires in the south china sea? what will iran say it is we are negotiating with them about nuclear weapons? what will others in the world -- in north korea, whose march to nuclear weapons on a greater scale is in play -- all of them will be looking at what we and the west do as it relates to the ukraine and making a decision, how far can i go? what can i get away with? and to be able to stablize the ukraine, you need to ultimately have the international monetary
fund. and to hold that hostage because of investigations going on, wherever they may lead and however they may lead to the question of campaign finance moneys may be inappropriately ultimately be used in violation of law is pretty outrageous. so what's at play here is our national interest, our national security, the sovereignty of the people of the ukraine, the message that we will send across the world about what we stand ready to do. that should not be hostage to political interests that have nothing to do with those issues. so, for all of those who have been getting up and making speeches, for all of those who have been going on tv with plenty of criticism, here is your opportunity to act and act now. and there is no reason that we cannot do that at this moment.
with that, madam president, i yield the floor. and i withdraw my reservation. mr. corker: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i'll be brief. i want to say to the leader, we certainly have had some discussions regarding operations on the senate floor and the speed with which we deal with witthings and the amount of deb. but i want to thank him for trying to bring this issue to a vote today. i want to thank him for what he's going to do in a moment -- and that is to file cloture on this piece of legislation that passed out of our committee with strong bipartisan support so immediately what we get back we'll take it up. i do wish we could do it tonight. we have a group of seven or eight senators on their way to ukraine. nothing would be better than for them to know that we passed this strong piece of legislation out this weekend while, by the way, there's getting ready to be a referendum that's going to take
place early next week in crimea, while we have russian troops on the border, while we have a prime minister that was here last night showing extreme courage, a 39-year-old man, dealing with the issues that he's met with today. we will not have the opportunity to take action on this issue. i do want to say, though, whenever we take it up -- and it appears it will not be tonight; hopefully it will be as soon as we get back -- this is a strong piece of legislation. it deals both with giving ukraine a bridge to the future, while they're dealing with economic issues internally. it deals with sanctions to isolate russia, the thing that we all know needs to happen, to keep them from continuing this activity. and it puts in place the reforms that our country has already agreed to, that congress has not taken action on, that makes the i.m.f. more fully able to deal
with this issue, which is a poster child for why you would want the i.m.f. to operate in a responsible and strong manner. so i support this legislation strongly. i thank the chairman for working with us the way he did. i thank chairman -- chairman mccain. maybe that'll happen. i thank mccain for his leadership on these issues. and, again, i want to thank the leader for placing this in an urgent manner before the senate today. i lament the fact that we won't vote on it today. but hopefully we'll pass it broadly when we run. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator -- the assistant majority leader. mr. durbin: reserving the right to object -- and i will going to be brief, but i want to make this point: it is rare that we take an action on the floor of the senate that is watched around the world. and that is happening tonight. that is happening tonight. because the crisis in crimea and
ukraine has focused the attention of the world on russian aggression, aggression by a country which hosted the sochi olympics, a charm offensive so that we could see the new russia. the day after the final ceremonies, they sent their troops into the crimea. that isn't the new russia. that's the old russia. it is a russia that many of us are familiar with. a russia for many of us that have lithuanian blood -- my mother was born there -- remember what happened there. we remember and we know that the ambitions of vladimir putin will only be stopped with the resolve of the west, the resolve of the west starts here in this chamber tonight, an opportunity for members on both sides of the aisle to stand up and to approve the measure which passed the senate foreign relations committee yesterday 14-4, with the great leadership of senator menendez of leadership, senator corker of tennessee, a
bipartisan effort to say that what the russians have done is wrong, that if they continue this course, we will initiate political and economic sanctions and that we will join the international community in strengthening the ukrainian economy so that it can prosper and embrace democracy i and the western values, which we treasure much that's what'. that's what's at stake with this request this evening. to hear people say, well, let's not do it because we really should debate the future of the i.m.f. ... for goodness sakes, can't we save that for another day? for the people in ukraine? for those in america of ukrainian descent, can't we say, we'll save for another day the debate on the i.m.f.? and others have suggested that there's another -- another course of action here. if they say -- they say, if we want to help ukraine, we have to say the u.s. department of
treasury cannot investigate violations of 051-c-4 organizations. what does that have to do with ukraine? nothing. here's what it boils down to: those who are making that demand are saying we cannot protect ukraine unless we're prepared to protect the koch brothers from the possibility of investigation and prosecution for wrongdoing. that's what it comes down to. that is an outrage. if you submitted that as a plot line to "house of cards," they'd reject it and say nothing could be so outlandish. but we've heard it -- not once but many tiessments fo many tim. let's stand up tonight and send a message to russia and to the ukraine that we stand behind those people whose lives are at stake, as they try to move forward toward democracy, as they move forward toward a free election. let's stand behind them and not hide behind some procedural
effort. i will not object to this effort and hope that the unanimous consent request is agreed to. mr. barrasso: madam president, reserving the right to object, today russia's defense minister announced new military operations in regions along the ukrainian border, a disturbing development that comes a day after ukraine's interim prime minister visited prime minister and met with members of this body. we are now faced with the inescapable reality that the senate is about to enter a recess week, having taken no meaningful action to aid the interim government in kiev. we are left with one option: taking up and passing the house-passed bill, which authorizes $1 billion in loan guarantees. we can pass that measure now by unanimous consent and as sure our friends in -- and assure our friends in ukraine that they are not forgotten. the senate foreign relations committee bill congresstain provisions that are unrelated -- contains provisions that are
unrelated to the crisis in ukraine and not needed immediately and must be debated by this body. the bill also contains sanctions, cuts to the department of defense and other appropriations provisions. the foreign relations committee bill touches the jurisdiction of several committees and is certain to be met with opposition and perhaps a protracted conference with the house. where were we to take it up today, in the face of russian armored vehicles, we are offering rhetoric, despite the fact that the committee bill addresses matters within the jurisdiction of the armed services committee, the appropriations committee, cuts to defense department spending, the chairman of the committee refused yesterday -- yesterday -- to allow me to offer amendments concerning the export of natural gas to markets in europe. the senate should debate whether or not helping the ukrainians through the export of natural gas ighast-- ofnatural gas is i.
"the wall street journal," "west tries to loosen russia's grip." "u.s. hopes gas boom can undercut putin." the senate should debate whether helping the ukraineians with the export of natural gas, it should have that debate. but none of those matters can be addressed today, none of them conform the only bill that can get to the president quickly is the house-passed bill and we should pass it now. so, madam president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. barrasso: now, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 328, h.r. 4152. i ask unanimous consent that the bill be read a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. reid: reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i was talking to my friend, the senior senator from arizona, a little while ago.
he and i came here many, many years ago together. from the house of representatives. we came to the senate together. we're separated because arizona has more people than nevada -- in certainty. during those many years, we've had some experiences here in the senate that are memorable. i don't know as much -- and that's an understatement -- about military preparedness and the military as john mccain does. that is a gross understatement. but he is somebody that we should listen to when it comes to things dealing with aggression and military operations. madam president, ukraine is kind of personal to me.
a baby was born, his parents named him israel goldfarb. he was with his parents, brought to the united states, changed his name. that man is my wife's dad. my father-in-law. he was born in the ukraine. my wife landa and i have been to ukraine. and this is dealing more with more than someone's father-in-law, may he rest in peace. it deals with 45 million freedom-loving people who are being threatened by the big bear, wanting to return to the days of the soviet union, and
for my friend, the senator from wyoming, to come here and say there is nothing we could do about this today, that is absolutely wrong. there is plenty we could do about it today. but we're not going to do that. why? well, my friend says there are committees who are concerned about jurisdiction. now, how does -- how do the people in ukraine feel about that one? how do they feel about that? that the bipartisan heavy vote that we got out of the markup in the foreign relations committee, they may have stepped on someone's toes dealing with the jurisdiction of the committee. madam president, this is -- this is much more important than that. the international monetary fund is very much related to ukraine, and my friend from wyoming knows that. he's on the committee. he knows about the importance of the i.m.f. 45 million people are desperate
for help. they are afraid. they are afraid. russia has deployed paratroopers to the border with ukraine. they didn't -- they didn't drive in. they were dropped from the air. these russian cold war tactics and this president putin, i -- i want to make a suggestion to him, and that's this. he is going to have this plebe site on sunday -- plebe side on sunday in the crime yeah. why doesn't he have one in chechnya? what would happen there? would they support russia? no. they are an oppressed people because of vladimir putin. he wants to have a vote on what the people of the russian federation want to do, let them vote in chechnya, see how that
vote would turn out. this is so transparent what he is doing illegally. these cold war tactics, trying to intimidate the 41 million people in the ukraine, that's just what it is, intimidation. the entire world condemns what he has done, with rare, rare exception, and they are going to condemn even more if he goes further because action will have to be taken to isolate russia and its economy. this robust bill passed by the foreign relations committee to the floor is important. madam president, i don't throw around a lot of accolades, especially of my republican colleagues. i should do more, but i don't. i have to get better at that. but i have told personally and i tell the people of tennessee and the people of this country and the people around the world, the
speech that was given by the ranking member of that committee, the junior senator from tennessee yesterday in that committee was historic. it was a wonderful speech that set aside bipartisanship and directed its attention to what is going on in a part of the world that must concern us. this measure that comes from the house of representatives, i can't -- i can't do better than what the senior senator from arizona said. how can we send eight of our senators to ukraine and say yeah, we decided to do something but we're not going to do anything to suggest in any way that what russia has done is wrong. there is not a sanction that would cause anything to happen with what the house has done. i -- i can't imagine, i can't imagine how anyone in good conscience, after what has gone on since the last few days, how
anyone could agree to do something. our great country is going to go to ukraine and tell them that we passed something that helps you, although we don't condemn russia in any fashion in the resolution. we're being asked to agree to that? i don't think so, madam president. the role of the i.m.f. in stabilizing ukraine's economy and keeping ukraine free is important, but it's important not only for the ukrainians, it's important for this country. it's part of our national security interests. so we know that the people are upset about committee jurisdiction, and we know it's out in the public that -- and i have kept this to myself for quite some time because it was done when we were doing other things like the omnibus efforts made at that time to just give
up on the investigations of the koch brothers and all the others. and remember, treasury is not investigating only republican super pac's. they are investigating super pac's, as they should. republican super pac's, tea party super pac's, libertarian super pac's, all of them. if that isn't something that should be investigated, i don'tt know what is. now, i have talked about senator mccain's efforts in recognizing and identifying us and we listened because of his experience in the military, but we should also listen to what he says about campaign spending. i'm sorry to take so long. i know people want to leave, but i want to say this. i have been part of raising money here in washington for a long time, more than three decades. and i have done it when i first came here, the only money you could get, you listed where they
worked, their address, everything about them, and then you will remember there was a way they found -- both parties found a way to sneak it. they did it through corporations. they fund the one through state parties. i remember that. i felt so unclean, for lack of a better description. people give you these big checks to give to the state party. and then mccain-feingold passed. the next election, it was as if i had taken a bath, a bath after having run a marathon. john mccain understands why we need to investigate all this soft money, the super pac money, and when he says it, we should listen. maybe you don't want to listen to me, but we should listen to john mccain because he has a record substantiating his efforts on that behalf. so this thing is being objected
to, what we're trying to do here, protect the 45 million people in the ukraine because of this investigation, the koch brothers and others. young people not going to get into details about social welfare organizations and all that. we all know the political front groups that spend millions of dollars on misleading ads, and it's unfortunate. so it's too bad that we have this. it's hard to believe that some are so wedded to the koch brothers and others that they would torpedo a bill that is vital to the national execute of this country and the freedom of tens of millions of ukrainians and the birthplace of my wife's dad. this is wrong, and i am very disappointed, very disappointed in my friend from -- -- from wyoming, that he would come forward and do this. i tell you, it takes a lot of
courage because there isn't a lot of academic integrity in that -- strike the word integrity. there isn't a lot of foundation for what he has done. it is unreasonable, it is unfair, and it's about -- without substantiation, and i object. mr. sessions: madam president? madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i thank you, madam president. i know that the senator from alabama wants to speak, and i can assure him i will not remain on the floor to hear it. because i know what the senator from alabama is going to say, that it has something to do with paying for out of defense spending. i'll match my record with the senator of alabama on defense spending any time, day or night. and the fact is that this money is taken out of programs that were already canceled and were going to be returned to the treasury, and if they had been used for defense, then it would have busted the budget agreement that the senator from alabama has so stoutly defended time
after time. so i -- in a bit of preemption of the senator from alabama, your argument is wrong that this is taking money out of defense. you are dead wrong. so all i can say is i'd say to my colleagues again, the senator from wyoming came down and wants us to take up and pass a bill passed by the house of representatives which has not a single binding sanction in it, not one. not one binding sanction in it. not one strong message to the people of ukraine that we're supporting them. russia's defense ministry announced -- russia's defense ministry announced new military operations in several regions near the ukrainian border on thursday. even as chancellor angela merkley -- merkel warned, the
acting president of ukraine was quoted bayou cranian news media as saying russia forces that had massed near the border were ready to invade. so we now have russian forces about to invade a sovereign nation, and what are we talking about? an i.m.f. fix. suppose the senator from alabama was right and this is some money that's being taken out of national defense. how much money are we going to have to spend on national defense if vladimir putin goes unchecked throughout europe? and the next target, by the way, will be the baltic countries because they have russian-speaking pop laigz -- populations as well, and we may have to have provocations there. voldova, georgia where russia occupies abkazia. but what are we arguing about?
whether the i.m.f. fix is appropriate or not. what are we arguing about? whether it is in dispute as to whether this is actually some reductions in defense spending. where in the world is our priorities? where in the world is our sympathy and our concern and our need to support the people of ukraine in this hour of need? so -- and i don't want to go on too long, but the issue of natural gas, we all know that that's the way out of it long term. does anybody think that including a provision on natural gas is going to have any effect whatsoever on events that are now happening and will happen in the next few days? of course not. i'm a strong supporter of getting natural gas to these countries, but it's not going to happen in the next days, weeks, months or maybe even years. so to use that as an excuse, of course, is, again -- i have
watched in the last few months two fool's errands. one was when we shut down the government. we were all so proud we shut down the government, turned away 600,000 people from our national parks, took $27 million out of the economy of my state, on a fool's errand that was not going to succeed. now we see another fool's errand because the majority leader will file cloture, there will be well over 60 votes and ten or 11 or how many days from now, we will pass it and these sanctions will be enacted. in the meantime, in the meantime, the first message to the people of ukraine who are -- had russians in the view of the ukrainian president ready to invade, we are telling him no because we don't agree with an i.m.f. fix or we think the money may be or may not be coming out of defense. a senator: will senate yield for a brief question?
mr. mccain: i would be glad to. mr. murphy: thank you, senator mccain. senator mccain and i were in ukraine at the end of last year and we had the privilege to speak on the maidan in front of about half a million people, maybe even a million people who were there protesting the current government, the corruption that had reigned free, their decision to move away from an orientation towards europe, and after senator mccain's remarks, the crowd rose up with a chant of thank you, u.s.a., thank you, u.s.a. and wherever we went during that trip they were desperate for the help of the united states. and they are grateful for the fact that both the house and the senate is moving forward on the issue of providing loan guarantees, that aren't nearly enough, that's why we need to have the i.m.f. reform so they can deliver the bulk of the assistance but they feel they are standing virtually alone as russia marchs across