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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  March 12, 2013 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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don't have an economy. they know, at least i hope they they they have to take steps to reform their economy and increase their security so that tourism will return. they know they need to do these things and right now they're cal congratulate braiting those things. the pragmatism of needing to secure their country versus their ideology and some in their ideological base of the muslim brotherhood calling for a rapid expansion of an islamist type rule. you can see those pressures building in the society. i think u.s. aid has an opportunity to tilt that conversation towards pragmatism. if we're smarptd about how we use our foreign aid we can help -- smart about how we use that foreign aid we can tilt it toward the prag pragmatism -- ts not designed to wage war against their neighbors in israel or anywhere else, but in fact is designed to provide security against common street crime, security against terrorism to seal the tunnels in gaza, to
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live up to their separate international obligations. if we condition this the right way we can encourage them to take on the kind of economic reforms that egypt needs to have the kind of economy they need. because after all, that was the heart of the arab spring. the heart of the arab spring were hundreds of thousands of unemployed people starting in egypt particularly, who were desperate for a better future and didn't think they could find it. then they looked at a government they saw as repressive and corrupt and wanted to replace it. but not with this. and the reason why i feel so strongly about is that as the egyptian leaders are undertaking this cost-benefit analysis, should we lean more towards ideology or should we lean more towards practicing -- pragmatism? through our foreign aid, we actually have a way to push them, nudge them towards pragmatism. and that's why i hope i can achieve bipartisan support for this amendment. i hope people will find it to be thoughtful and insightful, and
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in the days to come i look forward to -- to addressing more questions that my colleagues may have on it. but for the time being, i hope that we're going to put some -- we're going to put some releases out about this and i hope some of my colleagues will become interested in helping us achieve its passage. i suggest -- thank you. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: ms. mikulski: mr. president -- madam president? madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the call of the quorum be vacated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulski: madam president, you've heard me speak to the democratic caucus and to the press that moving the continuing resolution, or i should call it the continued funding resoluti resolution -- remember, continuing the funding for fiscal year 2013 to our fiscal
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new year's eve, october 1, is our goal. we don't want a government shutdown. we don't want a government slamdown, lockdown. so we've been working very, very diligently on a bipartisan basis to fashion a bill that would get 60 votes so we'd be filibuster-proof. you know, madam president, in the old days, majority ruled. well, now it's super majority. that's not a fight i'm going to do here on this bill. my job is to keep the government funding, to work on it in a way that is open, transparent, bipartisan and hopefully bicameral. in order -- and i said this was like a helicopter leaving a disaster area, the last one, and i was trying to get, you know, the cargo on it to make sure we
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protected national security, we honored compelling human need, particularly for women and children in the area of education and health care. we department -- and we also looked at how we could -- we did not -- and we also looked at how we could generate job. not in government but where government generated jobs in the private sector, like transportation, and to make important investments in science and technology that came up with the new ideas for the new products that will create jobs in our country and hopefully even export around the world. so that's what i've been trying to do. i also had to give up a lot. you know, i had to give up the funding for obamacare. this was not my choice. i know that there will be an amendment offered to even defund it further. i happen to believe in what we did in president obama's health care framework. i likening discrimination
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against women. -- i liked ending discrimination against women. i liked ending the discrimination against people who have children with preexisting conditions. i liked funding the preventive amendment that provided access to women for mammograms and to children for early detection and screening. but we couldn't do it. and one of the other things we couldn't do was the -- we could not add a very modest pay raise for federal employees. this bill will continue the existing pay freeze. it's necessary to avoid a government shutdown of the federal government. shutting down the government would make a tough situation worse for federal employees. it would jeopardize our economic recovery. shutting down the government would threaten the viability of small- and medium-sized business. it would even threaten the safety of our families, our
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economy, maybe even our country. madam president, this is not a happy day for me and it's not a happy day for the millions of people who work diligently for the federal government. i have the great honor to represent 130,000 federal employees. and i wish you could tour maryland with me the way i've been up to your home state. each one doing important work to the nation. and who are these employees? they're people who work at the national institutes of health finding cures or ways to contain disease. the next vaccine to help either the flu endemic or protect us against a pandemic. they're the civilian employees at the national security agency. we employ the largest number of mathematicians in the world. and what do they do? they invent the kinds of
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technology that breaks the codes and protects us now in this whole new cyber domain. they're the people who run the weather satellites. they might have made -- we -- the european model might have did a better job last week than they did, but you know why? because we haven't had the resources to fund the way the europeans have. so i have employees at f.d.a. right this very minute -- right this very minute they are at their job looking at medical devices to see if they're safe. right this very minute they're working with the private sector, who are bringing them new pharmaceuticals, new biotech and bbiologics that they can look at to see if they're safe and effective, that they could go into clinical practice to help save lives here and be certified
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by the f.d.a. that would give us the able to sell around the world. but we say to them, yeah, we we know what you're doing, but tough luck. we can't give you a pay raise because we say we have out-of-control spending. i don't think we have out-of-control spending. yes, do we have to be more frugal, do we have to be smarter, do we have to get more value for the dollar? absolutely. we're -- we're on to that part of it. but don't attack federal employees for the mismanagement of the federal economy. that's right here. that's right here. that's what we do. don't blame them. and don't make them pay the price. it's like making the middle class pay the price for more domestic cuts while we protect subsidies to corporate jets. but i'm on to these 130,000 federal employees. they help run the goddard -- they help run the hubble space telescope. more discoveries, the most important telescope since
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galileo invented the first one. i can't tell you how bad i feel that we're not at least giving them a .05% pay raise. and they're facing sequester which could mean for many of them a 20% pay cut if they are furloughed. now, i said earlier i visited n.i.h. to see what was the impact of sequester. there was dr. mary greigner from hopkins who was there also. she just won the nobel prize two years ago. our kind of -- you know, we're really proud of her. and we -- n.i.h. said within the week of our arrival -- i mean, my arrival there to meet with them, as i've done so often, they cut cancer rates 15%.
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instead of pinning medals on them, we say, you don't get a pay raise. hey, we have more important things to do with the money. you are a problem. i don't think they're a problem. i don't think they're a problem at all. i think they're part of the solution, coming up with helping compelling human need and creating jobs in our country in life sciences and giving us something to sell overseas. i think it's wrong to keep asking them for more when oil and gas companies make record profits and we don't ask them to give tax breaks. it's wrong to keep asking them for more when we can't close one tax loophole that benefits corporations that send jobs overseas. when murray -- when senator murray brings her bill up, i'll talk more about these lavish tax earmarks. this isn't the time and this isn't the place, but it is the time and the place to start saying we have to respect our civil service. senator rubio just spoke about egypt and he said, they have to be able to govern. it's not enough to just, you
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know, bring down a dictator. that's a -- that's an excellent point. we've got to govern, too. and the hallmark of a democracy is a civil service that has integrity, that is promoted on the basis of meritocracy, that is independent of politics, doing missions that serve the nation. serve the nation in research, technology, administering programs that help get transportation funding to governors to build roads, bridges and our pent-up demand in physical infrastructure. and then in human infrastructu infrastructure, education, health care. that's what is a -- a democracy z. and you need a civil servic service -- a democracy does. and you need a civil service that is independent, has integrity and is promoted and hired and so on, on the basis of meritocracy. what is the hallmark of a
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despotic, autocratic government, be they communist or just plain despots? they are corrupt. you get ahead by taking a bribe, by doing a party favor, by looking the other way, on so many other things, where you can't even open a business or get a permit or so on unless there are a receivers tipping fees. you can't get through an airport unless you bribe your way through it. that's what a corrupt, despotic, autocratic government. but when you visit democracies, the first thing that you see is that they have a civil service. and what is the civil service? integrity, competency, incorruptible. but we say, yeah, yeah, you know, we know you have your ph.d. or we know that you're the blue-collar worker that manages the facilities at n.i.h., that keeps the lights
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going on so that the researchers could do their work. it's those people that help us have a great country and a -- and a -- and a country we can be proud of. now, i hope we resolve this sequester thing with layoffs and furloughs and potential cuts of 20%. i wish that we could have at least said one thing to the federal employees, that we're at least going to give you a .05%, a half a 1% pay raise. i didn't like it because i thought it was so skimpy and spartan. but i will say this. the helicopter couldn't take off if it was on it. i think this is a terrible mistake and i hope that in next year's regular order, we can make this up. but i want to say to my federal employees, this was a draconian choice. do we try to give you a pay raise that would be important to
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you -- every penny and every dollar counts. you led a consumer protection agency. you certainly have a reputation of being, madam president, a real fighter for the consumer. and you were the first in america to do a study that showed that people were going bankrupt not because they bought too many volvos, ate out too much or just lived a life brie and wine and so on. it was because of medical catastrophes that faced them. medical catastrophes. you were the first to tell us about that. so you know family incomes and what makes them and what breaks them. but i say this to you, thank you for your work. and i want to say to the federal employees, thank you for your work. i wanted to do it with a modest pay raise, but right now the duty and the situation that i find myself reluctantly is that
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the way i serve you is to make sure there is no government shutdown. because you know what? in my heart and in my mind and as i see the functioning, there is no such thing as a nonessential federal employee. everybody doing their job, everybody at the workplace, everybody serving the nation, everybody doing it with honesty, integrity, meritocracy, incorruptible. let's make sure we honor them. we have to get this bill done. let's go on to the murray budget. let's right our economy. and whatever problems we solve, don't blame the federal employees for the decisions that were made by the congress to get us in the deficit and debt that we are in. they didn't do it, we did it. we should take the pay cut, not them. madam president, i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. shelby: madam president, i have been listening to the remarks of my colleague from maryland, and i think she is as we would say down south spot on. she has been on the appropriations committee before she was chairman, chairperson of the committee for many years. we have worked together as i have been a chairman of a subcommittee and she was ranking and she has been the chairperson and i have been ranking. we both came from the house. we were on the same committee, main subcommittee in the house. we worked together. we have struggled with each other from time to time, but at the end we knew we had to come with a product, and that's what we're trying to do here today. i was hoping that we could bring this bill to the floor, and there are a lot of people as the senator from maryland has been saying want to offer amendments.
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we could offer some and debate them tonight, perhaps even vote on them tonight. we know we have got this deadline at the end of march. the c.r. expires. the funding of the government of the united states, i don't think either party, democrats or republicans, interested in any way in going to the brink again. it serves no purpose. it's uncertainty in the marketplace. it's uncertainty about the role we play in the senate and the house up here. so what we have done here, we have worked, as she has said and i will say again, we have worked together. we have got a continuing resolution that came from the house with the d.o.d. and the milcon, military construction v.a. in it to fund until september 30, which is the fiscal year, it is about six months. we have added to it and the legislation that we hope to
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bring soon before the senate, the commerce-justice-science subcommittee which she is the chair -- subcommittee chair and i am the ranking, we have worked together. structure which affects everybody in this country one way or the other, and homeland security, which is the essence of the security of this country, at home in what we do. we have added this by the senate, but what we have added, madam president, we have scrubbed these bills all weekend. our staffs both sides. we have scrubbed them not to -- i have given up things that i would like personally. she has given up things and probably given up things for some of the democrat leadership, and we have to over here to say to the american people that america comes first, that we need to show, one, we can work together, and we need to pass these bills, and the sooner they get up here, i know there is going to be amendments offered by the republicans, my side, and
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the democrats, but the sooner we get the process working and we get in the debates, that's what the legislative body is all about. i want to just say, madam president, when we're bringing up the c.r., our hybrid c.r., it's funded at the fiscal year 2012 levels and it is consistent with the budget control act. it would leave, as you well know, madam president, the sequester in effect. it gives some lee way, some, not unbridled to enable this situation with sequester to make it work a little better because we all know that it is. i think it's good policy and bad process, bad procedure. we're going to have to cut because we cannot sustain deficits of a trillion dollars.
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we cannot continue to go down the road that we're on. we have got to change the trajectory of this country. we capital sustain ourselves if we go to $20 trillion, $20 trillion debt. whether you're a democrat, republican, libertarian, whatever you are, independent, you should want a strong monetary policy and a strong economic policy. and we have got a few more years left, and this is a good start right here in the senate if we can get this bill up and pass it and the house will do something. we will fund the government until september 30, which we are supposed to do. that way we can start on the 14 budget -- the 2014 budget and maybe go to regular order is what we would like in the appropriation process and not go from crisis to crisis. what we have done in the house and the senate and the white house is involved in this, too,
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in recent years, we have gone from -- lurched from crisis to crisis, and then we come up to the deadline and people say oh, we have got to have certainty, so we kick the can down the road just a few more yards, but that's not the way to do business. this country is too important. the business community needs certainty. people in government need certainty. and i think this is a good first start. i hope we can get this process moving. thank you, madam president. ms. stabenow: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, madam president. let me say first as i rise to talk about the budget that was released in the house of representatives, i want to first commend our chair, senator mikulski, and ranking member senator shelby for working together. i couldn't agree more than with
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what senator shelby just said about giving back to regular order, about working together. this is really an example, i think, of what we need to be doing, and so i want to commend both of you. we have obviously very difficult points of view and people can come together and listen to each other and be willing to compromise, which is not a bad thing. i mean, in life, i don't know any part of life where we don't compromise. trying to figure that out. when you have children, wouldn't it be nice not to have compromise, but somehow we always have to. and so i just want to commend both of our leaders on the appropriations committee. i am very hopeful that we can return to regular order and hash out what are very different perspectives, i think very different views of the country. and i think we have seen that today with chairman ryan and the republican budget. we will see a different view tomorrow with chairwoman murray coming through on the budget as we work through the budget in
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committee this week and then on the floor. but reasonable people can sit down and listen to each other and find a path forward, and i think most important, listening to the american people, the people we represent about what their values are, what their priorities are, we can move forward. but i do feel strongly that what has been released today in the house is the wrong set of values. it's the wrong approach. and i am surprised, actually, that we are seeing the same kind of budget that we have seen for the last couple of years coming out of the house, particularly one the public spoke so strongly against the foundations of what is in that budget. it's been called a balanced budget. it's anything but balanced. overall, it's my understanding that there is an identification of some $5 trillion that will be
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cut in spending but nobody says where, and then say oh, the budget's balanced. well, as our leaders on appropriations know, you have to actually get in and say where it's going to be cut so you can balance the budget, which this does not do, and so it does not balance and it's certainly unbalanced when it comes to the values represented in the budget, and i have to start with the one that is so concerning to me, and that is the whole question of medicare, because once again we are seeing in the republican budget in the house the effort to eliminate medicare. it basically eliminates medicare as an insurance plan. it basically says you go out, find private insurance, and they change the names to different things to try to make it sound better, but it all comes down to the fact that he will be given a voucher and then good luck trying to find private insurance. you know, it was the private
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insurance sector and the lack of affordable insurance for seniors that created medicare in 1965 because as we get older, all of us use more health care, we're more expensive to cover, and it was very difficult before medicare to find affordable insurance. in fact, impossible for many people. so we came together as americans and said you know what? if you're 65 or older, if you are disabled in this country, you have the right to have insurance, to have health care available and affordable to you, and we created a health insurance system called medicare, which, by the way, costs less to administer, dramatically less to administer than any private sector plan. we're talking 3%, 4% to administer as opposed to 15%, 20%, 25% going to administrative
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costs and profits and so on. so it's very efficient. there are issues that we need to address. we have been doing that. in fact, we have put in place cost savings over the next ten years by eliminating overpayments to insurance companies who do what's called medicare advantage, and it's interesting that while chairman ryan in the house, the house republicans say they are going to do away with medicare, but they put the $700 billion that we have saved by stopping overpayments to -- to insurance companies and doing other things that support prevention and cost savings, they put that in their budget, so they want the savings from what we have done -- after criticizing it, they want the savings but then they turn around and want to eliminate medicare. so it's a very interesting combination of things here that really a hocus-pocus kind of approach here and smoke and mirrors about how they are coming up with their budget.
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but the bottom line is very clear -- it guts medicare, and it guts medicare not in order to fund or strengthen medicare services or health care services in some way. the astounding thing is that they continue to put forward a budget that guts medicare in order to continue tax giveaways for the very wealthy, the very wealthy and well-connected people in this country. it makes no sense. it makes no sense, and our budget will be very, very different than this. medicare has been a great american success story. medicare, social security have lifted a generation of americans out of poverty, have given them the ability to live longer, healthier lives, have allowed my mom, who is on her way to 87, to play with her now great grandchildren, my three grandchildren who are the most
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beautiful children in the world, by the way, madam president, i have to tell you, but she is able to play with them and be healthy and active because of something called medicare that was put in place to give her the opportunity to pay into a system to have health care and to be able to live a longer life. that's a great american success story. now, we know that we are living longer. the greatness of medicare is that people are healthier and living longer, and so we know we have to do some refiguring here, do some savings. we're already doing that, putting in place both in the next ten years $700 billion in savings by focusing more on prevention, more on wellness visits and helping people on the front end before they get very sick, as well as cutting overpayments. we're now hearing that medicare's going to have a
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$500 billion savings as well and insurance rates and growth has actually slowed. we are seeing the actuaries reconfigure the savings. c.b.o., the budget office, reconfigured the costs of medicare and medicaid to create more savings because of things that we have been able to do -- begun to do now through health reform, to be able to focus more on prevention and people being able to see a doctor and all those things that save money without cutting services, cutting health care for people. so we are very committed to making sure we have savings in medicare and that we strengthen medicare for the future and that we make whatever decisions we need to to do that as well as social security, as well as other areas, but the difference is we think it should exist. we think it should exist as a health insurance plan, and in no
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way -- i can't imagine any way in which our senate majority would ever vote for what is in the budget that was releaseed by the republican caucus today. sok at very different priorities. we also, in the area of medicaid, are looking at very different priorities, where medicaid is also -- the majority of medicaid in terms of numbers of people are children. the majority of money under medicaid is actually spent on seniors, on nursing homes. people are in extended care facilities and so on. again, when you think about the budget being released in the house of representatives by chairman ryan and the republicans, they go right after medicare, eliminate medicare as an insurance plan. and then they block grant and cut medicaid, which goes to the
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poorest seniors in nursing homes. so they get a double whammy in the budget that has been released by chairman ryan in the house of representatives. we also know that they are slashing investments for middle-class families as well as the vulnerable, which it's public safety, police and fire. i just left my mayors from michigan coming in and talking about what's happening for them on the front lines. we have trickle-down cuts, and they end up with it all in their lap, having to figure out how to provide local services. when we talk about the fact that there would be dramatic disinvestments or cuts in public safety, police, fire, and so on, they are appalled and desperately worried about how they're going to make sure they can respond to the people that live in their communities. education, cuts of course to
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head start, financial help for people to be able to go to college; all of which are good things. roads, bridges. another piece that's very concerning to me is that our nutrition programs that have been put in place for families that have challenges, people who have lost their jobs, that need some help putting food on the table for their families, we are seeing that program, the snap program -- supplemental nutrition assistance program gutted -- $160 billion in cuts that would leave millions of church, millions of families -- millions of children, millions of families without help. interestingly, the spending on the nutrition programs, on snap, is actually going down. why? because it's there when you need it, when you have a crisis. and then the spending is not used when families go back to work. so we're seeing over $11 billion
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decrease in spending because the economy is improving and people are going back to work. that's the way you want to bring spending down. interestingly, within my purview as chair of the agriculture committee, i'm also deeply concerned about the cuts in the republican budget in the house to crop insurance. within our farm bill, we have two disaster assistance programs. one's for families -- nutrition assistance. it goes up and down with the economy. the other is crop insurance for families and ranchers that goes up and down about the economy. now, we've had huge droughts and late freezes on our orchards and others where folks have been decimated. but because of crop insurance this year, rather than doing ad hoc disaster assistance all over the country, we have crop insurance. you buy crop insurance; you're covered if you need it. and we've been able to see farmers sustain themselves because crop insurance has
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worked. so crop insurance costs, again, go up and down based on whether or not there's disasters. nutrition, supplemental nutrition goes up and down based on whether or not there's a family disaster. both of those are hit in this budget and make absolutely no sense. and i can assure you that in the farm bill we will present again to colleagues as we did last year -- and we're so grateful for the bipartisan support we had -- we will strongly support efforts around the crop insurance as well as nutrition. so finally, let me just say, madam president, that very different values are presented in the budget presented by chairman ryan and the republicans today in the house, going after the middle class, actually raising middle-class taxes in order to fund more tax breaks for the wealthy and special interests in the country.
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gutting medicare and using that money for additional tax cuts for the very wealthy, gutting our investments in science, innovation, education to grow the economy in order to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy. this story seems to go on and on and on here. it always comes back to the same place: the wealthy, the well-connected, the special interests do very, very well. middle-class families get hit. seniors get hit. the vulnerable get hit. children get hit and are asked to pay the tab for trying to bring down a deficit that, frankly, they didn't create. and so that's the story in the house. our chairwoman of the budget committee, senator murray, will present a very different story tomorrow, one that is focused on growing the economy, supporting the middle class, protecting medicare and medicaid and social security for the future and making investments to grow the economy. one of the things i know after working on the issue of jobs for a long time is that we'll never
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get out of debt with 12 million people out of work in this country. so we better be focused on jobs and supporting the private sector to create jobs. large businesses, manufacturers, small businesses, partnering on innovation, education and so on. and that's got to be part of our long-term strategy to get out of debt as well as making smart cuts and other kinds of smart investments. so, again, i come to the floor to commend colleagues who are on the floor today showing the right way to do things, to work together, to listen to each other, to work across the aisle on a bipartisan basis to get things done. we have a very different picture going on in the budget committees. we've got a long ways to go when we start with eliminating medicare as we know it, but the house republicans are saying, no, we want to strengthen medicare for the future and keep
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it intact for seniors. all the other issues, we're in a very different place. but i think it is very important that we make a commitment to listen to each other and do our best to find a path forward. we need to find a path. people are counting on us to get things done. they're counting on us to both grow the economy and create jobs and have a strong middle class and are counting on us to reduce the deficit. all of which we can do if we are willing to work together and listen to each other and find a path forward. so i thank my colleagues for giving me the time. i want to congratulate you again on the work that you're doing and ask that we work together as we go forward on completing the task on growing the economy and reducing the deficit. thank you very much. the presiding officer: the
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clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the cloture -- the call of the quorum be availabili vacated. officer if without objection. mr. coats: thank you. when i go back to indiana and meet with hoosiers, they often
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ask why washington seems to experience a crisis just every few weeks. you know, it's a debt limit battle, it's a threat of a government shutdown, it's a fiscal cliff on new year's eve, it's the sequester, and the list goes on and on, including the funding battle that we're in n now, and of course the next round of the debt limit debate is scheduled for may and on and on it goes. who is aers, anwho ishoosiers, k most americans are getting awful tired of this soap opera drama that occurs every few weeks here. and i think we need to move to the point where we can address the major issues. now, one of the steps in doing that is to fund this government for the next six months. i don't know of anyone here who wants a government shutdown.
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we do have some urgent things that we need to do. we do need to address our funding imbalance that's significantly creating a major problem for us. but in order to get there, we have to do some interim things here to keep the country functioning. and as long as we have the commitment to go forward in doing the big things, it's okay, i believe, when we bring a six-month funding resolution here. there are things in this that none of us are going to like. everybody is going to have some problem with some of this. everybody is going to think it should have been fashioned just a little bit differently. a great effort has gone into place by the leaders of the appropriations committee to put together a resolution that i think will adequately fund this government going forward. but they do so with the understanding that the commitment to address our spending issues and the
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commitment to do everything we can to put together a large plan in order to deal with outgoing issues and ongoing issues is absolutely necessary. and hopefully that will be accomplished in the next few months. to start that, you've got to have budget. and i'm pleased now that we are going to be taking up a budget debate in terms of next year's -- next fiscal year's funding, and we'll be taking that up next week. so these two measures, together with the sequester that is already in place and action acts that have already been taken, hopefully will be putting us on path to fiscal health and solvency. every family, every business, even governments have to operate on a budget or they can't maintain and establish the kind of fiscal discipline necessary to get to the point where you're
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not spending more money than you're taking in. and we have seen a cataclysmic plunge into debt that has enormous impact on the future of this country. we have to address that. vice president biden once said, "show me your budget and i'll tell you what you value." well, for four years we have been waiting to see that budget, so we don't know what is valued. and finally we're getting to the point where we will address that. the responsibility to provide a budget on which to operate, i think, is not only lawful, as it is currently enshrined in our statutes, but it's a moral obligation that we must fulfill as a body. and without casting blame on one side or another, it's time that we go through the budget process to have a budget that establishes the direction in which this government will go in
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terms of spending for the next fiscal year. given our sorry national debt and out-of-control spend, eventually we're going to have to make very tough choice that we've been avoiding for years, and the more we prolong these challenges that we face and the longer we're wait to act, the harder it is going to be. we have the responsibility to wisely spend the taxpayers' dollars and not to ask more of them than is absolutely necessary to perform our essential functions. and so i'm urging my colleagues to go forward in doing what's necessary to keep this government operating but do so with the commitment that we will address these tough questions, that we will address the necessary procedures and make the tough, necessary decisions to put our country on a fiscal path to health.
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without that, we are jeopardizing our future, we are condemning millions of americans to unemployment or underemployment, we are growing at half the historic rate and have been for the last four years. if this stands the way it is, we will continue to see a country in decline and, more importantly, we will continue to see people hurting. we will continue to see people without meaningful work. we will t to continue to see a inability to provide the kind of creativity and innovation that has made this country so great in the past. with that, madam president, there doesn't appear to be anyone ready to speak. i am happy to stop now and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: a senator: madam speaker? the presiding officer: i'm lost. oh, there you are. the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. i am honored to be here on a day of momentous debate and ask that -- and i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: madam president, in the midst of this momentous debate, truly one that will determine the future of the country, i rise on a matter of equal importance in my view. today we welcomed to the capitol 26 bicyclists, riders from newtown, connecticut, who left saturday morning on this journey, a journey that led they will to travel the roads between
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newtown and connecticut to dramatize the importance of acting against gun violence in the united states. i've said about newtown that we saw on december 14 of last year enormous evil and depravity in the deaths of 20 innocent, beautiful children, and six dedicateed, courageous educators who literally perished trying to save the lives of those children. we saw evil that day in connecticut. but we also saw enormous goodness and heroism in the educators who sought to save those are children, had the first responders who charged into the school without knowing what would befall them and what they would see and thereby stopped the massacre. and in the community that came
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together in support of the families and all who were affected so deeply by that tragedy. that community has demonstrated enormous strength and courage over these months, really an example of the quintessential values that make us proud to be american. and the riders who came to the capitol, who rode from newtown on a rough and difficult journey , also showed something profoundly significant and important about newtown as a community as well as about themselves. they included a parent of one of the victims, chris mcdonald, who was at the departure and rode with them, and his wife lynn, who was also there at the
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beginning although she didn't ride, and they carried with them -- those 26 riders, the memory of grace mcdonnell, as one of them said monty frank, who organized and led the effort, glais grace was on -- grace was on their wheel. they carried with them the memory of grace, but they also carried the hopes and hearts of america. everywhere they went on that journey, people stopped them and thanked them and honored them. as i seek to do today here on the floor of the senate and wish to enter into the record two letters, both written to the chairman of the judiciary committee and the ranking member along with senators murphy and myself, letters written by lynn
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and chris mcdonnell and a separate letter written by the families of some of those victims. and i ask that they be entered in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. these letters summarize the reason for their journey in very specific terms. as they say, in the midst of our anguish, we have learned about the dangerous loopholes in the nation's gun laws and we're compelled to speak out to save others from suffering what we have endured. we are writing today to express our deep conviction and support for the president's plan to reduce gun violence in america. specifically, we're asking members of congress to require a criminal background check for every gun sold in america that includes -- that includes a review of all disqualifying records and meaningful recordkeeping for all sales.
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in the same manner that federally licensed dealers are currently required. two, ban military assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and three, make gun trafficking a federal crime with real penalties for straw purchasers. the epidemic of injury and death from gun violence is a plague on america, especially since it takes a toll on families that is preventible. the letters go on, but as i told them when they arrived, an event that was electric, literally in the shadow of the capitol, their journey has sent a message, very simply all of us who believe that we must stop the scourge and epidemic of gun violence, all of us must keep on pedaling. we must do as they did, even
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though our road, like theirs, may be rough and uphill at times, we need to keep on pedaling and working, never give up. because we need to keep faith with those victims and their families. the 26 victims of that massacre at sandy hook. and when they rode to congress, their message to us is that we need to keep faith with those victims, and assure that newtown never happens again. if it happened in newtown, it can happen anywhere in america and it's not just a mass shooting is is involved. it is the 2,500 people who have been the victims of gun violence since december 14. all around connecticut, all around the nation, not only in
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communities like newtown, the quintessential new england town but on the streets of bridgeport and new haven and hartford, in neighborhoods, in big cities and rural areas and suburban towns. team 26 is really team connecticut, and team america. it brings those values and that courage and strength that newtown has showed to congress, and congress needs to heed and hear the country, overwhelmingly, just as people on their route honored team 26, the american people believe that we must do something about gun violence in america. they believe overwhelmingly, the polls show 80%, 90% on all of these issues, they want action from this congress. as the president of the united states said to all of us in his
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state of the union, the american people want a vote. the victims' families, tucson, virginia tech, aurora, deserve a vote. that is why team 26 made this journey, and that is why they embody the conscience of america, the letters that they've written to senators here call for action on measures that are common sense and common ground, and we can reach a bipartisan compromise if we recognize the carnage and death and destruction that is the result of gun violence in america. these measures are law enforcement tools. background checks enable enforcement of existing laws. the prohibition against criminals and drug addicts and
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domestic abusers and seriously mentally ill from purchasing guns. not just from federally licensed dealers, but all sales, and background checks are necessary to enforce that law just as they are the prohibition on purchases of ammunition by those same categories of people. and likewise, the federal ban on illegal trafficking and straw purchases is necessary to enforce existing prohibitions. so we have work to do, and i want to conclude by thanking those who -- those heroic families who have stood strong and spoken out. every time they do, it is with grief and pain. anyone who has spent time with them, and i've been privileged to spend hours and hours, days, over these past months with those families as well as the first responders who still
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bear the scars, emotional scars , deeply felt. i have great admiration for their courage and strength, and i hope that this body will take heart from it and will take their leadership as a message that we must act, we must vote, we must do something about gun violence in america. i'm proud to welcome team 26. i ask, madam president, that the full list of all the riders and their support crew be made a part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: thank you very much, madam president. i'd like to comment on the remarks by our colleague from
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connecticut, senator blumenthal, who has just spoken. senator blumenthal, we in maryland want to once again express our condolences to the people of newtown. we've lost people in gun violence, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing like you did, but we have it there. and most recently when one of our high schools opened up, a young man who really needed mental health help came into a high school and shot one of our young men was shot. fortunately, he survived. he's an intellectually challenged young man, full of spunk. he's made an honorary raven,, lady gaga who is his favorite even sent him cds. we've got to deal with this issue.
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we've got to deal with guns and i agree with the n.r.a., we've got to deal with mental health but we have to put mental nelt the federal checkbook so we can train the professionals, do the research, know we're doing the right thing. one of the fathers from the newtown tragedy is cycling through maryland to raise the issue. all that awful rain, that man is out there, and the only way he can to speak up for his daughter. i want to congratulate you and your colleague from connecticut for -- senator murphy, for continually being steadfast. i want to say we want support you not only with words, with deeds. it's wonderful to express our condolence, to send toys to the children, to do all that but we have to put money in the federal checkbook. we have to first of all confirm our batf administrator, the very person in charge of guns should be confirmed.
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we have to then look at our own legislation on about leal -- illegal guns, the things you're talking about. then on the mental health side. you were a help of the help committee. i know now senator murphy also of connecticut is on the help committee. the presiding officer is. we have to look, even now as we look at the c.r., how we can do the right research. and i just want to close with one melancholy thing that's a sequence of the sequester. senator harkin on the help committee held a hearing on mental health, and the national -- the director of the institute on mental health was on that committee, i believe the presiding officer was there. and i asked him what would be the consequences of sequester on the national institutes of mental health? since everybody wants mental
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health. and that's the research. this is what he said to me. we're going to have to not do do -- we're not going to fund certain research projects. and let me tell you one that holds such promise that it's going to be a sad day for us not to do it. so here's the test: there is in science -- and please, i'm not a scientist and certainly not a neurological scientist. but there are certain kinds of mental health problems that come on onset, particularly on young males, that are post-puberty, omnibus after high school or as they go into college. so like aurora, there was the young man who shot the people in aurora, was already a graduate student. these things come on. what the director of the nimh said, mental health, was they wanted to do research for the
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kind of early detection, biochemical as well as environmental, where not to earmark or paint them in a corner or push them in a corner and stigmatize them, but they could get that help early, and -- but we need to know more. whether that study is a good idea, i'm sure it is, it's peer reviewed, but i just want to say to you the reason we got to get this bill done, get the budget done, get on to a regular order is that we actually put money in the federal checkbook to do what the american people want. we can do great gun control legislation, i'm a supporter, but i also want to support that mental health component. i call upon the n.r.a. and all of its members to support us, when we move the federal budget, is to look at the mental health aspects. i believe we'd have bipartisan
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support. i believe we'd have grassroots support and at the end of the day, not only would we prevent gun violence, but along the way, like the president's brain initiative, we could learn a lot more and we could help our people and that's what i mean when i say we have to fund compelling human need and do the research. but i salute you for your advocacy, the condolences to the people of newtown, not with words but let's get the deeds and let's get the deeds done. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. blumenthal: madam president? the presiding officer: yes. the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: to thank briefly my great colleague and friend from maryland stated so eloquently. i could not agree more, mental health has to be part of a comprehensive strategy as does school safety. no single measure for gun violence control can do it alone. and that is why i began by referring to the momentous debate that we are having today about the future of initiatives
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such as mental health. and i join in challenging the n.r.a. for all its opposition, staunch and steadfast, against any measure trying to stem or stop gun violence in america to join in seeking common ground on mental health initiatives and other measures that are commonsense. i urge gun owners, responsible people who enjoy recreation and hunting as well as others who are intent on stopping the violence in america to support these mental health services, for diagnosis and treatment. and that is why i have joined in those measures as well before the judiciary committee and the help committee. but i really want to thank the senator from maryland for her incomparable and invaluable leadership on this issue. thank you. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the
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senator from alabama. mr. shelby: madam president, i think today has been an interesting day here in the senate. we've been trying, the senator from maryland and i, to -- to get the bill that we've been talking about to the floor so people will have an opportunity to offer their amendments, to debate their amendments, and we in the senate are able to vote them up or down. that's what this process is about. i'm hoping -- i know it's getting late in the evening he here. i'm hoping we can lock in some time agreement. the leadership, senator reid, senator mcconnell, i'm sure are working on that with senator mccain and -- and senator coburn. but if we could get started on this tomorrow and have a healthy debate, because there's some issues that ought to be brought up. but i want to take just a few minutes and -- and review just a few of the outlines of what
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we've -- we hope to accomplish this week and what's in this bill and what's not. what this would do, madam president, it would allow agencies additional ability to address priorities in light of the sequester cuts. you know, we all know that they were draconian. good policy, as i said, bad process. this proposed legislation that the senator from maryland and i are bringing to the senate hopefully is in full compliance with the spending caps required by the budget control act and it brings -- with the sequester, it brings the total to under $1 trillion. we're doing some serious cutting. we ought to do it wisely in what we do. what it has in here, both sides have given in to get to where we are. no funding, no new funding for the health care, the obamacare.
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no new funding for dodd-frank, you know, in this. no state-specific earmarks. it enables the department of defense, which we care about security, to better implement sequester. and it increases the d.o.d. transfer authority for reprogramming, thus mitigating a portion of the national security impact of the sequester and other across-the-board cuts. it also, madam president, ensures veterans' programs -- ensures that veterans' programs receive adequate funding -- that is, $2.5 billion above the year 2012 spending. requires a good increase. griers greater accountability for government employees attending conferences, including associated expenses, so we don't read about these horror stories of people going to conventions and, you know, living -- living
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well, high off the hog while people are struggling to make ends meet. it prohibits the transfer of guantanamo prisoners to the united states, among other things. this bill -- legislation would provide additional funding for worldwide diplomatic and facility security for -- in the post-benghazi environment. you know, we send somebody overseas, we want to make sure if it's an ambassador or employee or somebody going temporarily that they're as safe as we can make them. we know we live in a dangerous world and some parts of the world are more dangerous than others. this would provide also a $3 billion -- over a $3.1 billion increase over fiscal year 2012 in assistance to israel. israel is -- is the only democracy and i believe a real one in that area and a great friend of ours. this would -- it keeps in place
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the pay freeze for federal employees for the remainder of this year, 2013, september 2013. it prohibits distribution of any funds to acorn, its subsidiaries or successors. it resends $50 mill -- it rescinds $50 million from the e.p.a. to restrict its ability to implement certain environmental regulations. and it rescinds $10 million from obamacare, as we call it, independent payment advisory board, that is the rationing boards, somboard, some people cd it prohibits the use of federal funds to lobby state, local and executive authorities. these are just some of the provisions in there. i think tomorrow we'll talk about more. but overall i think that we've put together i think a worthy and a credible package and i hope the senate will soon get a chance to start debating it seriously. i yield the floor.
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ms. mikulski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: i would just like to really compliment the senator from alabama, my vice chairman. he outlined really how we tried to really look at this bill and scrub it for nonsense or no sense, okay? and i -- i know we're waiting for the gentleman from oklahoma, senator coburn, to lift his ho hold. i'm sure he's looking, as he's done on my commerce-justice bi bill, he found when i was moving a commerce-justice bill a few years ago that one of the agencies was hosting a conference where they were paying $4 a meatball, madam president. so we called it the lavish meatball amendment. often, senator -- the senator from oklahoma has great ideas. you know people from oklahoma have great ideas. and so we would like him, as quickly as he can, to lift the
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hold so we can move our bill and that he can offer amendments. and i hope he is scrubbing. i'm sure somewhere he's going to find a rogue meatball. but i don't want to minimize what he's doing. he really does scrub for foolishness and folly. if he's got a foolishness and folly amendment, i'd like to be able to see it. i probably will support it. i can't tolerate it either. my people, my constituents really work hard for their money and they want the money they pay in taxes to work hard for them. so, madam president, i see the distinguished majority leader here on the floor. i'm hoping that we're going to have a solution to some of our deadlock here, and i yield the floor. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: mr. leader. mr. reid: it used to be before the last congress the senate had two speeds -- one for deliberation and one for getting things done.
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senators saved deliberate speed for truly great issues of the day. and when we needed to get the country's business done, we came together to work things out. it used to be that all appropriations legislation was business that the senate came together to finish. sometimes it was a day, sometimes it took four or five days, but we got them done. these day it's been for the last three years the senate has one speed -- slow, real slow. even when we're talking about funding the government, which we haven't had appropriation bills for a number of years because we haven't been able to because of the speed -- slow. even when we're talking about preventing a government shutdo shutdown, even when there's broad agreement across party lines we want to prevent a government shutdown, even then we still are stuck in slow gear. mr. president -- madam president, we got the bill from the house. i didn't like it especially but i said earlier and i still feel that way, the speaker at least got it to us at a decent hour. not at the last minute.
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these two good senators, shelby and mikulski, worked very hard for days to get this done. now, frankly, i didn't like some of the things that senator mikulski agreed to. but i was with her and we agreed to do the things together. because we wanted to get a bill done. we swallowed a lot of pride. she gave up things in her bill that she's worked on for decades and gave it to others so that they would feel better about this bill. and then to come here today and to be blindsided. this bill has been in the public for days. it passed the house last week. 85%, 90% of the bill that is the so-called amendment was in the house bill. so we're going to finish this bill or not finish it before the recess.
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if we can't get 60 votes, then we'll fail and the government will shut down. but not for anything we've done. not for anything we've done. we have a few senators that are doing everything they can and have been doing it for years to throw a monkey wrench into everything we do here. we should have been legislating today. i came to the floor last week, said we were going to have a c.r., we're going to have amendments. i've said that when we opened the senate yesterday. i've tried my best to move to this bill. the senate cannot continue like this. i took everyone at their good faith the beginning of this congress and we made a few changes. i thought they would be helpful. to this point, they have been zero because we've had no cooperation from the republica republicans. the senate has changed, madam president. i'm sorry, the presiding
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officer, wonderful background, has not seen the senate thousand really should -- seen the senate how it really should work. a small group of senators have kept the senate in slow, slow gear. they prevented us from even starting debate on this important bill. can't even start debate on it. people -- people want to offer amendments. we had harkin waiting they're offer an amendment. we had cruz here waiting to offer amendments. they can't. we're going to -- we're through for the night. so we've wasted basically two days when we could have been considering amendments to this bill, and it's a shame. we have a limited number of senate days. in our lives, we have a limited number of days in our lives. the time of the senate is too precious to spend it this way. so we're going to -- i'm filing cloture on this bill. we'll have a vote on proceeding to it on thursday. how about that? isn't that great? proceeding to it. and we will have -- we'll be on
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the bill thursday. then we can start offering amendments on thursday. so i have a cloture motion at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. 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 on the motion to proceed to calendar number 21, h.r. 933, a bill making appropriations for the department of defense, the department of veterans affairs, and other departments and agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2013, and for other purposes. signed by 16 senators as follo follows: reid, mikulski, cardin, brown, durbin, harkin, leahy, king, johnson of south dakota, warren, stabenow, murray, landrieu, reed of rhode island, shaheen, and blumenthal. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business, senators allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: and i hope the record
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is very clear that i do not criticize senator shelby. he's done his best. he was a tremendous advocate for his -- what he thought should be in this bill. but we're going to have to have senators stand up and talk about what's wrong with this place. when -- when all the work that's gone into a bipartisan bill, we're stymied from going to the bill, to offer amendments? note the absence of -- i'm sorry. ms. mikulski: madam president, a question for the majority leader. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: i salute -- i mean, the leader has to govern the senate and move the bill. but a question for people who watch us and don't know what all these parliamentary maneuvers. if there is an agreement to move forward on amendments, is it possible then tomorrow that we could vitiate it?
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or -- mr. reid: if -- with the tremendous work that senator coburn has to put into this, that he can fin tish in the next 12 -- finish it in the next 12 hours, maybe we can move to the bill tomorrow. but i know he's got a lot of work to do on the bill so we'll have to see how he feels about it tomorrow. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: madam president, i -- i really want to thank my vice chairman, senator shelby, for okay the floor all day today in anticipation that we would have already voted on two amendments. i think he and i both regret the situation where we are, and i would hope that the senator who has grave concern and waiting to read the bill could really finish it over -- overnight. we worked every night. i must say not only my staff but talking to the senator and we were available to each other by
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phone. i was talkin -- talking to congressman rogers, our house counterpart. we were working. i know on saturday night, we didn't close out until 9:00 at night. sunday, not until 11:00 at night. that's why we wanted to get this over so they could look at it. so i say to those holding up the bill i'd like you to work through the evening the way we worked through the evening. if you want to see, you know, if there are other issues, and we acknowledge the senator's right to do that, but really, we do not want to face a shutdown. and there is this other issue of the budget committee, which we would like to get on the floor. what a great message to the american people, that with goodwill and sensibility and a give and take -- and there is a lot of give and take -- that we can govern. and my hope would be that by the time we get to the end of next week, but actually the end of this week, we would have passed
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the continued funding resolution and we would have passed a budget with ample debate. this senator and i or house members or senate members, we welcome amendments, we welcome debate, but what is frustrating to me is that we have had a very interesting day but we had two amendments pending, two different viewpoints on really health care and human services. we could have debated it and been able to dispose of them in a way that would have brought honor to the institution and moved our legislation forward. so let's show we can govern. let's really show we can govern, and i hope we can get to our bill tomorrow and not necessarily go through the whole usual filibuster rules. madam president, again, i want to thank the vice chairman, senator shelby. i'm going to thank senator mcconnell for the way he helped. we have conferred on many issues. and i yield the floor.
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mr. reid: madam president, i want everyone to hear what i am saying now. if somebody comes to me and says if you can get on the bill, give me these amendments, i won't agree. we'll have cloture on it on thursday. we're through the deal-making stage. we have been deal making on this bill, an important piece of legislation, for more than a week. if somebody comes to me and says you can go to the bill tomorrow but i want to make sure i have all these amendments, the answer is no. mr. shelby: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. shelby: we would have -- could have had, had we been able to move to this bill, probably debated already and voted on a number of amendments, because this is very essential legislation. there is a lot in this bill, a lot of good in this bill, this proposed legislation. i hope that reason will prevail and people, even if they have some amendments, will come to the floor, as i said earlier,
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offer them. let's debate them. let's get to regular order. up or down, that's what it's about, but the essentials of this bill i think are solid and good. we have gone into this, we'll go into it more and more. we want the process to work, but the process is not going to work if we don't get the bill up so we can go to the regular order. so i hope tonight that things will work out and we'll get going. this is important, important legislation. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: thank you, madam president. i came to the floor to speak on an entirely different issue, but before i do that, i just want to commend appropriations chair mikulski -- and i do like saying that, appropriations chair mikulski -- and ranking member shelby for all of the work that they and their staffs and the other senators on the appropriations committee have done to try and put together a
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continuing resolution that's going to keep this government open. i share the frustration and the concern that we have heard expressed on the floor tonight about the holdup when we thought there was agreement to get this done. so i agree the work that has been done, chair mikulski, and hopefully we can get this passed and get this bill done. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: the senator from new hampshire is a member of the appropriations committee, is that correct? mrs. shaheen: that's correct. ms. mikulski: is this her first year on the committee? mrs. shaheen: it is. ms. mikulski: does the gentlelady know what regular order is? this is not a quiz. mrs. shaheen: i was hoping to learn that this session because unfortunately we have not had a lot of regular order in terms of moving appropriations bills and the budget through the senate, and i think, as i talked to my
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constituents, they really want to see us do that. they want to see us work together to move the agenda forward for this country, just as you and senator shelby have done in the last week. ms. mikulski: the gentlelady is exactly right. what we are doing is trying to run a rescue operation to keep the continuing funding going. on -- really, the president will submit his budget next week. you will be -- the budget committee will be and off and running. we will actually hold hearings on every subcommittee, and it will be an open and transparent process. members will be able to participate. and we will return to that bill by bill. when you're dealing with a bill that has all 12 subcommittees in it and it's a trillion dollars, they think wow, but we're going to do that regular order and i'm going to thank you. i'm so happy you're on the committee. i look forward to really showing you what regular order is, and i
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know you're going to stand up as you have done on so many occasions to champion the cause of women, is that correct? mrs. shaheen: that is correct, and i appreciate the leadership that you have shown. ms. mikulski: well, in the dignified way of the senate and the way we talk, go for it. mrs. shaheen: thank you. the world came together once again last week to celebrate international women's day, and today i want to belatedly commemorate that special day here on the floor of the senate and welcome the passage of this year's international women's day resolution, which i'm proud to say that i cosponsored on a bipartisan basis with my colleague, senator collins, and we had 14 other cosponsors on that resolution. international women's day is observed all over the world. it honors the economic, political and social achievements of women, past, present and future. it also highlights just how far women around the world still have to go and the many barriers and closed doors they continue
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to face in the fight for equal rights and opportunities. i want to recognize and celebrate this year's nine recipients of the 2013 state department international women of courage awards. this prestigious annual award recognizes women who have shown exceptional leadership in advocating for women's rights and empowerment around the globe, often at great risk to their own well-being. one of those recipients i wanted to talk about is rison zituna -- i want to make sure i pronounce her name correctly. she is a human rights lawyer in syria. she has made it her mission to track the ongoing atrocities that have been committed by the assad regime. mrs. zituna was forced into hiding after the government accused her of being a foreign agent when she began reporting on these atrocities.
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despite living in fear for her life, mrs. zeitunah continues to risk so much to make sure the world knows all about assad's brutal crackdown on the people of syria. she is one of nine remarkable women who are being honored by the state department this year, each with an equally inspirational story to tell. i want to submit the names of all nine honorees for the record to recognize their contributions. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: thank you. and while i'm very pleased that the senate was able to take up and pass the international women's day resolution last night, i'm also extremely disappointed that this bipartisan resolution was objected to at the 11th hour over a clause which addressed the impact of our changing climate on women in developing nations. and i just want to read that clause. it said -- "whereas, according to the international union for conservation of nature, women in developing countries are
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disproportionately affected by changes in climate because of their need to secure water, food and fuel for their livelihood." that was the extent of the clause that was objected to. unfortunately, this clause from the resolution was blocked by a member of the senate on the other side of the aisle. it was a clause that was included in the 2011 resolution that unanimously passed in the senate, and, madam president, just over this past weekend, navy admiral lockleer, the commander of the u.s. pacific command, was asked during a two-day trip to new england what's the biggest long-term security threat facing the pacific region? his answer was very clear. it's climate change. this from an admiral who is dealing with a bellicose north korea, an escalating conflict between japan and china in the
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east china sea. his answer to what's the biggest threat to america is climate change. and yet, we have one of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle who objected to a clause that points out what is very clear in data around the world, and that is the impact that changes in our climate are having on women who are so often the food gatherers for their families. well, this issue of climate change is not going away any time soon, and you can deny that it exists but it exists. the data is clear, and i believe we need to come together to address this serious concern to help other countries find ways of mitigating the harmful effects of climate change. and just as climate change deserves attention, we also need to continue our effort to promote equal rights and equal opportunities for women everywhere. we know that all of society
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benefits. when women are more fully integrated into their communities and countries, and we need to remain focused on this effort, and that is why international women's day is so important, and that is why passing a resolution to talk about that in this body is so important. so i'm sorry we couldn't agree on everything, madam president, but i do think it's important for us to recognize international women's day and also to point out areas of disagreement that clearly are going to remain at the forefront in the future. thank you very much. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: i was sitting in my office, listening to senator reid, meeting with my staff on the bill we have on the floor, and i wanted to explain to the american people what this bill is. this bill was published last night at 9:00.
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we got it about 9:45. it spends well over a trillion dollars. and in the bill -- and i agree with the majority leader, it's important we pass this bill, but knowing what's in it before you can decide where you would like to try to amend it is asking something of senators that they can't give. so, you know, i understand the majority leader's frustration, but i would also make a couple of points. i mean, in this bill is $8 billion taken away out of the victims compensation fund. that's not tax money. that's money that criminals have paid into a fund to give restitution to children and women around this country for the harm that has occurred from the crime that has been committed upon them. and we're stealing $8 billion from that fund in this bill. we're taking it away. and not tax dollars. fines and penalties. and we're going to take it away and spend it somewhere else.
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you talk about being for women and children, this bill is exactly the opposite of that. money that is due them, we're not going to let them have. we're going to go spend it somewhere else. so knowing those things are in the bill is one of the reasons we ought to read the bill before we can know whether we're going to offer amendments on it. i'd also make one final point. the vast majority of this bill has passed the appropriation committee in the senate last spring and early summer. there's not one of the things that's in this bill that the appropriation committee hadn't already done with, and we had a deliberate choice to not put these bills on the floor last summer. so if we're in a ?it over the problems that we're -- in a snit over the problems that we're having, it's because the bills didn't come to the floor in regular order so they could be conferenced by the senate. by the way, the house passed 12
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of the 13. our committees worked 12 of the 13 out. so they came out in regular process. they were not allowed to come to the floor. so we have just about finished studying the bill. we have no problems moving on the bill and giving consent to move on the bill once we have looked at the bill. but for the majority leader to say that members of the senate can't have amendments after having had their staff work since 9:45 last night to look at the bill and attempt to make amendments to the bill, that doesn't fit on a trillion dollar bill. and when the american people find out what's in this bill that shouldn't be in it and the option that is we can offer that what should be in it, i think they are going to agree that maybe we ought to make some changes. so i understand the frustration of the majority leader, but i also understand our rights. this isn't about filibustering
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anything. this is about being an informed senator who knows what you're doing and knows how to make a decision about how you want to amend the bill. we can call it something other than that, but it's not. it's about doing our job. and the fact is, is we got this last night. so what i would say is everybody that was fine for us going on it without having read it, i would say there's a problem with their position in the u.s. senate in terms of their oath to do what they were sent up here to do, which is to read what you're voting on, know what you're voting on and prepare adams to what you're going -- amendments to what you're going to vote on. we have this outburst, 16 hours after we got an almost 600-page bill? that doesn't fit with any common sense. so we've instructed our side we're willing to go ahead and allow this month to move forward
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but in a process that recognizes this bill isn't perfect just as both the chairman of the appropriations committee and the ranking member said. so we don't have any problems with it moving forward. we do have problems with spending money that we don't have on things we don't need and we ought to be able to offer amendments that would highlight that, whether the body agrees with it or not, that would highlight so the american people can see it. so we may not be allowed based on what senator reid just said to offer any amendments. he is the majority leader. but if that's the case, we're probably going to be here all through the weekend because that is a right that each senator has, and they ought to be able to offer especially on a trillion-dollar appropriation bill. so i hope senator reid has a good night's sleep. i'll try to call him in the morning and try to work an accommodation that will allow that bill to move and not have to be here over the weekend. i don't want to be here this weekend but i will if it's the right thing to get the points out. the american people know.
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i mean, right now we're having no tours of the white house. i could show you hundreds of thousands of dollars that under the control of the executive that they could spend that are a whole lot less important than tours of the white house. and the same goes for us and the operation of our house. in terms of the senate and the house. so i'm sorry i irritated senator rid. i'm sorry -- senator reid, i'm sorry he's upset with me, but i'm going to do my job. i'm in my ninth year and i've always kept my obligation to the people of this country to make sure i'm thinking about the long term, i'm thinking about priority on how we spend money and the best way, the right way, and offering amendments whether they pass or not, offering those ideas because that is not only my privilege but it's my obligation. with that i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire.
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mrs. shaheen: i ask unanimous consent the appointments at the desk appear separately in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: i ask unanimous consent when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. on wednesday, march 13, 2013, that following the prayer and pledge, the journal be approved, the morning hour be deemed expired, and the time for the two leaders reserved for their use later in the day, and that following any leader remarks, the senate resume thing motion to proceed to calendar number 21, h.r. 933. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: cloture was filed on the motion to proceed on the continuing resolution bill. if no agreement is reached, the cloture will be thursday morning. if there is 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
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first day of meetings with both house and senate members and plans to meet with senate republicans on thursday. following the senate live on c-span2 when members return. glmpleght earlier today paul ryan released the house republican 2014 budget plan.
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the proposal aims to balance the federal budget over ten years through repealing the president's health care law, and reforming medicare in the tax code. here's a look now. people outside of this process might look at the press conference today, the document is similar where you stood there and we sat here. >> right. [laughter] >> probably not for the best. if people outside the process might be watching today and saying paul ryan did this last year, then . >> and the year before. >> indeed. he was on the ticket, ran on this, you know, not -- exactly the paul ryan budget. president obama ran what he calls the balanced approach raising taxes on the wealthy and his medicare and social security position. he won that election, house republicans lost seats in the house. got fewer votes than the
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democrats. senate republicans lost seats in the senate. people outside the process might wonder if it has consequences. >> so the question is the election didn't go our way. believe me, i know what it feels like. that means we surrender our principles? whether the country intended or not. we have divided country. we have the second largest house majority we've had since world war ii, and what we believe in the divided government era we need to put up our vision. we think we owe the country a balanced budget. we think we owe the country solutions to plaguing our nation. a debt crisis on the horizon, a slow growing economy, people trapped trapped in poverty. elections have consequences. we are in the majority. the president won re-election and democrats in majority. this is our offer and vision.
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what you do is show the country what you believe in. the senate hasn't passed a budget in four years, despite the fact that the law requires them to do so each and every year. we are finally doing a budget. i think that's good. i'm pleased in murray attempting a budget. we haven't seen the attempt in a long time. if she can pass a budget, then we actually have a process out of the public for the nation to see that gets us going down the path of solving problems. it's one of the thing the president and i talked about. let's revise the budget process so we can get a down payment on the problem. will the president take every one of the solutions? probably not. are a lot of them are popular and did we win the arguments in the campaign? some of us think so. what we're saying is here is our offer, here is our vision, here is how we propose to balance the budget and rule the economy,
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save medicare, we hope the senate actually follows suit and shows their vision. if they put their plan on the table then we can look for common ground. we think that's a constructive way forward. that was a portion of today's briefings head by congressman paul ryan on the 2014 budget plan. you can see the entire briefing tonight after the house adjourns or any time on the website right after today's briefing senate majority leader harry reid came to the floor to respond. here are his comments. earlier this year november's election top republicans promised a kinder, gentler republican party. and republican party that cared about every american achieving their dreams. that was a quote. republican the words fairness and opportunity.
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-- promised cooperation. house majority leader eric cantor spoke a quote an agenda based on a shared vision creating the position for health, happiness, and prosperity. rebranding we thought was underway. and a few weeks passed and republicans emphasized fairness and made a direct u-turn to where they started. today the house budget committee chairman paul ryan will unveil an extreme tbhawjt is anything but balanced. this budget reflects the same screwed priorities they championed for years. the same they rejected in november. it will call for more tax breaks for the ballet and end medicare as we know it and draconian cuts to education and other programs that help america's economy grow and prosper.
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we heard many times, -- famously said all over again, mr. president, i've seen it before. the paul ryan budget will shower more tax breaks on millionaires and continue take advantage of corporate interest and raise taxes for middle class. i know, congressman ryan held out to be a understanding -- that's what he's cone so well. he pulled the wool over the eyes of the people in the house and they continue to fall on him. mr. president, his budget is anything but balanced. anything but fair, and members of the house should look at what they're being lead in to or outf
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in order to reduce the deficit and investment in education, health care, public safety, scientific research and job creation and technology. the paul ryan budget would end medicare guarantee and force seniors to a voucher program. it would prevent health care such a cancer screenings and charge seniors more for prescriptions. and protecting wealth special interests isn't bad enough. the republican budget devastates the economy, slowing growth. the wrong approach it's the same approach and to make matters worse, the paul ryan budget, number three has done two other times is the same fussy math as the previous budgets. and relies on accounting that is creating at best to inflate the came of deficit reduction. we believe it's critical we stablize the deficit. it will take more of the accounting gimmicks to achieve
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real debt reduction and at the time when corporations are making record and american income continues to rise. the deficit income shouldn't be at the middle class families, senior citizens, and the poor. democrats and independents, and republicans. they want a fair -- deficit reduction that makes sensible cut as profitable corporations to share the burden balance. that's why this budget committee chair patty murray budget that reflects the priority. her plan, the democrat plan will cut wasteless spending and invest in what the economy needs to go really hard to continue to build to grow and encourage a strong middle class. paul ryan and the republican colleagues in congress are
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taking different approach. it makes it plain. the budget will once again put noun special interest ahead of middle class families and. and no amount of rebranding will hide that, mr. president. those remarks took place earlier today on the senate floor. and congressman chris van released a at the same time. he said, quote, today the house- representing more of the same. and a reminder that you can see congressman ryan's entire briefing tonight after the house adjourns on c-span. ..
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>> good afternoon. nice to see a small group of you here today. as you all know, secretary hagel returned yesterday from afghanistan that has a busy week for that.
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secretary hagel not in brunei and then joined in a meeting with president obama in the oval office. as many of you know, the series iv on chair. the 2013th chairmanship will conduct three multilateral exercises in the asia-pacific region and will host the ministerial. they look forward to this important relationship as we continue to deepen our engagement in the asia-pacific region. the saturn and the secretary will meet with secretary of veterans affairs, ericsson seki, and the first meeting since secretary hagel's meeting last month. this is the first year the meeting. the two have known each other more than a decade ago served in the ninth in the true division in their combat tours in
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vietnam. secretary hagel is eager to continue progress that impacts the lives of servicemembers and veterans. on thursday, secretary hagel will host the first quarterly meeting on the civilian and military leadership. the joint chief of staff and combatant commanders and other secretaries. the upcoming leadership council will focus on budget and strategy and later that day the secretary will be formally sworn in here at the pentagon. thursday. but they turned another matter of concern to secretary hagel. he has made it clear in his meetings in no uncertain terms the department and senior leadership that eliminating sexual assault from the military is one of his top priorities. he believes that sexual basalt is a serious crime that has no place in the department and he will not tolerate it. feel subleased any member of the military combat data sexual assault, no matter bangor position must be held
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appropriately accountable. concerns were raised on to every try 6060 convening convening authority and legal matter involving an air force attendant colonel exercises article lx authority and dismissed the court-martial conviction and the resulting sentence for sexual basalt on an officer. secretary hagel has directed two separate reviews to ensure the military justice system is protecting the times of sexual assault as well as justice for the accused. first, secretary has directed the secretary of the air force in coordination with the general counsel to immediately review this case to assess whether all aspects of the uniform code of military justice were applied and make recommendations on how authority decision in the case can be made more transparent. a report on the results of the review is due march 14, 2014.
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secretary hagel has directed the council to immediately undertake an assessment of article lx of the tran thi is covering the actions of the convening authorities. after consultation with the army, navy and air force, the general counsel will prevent an assessment of whether changes should be to vitter to article lx or in the implementation of article lx and if so what changes should be considered. this is due by march 27, 2013. secretary hagel is determined that it works effectively in the reviews who's called for assigned in this case they did not work in the us committee to making any and all necessary changes. our service members must they are protected on criminal assault of us at unction promptly, fairly and justly. secretary is committed to doing everything he can to prevent
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sexual assault and mr. perna will take further action in the months to come. that may shift to another matter. as many of you are not aware there's been considerable discussion about the recent creation of the distinguished warfare battle. more specifically, about presidents relative to other awards and accommodations. secretary hagel consulted with the chairman, joint chiefs of service secretaries in the decision to establish the model was thoroughly analyzed within the department of defense. that being said, concerned about the medals placed in the order of precedence, secretary hagel will work with the leadership to review the order of precedence and associated manners and assess the chairman to lead this review and report back in 30 days. with that, i'll open it up to your questions, comments, concerns. >> george, on the metal business, the production of the
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metal has been sought and blow it -- are you considering changing the whole name of the battle in that sort of thing to change it -- i don't know what the right terminology is. our distinguished makes it a certain category. >> all of the questions you show status will be addressed as part of the review that the chairman will lead at the direction of the secretary. secretary is asked to review the promptly conduct it and expects to make a decision within 30 days. >> former secretary peanut about with his logic was. >> secretary panetta has been advised to conduct a review. i'm not sure if they spoken directly about it. >> in connection with the ucmj review, i wanted to ask you, did you say in this case it did not work? in what context? does the secretary believe it did not work?
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>> now, we are simply reviewing the article 60 to see if it worked or didn't. i'm not prejudging the outcome of the review. >> is the secretary believe as many on the hill have suggested that these prosecutions for sexual assault be removed from the chain of command? >> a secretaries had extensive conversations already about the issue of sexual assault. he has the right to any conclusions. he is still getting briefed on all these matters. i sat on several sessions in the issue has arisen. let me assure you he is seized of this problem. he believes it's an issue and need to confront directly and sexual assault has no place in this department. i'm not going to prejudge anything he might do in the future with respect to
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recommendations or initiatives that he might implement, that he is making this a top priority. >> one last question. what is the process to change some thing like train or at ucmj? >> the legalities of the ucmj system i'm probably not in a position to comment on. as i said before, the tribute to the legal profession, but if there are changes that will be something our general counsel working in concert with military lawyers will address. >> do not need congressional action to change ucmj itself? >> again, i'm not going to get into type teledesic changing the system. i'm simply not posture to comment how something may be changed in ucmj. >> by this change now? regardless of sexual a soul,
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other cases of murder, rape, where they can reduce tendencies and straightaway convictions. this is the product and a command climate of the military that she don't see outside of that world. is this a personal thing? is this in response to claire mccaskill? we didn't see this underpin that, we didn't see the senator gaetz, a complete review of article 60. >> let me be very clear. this is the latest taken to review different aspects, ways of preventing sexual assault and prosecuting it. secretary panetta implemented ranges of sexual assault in the military and secretary hagel following in his footsteps is taking strong action to review all aspects of this problem. in this department.
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some i don't think this is a knee-jerk reaction. this isn't some spontaneous decision. this is part of a logical process for evaluating how best we can prevent this issue arising in the ranks of our armed forces and holding us accountable who deserve to be held accountable. >> george, can ask you to clarify the scope of these reviews. first on the metal. it's not the order placement review, but potentially the name of the mental and indicated the design that has been stopped. general dempsey has been struck to to look at it a little more broadly than the order of precedence. >> he's been directed to stand up a review of that not all and i'm not going to define what the parameters of that review will be. the fact of the matter is the
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production of the metal has stopped. no one has been nominated for this metal. no one has been trained, so we do have time to make a final decision. let me make another point. secretary hagel has long had a history with the veteran services organizations. he said of the uso. he's heard their concerns, concerns of others and he believes it is prudent to take into account those concerns and conduct this review. he stylistically there is to be a decisive leader and also to be a ready listener. i think that contributed to the decision to initiate this review. >> can i follow-up on the ucmj review. you were talking in the context of sexual assault. the review he asked you to do with looking at ucmj article in its entirety, the convening authority is authority, not just
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in these cases, but all sorts of criminal acts. >> the focus is on sexual assault with respect to article 60 appeared other parts need to be reviewed, i'm not sure the thursday the parameters of this review. >> there's a couple budget proposals on the help i would give the pentagon transfer authority with the budget matters. i am assuming that would make you happy. >> sequestration on the budget and continuing resolution. thank you. i appreciate it. it's good to be here i think. so what specific proposals are you talking about? >> authority in and of itself, would that be helpful for you guys? would that be enough? would you like to see those bills passed? >> within the context of
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sequestration and continuing resolution. >> of the 2013 budget. >> rate. i'm not going to comment on my hundreds of thousands ideas swirling around out there on the hill or elsewhere. the basic principle here remains. we are facing a tough situation here and walking soberly into the sequestered. we have super base and understand the reality of sequestration of the process. we been clear about impacts to readiness. the services are making decisions on programs and this is not what we like to do, but it's what we have to do and that's where we are. >> on a different topic, the uae ambassador just sat at the atlantic council paper ran to escape nuclear weapons come in many countries in the pole for that do so. do you have any comment on that
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and i suppose i can't believe this could be part of the solution to counter advanced nuclear threats? >> i am not going to comment on the uae ambassadors or marks. not until i've had a chance to review them. the important question initiative and have a nuclear weapon? there is virtual unanimity and the international community that they should not be able to have seen their nuclear weapon. said in a times, they need to abide by their international obligations. they are facing sanctions because they are not willing to affirmatively say that they won't go forward with a nuclear weapon. all options remain on the table for the united states in the event they made that very unwise choice. just in. >> what is your take on karzai's comment over the weekend in the u.s. collusion of the taliban? >> the secretary in afghanistan
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and secretary dunford, our new isaf commander responded to questions about karzai's comments. we of course take very strong issue with the notion that the united states is somehow colluding with the taliban. the important thing in our relationship with afghanistan is to work together. we do have common cause here and we need to work hand in hand to make sure the transition stays on track. when issues arise, and there's issues in any relationship. their closest allies and some of our closest partners include afghanistan. our belief is we can work through those issues if we handle it the right way. the secretary and president karzai had a very frank and open
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discussion about a range of issues while the secretary was in kabul. the secretary that's sure to regularly engage in the president karzai to talk about the transition process and to define in clear terms how we can work together to ensure that we are taking the fight to the enemy, that we are addressing challenges that confront his boat and that we note the progress made after nearly 12 years of war. >> did president karzai give you an assurances he wants to work together? that comment on his first trip i couldn't think of anything really morrison had to say that would suggest he has no interest in working with secretary hagel. i wonder if he offered any assurances that i was playing domestic politics were even a few words i would still be
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inappropriate. did he privately give him any assurances this relationship is healthy? >> the president noted that he has a very strong long-standing relationship with secretary hagel. they've been friends for a long time and president karzai specifically noted that friendship in their private meeting. so there is the opportunity to carry the relationship forward. there must be that opportunity and i think secretary hagel has focused on the long view of this relationship. we have 66,000 troops in afghanistan. we have coalition partners in afghanistan. we are fighting alongside afghans who are making great sacrifices to protect their own country. said this is about a broader set of goals and it's about u.s. interests. and it is about ensuring afghanistan never becomes a safe
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haven again from which terrorists can launch attacks on the united states homeland or u.s. interests abroad. so there is for to be done, issues to be resolved. i am not trying to discount the challenges that are ahead of us. if we work together as partners, we can frame the way to resolve those issues effectively and then focus on the common cause with those devoted ourselves to. >> the comptroller's office advised the services to consider significant cutbacks tuition assistance, how the army, marine corps and air force has suspended tuition assistance programs for the remaining of the fiscal year. if the dod going to try services to consider suspending tuition assistance for fiscal 14 as well? >> what may be very clear about tuition assistance. none of us like to make tough
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choices with respect to tuition assistance. we are here because of sequestration. the tuition assistance program is important to our department and of course to our service members. the program enables personal development of our servicemembers and facilitate their transition to civilian work force. these are tough choices for services. last week are comptroller issued guidance indicating server should consider significant regressions affect it immediately for the duration of the current fiscal year. in light of the billions of dollars we have defined as a result of sequestration and of cr. each service is responsible for industry tuition assistance. through the services, army, marine corps and air force suspended tuition assistance in the navy has reviewed its tuition assistance program.
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let me be clear, we are here because of sequestration on tuition assistance. a sequestration were averted, we may face a different set of choices on these and other programs. these are the unfortunate outcomes, the tetris is the main admin is the result of budgetary uncertainty and the need to ensure we have resources necessary, even in a terribly constrained and inflexible and uncertain budget environment to respond to the crisis that might prop up around the world, whether we know about them or not. >> that's great. but answer to my question which is it the dod going to tell the service to suspend an fiscal year 14 as well? >> i am not going to get that ahead of where we are right now. we are still dealing with fiscal year or team and no decisions have been made. that's a direct answer to your
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question. >> in the current fiscal decisions, do you expect things to rectify enough in time for services to implement in fiscal year 14? >> i don't know. we are in a period of terrible budget uncertainty. this is one of many programs that were going to have to look at. this department is making the office of the secretary of defense and services every day, multiple decisions that aren't exactly up to her liking in some cases. over having to swallow bitter pills, not because we want to pop for, but because we are forced to make tough decisions. that's the reality of it. we are being straightforward with the force about this, doing but it, grappling with it. the secretary would like to how this all go away.
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his very clear instructions have been first-term eckholm, cool collective manner, due with the hand we've been dealt and it's an unfortunate hand we've been dealt. this is an expression of that probably been talking about a lot turn. we have been transparent inside this department and with the american people, about the consequences of sequestration. this has been a nearly two-year conversation initially, as no surprise to anyone that these kinds of decisions are coming down the page. >> , go back to karzai's comment? is secretary hagel worried about the morale on the ground about u.s. troops? we are over there trying to train the afghan army and that they'll figure the same as karzai is telling his own people that you're working with the
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enemy. is that something is expressed in is worried about, what kind of effect that has on the 6000 troops so they are. >> anytime there's allegations made that have no basis in fact can have an effect in many of been nice to include troop morale. of course the secretary would be worried about effects on morale. we saw first hand in jalalabad and bagram and i'll swear that our troops are deeply committed to this tradition. they continue to take their fight to the enemy and appear to be unwavering in their dedication to their mission. as you know, he did a troop talk and 72 and thanked them for their service. it was the start of that he didn't have many questions about
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the war in afghanistan. he got a lot of questions about the budget and benefits and what happens to my family back home. troops downrange shouldn't have to think about those issues. we should be thinking about things in washington and dealing with them. yes. >> what is the timeline for business and bagram? >> as you may have learned over the weekend, there is a decision to delay the transfer of the division facility at parwan. we greatly respect afghan sovereignty. number two, we realize the transfer is an important part of that commitment to our afghan partners. we remain committed to the transfer of the defense
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facility. we are working through some technicalities in the agreement and we hope to be about to transfer the facilities to the afghans as soon as possible. >> what are those technicalities? >> i wouldn't get into specifics on this podium. we are working with our afghan partners. >> the two china fours and parwan will not respond to how many prisoners were talking about here. how many have been my been considered and within that population in this building are foreign nationals that afghans will not expect. how many of those surveyed looking not? >> add-on on the precise numbers for you. that's really something that should be addressed by isaf.
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i'll see if i can provide an answer for you. >> the only number i've seen is a report from the white house to the congress, a required report around christmas time and find that a president with approximately 948. those numbers moved out, but there is a number out there and no one will comment on prisoners were talking about. >> they simply don't know. i'll see if i can get you an answer. >> i wonder if you can respond to it dni set out today. afghanistan to follow five paragraphs. see you guys just came back and wish you saw on the ground. but says pretty much all the gains made since 2010 are still
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using the air force has made very little progress, the afghans of course. the army seem to be quoting their own but will require systems to 2014 and beyond. in five paragraphs. do you agree with the process is so and the rank of afghanistan i think that to the u.s.? >> i'm not going to comment on the intelligence community report. but let me give your assessment. i understand. we take seriously the input of the television community. but i can tell you is the transition is on track, that the nss is growing not just in its capabilities, but in its will to pursue the mission. and doesn't with afghan fighters are casualty as a result.
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we believe that the taliban have not been able to occupy territory they once held. there are challenges, too. we have to make sure that the ansi over time is able to maintain course insisting they gave it been made. that's the endgame here. it's not just the political will to ensure success, that the ability to provide for security throughout the country. so after visiting afghanistan over the past few days of receiving briefings from our commanders in the field, we believe the willies they are on the part of the afghans to grow their capabilities. that's our assessment. we believe it's on track. i'm not saying it's a nicely paved road to the future. there will be bumps on the road and rocks and gravel in the sky to be honest about that.
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at the end of the day, we think there's a strong chance that the afghan people will be able to secure for themselves a better future. >> yesterday north korea announced in north korea nonstudents nullifying the 1953 agreement. as the u.s. military changed its defense posture of the peninsula or elsewhere in the region on the lake of this announcement? also, have you seen any unusual north korean literary movements the last couple of days? >> i wouldn't comment for obvious reasons on the latter two pairs of the three-part question. then they say very clearly north korea's bellicose rhetoric press follow a pattern to raise tensions and intimidate others. north korea will achieve nothing by threats or provocations, which will only further isolate north korea and efforts to stability in asia. we urge the leadership to heed president obama's call to choose a path to peace and come into
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compliance with its international obligations. naturally, the american forest and south korea and the united states united states forces korea are working closely with our south korean allies remains pastured for any contingency that we stand ready to protect u.s. and south korean entries. the important message that this government has sent to north korea is that it needs to change its rhetoric and take the temperature down. >> do you have any reason to believe or be more concerned about rhetoric this time around? they are going out further than they have in the past with a nuclear threat on the u.s. and of course you're dealing with a new leader, kim jung-un. so, is there reason for more concern this time around? or is it still --
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>> i'm not concerned with a big yawn. i can't draw the story says, but the fact is the rhetoric is bellicose and the rhetoric is a bit too high in that regard. so let's take this down a notch it would say to dad and engage the right way. they need to ensure that their behavior comports if that is demanded by the international community. in the past they haven't shown a great willingness and continue to aggregate many of their obligations. the message from the government has been clear and consistent for a very long time and that that behavior needs to start. one or two more questions. >> back to the first part of the question. has the u.s. military change its posture in south korea or the region?
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or is it preparing to change its posture of the reason? >> i'm not going to response to what we may or may not do a north korean rhetoric. but we stand ready to respond to any contingency. that is our duty and responsibility and is a very strong commitment to our ally and northeast asia, the republic of korea. >> the navy last week said -- that's a direct comment, so you can't say there were or were not shipments or is there is not alert readiness difference? >> yeah i'm not talking about the potential contingency responses. i'm simply saying we stand ready to respond. i'm dennis rodman, last i checked he's not a u.s. official. i'm not going to, and basketball. i'm not a lawyer and i'm not particularly well versed in professional basketball and i'm not going to comment on his
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rhetoric. all right. no question. >> george, if i could switch to ironstone, the pentagon and the congress has been supported to claim to have a very successful intercept rate. there's a new report out that says that the 85% success rate being claimed by israelis is grossly inflated. it's actually 5%. what does the pentagon by on this display i.d. and do you believe the israeli numbers? >> we have very strong confidence in the figures the israelis have shared. the fact of the matter is the system has been very effective and that was proven in the recent crisis on the gaza strip. we are in regular contact with our israeli allies about this capability and others and i have comp games that they are portraying the success of this very important defense system for israel in an accurate and
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transparent manner. >> to us >> to have independent confirmation of the numbers are providing to? the disparity of what counts as an intercept is what's at stake here. >> the israelis can vote through their methodology. and i believe it to them to describe it. i am saying we have a strong confidence after close consultations with them about the figures they're sharing are accurate. thanks, everyone.
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>> earlier today come in the senate intelligence committee held a hearing on worldwide security threats. we heard testimony from cia director john ran in sl as fbi director, robert mueller and intelligence director, james. here's a portion now. >> i will say that my almost 50 years in intelligence i do not recall a period in which we confront a more diverse array of threats, crises and challenges around the world, which he both describe. to me, this may sequestration even more incongruous. this year's threat assessment illustrates how dramatically the
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world and our threat is changing. threats are growing more interconnected and by role. the events the same local in can set up trains national directions that affect u.s. national interests. it's a world in which our definition of war now includes a soft version. we cannot cyber and financial to weapons against us in such attacks can be deniable and non-attributable. when it comes to the distinct red areas, our statement this year lease with cyber. it's hard to overemphasizes significance. increasingly, state and nonstate actors are gaining and using cyberexpertise. they apply cybertechniques and capabilities to achieve strategic object to us by gathering sensitive information from public and private sector entities, enjoy the flow of information and challenging perceived adversaries in cyberspace. these capabilities but all sectors of our county -- country
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at risk from private networks to critical infrastructures. we see indications that some terrorist organizations are interested in developing cybercapabilities and a cybercriminals are used in a growing black market to sell cybertools upon the hand of state and nonstate areas. >> that was a portion of today's hearing held by the senate intelligence committee. you can see the entire hearing tonight at approximately 9:50 p.m. on c-span or anytime in her website,
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>> when it comes to the secretary of state and the people around her, what i found striking is her ability to stay focused at all times as much as possible on what is happening. she doesn't get distracted by the details that they are not important. if the details thought that matter, but she is the ability to stay focused on the big picture. how is what is happening in afghanistan and packing but they might do in the middle east? out is what happens in the middle east impact what they do in asia? she had a good sense of what is the big picture, what is the strategy here? and she is surrounded by people helping her.
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i have to carry my suitcase, the shia south and that her -- i talk about the little bit, to stay focused on what really matters. it will just arrived and when it arrives she'll have been while she's thinking about the bigger picture. >> earlier today, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell and other leaders hold a briefing after their weekly party conference meeting. he discussed different budget proposals and reforming medicare. this is 15 minutes. >> good afternoon, everyone. i know the president is talking to her democratic colleagues and we're looking forward to having him on thursday to meet with our group. i do think given the fact we are going into the budget week with the democrats and republicans,
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basically laying out their budgets that will be on the floor of the house and senate next week, it is noteworthy to point out this is the first time in 90 years that the president's budget will actually come up after both the house and senate have voted. i hope that's not reflection of a lack of seriousness, but it is beyond parody. with regard to overdoing this week, the first amendment on the republican side will be by senator cruise kummer related to delay in implementation of the obamacare until the economy gets back on track. finally, with regard to what a lot of you have described -- the reports i got from the members who went to dinner with him last week was excellent. they had an excellent exchange. i told the president on friday, i hope to write all of our
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members to a small dinners and is a good opportunity to have vacated conversation. we all know what to request a receive debt ceiling here again, later this summer, we will be discussing again the possibility of finally solving a huge debt problem by making the changes to the entitlement site that we all know we have to make up for going to [inaudible] >> not since 1921 and has a president failed to make a timetable to submit his proposed budget tthe current document in the white house who has missed that deadline four times out of five. if there is a better way to render yourself irrelevant to the debate on the most issue facing our country today, that may e the
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cake because the president's budget will not debut until after the house and senate have passed their own budget. so the president actually wants to deconstruct it and have his suggestions on what the budget ought to look like be taken into account and be debated and voted on, he was sent his budget before the house and before the senate passed on their own budget. that may well be the reason why we find ourselves $16.5 trillion in debt and on the cusp of a potential fiscal crisis because the president has shown absolutely no leadership on this and seems insisted on leaving from behind. >> as my colleagues have said, this is budget week in the senate and the question we have to ask them agger beak is what is this budget going to do to result in economic growth? how we grow economy? that is the question that not to be asked of every budget proposal out there.
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obviously, the house of representatives is in the process of doing a touch it. senate democrats doing theirs over here. you look at the four years in the policies the obama administration has put in place. it's higher taxes, massive amounts of debt, burdensome regulations for job creators to create jobs that have resulted in sluggish economic growth. as a result, for the past four years, .8% growth. eight tenths of 1% is the leasing of the past four years under the said mr. nations policies. you would hope the democrats as they prepare budget would look at policies that will grow the economy. unfortunately, we hear more of the same. we are talking about a trillion dollars tax increase. more spending at nothing to save social security and other care by reforming those programs in a way that will align them with the future demographics of this
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country. it is more of the same policies with regard to their budget. we think there's a better way. go look for opportunities for amendment that will point that out. the bottom line is the democratt going to hurt jobs, hurt the economy, make it more difficult to get americans back to work and not have to be the fundamental question we have to ask this week. >> there was a front-page story today on one of the papers on the hill that talked about the number of democrats who are now griping about the presidents health care law. because as these washington democrats go to their homes intact boats, they realize the health care law is bad for patients, bad for providers, nurses and that yours who take care of patients and terrible for taxpayers. there's no $1 trillion of taxes on hard-working americans as a result of the presidents health
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care law hurting the economy, hurting our country and even the federal reserve in the beige book that came out of the report last week said there are impacts and they know it all around the country it has a negative in fact on hiring that many businesses are either laying people off, making decisions not to higher or if they do higher, part-time workers are related to the health care law. the one part that says if a business grows to over 50 employees that they may have to start either providing care or pay large fines and they decide on full-time employees for 40 hours a week. they are hiring 29 hours or fewer so they are not considered full time. as a result, the federal reserve says the presidents health care last hurting the economy. at a time we are doing what they budget and continuing
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resolution, there's no better time to repeal and defined the presidents health care law so people can finally get what they want, which is the care they need from a doctor they choose a lower cost. >> well, on the budget, for years as a long time not to show up for work. it's a long time not to do your job. this must be a budgetary masterpiece if it's taken four years to put budget on paper that will be looking forward to seeing that budget, hearing the debate on the budget and finding how much is fact and how much is fiction. there's a big gap to fill between the last 10 senate democrats said what they were for and what they say they are for right now. >> 1413 days and all the democrats can come up with the budget is a trillion dollars increase in taxes. we are going to find out which members of the united states
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senate are for balancing budgets. which ones are for continued irresponsibility. we will find out which senators want to rein in government spending and which want to increase the deficit. it is going to make clear of this survey which members of the united states senate want to create jobs and which want to continue to rely upon government handouts. democrats will have the opportunity to explain to their voters why and for years the only solution they have to our country's fiscal problems are to raise taxes, to increase spending and to do nothing to create a pastor is a balanced budget. >> on a positive note, we are actually going to do a budget. i can tell you that as a member of the budget committee, this has to meet than a top priority and four conference. when i go home to new hampshire,
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talking to people spent almost four years, so i think that's positive the senate democrats have committed to doing a budget. on the other side, on a negative note from what's released about the budget so far, they have indicated they will increase taxes a trillion dollars and from what we're hearing a no look at this carefully and i hope it's not true, but essentially they trillion dollars tax increase about balancing the budget and the tenure when no, without saving the entitlement programs for those seniors out there with medicare going back to 2024, was social security going encrypt and 2033, to increase taxes a billion dollars and not nsa program seems unconscionable. finally, what does a trillion dollars to after increasing taxes $600 billion as a result of what happened in the fiscal cliff in the end of december to
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our economy at a time when we much stronger economic growth. i can tell you what i'm hearing from the small businesses. they cannot afford the health care costs going up because of obamacare, that there have been a hard time. they want to grow businesses, but please don't increase taxes again. i've been hearing from the regulatory framework. my question would be to the democrats is busy trying dollars tax increase, what will that do for businesses in terms of trying to grow our economy right now? the one way we can have the most romantic impact on our dad is to grow our economy. on a final note, i was really disappointed and quite disturbed by the presidents, certainly the attorney general and really back that by the president's decision to close guantánamo bay that we have brought osama bin laden
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son-in-law to new york city and they will be writing the attorney general, asking him how long did we actually derogate osama bin laden son-in-law? how i did we spend trying to find out what he knows about al qaeda is a very close associate of osama bin laden with him the day after on september 12, right after the terrorist attacks against our country. i think this is a very important issue the american people need to be aware of. we need to gather intelligence to prevent future attacks on our country. by the way, what was he doing in iran? we would like to get answers to that as well. >> knowing full well you will run away as soon as the president comes out, i'll see if there's any question. [inaudible] >> well, until we make our
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entitlement programs fit the demographics of our country, you can't save america. you can't save the health care system and you can't save america. we all know the revenue side is completely irrelevant to solving this problem. we gave the president's 650 or so billion dollars in taxes at the end of the year. not by airbus, but the expiration of the law. now we need to do with the spending problem. we are doing part of it, not a lot, but part of the discretionary side with the implementation of the sequester and the sub audible perfecta knower number. the second part is to deal with where the huge expenses are. that is on the entitlement side. there is no revenue solution to that i say to you. it has to be done by making the eligibility for entitlement to the demographics of america today and tomorrow. whenever the president is
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willing to have that discussion, we are ready to have it. [inaudible] -- how much of the talk about detainees, guns, any other issues? >> both on the cr, open for amendment on the budget, which will have plenty of amendments. there will be plenty of subjects address. we anticipate the presidents requested us to raise the debt ceiling, which will come due this summer will generate hopefully another discussion about solving the real problem. we all know the only way to straighten america out is to fix the entitlement issue. nothing also get the job done. we are hopeful that finally he will be willing to step up with us and how that problem. we are ready to talk about that and i think the upgrade she's been having a secret thing. as i said, i have recommended to him that he and the rest of our
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members found in a small dinners. the reports were it was a candidate and fruitful discussion. having more of that rather than less is a good idea. >> thanks a lot. [inaudible conversations] >> here is a look. >> this week we are seeing our feeling contrast. the president reaching to republicans in the senate and in the senate, we are working out a
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bill in a bipartisan fashion to advance a compromise that will fund the government to protect middle-class families. tomorrow, senator murray will introduce her bill, budget resolution i should say of a balanced approach to if we need to do with the economy. and it will go out to the floor next week we hope. on the other side of the billing, house republicans moving further away from a compromise. house republicans advance in the ryan republican budget even more extreme than the propaganda we have seen in the past. devine republican budget physis programs critical to the middle-class instead of asking the wealthiest to pay a little more, he is going after education, health care, research, preventive health leg cancer screening and much more. instead of ending wasteful corporate tax loopholes, their
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budget and medicare as we know it. her economy is the place to grow by job growth that we've seen in many years at the republican brand of harsh asperity can reverse the progress remaking. we need to reduce our deficit, but we need to do it in a smart way. combined spending cuts, closing wasteful tax loopholes. the american people don't want to see us retreating into our respect and corners. they want to find common ground, work together and find solutions of challenges we face. it's too bad republicans are moving further right and we thought the code. >> is the ryan budget make it harder to move anywhere in their
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direction? >> i am so sorry. i didn't follow your question. i am back >> doesn't make a lot harder for you guys to negotiate? >> panel think there's anyway to negotiate because it's a one-sided problem. they are unwilling to do anything that approaches ravenel. and because of that, there's not even conversation with the president and others to show how nice he is. unknowledgeable. >> are you at all up and out to the changes and the opposition -- [inaudible] >> here is the issue. the president in the past and personal negotiations with honor and personal negotiations with cancer have indicated they would
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be willing to do certain things. the republicans never get further than that. they take these things have got an abstract to say that's what we've agreed to. we have been agreed to any of that. [inaudible] >> i am not going to get into what she's going to do. i do know hers is a balanced plan can't equal cuts of equal revenue, 50/50. [inaudible] >> we are confident that dodd-frank will be implemented more quickly than he think. it's already going forward and there's no question that on obamacare, the parties being held, the exchanges created and
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next we'll have the invitations to join the parties we are holding. [inaudible] >> i don't know all the details, but this is in this new area of let's get along. all this cheering and yelling about the bipartisan bill i just learned when i was in here with the president but who else, coburn now won't let us work with the bill. unless something happens in that regard, we are going to have used the numerals we have, where mcconnell and i can move forward ourselves or use closer. >> will he sign off on the expedited process? >> the first i heard was a few minutes ago in our caucus. i
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[inaudible] are you concerned that's actually in jeopardy to the bill? >> now, tony wardell, the one who's put up millions of dollars to move this forward responded to them. i see sad in his letter response, it is more of this tea party driven nonsense. can you imagine anyone opposing high-speed rail? we have such a difficult time getting people back and forth from southern california, southern nevada. and it's not just to watch the shows in las vegas. its trucks carrying products they need to be carried across the country. there's very few ways of doing that.


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