tv U.S. Senate Approves Iran Russia Sanctions Bill CSPAN June 15, 2017 9:29am-11:30am EDT
momentarily for the last bit of debate on the iran sanctions bill that now includes sanctions against russia. senators will vote at 11 eastern on to more amendments and then final passage. now lives in a coverage here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. holy god, in whose presence dark
nights of challenge are dispelled by the dawn of your love, you know our needs before we express them. thank you for daily providing our lawmakers with guidance and strength. lord, we pause to thank you for the courage and sacrificial service of our capitol police. forgive us when we take their daily courageous service for granted. lord, forgive us also when we seem to forget that words matter and can become seeds that will bring a bitter harvest.
bring speedy healing to all those injured in yesterday's shooting and solace for all of us affected by this tragedy. today, use our senators as instruments of your peace, bringing unity from division, light from darkness, joy from sadness, and hope from despair. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag
the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 722 which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 110, s. 722, a bill to impose sanctions with respect to iran and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 11:00 a.m. will be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees.
the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. mcconnell: this morning, mr. president, the senate continues to send its prayers to all the victims of yesterday's horrific shooting. we know our house colleagues are all thinking about their
colleague, majority whip scalise. it's been an immensely difficult 24 hours for all the victims, including mitt mike have a -- mitt mikva who remains in i.c.u. and the others. those officers didn't back down when faced with this threat. instead, as the capitol police always do, they put themselves in harm's way to help protect others. without them, we know so many more would have been injured. so we want to continue to express our gratitude to all those who courageously put their lives on the line to keep the capitol community safe. in doing so, we're also reminded of the bravery of our colleagues on the field yesterday, those who stepped in to help friends who had been injured as they waited for first responders to arrive. i think it says something about the character of those people as well.
the events of yesterday were devastating, and we know it will take time to heal. but for now, the members of the congressional baseball team have made the decision to go forward with tonight's game which will be played for charity. i know we'll be thinking about each of them as they take the field tonight. now, mr. president, on another matter, the senate today will take a final vote on the bipartisan first step to hold iran and russia accountable. this follows overwhelmingly bipartisan action yesterday to approve the russia sanctions amendment, an effort that would not have been possible without the good work of our foreign relations committee chairman, senator corker, and our banking chair, senator crapo, and their ranking members. after eight years of failed foreign policy under the obama administration, eight years of following the obama administration's preferred strategy of drawing down both our forces and our commitments, we must take a stronger stance
in deterring iran and holding its regime accountable for its actions and addressing russia's years' long pattern of provocations. these sanctions which are just one of our foreign policy tools, will only work as part of a broader effort to rebuild our military. rebuild our military force structure and combat readiness in order to send a strong signal to friend and foe alike. the united states should no longer stand by and allow threats like these to go unaddressed. and twhet administration completes -- when the administration completes its series of strategic reviews, i look forward to hearing from the president and his advisors their recommendations for countering iran's maligned conduct across the middle east and recommendations for russia's persistent efforts to undermine nato. as i said earlier this week, iran and russia's sanctions agreement, this piece of legislation reflects good bipartisan work. i want to thank senators on both
sides of the aisle for coming together to codify and strengthen existing sanctions. let's come together again now and pass these sanctions later this morning. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: the democratic whip. mr. durbin: i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, have you announced the business for the day? the presiding officer: we have. mr. durbin: then i ask unanimous consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, today is the fifth anniversary of the third air of the childhood
arrivals program known as daca. daca provides temporary legal status to immigrant students who arrive in the united states as children and infants, if they register with the government, pay a fee and pass a criminal background check. the program is based on the dream act, a piece of legislation which i introduced 16 years ago, in 2001. that legislation gave undocumented students who grew up in this country a chance to earn a path to legal status and citizenship. these young people have come to be known as dreamers, what used to be a word reserved for rock 'n' roll groups is now a word that has become part of our common language to describe an immigration challenge and opportunity. these dreamers came to the united states as children. they are american in every way, except for their legal immigration status. we have already invested a lot of money in these kids. we educated them, we have made them part of this country, and it makes no sense to squander their talents by deporting them
at this moment in their lives. in april, 2010, i sent a letter to president obama. dick lugar, the republican senator from indiana, joined me. on a bipartisan basis, we said to president obama stop deporting these young kids. they did nothing wrong. their parents made the decision to come here, give them a chance. the president responded. it's now clear that the daca program he created by executive order has been a dramatic success. more than 780,000 dreamers have come forward and received daca protection and status. that has allowed them to contribute more fully to this country. as students, as teachers, as nurses, as engineers, as entrepreneurs. a recent study by the center for american progress finds that ending daca, saying to the 780,000 young people that they are no longer part of america, would cost us. it would cost our economy over $400 billion in gross domestic
product over the next ten years. these are productive citizens, doing good things for america. i should take that back. they are not citizens yet. they are productive people, doing good things for america whom i want to make citizens if the dream act becomes law. i have made differences with president trump on immigration. -- many differences with president trump on immigration. the president's january 25 executive order makes up to eight million immigrants for priorities to deportation and seeks to create a deportation force by tripling the number of immigration agents. this ignores the reality that the vast majority of undocumented immigrants are law-abiding individuals who make important contributions to this country and have deep roots in the united states. but i'm grateful and i say that publicly, i have said it before. i'm grateful that president trump has decided to keep the daca program in place. homeland security secretary john kelly and u.s. citizenship and immigration service director
nominee francis cisna have promised me personally and publicly that they will maintain the existing guidelines for the daca program. i appreciate the commitment and intend to hold them to it. congress also has an obligation to do its job. we have to do something we rarely do in the united states senate, pass legislation, fix our broken immigration system. think about this. on june 27, 2013, four years ago, the senate on a bipartisan basis passed comprehensive immigration reform by a vote of 68-32, better than 2-1. i was glad to be part of the gang of eight, democrats and republican senators, who worked for months for the bill that passed by this margin. it strengthened border security, it protected american workers, it established a tough but fair path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people in this country. unfortunately, the republican majority in the house of representatives would not debate it, would not consider it, would
not bring it for a vote, and it died in the u.s. house of representatives. if they had done their job, their work, it would have passed with a bipartisan majority. president obama would have signed it into law. i might not be standing here today talking about this issue. over the years, i have come to the floor of the senate to tell story after story about dreamers, the young immigrant students who grew up in this country. these stories put a human face on the daca program and the dream legislation. they show that immigration makes our country stronger. today i want to say a word about gisele escodino. this is gisele. she came to the united states at the age of 3. her family emigrated from mexico. she grew up in my home state of illinois in the town of cicero. honor student in the high school she attended, in their gifted
program. she was also -- she also had a big responsibility personally. from a young age, she has been one of the primary caregivers for her brother, who suffers from severe autism. and during the little spare time that she had, gisele was a volunteer in her community, helping organizations provide care for children with autism. as an undocumented student, though, gisele was not eligible for any federal assistance to go to college, but as a result of her academic achievements in high school, she received a private scholarship to attend the university of illinois at chicago. as a college student, gisele was a writing tutor and a leader in student organizations for future teachers. in 2010, she graduated from the university of illinois in chicago and the college of education with a agree in elementary education. at the graduation ceremony, gisele received a dean's merit award. she delivered the graduation speech for her class.
she wanted to start using her degree as an elementary school teacher, but because she was undocumented, that wasn't possible. instead, she continued her education and earned a master's degree at the university of illinois. she was accepted into a disability leadership program as a family advocate. then in 2012, the world changed for the better for gisele. president obama established the daca program. she immediately applied for daca. and then in 2013 completed her master's degree and became an elementary school teacher. for the last four years, gisele has been a teacher in the berwyn south school district. last year, she was awarded a serk of -- certificate of achievement in her district as one of two teachers to ever implement a dual language program in the district. she sent me a letter. i'd like to read part of it as part of the record. here is what she said. daca has enabled me to become a meaningful member of society by opening doors that would have otherwise not been accessible.
daca recipients like myself are more than just a policy. my hope is that when people listen to our stories, they will notice the kind of people we are and the individuals that we are and the kind of contributions we make, not only to the economy but to our society. i reflect on that paragraph and think about this young woman, the challenges she has faced within her family and challenges imposed by the fact that she was undocumented. she has never lost sight of her commitment to her family, to her disabled sibling and to many others in her community. now she wants to be a teacher. wouldn't you be proud and honored to have your child in a classroom with someone with gisele's master's degree and values? i certainly would. gisele and other dreamers have so much to give to the united states, but without daca, and without the dream act, gisele would be deported back to mexico, a one where she hasn't lived since she was 3 years old. so will america be a stronger
country if we send away people like gisele, if we deport them and say that we don't need them in our future? of course not. the answer's clear. gisele will make america a better place. today we celebrate the daca program which has given gisele and hundreds of thousands of other dreamers the chance to finally, finally come out of the shadows, but we also recognize daca as a temporary solution. ultimately, congress and especially the senate must step up and show leadership here, make certain that we address the failings and weaknesses of our broken immigration system. say to the 780,000 protected by daca that you step forward, -- stepped forward, paid your fee, submitted yourself to a background check and will be given a temporary opportunity to be part of america. now it's our job to translate that into a permanent opportunity for these young people to make america a better place. mr. president, i yield the floor.
mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: first i thank my friend and colleague for his outstanding words on daca. no one has fought more for the daca kids than he has, not just in the last year but over the last decade, and the fact that so many of them are here is in good part due to his great work and effort, so thank you. now, mr. president, we're still all a bit shaken by the horrors of yesterday's shooting. it was a senseless act of violence, even more chilling by the circumstances at a baseball practice for a bipartisan charity event. i understand that representative scalise is still in critical condition following surgery last night. when we hear the word critical attached to his condition, it sends shivers down our spines. we hope and pray for a quick and full recovery. i know that all of his house colleagues are wishing him well right now, and i want him to
know that his friends in the senate do as well. the same goes for the other four who were injured in the attack, including two members of our capitol police force. our thoughts and prayers are with them as well. and we remain grateful for their service and bravery and for the service and bravery of all of our capitol police officers. their presence at the field yesterday, the presence of those two capitol police officers at the field yesterday prevented a bad situation from getting worse and undoubtedly saved lives. had the two brave police officers not acted or had not been there, it might well have been a massacre. we would all be wise to reflect on the importance of civility in our nation's politics this morning. we disagree rementally at times -- disagree vehemently at times here in congress, and folks out in the country do, too, but the level of nastiness,
vitriol and hate that has seeped into our politics must be excised. let us all strive at all times, whatever our disagreements, to respect those who disagree with us, to seek greater understanding of them, to walk in their moccasins, as native americans have always said. let us strive always to conduct our politics with civility. i was heartened to hear that the congressional baseball game will still be played this evening. let it be a symbol that hate and violence do not cast too long or too great a shadow, that we can and will come together this evening and the game will go on, and i will be going to the game with the three congressional leaders as a show of solidarity. now, mr. president, last evening, the senate showed it can come together. last night, we voted in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion to strengthen a package of sanctions against russia. it was a product of diligent weeks of bipartisan negotiation.
i saw the senator from maryland behind me a few minutes ago and he deserves lots of credit, as does the senators from ohio and tennessee and idaho. and the final result is a very good one for our country, because yesterday the u.s. senate said to mr. putin, in no uncertain terms, that when he violates international norms and interferes with our election, he will not escape reproach. not only did we pass a new round of tough sanctions for russia's meddling in our election, we codified existing sanctions into law, making them harder to lift, and we moved to make the congress, not the president, the final arbiter of sanctions relief when necessary. any idea of the president that he can lift sanctions on his own for whatever reason are dashed by this legislation. the house of representatives should take notice that 97 senators voted in favor of this
package, and i hope that leader ryan will move with the same haste to pass this package of sanctions through the house. i hope the president will sign it. the months-long effort to forge a bipartisan consensus on russia sanctions, an issue that gets to the vital interests of our country, to the wellsprings of our democracy, gives me hope that democrats and republicans can come together and work together on a number of big issues this year. there are several issues coming before this body soon where we can come together. another budget, passing another budget, reauthorizing flood insurance and the children's health insurance, raising the debt ceiling. each of those issues will by definition demand bipartisan effort. a lesson that all of us have learned here in the senate is that legislation is made better and much more likely to pass when both parties are involved
in crafting it. i have noticed the media has been questioning all morning why congress isn't more bipartisan. we should be, but when the russian sanctions agreement pass and the budget deal pass, both major bipartisan efforts, we are can get things done together. if those agreements were given a little more recognition by the media, the fact that we can at times at least work in a bipartisan way, that would help. for too many of us on both sides of the aisle it seems when there is divisiveness it gets more attention in the media than when there is comity between the parties. finally i would suggest to my colleagues that the most immediate place where we can translate the rhetoric calling for us to come together, where we can translate that rhetoric into reality is on health care. a goal many of us share, both
sides of the aisle, improve the law, bring down costs for consumers, stabilize the marketplace and make it easier for older americans to afford the ever-rising out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. so i will conclude by saying the rhetoric -- we could make the rhetoric of bipartisan not empty by coming together and working together, two parties on health care. we've shown thus far this congress, with the passage of the budget and russian sanctions that significant legislation can best be served by bipartisanship. opening up the process and having us all come together on health care would be a very, very good, concrete reaffirmation of bipartisanship and translate the rhetoric, not bad at all that we've heard here today, into reality. so in conclusion, mr. president, the rhetoric about bipartisanship can be
strengthened. hopefully health care is the place where we can strengthen it by opening up the process, by having hearings, by having discussion openly. thank you, and i yield the floor. and now i ask unanimous consent that time during the quorum calls on s. 722 be charged equally to both sides. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
is presiding over the chamber. the amendment that i will be discussing today goes to the heart of our opportunities in space, our opportunities in innovation, our opportunities to assure we have the most reliable information as it results -- as it relates to weather, to weather events, and this amendment today, a great partnership that we've had with the senator from alabama who has been absolutely critical and instrumental in assuring a persistent, reliable space presence. i thank the senator from alabama for helping us to make sure that we are able to reach space and continue our space mission,
thank you, senator, for the leadership from alabama provided to assure that constant presence and persistence. i, of course, rise today to speak in support of the bipartisan gardner-nelson-warner amendment, amendment 250. to the senate and my colleagues, i am rise today on behalf of the hard-working men and women who make our country's aerospace industry second to begun because over the past 70 years the united states has led the way in space exploration. from the apollo mission to the space shuttle to the o'ryan program, we are the great leaders in exploring space. that's what this country is. that's who we are, explorers, pioneers. we are the first to the moon. i hope we're the first to mars. but we cannot give up that
pioneer innovation that led this country to greatness. i'll share with colleagues of the senate a cnbc story in march. china is building a manned spacecraft capable of sending astronauts to the moon. can you imagine the day when the stars and stripes on the lunar surface stand not alone, but stand next to the stars of a flag by another nation -- perhaps china, perhaps somebody else. when it comes to our access to space, this debate is absolutely critical because without passage of amendment number 250, we lose a tremendous portion of our access to space. we lose it for commercial applications, we lose it for civil applications. in the past few months this
shows the importance of u.s. leadership. that's why this bipartisan amendment comes with a simple point. it assures that nasa and our commercial space industry will continue to be the leader in aerospace. the ranking member of the senate intelligence committee, mark warner, is joining me on my amendment. he is doing a tremendous job. i see that senator nelson has joined this debate, a phenomenal job of leading this effort. with jurisdiction over nasa, bill nelson, leading cosponsor of this effort. they understand the -- the importance -- how important it is to address this issue for nasa and other space missions. i stand here in support of the greater goals of the underlying bill -- the underlying bill we will be amending today. i believe this should move forward. but this amendment, this amendment not designed to undermine the intent of the bill, but seeks to ensure space
exploration may continue as it is currently planned. without this bipartisan amendment, multiple missions on the books today -- multiple mission also that are already planned today will be delayed or even canceled and would be subjecting the u.s. taxpayers to significant cost increases. missions like the commercial resupply program which delivers critical supplies to the international space station will be jeopardized by the language of the bill as it is written without this amendment. american astronauts -- american astronauts on the space station as we speak with dependent on those supplies and we are cutting off the american lifeline without the adoption of this amendment. future missions like the commercial crew program, a partnership between nasa and private industry to bring astronauts to the international
space station on a u.s.-manufactured spacecraft. a u.s.-manufactured spacecraft will be put at risk without the adoption of this amendment. without this bipartisan amendment, we will continue to rely on russian -- russia. let me make that clear. without the adoption of this amendment, nasa and our astronauts will be dependent on russia for access to space for even longer. rejection of this bipartisan amendment results in further russian dependence. i don't believe this was the intent of the language when the bill was first written. the gardner-nelson-warner amendment supports to ensure currently planned nasa launched missions. they can continue without interruption. nasa contacted my office yesterday and said of amendment
250, quote, we believe this provides us the flexibility to maintain our commitments to our national space program. and it's not just the commercial crew and cargo missions that will be impacted. several other missions will be subjected to delays. missions like the joint polar satellite system. this constellation of satellites will give us the ability to constantly monitor the globe for weather events such as floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes. as i stand here today, the three senators on the floor listening to this important debate, with more on c-span, have been impacted dramatically by floods, tornadoes and hurricanes. in 2013 we had dramatic flooding in colorado, damaging thousands and thousands of homes, costing lives. i know the presiding officer has faced the same thing with
tornadoes. the senator from florida faced hurricanes, floods, tornadoes. that's the importance of this amendment, to understand our weather systems. jpss is being developed in my state. we have -- billions of dollars are put at risk of delays or cost increase to taxpayers without the adoption of this amendment. i'm also here to talk a longer-term mission that i hope to see our nation achieve, than goes to the heart of our pioneering spirit, of who we are as a people, and that's our future manned mission to mars. as i've spoken on the floor before, i wanted to be an astronaut. i was inspired as i watch nasa astronauts explore that next frontier and i believe the next
destination to explore is indeed mars. without this bipartisan amendment, the mars mission will be put in doubt. it will be a significant setback and make the future goal of getting to mars seem that much further away. this amendment, amendment number 250, allows these missions to move forward with certainly and as scheduled. it's a bipartisan ef frt to affirm -- effort to affirm america's leadership in space. let's be clear. last summer we had a debate on this very same issue. we had a debate on this issue that said by 2022, we are going to have an american first opportunity. that's the spirit of this amendment. it is to make sure that we have access to these vital and critical space missions, access to space, continuing to grow economic opportunities for the american people. that's what this debate is all about. and i know my colleague from senator nelson is on the floor
and so i would reserve the balance of my time and, of course, continue with debate. mr. nelson: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, i thank senator gardner and, indeed, this is an example of the senate working together. there's simply a problem in the bill that was passed. it's a technical problem, but it goes to heart of our military-civilian space program. it goes to the heart of the cooperation that we have had with russia going back to the soviet union days when, in fact, in 1975 in the middle of the cold war a crew from america had
a renedevous and docked with a crew from the soviet union -- in the middle of the cold war -- ever since that crew, led by general tom stafford of the united states and general alxi alxi -- alexi -- since then we have had cooperation in space and that program continues today on the international space station. now, before i get into talking about, as senator gardner has so well discussed already the details of the amendment, and it is and i hope the senate will treat it as technical in nature because it corrects what was not
intended, but unless corrected would be disastrous not only -- not only nasa but for all of our burgeoning commercial space industry of which we are bringing that back to america. in the meantime what has happened over the last four decades, a lot of that commercial space industry has flown the coop to other launchers to other nations. it's coming back to america. but before i get into the substance, i just want to say with regard to the terrible tragedy that occurred yesterday, my feelings about this violence that has occurred, whether it has occurred because or not i don't know of the excessive rhetoric and the sharpness and
the fact that politics has become a blood sport we are so divided. is this what i want to say: that we are americans first regardless of party. that in times of threat, we come together. we're all on the same team. this senator has prayed, and i know others are, for the complete recovery of all of those that were wounded yesterday. some -- two of which apparently are grievously wounded. we pray for their full recovery. it was a heinous attack.
let's come together in bipartisanship, and right here is an example of coming together, recognizing there is a technical problem, coming together to fix that problem. let's do this in the spirit of what americans do, that we are americans first. so i'm obviously here as i voted yesterday for the iran sanctions bell, as well as the russian sanctions amendment which we adopted yesterday. both were bipartisan efforts. i want to thank our colleagues, especially the members of the banking and foreign relations committees. this senator is a cosponsor of the sanctions bill which
addresses iran's support for terrorism, ballistic missile activity and human rights violations, and these destabilizing activities continue, and this bill strengthens the hand of the u.s. in countering iran. these are destabilizing activities separate and apart from the iran nuclear agreement which to date the united states has the evidence that they have complied with the iran nuclear agreement. now, at the same time, we're facing an aggressive vladimir putin, and the russia bill that we passed yesterday and will come to final passage shortly strengthens our hand against putin's russia. the u.s. intelligence community has already made clear that
putin attempted to interfere in our election, and let me tell you that didn't stop with the past election. that is continuing, and we better be ready for it next year in the 2018 elections, because putin and the g.r.u. have done all the groundwork. so -- but that's nothing new because he had done it in elections before in europe and has been doing it in elections right now as we saw in france, and it boom ranged on him -- and it boomeranged on him, thank goodness, and we will see an attempt on the german elections coming up. and the intelligence community has made it very clear. the ranking member of intel is here. has made it very clear that
putin and the g.r.u. are likely to do this again, and that's what i say. bewear. they have laid the groundwork for next year's elections to try to interfere. putin's influence campaign struck at the very core of our democracy and simply must not be permitted to do it again, and so now is not the time to cozy up to russia. rather, the u.s. must redouble our cyber defenses, our cyber offenses to deter him, make him feel enough pain so that he won't do it again. the sanctions that we adopt today are tough. we need this, but we need more. shortly, we're going to vote on the amendment that senator gardner has explained. that interestingly and all of
this angst and conflict with russia, we get along with russia in the civilian and commercial space program. peaceful cooperation in outer space ever since what i told you about since 1975 in the middle of the cold war, the rendezvous and docking and living together in space for nine days of a soviet crew and an american crew. that has been the sprawl theme of our space program since that time, and the shining example of that now is the cooperation in the international space station, the football-sized field. it's 120 yards long. think, one goal post to another. people don't have any idea how big it is on orbit, it circles
the earth every 90 minutes, and we have been working in space together with many nations, but especially our partner, the russians, for over 16 years. and so the peaceful cooperation in space has been good for business, it's been good for jobs in america, and we are working to grow our share of over $300 billion global space economy. that's what this amendment is about. it's about fixing the question about the purchase of those r.d. 180 engines, the russian engine that is used in the atlas 5, that is used not only for defense launches but for commercial launches and will be one of the two rockets launching american astronauts within a
year and a half to and from the international space station, and so this amendment is for the benefit of our economy as well as the betterment of our civilization. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. warner: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: i thank the senator for his comments. there is no one in this body more familiar and more knowledgeable about our space programs than senator nelson. and i also want to associate myself to comments he's made, one as the vice chairman of the intelligence committee, echo what he said about the very real, tangible threat that the russians, their spy agencies and their agents pose, not just to our democratic process but as you have outlined, not only did they attack us in 2016, they
attacked the dutch, where they had to hand count their ballots. they attacked the french where facebook took down 30,000 facebook accounts because of fear of russian manipulation. they will attack the germans. and one of the things that is so concerning to me is you add up, without firing a shot or shooting a missile, the amount of disruption the russians have caused in western societies at large, all that for less than 5% of the cost of a new aircraft carrier. pretty good rate of return. and our country needs to be strong against russia, and i support the russia sanctions, but i also support as the senator has indicated the really critical part that we continue our space program. and i stand here to join with senator nelson and my good friend, the senator from colorado, senator gardner, on the support of his amendment number 250, which will allow civilian agencies to continue to
launch crucial science, civil and commercial space missions, and that will continue to support noaa and nasa that depend upon their research. so without this amendment -- and i think this was an amendment that corrects a mistake in the original bill -- billions of dollars and years of planning that have gone into missions like the senator mentioned the international space station, commercial cargo, mars 2020 and the joint polar satellite systems just wouldn't be possible. in many ways without this amendment, we could even become more dependent upon russian technology. as again i mentioned, the senator mentioned, i think the overwhelming majority of this body, we are very supportive of sanctions against iran. we are very supportive, and i appreciate the opportunity to add stronger sanctions against russia, and sanctions that this
president cannot arbitrarily withdraw. but we have got to make sure that in this bill that we don't do unintentional harm to our space interests, space interests that are in colorado, i know are in florida. my home state of virginia. we have a flight facility at nasa wall ups, -- wallops, which is over on our eastern shore where we launch both nasa but also commercial satellites. we have one of america's leading commercial and military companies, orbital a.t.k., which is headquartered in virginia and launches the ataries rocket from wallops. the fact is without this amendment, orbital would be prevented from buying the russian r.d. 181 engines for its
rockets, and that would do nothing to help america's space mission. the fact is without those engines, orbital would not be able to fulfill a $1.2 billion contract for launching from wallops. quite simply, this amendment which again the senator indicated i'm repeat something broadly bipartisan. my friend senator gardner, he and i chair the cyber caucus, the leading expert with the senator on space, senator nelson, senator shelby, senator bennet, a host of others. the presiding officer is also a supporter of this. would simply provide civil and commercial space parity with the defense industry, for which an exception has already been provided. it is in the interest of defense and civil space to continue the current status quo in order to maintain a competitive
environment until a domestic capacity has been developed. let me be clear. i think it's important over a very short time that we get off purchasing russian rockets, but we need that transition period and the transition period that the chairman of the armed services committee laid out on the defense side ought to be as well extended on the commercial side. so a yes vote on amendment 250 will shore the continued access to space for nasa and also for those equally important commercial space missions. one of the things that i feel so important on the commercial space missions are we have got to have that competition candidly with nasa and to push our defense industry if we're going to bring space costs down. to put a dagger in the heart of our commercial space industry as it has been slowly evolving would be a grave mistake. i have taken on this issue on the intelligence side as i have
tried to be smarter on the whole question of our capabilities. the amount of dollars we spend and the lack of competitiveness we have in terms of some of our more traditional government-purchased space assets is both a waste of taxpayer dollars and candidly we have an architecture overhead that is not modern enough to recognize the threats that russians, chinese and others pose in terms of the ability to jam our satellites, the ability to use laser beams and other things that's in a sense in many ways it's almost as if our defense and the intelligence community, nobody ever saw a james bond movie. we built these large, bulky platforms in the sky with the assumption that america would always dominate space. that dominance, it's unfortunate
because our adversary changes, it's coming to an end, and we need the competition from the commercial industry quite honestly to push the i.c. and push the defense toward smaller, more resilient and more flexible platforms. and while i share the chairman of the armed services committee desire to get us off this russian hardware, we do need this transition. i think the amendment that has been put forward by the senator from colorado provides that transignificance, led by a transition that was laid out on defense. i believe commercial space needs that same type of -- same type of space and same type of transition. i hope the amendment will pass, and look forward to our continued bipartisan support of both nasa, commercial space and obviously our defense assets and i.c. assets as well. with that, i yield the floor. mr. mccain: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, the
russian sanctions amendment passed by this body 97-2 last year. i take it that the senator from florida and the senator from virginia were here at the time. there was one person who was not. it was negotiated between senators of both parties on multiple committees, including foreign relations, banking, and armed services. it was designed to impose tough sanctions on the russian military industrial complex and intelligence agencies that have made it possible for russia to invade ukraine, annex crimea and attack america's election in 2016. have no doubt about what this amendment is, my dear colleagues and friends. it is a giveaway to the russian
military industrial complex. there's always been a collection of -- of lawmakers, executives and lobbyists who have accepted continuing, even deepening our compensation on russian rocket engines. that's exactly what will happen if we allow this amendment to pass and the door will once again fly open for taxpayer dollars to be used to subsidize purchases of russian rocket engines, purchases which line the pockets of vladimir putin's cronies. if you want to vote and buy more russian rocket engines, just say it. fine with me. but to cloak it in some kind of bipartisan agreement that somehow we're going to have to continue to buy these russian rocket engines after we had an agreement last year 79- -- 97-2.
this undo that agreement. as a result of last year's bipartisan agreement in the ndaa, the department of defense is looking to have less dependence on russia. nasa needs to do the same. nasa needs to do the same. nasa needs to do the same. sanctions, by definition, requires tradeoff. sanctions are not free. countries that impose sanctions must be willing to pay a cost too if and when a greater principle, a great national security interest is at stake. let me conclude, mr. president, because i know the chairman of the foreign relations committee and the ranking member here, there are costs and tradeoffs
the united states has been asking our european allies to make in the last few years. we lean on france to cancel a sale of of naval nasa. we should not be asking our allies to make these sacrifices unless we are prepared to do the same. mr. president, we will probably pass this -- this amendment. if there's ever a doubt in any of our constituents' minds about the influence of special interest, it will be with passage of this amendment, which, by the way, with all due respect to my friends and colleagues, the one thing they didn't want was an on-the-record vote of this amendment. which is why i'm confident we'll
lose, but i want every member of the united states senate -- i want them to look into the eyes of the mother whose son was just skilled by a russian sniper as i just did. so, mr. president, i urge a no vote on the amendment. i know how it's going to come out, but members of the united states senate will at least be on record and i say this is not the most courageous chapter in the history of this institution. i urge a no vote. mr. corker: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i'm not involving myself in this debate. i just want to say to senator mccain, you demonstrated yesterday the best of the united states senate when an issue like this arose and instead of blocking a vote, you said you were glad to have a vote.
you are obviously in strong disagreement with the substance of this amendment. i want to tell you how much i personally appreciate you allowing a vote on this and the role you've played in all things russia and iran and your forceful nature on these issues, your great leadership and for the role you've played in getting us today to a vote that isn't requiring cloture, where you have allowed this amendment to take place. i cannot tell you how much i appreciate that and appreciate the role you play in this body. mr. kaine: body. -- mr. mccain: i thank the senator from tennessee. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: i thank my colleague from arizona, as well, for allowing this vote to move forward. but in his statements he said nasa needs to do the same. he repeated it will several
times times -- times, and i will say the -- we need the title, nasa needs to do the same. when it comes to defense, we need a way forward on the rd-180. we agreed to that. i believe it was a unanimous consent agreement. if there was an objection at that time, then it should have been expressed when we made this agreement. our colleagues across the aisle -- unanimous consent, it takes all of us to agree to a unanimous consent agreement. that agreement was made on the defense authorization act. nasa needs to do the same. our colleague, the ranking member of the intelligence committee, mark warner, made the point of parity between civil, commercial, and defense. that's what this amendment does. there are a lot of issues that
we come to the floor and we talk about this issue not being rocket science, not that difficult, it's not rocket science. we actually have an issue that is rocket science. the mission set before american astronauts is jeopardized if this amendment doesn't pass. the taxpayers of this country face billions of dollars in costs if this amendment doesn't pass. the reliance on russian technology to get to the space station for resupply and american astronauts will increase if this amendment doesn't pass. and do you want to talk about protecting the people of this country? let's talk about the victims of floods in colorado. let's talk about people who have died in tornadoes because we didn't have the most accurate ability to forecasts where they were coming from, when they were
going to strike, and who would be hit. these amendments -- this amendment will allow these weather satellites to go into space to protect the men and women of this country from natural disasters. and, again, it brings parity to an agreement that was decided upon through unanimous consent last year. i support the underlying legislation and i support this amendment and urge my colleagues to support it as well. i thank the chairman of the foreign relations committee and the ranking member of the foreign relations committee for their leadership on this issue. i yield my time. mr. corker: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: it is my understanding that senator cardin and i will speak for a few moments, and we'll have three votes, one will be on the nato issue, and then final passage. am i correct in that?
the presiding officer: the six minutes remaining before the first vote on the gardner amendment. mr. corker: then a series of votes with no comments made in advance of those votes. the presiding officer: the senator is correct. mr. corker: i will be brief and we'll split our time. i want to say that today, to me, the united states senate has -- is functioning in the way that our founders intended for it to function and it's been my goal since the beginning of my leadership on the foreign relations committee for our committee and for this senate to -- to reaffirm its role in foreign policy issues. and today the united states senate, in a time of uncertainty around our nation and uncertainty about some of our foreign policy issues, today the united states senate is
asserting its responsibilities as it it relates to foreign polls country for the united states of america. and i want to thank senators on both sides of the aisle for the role that they have played in getting us here. this is a very, very strong piece of legislation that in many ways has almost occurred under the radar screen because of the way that it has been done. the fact that we've had no cloture vote, the fact that we're having amendments, as have been discussed before, and the fact that this legislation sends a very, very strong signal to russia, the nefarious activities they've been involved in, does the same with iran with the activities outside the jcpoa affirming article 5 in nato in just a few moments. i want to thank this body. i want to thank leaders mcconnell and schumer for allowing the environment to exist for us to work in the
manner we have. i want to thank our ranking member, senator cardin, for those members, senator crapo and brown, and others who played a significant role. senator mccain is on the floor, senator graham, senator rubio, senator menendez, senator shaheen. so many members that have gotten us to this place. this is a great moment for the united states senate. this is the way the senate is supposed to function and this is the way the senate is supposed to exercise its per prerogatives it relates to foreign policy. a great moment for our body. senator cardin. mr. cardin: well, first to senator corker. there's a reason why members want to conserve -- serve on the senate foreign relations committee. we had a long list ofle members who wanted to -- of members who wanted to join the committee. the reason they wanted to join is not only because of the issues we have globally, but
this is a committee that is bipartisan and respects the views of every single member, both democrat and republican, that is on the senate foreign relations committee. the bill we have before us reflects that in the best tradition of the united states senate and the foreign relations committee. that is due in large part pause of the -- large part because of the chairman. this is an important moment in the united states senate to be able to vote on a bill that is consequential for america's national security. i believe this is the first major bill we've had on the floor of the united states senate, first bill we've had amendments to. i want to concur on your observations that our leaders let the process work in the best tradition of the united states senate. it's difficult for many of us to explain how the senate operates at times. it is difficult. but it is a body that respects the rights of each member and it
has the ability to slow things down or bring things to a stop. this bill has been handled quickly on a major subject because we respected the rights of every single member of the united states senate. it doesn't mean we reached total agreement. we didn't. we have a bill that accomplishes three very, very important things. first, it stands up to the aggression of russia and iran. and, yes, we've been talking about this, and i'm glad senator mccain is on the floor. senator mccain has been one of the most ardent crusaders to point out that the risk factors of russia to our national security and those of our allies. i started with senator mccain in january, and i sat down and he informed me of why we had to do certain things and make a very -- it very clear and not have any ambiguity because russia would rush through that
ambiguity. thanks to that initial leadership, we had those issues in the underlying bill. there will be no ambiguity with what congress is saying about russia's behavior. i acknowledge that we have a review process here and senator graham brought that to our attention very early in the process in january so that congress can assert itself -- i ask consent for two additional minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cardin: and that review process will give congress the right role to review executive action so we're stronger working together. it also gives the president a stronger hand in negotiating with mr. putin and russia because congress has said you must accomplish certain objectives like getting russia's aggression to end in ukraine or to get russia to stop supporting war crimes in seer and stop -- syria and stop interfering with
our democratic election systems. that's what we say and we're clear about that. then we take the third step, which i think is very important, and that is provide the wherewithal that u.s. leadership, working with our european allies to protect our democratic institutions. all of that is included in the bill that we'll have a chance to vote on in a few minutes. i want to thank all involved. i know, mr. chairman, i'm going to include in the list of our staff people who worked so hard on this because they were here 24/7 putting this bill together. i'm going to include that in the record. i know damion murphy on my office, margaret taylor and jessica lewis. i'll have us list the members of the staff because they were extraordinary in making us reaching this day. mr. corker: no question. i thank you for those comments. there are staffs that have been remarkable. the years of experience and knowledge that they bring to this no doubt allowed us to do
something so substantial in an amount of time and yet do so in an emfat cal way. so i -- emfat cal way. with that i would like to ask unanimous consent that the votes following the first vote in this series be ten minutes in length. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. all time has expired. the question now occurs on amendment number 250 offered by the senator from colorado, mr. gardner, as modified. is there a sufficient second? appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote: