tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 5, 2014 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT
madam president, despite negative economic growth last quarter and despite far better approaches pending in congress to promote energy efficiency and energy innovation, and i note that my colleague from ohio who has been working doggedly to try to advance an energy efficiency bill, a measure that i think is smart and sound and built on good policy working to not only help states like mine but all across the country, we do have some good proposals out there. we have initiatives that we can move forward, but instead the president has decided to push ahead and to propose sweeping new regulation on our still-weak economy. we must keep cost and reliability in mind as regulatory mandates push more and more baseload coal plants off-line. ferc must be the unambiguous chafn onof reliability with a formal and documented role in
e.p.a.'s rule-making process. powerful regulatory laws must be jew did i schussly administered and only -- judiciously administered and only congress and not the e.p.a. should decide such consequential changes for our energy supply, our economy, and our people. anything less, i think, is unacceptable and could very well yield significant negative consequences for a wide variety of american families and our businesses. with that, madam president, i thank you for your attention and the opportunity to discuss a very important issue around the country. with that, i yield the floor. mr. portman: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: first i'd like to commend my colleague from alaska, who is the ranking member on the energy committee, for her hard work. she did mention the energy efficiency bill, that she strongly supports, and that is a more logical way to get at some of these issues. madam president, i'd like to follow on to my conversation i was having earlier with senator
landrieu. she and i announced earlier this afternoon that we were going to offer a unanimous consent in the senate on bipartisan and noncontroversial legislation. i hope senator landrieu could come back onto the floor, she can't. i ask unanimous consent as if in legislative serks the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar number 339, s. 1044. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 339, s. 1044, a bill to direct the secretary of the interior to install in the area of the world war ii memorial in the district of columbia a suitable plaque born inscription with the words of that president franks lynn roosevelt prayed with the united states on d-day, june 6, 1944. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection.
mr. portman: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be read a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, the clerk just read part of the description of this legislation, and i want to thank this body on both sides of the aisle for working with us on this. tomorrow we mark a momentous occasion. it is the 70th anniversary of d-day, a day of course that will go down in history as one of the greatest naval invasions in the history of our country but also when we lost many brave american soldiers and one where the country came together to pray for them and to give them the strength that they would need, not just on that day, d-day, but then going on to the continent of europe to ultimately veining- ultimately veininultimately van. on that day, president roosevelt
decided to give a prayer for the troops and the nation. that prayer -- this body has just passed legislation to provide that prayer to be part of the world war ii memorial, to give it some additional context and interpretation at a critical time where we need to look back at history in ways as this prayer does, that brings this country tosmght this is togethe. my dad was a world war ii veteran. i've always found it to be one of the most moving prayers in our nation's history. i would like to mention a couple aspects of this prayer. one is president roosevelt explained, i thought in very powerful words, why america fought. and he said, in talking about the troops, "they will be sore tired by night and by day without rest until victory is won. the darkness will be rent by neighs and flames. men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
for these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. they fight not for the lust of conquest. they fight to end conquest. they fight to liberate. they fight to let justice arise and tolerance and good will among all thy people. they yearn but for the end of battle, for th their return to e haven of home." i think that is an important message for us today. the prayer also includes a number of other very powerful messages bringing the nation together in a single day for prayer and thanksgiving. it asks for god's help in a number of ways. one is particularly poignant. it asks god to give us the ability to deepen our faith. it says, and i read, "and o lord give us faith. give us faith in thee, faith in our sons, faith in each other."
mr. president, i again appreciate the work of senator landrieument, befor. i thank my friends from ohio. the christian alliance and others who have brought this the to my attention over the years. i thank my colleagues in the house who have already passed this legislation last year with a resounding voavment i hope they will take up this legislation and pass it again in the house this year so that we can indeed move to have this inscription this plaque placed at the world war ii memorial to remind us of a day in our nation's history where our country did come together and where we as americans not just as conquerors but as liberators provided for the liberation of a continent and established for this country this precedent that with god so much is possible. i yield back pie time.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you. i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you. there's good news for america's veterans this afternoon where senator mccain and senator sanders, the chairman of the veterans' committee, have come apparently to a tentative agreement on what we should do to deal with some of the serious problems in the veterans administration. we know a couple of things. we first of all know, mr. president, that health care in the veterans hospitals, in the v.a. system, in the
community-based clinics in places like akron and canton and youngstown and springs field and mansfield, that the care in the big hospitals like wade park in dayton, the care is superb and overwhelming support among veterans for the care they have earned and they deserve and they're getting. the problem, mr. president, as you know, is getting access to that care. in a number of cases too many veterans have waited too long, been forced to wait too long to get the medical care, the medical treatment they need. that's a product, frankly, of an historically underfunded v.a. we know a decade ago that when the president a decade ago, a little more than a decade ago and the senate and the house took the country to war that veterans administration funding was pretty flat. there was no real preparation by the congress, by the president, then-president bush, and by the
v.a. to scale up capacity, v.a. capacity veterans health care, not enough nurses, not enough doctors, not enough capacity in the v.a., v.a. health care system to take care of the surging numbers of soldiers coming home, sailors coming home, marines coming home, airmen and women coming home. we also know at the same time what happened with agent orange and the agent orange presumptive eligibility that vietnam veterans were beginning to get sicker, were beginning to show more and more symptoms, and the government made the right decision. congress made the right decision. if you had boots on the ground in vietnam, you were eligible. if you had an illness connected to agent orange you were presumed to be eligible. you didn't have to prove you were exposed at a certain place at a certain time in vietnam. all those were good things, as
our country, our government, the v.a. embraced war, men and women, to get the v.a. care that they earned. the bad news was that congress and the president didn't prepare for it a decade ago, as this surge of new people, veterans coming home, veterans living here for a number of years after service, during their service that they could get the health care they needed. that's the reason we've had these long, long delays. there are certainly issues of leadership within the v.a. there are issues of administrators not doing their jobs. they should be held accountable. they should pay a price for that. sometimes terms, certainly disciplinary action if sho*ed shown to have failed -- if shown to have failed to do their responsibilities efficiently, correctly and responsibly. mr. president, it's clear that this new agreement will take us forward, and will do a couple of things. one, it means those administrators, those v.a.
officials who didn't do their jobs will be accountable. second, most importantly will mean veterans who have had long delays or live in rural areas and simply can't get the coverage, can't get to the v.a. clinic, the community-based outpatient clinic or the v.a. hospital, v.a. center, if they can't get that health care treatment today or soon, they can go to a private hospital. they can go to a community-based health clinic and get the coverage, get the care they need at no cost to the veteran. the third thing is to make up for the neglect a decade ago that we've tried to remedy by almost doubling the v.a. budget in the last five years to take care of all these people that are now in the system who have suffered much more serious illness and disability than veterans a generation ago who might have died on the battlefield from these same injuries that we scale up the training of doctors and nurses in these v.a. facilities. within the agreement reached among the group of us on the veterans' committee and both
parties is that we will fund a number of new facilities around the country as we train more doctors and nurses and other health care personnel, physical therapists, occupational therapists, all that. in a time of not particularly good news for veterans in the last few weeks and really last few months, this is good news. it will mean, i think, a better v.a. we know the v.a. is a huge health care system, 85 million veteran visits, patient visits at the v.a. last year. eight million different veterans used the v.a. in the last 12 months. and we've got to make sure we do our jobs as senators, as members of congress and the white house and taking care of our veterans. those who served us, it's time we served them better than we have. mr. president, i yield the floor.
mr. thune: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: i rise to honor the 70th anniversary of the heroic landings on d-day. the bravery demonstrated to liberate western europe from the clutches of nazi germany is one of the defining moments of modern history. the images of american g.i.'s landing in omaha beach, utah peach and point due hawk have come to represent not only the great sacrifices made during world war ii but the enduring cause of freedom for which the united states still stands. i've had the humbling experience of visiting the american cemetery at normandy that honors those who fell during the invasion. as walk, the peaceful fields of brilliant whitehead stones in
perfect formation, it was hard to imagine the terrifying landscape that greeted those american and allied soldiers, many of them not yet 20 years old when they lowered the ramps of their landing craft in the shallows off of normandy. yet, they understood the importance of their mission and they held fast against one of the greatest evils the world has ever faced. and they prevailed. the men and women who answered the call to serve in world war ii and those who supported them on the home front are often revered as the greatest generation, deservedly so, mr. president. they gave up their lives and their livelihoods, enduring separation from their loved ones and fought in unspikable conditions. from the beaches of normandy to the island of the pacific where my father served as a navy pilot, the united states and allied forces fought for freedom and for the dignity of mankind, and we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.
as we honor the memory of those who served before us, we honor their legacy by upholding the values for which they fought. mr. president, we're here today because of the immense burdens that our men and women in uniform have carried on our behalf. may we never forget their sacrifices or the solemn responsibility we have to all those who have answered the call to serve. mr. president, i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. udall: i would ask to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: thank you, mr. president. my state of new mexico has a great tradition of military service, and when the nation has called new mexico has always answered. today i wanted to say a few words to remember chester naz, mr. chester naz, the last of the original 29 and a half joe code talkers of world war ii. mr. naz passed away wednesday morning in albuquerque, new mexico. we are forever indebted to him and his fellow warriors.
they turned the navajo language into an unbelievable code, using a language they were forbidden to speak in school as a weapon to defend our freedoms in war. freedoms that they themselves did not always enjoy. theirs is a great story of courage and of love of country, of tremendous sacrifice in battle after battle, in ferocious combat. the navajo code saved countless lives and helped secure the allied victory. in 2001, the original code talkers received the congressional gold medal, the highest honor that congress can give. our former colleague, senator jeff bingaman, fought hard for this, and i was pleased to push for it in the house. it was richly deserved and long overdue. mr. naz was there for the ceremony, and the presiding officer who was in the house with me may remember. we had that ceremony in the
capitol rotunda. it was a great day. it was an uplifting day. to finally see the navajo code talkers receive their medals. i said then what i continue to feel now -- their service can never be forgotten and can never be diminished. chester nez was nod he is in his own life but proud of the code talkers and proud of the navajo traditions. in his later years, he visited schools and colleges all across the nation to tell the story of those navajo code talkers. in his memoir written with judith avila, he said, and i quote -- "i reminded myself that my navajo people had always been warriors, protectors. in that there was honor. i would concentrate on being a warrior, on protecting my homeland." close quote. as we mark chester's passing, we honor his memory, and with a renewed dedication to preserve
our native languages, to keep alive the story of our code talkers, the heroic story of the navajo and also of other native american tribes and their codes and their commitment forever unbroken. today we say goodbye to this great hero, this humble man who served our country with such devotion. we say goodbye with sadness but also with appreciation for a debt that can never be fully repaid, and we say goodbye for courage that will forever inspire us and for a life that truly made a difference. chester, you made a real difference in our lives. i would just say to chester's family, we send you our heartfelt condolences. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
quorum call: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: madam president, as we leave for the week, i want to say something on the record regarding our pages. they're going to graduate tomorrow morning at 10:00. i look forward to these graduations every year. these are fine young men and women who come here and spend a semester of school with us. we have traditionally been doing it for a long, long time, and i've had two of my grandchildren have been pages, and it's really
, even though my family has been involved in government through me for all these many years, they were never exposed to it like coming here and being a page. it really changed their lives, and i'm sure some of these young men and women's lives have been changed also. madam president, i can remember when i was about their age. i went to bowie state and the friends i made at that week this long program, -- at that week-long program, the friends i still have, these boys and girls, they're not the summer pages. we have two classes of summer pages. they're hoar for a month and -- they're here for a month and that's it. these young men and women are here for a semester, and the school is hard. it is not some kind of a lark
back in washington. they study hard. they get up early in the morning, they go to school and they come here and try to learn more about government. they really get to know us, the personalities. some of us are nicer to them than others. they recognize that. so i want to congratulate these pages because they are an integral part of what goes on around here. they really do things that are hard. we don't ask them to write tkeus certations -- did i certations -- dissertations here in the senate. for the school they do that. they are running around the complex, helping us with some of the more mundane things we take for granted. i just really look forward to
meeting them. i try to meet all the pages every year. i sometimes don't get to meet all the republican pages, but i try. and i want them to know that even though they weren't -- they won't hear from every one of us, we all very much appreciate what they do. today is their last day here, as i mentioned. i thank them for their service, and i hope, madam president, that their slight glance into government will be something that will cause them to be involved in government. the young men and women, the presiding officer here in this body has had a great political career. she's held a number of statewide offices in the state of north dakota. in all things you do in life, there's disappointments that come. she would have been the governor of the state of north dakota, but she was stricken with breast
cancer. i understand it messed up her campaign. but she came back. and as a real underdog, decided to run for the senate, and she won. and she's made a tremendous difference here in this body. i hope each of you can look around here and see people like the presiding officer who are someone that you would like to be like someday. when i first came to this body, i say to these young women especially, barbara mikulski was the senator from maryland. i came with her to the senate, and she was the woman. that was it. i couldn't help but earlier this week smile because a number of women, seven or eight women congregated here. and as one of the senators said to me, a female senator said look, we all, many of us wore turquoise today.
it was so bright and the clothes looked so vibrant and added so much to this body. so, it used to be, boys, that the senators we had here with rare exception were men, but that's not the way it is anymore. i can speak from experience, the senate is a much better place because of the input of women. men and women are different. they have different views and outlooks on life, and as a result of that, this is a much better place. i can remember a number of years ago when i looked here on the floor, i was the whip at that time taking care of the floor, and it was stunning to me when the military construction bill, appropriations bill, two women were running this. kay bailey hutchison, a republican from texas was the ranking member. and dianne feinstein from california was the chair of that committee.
billions of dollars for construction of facilities around the world. things have changed a great deal. you've been a part of watching this change take place, young men and women, so thank you for your service here. i hope someday some of you will be serving us on this body. i now move to proceed to legislative session. the clerk:. the presiding officer: the question is on the measure. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. and the motion is agreed to. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 734. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination. the judiciary, m. hannah lauk of
virginia to be united states district judge for the eastern district of virginia. mr. reid: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the is standing rs of the senate move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of m. hannah lauck of virginia to be united states stkreublgt stkreublgt -- district judge of the eastern district of virginia signed by 17 senators as follows. reid of nevada, coons, blumenthal, merkley, durbin, gillibrand, cardin, nelson, feinstein, warren, harkin, hirono. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the measure. all those in favor say aye.
all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. reid: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 736. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed -- all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: leo t. sorokin of massachusetts to be united states district judge for the district of massachusetts. mr. reid: there is a cloture motion at the desk. i would ask it be reported. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion. we the undersigned senators in in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to tpwreu to a close the debate on the nomination of leo t. sorokin of massachusetts to be united states district judge for the district of massachusetts, signed by 17 senators. mr. reid: madam president, i
ask unanimous consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now move to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mr. reid: i move to consider calendar number 739. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: richard frankly bouwa r*e of nevada. the presiding officer: there is a cloture motion at the desk i ask to have reported. the clerk: we the undersigned
senators hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of richard franklin bowlwa r*e of nevada to be united states district judge. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the reading of the names be waved. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: madam president, there is a cloture motion. i ask that it be -- i ask consent the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. reid: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 769. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposited no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the
nomination. the clerk: federal reserve system, lael brainard of district of columbia to be a member of the board of governors of the federal reserve system. mr. reid: there is a cloture motion that i would ask to be reported. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate of the nomination of lael brainard of the tkroebg to be a member of the board of governors of the federal reserve system signed by 17 senators as follows:. reid of -- mr. reid: i ask reading -ftd names be -- reading of the names be waived, madam president. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. reid: i move to proceed to
executive session to consider calendar number 771. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: federal reserve system jerome h. powell of maryland to be a member of the board of governors of the federal reserve system. mr. reid: a cloture motion i ask to be reported, madam president. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. cloture motion cloture motion. we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of jerome h. powell of maryland to be a member of the board of governors of the federal reserve system signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. reid: i ask the reading of the names not be necessary. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye.
all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. reid: i plouffe to proceed to calendar 767. we are in legislative session session is that right? the presiding officer: we are in legislative session. mr. reid: i ask we proceed to calendar number 767. i thought we were in executive session. the presiding officer: we're in legislative session. mr. reid: i move we be in executive session. the presiding officer: without objection. the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. allall those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: federal reserve system, stanley fischer of new york to be vice chairman of the board of governors of the federal reserve system.
mr. reid: there is a cloture motion i ask to be reported. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. cloture motion cloture motion we the -- the clerk: we hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of stanley fischer of new york to be vice chairman of the board of governors of the federal reserve system signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent we proceed to a period of morning business with senators allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to s. res. 468. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 468 to authorize the production of records by the permanent subcommittee on investigation of
the committee on homeland security and government affairs. the presiding officer: without objection the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that during the adjournment or recess of the senate from thursday, june 5 through monday, june 9 the majority leader be authorized to sign joint bills or resolutions. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 2:00 p.m. on monday, june 9. following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. following any leader remarks, the senate be in a period of
morning business until 5:30 p.m. with senators permitted to speak during that time for up to 10 minutes. and that at 5:30, the senate proceed to executive session to consider calendars number 734, 736, and 739. and the senate proceed to vote on the motions to invoke cloture on the nominations in the order listed. further, if cloture is invoked on any of the nominations on tuesday, june 10, at 10:00 a.m., all postcloture time be expired and the senate proceed to vote on confirmation of the nominations in the order lists. listed. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: there will be three roll call votes at 5:30 monday evening f. there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
creates a 2-year pilot program making it easier for veterans tessie private medical care if they have been unable to of treatment from the va. >> mr. president, i believe every member of the senate -- every american understands the very deep debt of gratitude that we go to the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend this country. that should not be a political issue. it should not be a partisan issue. i think all of us have been appalled by what we read about in phoenix and in other
locations about people with manipulating data, pretended that veterans were getting care in a timely manner when i was not the case. it is my strong belief as chairman of the senate veterans committee that every veteran in this country is entitled to high-quality medical care and that they should get that care in a timely manner. i will do everything i can to make that happen. we live, as everyone knows, in a politically divided country and congress to be reaching agreements is not easy and, quite frankly, does not take place very often here in this and that unfortunately for whatever reason without casting blame to be the american people understand that and are not happy about it. so reaching a compromise among people who look at the world very differently is not easy, but in this process senator john mccain of arizona and i have
tried our best to come forward with an agreement. it is an agreement which i am sure he is not 100 percent happy about and i can fully assure you i am not 100 percent happy about it. i would have written a very, very different bill. what i want to say now in thinking senator harry reid for his strong support for this process, chuck schumer, patty murray, dick durbin, pushing this effort forward. i hope that we will be back on the floor to deal with the many, many needs. right now we have a crisis on our hands and it is imperative we deal with that crisis. in my mind the essence of the crisis is that we have learned that in many parts of this country, not all parts, but many parts of this country veterans cannot get the timely care that they need. they cannot walk into a va and within a reasonable amount of
time get the treatment that any. and so this bill in a significant way begins to address that important issue. let me very briefly tell you how does that. for the are many locations around the country where we need new facilities, refurbished facilities, expanded facilities. there are 26 locations in 18 states where that is the case. of this legislation would allow the construction of 26 major medical facility leases in 18 states around the country, and i believe that will help us in many parts of the country in providing equality, we gather our veterans deserve. mr. president, in my view there are areas of the country where we simply do not have the
doctors, nurses, and the others doubt that we need to provide the care that our veterans deserve. many primary care physicians get burned out by working 12, 14 hours a day. they quit. the turnover it is too high. it is my view that the va by and large ago by the views of the veterans community themselves and independent studies, when people get into the chief for the quality of care is good, but i will tell you, if you don't have the primary care physicians, nurses that you need to treat veterans that will not get the care they need. this legislation will target $500 million i'm obligated balances from the hiring of new va doctors and nurses. i see that as a significant step forward. mr. president, i'm one of the
great, i think, embarrassment's or shocks that all of us feel is that within the military we have seen in recent years horrendous accounts of sexual assault. what this legislation does this say to those women and men who were sexually assaulted in the military that when you get into the va there is going to be quality care for your needs. this legislation also touches on a couple of issues that are not directly related to health care but have overwhelming support in the house and senate. we have heard from many and veterans who are in college as a result of the post 9/11 gi bill to right now cannot afford to go to college because they're not getting in state tuition. this legislation addresses that issue. i have talked, as i know senator
mccain has. these are the women who have lost their husbands in combat who, i think, for not sensible reason are unable to take advantage of the post 9/11 gi bill. want to get their lives together, go to college. this bill addresses that issue. there is another that was strongly supported. and this, what this -- and senator mccain will go into it, i'm sure, but what this provision does is says that if you are 40 miles or further away from a va health care facility, medical center, whenever it may be by you will be able to go to the doctor of your choice. under the strict supervision of the va. what this will do is prevent people from in some cases and very rural areas, mostly a bill
for people and a very rural areas here now have to travel long distances to get the health care. this will make their lives easier. we will see how it turns out. is, i don't think there is any disagreement in the senate or among the american people that when you have incompetent people in the va or worse, dishonest people they should be removed from their job immediately and the secretary of the va should have the power to get rid of them. i don't think there is in the debate about that. where there has been some debate is, those employees deserve due process. i say that because i don't want to see a situation where a new president comes in and for political reasons fires 400 top executives because they're democrats or republicans or
never. i don't want to see a situation where somebody is fired because she is a woman or black or hispanic or maybe gate and maybe that is the underlying motive. that person has no cause or appeal. will we have done is develop a very expedited process in terms of dismissal. if your business you're of the apparel tomorrow, gone, but you will have one week to file an appeal. the appropriate body will have three weeks to rule on your bill . there are a few other important provisions to. it is important in my view for the nation to take advantage of the expertise that is out there in the private sector. how do we develop information technology for people accessing the va? we have a commission that was opposed to that.
we have another commission that will help us with construction which has been an ongoing problem. madam president -- mr. president, that is a brief overview of what is in the legislation. does the solve all the problems? absolutely not. should we come back and continue to deal with this issue? absolutely. given the crisis that we have right now this is important. i want to thank senator mccain. his views on many issues are not mine. we looked at the world differently, but that is what democracy is about. our job is to sit down and work out the best agreement. i think from day one senator mccain showed absolute good faith and my desire to reach a compromise. i hope he feels that i did the same. thank him very much for its efforts. >> i would like to say to the
senator from vermont, i respect a great deal the word that he has done on this legislation. i respect his commitment and his of the veterans affairs committee. hours but the facts that bernie sanders is known as a fighter. it has been a pleasure to do combat within. [laughter] but i also would like to say that at the end of the day with strongly held views on different aspects of this issue we were able to come together, i believe, and a window will help to relieve this terrible tragedy that seems to have befallen our nation's veterans. it started in phoenix, ariz.
it begins with the terrible story of 40 veterans having literally died for lack of care. i don't need to go through all of the different problems there should be no doubt that we should accept the word of the inspector general who said these are systemic problems. this is not a scheduling problem. these are systemic problems that need to be addressed. you know, our hope demise as we concluded this legislation is that perhaps we could put some of our other differences aside move forward and address this legislation as quickly as possible and begin to repair the damage because we have, for all intents and purposes, in some ways betrayed the brave men and
women who are willing to go out and sacrifice for the well-being and freedom of the rest of this. so, again, want to say to senator sanders, i appreciate his lead and the fact that we both had to make some very tough compromises. but i found in my experience that when tough compromises are made usually that is a sign of bipartisanship and the sign that it is a good piece of legislation. i know that is not the popular thing to say nowadays i don't believe that if copper prices have been made we would be bringing to the floor of the senate and working with the house, as chairman jeff miller over there, that we would be doing what we are introducing today. i would also like to say a word
about two other individuals. that is senator barbara, the ranking member of the veterans affairs committee who i admire enormously. he has worked tirelessly on behalf of the veterans. he is a most respected member of our conference and, of course, our most unique treasure, dr. tom coburn who had been my nominee to take over the veterans administration which almost destroyed a long and beautiful french. dr. cockburn is the conscience of our conference. he is the person that we look up to and admire the bluffs. be be in some ways i am sort of the spokesperson when they really did a great majority of
the work. as senator sanders pointed out a mob like to just cover several aspects of this legislation and try to and explain a little bit why some of these provisions are there. of course a top priority for me for many years has been to give the veteran a choice the same choice that people who hold and medicare recipients, who have tried care, the military health care program. if they are outside of 40 miles from the nearest va facility, if they're is a wait time which is unacceptable, then they should be able to go to the health care provider right near their home, not have to get in a van and drive for two or three hours for routine medical care. i also want to emphasize that i hope my colleagues understand that this is no way i comment on
the veterans of ministration. we will leave that to others. because getting things done in the veterans' health care system that only the veterans' health care system can handle spinal cord injury, apostasies, warns, but only the va can do it. and none of this, as we are saying, in any way denigrates or does anything that is on complementary to the outstanding men and women who work in this system. we are proud of their work. it is the system that needs to be fixed. i don't want anybody who is associated with the veterans administration to believe that we are criticizing him. we are talking about a system that must be fixed. it is urgent that it be fixed. every single day that goes by the veteran is deprived of the care that he has earned serving
this country, if you have amendments and think you can make this bill better, we will commit. we would be glad to discuss with few amendments to this legislation. we would be glad if you know how to make it better, but in the meantime can we sort of pledge that we are committed to seeing this thing all the way through? i would urge my colleagues to do that. again, i know i speak for senator sanders when i say, if you have a way to make this bill better, and then. but let's not get hung up on certain other aspects of our differences that have characterized what most people would view as gridlock in this body. i would urge my colleagues to look at this compromise, and it is a compromise and see if you
wanted, think you can make it better, welcome your input, but also we would like to have your commitment to seeing this thing through to the president's desk. and i know that over -- we bring up, as i mentioned, veterans should have that guard, go to the facility of his or her choice. accountability, senator rubio and others produce legislation, senator standard to the senator sanders has improved on it. and there is cause for immediate firing and immediate firing if there is evidence of work that is not in keeping with the standards that we expect of our employees. that person will have some due
process. seven days to appeal to the merit system protection board and 21 days for that merde systems protection board to render a final decision. yes, we should have, as many of our colleagues want, accountability, but that accountability also in this proposal allows for due process for someone to at least here their case. expedited hearing authority 44 doctors and nurses and additional authority to hire new providers. now, there are on obligated funds out there, and we are going to use on obligated funds to hire more doctors and nurses were there needed also point out in some cases doctors and nurses have to work harder where they are. also, there are no pending over the years administration
requests for 26 major facility leases to be entered into. now, this has been the president's request, a bipartisan agreement on the need for these facilities, and i believe that we should proceed with it, and i will also point out to my colleagues, this legislation has some expenses, but the major expense is to move forward with the construction of these major medical facilities all over america and in the view of all it is necessary. as this improves the access to health care for individuals who are the victims of military sexual assault. sexual assault is probably one of the most vexing issues that we face in the military today outside of combat. we don't know exactly what causes some of this. we do know that many times it is
because of a lack of discipline, but there is no doubt that this is a problem in the military that needs to be addressed, otherwise mothers and fathers will be not agreeable. in fact reluctant to have their sons and daughters served in the military unless we address this issue of sexual assault, and there are many efforts going on. the defense authorization bill, within the military, many areas where we're working on this issue, but i think this provision of the bill will be helpful in attempting to address that issue. commission is to be appointed. we know one of the problems is scheduling, and this whole issue of phantom lists and waiting lists that disappeared and all that, we have got to get to the bottom of it, and i think the smartest people in america could help us on that.
another commission on capital planning. what our needs are for our veterans. one of the things that we do know, we have an aging veteran population from world war ii, korea and vietnam. that is an aging veterans' population and requires a different kind of care than those of afghanistan. and to be frank a lot of that is geriatric care. to be frank, a geriatric care is very expensive, but we have to understand who this population is and what their needs are just as we have to understand. and very frankly, our planning so far has not been very impressive to me. we need to have a -- this is a
pure senator sanders initiative for surviving spouses of those who die in the line of duty. it seems to me that is only fair a provision also that in-state tuition will be provided for our veterans at public colleges and universities. now, again, finally, i want to say thank you to senator sanders, and i also want ask my colleagues again, this is not a perfect document. we are ready to my think, to see any changes that you would consider and, perhaps, jermaine eminence. i would also hope that we can focus our attention on the bill and the efforts that we need to help our veterans as opposed to other issues which seemed to be with us on a daily basis. madam president, i yield the floor.
>> i would just -- >> the senator from vermont. >> i just want to thank senator mccain again. i think that his remarks were right on in terms of describing what is in this legislation, and i support his appeal. look, everybody has an issue. every time a bill comes up i have my concerns that i can bring forth amendments. senator mccain has says, but what we are appealing to right now is, if you have a way to improve this bill for our veterans bring forth an amendment, but please, please, do not bring forward an extraneous amendments to refocus on the needs of veterans. does not make them political footballs. i hope very much we can proceed in that direction. thank you, madam president. >> president obama today said he absolutely makes no apologies for trading five to alabama prisoners for the release of army sgt. that comment came at a news conference with british prime
minister david cameron at the end of the g-7 summit in brussels. the two leaders also took questions about the 70th anniversary of d-day and russia's intervention in ukraine. you can watch the news conference tonight on our companion network c-span at 8:00 eastern. >> on all lonely, windswept point on the northern shore france the air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men. the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire in the world can. at dawn on the morning of the sixth of june 19442205 rangers jumped off the british landing craft and ran to the bottom of these clips. their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion, to climb these scheer and desolate cliffs and take up the enemy guns. the allies have been told that
some of the mightiest of these guns were here and would be trained on the beaches to stop the allied advance. the rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers on the edge of the cliffs shooting got them with machine guns and throwing grenades. the american rangers began the climb. >> this week in american history tv will mark the 70th anniversary of the d-day invasion of normandy starting saturday morning at 1030 eastern watch this year's commemoration from world war ii memorial and washington fallen 1130 by author and historian greg simon who will discuss his new book the allied invasion of europe and the d-day landings. at 1230 he will take your questions and comments live. at 130 a look back at presidential speeches commemorating the day hall on american history tv saturday on c-span three. >> in 2007 congress mandated that 100 percent of the approximately 32,000 cargo containers entering u.s. ports
its stake prescreened. currently about 85 percent of containers are scanned. the senate homeland security committee yesterday held a hearing on port security and whether the 100 percent scanning goal is realistic. delaware's senator tom carper chaired this 2-hour long hearing . >> good morning, everyone. we're happy to welcome you here today. thank you for joining us. dr. coburn, called this hearing. a lot of interest, and i have, too, but the -- it is a shared interest. we want to take a look at the current state of port security in these united states. we want to find out if we are headed in the right direction.
i hope it can also focus on the work that needs to be done over the next few years to try to ensure that airport security efforts maintain a proper balance between security, safety , and trade facilitation. it is important because our focus as the congress cannot solely beyond security but also on maintaining and enhancing our economic competitiveness. as you all know, the security is no easy job involving maritime security provided by the united states coast guard. men and women patrol our coasts and a lot of ways. it involves the physical security of port security like the terminal and lewis, delaware, or energy refinery along the gulf of mexico were delaware city, delaware that is safeguarded by state and local authorities. it involves the carter security provided by the u.s. customs and border protection, which screens cargo to prevent dangerous goods from entering the united states while also facilitating the flow
of trade and transportation. .. entering the united states while also facilitating the flow of trade and transportation. the last part is a particularly important piece. and even as we build and maintain strong layers of port security we need to take care not to impede transportation or commerce. our ports and waterways are the life blood of our economy. i'm told that more than 95% of all u.s. trade is handled via sea ports, 95%. and these ports account for over 30% of u.s. gross domestic product, that's more than $5 trillion in trade each and every year. as the former governor of delaware and someone who is ultimately responsible for running a major port at the city of wilmington owned and ran that port for many years ran out of money and the state had some money and we took it over and when i was governor this is something i know a little bit about but care a whole lot about. the port of wilmington located along the delaware river in the northear