tv U.S. Senate CSPAN March 20, 2013 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: mr. president, at an appropriate time i'm going to ask for some consideration of an amendment of mine, amendment number 6. my amendment would hold the obama administration accountable for its recent decision to release more than 2,000 undocumented immigrants from detention centers across the country in the past month. the u.s. immigration and custom
enforcement claimed they were releasing these people because it needed to reduce its average daily detention population of about 34,000 people. this is a congressionally mandated requirement. they claim they had to reduce the detention population for budgetary reasons. week after week agents were tasked to release so many individuals. at first the department of homeland security claimed that it only released a few hundred people. however, last week the director of immigration and customs enforcement admitted that the administration had misled the american people by confessing that over 2,200 aliens were actually released. they continue to stand by the excuse that budget cuts were the reason for releasing these individuals. simply blaming budget reduction
as a means to turn a blind eye towards national security of the american people is a very dangerous plan and one that calls into question the department's preparation for sequestration, particularly when you consider that months before sequestration the office of management and budget put out an order to all departments that national security, hraurplt, safety and health should be a top priority. so if keeping criminals off the streets of the united states should be the a top priority, according to the office management and budget, i don't know what should be. and so i want an accounting for it. and that's what my amendment does. a simple accounting for why they were released, what it was all about. but what's even more disturbing is the fact that the department
had billions of unobligated funds from the past two years that could have been put into protecting the american people. on february 27, i sent a request to secretary napolitano questioning the decisions of the department. the letter cosigned by chairman goodlatte of the house judiciary committee was an attempt to better stand -- just simple understanding of how the department will better confront sequestration and reduce operational challenges that could affect the life, safety and health of the american people. the same life, health and safety of the american people that's evidenced by this very administration's directive going out of the office of management and budget of the priorities that ought to be established during sequestration. now you know what? so often, as what we find from
this administration, and even found in previous republican administrations, letters that are embarrassing go unanswered. unfortunately, this is not unusual. about a dozen of my letters to the secretary of homeland security on just the immigration issue have gone unanswered. there is no respect for congressional oversight. it's very frustrating. we're on the cusp of undertaking a massive reform of our immigration system, yet getting answers to the most basic questions seems to be an impossible operation. time and again we have seen that this administration refused to be held accountable. and what we want is just information. it's not like we're saying that what the administration's done, even if we disagree with it, can't be done, shouldn't be done. but shouldn't the people know about who's being turned out on the streets that have been held in confinement for a long period
of time? i fear what will become the president's promise of transparency if and when we do pass an immigration bill is just an example of things to fear in the future. enacting a bill is one part of the process. complementing the law -- implementing the law is another part of the process. if we don't have faith in this administration now, what about trust for the future? so my amendment would require the u.s. immigration and customs enforcement to submit weekly reports. just submit reports to the house and senate committees on appropriations and the judiciary. the reports will be required to contain detailed budget on how i.c.e. will maintain the 34-,000 detention bed occupancy levels authorized by congress. it also requires i.c.e. to provide the number of aliens released from detention as well as the following information
on -- following information on aliens' release for budget-related purposes, the conviction or charge for which they were detained, fugitive status, existing of prior deportation order and the release -- terms of release. my amendment has been to be cosponsored by inhofe, vitter, boozman, mcconnell. and that's the cosponsorship. within the last few days we've had the director of i.c.e., mr. morton testify yesterday in the house. chairman goodlatte said his testimony raised more questions. i'll put a press release in the record that expresses this. last week mr. morton said they released ten level one offenders. these are people convicted of violent crimes. they are repeat drunk drivers,
as an example. yesterday he said they only released eight. but he also said they were trying to relocate them and bring them back in. if you got these dangerous people out on the streets, the public ought to know about it. and so i suspect that when i'm asking unanimous consent now, that the other side will object to my amendment. and i don't know why they want to go to such lengths to protect this administration when all we want is simple information. just simple information. we aren't saying that the decisions made, even though we disagree, ought to be changed. we're just saying the public ought to know when you've got people that are violent people out on the streets, that they shouldn't be out on the streets, we ought to know where they are, why they were put out there and
what about it. i say the option of not allowing this amendment to have a vote, as i presume it's going to be objected to, i think the objections are indefenseible. at this point i call up for consideration my amendment number 76, ask for just ten minutes of debate. and i'd like to have a vote on my amendment. i ask unanimous consent to do that. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. reid: reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i understand how the senator feels. over the years i've served with him, he always makes his opinion very clear. he had his amendment in the list of amendments we were going to do before with some modifications. my friend wouldn't agree to that and understand how he feels about this. the good news is in the very
near few taourbgs -- future, hopefully in the next work period, we'll start immigration. we'll deal with something that will include issues people want to deal with for a long time. i say to my friend i object but i understand how he feels about the issue. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent not withstanding cloture having been invoked the following amendments be in order to the mikulski-shelby staoufplt coburn 69, coburn 93 as modified, coburn 70 as modified. inhofe-hagan, 72 as modified. mikulski-shelby as modified. leahy as modified. and all those modifications are at the desk and pryor-phrupbt 82 -- pryor-blunt 82. no second-degree amendments be in order to any of the amendments listed above prior to
the votes. at 2:15 p.m. all postcloture time be considered expired with the time until 2:15 p.m. equally divided between the two leaders or their designees with 30 minutes -- we'll have to make that at 2:30. i changed the time to 2:30. it's only one. i thought it was 2:00. i'm so sorry, mr. president. i apologize. 2:15 is perfect. during that time until 2:15 there will be 30 minutes of republican time under the control of senator moran prior to votes in relation to the amendments. that upon disposition of the pryor-blunt amendment 82, the durbin second-degree amendment and the toomey amendment number 115 be withdrawn and it be in order for the toomey amendment be modified with changes at the desk, that the senate proceed to vote in relation to the toomey amendment 115 as modified, that
upon disposition of the toomey amendment the senate proceed to vote on the mikulski-shelby substitute amendments as amended, and all amendments with the exception of the mikulski-shelby substitute be subject to a 60-affirmative vote threshold, that upon the disposition of the substitute amendment as amended, the senate proceed to vote on the motion to go invoke cloture on the underlying bill. if cloture is invoked on h.r. 933 as amended, all postcloture time be yielded back and the senate proceed to vote on passage of h.r. 933 as amended. all votes after the first vote be ten-minute votes and there be two minutes equally divided in the usual form between the votes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: mr. president, i appreciate everyone's understanding on both sides. this is going to allow us to get to the issue at hand very soon. that's the budget, with senators murray and sessions leading us in that issue. and also we were able to get a
number of these amendments that people have been really wanting to get very badly. so i appreciate everything that people have done to this point. and, mr. president, i would note the absence of a quorum and ask the time be equally divided. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. coburn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: under the unanimous consent agreement, i would now ask the pending amendment be set aside and amendment number 9 be called -- amendment number 69 be called up. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report.
the clerk: the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn, proposes an amendment numbered 69 to amendment numbered 26. mr. coburn: i ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read. and i ask that that amendment be set aside and amendment number 3 be called up. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn, proposes amendment numbered 93 to amendment numbered 26. mr. coburn: i ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read and that amendment be set aside and amendment number 65 with modifications at the desk be called up. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn, proposes amendment numbered 65, as modified, to amendment number 26. mr. coburn: i ask unanimous consent that that amendment be considered as read and that that amendment be set aside and amendment number 70, as modified, be called up. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn, proposes amendment numbered 70, as modified, to amendment numbered 26.
mr. coburn: i want to comment a minute, before i talk about the individual amendments. i also ask unanimous consent that that amendment be considered as read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: -- on the process that we've seen. we're going to have several amendments. this is a -- well in excess of a trillion dollars in spending. we've had four amendments voted on and i think unanimous consent will give us seven or eight more. so we're going to have a total of 12 amendments. all but the first one was tabl tabled -- was not tabled but we're at 60-vote margins, which is fine. but for a bill that spends a trillion dollars to choke down the senate in a way that does not allow either side the appropriate opportunity to
impact a trillion dollars worth of spending doesn't fit with either the culture or the history of the senate and certainly doesn't fit with the agreement going forward and the rules changes that we had this year. on a bill that has a trillion dollars worth of spending, in past history, if you look at the 104th, the 105th, the 103rd congress, bills of that size would have 70 or 80 amendments. and we're going to choke down to 11 or 12 amendments on this. and -- and the question is: why would we do that? why would we limit the discussion and the division of thought manifested through votes
for the american people to actually see what we're doing? and there's only really two reasons why this is happening. one is -- and from a phone call with the president -- is, his own words, he wants sequester to hurt.s now, think about that for a minute. he is my friend. i challenged hill on that when he said to -- i challenged him on that when he said it to me. but there is a philosophical divide in this country. the federal government, over the last ten years, has grown 89% while the average median family income has declined 5%. and the reason my colleagues want sequester to hurt and be painful is they want to rationalize that bigger government is better and that we can't afford to cut a penny out of the federal budget. and so what we do is the federal government doing less with more
money while every american is doing more with less money. i would tell you, that goes against the greatest tradition of our country. it also is a prescription for failure for our country when we're willing to sacrifice in the short term direct benefits to major segments of our population for a political point. nobody has done more oversight on the federal government than i have in the last eight years. and i will a tell you conservatively out of the discretionary budget $250 billion is spent a year that does not positively impact this country in any way. and yet we can't get amendments up to demonstrate that. not only can't we not have an amendment up, we can't even spend the time on it to have a real debate on it because they really don't want to debate these issues of waste,
duplication, fraud, and inefficiency. then the second reason we're not having amendments, or we're having amendments at 60 votes, is to cover the political cover. our country is in so much trouble, it shouldn't matter what party you're in. what should matter is are we fixing the long-term problems of our country in such a way that we secure the future of our country? and what we've seen in this process of last week and this week is a focus on the short term, a focus on the politically expedient, a focus on the parochial and from both sides of the aisle -- this is not just democrats; this is republicans, too. senator ayotte can't even gi gen amendment to eliminate spending on a missile program that's never going to be built. it is never going to be built. but we're going to spend $360 million on it next year because
it is a parochial prize. -- a parochial prize to a member of the appropriations committee. washington is not sick because it's partisan. washington is sick because it's political and it's short-term in its thinking. nobody in their right mind, no matter how much it benefits their state, would say they want to spend $380 million or $3 o 60 million -- i'm not sure of the exact amount of money -- on a program that's never going to come into fruition unless they're thinking about them and not our country and not the families of our country and not the programs that have to be reformed to save them; nobody would do that. and yet we have 60 votes on all these amendments that we're going to offer because they're going to offer protection for people to vote on them to know
that they won't even pass. but you can still get to cover a vote. "i voted for it," but it didn't pass because it has to have 60 votevotes. and that's the smallest part of the problem. and to have to go through what we've gone through over the last five, six days and only have had four votes says something about this place. and i would just proffer that i bet, had we had an open-amendment process, we should have been finished with this bill yesterday. if everybody could be -- when i came here, when i came here the first two years you could offer an amendment for anything at any time at a 51-vote. and so all this time we've wasted in quorum calls or on speaking on issues that have nothing to do with the bill had front of us is because we really
don't want to govern. what we want to do is we don't want the body to do its work and have the input of both sides into a bill, other than in the committee. what we want is a fixed outcome that will allow the administration to make sequester as painful as it can be. and so when you shut down packing plants, when the usda says they cannot have food inspectors, inspectors there; at the same time the usda is advertising for social service workers and event planners, which if you didn't hire them could at least give you 52 people not being furloughed for a week. so, what's happening to america today is we're focused inward on the politics rather than our country.
we're focused on gaming the system rather than governing. we're focused on all the wrong things. because it's all about the next election. and we've got our eye so far off the ball that we now -- every bill that comes to the floor has to have, essentially, a rules committee of one, which is the majority leader deciding whether or not he wants his members to vote on a bill. that doesn't have anything to connect with the history of the senate. this is no longer the greatest deliberative body in the world, because we don't deliberate, we don't have an open-amendment process. we're too afraid of our own shadows to cast a vote and think we might have to defend it. well, if you can't defend any and every vote in this body, you don't have any business being
here. and to stifle debate and to limit amendments in the way that this bill has done certainly won't breed any good will going forward. and certainly doesn't do the due service that american citizens are due. mr. president, i'll now take some time to talk about the various amendments that i've called up. amendment 69 was the physical amendment -- was the first amendment i called up. as the ranking member on homeland security and on the committee on permanent investigations, the urban area security initiative is out of control. they haven't prioritized their funding, they haven't put metrics on their funding, they
haven't controlled their funding. we put out a report in december of 2012 called "safety at any price," and we highlighted the problems with this particular grant program. no clear goals. d.h.s. has not established any clear goals for how the funds should be used to improve national security. the 9/11 commission warned against d.h.s. spending becoming pork spending. u.s.ai, the urban area security officiate has become another pork-barrel product providing subsidies to cities like my home state's tulsa. third is what we found was a tremendous amount of waste in these grants, the lack of clear goals has led the state and cities to use this funding on wasteful projects, including paying for overtime for employees, purchasing computers, printers, televisions,
underwater robots, bearcats -- all the things that don't have anything to connect to national security and the prevention of terrorism. what this amendment does is prohibit $500 million are allocated for the uasi grant program that have been wasted on items that do not improve homeland security. it prohibits the funds from being spent on overtime, back pay -- back-fill pay, securities at major league baseball parks, spring training camps, attendance at conferences, and to purchase flat-screen tv z. tv. the other thing we found in our report is the department of homeland security doesn't know what this money was spent on. so not only do they not have goals an metrics for what the money is supposed to be spent on, they can't tell you what it
was spent on because they don't any record of it. we've spent $35 billion in total on all programs since 2003. we've spent $7.1 billion on this program, and what i can tell you is, it has helped some communities -- i don't doubt that, especially during our tough times it has filled in. but we need, if we're ever going to get out of the problem that we're in as a country in terms of our debt and deficits, we have to have programs that have metrics on them, they have to be followed up, the grants have to be followed, and they need to be held to account. so i hope my colleagues -- i have no hopes of this passing, because most of the colleagues won't actually look at the research that's been done on this, won't look at the effectiveness of it, won't look at the waste, and they'll vote a party-line vote to defeat this amendment. we'll get 45 or 50 votes or 51
or 52. but it'll go down and so consequently real problems that have been oversighted by the permanent subcommittee on investigation, really oversighted by the department of homeland security, the real solutions to problems won't happen because of the way this place is being run. i'd next like to talk about amendment 93. amendment 93 follows a recommendation of the president -- not my recommend day, the president's recommendation. and what this amendment would do is actually take money that has been directed for expired heritage area authorizations that weren't any recommendations of the president. the president's recommendation was to cut this money in half, and we're is going to do exactly that with this amendment. we're going to cut it by $8.1
million. now, what heritage areas are -- and what we started them, if 12 heritage areas that this is about are at least 16 years old -- one of them 25 years old. the whole idea behind heritage areas is to fund them with a grant program to get them started, and then let them run on their own were state and local funds. they have become a dependent dey program. the president's budget said we ought to eliminate the dependency of these by trimming back the money. instead of becoming temporary programs directed towards self-sufficiency, as originally intended, these national heritage areas have turned into permanent entities that continue to grow in number and funding amount. totally opposite the original authorization's intent. in other words, they're
parochial-based. as a matter of fact, one of them -- the john chafee blackstone river heritage -- has existed for more than 25 years. they actually thought the funding might get cut, so they created another way to pay for it, just as the government had intended for them to do. and they've raised the money for this this year you about we'ring about to -- but we're going to fund them any way, in this omnibus aeption pros package. it is not really a c.r. it is an omnibus appropriations. of these 12, -- they've already received $112 million. more than half of the total ever spent on national heritage amplest so they've been in existence a the least 16 years. they should have become self-sufficient. they need to become self-sufficiently and we ought not to be spending that money. now what will we do with the money? that will transfer to about $6 million, and with that money, we
will turn that money into opening up the tours at the white house, opening up yellowstone flat par national pd the rest of the national parks. we'll be able to take $6 million to $million of this money and the national parks will open on time. most of you haven't heard this, but in jackson hole, i would wishings and cody, wyoming, the citizens of that state are raising private money to plow the snow so that yellowstone national park can open on time. now, think -- i want you to see the contrast on this.
because it's important to their livelihood and their commerce, they're going to sacrifice personally to get that park open on time. at the same time we're going to send money to 12 national heritage areas that have been dependent on the federal government for 16 years. tell me what's wrong with that picture. we're going to create dependency and then we're going to indirectly tax the people of wyoming so that one of the great areas of commerce and the visitors that come to wyoming to see yellowstone park, they're going to pay for that with their own posttax money. that can't fit with a vision of america that almost everybody else in this country believes in. it doesn't fit. other national parks have reported camp grounds that are going to be closing, reduced maintenance. so we're going to take this $6 million and we're going to use it to help open up these parks and allow the park service to
have the parks open on time. instead of creating dependency in a program -- and the original authorization shouldn't be getting any money, shouldn't have been getting money for the last ten years -- going to take that money and do something for the american people. the next amendment is amendment number 65 as modified. and this is one that really gets my goat. the national science foundation funds lots of great scientific endeavors in this country. as a matter of fact, they have about four times as many applications for grants as they have money to give out. but they spend a considerable amount of money doing such things as funding -- quote --
"research in political science." in 2008 they spent $10.8 million. $10.9 in 2009, $10.8 million in 2011 and $10.1 million in 2012. what this amendment does is prohibits the national science foundation from wasting federal resources on political science projects and redirects that to other areas with n.s.f. that's going to give the american people a much greater return on their investment. let me give you some examples of what they're funding. campaigns and elections, citizen support in emerging and established democracies, bargaining processes, electoral choice, democratizeization, political change and regime
transitions. all important things if we weren't in a budget crisis and a spending crisis. but tell me whether or not you'd rather have the next new computer chip generation developed through a grant at the national science foundation or want to know how important it is to the american people, the actions of a filibuster in the u.s. senate. which one is a greater priority? which one is more important to the further advancement of this country? i guarantee you the former and not the latter. the years hence, we're going to be making a lot of choices about priorities, and every amendment i'm putting out here today is about priorities. do we fund stuff that does not adequately or accurately help us in the short term in creating
jobs, in being wise and prudent spenders of taxpayers' money? or do we fund things that are low priority and let things that are high priority suffer? and that's basically what this amendment does. it says until we get out of this pinch, we shouldn't be spending money, for example, the 251,000 used to study americans' attitudes toward the u.s. senate. we spent a quarter of a million dollars last year studying americans' attitudes towards the u.s. senate. $106,000 to study the candidate senate elections over those dominated by political parties. $47,000 to study american's president's level cooperation with congress. $28,000 to examine the prohibition movement. it's been a long time since we had prohibition in this country. that has to be a priority for us. how about a quarter of a million
dollars to investigate how people perceive the political attitude of others? that's got to be important right now. it's got to be a priority right now for our country. $144,000 to track how politicians change their web sites over time. who cares? $144,000 will keep a whole bunch of meat inspectors at meat plants. there won't be any furloughs if we get rid of this kind of stuff. and i could go on. as a matter of fact, for the record, i will enter all these, what i would consider nonpriority studies that the n.f.f. has funded -- that the n.s.f. has funded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: and would note this is where we should be doing our work. we should be making choices for the american people. the hard choices that says this is more important than this. we don't have enough money. we're borrowing $40 million a
second. and we're going to fund these kind of political studies that have no benefit except to the politicians because they are the ones that are going to read them. and the political science professors. the average american doesn't care. but they do care whether or not their meat is going to be safe and whether or not they're going to get meat. and you mark my words, this amendment will go down. it won't be passed because we don't have the courage to make priority choices in the u.s. senate. and we don't have the courage to allow amendments such as this, the numbers that should have been 30 or 40 like this on the floor to make those choices. finally, mr. president, i'll talk about amendment 70. and this amendment has been modified. the appropriators have requested that the homeland
security-related reports that are demanded in this bill, that those reports come to them. and they do appropriate for homeland security, but there's an authorizing committee. it happens to be the homeland security and governmental affairs committee. and what this amendment says is, you know, if you're going to give information from the administration to the appropriations, you might want to think about giving it to the actual committee that has the authority to authorize and change the programs. and i believe -- i would hope that this would be accepted. we're going to get it 14 days after the prorpgs. i don't know what that's -- air force appropriators. i don't know what that is all about. i think we ought to see what the administration is saying to the appropriators about programs run in the department of homeland security. of all the amendments we have, i think this is the only one that has any possibility. and with that, i'd yield the
floor. mr. moran: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to address the senate up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you very much. i was on the senate floor this morning and outlined the merits of an amendment that i have tried to have pending to this continuing resolution. it's amendment number 55. it is an amendment that deals with the air traffic control tower program that the obama administration has indicated that they will terminate this program on april 7. and i don't want to go over all the things i talked about this morning, but do i want to talk about how we got to the point that we are today in which apparently this amendment is not going to be considered by the united states senate. i indicated this morning about how in, my view, how important this amendment is. i freed an a.p. story from -- i read from an a.p. story from chicago about that air safety was in jeopardy, indications
that a plane crash that had occurred previously would not have occurred if there had been an air traffic control tower present. the complaint by americans that our aviation sector is so frustrated by the political brinksmanship that goes on in washington, d.c. again, this is an important amendment that's about the safety and security of american people, particularly those who fly. and it is amazing to me that despite continued efforts to bring this amendment to the floor for consideration -- not that i expect any guarantee. there is no such thing as a guarantee that this amendment would pass. but the inability to have it even considered is very troubling to me and very surprising to me. last week when we started on the continuing resolution, i was pleased to hear what the majority leader said about the process on the c.r. and this is, this isn't years
ago, months ago. this is just last week in which the leader said this: there will be amendments offered. he's talking about the continuing resolution. there will be amendments offered. we're working on a process to consider those amendments. this week we'll be off to another opportunity for the senate to return to regular order, an opportunity for this body to legislate through cooperation, through compromise as we used to do. this legislation will be a test of the senate's goodwill. we're anxious to move forward and start doing some legislating. we're going to take all amendments and try to work through them as quickly as we can. i hope we can move forward and set up votes on every one of them. mr. president, that's the announcement that was made as we started the continuing resolution. and as the majority leader indicated, this legislation will be a test of the senate's goodwill. mr. president, i think the cincinnati has -- i think the
senate has clearly failed the test of goodwill. more than goodwill we are failing the american people in taking the steps necessary to secure their safety. this is not an amendment about me. it is not an amendment about kansas. certainly my home state, nothing wrong with representing your home state, is affected by the loss of these control towers. but 42 states, 43 states, almost all of us have control towers in our states. and come april 7, they no longer will be. and it's one of the reasons, and i've indicate this had previously, one of the reason that i thought this amendment, perhaps above others, should be considered because the control tower program will be eliminated april 7. i'm a member of the appropriations committee. i'm a member of the subcommittee on transportation. i will work to see that these programs are continued once we get to the regular appropriation process, the c.r. is behind us. but i never, my colleagues and i will never have the chance to do that because in a matter of just
a few short days the control towers will be gone. they will be closed. the lights will be turned off. and so my role as an appropriator, my role as a member of the united states senate, that i share with 99 other senators, the idea that we would then come back and restart a program that has -- disappeared, it isn't going to happen. the absence of this amendment passing, the absence of this amendment being considered and passing, the inability of me to do my job on a program that i think matters to the american people, it disappears. and i have never tried to be a difficult member. i believe in collegiality. i believe in the goodwill that the majority leader talks about. but this is an amendment, i can't imagine what i was supposed to have done. it's an amendment that's germane. it's not here trying to offer an amendment that doesn't matter to the bill at hand. i'm not trying to score political points. i'm not trying to put democrats
on the line for casting a vote that the voters might object to. there's nothing here that is political or partisan in nature. i did what i thought i was supposed to do. there are 26 cosponsors of this amendment. more than half are democrats. they are senator roberts, blumenthal, blunt, johanns, kirk, manchin, kagan, klobuchar, boozman, pryor, ayotte, shaheen, risch, ray -- crapo, rockefeller and wicker. if 26 of us in that group can agree upon the value of an amendment, why is it the senate can't take up a vote on the amendment, widely supported outside the senate. national air transport association, association of air medical services. they believe this is important for the ability to life-watch
patients. natca, the american association of airport executives. this is not a provincial issue that moran is about something trying to take care of himself. it is not trying to create political difficulties for anybody. we broadly agree on a bipartisan basis that this amendment should be made in order. mr. president, i've only been in the senate for a little more than two years. i served for a number of years in the house of representatives. one of the things that i thought was true, one of the reasons i sought the opportunity to serve in the united states senate was it would be different than the house. any member of the united states senate -- and we ought to be here on behalf of any other republican or democrat senator on behalf of their ability to offer amendments. we had a debate about changing the rules. the suggestion was made, the proffer was made that if we would agree to change the rules that amendments would be made in order. i thought that was a positive development. and now it seems to me while i
left the house in hopes of having the opportunity to represent my constituents as best as i knew how and to represent america as best as i know how, somebody stands in my way. i can't find out who that was. i've not talked to a senator who is not supportive of my amendment. every conversation i have is, i think it's a good idea. i don't know why it's not being made in order. there is no good explanation. who steps down and develops the list that decides which amendment is important and which one isn't? this ought to be something that's not turned over to a one-person rules committee. again, the house and senate are structured differently. this is a historic body with a legacy of allowing debate, discussion and amendment. and again, not for purposes outside even the nature of the bill we're talking about. how can it be controversial to transfer $50 million in a bill that is more than $1 trillion of funding, of spending, how can it
be so difficult to transfer $50 million from two accounts, unencumbered balances, a research account, to save air traffic control towers, leave them in place until i at least get the opportunity to work with my colleagues to extend their life through the appropriations and legislative process into the future? so, mr. president, for a senator like me, i laid awake last night from, i don't know, 3:15 to 4:30 trying to figure out what is it i can say that would convince my colleagues to support this amendment or to allow whoever is making the decision that it can't be even debated and heard and voted on? and i don't know that there's any magic words. it does concern me, it bothers me greatly that we ought to all be here protecting the rights of each and every other senator. this is important to us as a legislative body, not to us and our egos as senators. it's not that we ought to have -- it's not the sense that
we have the trite say anything and we're -- right to say anything and we're senators and important and powerful people. it's that on behalf of the american people, a person like me, who represents 2 1/2 million kansans, ought to have the ability to bring an amendment to a bill on the united states senate floor that is germane. had we brought these amendments forward, had we agreed to -- to debate and pass my amendment, we wouldn't be here today still stalled on moving forward to conclude this business and move to the budget. we could have debated the amendments and voted on the amendments that were germane days ago. but for some reason, we once again get bogged down in somebody deciding this amendment qualifies to be considered and this one doesn't. so, mr. president, this is another example of where -- again, i guess if you outlay -- tell the story to the american people, we're going to pass today a bill that spends $1.1 trillion and, what, we've had four or five amendments?
offered and perhaps approved? maybe a couple of more today. this bill has not worked its way through the appropriations committee. it comes from the house and we immediately take it up. and it's written so perfectly that only three or four individual senators have the opportunity to alter the bill? have not the -- not guaranteed to change the bill but the opportunity to suggest to my colleagues, would you listen to me and say, does this make sense or not, and cast a vote "yes" or "no" based upon whether or not i'm saying has merit. we can't get to the point in which i'm given the opportunity to explain here on the senate why this bill, why this amendment is something that's important. so i came from -- to the senator from the united states house in hopes that the senate was different, in which individual members had value unrelated to their relationship with the speaker or the minority leader of the house, unrelated to my relationship with the members of the rules committee. i'm not always been the most
perfect follower of my political party. i've tried to do what i think is right and, therefore, i've not always developed the relationship i needed in the house to be able to get my amendments considered on the house floor. the rules committee is there for a purpose. it's a very unwieldy body, the united states house of representatives, 435 members. here we have a hundred. surely, based upon the history, the legacy, the rules of the united states senate, we have the ability as united states senators, whether we're in favor or disfavor, whether our amendment meets with a person's satisfaction or not, on behalf of the american people, we have the right to represent their interests and have votes taken. and the majority leader said the other day that i'm an obstructionist. i laid awake tonight thinking -- last night thinking, i'm not an obstructionist. i'm following the rules. the majority leader said this morning that we need to show that sequestration is so damaging to the country. i didn't even vote for sequestration and yet i can't fix a problem that's caused by somebody else's vote.
again, it is so baf ling to me how -- baffling to me to how this works. i finally found somebody who tells me they oppose my amendment today i talked to the secretary of transportation who says the administration opposes your amendment. and so maybe that's the explanation. i've asked my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, why can't i, a person who followed the rules, who did what one would think you should do to get an amendment made in order, why can't this amendment be heard? the only explanation that i guess makes sense is that there are those in washington, d.c., who want to prove that you cannot cut spending without consequences that are dramatic. okay. prove that point. come to the floor, have the debate about spending, about budgets, about taxes, have this conversation about can we afford to cut spending. prove to us. take the votes. demonstrate that it can't be done. but to use sequestration as the example for why we can never cut any money from any program,
particularly on the amendment that i'm offering, is dangerous. what it says is we want to make a political point as compared to worrying about the lives of the american people who fly. and so, mr. president, this -- this circumstance i find myself in -- again this morning laying in bed, realizing that the radicalization of -- of senator moran is occurring. the only way apparently to get your amendments heard is to be difficult. it's not my personality, it's not my nature, but on behalf of kansans and americans, if what it takes is for notice become more difficult to -- for me to become more difficult to deal with so that my amendments are considered -- it's not about me personally but so amendments that matter to my constituents and at least what i view, to america, can be heard, you've got to make yourself a pain around here? well, if that's what's required in the senate, i hope that's not the case, and i hope the majority leader is right that this is the path in which we're going to get back to regular order. i want to be a member of the appropriations committee that works, that debates, discusses,
we listen to witnesses and we figure out we can spend more money here but we have to spend less money here; this program matters, this one is inefficient. i voted against sequestration because i don't believe across-the-board cuts are responsible. what that means is that everything deserves the same reduction. there are things that we do well and do -- that are appropriate for the government to be involved in and there are things we do poorly and the government shouldn't be involved in and yet we treat them all the same. i want to be a member of the appropriations committee that says we're going to evaluate each one of these programs and make decisions about spending and we're going to choose to spend money here and not here; or the decision will be made by the senate and the house and the president that we're going to raise revenues so that we can spend more money. but that's not a reason to block this amendment. it's not a reason to say that those people who are going to be traveling out of 179 airports that have control towers, their lives are going to be less safe and secure and run the potential of -- of loss of life and injury as a result of us trying to prove a point, that we apparently can't cut budgets around here because we want to
show that there is damage to be done when that occurs. that's a very dangerous political point. mr. inhofe: will the senator yield? mr. moran moran: i will yield. mr. inhofe: first of all, as a cosponsor of the amendment, i'm glad you're getting around to the merits of this. yes, it's a great injustice that the senator's going through, the senator's going through right now not getting his amendment held. i have to tell you, though, as probably the only active commercial pilot in here, i jumped on this bill because a lot of people don't realize that the contract towers are just as in need of control as the noncontract towers. the university of -- the senator is aware, the university of oklahoma is in norman, oklahoma. that's a contract tower. i've gone in there before when they're using all three runways at the same time. it's a huge issue. but what i want to ask you is, why is it that when the bureaucracy is opposed to something, they, number one, won't tell you about it; number two, they go whispering to the president; number three, they go
whispering to other people out here? i went through this same thing, i suggest to my friend from kansas, when i passed the pilots' bill of rights. it's one that i had 67 cosponsors in the united states senate and they wouldn't bring it up for an entire year, they never would bring it up and we had to rule 14 o 14 it on the f. now, that's what's wrong. when you have something that everybody is for, it's a good thing, but somehow in this case -- i know what it is, same thing that happened to me. i got mine passed. it took me a year to do it. well, best of luck, and i would only say to you that this is a time to stay in there and fight for this because this is a great example to use. everything that's being cut in government right now, all these people who had to wait in line to get in here, there's no reason to do that. everything that people really want and that's popular, this is what they cut. and so you're a victim of that and let's stay in there and try and make it happen. mr. moran: reclaiming my time, i thank the gentleman from oklahoma and know that he has great expertise on the topic of
aviation and airports and airplanes. again, mr. president, i'm here to decry a system that is failing. and while it is personally troublesome to me, it bothers me, it's embarrassing not to be able to accomplish something that seems so straightforward and simple. we all like to have victories but it's not really about me. every member of the united states senate ought to have the opportunity to present germane amendments and let the will of the senate, let those of us, 99 other people than me, make a decision based upon the merits. however we all make decisions around here on whether we vote for or against something, this is not about my right as an individual senator as it is about the rights of all of us on behalf of the american people, on behalf of our home state constituencies to be able to do our jobs. and if there is a political game afloat that is preventing this amendment from being considered, then i would suggest that we have transversed that plane in
which we no longer are carrying for americans but we're carrying about our own political skills, our own political reelection as compared to what we are here to do. this place is way too political. this is not a political amendment. it ought to be made in order. and yet despite all the efforts, it has -- has not occurred. and i hope in the few minutes that remain, there's still a chance that my unanimous consent request would be agreed to. and i appreciate the others who were able -- the handful of folks who were able to offer their amendments. i think we ought to have more of that, not less. it's about the senate doing its job, not just about mor moran nt being able to accomplish his on this particular day. i appreciate the indulgence of my colleagues, and i would yield to the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: mr. president, i rise to discuss briefly an amendment that i have that is going to be voted on later
today, but i'd like to begin by completely agreeing with the senator from kansas. it is extremely unfortunate, to say the very least, that the majority party is so afraid of casting votes that they're now disallowing the most ordinary, sensible, germane amendments that transfer modest sums of money from one account to another account. now, i'm not suggesting everybody needs to agree with it. i'm not sure that i agree with senator moran's amendment. but the idea that an amendment like that shouldn't even have an opportunity to be debated on the senate floor, it's amazing to me. let me address the amendment that -- that i've introduced but start by observing that the bill that's under consideration today significantly underfunds the defense department's operations and maintenance accounts. the army's subset of this category of funding is underfunded by $2 billion, and that's just the army alone. this has implications for safety and readiness of our troops.
i'm not suggesting that my amendment solves that whole problem. it doesn't. but it makes a modest step in the right direction. just quickly, a summary of some of the things that the operations and maintenance account funds. it's a lot. it's maintenance of ships and tanks and aircrafts. it's avionics and engines and navigation systems. it's artillery. it's all kinds of things that our servicemen and women use to fight and to win and to protect themselves. it gets funded through the operations and maintenance account. and it's not only maintenance of this important equipment. it's also training. training like unit training when an army battalion, for instance, trains in an exercise against an opposition force that's modeled after a real-world potential enemy. that kind of training is very important. it gets funded out of this account, the operations and maintenance account. and that account is underfunded. so i would suggest this is a very important account.
and i think there's almost universal acknowledgment that it's being underfunded. now, meanwhile, in this same bill, while we're underfunding our operations and maintenance account, we've got a bill that would spend $60 million, forcing the defense department to build biofuel refineries. this forces our defense department to build these expensive refineries to make very expensive fuel. now, how do we know that it will be very expensive fuel? how many of us fill up our gas tanks with biofuels? the component that we're forced to buy, the ethanol, is part of what drives up the cost of gasoline. the fact is, conventional fuel is much cheaper than these biofuels, but we're going to force the defense department to spend a whole lot of money building a refinery the purpose of which is to produce extremely expensive and inefficient fuel. i would suggest that that is a waste of precious resources that we can't afford to waste. now, the house defense
appropriation bills did not include this and the senate armed services committee -- these are our experts who analyze this -- they opposed wasting money to way when they reported a bill out of committee. unfortunately, when it got to the floor, it got put in and this is our opportunity to correct this. now, some ha -- now, some have suggested that these biofuel refineries are a solution to the expensive cost of moving fuel to combat zones. only problem is, this item is going to fund the construction of refineries in the united states. they're not going to be in combat zones. so that's just not true. and i would suggest that if anyone thinks that this is a good idea to force taxpayers to build expensive, inefficient refineries to produce very expensive fuel, shouldn't it at least happen through the the department of energy or some other environmental research-oriented institution? mr. inhofe: would the senator yield? mr. toomey: i would be happy to yield to the senator from
oklahoma. mr. inhofe: we went through this on the armed services committee. is the senator aware that in one purchase, the administration forced the navy to buy 450,000 gallons of fuel at $29 a gallon -- you could buy it on the open market for $3. and secondly, i think you do know this because i heard you mention the department of energy -- when we formed the department of energy, they're supposed to do all this. but i would have to make one observation. as we have a president, an administration who's been cutting dramatically, and we're all concerned about what's happening to our military, our ability to defend ourselves, they do it in three quais ways. number one, they cut, number two, they delay. and number three, this is what we're getting to now -- they take the agenda -- his green agenda and put it not where it should be but under the defense budget. so for every dollar that goes to the green energy programs that you and i would like, since i am
cosponsoring your amendment, every dollar is something we can't spend for our fighters in the field. mr. toomey: well, reclaiming my time, i completely agree with the senator from oklahoma. we already force our defense department to waste enormous amounts of money purchasing fuel that's much more expensive than readily available alternatives. i think that's a very bad idea and i think it is a bad idea to do even more of that in the form of building these biorefinery plants that would further propagate this ill-conceived process. if you think it is somehow a good idea to do this, then as the senator from oklahoma suggests, wouldn't it make sense to at least do this in the department of energy rather than wasting precious defense department resources at a time when we know we are underfunding the operations and maintenance account? this is the reason for my amendment of my amendment transfers $60 million out of the biofuel refinery account in the defense department
appropriations bill, moves money -- the amount permissible under the budget rules -- into the operations and maintenance account. this is not a complete solution. i understand that. but it is a modest step in the right direction of providing a little bit more resources to an area that is badly underfunded. and, mr. president, you urge my colleagues to -- i urge my colleagues to support my amendment, and i yield the floor. and, mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, i just would briefly say that i believe senator moran, senator ayotte and many others are seeking a vote. i believe senator moran's amendment has 28 cosponsors, a large number of democratic cosponsors, virtually no one seals to bseems to be opposed t. but somehow a decision has been made by the majority leader to not let him have a vote. we need to understand something very fundamental in the senatings and we're heading to a crisis on this issue. that is, that the duly elected united states senator who serves
in this body should be able to bring up an amendment that's reasonable, that's germane, and get a vote on it. and it's amazing to me that there seems to be now accepted that the majority leader picks and chooses whose people get their amendments. i think the moran amendment, from what i've seen and heard about, it would pass. so it's not going to pass. it's going to fail because someone -- presumably the leader -- has decided they won't get a vote, and it's been killed in that fashion. that is not the tradition of the senate. i'm worried about that. we cannot continue that way. to our new senators, republicans and democrats, you need to understand that, as a united states senator, you have a right to have votes that are legitimate on bills that are legitimately amended. and that's where we are, and i'm disappointed that those votes
have not been allowed. i thank the chair and would yield the floor. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: would the senator withhold his suggestion? mr. sessions: mr. president you i would withhold my suggestion of the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mrs. gillibrand: i rise today in vigorous opposition and with very deep concern to an amendment offered by the senator from oklahoma that would prohibit urban area security initiative funds from being used to be able to pay local public safety employees overtime and backfill pay. i share the senator's commitment to ensuring that homeland security funds are spent wisely. i believe his efforts are in good faith and i am eager to work with him towards this goal. however, as the threat from al qaeda has metastasized to the arabian peninsula and elsewhere, there are still terrorists whose
objective is to inflict wide-scale harm to americans on our homeland. new york city remains the number-one target for terrorists around the world who want to do us harm. therefore, we must remain vigilant and continue to provide local law enforcement with all the tools that are necessary to keep us safe. so, as well-intentioned as this amendment may be, law enforcement organizations across the country have been loud and clear. this is simply the wrong prescription at the wrong time. this amendment is opposed by a range of law enforcement and first responders organizations, including the international association of fire chiefs, the international association of firefighters, major cities' chiefs association, major county sheriffs's a ssociation, the national fusion center association, the national homeland security coalition and the united states conference of
mayors. in fact, i have a letter from our commissioner kelley that i would like to submit for the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. gillibrand: under the leadership of new york city police commissioner ray kelley, 16 publicly known terrorist attacks on our city have been thwarted since 9/11. our local law enforcement must continue to have any tool available to hem to remain one step ahead of terrorists at every single turn. even at a time of fiscal restraint in washington, protecting our families from the unimaginable should not be a place where we make cuts. according to police commissioner kelley, this amendment would -- quote -- "jeopardize our collective efforts to safeguard new york city." and without a doubt, the overtime and backfill funding that new york constitutions uses are essential to the nypd's layered approach to security. i ask my colleagues to stand with local law enforcement
officials to stand with the american public who have given us the duty to protect them. i urge a "no" vote on this amendment because, if passed, this amendment will be putting the training, security, deployments needs to keep us safe in jeopardy. these are not esoteric programs. we are talking about programs that include counterterrorism training, regionwide planning exercises designed to prepare emergency responses to large and catastrophic events, and boots-on-the-ground security measures including intelligence-sharing. these overtime funds actually reduce costs. if nypd needed to hire full-time officers or assign current full-time efforts to the specialized patrol and intelligence duties described, they could not afford to do so. so while i commend my colleagues for attempting to be good stewards of the taxpayers' money, these are cuts that our families cannot afford.
we have a solemn duty to protect the american people. that should be our first priority in this body. and i ask each and every member of this body to ask themselves how history will judge them if we fail to stand up to that duty. thank you. i suggest there is an absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i rise in opposition to coburn amendment 26 which deals with -- the presiding officer: all time has expired. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent for an additional two minutes to address this amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. i thank my colleagues. i rise in opposition to coburn amendment 26. what it does is prevent certain types of funding to be given to ua s*eu, which is the -- ua s*eu, the lifeblood of new york's antiterror programs. it's gotten rave reviews from people. the person in charge is ray kelly, who is very much in the mainstream, right in the center of our fight against terrorism not only in new york, but in the country. as you know, new york city has more than 100 police officers devoted exclusively to antiterrorism, and they work very closely with the f.b.i.
task forces and others. and some of this amendment is befuddling. to say that under uasi, our antiterror division of the new york city police department could be couldn't buy computers, flat screens. makes no sense. the lower division manhattan division is an antiterrorism and one of the mainstays of preventing terror around. how do you fight modern 21st century terrorism and say you can't use computers? that makes no sense whatsoever. and make no mistake, if it -- if this amendment passes, new york city training and security deployments would be in jeopardy. another aspect, we often need to use overtime in our antiterrorism units. for instance, you have to guard
bridges and tunnels, particularly when there are threats against them. and to have officers constantly changing because of various time commitments, time limitations makes no sense whatsoever. so the bottom line is simple. new york had a terrible, terrible tragedy on 9/11/2001. america rallied to new york's side of which we are very appreciative. and one of the ways, one of the most material and important ways was this uasi grant. it's been used well. it's received plaudits from around the country. and to tie the hands of the very people who are leading the fight on terror and saying they can do this but not this, this but not this, this is the kind of micromanaging that i think most people in america resent washington for. so i would urge that this amendment be roundly defeated.
vote: the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or to change their vote? seeing none, on this vote the yeas are 48, the nays are 51. on the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. under the previous order, there are two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment number 93 offered by the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn. who yields time?
the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island -- ms. mikulski: mr. president, the senate is not in order. we'd like to proceed to the next vote. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: mr. president, i would like to speak on the amendment but i see the sponsor is here. if he has no objection i will speak and ask for the vote. mr. president, the coburn amendment would proposed reduced funding -- could i have regular order? the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. the coburn amendment proposes to reduce you function for 49 national heritage areas by $8 million and redirect $6 million
to park operations. it also strikes out the reauthorization of 12 areas located across the country weather bug including one in my state of rhode island but also in tennessee, south carolina, and georgia, among other states. the amendment doesn't really provide a real fix for the problems with respect to national park funding. moving $6 million will not make up for the 134 million cut we've imposed on the park service. in addition there has been a suggestion there would restore white house tours. those tours are governed by the secret service budget which is not part of this amendment so that would not be affected. these heritage areas are public-private partnerships, they're not national parks, they provide huge economic development, they're located across the country, it's something i think we should restore, maintain and not cut. with that, mr. president, i would simply add that the national parks conservation association opposes the amendment.
the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: the average age of the heritage areas in this bill is 16 years. if you look at the original authorization, none were supposed to be getting any money now. as a matter of fact, the senator's heritage area has planned and raised the money for his area and had an alternative plan to do it. the fact is it's the national parks will open with this amount of money on time this year. so it will make a big difference in yellowstone and all the rest of the national parks. the national park service does have something to do with the white house tours because they can take this money and allocate that. it's not a secret service problem. it's a national park problem. i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or to change their vote? if not, on this vote the yeas are 45, the nays are 54. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: what is the next regular order? the presiding officer: the next amendment is coburn number 65. ms. mikulski: mr. president, if the senate could be in order, please, we have some good news.
the good news is that the senator and i have reached an agreement. there is an acceptable modification. i don't know if the senator wished to speak on his amendment. may i proceed to ask a u.c., sir? this amendment ensures the nsf funding for ploil science research is wisely used. i therefore believe we can agree to this amendment with a voice vote so i ask unanimous consent that the 60-vote threshold be waived for this amendment. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. is there further debate? ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: i'm going to call for the voice vote. all in favor. the presiding officer: the question is on the amendment. all in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it.
the amendment is agreed to. ms. mikulski: move to lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. the next amendment is coburn number 70. as modified. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: we're happy to tell our colleagues we've worked 0 out and can take this by voice vote. i appreciate the senator's cooperation from oklahoma. we have no objection to providing the reports to the committee which he has requested, reports to the homeland security. however, many of these reports are expenditure plans and all we ask was the appropriations committee would receive them two weeks in advance. the senator has agreed to that. we have no objection and can take this by voice vote, madam chair. ms. mikulski: i believe we can agree to this amendment with a voice vote so i ask unanimous
consent that the 60-vote threshold be waived for the amendment. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. is there further debate? if not, the question is on the amendment. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. ms. mikulski: move to lay on the table. move to reconsider. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: ,mr. president, i
ask unanimous consent to bring up amendment 72 and ask for its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from oklahoma, mr. inhofe, proposes amendment number 72 as modified. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading. i'm perfectly willing and i know some of the democrat sponsors of this bill, senator hagan and others, would be in agreement, to go ahead and accept this by voice vote. what this does is reverse the decision from the department of defense that took away the -- the -- some of the abilities that our troops when they are brought into service have in terms of subsidizing their tuitions. this would return the way it was before and i have to to say quickly and briefly this is something i have talked to our troops in the field. many of them were so alarmed that they'd even suggest they would take away the very thing that caused them tony list in
the are -- to enlist in the first place. you have to enjoy a bipartisan support, i ask for its adoption. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mrs. hagan: i would like to speak one minute on this amendment. i think it's a very good amendment. we have over 300,000 service members in our active duty military that actually utilize this tuition benefit assistance last year and over 50,000 of them received diplomas, certificates and licenses. and it really does help prepare our service members for a successful transition when they transition into the civilian work force, when they choose to leave the military. this has been used for a recruitment tool and for a retention tool and i think it is imperative that we continue to offer this tuition assistance benefit to our members. so i certainly want to thank
senator inhofe for working with me on this bill and i think it's a very good amendment. i also want to thank senators mikulski, shelby, durbin, and cochran for reaching an agreement to move this amendment forward. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: thanks to the excellent work of senators inhofe and hagan, who have reached an agreement on this, i believe that we can agree to this amendment with another voice vote, so i ask unanimous consent that all time be yielded back and that a 60-vote threshold be waived for this amendment. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the issue is on the amendment so modified. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no.
the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. ms. mikulski: move to lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulski: move to reconsider. mr. president, i now call up mikulski -- the mikulski-shelby amendment number 98 as modified. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment as modified. the clerk: the senator from maryland, ms. mikulski, for herself and mr. shelby -- ms. mikulski: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that further reading be dispense with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulski: mr. president, this amendment makes technical changes to citations, bill languages related to the department of homeland security, and an adjustment resulting from the c.b.o. scoring. i believe we can agree to this amendment with a voice vote so i
ask unanimous consent that the 60-vote threshold be waived for the amendment and want to thank senator shelby for he and his staff for the excellent work they've done in making this -- cleaning up this bill for the technical aspects. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the question is on the amendment. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. ms. mikulski: move to lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: i call up my amendment 129 as modified. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment as modified. the clerk: mr. leahy proposes amendment numbered 129 as modified -- mr. leahy: i ask unanimous consent the further reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: this is a technical
amendment that senator graham and i agreed to. i ask consent to put my full statement in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: i yield back all time. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: this is an amendment i believe we can agree to with a voice vote. again, i want to thank senator leahy for the excellent job did he so i ask unanimous consent that all time be yielded back and the 60-vote threshold be waived for this amendment. the presiding officer: is there objection? the question is on the amendment, as modified. all those in agreement, say yea.
those opposed x no. officer. mr. leahy: move it reconsider. the presiding officer: without objection. nor senator mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. pryor: i call up amendment 282. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: mr. pryor proposes amendment numbered 82 to amendment number 26. mr. pryor: mr. president, i believe this one has been basically agreed to by both sides. i don't think we will require a roll call vote. i think we can do it by voice vote. i need to thank my cosponsors. we've had several senators working on this, senator coons, carper, hoeven dish appreciat de his great leadership. and senator moran said he wouldn't object to this and also
senator blunt. he has done a fantastic job of moving this through. this is about the food safety inspection service, and basically this has a very direct impact on the private sector. when these food safety inspection service employees are furloughed, that means basically the processing plant is furloughed. they have to close for the day because they have to have a food safety inspector there when they're producing. so, mr. president, i think it's agreeable, and i would ask unanimous consent that we just do it by voice vote, and i think it's agreeable. i want to say thank you to all of my cosponsors. the presiding officer: any objection? without objection, so ordered. the question is on the amendment. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. mr. pryor: and i move to career. ms-- and i move to
reconsider. ms. mikulski:ly that o ms. mikulski:ly that table. the presiding officer: without objection. there will be two minutes of debate on the toomey amendment as modified. mr. toomey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: thank you, mr. president. i rise to make the case for this amendment. i think we all know that this bill yo underfunds the dwidges operation and mains nance account. this is a very important account to which we fund the maintenance of all military equipment, from planes to tanks to avionics, you name it. it gets funded from this account. so, too, does a whole lot of training get funded from this account. meanwhile we've got $60 million to build a biofuel refinery that would force the defense department to pay too much for fuel. this is about priorities, mr. president. it is my suggestion a and my amendment takes $60 million out of this account that would force
us to build an inefficient, expensive refinery to make too-expensive a fuel and transfers it into this operations and maintenance account that we need. i appreciate the support of the rank member of the armed services committee, senator inhofe, and i would urge my colleagues to vote in favor and ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: mr. president, i know senator udall wanted to speak against the toomey amendment, and in his absence, i will comment on the toomey amendment. i believe that the senator proposes to cut $60 million from the advanced drop in biofuel production program. it it would move $25 million to the o.m.s. account. the department of defense recognizes that its dependence
on foreign oil supplies presents a real risk to them. i agree. as the largest single customer of oil in the world, d.o.d. spends $17 billion in fiscal 2011 on oil. d.o.d. estimates that for every 25% increase in the price of a gallon of oil, we incur over $1 billion in fuel costs. every time oil prices go up, so does the cost of running the department of defense. now, imagining if our military were cut off from these supplies. the senate has made it clear its support for biofuels. the senate has voted twice in support of the department of defense biofuels program during the floor consideration of the armed services committee defense bill. the funds appropriated for this project are available until eexpended. when the department of agriculture and d.o.d. meet their obligations for this program the department of defense will have their funds raid. the toomey amendment would cut a
will be two minutes of debate prior to a vote on the mikulski-shelby substitute. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: mr. president, before i speak and have time counted against me, the senate is not in order. we are now coming to the last three votes. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. ms. mikulski: mr. president, we have three more votes: one on the mikulski-shelby substitute. this is the bill we've been working on for eight days now. then we will have a vote on cloture as amended. and then we go to final passage. so if we could just have senators' attention and that they stay nearby, we can expeditiously -- the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. ms. mikulski: mr. president, i now speak on the mikulski-shelby substitute pending. i urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan continuing resolution. it accomplishes many things.
first, when we pass this, we will avoid a government shutdown, but we do better than that. we protect national security needs and we also meet compelling human needs and lay the groundwork for investing in science and technology. second, we comply with the budget control act, costing no more than $1 trillion. and it's bipartisan. let's vote. mr. shelby: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: anyone else wishing to cast their votes? the yeas are 70. the nays are 29. the amendment is agreed to. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate prior to a vote on the motion to invoke cloture on h.r. 933. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from alabama is recognized. mr. shelby: we've just voted as everybody knows on the
mikulski-shelby substitute. our next vote is a cloture vote and then assuming it passes it's final passage. it's my understanding the house is waiting on this bill. i hope we can get it to them as quickly as we can and i yield back the balance of my time. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from maryland is recognized. ms. mikulski: i want to oako the comments of my vice chairman, senator shelby. it's time to bring this bill to closure and i hope we can adopt it and i tharpg him for the bipartisan tradition we've been able to operate and i hope we get a 60-vote majority and move this bill and this country forward. the presiding officer: all time has expired. the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: we in in accordance h the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close debate on h.r. 933 making appropriations for the department of defense and other
agencies for the fiscal year ending september 3013,, 2013. and froopts. the presiding officer: the question is, is it the sense of the senate that the debate on h.r. 933 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 shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the previous order. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
postcloture time is yielded back. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate prior to a vote on passage of h.r. 933, as amended. mr. reid: mr. president? mr. president? ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader is recognized. mr. reid: following the statements of senator mikulski and senator shelby, i would ask to be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from maryland is recognized. ms. mikulski: mr. president, we are now coming to a vote on final passage of the bill. i want to thank all of our colleagues who supported cloture to bring the debate to an end. this is, indeed, a very important moment, because as we move the bill, we have showed that we have done something pretty terrific in which we have continued a bipartisan tradition of the appropriations committee. i cannot thank my vice chairman,
senator shelby, and his staff enough for their cooperation, as well as the republican leader and the democratic leader, often giving very wise counsel. we had three principles in this senate continuing resolution. the house sent us a bill which we felt was skimpy and spartan. we wanted to not only avoid a government shutdown. remember, the full funding -- the full funding of the united states government expires on march 27. we didn't want brinksmanship politics, we didn't want ultimatum politics. we wanted to be able to move our bill forward, protecting national security needs and meeting compelling human needs and complying with the budget control act. this bill will cost no more than $1.3 trillion, the same as the house continuing resolution. it does meet the needs of our constituents and i urge the adoption of this bill and thank everyone for their cooperation.
mr. shelby: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from alabama is recognized. mr. shelby: mr. president, i'll be brief. we know we're ready to vote. i urge everyone to support this bill. it needs to go to the house. the house i think is ready to act on it and this will fund the government through september the 30th. it's the first big step toward regular order. thank you, mr. president. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader is recognized. mr. reid: the week before last, the house of representatives sent us this important bill to prevent a government shutdown, to fund the government for the next six months. i've said it before, i say it again. i commend speaker boehner for giving this bill to us at a time where we could do some constructive work on it. the house did their work on time and we're going to do our work on time. i applaud and commend my counterpart, senator mcconnel mcconnell. when that bill came from the house, he sat down with me, the
two managers of this bill and said, the house did their work, now we need to do ours. now, we couldn't do all the remaining ten appropriation bills but we added three and that was good. it would not have happened but for senator mcconnell acknowledging we needed to get some of this work done. it could not have happened, even though senator mcconnell and i thought this was a great idea, but for the work of senator mikulski and senator shelby. they're veteran legislators. they are people who believe in this institution and they know that this institution needs to get back where we're doing things the way we used to. and the way we used to do things is fund the government in a timely fashion. we have the opportunity to do that now. we're taking care of the next six months. during this six months, the government is functioning because of what we've done here. they will work on having 12 appropriation bills that we will bring to the floor.
now, everyone should know, we are not going to be able to spend a week on every appropriation bill. but we need to do all 12 appropriation bills. that is our goal. it's the goal of the two managers of this bill. it's the goal of the republican leader. and it's my goal. we need to do this. i -- i so appreciate -- i say it again -- the work done by the two managers of this bill. they worked in good faith. they both gave up things they believed in for the greater good. they produced this substitute amendment. we had to add a few things to it. now, i know people are disappointed because they wanted to rearrange things differently. i would like to have rearranged things differently. there are things that are happening in nevada because of the sequester that i would like to have taken out of this bill. they're not good things that are happening either. so i hope that this practical, commonsense leadership will be a
good sign for our regular appropriation bills and other things in the future. now, the work done by these two managers should be and it is exemplary for what needs to follow. and what's going to follow immediate is our budget. we're going to have a budget debate. it's going to be a good debate. we have two differently opposed views as to what should happen to this country economically. but that's what the senate's all about, to allow us to do that. so i say to senator murray, who i -- everyone has heard me talk about how good she is, and i really do believe that -- i happy to she and senator sessions are looking at what was done by these two senators. senator mikulski and senator shelby have totally different views about how government should operate, but they also have views as to what -- how the legislative process should operate. legislation is the art of compromise.
everybody here has to understa understand, you're not going to get everything you want. you can't throw a monkey wrench into everything just because you don't get what you want on one certain -- one issue. so we're going to move to the budget. i would -- there will be no votes tonight. you know, we're -- we have a lot of debate time on this bill. and the two managers are going to determine when the votes will start. again, this is a very good day for the senate. i'm very, very happy that we're to the point we are. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the bill for the third time. the clerk: calendar number 21, h.r. 933, an act 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. the presiding officer: the question is on passage. a senator: ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll.
the nays are 26. h.r. 933 as amended is agreed to. the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: mr. president, earlier this afternoon when i went to say something -- anyway, move to reconsider. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. ms. mikulski: this is an enormous victory that just passed that we are now sending to the house. again, i just want to thank everyone. i ask unanimous consent that a full statement about this legislation be included in the record. the presiding officer: wo*ubgz. ms. mikulski: today is exactly 90 days since i took over this subcommittee -- i mean this full
committee, the full committee on appropriations. during these 90 days, with senator shelby and his staff's help and the support of many people on both sides of the aisle, we were able to pass the sandy urgent supplemental, and we were able to pass the continuing funding resolution. this is pretty good to show that we can work on a bipartisan basis, that we can actually govern and that we can conduct ourselves with decorum. i think for all as they watched the debate that occurred here during this last week, they saw civility, they saw sensibility, they saw -- yes -- differing ideas. but at the end of the day i think we all agree on our goals. we want to keep america moving. and i'm glad we've moved this bill to the hourbgs and -- bill
to the house and we're going to keep our government functioning and keep america moving forward. i want to thank everyone for what they've done and look forward to moving the other 12 appropriations on a regular basis, working, again, on a bipartisan basis across the aisle and across the dome. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: