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tv   Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act Part 3  CSPAN  June 30, 2017 2:22am-2:54am EDT

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referred and what is not referred or what gets an indictment and what is true builder not true build, i can tell you military commanders, for the most part are uniquely qualified to be able to do that and decide what is best for the military order and discipline for their unit. the second part of that is i've seen evolution of the judge advocate general and their ability and access to commanders and their ability to inform them and be a part of everything they do so when these commanders make decisions, they are basing it on sound, legal guidance, the same kind that i would get from a district attorney. i think it's important to note that cad or professional investigators do this every step of the way. i don't think it's broke. i think we should always get better at everything we do but i think it's critical that we
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not take commanders out of this process. it is detrimental to the good order of military order and discipline to take access from the commander away because this only happens at the oh six level and above. >> thank you. our president has said he does not have a conflict of interest. i want to ask my colleague on the committee. the president decides to host the world leader at one of his resorts. this requires the president and hundreds of government personnel to be hearing the nuclear football. advanced teams are required to prep the site. they have golf carts to follow them around at the resort's.
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maybe even rooms. they directed the meeting to be held at his own property in the first place? furthermore the summit included a contingent from the department of defense led by secretary matus. since february of been trying to figure out where the department of defense dollars are finding their way to the president pockets through trump property. i also asked the secretary when he appeared before the committee earlier this month. although we have not been provided definitive answers, pentagon officials have not ruled out the possibility that the president is profiting off dod funds, more specifically taxpayer funds.
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this would her head the department of defense from paying for expensive out of property owned or operated by the president or an immediate family member if the payments would result in an profit. the president have a choice of any number of governmental properties in which he can host meeting such as camp david. they've also hosted foreign dignitaries at other properties for which there is no issue of conflict. for example when president obama hosted in rancho mirage. the constitution is clear. no public official should be using their office to make a profit. the situation should be alarming to all of us who represent ourselves as stewards of the taxpayers money and i urge us all to take action and vote yes on this amendment. i yield back.
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we have been considering were the issues for this committee for the past seven or ten hours. this was not one of those. i would point out to the sponsor that several miles for here in colorado, secret services building a security fence around the private property of former president barack obama. now, chain-link fence, razor wire and ross cinderblock would've been done the job. my guess is the secret service spend a lot more money than not making sure that fence fit with the rest of the core within that community. that's on private property. when president obama sells that property and all that taxpayer paid for funding will go to his benefit.
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the 16 election is over. i also recognize that during the eight years during president obama's tenure, many of our supporters winding griped and complained about his many vacations to martha's vineyard and hawaii and others for the truth of the matter is, those are pretty benign for considering the defense of this country. we serve on other committees together and i respect her, but this quite frankly is embarrassing to have this committee. it is just a gotcha kind of thing. i urge my colleagues to vote no on this issue that basically tries to relitigate the last election. if the president has conflicts of interest then there are entities to deal with that better than the department of defense and better than the system.
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i would ask a no vote for this amendment. >> question is on the amendment offered by the general lady from california. those in favor say i. those opposed say no. the no's habit. the no's habit. >> i request a roll call. that will be postponed. >> i have an amendment on the table. >> the clerk will just tribute it. without objection it's considered red. >> as a strong proponent across our government, i am offering an amendment that i believe strengthens responsible stewardship. this deals with presidential travel.
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we also make sure that resources provided by the american taxpayer not being exploited for personal gain and intentionally diverting valuable dollars away from their intended purpose of protecting national security. according to the new york times, president trump spent 44 days in total of his presidency traveling to and staying at the property he owns. while several have included official state business they've also included many rounds of golf. i believe they are to be concerned about conducting appropriate oversight over the cost to dod for these lavish tra trips as well as ensuring transparency. it is not limited to the current president. last year, upon request from a group of republican senators.
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they requested a trip to illinois in florida and it included official and unofficial business activities. it cost $2.8 million loan. excluding classified and personal expenses. as a private citizen, i supported these. i believed the american public have the right to know how their tax dollars are being spent. now, as a member of this committee, i am more concerned about the nature and degree to which valuable resources are being spent to subsidize travel habits. that's why sent a letter to secretary matus dated march 9 signed by this committee, requesting more information on how much dod has spent to date in support of president drums travels. in the air force response to my letter, three months later,
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i received two weeks ago they required equipment from january 20 to may 18 and it was $15 million. my common sense amendment directs dod to provide this committee with reports on a quarterly basis that detail the direct and indirect. it does not say they can or cannot go to those locations. or any other location. whether a democrat or republican as president, the historical increase in travel in recent years including by president trump and president obama wants closer oversight by congress including the committees with jurisdiction over the agency that supports such travel. i want to thank representatives for the
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support of my amendment. on behalf of american taxpayers i urge my colleagues amendment and i reserve the balance my time. >> the chairman yields back the balance of his time. >> i reserve. >> you can't reserve. >> thank you, then i yield. [laughter] >> mr. burns the clerk will substitute the amendment. i'll consider it read and the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. i appreciate the gentlemen's interest in making sure we have transparency in government. my amendment would broaden the scope of transparency that the gentlemen's amendment seeks but does not achieve because
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it is exclusively focused on the president and his immediate family. my substitute amendment requires the department of defense to provide report at the time of the president's budget request on both direct and indirect travel costs incurred to support the president, the vice president and all members of the president's cabinet. by reporting, congress can exercise appropriate oversight rather than targeting the legitimacy of the presidents lifestyle. further the amendment is very onerous, forcing the department to report congress which which is every 90 days. my amendment will support the full transparency while this amendment is not. i yield back. >> he is recognized on the substitute amendment. >> i appreciate the majority's interest in engaging in this important issue of greater
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transparency. however, the substitute amendment fall short and i must oppose it. the focus of my amendment is especially directed at the cost of presidential travel including travel to personally own property which poses a serious conflict of interest. the substitute amendment removes this critical provision and ensures proper transparency on accountability. secondly, the amendment clouds the clarity we are seeking by including statistics on the entire executive branch. lastly, these reports limit the oversight of this committee. quarterly reports will provide current statistics that allow for can ability of hard-working americans tax dollars. this is simply about providing ongoing and regular transparency of the way this president and future president conduct themselves as good fiscal stewards. for that reason i oppose the substitute amendment and the
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urge my colleagues to reject it as well. >> mr. chairman, i want to support the substitute amendment. i think it's important we raise the bar and try to avoid partisan appearance of what we are doing. i think the initial amendment does appear partisan. i say this respectfully to my friend. the president of the united states, no matter what party he is, he's our president no matter what party he belongs to. he is the commander-in-chief 24 hours a day regardless of where he is that in the world. :
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there's no way to avoid this being somewhat partisan free a e increase. we had a number of conversations about president obama and these things come up. i want to take a brief moment to say that this is different. this is unprecedented. it's not just about how often the president travels.
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what is entirely different here is that we have a president who owns a lot of properties. he owns a number of them. impact on more than one occasion the president hasn't been shy at all. here i'm trying to be factual. but we have the government of saudi arabia come to the trump hotel, and according to
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documents obtained itthedocumenn $275,000 at the hotel the president has not divested himself in this business so he and his family are clearly making money off of that. it's a more valuable place to be. he's hosted more than one foreign delegation that spent a lot of money so it's not about what we as taxpayers necessarily spend on presidential travel because believe me democrat, republican i assure you as long as we have this it will always be that argument and they will complain about how much they travel. if there's a republican president the democrats will complain about how much he
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travels. that isn't what this is about. it's about a president who is making money personally off of the travel and off of foreign governments and what the pentagon spends in t and give mr. conaway, president obama how much that adds to it the value o his property in dc. it might decline the value. whatever it may cost it doesn't come within millions of dollars of the amount of money that's already been spent by the foreign government going directly into the hands of trump property. and there is a painfully simple solution to this. put it into blind trust, release your tax returns and be transparent which is not being done. and unfortunately, there is so much that his over-the-top
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partisan, completely, on the democratic side and republican side. it all gets sort of blurred just so much noise and one-sided criticizing the other. this is different. and i'm sure my republican colleagues will not have to be given this offer to tell me why i'm wrong and why this is different why there isn't something uniquely wrong about a president actually personally profiting. but this is a problem and i know we are not going to address it in this bill but i do think it is something we should address more broadly in that the president can address. he can be transparent and release the tax returns and business records, divest himself or go into blind trust as all presidents and vice presidents have done. he has flat refused to do all of that and thumbed his nose at all
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of us innocent nobody cares. i can do this and thus far he has been right and i think that is dangerous in the representative democracy to allow somebody in the office of the president or any office to profit off of that presidential power so i hope even though i know this isn't going to go anywhere and we are going to lose, i hope that we will take the broad issue more seriously than just dismissing it as normal partisan stuff. this is unprecedented and goes way beyond any sort of a petty positive concern. it's a concern for legitimacy and the transparency of our government and i yield back. >> thank you mr. chairman. again, elections have consequences and while i disagree with the result in 2007, 2009 and 2013 nevertheless, we live through them and continue to retrace the
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previous election that gets us nowhere. this amendment has nothing to do with the amount of money the foreign governments spend on whatever property they come for. i would argue that is beyond the reach even of this committee to be able to require governors to report to anyone what they spend coming into the united states. what the government spends going to and from the property not necessarily what they spent at the property there would be other expenses. now it isn't lost on anyone people are showing up wherever the president does. he owns those properties. whether it is a dollar 05 whatever you want to put on at the issue is the same. you're already mad about it, it is not going to change. it will be a campaign item three years from now whoever is campaigning will be able to use this over and over again. but this is the house armed services committee. we don't oversee the federal bureau of ethics.
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so if you have a problem with the president, i got it, i understand. i had a problem with the last one but quite frankly this is and what he ought to be spending our time on. maybe you want to argue that it challenges the constitution, i get that. but we are the department of defense and we ought to be spending our time trying to figure out how to best defend this country and this is just gotcha politics to load the system and even my good colleagues amendment does the same thing. we have a department that cannot audit its own books and records. i've been working to force that to happen. this will add one more straw to that too come up with this weather is annually or quarterly, whatever it is we are going to spend it and we don't have anything to compare it to. these numbers will be meaningless other than the fact that yes they are big and they
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will be used in a campaign. we should have used the department of defense accounting system to create these points in the next campaign. we are way off the mark on this and i understand the angst and anger, but they've got consequences and there's another election coming and there will be an appropriate time for anyone to complain about how often the president wherever he goes and how often it whoever he invited, all those kind of things are legitimate campaign issues that isn't what we are doing and i would argue that we ought to defeat both of these anti-blood request or encourage all of the members to say no to both of these and let's move on to the important business of providing the department of defense with the requisite resources to be able to defend the country and protect the men and women to do that on our behalf, take care of them if they get hurt and all the meaningful things we ought to be doing tonight and get away from presidential politics this smacks of bandwidth that i yield
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back. >> would the gentleman yield? du is still seek recognition? >> yes i do. >> i know you find that objectionable but i do seek recognition. thank you. we just heard an interesting disposition on congress. it seems to ignore how the constitution of the united states article one, section nine reads no title of nobility shall be granted by the united states and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them shall without the consent of congress accept any present a monument, office or title of any kind, whatever of any king, prince or foreign state so the previous discussion concerning the role of congress totally missed the mark.
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in fact, we do have a very significant role with regards to presidential use of its facilities for the purpose of engaging in foreign governments. whether those governments are involved in providing something of value to him, that is something we could discuss but clearly the meetings that took place over of interest to this committee because of who attended. the head of the chinese government. we are engaged in discussions without end about the relationship between the department of defense and china also saudi arabia, the most recent arms sales which i believe is under the jurisdiction at least part of this committee so there is a very clear nexus between what
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the president is doing at his resorts and quite probably receiving an emolument, something of value from a foreign government. that's our business as members of congress and what took place there, agreements were not, apparently the issue of north korea was discussed and i would suggest that is something we have engaged in at length in this committee, so there is a direct interest of this committee, and a direct interest that we have with members of congress to simply blow it away is of no consequence, totally ignores the responsibility that we have. we recently had a long discussion about authorization of used force. all too often, we ignore that responsibility and also we ignore this responsibility with regards to the article one section nine.
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i would hope not because there is a clear obvious conflict of interest and at least in my estimation a violation of the emolument squalls. >> would the gentleman yield? >> of course. i would love to engage. >> better addressed in the judiciary committee or court. i've not been aware of my 12 plus years where we have any instance on the constitutional issue of that nature width of the executive branch, so i would argue that your arguments would be better spent in front of the judiciary committee. thank you by the way. >> thank you for your counsel however reclaiming my time, your argument ignores the responsibility that we have individually and therefore collectively wherever we may sit on whatever committee a it is to deal with the emolument clause
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which brings to us as members of congress that responsibility of proving or not gifts, monetary and otherwise. i'm not sure what the president of china offered in the way of titles, but may be heated also offer a title to the president. going back to money and the like, read the clause is our responsibility we cannot ignore it nor should we end with that i yield back my remaining 48 seconds. >> we are probably not going to be sold this tonight. maybe we should move along, have a vote or two that kind of gets moving. he's waving his hand furiously. you are good, okay.
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>> thank you mr. chair and i would like to disagree with my good friend from alabama and speak in support of the congressman. i come in support of the amendment want to be clear winning the election doesn't give an excuse to waste taxpayer money. he appears to be allergic to spending time in the white house. even on thursday he jumps onto one of his many properties. who is responsible for this type of transportation on these getaways an of the united states air force and who puts the bills, the american taxpayers. we pay almost $200,000 for every hour that air force one is an operation and to date we have 44 trips. if you want to compare that to president obama isn't even close or the same time period. in the past the american people
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happily accepted it but we've never had a president who spent nearly 40% of his days hopping between his own properties as you can see again from this chart. from his property to the various gulf ports all across the country. this is a man who says i'm going to be working for you. i'm not going to have time to play golf. it's ironi ironic president trus played over 200 rounds of golf at his own clubs of course after only one term in office. get this unending expensive and unethical travel to the very least that we can do as members of this committee is to maintain visibility over the money and military spending to ensure that he makes his times. every member of that claims to care about this responsibility will join us in supporting this important amendment as the process moves forward. we have a right to oversight on the expenditures of the air force and certainly when the
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president is abusing taxpayer money. look at the days, 44 days, $200,000 a trip that is the responsible, it isn't litigating the past election it is making sure we are doing proper oversight right now keeping the public informed. thank you and i yield back. >> i would like to point out if you don't think it is just politics at its worst they are asking for the indirect cost. you would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just trying to come up with a definition of indirect cost of the pentagon. and as far as not using your office to make money, barack obama had 85,000 a year prior to being elected and then between getting elected and when he made office he made over 20 million. i mean i would say if the network goes up by the same factor president obama did, we have something to worry about but if not, let him do his job.
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>> okay. the question is on the substitute amendment offered by the gentleman from alabama. those in favor? opposed, no. asking for the recorded vote is that true? okay we need to take it in real time the clerk will call the roll. >> this is an important amendment to advance the readiness of the fighting force and to save precious taxpayers money. it reveals policy instituted last summer by then secretary ash carter without any input from the members of congress which allows the transgender individuals to serve and be recruited in the military. this policy is ill-conceived and is contrary to our goal of increasing the troop readiness. and investing the defense dollars into addressing budget shortfalls of the past. by


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