tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 12, 2014 1:00pm-3:01pm EST
i had have worked together. we even participated in two of the events called "the big four." now, the chair knows this, but some of my colleagues may not. when this comes time in the committees we're unable to pass a bill, then the ranking member and the chairman of the house and rank member in the senate get together and draft a bill. that's what happened this year and last year. las last year i was getting panicky because we didn't pass that bill until december 26. and what would have happened if we didn't, then it would be a crisis on december 3 1-sst. 31st. so i want to say this about senator levin, how i've enjoyed, and i regret we won't be able to have the same positions because, of course, senator levin, like our friend from iowa, is retiring after this term. let me just mention that the ndaa bill is the most important bill that we do every year. i don't think anyone's going to
debate that. you know, we've had the -- for 52 consecutive years -- and this is going to be the 5rd consecutive -- 53rd consecutive year we've been able to pass it. but it seems each year it's always hard to do. because at the last minute, there are always other people that want to get things in the bill that were not there. but you have to keep in mind, and i want to say in defense to the big-four approach to this, we came down -- we passed this bill. we passed it out of the senate armed services committee on may the 23rd. and we've been wanting to get it on the floor since may the 23rd. senator levin and i have come down countless times and begged our colleagues on the democrat side and the republican side to get their amendments down so we can consider their amendments. and we had a lot of amendments that did come down. and of the amendments that came down, i'm very proud to say that we incorporated almost all of those, 47 of those amendments are a part of this bill. so it's not as if the amendments weren't considered. i know some people who are opposed to this bill may come
along later on and say, well, we didn't consider all the amendments. well, we considered and adopted -- considered almost all of them but adopted 47 of these amendments which is kind of a record. so in spite of the pushing for months on the ndaa -- and i don't know what the reasons were and i'm not going to point the fingers but we didn't get it on the floor. so we have to do it at the last minute. and i want to just say in my heart i believe -- i mean, i know they've wound up most their business over on the house side -- but if we don't pass this bill, there is no other train leaving the station. there's no other way to do it. because in this bill, when people stop and think about it, there are some things i don't like about the bill. i have to admit that. but so many good things. if we go to december 31st -- and this is the reminder that we have to have in our own minds -- we have right now 1,779,343 enlisted personnel that are in service right now.
they will lose their benefits if we don't pass this bill. and i'm talking about reenlistment bonuses. i ask the chair up there, do you realize -- i think he does, but not many people do -- just flight pay. our pilots. there's a huge pilot shortage right now because the -- the private sector is hiring them up and we're having a hard time keeping them. so we have a flight pay incentive. that incentive would go away. does it mean anything? yeah. it's a $25,000 incentive and it lasts for 10 -- it goes for 10 years, each year. but if they wake up on january 1 and find out they don't have their flight pay incentive, how many of these that are existing warriors in the sky are going to drop out and go to work for one of the airlines? i don't know. but a lot of them will, i can assure you of that. and i would ask the chair, we should -- i think we need to remind people how much it costs to train a new one. so instead of a $25,000 bonus,
to reach the standards and th the -- of the level of an f-22 pilot, it costs $17 million. stop and think about the millions and millions and millions of dollars that would be lost just from -- from the flight pay. these things are happening. now, a lot of good things are in -- in this bill and i -- andly so controversial. the housing starts -- and some controversial. the housing starts are in this bill. none of the housing starts, i'm talking about military construction for our kids that are out there. one of the controversial areas is in gitmo. and this is one of the very few areas where the chairman, chairman levin, and i disagreed with each other. i look at gitmo as a resource that is -- that can't be replaced. he would be for closing it. well, we are now keeping the restrictions that we have right now and keeping it open for another year so that we can look at it with next year and spend more time on it. we have the -- the counterterrorism partnership funds and so many of these things are in this bill that i think are very, very
significant. you know, we are supporting the needed aircraft modernization program. you hear a lot about the f-35. well, the f-22 was canceled by this president, was terminated six years ago, and so what we have is a fifth-generation aircraft, that's it, the f-35. but what we're doing is -- is continuing with that modernization program, a controversial area for the support for -- for ground support is the a-10. a-10 is probably the ugliest airplane in the sky but you ask any -- any of our troops on the ground what they want to see coming when they're in danger, it's the a-10. and that's going to continue. there's not going to be one reduction in that. i know that the armed services committee next year will look at that freshly and maybe make changes. awacs. the president wanted to take seven of the awacs planes out and that would be 25% of the awacs fleet. that's the great big plane that has the circle on the top that goes out and brings back information to save lives. that is there.
the authorizing it is military construction and family housin housing -- the military construction and family housing projects that had started, they would come to start without this bill. that means we would have paid the incorporate. there are going to be breach of contract lawsuits and everything else. that's why this thing is -- only mention one other thing. the russian-made rocket engines. you know, a lot of people hear about that and say why in the world, with all the problems with putin, with what's going on right now in the ukraine and around the world. i just got back from lithuania and the areas up there and also i went over to ukraine. and i'm seeing things with our allies over there that we -- they would ask the question, why are you buying russian-made rocket engines? well, we are but those are now being phased out and we have directed the secretary of defense to develop a u.s. rocket to replace that rocket. that's going on right now. the -- by the way, i have to say this. i mentioned ukraine. i can't tell you, when you -- when you look and see what's happening over there, i had a
great experience. i was over there just three days before our elections and it happened to be three days after their elections. and in ukraine, poroshenko, the president, was so proud and he sat there and told me, he said, do you realize that the -- in ukraine, you have to get 5% of the vote to have a seat in parliament. the communists for the first time in 96 years didn't get 5%. so there will not be one communist in parliament in ukraine. that's incredible. those are our friends over there. they're the ones that we need to keep our defense strong and we directly address that in this bill. so i'll only say one thing about the lands package. that's the most controversial part of this bill because it's something that has nothing to do with defense. on the other hand, you know, when you're in negotiations and there are some things that should not perhaps come in in this forum and i thought it wa was -- i even characterized it as outrageous at the time that that was made a part of this
bill. but, you know, i have to say this. after i've read this and any changes in the bill, by the way, are going to result in not having a bill and all the things that i just mentioned would happen. but i started reading some of these provisions. from a conservative republican's perspective, you know, getting in and being able to produce and drill in some of the public lands is -- let some of our public lands rejoice in this revolution that we're having out there with shale, the -- the ranchers out in oklahoma tell me that the grazing rights issues are in these land packages are good. and i hear some people saying, well, there's something to do with a women's committee starting or something like that. let's keep in mind, i say to my fellow conservatives, that was marcia blackburn, her bill that became a part of this bill. now, it shouldn't have happened, shouldn't have happened, but, nonetheless, it did.
and it's so overriding that we pass a bill and not allow something like that to actually kill the bill. i would say that we're still a nation at war right now. we have -- and so i just say we'll be back to discuss this further and i do want to have an opportunity to respond to some of the critics to this bill. but just keep in mind, this is the last opportunity we have before december 31st, before january, when we come back in, and on december 31, it would be a crisis, i say to my good friends on the left and on the right. we have to have the bill. this is the last bill that we can pass. i'd like at this time to recognize senator ayotte, the very courageous senator who's been a major part of the provisions of this bill, go so far to say one of the most active, maybe "the" most active
member of the senate armed services committee. ms. ayotte: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: i thank you, mr. president. and i want to thank the senior senator from oklahoma, senator inhofe, for his leadership along with senator levin of working hand in hand to get the defense authorization done this year. and this is so important. i know all of us would like to have had a process where we could have an open amendment process here, but i know that the -- the chairman, senator levin, and senator inhofe as well, they worked very hard and we had this ready to go a long time ago. and i thank you for your work on this. i thank you for your commitment. and i thank you for the way that you and senator levin have run this committee in a respectful, bipartisan manner. and as we look at the importance of the defense authorization and making sure that we get this done before we go home, we -- we
have to understand with the threats we're facing around the world right now, now would not be the time for the first time in over 50-plus years not to pass the defense authorization, given what it means to support for our men and women in unifo uniform, their readiness, their equipment, the training, the support for their families, military construction, investment in technology that they need to keep us safe. so i want to thank you, senator inhofe, for your work on this. and i also want to take the opportunity to thank senator levin, who is retiring this year, for being an incredible chairman of this committee. i have to say, this has been one of the best experiences i've had since i've gotten to the united states senate. i've been here for four years. and senator levin has conducted this committee and treated everyone with respect. he has gotten us all to work together, where almost every
year we've passed out the defense authorization almost unanimously. how often does that happen? and most times unanimously in a divided congress. and i want to wish senator levin the best because he's been so knowledgeable, so committed to ensuring that our nation is safe and to our men and women in uniform. but on a personal note, he has been so respectful to me and someone who i think has run the committee so very well, has served our country with such dignity and such dedication, and i wish he and his wife barbara the best in the future. but he is someone who this body will miss and certainly, as the chairman of the armed services committee, who has treated everyone on both sides of the aisle with incredible respect, given us opportunities to raise issues that are important to us. and i think he's a model of how you should conduct yourself and
the that you can disagree with each other but still find ways and common ground that you can work to get -- work together to get things done for the american people. and i come to the floor today to discuss the defense authorization and the provisions in it that are so important to not only my home state of new hampshire but to the country and to also address some of the provisions that i want us to keep an eye on as we go forward. with skill and courage, our men and women in uniform are doing their job and it's essential that we do our job as well. and in a time of war, we cannot neglect our constitutional duty to provide for the common defense. as a member of the armed services committee, i have been privy to many briefings, as you know the president has, as a member of this committee, about the threats facing our country and the needs of our men and women in uniform, the concerns that we have of ensuring that our troops are ready and that we
are prepared to address potential threats to the country. in this bill, my home state of new hampshire, we are a state that is very dedicated to serving, just as the president's state of virginia is very dedicated to serving. there are many provisions in this bill that i've introduced and supported that i'm proud of that will make a difference to our national security, to our men and women in uniform and i would like to talk about some of those provisions. in terms of supporting our troops and our families, it's very important that we pass this bill every year because it authorizes expiring benefits for our troops that if we don't reauthorize, they would expire, including dozens of special -- specific special and incentive pays for our troops and their families, particularly those who are serving us overseas and facing great danger as we stand here today.
the defense bill also authorizes more than a dozen provisions to enhance protections for victims of sexual assault and extends to the secretary of the v.a. the authority to provide rehabilitation and vocational benefits to service members with severe illnesses and injuries. it also streng -- it also strengthens the department of defense's suicide prevention efforts which unfortunately is happening to too many of those who have served our nation, an issue that we are so concerned about on a bipartisan basis. the bill also authorizes $6.3 billion for needed military construction and family housing projects, including among that authorization, is military construction projects at pease national air basis in new
hampshire, not to mention a very important energy conservation project at the portsmouth naval shipyard and the shipyard continued to invest in energy conservation and to save taxpayer dollars while doing so. i'm pleased that this is included in this bill. the defense bill also maintains critical close air support for our troops in that it ensures that the air force cannot prematurely retire the a-10 aircraft in the fiscal year 2015. and having traveled to afghanistan and heard directly from our men and women on the ground, i know how important it is that they have the very best close air support to keep them safe. the bill also authorizes continued funding for the virginia class ten bolt multiyear procurement program, including two in fiscal year 2015, which is very important because keeping this production
and procurement program on track -- and i know that the president shares this concern -- will help achieve savings in excess of 15% as compared to just purchasing one a year. so it makes cost sense, and we need to continue to invest in our attack submarine program. with the help of the skilled workers at the portsmouth naval shipyard, these submarines will protect vital shipping lanes and u.s. national security interests around the world for decades to come. and with the administration's discussion of a shift to the asia pacific and the importance of that area of the world to our economy and our interests, our attack submarine fleet is so critical in meeting our needs around the world. these measures that are included in this bill will help ensure that portsmouth and pease remain
invaluable national security assets and i'm so proud of the members of our guard and everyone who serves at the portsmouth naval shipyard and the incredible workers who do the maintenance there of our attack submarine fleet. the bill also includes provisions of never contracting with the enemy. this is legislation which i have previously introduced that has allowed our military to ensure that dollars don't flow to our enemies. so when we're contracting in places like afghanistan, we've given them tools to cut off contractors sooner to make sure that the contracts aren't going to the wrong people. this legislation will stand those authorities across the federal government to usaid, to state department, to ensure that our taxpayer dollars don't go to people who are acting against our interests. and so i appreciate usaid and state department in working with
me on this legislation, and i'm very glad it's included in these provisions. these are just a few of the positive examples of the importance of this defense authorization bill. there are many, many other important provisions in this bill. and that's why it's important that we get this done today or tomorrow. there are two areas of issues that i want to address briefly that i am a little concerned about on this bill. as a member of the senate armed services committee -- and i've also, i'm married to a veteran. i plan to vote for this bill because of the positive components of it. but one area that i'm concerned with is that we're again looking at the compensation and we're looking at the housing allowances of our men and women in uniform, and it reminds me a little bit -- it's not an exact
analogy -- of when we had the budget agreement over a year ago, there was an adjustment made to the cost of living increases, and it was a cut really in the military retirement of some of those who have served our country. and i was someone who came to the floor to reverse this reduction to the cost-of-living increases that for some of our men and women in uniform who had served so admirably would have cost them up to $80,000 a year in their retirement. and we're talking about enlisted, who have worked so hard and that would make such a big difference on. and one of the reasons i came in that regard to fight against what was included in the budget agreement is because there seemed to be a disconnect. that budget agreement made changes to civilian retirement in it, but only prospectively to those who were just joining the retirement program.
when it came to making the cuts to the military retirement and to their cost of living, it was affecting current recipients. so there seemed to be a disconnect. how could we ask those who have given the most and have sacrificed so much to defend us and ask them to make a sacrifice when we are treating other civilian employees differently? and i'm glad that the congress reversed that. so one thing that came out of that, i think, we need to have a greater understanding here of the unique sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make. and the sacrifices that they make that are different than other workers. the traveling that they do, the danger that they face, that often a spouse can't have a second career because they're constantly moving. so since 2000 collectively as the congress we worked hard to correct the pay and benefit
structure for those in uniform to close what was a 13.5% gap between the private sector and what our men and women in uniform were getting, we eliminated out-of-pocket housing expenses that used to be 20% and expanded military health care for retired military personnel over the age of 65. but as i look at the provisions of this bill, i don't want us to erode the work that we have done to recognize our men and women in uniform and the positions and the danger that they face. in this bill, generally the dollar amounts associated with the provisions i'm concerned about are much smaller than those involved with the cola debate early this year. but again we're back looking toward our men and women in uniform in several areas. these problematic provisions relate to the compensation and health benefits for our service members and their families.
more specifically, they relate to the basic allowance for housing or balh, tricare pharmacy copays and basic pay for service members. bah is designed to cover 30% of the service member's housing cost. the provision in this ndaa will allow the secretary of defense to reduce b.a.h. payments so they only cover 99% of service member's monthly housing costs. now obviously, that is a small reduction, but it's the significance of the reduction that i'm concerned about, that we can't keep going down this road where we're trying to choose between military readiness and making sure that our men and women in uniform have the full support that they need in terms of compensation and support for their families. and that's why i'm concerned about this provision. and in terms of pharmacy co-pays, the pentagon's budget
request, it's important to understand they requested a much greater increase in future years in co-pays than this body would accept that the armed services committees would accept. the negotiated ndaa would still permit a $3 pharmacy co-pay increase for nonactive duty tricare beneficiaries who fill prescriptions outside military treatment facilities. so congress has worked hard to close the military-civilian pay gap, but this year's ndaa is once again set to give our military only a 1% pay raise for the second straight year. i believe our military service members deserve a higher pay raise, and i will continue to push for that in the future and i hope it's something that we can work together on because we have to keep up with inflation for our men and women in uniform. it's very, very important. one of the reasons it's
important is that they are our greatest treasure. the reason we have such a wonderful military, we can have the very best equipment, we can have the greatest technology. but the reason we have the best military in the world are because of our great men and women in uniform. and we can never lose sight of that. we can never lose sight of the importance of our all-voluntary force. and i think that as we look at where we are with defense spending, one thing that very much concerns me is the incoming impact of sequester again in 2016 and 2017. so it is my hope that this body will understand and work together in addressing sequester for our defense because i see us continuing to be in a situation where we are left, where our
military leaders come to us and ask us to take from the men and women in uniform in a way that is unacceptable because they're facing sequester, they're worried about the readiness of our troops, and they're concerned that they won't be able to provide equipment and training that our troops need to meet the threats that we are facing around the world and to ensure that our men and women in uniform never become part of a hollow force. so, mr. president, i know you serve on the armed services committee with me. it is my hope as we look at this ndaa that we don't set a precedent where we're continuing to look for -- to take from our military, that we continue and we look to how we can work together to address sequester in the coming years. because there's a big disconnect of where we are right now, if we impose quefort in 2016 and 2017
with the threats we face around the world, wh with a our men and women in uniform need to address those threats and to keep this country safe and what they deserve in terms of our support, given what we are asking them to do and they are the very best, and they go out and do it on our behalf every single day. and so it is my hope that we can work together. i've addressed these issues and my additional views to the 2015 defense authorization, and it is my hope that we will recognize the treasure that is our men and women in uniform going forward, that we will cut through the partisan politics on this, that we will address sequester and that our men and women in uniform know that we will continue to stand by them. this defense authorization is important, but it also prefaces the challenges we face coming forward in 2016 and 2017, which i believe we will not be able to meet fully unless we come
together to address sequester. so, mr. president, i thank you. the defense authorization. we do need to get it done today. i think there are provisions that are very important for our national security. the issues that i've addressed of concern today i hope we aren't addressing again next year. i hope we can correct them and make sure we're giving the men and women in uniform a pay raise that's better than this year. and i hope that together we can continue to work on a bipartisan basis in the armed services committee as chairman levin has championed, as senator inhofe as the ranking member has as well. and i look forward to doing that in the future. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. sanders: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: mr. president, later today or tomorrow we're going to be dealing with a $1 trillion omnibus bill. i want to explain why i will be
strongly voting against that bill. but before i do, i think it's important to put the budget in a broader context of what's happening in america. you can't look at a budget in the abstract. you have to see it within a context. and the context is that right now, as i think most americans understand, the middle class of this country is disappearing. a median family income has gone down by $5,000 since 1999. you have male workers today, the median male worker is making $700 less in inflation-adjusted dollars than he made 41 years ago. the median female worker is making $1,300 less than she made seven years ago. meanwhile, while the middle class disappears and we have more people living in poverty than at almost any time in modern american history, the gap between the very, very rich and everybody else is growing wider.
we have massive wealth, inequality in america. one family, the walton family, owns more wealth than the bottom 40% of the american people. top one-tenth of one percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90% of the american people. 95% of all new income is going to the top 1 %, and corporate profits are at an all-time high. that is the overall reality of what is going on with the american economy today. and in the midst of that, we have the budget. so let's talk a little bit about this trillion dollar budget and how it addresses or doesn't address the problems facing our country. are there good things in this budget? and their answer is absolutely. i'm chairman of the senate veterans' affairs committee and i want to thank chairman mikulski and others for making sure that our v.a. gets the kind of budget that they need. included in that budget, by the
way, is also a provision for -- called advanced appropriation for the v.a. which will mean that in the event of a government shutdown, veterans will still be able to get the disability benefits that they desperately need. and there are other provisions in there that are very, very good. but overall, if you look at the budget in the context of contemporary american society, this is simply not a good budget. and let me just pick on -- pick up three points where i have strong disagreements. mr. president, i think the vast majority of the american people understand that we have huge unmet needs in this country. in i expect your state of virginia, certainly in vermont but all over this country, we all know that our infrastructure is crumbling, our roads, bridges, water systems, wait
water plants, our rail system is falling behind. europe, japan, even china. we have enormous work to be done. the american society of civil engineers tells us we have to invest $3 trillion into rebuilding our infrastructure. in terms of college, we know that there are hundreds of thousands of bright young people who can't afford to go to college. others are graduating school saddled with these terrible debts from college or graduate school. this budget doesn't address those problems, doesn't address the crisis of child care, and the fact that in vermont and around the country, very hard for working class families to get quality, affordable child care. but what this budget does do -- people don't know it, 60%, roughly 60% of the budget goes to defense spending, goes to defense spending. 60% of the discretionary budget goes not to our kids, not to our elderly, not to students, not to
working people, not to infrastructure, not to all of the huge unmet needs we face as a country. it goes to the military. does anyone here deny that we need a strong military, strong national guard? i don't. we do. but sometimes in tough times, you've got to make decisions, and i think spending $554 billion on the military is just too much, and i would point out, mr. president, what i'm sure you know, is that it is clear, it has been admitted that the military can't even audit itself. we don't even know effectively and appropriately how the military is spending its money. they don't even have the computer technology to tell us where they are spending. what we also know is that cost overruns in the military are extraordinary. time after time after time, an agreement is reached about how much a weapons system would cost, and it turns out that the
contractor was just joking because there is a huge overrun. and then you have got fraud, fraud. virtually every major military contractor has been involved in fraud resulting in either convictions or settlements with the government. so we we have folks here who lat year were talking about cuts in nutrition programs, education, health care, you name it, programs that are life and death for working families, yet when it comes to the military, we can't spend $554 billion. i think that's too much. second of all, when you look at the global economy and you look at our international partners, i find it interesting that every other major country on earth provides health care of all of their people as a right except the united states, and yet in terms of their defense spending, they are spending a heck of a lot less than we are.
we are spending now almost, almost as much as the entire rest of the world combined. so i object in this bill to the significant amount of money being present on the military, and i would have hoped that there would be more opposition to this large military expenditure. the second point that i want to make, mr. president -- and it has not gotten a whole lot of attention -- and that is the impact that this legislation will have on working people in terms of cuts in pensions. there are provisions in this bill written in secret which allow significant cuts in benefits for retirees who are members of multiemployer pension plans. as mentioned in "the washington post" in a recent article -- quote -- "the change, the
language in this bill, would alter 40 years of federal law and could affect millions of workers, many of them part of a shrinking core of middle-class employees in businesses such as trucking, construction and supermarkets, end of quote. reuters mentions, and i quote -- "the centerpiece is a provision that would open the door to cutting current beneficiaries' benefits, a retirement policy taboo and a potential disaster for retirees on fixed incomes." end of quote. what does that mean? when you go to work for a company, you get wages, you get benefits, but you also in some cases get a promise in terms of a pension. what you will get when you retire after 20 years, 30 years, 40 years of work. what this bill does is allow companies to renege on that promise. and my understanding that in some cases the cuts in pensions
could be draconian. talking about a 50% cut. can you imagine somebody who has worked his or her entire life, expects to retire with a certain level of income, and suddenly after 20, 30, 40 years of work, suddenly wakes up in the morning and finds out that that promise has been cut in half? wow. that is awful. that is totally awful. and i remember back as the american people do that when wall street, the c.e.o.'s of wall street engaged in illegal and reckless behavior, which drove this economy into the worst recession in modern history, impacting millions and millions of people's lives, what happened to wall street? well, congress bailed them out. congress bailed out the folks on wall street whose criminal action caused the recession.
and now you have working people who have done nothing wrong except work their entire lives, ten, 20, 30 years, and through no fault of their own, they're not getting bailed out. they're going to see a 50% reduction in their pensions. that is unacceptable, and that opens -- it just opens up a future in terms of pensions which i think are very frightening for the american people. so i can't support that provision as well. the last point that i want to make. getting back to wall street. in my very strong opinion, we have reached the stage with wall street that the major financial institutions are just too big, they are just too powerful, and anyone who thinks that congress regulates wall street has got it backwards because the reality is
that wall street, with their incredible wealth and lobbying capabilities and campaign contributions, wall street regulates the united states congress. and you cannot see a better example of it than what is in this legislation. a recent article, "new york times," thanks lobbyists help in drafting financial bills. mr. president, without objection, i would like to enter this article into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: quote -- "in a sign of wall street's resurgent -- resurgence in washington, 70 recommendations are reflected in the 85-line bill, two crucial paragraphs prepared by citigroup in conjunction with other wall street banks, copied nearly word for word. in other words, it's not even members of congress writing
these bills. it is wall street writing the bills and getting them into this legislation. now, what does this legislation do? we suffered the worst economic crisis since the 1930's because of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on wall street. what wall street did is engage in absolutely reckless speculation. then the chickens came home to roost. people could not pay back the debts that they incurred with subprime mortgages. and the entire financial system of the united states of america and the world was on the verge of collapse. so congress a few years ago passed, didn't go anywhere near as far as i believe it should go. i don't believe you can control these financial institutions. i don't believe you can regulate them. they regulate the congress. but dodd-frank took some steps forward. and there was one provision, and
i will quote. section 716. and, mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent -- unanimous right to put this into the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. sanders: and this is the title of the provision that this bill repeals. quote -- "prohibition against federal government bailouts of swap entities. a, prohibition on federal assistance. notwithstanding any other provision of law, including regulations, no federal assistance may be provided any swaps entity with respect to any security swap or other activity of the swaps entity." end of quote. that is what is being repealed. so wall street as a result of the work of citigroup and the other wall street companies can now continue to engage in reckless derivative speculation,
and when they make a whole lot of money, they get richer, but when they lose money, because of the repeal of this provision, it is the taxpayers of this country who have to bail them out. does anybody, anybody think that that makes any sense at all? that's in this bill. so, mr. president, for those reasons and more, i would hope very much that the senate rejects this agreement, that we renegotiate. no one wants to see the government shut down. but that we negotiate an agreement that is much fairer to the american people and to the working families of our country. and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. mr. coburn: mr. president, i would inquire of the senator from wisconsin how much time she is going to take and need? the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin.
ms. baldwin: senator, less than ten minutes. mr. coburn: i would prefer that she go ahead and i will do all mine in consequence, if i may. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. baldwin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wiz. ms. baldwin: mr. president, before i begin, i ask unanimous consent that a military fellow in senator murray's office, lark cuts in pensions o'hern, be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the 113th congress. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. ms. baldwin: thank you, mr. president, and i thank the senator from oklahoma for his courtesy. i am delighted to rise today to mark the passage of the fiscal year 2015 national defense authorization act. this bill is a product of bipartisan negotiations between the house and senate armed services committees, and i thank chairman levin and ranking member inhofe, chairman mckeon
and ranking member adam smith in the house for their hard work. this critical bill establishes our national security policy and supports our dedicated men and women in uniform and their families. i am particularly pleased that the legislation supports wisconsin manufacturers and workers who build ships and engines and military vehicles that help our nation meet its national security needs, and on the eve of his retirement from the senate, i want to offer a special thank you to senator carl levin for his magnificent work as chairman of the committee on this bill and for working with me to include a military land transfer in wisconsin at the site of the former badger army ammunition plant. i have been working on this project since my election to the house of representatives 16 years ago, and i am extremely
grateful to chairman levin and his staff for helping me push this legislation across the finish line. the extraordinary piece of land that i am talking about consists of some 7,500 acres. it's bordered by the rolling baribou hills which is forest of oak, maple and wood standing in southern wisconsin. it's bordered by wisconsin's double lake state park and a segment of the ice age trail which is part of the national trail system. to its east it's skirted by the mighty wisconsin river that flows towards the mississippi. for the better part of the past century, it has been the site of a bustling manufacturing plant, once the largest munitions plant
in the world which produced munitions for american troops that they used from world war ii through vietnam. and you can see an historic aerial photograph to my left here of what that property looked like with the baraboo bluffs and wisconsin river. before that the site was home to 90 landowners who farmed the land. and well before that the land was cherished ground for the indian nation whose people gathered crops and gathered med dis nal products from the land -- medicine products. in 1997, discussions began on the future of this land after the army closed the plant
declaring it to be surplus to its needs and began the process of remediation of the contaminated soil of the site. some thought it should be sold for commercial development but the local community opposed that option understanding that the land's unique attributes needed to be preserved and wishing to see it restored to its natural beauty. i almost -- i always felt the community and not bureaucrats in washington should be empowered to make decisions about the future of this site. i regarded this as once in a generation, maybe once in a lifetime opportunity for this community. so i secured as a freshman member of congress a federal grant to establish a community consensus process to recommend a reuse plant. this process brought every
stakeholder to the table. in 2001, after nearly two years of hard work, the badger reuse committee issued a report supported by all the participating parties, including state and federal and tribal entities, outlining agreement on future uses. some said that consensus would be nearly impossible, but we proved that local stakeholders working together could achieve a visionary future for this incredible property. and what was that consensus? the consensus was that the property should be comanaged in perpetuity as one property for agricultural, recreational, educational and conservation purposes. the photo to my left shows a stark contrast to the photo you just saw of the badger army
ammunition plant as the property has been gradually restored over time. now since that time, most of the parcels at this site have been transferred. one parcel to the u.s. department of agriculture for dairy forage research. another to the state of wisconsin to provide opportunities for low-impact recreation. but one major parcel essential to the community's vision at this site has been caught in bureaucratic disagreement for nearly a decade. this legislation will finally allow that parcel to be transferred from the army to the department of interior which will hold the land in trust for the ho-chunk nation. this transfer has been stalled by an interagency dispute over which federal agency would have responsibility for future environmental cleanup at the
site. the legislative intent of this provision follows the legislative intent of our environmental super fund laws. the polluter must pay for contamination they caused. as to future uses, the ho-chunk nation participated in the consensus process that culminated in the badger reuse plant where they expressed interest in holding the lands in trust in order to preserve native prairie habitat and raise bison. since that time the ho-chunk nation has reaffirmed their interest in receiving this land for prairie restoration, a reuse that reaffirms the vision of the badger reuse committee, that all the new holders of these lands -- the u.s. department of agriculture, the state of wisconsin, and the ho-chunk
nation would manage the property in coordination with one another, reflecting the site as a hole. in october of this year, the tribe updated its land use plan for the parcel in this transfer, and i ask unanimous consent to enter that document and a technical description of this transfer into the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. ms. baldwin: these 1,550 acres represent the last parcel at the site to leave army management. the resolution this transfer will bring is long overdue, and i am proud to have played a role in defining the community's vision and bringing it to a reality. the action we take this week, hopefully later today, will benefit many generations to come. thank you, mr. president, and i
yield. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. a senator: first of all, i'd like to congratulate my colleague from wisconsin. mr. coburn: there's a lot of controversy over lands packages, and her very pleasant example is what isn't controversial. the reason we have a discussion about what's going on is the very mundane, the very things that we can get done have never been brought forward on the floor without being brought forward with a very controversial land project. so i agree 100% that what is happening for her and the people of wisconsin and her tribal nation is absolutely appropriate. the question we ought to ask, and the question that causes all the trouble is why in the world does the federal government own
640 million acres of our land and have all sorts of rules of our land that says we can't utilize it in a way that's best for our citizens, best for our states, best for our regions, best for the ecology and best for preservation of history. and until congress solves that problem, you're going to continue to have these battles. what is disappointing to me is we spent a year and a half looking at the national park service of which nobody in this body read. it's quality scholarship. it's scholarship the park service agrees with. it's scholarship that the historians of the park service agree with.
it's scholarship that the people who write about the parks agree with. and so we have before us a bill today that has 68 separate land items in it of which 40 are totally noncontroversial, which could have been run across the floor two years ago, i tell my colleague from wisconsin. but they were chosen not to because the desire is to get recognition of home and expand the national park service. and if you were to happen to just take the couple hours to read this, you'd see right now why expanding the national park service is a disastrous idea. and the reason it's a disastrous idea is our parks are falling apart.
$12 billion backlog on our most pristine, greatest national monuments and parks that we have set the pace for the rest of the world in terms of recognizing and valuing such wonderful natural landscape and creation. but we've ignored that because the desire to please a parochial benefit at the expense of harming these most precious resources cannot be resisted by most of our colleagues. so i find myself on the floor today, i know i won't win this battling, but i won't quit fighting. we should fight for what we've already invested in. we should preserve what we've
already invested in. we're falling behind a quarter of a billion dollars a year, and it's ludicrous to say this bill doesn't cost anything. it costs $320 million a year. the -- quote -- "no cost park program" that we're putting out and saying it doesn't cost anything. so i find myself, look, i was born in wyoming. i love yellowstone. i love the great rocky mountain national forest. i love our wonderful, wonderful programs. but the vast majority of the parks we've created in the last 20 years are nothing but drains on the national park service.
and we have the data. this has the data to show that. and we're going to do the largest expansion of national parks since 1978 in this bill. and we don't have the money for it. so what will happen as this goes through? i can say to my colleague from wisconsin, you're absolutely right, this should fly through here. this is not a significant cost. but fixing the real problem is restoring the rights of the states to the lands that are there and taking it out of the hands of the federal government and letting the states make the decisions about what happens to the land within their confines. so it's disappointing to me that when great scholarship is done and is recognized, parochialism trumps even the reading of the
information with which to make good decisions. and it's a blight on the senate. you don't have to agree with everything in this, but you can't deny the facts that are totally documented in this. you can't deny the statements of the national park service. you can't deny the people who are actually we're charging to do this. you can't deny their concerns about what we're getting ready to do. let me just read for a moment what harry perdowsky, a historian who retired from the national park service said about this bill. he summed up how congress is out of touch with the national park service needs and priorities when his, he was expressing his opposition to the lands package in the national defense authorization bill, for all places. he said "i think it is irresponsible for congress to
create so many new parks heritage areas and expansion of existing units and not provide the funding and the manpower necessary to manage what we now have. ingts national park -- i think the national park system should not be added to or expanded until we can find and staff all parts of our parks and programs. to add more units at this time is just not responsible. it's the oppose -- opposite of good management. " here's the historian for the park service telling you that we're irresponsible in what we're doing. i know we'll blow that off. that doesn't mean anything. but this is somebody who has had his eye on the park service for years. perhaps what congress should do is an analysis of the entire park system and start getting rid of marginal units that cost many dollars and have few visitors. that's exactly what this report
recommends. but nobody read it, studied it, considered it to try to solve the problem. and it doesn't mean we can't have new national parks. we can. but we ought to have a plan to take care of the ones we have now before we add additional national parks and put at risk the most fantastic national park system in the world. here's what the first national park director stated. the first one. and we ought to pay attention to him. the national parks as now constituted should not be allowed to be lowered in standard, in dignity and prestige by the inclusion of
areas which express in less than the highest terms the particular class or kind of exhibit which they represent. well, i just tell you, this is exactly what he was talking about. hinchclifffe stadium in patterson, new jersey, being added, $100,000 to the park system. does it have historical significance? yes. should it be part of the national park system? absolutely not. does it look good for those who sponsored it back home. yeah. get the attaboys back home. but what damage do you do to yellowstone, yosemite, rocky mountain national park, grand mesa, the grand canyon? what pain?
what lack of maintenance comes across from that. i've stated before, i have no problem with land swaps and conveyances. i think we ought to make them easy. and the best way to make them easy is to get the federal government out of them and return the land that's in wisconsin that the federal government owns to the people of wisconsin. they will be the best stewards of that land. the same thing in oklahoma and colorado and california and washington state, arizona. and in nevada where it's the largest percentage ownership by the federal government, we have to kowtow to a bunch of bureaucrats in washington for the people of the state of nevada to do what is in the best interests of the state of nevada, the land that is there? that makes no sense.
i have mentioned the bill's not deficit neutral. $310 million, including more than $200 million in costs to the national park system are going to come through with this bill. and unless you assume nothing's going to happen that's authorized in this, there is no way you can deny that this isn't going to cost another half a billion dollars a year. as a matter of fact, i found it interesting, listening to the chairwoman of the energy committee just this past week when she was excited about this land package because we're clearing all the old land pieces of legislation. so we're taking care of the politicians, but are we taking care of the parks? are we doing what is in the best long-term interest of preserving the pristine, unique aspects of our country as we add ball
fields or the old colt manufacturing facility in connecticut. really? a national park? does it meet the requirements as set out in a park? no. it doesn't some close to meeting the requirements for a national park, but it's in there because it's going to look good to a politician back home. i kind of use the commonsense test. the country's broke, we had a $460 billion deficit last year, we're going to add a half a billion dollars onto a park system that has a $12 billion deficit in terms of backlog of repairs on what we already have. most -- most people with any semblance of common sense would say that's really stupid.
it's really destructive the whole goal of the national natik system in the first place. the final point i'd make is the ndaa, even though it's a necessary bill, i want it to pass, i want us to have what we need for our military, this bill represents the worst of washington. because what we've added to a must-pass bill is things that are very low, low priority in terms of the long-term priorities of the country and the fiscal soundness of the country, but the really high priorities for the politicians in this body. and it's amazing how we can take something as important as the defense authorization bill, the thing that's going to give our military leaders what they need to make the decisions to defend
this country and this very, very dangerous world today and lard it up with things that don't need to be happening right now, shouldn't be happening right now and can be happening in other ways. the reason i will assuredly lose this vote is because it's already been bought and paid for because 35 states have something in title 30. and most politicians up here don't have courage to vote against their state interests when it harms the national interest. it's just not there. alaska, two provisions, $3 million. backlog on the alaska parks, $121 million. arizona, two provisions worth $2 million.
backlog, $592 million. in terms of their national parks. california, four provisions that reduce the deficit by $225,000, but a backlog of $1.6 billion at yosemite and other parks throughout california. colorado, a provision worth $500,000, backlogged a quarter of a billion dollars. connecticut, one provision, $9 million. backlogged $6.2 million. this is the coltsville national historic park. and none of that, none of that meets the requirements as set out by the -- the gnash service of meeting the requirements for a park. so we just violate the rules, to heck with the rules because we're going to do it. georgia, $400,000. they have a $100 million backlog. idaho, $17 million backlog.
kentucky, $120 million backlog. maryland, one provision worth $12 million, $363 million backlog on our parks in maryland. massachusetts, quarter of a billion dollars in backlog. maine, $72 million in backlogs. mississippi, $26 million provision, a quarter of a billion dollars in back logs in our battlefield parks in mississippi. montana, five provisions. great parks out there. $348.8 million in backlogs. but we're going to spend this money. north carolina, one little small provision, $6 million, but a backlog of half a billion dollars in our pristine parks. i won't continue. i understand the frustration of
my colleagues in terms of trying to get land conveyances. we can do them, but not if we always hijack them with something that is of better parochial and political benefit for the member, and that's why they don't go through. the land conveyances aren't easy -- aren't hard to get through. we always add them with something that's controversial that shouldn't be there to the benefit of a politician. so, mr. president, i spend a motion to the desk. the clerk: the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn, moves to refer the house message to accompany h.r. 3979 to the committee on armed services, with instructions to report back forthwith with changes to strike title 30, the nondefense-related
lands portion of the bill. mr. coburn: madam president, i will be asking for a vote on this motion. i am sure it will be tabled, and i understand that. but i hope the american public has gotten a flavor of what we're doing. you always hear it's the end of december, we're trying to get one of the most important pieces of legislation out, which is the defense authorization bill. we're trying to get the appropriation bills through september 30 of next year, and what we do is we put the politicians' interests first. and maybe that's too harsh. let me -- let me take that back. maybe we put the park service's best interests last. which is even worse.
i had to ask direction from the chair. i have three other areas i need to speak on today. i will hold those or ask -- follow the direction of the chair in terms of bringing forth both motions and discussions. i would also ask unanimous consent to have an article by kurt repinchek on december 9, 2014, entered into the record, "the traveler's view." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: i thank senator reid for coming to the floor. since we last asked his unanimous consent on the
taxpayer's right to know, i have had a conversation with the administration and sean donovan, head of o.m.b. when sean came to see me and our committee of jurisdiction over his nomination, one of the things he assured me is that he would try with all due haste to move forward on the things for transparency for the federal government, one of president prt obama's key projects. he assured me he had the capability to lead that organization, even when things are hard and difficult. and so i'd like to just describe for a minute what the taxpayers' right to know is. president obama, myself, john mccain and tom carper passed a bill when president obama was in the senate which was the federal transparency and accountability act, and it made it so that americans could start seeing where their money was spent. and we have since then passed
the data act which would be an improvement on that. and the third and final step in that is the taxpayers' right to know. and what does that mean? that means the taxpayer has the right to know where their money is being spent. the taxpayer has the right to know what programs are out there. the taxpayer has the right to know what's working and what isn't. and so we hear from the administration in a long conversation that this is just too hard. you know, we didn't tell that to our troops in afghanistan and iraq, that this is just too hard. and their real complaint is under the definition of a program. well, most of us know what a
program is. we know it when we see it. but the fact is we will never control spending nor will we accent wait what is -- accentuate what is working well until the taxpayer right to know act is implemented. and what i told the director of o.m.b. is there is one agency already totally complying with this. it's called the department of education. and if they can do it, why can't everybody else? they know what the definition of a program is. they've figured it out. and so what to me i see is an excuse not to be transparent with the american public. it says 38 cosponsors,
bipartisan cosponsors in the senate. it's passed the house unanimously. there is only one objection in the senate, and that's from the o.m.b., because everybody recognizes this is commonsense, good government transparency. and i recognize the important role that the majority leader has in terms of representing the administration's views. i just happened to say he ought to tell them to take a hike this time because the american people get a whole lot more benefit and it really isn't that much more work. so i would ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 531, s. 2113. i ask that the committee-reported substitute be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. i would also note with that this bill is going to pass next year. the president is going to get it
anyway. he's either going to veto it or he's going to make shaun donovan implemented. why don't we get after good government now rather than wait three or four more months? with that, i yield. mr. reid: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. coburn: i'd like to reserve the balance of my time and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
objection. ms. murkowski: thank you, madam president. a lot of discussion earlier about the ndaa, the defense authorization bill, a very important provisions that are contained in that that will provide for our men and women who serve us so honorably. i would concur with all who have spoken today about the importance and significance of this bill and why we should pass it and we should pass it today. an area of controversy that has certainly come up and my colleague from oklahoma has pointed it out very clearly, is the lands package, the public lands package that has been attached to the ndaa. i want to speak a little bit to where we are today, why we are dealing with this, and why it is important to this senate, this congress, and really, the country that we advance these
public lands provisions. i had an opportunity to speak in greater detail yesterday, but i felt it was important to let colleagues know why we deal with public lands bills historically, traditionally in a package. madam president, you come from a western state, but you don't come from a western state where there are large portions of your state that are held by the federal government. in the -- in the 12 western states that include alaska, 93% of the federal lands that are held by this country are dined in these 12 western states. -- contained by these 12 western states. what does it mean where some 68%
of your lands are federally held, what does it mean when you're a state like nevada like our majority leader is from where 85% of your state is held in public lands? it means that when you want to do ascribes, a con -- a conveyance, a conveyance doesn't come out just because you're able to get a real estate attorney and you go down and have a transaction. it literally requires an act of congress. we're dealing with one provision in this public lands bill that senator franken has been working on, from minnesota. it's a conveyance of one acre of land, it is currently held by usgs and it's a conveyance to a school district. most people around this country country, certainly on this end of the country would say wow, that really requires congressional action? that really requires a vote, that really requires the president to sign it into law? and the answer is in the
affirmative. so we have been processing as a committee, on the energy committee and committees on the house side, we have been processing public lands bills throughout this congress, weave working on -- we have been working on some of these public lands measures not for months, not for years but in several instances a decade. a decade to bring about some of these conveyances and these exchanges. and so i think it is important that those that are suggesting that somehow or other this is conjured up in the dark of the night or there has been no process for these bills, i think it is important to set that record straight and to let colleagues know about the procedural process that has led to its inclusion in the ndaa.
for the record, i would note that the process included not only the committees of jurisdiction for the lands bills, but the committees who crafted the ndaa bill, leadership from both sides, individual members, all coming together to really cobble together a package that was fair and balanced, bipartisan, bicameral, revenue neutral -- exceptionally important -- and really a lands package that addresses both the need for conservation on one end and economic development and jobs and prosperity on the other end. and so with this package of bills, you see that compromise come together. now, it's been noted that these public lands bills have nothing to do with defense authorization.
well, that, in fact, may be a long stretch, but i will tell you that this is not without precedent. adding lands to an ndaa bill is -- has been done in the past, we've seen it in the past several ndaa's. what we did here was to amend the existing land package within the house-passed ndaa, hardly out of balance or unusual. and as i said before, i would much rather have us move individual bills through the floor as we process them. but many members have suggested to me that, well, your small lands transaction is important bus but does it really rise to the level of occupying floor time? it's tough to win the undivided attention of the senate on some of these measures. but just because it doesn't rise to the level of keen interest
here in this body doesn't mean that these are critically important for -- for individuals, communities, states around our country. and so it is hard to put that together. but just because it's small or more localized or perhaps more parochial like this one acre of land that we're trying to convey to this school district, doesn't mean that we should disregard it or overlook it or not try to enact them, because they're somehow or other not as important as the other things that we do around here. so knowing how valuable and how precious floor time is around here, we work together, we've been working together for months , again, bicameral, bipartisan, to combine many of the proposals of the bills that you see in the package. and the result of what we have
in front of us are provisions that will help boost natural resource and community development, again, while we're also advancing conservation. we're moving towards economic development in certain areas, creating jobs, we have opportunities in both nevada and arizona to create thousands of good-paying jobs, increase our resources and our mineral security and then in other aspects of the bill yes, we do focus on conservation, yes, there are additional wilderness provisions that are in but i think, again, as we attempt to achieve that balance, what you have in front of you is a good structure. i want to make sure that colleagues recognize again that when we are discussing the concerns that my colleague from
oklahoma has raised, the concern that he has so well articulated, that within our national park system we have a maintenance backlog that is awful. in many cases, it's overwhelming. and to his credit, he has given keen attention to this maintenance backlog that we have. and has pressed us to do more. he put together a very considerable report that we are using in the energy committee to help build out a series of reforms, necessary reforms, that will be required to deal with our issues within the national park service. and it's from senator coburn's good work on this that i think we will be able to see some true reforms. i met just yesterday afternoon
with director jarvis in my office and i have made very clear to him as the head of national park service that this is going to be an area that we must be focusing on. our national parks are a national treasure, but when we can't attend to their needs, if we can't ensure that they are maintained to the level that as americans we would all want, then we're failing on that. so he has a very, very good point when he says we need to be doing something about maintenance and backlog. i agree. we actually have a couple provisions in this public lands bill that will help us with that, and one of them is the bill that senator coburn has sponsored, which will allow for donors to have discrete
recognition within our parks. if you want to give a private donation, there is a way for recognition. we also have a provision in here that would allow for a minting of a coin that will help, again, with private dollars. and those private pieces are very important, but we need to do more. and we will do more. and that's my commitment to help do that. one of the things that i think is important to recognize, that with the park provisions that are included in title 30, it is critically important to recognize the local support that these park provisions have that will encourage economic development, tourism, recreation, the agreement includes five new national historic parks, transfers management of two existing federal areas to the park
service. all of the new historical parks have been formally studied and they have been recommended for inclusion in the national park system, they focus on specific historic sites of national significance. then there's also studies which my colleague has referenced, studies for potential -- potential -- additions to the park system. these study authorizations have previously passed the house under suspension or gone through the senate by unanimous consent. so, again, madam president, this is nothing that we're trying to do a back door. the study that has gone on, the process on both the house side and the senate side that has been underway to ensure that there is that local support, that this is not just something that a member wants to attach his or her name to, that this has that local support, and
that in turn will help us with some of the funding issues that we're going to need to address for our park systems. i want to just conclude my remarks quickly here because senator flake has asked for a few minutes and i would like to defer to him for a moment, but the issue has also come up about existing national heritage areas and i think it's important for colleagues to know that we do provide for extensions, limited extensions for existing heritage areas, but there are new heritage areas that are created created, and i think it's important to recognize that when we talk about extensions, it is extensions of existing heritage sites. so with that, madam president, if i may, i'd like to yield to
my cheeg from arizona, nor flake. we have been working not only with senator flake but with senator mccain on a provision that will certainly not only benefit his state, but it will benefit the united states in terms of jobs, economic opportunity, and a mineral resource -- namely, copper -- that is extraordinarily important to us. and with that, i had a he like to turn to senator flake. mr. flake: madam president? ferraro the senator frothe prese senator from arizona. mr. flake: these are difficult pieces of legislation to put together. it's particularly difficult living in the west when you have states like arizona that are about 87% publicly owned by either the federal government, state government, or tribal
governments. and to have access and have rural communities have access to economic development when you're dealing with resources that are often on these lands and when land exchanges need to be done, it's extremely difficult to do that because it's often seen as a parochial interest, and it's difficult to get support from around the country for something that's needed in arizona without putting a package together that has other items that are needed in other states, particularly in the west. and so i want to compliment the gentlelady from alaska and others who worked so hard to put this complex package together that has many beneficiaries and also to put it together in a way where we're not contributing or increasing the size of the federal estate, that we're
promoting economic development in states like arizona. as the gentlelady meptioned wite gentlelady mentioned as with regard to arizona and what this does it allows land exchange to happen, that will allow a copper mine to be developed, that will ultimately produce -- likely or can produce about 25% of the copper needed for manufacturing, for use in this country. that's not just an economic development issue, that's a national security issue as well, to make sure that we are more independent with regard to our source minerals. and in terms of economic development a of the state, it's huge. we're talking about thousands of jobs over the next several decades that will be produced and will continue economic development for the rural communities of superior, globe, and miami that have had a tough time, and this will be really good for those communities and
for the entire state. so i commend, again, those who put this together. it's never good to see big packages with so many things in them. that's what we want to get away from, and hopefully we can in the new congress. but it's been very difficult to move individual pieces of legislation over the past couple of years, and so, unfortunately, we're often saddled with trying to put together a package and attaching it to a larger bill, as was the case here. but, again, kudos to those who worked so hard to put it together, and i appreciate the intul generals ointulgenerals o. i yield back. ms. mikulski: madam president, i thank -- ms. murkowski: madam president, i thank my colleague
from arizona. the and as he has pointed out, not only is this measure important to the state of arizona but the state of nevada will also gain the benefit of being able to access copper resources in that region well as well, bringing jobs and bra brig a resource. so, contained in this package -- and, again, a balanced package, and we're talking about the federal land conveyances for economic and community development. we've mentioned the opportunity for mineral production with two copper mines, one in arizona, one in nevada, opportunity for increased timber production in my state. we will finally realize the obligation to settle the land claims with the native people of the southeastern part of the
state in the sialaska region. they're still awaiting their conveyance. this measure that we have in front of us will not only fulfill that decades' old promise, but it will allow for a continuation of timber within their region, albeit very, very, very reduced, but in order to move to that second growt growth-growth transition that the forest service is always talking about you have to have an industry that's just staying alive. and this sea alaska lands provision will help with that, but it was also crafted in a way that took into account the concerns of the fisheries, the stewardship for our lands, placing additional lands in conservation area. so, again, a keen balance.
the other provisions that relate to our federal lands and our ability to access them, i think, are important, making them productive. the provision allows for land management agencies with the needed authority to renew and process raising permits and leases. my colleague from new mexico has been work on it and in terms of something that provides certainty to america's ranching community, this is so keen. this is so important. we also work to expand the successful b.l.m. permit streamlining program to boost oil and gas production from the federal lands. that's kind of the economic development piece, but the conservation piece, i think, is equally important. it does designate wilderness,
designates approximately 245,000 acres of wilderness in total. but i think what's important for colleagues to recognize is that just about half of that, just abouts half of those acres are already managed as if it were wilderness; in other words, they're in wilderness study areas or roadless areas. and so, again, we looked at those -- at those measures where there was support at the local level, at the state level, represented by the -- by the members of congress who had worked over the years to gain the level of support for these provisions. there is no cramdown, there is no designation from the executive as to monument status. this is how the process is designed to work. we also return 26,000 total wilderness study areas to
multiple use. again, for greater activity on those lands. we protect private property rights in all of our special land designations. there's no private property that can be condemned or acquisitions through eminent domain, private activities taking place outside of the special land designation are not going to be precluded by such designations, and we have ensured that there's no buffer zones or protected perimeters that would encroach on personal and public rights. i've been asked about the impact on hunting, hunting and fishing on our public lands, because that's something that -- particularly those of us in the west care a great deal about. the and i've heard some concerns that there may be negative impacts. but i want to make clear here that the wilderness areas in this bill concern the authority of the states.
in the wilderness bills that we have in new mexico and nevada, they have inquorpted restated the law -- this is section 302 of flpma -- to provide ainsurances that the wilderness designations do not give the secretaries any new authorities to close federal lands to hunting, fishing, ow trapping -g that they don't already have. so we put in place protections, again, trying to find a balance between the conservation and the development providing for access, ensuring that private rights are respected, ensuring that our opportunities for use and enjoyment as well as economic activity is preserved, trying to find a package that is balanced from the bicameral, bipartisan perspective, making sure that we are not imposing costs again on revenue-neutral
proposal. i think that is also worth stressing. i've seen something out there that suggests that there is an impact on direct spending from title 30. and the fact is that it is revenue-neutral over these next ten years. we do not take anything from the defense authorization perspective within this bill with this lands package. that was never the intent. it was not the design. and it will not impact that. so with that, madam president, i will go ahead and yield the floor and reserve the balance of my time. mr. menendez: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: madam president, i rise in strong support of the lands packages, and i want to congratulate the senator from alaska as well as the senator
from louisiana for their work and particularly in support of adding hench cliff stadium to the great falls national park in patterson, niewrnl. it has a special place in the hearts of many new jerseyans and it's played a vital role in the story of america's fight against institutionalized segregation. critics of this legislation are using a picture of the stadium showing overgrown grub shrubs ad graffiti on the walls, asking whether it should be in our national parks system. unfortunately, the picture being circulated only shows a side of the stoart at a different time. what it fails to show is the dedicated work of a surrounding community to clean up hench cliff stadium. so i brought three photographs today that i think help illustrate the work being done in patterson and to put to rest this notion that the stadium is an abandoned place that the community doesn't care about. the first is a picture of dozens
of local residents working together to clean up the stands, paint the wawcialtion and begin the process -- paint the walls, and begin the process of restoring this vital community center. the second is a close-up picture of just a handful of these volunteers. these are young people take the time to improve their community and honor the history that was behind the stadium. and the third shows the final product, much different than what my colleagues showed, of their hard work. these pictures were taken earlier this year at an event where 700 volunteers worked to clean up hench cliff stadium. the argument that we are dumping this land on the national park service just simply is false. the legislation specifically -- specifically prohibits the park service from directly purchasing this land, meaning that the community of patterson will continue to be intricately
involved in the management and preservation of the stadium. madam president, i think these photographs dedicatillustrate tt we have to preserving and protecting hinchcliff stadium. there is a reason for this. hinchcliff stadium has the designation of being one of the remaining sites that hosted the negro league baseball. in the 1930's and 1940's, hinchcliff was the home of the blank yankee and hosted what was called the "colored championship." in 1936, the field was home to the new york could youians, a team mapped of players from cuba, the dough minutian republic. some of baseball's greatest stars including sacho page, larry doaby, all took the field at hinchcliff staid stadium. larry dobey went on to become the first player in the american
league. contrary to the negative and misrepresentations we are hearing today, hinchcliff stadium should be part of the paterson great falls park. everyone knows it and america should know it as well. i'm proud to be a sponsor of the legislation adding hinchcliff to the boundaries of the national park. this bill has been championed by congressman pass cancer religion where it was passed by a voice vote earlier this year. i want to read briefly from a guest columnist editorial that congressman pascrell wrote with another individual, he said hinchcliffe stadium in paterson one of the last remaining stadiums associated with the negro league baseball. it's where sports and racial history coalesce.
hinchcliffe stadium is the only national historic landmark in baseball, and only one of two professional negro league venues considered nationally significant. even cal rypien, -- cal ripken talked about hinchcliffe, not only does it deserve recognition for its place in history but the opportunity to be restored in a place where tomorrow's youth will be able to workweek in the footsteps of yesterday's legends and experience the history of the community firsthand. this legislation has been cosponsored by senator booker and formerly, jeff keysa, a republican -- jeff chiesa, who served after the passing of senator lautenberg. one of hinchcliffe's greater champions. the version we consider today
includes amendments suggested both by the park service and by house republicans. that's why it passed by voice. some critics critics have cited a previous national park study opposing the inclusion of the stadium in the national park. the study was discredited by 25 distinguished scholars at the time and since then the park service has completed additional studies and designated the stadium as a national historic landmark. i believe strongly the story of our fight against institutionalized segregation is a story worth telling. now, critics of this legislation may look at hinchcliffe stadium and see a run-down sportsfield. not me. when i look at hinchcliffe stadium, i see a field of dreams. an enduring reminder of how far we've come since the days of separate but equal, when institutional segregation marginalized the works, dreams and achievements of african-americans. i see a community coming together decades after
hinchcliffe first earned a place in the canon of american history to preserve the legacy it represents and i urge my colleagues to stand me in standing up for this legacy and supporting the inclusion of hinchcliffe stadium in the great falls national park as part of the lands package. with that i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: madam president, first let me thank senator landrieu and senator murkowski for their work on this legislation. i was listening to senator murkowski go through how this process came together. i also listened to senator coburn's concerns about the process that's been used. so let me just share with my colleagues why i strongly support tin conclusion of the lands package in the national defense authorization act and encourage my colleagues to support the vote later today. and i reference specifically the harriet tubman national historic park.
talk about frustration. this park, although approved through studies and went through all the appropriate ways for its designation, was held by one senator on a hold for three and a half years. three and a half years. and that's despite the fact that since 2012, there was an offset to make sure it did not cost any additional resources, a requirement that i was told i needed to satisfy to remove the hold. so there's a lot of frustration here and i appreciate with senator murkowski, the history subcommittee shaheen went through. she's absolutely right. we try to bring these through on an individual basis, we would never get done the work of the united states senate. these land issues have been vetted and i can tell you in regards to the harriet tubman national historic park, it is very, very much needed. this senate, this body did pass
this particular designation earlier this year so this has already been passed by the senate. in the house i worked with congressman harris and congressman muffet feeling with some of the same issues that senator murkowski mentioned a few moments ago, that is to make sure we have the right balance between the lands that are designated as part of the historic park and landowners' rights in the community. and the balance that senator murkowski said generally in regards to the provisions apply in regards to the harriet tubman park and i thank senator harris and muffet for their help. i want to acknowledge the work of senator mikulski, senator gillibrand, and senator schumer, for their help in bringing about this package and bringing about the ability today to finally pass the designation of the harriet tubman national
historic park. now, madam president, this will be the first woman, the first african-american woman to have such a recognition under our national park system and i think this is an appropriate way, an appropriate person for this historic moment. i think most people know that harriet tubman was considered the moses of her people. that's because she was born into slavery in dorchester county, maryland on the eastern shore of maryland and for 30 years she lived in slavery. then on her own, by herself, escaped slavery and made her way to liberty. in 1849. she did this alone. but the courage of this woman, she didn't stop there. she then came back and rescued other slaves and brought them to freedom under the underground railroad which took slaves from slavery to freedom.
i am proud of the historic significance of the state of maryland in that regard with the birthplace of harriet tubman, where the underground railroad operated. the eastern shore of course is on the eastern part of our state. by take you to the western part of the state in cumberland where you can see the church where the slaves on the way to freedom were sheltered before they went through a tunnel to the railroad and literally went to pennsylvania and freedom. so this is an incredible opportunity. we have the landscape, we have the property on the eastern shore of maryland. in auburn, new york we have where harriet tubman lived the later years of her life. after escaping and becoming free she was a spy for the north, for the union during the civil war. she then went on to help with women's suffrage, set up a home for the aged, african-americans in new york. a lot of those properties still exist today up in new york and will be part of the harriet tub
matter historic park. this is an appropriate way to honor a real hero of our country but also to provide a way where young people and all the people in this country can learn more about harriet tubman. it will help the local economies of new york and pennsylvania, it's part of the national park system's dedication to african-american history, and i think this is a very appropriate and at long last able to get this done. so for those who express frustration, we had this paid for a long time ago, we had worked out all the balances a long time ago, we thought this would be done a long time ago but today we have a chance to get it doesn't and i urge my colleagues to support the package and support the ndaa bill. with that, madam president, i would yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. heinrich: madam president, i rise in strong opposition to the motion to refer which would remove the public lands title
from the defense authorization bill. and like some of my colleagues, i think an appropriate place to start today is to thank the efforts of chair landrieu and ranking member murkowski on the energy and natural resources committee, who worked so hard to come up with a package that could actually move in this divided congress. the bills in this package have been the subject of incredibly long debate. many of them, like the bill you just heard about from my colleague in maryland, have been under consideration for years. almost all the bills included in the public lands package have received hearings in either the senate energy and natural resources committee, or the house natural resources committee. and almost all were also favorably reported by these committees. for example, every provision in the lands package relating to a national park designation or the
expansion and every provision designating federal land as wilderness in this package were closely considered by the energy and natural resources committee and cleared the committee with bipartisan support. and i should note many of these provisions were not only the subject of committee hearings in this congress and markups in this congress, but in previous years as well. the public lands title is the product of lengthy negotiations with the house, with both republican and democratic priorities included. some senate provisions were modified to address concerns raised by the house of representatives. other house provisions were modified to address senate concerns. madam president, this package is a compromise. there's a lot in it that i love. but a few things that i absolutely don't support, and there are also things that i had hoped would be in this package
that will not be in this package. but that is the nature of compromise and governance. and, frankly, that is something we need a lot more around here. this package conserves our nation's natural resources, our water resources, our wildlife habitat. it preserves our nation's culture and history, and allows for the smart and responsible development of our public lands as well. we have a responsibility to future generations to be good stewards of our shared culture and the natural world. now, before i close, madam president, it will come as no surprise to you or to many of my colleagues that as i travel across new mexico, what i hear time and again from people is that they are frustrated with washington, that congress can't get anything
done, that compromise sounds like a dirty word to some of our colleagues. we have an opportunity to change that today. let's work together and be willing to compromise in order to get things done for our constituents and for the american people. our constituents across this are great nation deserve no less. and i would urge my colleagues' support of the package and opposition to the motion to refer. and i would yield back the remainder of my time, madam president. madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico.
mr. heinrich: by yield to the senator from alaska. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: madam president, i understand that there's still about five or six minutes remaining of my time, and if there are other colleagues that would care to speak on the significance of title 30 of ndaa, the natural resources and the related provisions, i'm certainly happy to yield to them. but i want to thank my colleagues who have come to the floor on both sides of the aisle to speak to some of the specifics that are contained within this bill because i think it helps to understand why we are at this late point in the calendar with a package of different bills focusing in different areas, whether it's a small land conveyance, whether it is creation of a wilderness area that has come about through
a great deal of compromise and collaboration, or whether it is a conveyance that will allow for economic opportunity through mineral development, timber harvest or grazing opportunities. i think it does speak to just the diversity of what we are dealing with, with so many of our public lands, and the reality that they're different all over. very different in alaska from what my friend from new mexico experiences. the similarity that we have is that we don't have the ability to do it on our own. we have to come to the federal government. so what will happen is whether you're in new mexico or whether you're in alaska or points in between, you have local consensus emerge around an issue, they bring it to the state and the state works with
us at the federal level, members of the house, members of the senate, and we continue to work this process, and it usually is a very collaborative process. just because it's collaborative doesn't mean we agree on every issue. there's a great deal of give and take that goes on because when you're talking about your public lands, every acre is precious to somebody and i know that full well in the legislative session we've been -- legislation we've been working for a decade now. if fishermen have a certain interests, the conservationists have certain interests, the school district has certain interests and so how we build this takes time. but it seems the only place we don't get time sheer on the senate floor. we don't have the time allocated to