way. they say what's the difference? it doesn't matter. but my friend is right, on the bigger picture, if the fishery dies and all the jobs with the fishery die and there's no demand for the water for the fish anymore, my friend is right. that relieves the discussion. so, yeah. you know what it reminds me of, say to my friend -- i remember once when they said, let's raise the retirement age for social security because, you know, people are working longer and so-and-so and so, and it will help the social security trust fund. well, if you take that, my friend, to the ultimate, why don't we say, people should work until they're 90 and then there won't be any social security problem because everyone will die before it kicks in? it's the same analogy here. you kill off all the fish, and the entire salmon fishery, then
all you have is agriculture demanding water and then they'll try to step upon the urban users and the suburban users and the rural users and they'll say, we're the only thing that matters, and they're already using, under most analyses, 80% of the water in my state. so you're right. i kill off the fishery, then that's one less stakeholder to care about. you tell people, don't retire until you ar are 90, the social security trust fund will be very vibrant. ms. cantwell: mid understanding -- my understanding, as the senator from california knows, but one of the states that's very concerned about this is arizona because they've been left out of that discussion and it kind of also says to people, you don't have to have -- you don't have to have these discussions amongst everybody together. you can just write it into law. and my understanding is that our colleagues from florida and
alabama also have a similar concern because there are -- people are trying to use the legislative process to unbalance the negotiations, so they can legislate instead of negotiate. and not only are they trying to just legislate instead of negotiate, they are trying to use earmarks to do it and to overrule existing law. so am i correct, to the senator from california i'd like to know, are we going to get anywhere in giving california more water if in fact this ends up in court and it's stayed and you won't really get any water in the next few years, because to me, one of the advantages -- and i would ask you if you agree -- is in a collaborative process, you -- should i make a footnote for my colleague from california. thank you for your compliment. i had to chair a three-hour hearing once on the san juan
keen river settlement. because of that, i lrned a lot about the fights of california and all of the problems that california had then. this was at the time my colleague, tim johnson, was the ranking member/chair of that subcommittee and had been stricken ill and they asked me if i could step n i had no idea i was going to spend three hours hearing about 18 years of litigation. that's right. 18 years of litigation on the san joaquin river and basically the people came to the hearing that day, which is now maybe probably 10 years ago to tell me that it was not worth the 18 years of litigation, that they had determined that while they could sue each other all they wanted, that et going to a resolution about how to move forward on water had to be a much more collaborative solution to the process. and, secondly, i'd like to mention to my colleague from california and see if she knows
about this, the same happened on the klamath basin, which is legislation we tried to pass here, because the klamath basin said, let's negotiate even though our -- the various people in that dispute had a dispute and actually went to court and the regional tribe won in the court and basically didn't have to do anything more on water issues but decided that in the good interest of trying have a resolution, it was a good idea to come to the table and try this collaborative approach. so the point being is that if you don't -- if you set up a parameter -- i was mentioning my time chairing a three-hour hearing on the san joaquin river settlement that people had come to after 18 years of fighting each other in court. they came and they said, oh, we have a settlement, we have a settlement. and the point was that we tried
to litigate and sue each other for 18 years and we didn't get anywhere and now we have a settlement and we'd like to move forward. and so my point is that that is the best way for us to move forward on water issues is to have everybody at the table and come to agreements, because there's a lot of things you can do in the near-term while you're working on water in a more aggressive fashion to get some of the thornier issues. but if you basically try to litigate -- thank you try to legislate instead of -- if you try to legislate instead of negotiate, you end up with what happened with san with a koofnlt so you end up knoll not having a resolution and the whole point is to get people water. and so do you think that's where we're headed if we end up just trying to tell people you can just legislate -- well, it sound interesting, and if you can get somebody to write an earmark for you you're in good shape, i guess, if you can get that out
of the house of representatives. but in relate tier a not in good shape if you don't actually get water because you end up in a lawsuit for so many years, like san joaquin. is that where we're going to head on this? mrs. boxer: again, i say to my friend, she's so smart on this. of course that's where it's headed. and i encourage it. if this happens and you and i are not successful, senator, and this winds up to be the law of the land, a provision added in the dead of night that forces water to be operated a certain way, that violates the biological opinions on fish, that violates the science, i hope they take this to court day one. i don't care. you can say whatever you want. oh, this isn't a violation of the endangered species act. really? clearly it is. and you're absolutely right. 18 years in court over an
agreement. and that's another reason i'm totally stunned at this. but i think it is about what my friend said. who's got the most juice? who's got the most power to sit down and get someone who is a senator or a member of the house to add language? it's a nightmare. and the reason that we've been obstreperous and the reason that we're standing on our feet and didn't yield to other people is we're trying to make a simple point. you show it with your chart. for all the people who said we shouldn't do earmarks, this is such an incredible earmark, it actually tells the federal government how to operate a water project. it's extraordinary. and to -- and to walk away from a biological opinion from the science. of course it's going to wind up in court. and i hope it does.
what i'd rather do is beat it. what i'd rather do is get it out, because it's only, as my friend said, going to encourage more similar types of legislating where people, you know, have the power and the money and the ear of a senator to call up and say, you know what? i'm having trouble in my agribusiness. i need more water. it's ridiculous. we're all suffering in this drought, i say to my friend. california is in a drought. there's a lot of rain coming down it in the north. very little in the south. and i pray god it continues. i do. we're getting a lot of rain so far. but i don't trust it at all. and the only way -- there's two ways to meet this challenge. one way is to figure out a way to get more water to everyone. that means take the salt out of water -- and we do it.
i've toured the desal plants and it's very encourage. one way is to take the salt out or put more water in the system. another way is to recycle, another way is recharging. all of this was in your committee. which was bypassed. the other way to do it is the wrong way to do it, which is take a side of one business group -- agribusiness -- versus a salmon fishery and destroy the salmon fishery, and then, as my friend points out, in years to come, well, isn't that a shame? there is a he no more salmon -- there's no more salmon fisheri fisheries. in the meantime, we're eating farmed salmon and all of these people are out of work after a way of life they've had for a vow long time. my friend is very prescient and she talks about the reality. we're here. we're not dreamers.
we're realists. we know what happens in the water wars. so i would continue to yield to my friend. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i would ask my colleague if -- again, i don't think this is the jurisdiction of your committee. that's why i'm asking, is is that if we did want to pursue with the bureau of reclamation the notion that we should do more underground water storage -- again, that would be something we would authorize; that's what i want to ask you if that is in fact the case. and my understanding, because we have to deal with this so much in the pacific northwest. we're a hydro state that has really affordable electricity, but we get it out of the snowpack that comes in the wintertime. now that the climate is changing and it's getting warmer, we don't have the long snowpack. so one of the things to store that snowpack would be to have underground aquifer storage. and i think that that is an idea
that stanford university has signed off on. they basically signed off on it because they said it was the most cost-effective thing for the taxpayer and most immediate impact, because what you were just saying about rain, if you get a lot of rain right now -- because it's not snowpack. if it's rain, store it, just like we were storing the snowpack. but now store it in aquifers underground and that would give us the ability to have more utter with a. stanford is like, yes, yes, yes, this is the best thing to do. this is what i think your state is trying to pursue. so in that regard, i don't even think that is the authorization of your committee, if i'm correct. but -- is that an idea that you and california would pursue to immediately in the next few years start a process for getting water to the central valley and to various parts of california? mrs. boxer: without a doubt, my friend is right. i.t. not like we're -- it's not like we're dealing with a subject matter that has no solutions. and the science has shown us the
various ways to do t certainly underground storage is fantastic. recharging, all of these things that we know -- recycling, conservation, and desal. these are just some thoughts. and my friend is rievment the jurisdiction -- and my friend is right. the jurisdiction is mostly in her committee. we may have a few things to do, wonderful. to me, the important point is, here we have -- and i'm going to sum it and you the -- and then e floor. i need to go do 17 things and then be back. here's the situation: we have a water resources development act bill. it passed here with 95 votes. nothing passes here with 95 votes, even saying "happy mother's day" we have more "no" votes. and it is a beautiful bill, my friend. is it perfect? no. but it was very good. for my state, for your state, very good.
now, it's moving through the house and in the middle of the night, without anyone even seeing it, this -- this horrible, horrible poison pill amendment is added, which essentially is a frontal attack on the salmon fishery and all the people who work in it, not only in my state, in your state and oregon. so all of the senators, save one, we are aparliamentary inquiry plek particular about what it means to jobs and what it means to tradition and what it means to history. and what it means to have wild salmon. very important. and so it's a frontal assault on the industry. it's a frontal assault on the e.s.a. it's a front assault on the notion that flor more earmarks -- that there are no more earmarks, and then it has another provision cutting the congress out of authorizing new dams in all of the western states for the next five years.
this is dropped from the ceiling into the wrda bill. and now i stand, as one of the two people who did the most work on that bill, saying "vote no." very difficult for meevment but i think it is absolutely a horrible process, a horrible rider, it's going to result in pain and suffering among our fishing families. so with that, i thank my friend. i yield the floor. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i want to thank the senator from california for her steadfast support of doing the right things on clean water and clean air and for focusing on this issue for her state because, ultimately, she wants water for her state, she knows that litigation is not the route to get it, she knows that there are things that we can be doing here but that we have to get people to support that.
so i would thank her for her obligations to make sure her constituents get real results. this rider is a giveaway to people who are basically described as "deadbeat dams," projects in california that are opposed by tribes and fishermen and sportsmen and environmental communities. and basically it writes a blank check to them, allowing millions of taxpayer dollars to be used to construct dams throughout the west without any further congressional approval. that in and of itself should cause our colleagues pause. you're going to go home to have to tell your constituents all of a sudden that someone is building a dam on a beautiful river in your state and you can't do anything about it. so i would hope that our colleagues in those 17 western states who would be impacted by this would do something to help
tell our colleagues to strip out this controversial provision and send it back to the house in a clean bill. in addition, as i mentioned, section 4007 authorizes the secretary to pay up to a quarter of costs of state water storage in any of these 17 reclamation states. and the secretary would have to notify congress after 30 days in deciding to participate. so these issues here on our process are going to make it much harder for us in the future to not have the taxpayers paying for projects that are nothing but further litigation in the process. now why is collaboration so important? collaboration is important because these thorny issues. there are lots of different national interests at stake and a lot of local interests and a lot of jobs. my colleague from california
probably not in the last hour that we've been discussing this, but probably earlier in the afternoon mentioned the huge amount of pacific west coast fisheries that are also opposed to this bill. and trout unlimited, who is opposed to this legislation, and various fishing groups and organizations, because fishermen want to have rivers that are functioning with clean water and enough stream flow for fish to migrate. so the fishing economy in the northwest i can easily say is worth billions. anybody who knows anything about the pacific northwest, whether you are in oregon or in washington, maybe even alaska, that the pride of our region is the pacific coast salmon. and the pacific coast salmon is about having the ability to have
good, healthy rivers and stream flow. so for us in the northwest, this is an issue that i can easily say we have at least 100 ph.d.'s on. that is to say the subject is so knowledgeable, so formulated, so battled over, so balanced that it would be like having 100 ph.d.'s on the subject. that's because we have a huge columbia river basin and because the columbia river basin has many tributaries and because the salmon is such an icon and it needs that basin. and we also have a hydro system and we also have an incredible, incredible, incredible agriculture business in our state. i think we're up to something like varieties of agriculture products, something like 7
different agriculture products. we too have to balance fish and farming, fishermen and tribes, the whole issues of our environment and recreation and the need for hydro and balance that all out. we have to do that practically every single day. and so it has been these kinds of decisions that has taught us as a region and a state that by collaboration we can get results and move forward. now my predecessor, or one of my colleagues in the house who was the former leader on the natural resources committee, dock hastings and i i think probably more than ten-plus years ago had regional discussions within secretary of interior salazar who came to the northwest, and we sat down and we said what do we do about the akama basin. it was sunday morning and you
would think that everybody getting together on sunday morning, is that important? well, it was. there were probably 50 or 60 different interests meeting with us. the secretary of interior, congressman hastings, myself and many, many other interests. and we talked about what do we want to do with the yakima basin. and there has been great pride that i've had to offer legislation along with my colleague, senator murray, on how to move the yakima basin project forward here in the united states senate. and i say with pride because it was a collaborative effort. these are people who do not agree with each other, who have fought each other, who basically probably disagree on the most essential elements of their viewpoint, and yet, and yet reached consensus, delighted in their resolve and came forward with legislation to say this is how you should deal
with our water problems in a drought when your state has both farming and fishing needs. our governor got behind it, governor ensly. other people got behind it. i have been at several forums. national organizations, california institutions are holding up the yakima deal as the example of how water management should be done in the future. why? because it was holistic. that means it included everything on the table. it was a regional approach and everybody came to the table many and because it didn't try to solve every single problem up front but came to what we could agree to today and moved forward because it would claim some water that we need now. so the fact that the yakima project became such a milestone, our colleagues in the klamath and in oregon did the same things.
they worked together in a collaborative fashion and tried to discuss these issues. and i would say for the most part all of these issues have been with these discussions in the past that our colleagues bring legislation here to the united states senate. very rarely has somebody brought language without everybody locally working together and agreeing. i don't know of times when my colleagues have brought legislation where they're basically just trying to stick it to one state or the other. except for now this seems to be the norm. it seems to be what we're encouraging here today to do. and so the california project is one in which we wish that they would seek the same kind of collaborative approach to dealing with both fishermen whose economy is immensely important in california and farmers who also are important but should not be the, or have
the ability to supersede these laws that are already on the books. what they should do is learn from where the san joaquin river proposal was that you can battle this for 18 years or you can resolve these differences and move forward. but when you can write an earmark and send it over here as a poison pill on a bill, you're hoping that you don't have to sit down at the table and work in a constructive fashion. it's very disappointing to me that some of the partners in this deal, as we put ideas on the table to give 300-acre feet to the farmers in the west lands region over the next two years, give them 300-acre feet of water over the next two years while we are working with them on an aquifer recharge, their answer back to us in an e-mail was we want to play our hand here and see if we can jam this through first. so basically they don't want to
work in a collaborative fashion. they don't want to work with the region to find solutions. they want to legislate something that will lead to litigation. and litigation is not going to lead to more water. it's going to lead to longer delays in getting water to everybody that needs it. now i wouldn't be out here spending this much time with our colleagues if it wasn't for the fact that this issue is just at its beginning. drought has already cost our nation billions of dollars, and it is going to cost us more. that is that drought is causing great issue with water and fish and farming. it's also causing problems with fire. it's making our forests more vulnerable to the type of explosive fires that we've seen in the pacific northwest that wiped across 100,000 acres of
forest land in just four hours. that is the kind of things that hot and dry weather can do. so our colleagues need to come together on what would be the process for us dealing with drought. the fact that california has been the tip of the spear is just that. it's just the tip of the spear. everybody else is going to be dealing with this in western states. my colleagues who already represent hot and dry states already know they have had to deal with this from a collaborative process. so i would hope that our colleagues who care greatly about the fact that drought is going to be a persistent problem for the future would come together with us and say we can get out of town tonight, we can get out of town in the next few hours. all you have to do is accept our offer to strip this poison pill
earmark that is costing taxpayers $500 million off of the wrda bill because it's not even part of the wrda jurisdiction, and send it back on a clean wrda bill to the house of representatives. that's what my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want, and that's what we want. so the only people that are holding this place up are the people who want to jam somebody in december at the end of a session because it's the way to get poison pill ideas done. so i hope our colleagues, you know, people are taking note. i know the "san francisco chronicle" had a story that the house ok's a bill to increase pumping from our rivers and putting fish at risk and the quote in there about undermining the endangered species act. there was an editorial as well, i believe, from the same newspaper. i don't know that we have a
quote from the editorial here, but i think i submitted that earlier for the record. it basically said stop the feinstein water bill rider. and basically said that we have to work to share water among people and farmers and the environment, not try to benefit one interest over the other with a midnight rider. so the press is watching. i think there was a story today in the "san jose" newspaper as well. i don't know if i have that with me. but we will enter that, mr. president, later into the record. but having other newspapers in california write editorials on this is most helpful because it is bringing to light the kinds of things that are happening here in the united states senate
that people all throughout the west need to pay attention to. we wish that drought could be solved so easily by just giving one interest more resource over the other, but that's not the way we're going to deal with this. and if we have colleagues in the house who would rather steal water from fish than fund aquifer recharge, then we should have that debate in the united states senate in the committee of jurisdiction or even here on the floor as it relates to whose jurisdiction and funding it really is. but to stick the taxpayer with a bill of paying for dams in 17 states without any further discussion by our colleagues is certainly putting the taxpayers at risk, and that is why taxpayer organizations have opposed this legislation. so if we want to get done, if we want to get out of here, let's strip this language off and let's be done with it and send to our colleagues a clean
the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, we have been running the hotline on the session of month ne montene- accession of montenegro as a member of the neigh to alliance. -- neigh a lines. as i know the senator knows, in our committee we have held extensive hearings on nato and the accession of montenegro as a member into the alliance. quite frankly, that is very important matter for us to try to complete before we adjourn in this session of congress.
and let me say why. montenegro has made all the necessary steps in order to be in full compliance for joining the alliance of nato. we have reviewed very carefully their commitment in regards to their military, their defense budgets, their institutional changes that they've made, their willing misto take on the responsibilities as a -- their willingness to take on the responsibilities as a full nato partner. and quite frankly, they have endured outside interference that has tried to compromise their ability to complete the process what. do i mean by that 123? we just recently had parliamentary elections in montenegro. we saw russia try to interfere with the parliamentary elections, to try to instill some instability in the that country as an effort to influence not only montenegro but the international community, the members of nato's interest
in completing the nato approval. as you know, every member state of the alliance must approve any new member and requires votes in all states. several have already voted to approve the accession of montenegro into the alliance. now, mr. president, the reason why i say this is extremely important to get done now is that russia does not hold a veto on the accession of new countries, of new states into the nato alliance and they've done everything they can to try to interfere with this process. i think the clear message is that we in the united states senate are not going to be intimidated by russia and we're going to stand by this alliance, and we have a chance to do that within the next, i hope, few hours before the congress completes its work. so i really wanted to just
underscore the importance of us taking action on the montenegro issue. the ambassador to montenegro has been in our committee frequently, has kept up informed on everything that's taken place. i've had a changes to meet with many -- i've had a chance to meet with many of our nato member nation states. quite frankly it is the u.s. action that will be the most significant. and it's important that we speak with a very strong voice. if we don't get it done now, then of course it will not be able to come up again until the next congress and then of course we have a new administration coming in on january 20. so i think it is important that we complete this process now. it's strongly supported by the administration. it is strongly supported by democrats and republicans. the recommendation passed our committee by unanimous support. i want to thank chairman corker for handling this matter in a very expeditious way, a very thorough way.
we didn't shortcut anything. we've gone through the full process. it's now time for us to act. if we want to send a clear message that russia cannot intimidate the actions of the united states senate, that russia cannot intimidate our partners, then i think the clearest way we can send that message is to vote -- make sure that we complete action on the accession of montenegro before congress adjourns sine die. so i would urge my colleagues, i think this has cleared both the democratic and republican hotlines and there's been no specific objection that i am aware of that's been raised by any member of the united states senate to taking final action on this. i know we have other issues that are interfering with consideration of some bills. i would just urge us to resolve those issues so that this very important matter can be completed. as the ranking democrat on the senate foreign relations
committee, i have been working with chairman corker, i can tell you that this is a very important step for us to take in this congress, and i would urge our colleagues to figure out a way that we can bring this to a conclusion before congress adjourns. with that, mr. president, i would ask consent i put my full statement in the record, and i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, recently i met with the parents of austin tyce, a constituent of mine in texas who has unfortunately been abducted in syria a few years ago and of course his parents have been keeping a flame alive, hoping that austin has survived the circumstances of his capture. and their suggestion last week when i was in austin, they traveled over from houston to visit with me about a briefing that they had received recently from james c. owe bryant, the presidential envoy for hostage affairs. just earlier today i had a
chance to be briefed by mr. o'bryant and he delivered positive yet cautious news about austin tice an american journalist taken hostage in syria four years ago. mr. o'bryant and his team informed me that they have high confidence that mr. tice is alive in syria along with others who are being held captives. while this is certainly positive news i can't help but think of his parents and what they have had to go through these last four years. they're not just counting the months, they're not just counting the days but they're literally counting the minutes and the seconds since he's been gone and then counting those milestones that we typically observe in our families: birthdays and holidays that they will never recover. so today's news should remind us that we cannot give up until we bring austin tice home. i renew once again my call for his immediate release by his
captors and i strongly urge the current and future administration to continue to utilize all possible means to secure his safe return. nothing can bring those years and months back, but we can start the healing process by doing everything possible to find austin and bring him home and to bring him home now. mr. president, we have gotten quite a bit done this week, but we're not finished yet. we passed a major medical innovation bill which contains not only the cancer moonshot project advocated by vice president biden and the president, but also other dramatic investments in research and development of lifesaving drugs that contained also a very important component of mental
health reform component. i was glad to contribute some to that effort, particularly the part that has to do with the intersection of our mental health treatment regime and our criminal justice system. as i've learned and as many of us have learned together, our jails have become the treatment center of last resort for people who are mentally ill, whose condition is not diagnosed. and if not diagnosed, these people tend to get sicker and sicker until they become a danger not only to themselves but potentially to the communities where they live. so we made good progress and perhaps thanks to the great leadership of senator alexander and senator murray, senator murphy, senator cassidy, tim murphy over in the house and the leadership there, we can be proud of that accomplishment. yesterday we finished up our work on the defense authorization bill to help our troops both here at home and
abroad to make sure they not only got a modest pay raise but that they continue to be supplied with the equipment and training they need in order to keep america safe here at home and abroad. i'm hopeful we'll continue our work and finish our work actually on the continuing resolution, a bill we need to get done today in order to keep the lights on. i know my colleague from illinois, the democratic whip, has been working on this. and i'm hopeful we can get everybody back to position of voting "yes" on this continuing resolution and we can complete our work. there are folks across the aisle who want to keep the continuing resolution from moving forward and literally to shut down the government. i would have hoped we would have learned our lessons the hard way, that that's not a way to solve our problems. and unfortunately the junior senator -- i guess he would be
senior senator from west virginia, senator manchin, has taken the position that even though we have funded the health care benefit program for the miners that he cares passionately about -- we all certainly understand that. we've done it through the end of the continuing resolution into april that he's not satisfied with the length of that continuing resolution. he said he would like to have it up to a year. but frankly, i think he's unwilling to take us up on my commitment, for example, to continue to work with him now that we've gotten that short-term extension to work on a longer-term extension once we get our work done. the truth is this bill, the continuing resolution passed the house yesterday with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle. it received support of 87% of the house republicans and 77% of house democrats.
the house of representatives has now left town for the holidays and it's up to the senate to finish the job. so at this point working all night and into the weekend won't change the inevitable outcome and shutting down the government doesn't help anyone, especially those holding up the process. so we're not done yet, but we are close. and with a little cooperation we'll be able to wrap up this congress soon and turn our folks to the nation's priorities. let me just mention a couple of other aspects of the continuing resolution because i've heard just among conversations with my own colleagues some misunderstanding about what we are doing in terms of let's say, defense spending which is one component of it. this continuing resolution funds the defense sector by a $7 billion increase than the continuing resolution we're
operating under. it's less than the authorization that the defense authorization bill provided for but as we all know, an authorization is not an appropriation. and when you compare appropriation or spending for defense under the continuing resolution we're currently operating under compared to the one that we will pass soon, it represents a $7.4 billion-plus up for defense. i'm one who believes that that's the single-most important thing the federal government does, providing for the common defense. and i would argue that that's probably not an adequate number. but it is a plus-up and it is the number that is passed by the house. and frankly, the house having left town and gone back home for the holidays, we are left with a choice of either accepting that level or not doing our job on a timely basis. this funding supports troop levels of up to 8,400 in
afghanistan, $4.3 billion to support counterterrorism and operating missions. this was supported by chairman thornberry of the house armed services committee and provides a procedure for a waiver for the next secretary of defense. this continuing resolution also provides $872 million in funding for the 21st century cures legislation we passed just a few days ago. $500 million to deal with the scourge of opioid abuse, but also to deal with prevention and treatment activities as well as $372 million for the national institutes of health. it provides emergency flood and natural disaster relief for potentially up to 45 states including my own. $4.1 billion in emergency natural disaster relief. and as i mentioned earlier, it does provide a short-term coal miners fix while we work on a
longer-term solution. so my hope is, again, we can get it done. let me turn to what will be the business of the senate when we return in january. one of the first orders of business when we reconvene next month will be to consider and vote on the new president's nominees to fill his leadership team, the cabinet nominees we've been hearing a lot about in the last couple of weeks. last week i came to the floor to congratulate my friend and our colleague, senator jeff sessions, on his nomination to be the next attorney general. he is a man of strong conviction and real character, and i have no doubt whatsoever that he is the right man for the job. and i know that many in our conference share my eagerness to start the confirmation process so we can give president trump the team he needs to get -- hit the ground running. but i am disappointed, i have to say, in the way some of our
colleagues on the other side of the aisle are already posturing against the president-elect's nominees. fortunately for us, they telegraphed their obstruction in the news media so we know about some of their nascent plans to obstruct president-elect trump's cabinet. earlier this week "politico" said this was the democrat strategy: to delay -- delay tactics that could sap momentum from the president's first 100 days was the headline. the article goes on to cite conversations with several senate democrats who have already laid out a plan to slow walk, because they know they can't block, president-elect trump's nominees in the new year. it's one thing to obstruct and to slow the senate down, but it's a bigger problem when they intentionally try to keep the president-elect from doing his job too. and i would ask for what? just to delay progress? to drudge up partisan rhetoric
and to do all they can to damage the administration of the next president of the united states before it's already gotten started? this is absolute nonsense and i think this is the kind of activity that the american people repudiated in the last election on november 8. they're sick and tired of the partisan rhetoric on both sides. they literally want us to get some things done on their behalf for the american people. and holding up the confirmation process for purely political gain is irresponsible and dangerous. but it's also ironic that some of the democrat, our democratic colleagues have changed their tune so much. here's just one quote from our friend, the senator from michigan. part of the democratic leadership. senator stabenow said on april 20, 2015, "when a president wins an election, they have the right to have their team." one thing i've learned, if
you've been around here long enough, there's great danger of being on both sides of an issue. and so you have to try to be consistent, even with the temptations to change your position based on who's up and who's down. but i agree with the senator from michigan. no matter what side you're on, donald trump won the election to the white house, and as president he has the authority to the surround himself with those he sees fit to advise him appeared help him as he serves our country. for our democratic it colleagues to suggest that keeping the president understaffed is somehow in the best interest of the american people is absolutely ludicrous. let me remind my friends on the other side of the aisle what happened when barack obama became president in january 2009. senate republicans respected his nominees and gave them quick consideration. seven cabinet members were confirmed on his first day of office -- seven.
on his first day of office. and other high-level positions followed just days later. in other words, we came together, understood that the people had elected a new president, and went to the table ready to cooperate in good faith, even though we knew there would be disagreements about policy. that's because we didn't want the president to begin his time in office without the support and the staffing he needed to do his job. but at least so far our democratic colleagues, some of them, don't seem to share this same perspective now that they lost this last election. i would just ask them to reconsider and to be consistent in the way they asked us to respond when president obama won and treat the people's choice as the next president of the united states with the respect their vote deserves in terms of making sure that he has the cabinet necessary to get his administration up and running
the american people really are disgusted by the sideshows of dysfunction and obstruction. they want results, and they deserve results. they made clear that since giving this side of the aisle control of the white house and the house of representatives and the senate that they really wanted to clear the way to making progress on behalf of the american people. but we all know that we can't do this as one party or the other. we have to find ways to work together for the common good. so i hope those on the other side of the aisle who've indicated that they're determined to obstruct and block the president-elect's new cabinet members, his nominees, that they change their tune that they reconsider. keeping the new president from the men and women he's chosen to serve alongside him only makes us less safe and our economy more fragile and the government less efficient. in short, it doesn't serve their
interests well. so we're ready to work with our colleagues across the aisle to roll up our sleeves and get to work next year, and i only hope our democratic colleagues decide to do the same. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, next to the senator from texas, who just spoke, is the executive calendar of the united states senate. there are about 30 pages on that calendar on his desk that contain the names of individuals nominated by the obama administration, then sent to committee, approved by the committee, then sent to the calendar to be approved on the floor of the senate. the republican majority in the senate refuses to call these names. the plea that's been made by the senator from texas, the senior senator from texas, is "why can't we just get along?" well, i hope we can. but this is a bad place to start.
with all of these names sitting here right in front of us waiting patiently, some of them for history of a year, to be called for a vote on the floor of the senate. they all were reported out by committees which have a majority republican membership. and, of course, there is exhibit "a" in this, and that is merrick garland, president obama's nominee to fill the vacancy on the supreme court after the death of anton scalia. since february of this year, the process has been going forward by the president and the white house to send up a name to fill the vacancy on the supreme court. for the first time in the history of the united states senate, for the first time in the history of the united states senate the republican majority refused to give merrick garland, the president's nominee, a hearing or a vote. it has never -- underline that word -- never happened before. so we hear the plea from the
senator from texas for cooperation. we've got to get along here. well, we should. we owe it to the country. but, for goodness sakes, let's be honest about where we stand. there are dozens of names here of men and women, highly qualified to serve this nation, who went through the process of being nominated by the administration, of being approved by republican-majority committees who have been languishing on the floor of the united states senate because of the refusal of the republican leadership. and judge merrick garland, who was judged highly qualified to serve on the supreme court by the bar association, never even got a hearing before this republican-controlled senate. in fact, the leader of this senate and many others said, we will not even meet with him; we won't discuss it with him. what was their strategy? wcialtion it's one that -- well, it's one that paid off, i guess. they felt if they violate what had we considered to be the
tradition of the senate in having a hearings and a vote on a nomg, they might just elect a republican president? well, now they're begging you cooperate, join in with us. let's be bipartisan. i'm going to triumphant i'm going to give a -- i'm going to try. i'm going to give a fair hearing to each of the nominees. i hope there will be some reflection in the process about what we have just lived through. there are almost 90 vacancies on federal courts across the united states, many of them -- over 30 -- would have been filled with just the names on this executive calendar that have already cleared the senate judiciary committee with a majority of republican senators, and yet they sit. they languish. in just a few hours, a few days they're going to become part of history as we move to the new senate on january 3. so i wanted to make that point for the record. i also want to say a word about
where we are with the continuing resolution. what is a continuing resolution? well, we're used to it around here because we've done it so often, both political parties have done it. but here's what it blaisk says. think about your family bucket. let's assume last year you spent, on average, $100 a month on your utility bills. okay? now, what if we said to you, now, in this next year we want you to spend $100 month. you'd say, i don't know if that's what it's going to cost. it might be lerks it might -- it might be less. it might be more. the continuing resolution says stick with last year's budget and you can make special provisions and allowances if this happens to be wrong. you think, that's a healt heck a way to run my family. that's what a continuing resolution does, it takes last year's budget and say, let's repeat. well, things change. i am on the defense appropriations subcommittee. it is the largest subcommittee in terms of the amount of money, domestic discretionary money
that's spent. things change with our military all the time. you know that. presidents come forward and say, we need some additional money for our troops to prepare them, to equip them, to make sure that they're where they need to be in this world to keep america safe. and what we've done with the continuing resolution is say, well, we're going to tell you that you have to live within the bounds of last year's budget, a continuing resolution. and people in the department of defense, of course will do their best. they're not going to spend money this year on things that are finished. they are avenue not going to repeat and -- they're not going to repeat and keep building if they've already finish add building. and they're not going to buy things that they've decided are not valuable. imu when it comes to making important budget decisions, their hand will be tied by this congress. for the second time we're going to come up with a three- or four-month budget resolution as we move forward. it is no way to run a gofort. here's the good news. we didn't have to do that.
on this appropriations subcommittee, senator cochran of mississippi and i worked a long time, our staff worked even longer, and prepared a department of defense appropriations bidefenseappropr. we're ready to bring to to the floorks ready to debate it. it is a good one. it keeps our country safe and on a bipartisan basis we agreed on what it should contain. can't bring it forward. all of the spending is going to be done under this continuing resolution. we'll be halfway through this current fiscal year with continuing resolutions if we ever get a around to the appropriations process. the presiding officer is also on the appropriations committee and works in a very bipartisan way in the authorizing authorizing/appropriations committee on programs for health and education. we should have brought that to the floor but we're not. so we have this continuing resolution before us. it has a few things in it. one of them relates to retired coal miners and their families.
coal mining has always been a dangerous job and it is also a job that has diseases that come with it, like black lung. so health care for those who retire from coal mining is critically important. senator joe manchin of west virginia has a lot of coal miners, and they're worried about a cutoff on the health care benefits for these retired coal miners and theirsurvivor widows. he's come before the senate over and over again begging the senate to come up with a plan to make sure their health care is funded. for this next year and for years to come. we manage in this continuing resolution to provide that health care protection for several months, three or four months. but not any longer. he's border it. i've talked to him twice today. etion a spoken on this issue -- he's spoken on this issue countless times on the floor of the senate. we believe that he's making the right fight.
the fight to ensure that coal miners don't lose their benefits has been before congress for four years. it's been through the regular order of committees. it was passed by the senate finance committee with democrats and republicans supporting it. even in the midst of dysfunction and partisanship in the senate, this is one measure that apparently both parties agree on. despite all of this, the continuing resolution does not reflect the needs, it does not provide the resources for these families. yesterday majority leader mcconnell came to the floor and said that he insisted that the continuing resolution address the expiring benefits of the retiring workers. what he did was extend those benefits for four months. no indication of what's going to happen beyond that. it requires the united mine workers' health plan to deplete its reserves to pay for this administer extension. but then they're broke. there's nothing in the bank when the c.r. expires in april.
it subjects the health plan to reduction in funding from what they currently receive from the abandoned land mines fund and it makes no mention of the pension shortfall that these same mining families face. so we're looking for a real solution, and we're hoping to get one soon. and i think before the end of the day senator manchin, senator sherrod brown, senator casey and others will come to the floor and speak to this specific issue. but it's been one of the things that's held us up. in illinois, there are nearly 2,000 coal miners and their families whose health care benefits are in jeopardy, and i've heard from them. linda flemming of taylorville, illinois, about 30 miles from where i loif, she's afraid that her 86-year-old mother will lose the benefits her father, who worked at peabody coal for 30 years, left for her mother when he passed away two years ago. her husband, who retired from
fremond coal in central illinois also received notice he would lose his benefits. larry gar mond in illinois worked in the coalfields because it was a good job, a hard job, a dirty job disas, but it had a -- some day, but it had a promise of lifetime health care for him and his family. his wife has m.s., he is wondering how he will afford her medical expenses if this isn't funded properly. karen williams, a nurse and daughter of retired coal miners in ducoin, illinois, sees how important these benefits are to redwriers like her dad who has a lung disease directly related to his coal mining years. just a few of the snores my state of the 2 -- just a few of the stories in my state of the 2,000 coal miners affected by this provision. the president-elect has designated general mattis to be the next secretary of defense. james mattis was the head of the
marine corps, an extraordinarily general, given some critical assignments by previous presidents, and every report that i have read is positive about his service to our country and his leadership skills in the marine corps. but the appointment of general mattis is in violation of a basic law. the law, which was passed over 50 years ago, limited the availability of these retired military officers to serve as secretaries of defense. we have always prided ourselves in america -- and particularly since the reorganization of the military after world war ii, of civilian control over the military. it's something that is really built into the american view about the military and the civilian side of the federal government. and here we have general mattis, who is imminently qualified to lead in many respects, but he is going to be violating that basic law, which says there must be seven years of separation
between your military service and your service as secretary of defense. there's only been one exception in history, and that was back in 1950 when president truman asked general george c. marshal, a five-star general -- there weren't new mexico our history -- but general george c. marshal to come out of retirement, he retired as secretary of state, and to serve as secretary of defense. under the new reorganization plan of our government. congress had to change that law. at that time there was a ten-year separation. congress had to change the law, and it took some time to do it, to debate it, to make sure the policy decision was the right thing for our country, and to make sure whatever we did was consistent with this idea that the civilians should control the military. they ultimately gave the waiver to general george c. marshall, this hero of our world war ii
defense, secretary of state, and a man who won the nobel peace prize, i might add. so he was an extraordinary man. this bill that we have before us is going to ask us to expedite this decision. the time it was debated before with general marshall, the senate took the time to really consider this. so expediting and changing the rules of the senate in this bill is something that hasn't been done before, and i worry about the impact it's going to have in the long term. it complicated what should have been a pretty straightforward bill. let me say a word about the impact on the department of defense with this continuing resolution. a continuing resolution for defense might be harmful to our armed forces, and the longer we live under those, the worse it could get. if congress were to pass a three-month continuing resolution for the department of defense, they're going to feel it right away. the pentagon has identified more than 150 programs costing tens
of billions of dollars that will be disrupted by a continuing resolution. house republicans are examining fixes to no more than a few of these. there are a lot of others in disarray. the defense bills provided $600 million, for example, for the israeli missile defense programs, a substantial increase over last year's funding level of $487 million. and this includes increased funding for the aero-3 program which will protect israel against new threats from long-range iranian missiles. under a continuing resolution, this new initiative is put on hold until we get around to passing a full-year defense appropriations bill. the impacts of a three-month continuing resolution will also be felt by the defense industrial base. there's a similar story for the air force's new b-21 bomber. funding for this program is planned to nearly double this
year to more than $1.3 billion in order to design the replacement to the decades-old b-52. the c.r. makes that difficult if not impossible. the pentagon's r&d efforts have already been hamstrung by continuing resolutions, and there the story gets worse. important medical research will be postponed at the department of defense and agencies like darpa have planned to award contracts with $24 billion, that's on hold. instead, due to putting defense funding on this continuing resolution auto pilot, less than $16 billion instead of $24 billion would be awarded. that's going to slow down innovation and impact untold numbers of suppliers for our department of defense. the old adage time is money certainly applies to the pentagon. every day, every week, every month that defense programs are delayed adds up to more costs to american taxpayers. when the government can't keep
up its end of the contract because funding isn't available, costs go up, taxpayers pay more for things that they should pay less for. every member of congress has criticized the pentagon. i have been in that queue -- for spending too much on weapon systems, but every time we do a c.r., we raise the cost of weapons systems by delaying these payments. our constituents didn't elect us to delay making decisions. they elected us to get things done. months of bipartisan committee work and weeks of bipartisan negotiation should be cast aside. putting government spending on auto pilot is not responsible. whether you work in a fortune 500 company or any agency of federal government, budgets must adapt to innovation, new challenges and new opportunities. failure to do so is a waste. we owe it to the american taxpayer, we sure owe it to the men and women in uniform to do more than just kick the
budgetary can down the road. we owe it to thousands of retired miners to keep our promise to respect their years of hard work and give them the benefits they deserve. now is not the time to give up and go home. now is the time to really dedicate ourselves, truly working together as the appropriations committee has historically done, use their work product, pass a bill in an appropriations spending measure that really reflects what is needed for the national defense of america. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. barrasso: mr. president? i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, in just a few hours, funding for the federal government will run out. it's going to run out in just a few hours. it looks like we're going to blow through that deadline right here in the united states senate "politico," one of the local newspapers, had an article this morning, and this is what the headline said. they ran an article with the headline "democrats push government toward shutdown."
let me repeat -- "democrats push government toward shutdown." the article says that democrats are pushing the government to the brink of a shutdown. they are doing it with coal country senate democrats leading a strategy, a strategy to oppose a g.o.p. spending bill if their demands are not met for a longer extension of expiring health care benefits for coal miners. mr. president, we're talking about a continuing resolution that passed the house with overwhelming numbers, and it was bipartisan support. the vote was 326-96. republicans and democrats joining together in the house to keep the government open, but not the senate democrats. mr. president, i have been on this floor time and time again
with democrats talking about shutting down the government, and they say that it's republicans. the headline today, democrats push government toward shutdown. now, the continuing resolution that's being asked to be voted upon actually includes money, money to help these miners, well into the new year through april. and we're going to be looking at everything in the legislation again when it expires in april. so there is no rush to settle this issue today. but here we are in the senate with democrats preparing to shut down the government of the united states. mr. president, our goal should not be to bail out a union health plan, and it's a fund that does have problems. the solution actually ought to be to let coal miners mine coal again. let them go back to what they know how to do, mine coal.
that's the way they can take care of themselves and take care of their own. i'm going to be clear on this, mr. president. the only reason we're in the position we are today is because the obama administration and democrats in washington have been waging a war on coal for the past eight years. that's the reason we're in the position that we're in today. in 2008, when barack obama was running for president, he promised that that's what he was going to do. he said it. he said that under his policies, if somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, he said they can but he said it's just that i, meaning barack obama, will bankrupt them. so the president was very clear. so the democrats should not be surprised with what we see happening today. once he got into office, he did everything that he could to keep
that promise and bankrupt as many coal companies as possible. that's actually what happened. his administration has pushed out one unnecessary regulation after another on coal producers, on power plants and on customers. the environmental protection agency wrote new regulations on power plant emissions that where the emissions go from one state over to another. the agency put out extremely stringent rules on emissions from any new power plants that were built in this country. then they wrote tough rules on the power plants that were already in existence. rules, not new laws, rules. the obama administration hasn't just tried to bankrupt anyone who used coal. they have been doing all they can to make sure that the coal never gets out of the ground.
the bureau of land management imposed a moratorium on new mining leases on federal land, and in the rocky mountain west, that's a significant amount of the land, and in many states it's over half of the land, and the obama administration has been doing all they can to make sure that american coal can't be used not just here in america but can't be used anywhere in the world. the department of the interior wrote a new rule on coal valuation to discourage coal exports. now, the army corps of engineers has even delayed or denied permits for new coal export terminals so we can ship a product that is produced in the united states to people who want to buy our product overseas. so americans can't sell the product that we have, that coal overseas.
the obama administration even worked to get the world bank, the world bank and the international monetary fund to stop financing new coal-fired power plants in developing nations, even though for them it's the least expensive cost for electricity, for energy, for the people there who don't have energy and desperately need it. it's been one roadblock after another for the last eight years. layer after layer of red tape, mr. president, strangling the coal industry and coal miners, the people who go to work every day. and now someone wants to say the issue is bailing out one union health plan and pension fund. mr. president, the democrats have waged an all-out comprehensive war on coal. that's why we're in this situation. during the presidential campaign, president obama has said to americans, he said
please elect hillary clinton, vote for her, he said to protect the obama legacy. well, candidate clinton in the election she said during the campaign that she would put a lot of coal miners out of business. actual people who work, she wants to put them all out of business. so it's been a war on multiple fronts, mr. president, and a presidential election, all designed in many ways to keep americans from using coal, from exporting coal and even from mining coal. the administration has blocked coal production. they have made it more expensive. then they have tried to use the smaller market for coal -- since you can't mine it, you can't sell it, can't export it, so there is a smaller market for coal, and they used that as an excuse to impose even more burdens. the people who are hurt by these
policies are hardworking americans who just want to go to work, make a living and support their family. that's what the coal miners have been up against by the obama administration in the last eight years. so any attempt, any attempt by democrats to blame someone else is just a distraction. they want to hide the simple fact that it is their intentional and intensive campaign against coal that has led us to where we are today on the brink of a government shutdown tonight. health and pension funds can pay benefits for retired workers as long as the mines are actually working and they can mine coal and sell coal and make money. if the money coming in goes down, then the money that they need to pay out is not there. that's why we have this problem.
companies can't meet their obligations, and it's the democrat policies that have caused it. so if the democrats want to help retired miners, they should let the other miners get back to work. that's the way to help the retired miners -- let the other miners get back to work. well, that's not what they've done this. administration, the obama administration, has done all they could do to destroy the market for coal, to force mines to cut production and to put minors out of work. now, i understand there are people in the home states of these senators who are very worried, and they have a right to be worried. but let's just be honest, mr. president, about the real reason these people are hurting. miners are struggling because president obama has been standing on their necks for a straight period of eight years. when democrats focus on things like health benefits for
retirees, they are missing the point entirely. and they're just trying to donl the responsibility -- dodge the responsibility, the responsibility, mr. president, for their own disastrous policies. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mrs. feinstein: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: madam president, the distinguished senator has just asked me if i would yield to her, that she has a very short set of remarks, and i'm happy to do so. a senator: snrp. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. ms. baldwin: thank you, mr. president. and i would ask unanimous consent to use a prop during my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. baldwin: i have come to the floor today to address a very important choice for this senate and, frankly, for
president-elect trump. the time is now for donald trump to take a stand in support of american workers by calling on republican leadership in congress to support strong "buy america" requirements in the water resources development act also known as the water infrastructure improvement act. just one week ago in cincinnati, ohio, president-elect trump said his infrastructure plan would follow two simple rules: buy american and hire american. you know, i support that position strongly, but, unfortunately, the republican establishment in washington didn't hear him, and they have removed my "buy america" standard from this very important water infrastructure legislation.
and trump tower has gone silent on this topic since last thursday. i believe that the iron and steel used in water infrastructure projects should be made in america and that taxpayer dollars should go to support american jobs and manufacturers, not be spent on chinese or russian iron and steel. my provision to require this was included in the version of the bill that passed the senate with strong bipartisan support on a vote of 95-3. however, speaker ryan and house republicans removed this "buy america" reform from the water infrastructure improvements act being, and there hasn't been a peep or a tweet from president-elect trump.
it's clear to me -- and it should be clear to president-elect trump as well -- that congressional republicans are allowing corporate lobbyists working on behalf of companies who import steel from russia and china to write the rules in washington. importers of cheap foreign steel from china and russia have sought to eliminate or loosen these rules for their own benefit. according to media reports, including "the wall street journal," the importers and their foreign suppliers have hired washington, d.c., lobbying firm squire, patton and bogg stovment lobby the republican leadership in the house against my "buy america" standard, which would provide a long-term and solid commitment to american
workers. the firm strategy relies upon, oh, that old revolving door. the first employees former house speaker john boehner and several former top republican aides. to gain access and influence over congress. these reports suggest that corporate lobbyists are using their influence over congress to support clients that do business with russian and chinese steel companies at the expense of american workers, and that's why i'm calling on president-elect trump to turn his words in cincinnati spoken just a week ago to action and to join me in demanding that republican leaders in congress restore our strong "buy america" standard in the final water infrastructure
bill. together with senators brown and casey, we introduced an amendment to restore this "buy american" reform, and today we are demanding a vote. i come to the floor today to ask majority leader mcconnell for that vote. american manufacturers and steelworkers, like the men and women at nina foundry in wisconsin who helped build our nation's water infrastructure, support our amendment, and they deserve a vote and a solid commitment from us on a strong "buy america" standard. many people in the united states have seen this iconic symbol, neenah foundry that supports this strong "buy america"
amendment manufactures, among other things, these manhole confers that you see all over. let us not ever see this. president-elect trump has said that we need to drain the swamp and that he will take on lobbyists and special interests who are writing the rules and rigging the game in washington and against american workers. if he's serious about draining the swamp and supporting american workers, it is time for him to end his silence and speak out publicly in supporting and restoring this "buy american" standard to the water frat bill -- to the water infrastructure bill that is before the senate today. it is time for a vote on a "buy
america" standard that respects and rewards american manufacturers and american workers with. mr. president, i yield back. mr. mccain: mr. president? please go ahead. mrs. feinstein: mr. president, are we going back and forth or -- the presiding officer: there's no order at the moment. mrs. feinstein: may i ask the senator, because i thought that the democrats had an hour at this time. i agreed to yield to senator baldwin and senator mccain, how -- do you know how long you will be? mr. mccain: about 30 minutes. mrs. feinstein: seven minutes. is that possible? mr. mccain: 30. mrs. feinstein: oh, 30. well, you go ahead. i will defer. mr. mccain: well, i thank my friend from california.
but if she had a shorter time -- the presiding officer: the senator from arizona is recognized. mr. mccain: thank you. i say to my friend from california, if you had -- i say to my dear friend from kaflg, if she -- from california, if she had a few minutes she would like to take at this time, you would be glad to yield to her. mr. mccain: okay. i take it back. mr. president, i understand that, as usual, as we get to the edge of the cliff or the edge of the weekend that somehow we will have an agreement and we will vote and we will pass a continuing resolution and we'll all go home. we'll all go home for the holidays and congratulate ourselves on doing such a great job in passing a congressional resolution.
meanwhile, the 8,000 men and women who are serving in afghanistan will be having a different kind of next couple weeks. it'll be in combat. it'll be in jeopardy. it'll be in fighting an implacable enemy that we've been challenging and fighting for the last 12, 14 years. the 5,000 troops that are in iraq and syria, with their lives literally in change danger, there's been a few casualties and tragic deaths in recent da days, and the siege of aleppo continues and the slaughter continues of innocent men and women and children as the exodorks i am told, takes -- as the exodus, i am told, takes place from aleppo, there are the
iranians and bashar assad's thugs culling out the amin for special treatment. god only knows what that's like. and that, of course, the flow of refugees continues, now adding to the 6 million, the 500,000 who have been kicialtiond that continues. and -- who have been killed, that continues, and we're about to pass an appropriations bill that reduces our ability to help those men and women who are serving our country get their job done. we are talking about a continuing resolution that is a reduction in spending, that frees accounts in place and does not give us the capability to move them around to meet the threats that we are facing around the world, and i must say to my colleagues, this is disgraceful. this is absolutely disgraceful. we're going to kick the can down the road because we failed to
fund our troops, the fiscal irresponsibility, another continuing resolution, which will force the department of defense to operate for seven months of the fiscal year without a real budget. tell me one company or corporation in the world, small or large, that has their budget frozen for seven months of the year and you expect to operate with any kind of efficiency. you can't. you can't. now, the president -- the incoming president of the united states says he wants to spend more money on defense. are we doing this with this continuing resolution? of course not. the incoming president of the united states says we don't have a big enough army, navy, marine corps, acres of and we're cutting the size -- air force, and we're cutting the size of the military. meanwhile, the president of the united states gives one of the most bizarre smeeches -- speeches i've ever heard in my life about what a fantastic job
he's done. thank god that isis does not pose a threat to the united states of america. never mind the countries of europe but it is not an extension threat. barack obama said that isis was the jayvee and couldn't carry kobe's t-shirt. so what are we doing? my god, we're going to be out of here. thank god. we're going to be out of here. the and what are we doing? we haven't passed a defense appropriations bill that funds our troops. earlier this year we had a defense appropriations bill, approved unanimously by the appropriations committee but democrats put politics ahead of our troops, filibustered that legislation and brought the senate to a halt. and does anybody wonder about the approval rating of congress when we won't even appropriate the money to defend this nation and pay for the men and women in uniform who are sacrificing as
we speak? of course not. why haven't we passed the bill? now fresh off an election, the election is over, republicans won control of the house and the senate and the white house, in part, by promising to rebuild our military. congress is about to cut defense spending again by passing another irresponsible continuing resolution. let me be clear: this continuing resolution would cut resources to our troops, delay the cutting-edge equipment they need, and ham per the war -- and hamper the war in afghanistan. a lot of my colleagues may not understand, you authorize certain amounts of money for certain programs. with a continuing rcialtion you can't shift that money around. suppose there is a new product, there is a new weapon, there is a new ability we have. a continuing resolution now going on for seven months, what
this will be, we will do that. congratulations. congratulations. so this is washington. democrats filibuster funding for our troops in a political game to extort more funding for pet domestic programs. republicans feign outrage. then the same republicans return months later to negotiate a continuing resolution that gives democrats the domestic spending increases they always wanted, does so by, guess what -- guess what? -- there's an increase in this continuing resolution for domestic programs, some of them pork-barrel projects, and and i'm not making that up. and i wonder how many of the 100 senators who will be voting on this continuing resolution know that this continuing resolution increases defense domestic spending and decreases defense spending. shame. what a sham.
what a fraud. is there any wonder why the american people hold us in such contempt? we're down to paid staff and blood relatives. there is a lot wrong with this continuing resolution but let me start with the rank hypocrisy embedded deep within its pages. five years ago, congress recognized the need to rein in federal spending, but instead of addressing the actual drivers of our deficits and debt, in one of the great cop-outs in history, it settled for the meat ax approach, so congress passed the budget control act which cuts spending across the board, no matter how worthwhile, no matter how necessary. treat it all the same, cut it across the board, okay? it is designated to be so terrible, so terrible this sequestration -- remember, it was five years ago, the sequestration would be so
terrible, it would force republicans and democrats to negotiate a more reasonable compromise. well, we know how that worked out. the budget control act failed to force a grand bargain on the budget, but it was so genuinely terrible that congress had to negotiate a series of short-term greessments to get out from under it. the latest of these was the bipartisan budget act which was passed last year and provided small increases for defense and on defense spending. agreement was consistent with the principle articulated by many of my republican and democratic colleagues, that defense and nondefense were supposed to be treated equally, equally. no matter when you see the world on fire, no matter when you see six million refugees out of syria, no matter when you see 500,000 dead, no matter when you see the chinese asserting control over the asia pacific region, no matter that you see vladimir putin dismembering ukraine and putting pressures of
enormity on the balkan countries, no matter that you see the russians now a major power in the middle east for the first time since anwar sadat threw him out of egypt in 1973, no matter all of that. no matter that we continue to increase because we react the number of troops, the amount of equipment that we are having to send to iraq and syria and other places in the world. treat nondefense, treat the e.p.a. the same as the united states marine corps. treat the i.r.s. the came as our brave pilots who are now flying in combat in iraq and syria. treat them the same. treat them the same. so this was the called principle of parity. for the record, i never believed
this. instead, i held fast to another principle, that funding our troops would be based solely on what they need to defend the nation. isn't that an unusual sentiment, to fund the troops? what they need to defend the nation, to give them the very best of equipment so that, so that in the testimony of the uniform service chiefs before the armed service committee that said in unvarnished words, these great military uniform leaders said we are putting the lives of the men and women in uniform, quote -- and it's the exact quote -- at greater risk. is no one embarrassed in this body that we are -- that we are putting the lives of the men and women in the military at greater risk? what's happening here? so many of my colleagues disagreed with me, which is
their right. over the last few years, they haven't listened to the testimony of the most senior commanders about the growing risk of the lives of our members have tried to break the hold of the arbitrary spending limits, increased defense spending and give our troops the resources they need to defend the nation. and let me tell you, what is happening to the military today. we've seen the move before after the vietnam war. they have less ability to train. they have less ability to operate. our pilots in the air force, marine corps and navy are flying less hours per month than chinese and russian pilots are. they're having to rob planes. they have even had to go to the bone yard in tucson, arizona, to find parts for their airplanes, they are that short of them. and do you know what's going to happen, by the way, i tell my colleagues? the pilots of these services are going to get out in droves because the vietnam pilot era,
the commercial airline pilots that were hired after the vietnam war all are retiring. and these people, all they want to do is fly airplanes. and we're over in syria and iraq, yes, they fly a lot. when they get back, they don't fly at all. why? they don't have the money. when you cut defense, the first thing that suffers is operations, maintenance and training. and again, it's not as if it's a new phenomenon. we've seen the movie before. so here we are. we passed a defense bill last year that provided $38 billion in additional resources to give our service members the modern equipment and advanced training they need. president obama vetoed that bill, because as his white house explained, he would -- quote -- not fix defense without fixing nondefense spending. think about that. the president of the united states puts defending this nation on the same level as
domestic programs. i'm all for the domestic programs. i am not objecting to them. but to put them on the same level as the defense of the nation? this partially explains the disasters of the last eight years. america has decided to lead from hyped, and where america is now, held without respect or regard throughout the world, and we see all kinds of bad things happening, and i won't bother my colleagues because all they have to do is pick up the morning paper or turn on television. then this year, i offered amendment to the defense authorization bill on the senate floor to add $18 billion to the defense budget, an increase that would have simply returned defense spending to the level the president himself had requested and for which the department of defense had planned. but senate democrats, some republicans, voted against that
amendment. one democratic senator objected, saying -- quote -- if defense funds are increased, funding for domestic agencies must also be increased. got that? got that? if defense funds are increased, funding for domestic agencies must also be increased. some republicans, mainly on the appropriations committee, argued that the amendment would not adhere to the bipartisan budget act and stall momentum to pass appropriations bills as we consider yet another continuing resolution, we see how well that worked out. so entrenched was this absurd notion of parity between defense and nondefense spending that when president obama decided to keep more troops in harm's way in afghanistan, finally recognizing a little reality, he refused to pay for them unless nondefense spending received an identical funding increase. let me make that clear. the president of the united states recognizing that the taliban was not only defeated
but is gaining ground in parts of afghanistan, the afghan military sustaining unsustainable casualty rates said we need -- sent more troops to afghanistan, sent more help to afghanistan, but wouldn't pay for them unless we increased domestic spending. is that some kind of nonsense? so entrenched was this absurd notion of parity between defense and nondefense spending that -- that the bottom line is this -- congress has had multiple opportunities to give our troops the resources they need. each time, aided and abetted by the president and his administration, we squandered these opportunities because of the so-called principle of parity that -- quote -- any increase in funding must be shared equally between defense and nondefense. but after all that, it turns out that parity was merely politics
masquerading as principle, because now, now my dear friends, the congress is about to pass a continuing resolution that shatters any notion of parity. breaks the spending limits of the bipartisan budget act, increases nondefense spending at the expense of our troops, and even creates a loophole that allows nondefense spending to skirt the law and avoid sequestration. not defense spending. nondefense spending. crazy. crazy. under this continuing resolution, nondefense spending -- get this. i don't know how many of my colleagues know this. under this resolution, nondefense spending is $3 billion above the bipartisan budget act. where does this additional money come from? it was taken from our troops. under the continuing resolution, defense spending is $3 billion
below, below the bipartisan budget act. as a result of increased funding, nondefense spending violates the bipartisan budget act and would face sequestration at the beginning of next year to bring it back in line with spending levels allowed under the law, but not so fast, not so fast, my friends. the continuing resolution contains a get out of jail free card that allows nondefense spending to break the bipartisan budget act and avoid sequestration. so here's what we're doing. we're cutting defense spending, we're increasing nondefense spending, even though it breaks the act and we have a provision in there that that's okay. i just hope that everybody knows what they're voting on in this. am i missing something? am i missing something? do republicans control the house of representatives? they are the ones that put this provision in. it's the republicans that control the house of representatives. the republicans fill a majority of the seats in this senate.
last time i expected, they do. did the republican candidate just win the white house? what on earth are we doing here? why are republicans who complained for so long about runaway government spending about to vote on a take it or leave it continuing resolution that increases nondefense spending? why are republicans doing that? why are republicans who proclaim that ours is the party of strong defense cutting funding for our military to plus up spending on domestic programs? what's going on here? why are republicans who voted down increased funding for our military because of the bipartisan budget act voting for a continuing resolution that allows nondefense spending to exceed that law and creates a loophole to escape sequestration, and why are democrats, who lectured for years, -- i got this lecture for
hours and hours and hours -- about the principle of fairness, of parity. insisted that funding increases must be shared equally between defense and nondefense. why are those democrats about to support a continuing resolution that explicitly breaks that principle and that funds increases for nondefense by taking from defense? regretfully, as i say about republicans and democrats, the answer, and the only answer i can offer, is hypocrisy, rank hypocrisy. and what's so disheartening about the hypocrisy of this continuing resolution is how unnecessary it is. we can pass an appropriations bill. the appropriations bill was passed out of the appropriations committee unanimously. we could pass it, we could do it tomorrow, we could do it tonight. but they don't want to do that. they want this continuing resolution with all this stuff
hidden in it with a lot of legislative things hidden in it that we find out, guess what, ten hours, 24 hours, maybe even 48 hours before we vote on it. that's how we find out what's in the bill. i would challenge, i would challenge. i'd like to take a poll of my 100 colleagues here. how many of them have read the continuing resolution, and i'll bet you the number is zero. this congress -- with this legislation, congress has already done the hard work of negotiating a bipartisan compromise for defense spending. the defense appropriations bill from earlier this year could easily be amended to reflect the compromise and the senate should be taking up the bill, but we're not. instead, we're about to vote on another continuing resolution that would cut $6 billion from the level authorized by the ndaa. i just want to point out again who is being harmed by this, my friends? obviously, as i have stated, thd
women who are serving. they're the ones who are suffering from this. in the defense authorization bill, we have a 2.1% pay raise for the military. continuing resolution? not in there. not in there. so we aren't going to reward our men and women in the military with a pay raise they have earned. some of my colleagues on the appropriations committee will argue that this continuing resolution is an increase to defense spending. that is a lie. i want to say right now, and i don't say this very often, anyone who says there's an increase in defense spending in this continuing resolution is lying. those of you who are not aware of doublespeak let me explain how cut translates into increase inside the beltway. the new continuing resolution represents a modest increase over the previous continuing resolution passed in