Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 6, 2018 9:59am-11:59am EDT

9:59 am
he called it off, then puts it back on without even going through the huge envelope that we were talking about, and do you think this decision-- the domestic political situation that he's facing now, namely the russia-gate and the midterm, do you think that kind of impacted his decision to have the summit this june? thank you. >> another question for the trump watchers. you're in washington, you can take a stab at it. >> i mean, i don't see the correlation other than timing. i think you know, you saw the three, three different efforts, one in singapore on logistics, one on the north korean side of the border, right, on lower-- mid level substance discussions. senior level. >> this program on diplomacy with north korea is available on we have to leave the last few minutes as the senate convenes to work on a judicial
10:00 am
domination and at the 11:00 hour start debate on $716 billion national defense authorization bill for 2019. amendments will be considered over the next couple of days. this is live coverage of the senate here on c-span2. .
10:01 am
10:02 am
the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. god, sovereign over us all, thank you for healing our hearts, minds, and bodies, when we turn to you. lord, we're grateful that you desire for us to prosper and be
10:03 am
in physical health even as our souls prosper. guard and guide our lawmakers so that their work will enable us to live in peace and justice with one another. lord, use them to bring order and calm to our vulnerable nation and world. as they seek to do your will, may our senators bring beauty from ashes, clarity from confusion, and harmony from discord. fill them with the power of your holy spirit that they might rightly represent you. we pray in your great name. amen.
10:04 am
the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c, june 6, 2018, to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable tom cotton, a senator from the state of arkansas, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g. hatch, presidet pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the
10:05 am
judiciary, annemarie carney axon of alabama to be united states district judge for the northern district of alabama.
10:06 am
10:07 am
10:08 am
10:09 am
10:10 am
10:11 am
the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: are we in quorum call, mr. president? the presiding officer: no. mr. schumer: mr. president, yesterday the majority leader announced that the senate would remain in session during much of the planned august recess. president trump tweeted, great. maybe the democrats will finally get something done other than their acceptance of high crime and high taxes. as usual, the president's tweet makes little sense, given that republicans control both houses of congress. but i agree with the president on one thing.
10:12 am
canceling recess is a great opportunity to get something done. in fact, i have a suggestion for what congress should do. how about this, mr. president? why don't we get something done on the issue that numerous polls say is the number-one priority of americans: health care. we democrats, our entire caucus believes this previously unscheduled session time can be put to good use to finally help americans secure the affordable health care that president trump and congressional republicans have thus far failed to deliver. before being sworn in, president trump promised to deliver health care that was far less expensive and far better -- those are his words. but since he's taken office, president trump has completely dropped the ball on health care. instead of shoring up our health care system and driving down
10:13 am
costs, president trump and republicans have sabotaged our health care system and driven up costs. yesterday maine and pennsylvania joined a growing list of states that will see higher health care rates thanks to the policies of the trump administration and congressional republicans. in states like virginia, maryland, new york, and washington, rate increases are in double digits. one p.p.o. plan in maryland requested a rate increase of 91%. and when you ask these c.e.o.'s of companies were their rates are going up, many of them cite trump administration policies and congressional republican policies. again, the number-one issue affecting americans is the high cost of health care. my republican colleagues are busy touting the tax increase. if you're very wealthy, you got a big break. if you're a middle-class person, far too often your increase in your premiums exceedsour tax break. so let's do something to put more money, net more money in
10:14 am
the pockets of working class people. let's spend august working on health care. folks, we're already paying too much for health care in the form of premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, and the eye-popping costs of so many prescription drugs. now all of those costs are going up because, quote, the unified republican government, unquote, has done little to bring down the high cost of health care and what it has done has made the situation worse. again, president trump has dropped the ball on health care and the august recess is a time to recover and do something good. president trump deliberately sowed uncertainty in the health care marketplace as a way to make a political point against obamacare, and then congressional republicans repealed the coverage requirement in their tax bill. health insurers from coast to coast cite the repeal of the coverage requirement as one of the major reasons they're
10:15 am
increasing rates next year. just last night a report issued by the trump administration itself showed that medicare is going insolvent faster than expected. and what caused it? in part, the republican tax bill and the repeal of the individual mandate. which increased the estimate of the number of uninsured, in turn leading to a large increase in uncompensated care payments. again, the tax bill helped -- or the tax bill led to medicare being less solvent, it running out of money sooner. and in short order, the trump administration will make things even worse. they will be offering junk insurance plans that will bring back the dark days when americans with preexisting conditions faced higher premiums, denied care and medical bankruptcy. so we now have a few extra weeks in august. what would be number one on the
10:16 am
american people's list? not the things leader mcconnell mentioned, falsely blaming democrats when appropriations are moving along well and he brags about how many appointments he's made to the bench. no. the number one thing americans want is health care, and we democrats will spend august recess focusing on that issue and forcing our republicans to either cast votes or deny votes on those important issues. it's a great opportunity, not just for democrats, not just for republicans, but for america. we're going to do it. we already have an agenda ready to go, and we're going to push for votes on these measures in august. one, we want to expand access to medicare. many of us democrats in this caucus believe 55 should be the age you can buy in. loads of americans support that. two, we want to increase tax
10:17 am
credits to help families afford the cost of health care. three, we want to create a national reinsurance program to lower premiums. four, we want to ensure that people with preexisting conditions don't get denied or priced out of insurance due to an expansion of junk insurance. and five, we want to lower the skyrocketing cost of drugs. president trump should stay in washington. no mar-a-lago, mr. president. no golf all the time. you have taken so many vacancies while you criticize others. typical. double standard that you seem to exhibit every ten minutes. but president trump should stay in washington with us, roll up his sleeves, and get to work on making health care great again. now, on another matter, one i talked to you about, mr. president, this morning. our trade negotiations with china. as i have said many times before, i am closer to president trump on trade with china than i was to either president obama or
10:18 am
president bush. i want our president to succeed in winning real concessions from the chinese on long-standing issues like intellectual property theft and market access. i believed that unlike previous presidents, president trump was serious about being tough on china to achieve our goals. but week after week, i keep reading reports that president trump and his team are not being tough with china. they are conciliatory, accommodating, whether it comes to our national security or our economic security where china is now eating our lunch. yesterday it was reported that the trump administration would agree to relaxed penalties on the chinese telecom giant z.t.e. if the reports are true about a sweetheart deal for z.t.e., president trump has put china first, not america first. if these reports are true, once again, president xi has outfoxed president trump, the so-called great dealmaker.
10:19 am
z.t.e. has repeatedly violated u.s. sanctions and lied to u.s. officials about their efforts to rectify those violations. their technology has been deemed a national security threat by the f.c.c., the f.b.i., and the pentagon. again, let me repeat that. their technology is a national security threat, according to our defense and law enforcement authorities. why on earth is the trump administration considering relaxing penalties on such a bad actor. some reports suggest that the trump administration is forgiving z.t.e. to set up an exchange for a short-term, limited purchase of u.s. goods from china. if that's the case, what a terrible deal for america. our number one priority should be reducing the threat of intellectual property theft, intellectual property theft not only threatens our short-term economic outlook, it threatens our long-term leadership in high-tech industries, middle-class jobs for the
10:20 am
future, and the security of our country. to relax penalties on z.t.e., a proven threat to american intellectual property and a possible exchange for something as small as a oneime purchase ofoods is like trading awa your star player for a last-round draft pick. by backing off and letting z.t.e. off the hook, china wins. if the reports are true, congress should move in a bipartisan fashion to block this deal right away. on top of the z.t.e. matter, there is no apparent path forward with the ongoing trade negotiations, nothing concerning intellectual property theft, nothing concerning market access, not even a framework. the two recent negotiations with china led by secretary mnuchin and secretary ross have failed to create anything as concrete, lasting and important to america.
10:21 am
the administration keeps sending different officials with different priorities to lead the discussions with china. some are tough on china. others are soft. some have the president's instincts in mind. others do not. secretary mnuchin and ambassador light-- light hauser are in totally different camps. i'm in the light laws ircamp. the dissension is causing confusion and making our bargaining position so much the weaker. president trump ought to direct all our negotiators to be tough with china and stick with it. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
10:22 am
10:23 am
10:24 am
10:25 am
10:26 am
10:27 am
10:28 am
10:29 am
quorum call:
10:30 am
10:31 am
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. a senator: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: mr. president, i proud today president trump will sign into law a piece of legislation that i fought for, and that's called the v.a. mission act. this important legislation will help fix many of the problems
10:32 am
plaguing the v.a. choice program and works to ensure that our nation keeps the promises it's made to our veterans. this bill is badly needed. take hank, for example a, montana veteran, last year it took him more than three months to get an appointment. it was clear to him that the choice representatives were completely unaware of the distance issues that montana veterans have to deal with. it's not just hank, all across montana, we heard about how the v.a. choice program has consistently fallen short. payment delays that take up to eight months. in fact, sometimes we've got bill collectors coming after our veterans for something they should not be responsible for, hour's long wait to talk to representatives about claims and veterans getting the run around on receiving the most basic services. this is unacceptable. our veterans deserve better, and
10:33 am
that's why the bipartisan mission act is so vitally important. it helps fix many of the problems that our veterans still face as they try to access the health care services that they need. rural veterans will get greater, easier, and quicker access to health care. telemedicine services will be strengthened. the oversight of opioid prescriptions will be increased. there will be greater accountability in how companies like healthmed manages this new program and it will finally help the v.a.'s medical veteran shortage with scholarship programs for medical and dental students that commit to work for the v.a. this is the daily reality for montana veterans. enough is enough. our nation has a lot of work to do to fulfill the promises that we've made to our veterans. the mission act is an important step forward and i am proud i have helped to get this bill
10:34 am
across the finish line and on to president trump's desk. i look forward to honoring our veteran service by standing with president trump today as he signs this important bill into law. thank you, and i yield back my time.
10:35 am
10:36 am
10:37 am
10:38 am
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: yesterday i announced the senate's regularly scheduled august recess will not occur this year. members will be able to meet with our scents during a stad -- constituents during a standard one-week state work period and then we will get back here and get back to work. the reason is simple, we have
10:39 am
too much to do for the american people. 16th monses into the -- 16 months into president trump's presidency, we have a wide array of executive and judicial positions not filled. it is time for historic perspective. during president obama's first two years, the senate only needed 12 cloture votes on nominations. in president george w. bush's first two years, four cloture votes on nominations. for president clinton, just eight. but less than a year and a half into this administration, the democratic minority has stalled progress through, listen to this, 101 cloture votes and counting on nominations. 101 cloture votes. this used to be a rare tool of
10:40 am
last resort only used in a tiny handful of cases, but not these days. in these cases the nominees in question are completely without controversy. not a single person in either party voted against robert wier to serve as a district court judge. walter counts and karen schooler, two district judges that we considered back in january. but democrats forced us to invoke cloture on each of these nominees and made sure we soaked up senate floor time even though literally no senator opposed them. this isn't due diligence. it certainly isn't good government. it's what happens when our friends on the other side of the aisle put political slogans put the resince tans, -- resistance
10:41 am
aread of the country's need. we bolstered our economy with historic tax reform and regulatory reform. we helped communities afflicted with the opioid crisis. we have undone harmful spending caps to fully equip our military and combat against school violence, we repealed obamacare's individual mandate tax and its independent payment advisory board and delayed several other health care taxes. and republicans are still working to do more. we need to confirm more of the president's judicial nominees. we need to take up regular appropriations bills and tackle the water infrastructure bill, the farm bill, the defense bill, and many others. the senate will remain in session in august. we will work on legislation and we'll confirm more nominees. we will keep delivering on the agenda that has done so much to
10:42 am
make america stronger, safer, and more prosperous. now, on another matter, mr. president, i was honored to meet a number of kentucky are veterans at the world war ii memorial and welcome them to washington. my father fought in world war ii so i was particularly grateful to hear these veteran stories and share these special moments of remembrance. one man i talked to is 100 years old. he was in the initial invasion when we got on offense in north africa and fought in every theater in europe and was there when the germans surrendered may 8, 1954. he landed at omaha beach, he said it was two days after the invasion. so he was the second wave after the invasion. there were stories after stories of people like that.
10:43 am
i had a chance to thank each of them, as well as the honor flight blew -- bluegrass organization that helps veterans charge to monuments at no personal cost. i was especially glad this opportunity came today, the 74th anniversary of the d-day invasion. on june 6, 1944, -- with conviction, bravery and patriotism, the greatest generation ran on to the beach. many paid the ultimate price on d-day, but their bravery paved the road to victory in europe. allied troops stared down the most pernicious evil the modern world has ever seen and prevailed. the world has changed in the years since d-day, but some things haven't changed at all. we still honor the sacrifices of those who ran on to the beach.
10:44 am
today the president will sign into law the v.a. mission act that congress passed last month. it's a set of major improvements to the way we can care for america's veterans. increasing their choices and expanding access to care for those who sacrificed to serve. here's something else that hasn't changed. we still call on brave men and women to take on a wide array of difficult missions. soon the senate will take up the john s. mccain 2019 defense authorization act. it is the result of serious bipartisan work by the armed services committee, and it's a major step toward delivering the resources our men and women in uniform need to tackle the challenges of today -- challenges like an emboldened iran, a destabilizing force in the middle east, challenges like the expanding capability of russia and china in this era of
10:45 am
renewed great power competition. this moment requires that we support our all-volunteer armed forces with the tools, training, equipment, and resources they need to support our allies, defend the homeland and secure the peace. secretary mattis' new national defense strategy spells out what our nation must do. our landmark budget agreement set aside the funds our service members will require to put that plan into action. now with this ndaa, congress will take the next step toward getting those resources where they need to be. its authorizations including quality of life improvements for service members and their families, improved capabilities for land, sea, and air weapons systems, and reforms to the acquisitions process to keep america's military on the cutting edge. with bipartisan action on the ndaa, the senate will ensure that the next generation of american war fighters is every bit as ready as the greatest
10:46 am
generation to write a new chapter of courageous service. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
10:47 am
10:48 am
10:49 am
10:50 am
10:51 am
10:52 am
10:53 am
10:54 am
10:55 am
10:56 am
10:57 am
10:58 am
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: mr. president, are we in quorum call? the presiding officer: yes. ms. warren: i ask that the quorum call be lifted and i be permitted to speak. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: thank you, mr. president. i rise today toor the life and legacy of an american treasure, bobby kennedy. robert kennedy lived his life with courage and conviction, never afraid to challenge a divided nation to face its moral failings. bobby challenged us all to take a step back from the stale, cheap politics of the moment and
10:59 am
to do better by each other. his service to this nation will never be forgotten. today, 50 years after he was brutally assassinated, we pause to acknowledge the brilliance and beauty that rested in his vision of america, a vision that led him to seek the highest office in this land, a vision of love, wisdom, compassion, and justice. bobby believed that we all have a shared responsibility to leave this world just a little bit better off than when we came. few will have the greatness to bend history itself, he once said. but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. mr. president, history may not repeat, but it often rhymes. conditions are different now, but a lot of anxiety and tension that swept through this country
11:00 am
in 1968 at the height of bobby's political career echoes the anxiety of today, especially the economic anxiety felt by millions of americans who are working harder than ever but feel opportunities slipping away from themselves and their children. too often, our political and business leaders refuse to see this. instead, they hide behind macroeconomic statistics, using them as a shield to dismiss concerns of the american people as faulty or wrong-headed or even nonexistent. but robert kennedy understood that america's national economy is not the same as the economic well-being of its people. in a 1968 speech at the university of kansas, he spoke eloquently about the differences between them, and here is what he said -- our gross national product counts air pollution and
11:01 am
cigarette advertising and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. it counts special locks for our doors and jails for the people who break them. it counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder and chaotic sprawl. it counts napalm. it counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the rye ots in our cities. it counts whitman's rifle and speck's knife and the television programs which glorified violence in order to sell toys to our children. yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. it does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages. the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. it measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our
11:02 am
passion nor our devotion to our country. it measures everything in short except that which makes life worthwhile, and it can tell us everything about america except why we are proud that we are americans. consider three statistics -- corporate profits, the stock market, and unemployment. today corporate profits are up. corporate profits that count gun sales from manufacturers whose weapons are used to massacre children in our schools and our streets. corporate profits that count revenues from drug companies when they quadruple prices for the sick and the desperate. corporate profits that count revenues of banks like wells fargo as they rip off millions of american consumers. the stock market is up as giant companies pocket trillions in taxpayer money stolen from middle-class families. the market is up as c.e.o.'s
11:03 am
shut down plants and factories here in the united states and move them overseas. the market is up as business leaders flush with cash turn their backs on workers while they plow millions and even billions into stock buybacks to goose investors' returns and c.e.o.'s bonuses. and employment is down, but wages have barely budged in the generation. unemployment is down, but for millions of people, the exploding costs for housing, for health care, for child care mean that it now takes two jobs to do what one job covered a generation ago. and unemployment is down, but the numbers fail to count the millions living in rural and urban american communities alike that have given up the search for a job. corporate profits, the stock market, unemployment, these statistics tell us everything about the american economy, but
11:04 am
they tell us very little about the lived experiences of today's americans. they do not speak to the citizen who fears police violence or the police officer who fears gang violence or the immigrant who cannot speak out about sexual assault at the hands of her boss or the toxic rhetoric flowing through our politics and seeking to turn neighbor against neighbor. they do not account for our devotion to our communities, to our churches, to our children. they tell us virtually nothing about our trials or our challenges or our hopes or our principles. robert kennedy understood this. he knew that we cannot simply run our economy for those at the top and assume that it will solve america's problems. in the intervening years since his speech, america ran that experiment anyway and watched it fail miserably. it is time to try something
11:05 am
different. it is time to challenge each of us to do better by each other, to see the dignity in one another, to put our values first. i believe together we can make that robert kennedy's legacy, and i am proud to fight for it. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, all postcloture time has expired, and the question occurs on the axon nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
11:06 am
11:07 am
11:08 am
11:09 am
11:10 am
11:11 am
11:12 am
11:13 am
11:14 am
11:15 am
11:16 am
11:17 am
11:18 am
11:19 am
11:20 am
11:21 am
11:22 am
11:23 am
11:24 am
11:25 am
11:26 am
11:27 am
11:28 am
11:29 am
11:30 am
11:31 am
11:32 am
11:33 am
11:34 am
11:35 am
11:36 am
11:37 am
11:38 am
11:39 am
the presiding officer: any senator wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 83. the nays are 11. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table, and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action.
11:40 am
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to calendar number 442, h.r. 5515. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 442, h.r. 5515, an act to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2019 for military activities of the department of defense, and so forth and for other purposes. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the motion to proceed be agreed to. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president. the idin officer: the senator from pennsylvania. a senator: mr. president, reserving the right to object, i hope this is going to be a speed bump on the way to getting often to the ndaa because that is very important legislation that i want to get to. but i have an amendment.
11:41 am
it happens to be arrest germane amendment to a very, very important part of this bill. mr. toomey: it was recently reported out of the kpwafrpbging committee, cfius reform legislation. i want to continue to work with the chairman and the ranking member and the leader to ensure that i'll have an opportunity to offer this amendment. that's all i'm looking for, is to have a vote on my germane amendment. when we can work that out, i'll be happy to grant my consent, but in the meantime i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i send a cloture motion on the motion to proceed. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 442, h.r. 5515, an act to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2019, for military
11:42 am
activities of the department of defense, and so forth and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators. mr. mcconnell: i ask reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the mandatory quorum call be waived. the presiding officer: without objection.
11:43 am
mr. inhofe: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i want to kind of share what just happened here. one of the things -- and i've been at this for a long time. over in the house when we had our ndaa, and i'm fully aware and everybody in here knows that we passed this for 57 consecutive years, and we're going to pass it. but one of the things that i really don't like about the procedure is one person, any one person, democrat or republican, can object, as was just objected to, and cause us to have to file cloture. it's going to be putting this off for a period of time. two likely, not unlikely but undesirable results could come up. one would be to ultimately deny the members from offering their amendments, whether they're germane or not germane. because i would say this, and i want to say how much i
11:44 am
appreciate the fact that senator reed and i in our committees have worked very closely together. we made a decision that we want to have an open amendment process. we've had discussion of this in our committees, and everyone agrees with this. this could have the effect of ultimately closing the door to everyone who has an amendment, and we don't want that. but we did everything we could to stop an objection from taking place so that we could at least move on to the bill. and we need to get on the bill, and then all kinds of arrangements we can try to do, try to get, at one time senator reed talked about everyone coming up with ten amendments or three amendments, so we could at least say to the individuals on our sid i would s to my repuican friendsi would do everything within my power to see that you get a vote. unfortunately, you can't do that.
11:45 am
you can't guarantee that there will be a vote. and so, that was the thing that i regret, because the other bad part of this is that it's going to put it off for about a week. now, i don't know -- i just got back from, from all of our war zones, talking to our kids, our troops on the ground. i was telling them that this is going to happen, that we are going to be taking up the ndaa and telling them what's in it in terms of pay raises, what's in it in terms of priority. how we're going to try to get modernized. right now we have several pieces of equipment that after the last ten years, it's been ignored for we have competitors in russia and china that have better equipment than we do, artillery. an artillery piece is evaluated by rapid fire and range. right now, our rapid fire is not as fast as either -- either of
11:46 am
the -- either the russia or china. we see what's happening in the china seas. we are over there. we see that our allies are looking and thinking that they are preparing over there, the chains are preparing -- chinese are preparing for world war iii. what are we doing? by postponing this, all of the kids that are out there, all of our troops, all of our very valued people risking their lives on a daily basis are going to wonder why didn't we go ahead and go with this thing, and it's wrong. but i do want to say this, that senator reed and i and our committees did everything we could to go ahead, to try to accommodate everyone as best as our rules would allow us to do, and living with the limitations that we have, we have done everything we can do. so i do want to compliment the entire committee, the senate armed services committee. we have also worked on the house side between senator reed and
11:47 am
myself, democrats and republicans. we have done everything that we could to keep this from happening. again, as long as i can remember, at the last minute, one senator can put this off and create the damage and potential damage that has been created now. i do regret that. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: mr. president, first this is an opportunity for me to commend and thank the senator from oklahoma for his extraordinary leadership in the committee. obviously, we were all inspired by chairman mccain and his incredible leadership over the last many, many years, but the senator from oklahoma has stood up there and really set a tone. i think you understand because you were there. very purposeful, very collegial activity to bring everyone involved into the process. we were operating under the basic -- the rules of
11:48 am
appropriateness for the committee and a close connection to the department of defense. because as the chairman, chairman inhofe said, this is ultimately about the men and women in uniform in the united states. we always every year we will pass this bill. i am confident, because of his leadership and because of colleagues like the presiding officer. but each and every year, people see this as the only train leaving town, and we have to be able to keep in balance that this is about the department of defense and related agencies, the nuclear national security administration, for example, d.o.e., and other agencies. and we'd like to be able to open up the floor to amendments that are closely connected, have a clear nexus to the department of defense, the men and women in the department of defense, and then have votes. that's the ideal. and we hope we can do that. we might have to spend some time
11:49 am
procedurally getting to the bill. we will get to the bill. under the leadership of chairman inhofe, we will get the bill done. and we'd like to be able, we hope to be able to accommodate our colleagues as much as possible with amendments. and i would hope that these amendments would be directed once again to the activities and the priorities and the critical needs of the men and women of the armed forces and related agencies. if we do that, i think we'll have a very successful and a very productive floor debate as we did in the committee. and again, let me thank the senator from oklahoma. we both stand ready to work and get this bill done for the men and women in uniform in the united states. thank you. with that, i yield the floor.
11:50 am
the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i think it's kind of unprecedented that you would have the -- in this case, the acting chairman and the ranking member to be so close together on what we have attempted to do. i think it's worthwhile, as senator reed did bring up, that we had the committee hearing on this. it's very rare that we come out as we did and that we actually did that in one day. one day. it was nine hours total. i'm not sure if that's some kind of a record or not, but it shows that we are working very well together. i was hoping that that would go ahead and take care of this today.
11:51 am
anyway, we are now going to start discussing this bill. i think it's more important now since we have lost the opportunity to move to the bill and actually start in on amendments to at least talk about what we are anticipating. today we will begin the consideration, even though we're not on the bill, we can still talk about it. this is the john s. mccain national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2019. it's the most important piece of legislation we consider every year. as i said, this is now the 57th consecutive year that we've done this. i can remember just a few years ago, we went down to -- we got very close to the middle of december or the end of december, which is an absolute deadline to get it done for the fiscal year. we had to go to the big four. we got it done, got it passed. well, we don't want to do that now. we want to do it the right way. we want to consider all the amendments, because on that
11:52 am
year, we got the bill, we didn't consider any amendments. you know, we have -- you can talk to any of the members. a lot of times they are in closed meetings. we talked about the necessity to get the amendments opened up so that anyone could offer an amendment. of course they were denied doing that at that time. but now we are still in a position we can do it. it has put it off about a week. but anyway, this is the most important legislation that we pass every year. i want to thank one more time, as senator jack reed, the ranking member of the armed services committee, for his work on this and the fact that we were able to do it so rapidly as we did. i also want to thank the majority leader, senator mcconnell, for not only bringing the ndaa to the floor this week, but his willingness to do so under regular order. that's what we wanted and we were able to do that.
11:53 am
but i think finally and the most importantly, i want to thank the committee chairman, senator john mccain, for his strong leadership and the preparation for the ndaa this year as he's done each year for a long period of time. make no mistake, he may not be here today, but he is -- this is his bill, his priorities, his policy objectives are in this bill. this year's ndaa is a true embodiment of the -- of what chairman mccain has worked to advance during his decades of service in his tenure as chairman of this committee. it deserves to bear his name and it does bear his name. we're all keeping chairman mccain in our hearts and our prayers as he continues to prove that he is the fighter we all know him to be. i'm sure he is watching right now. senator mccain, we all know the fighter you are. there is no one else like you. so we want you to continue that
11:54 am
fight. we are anticipating that that is going to be -- that's going to be taking place. the ndaa represents some of the finest traditions of this body. in our 57 years, as i mentioned, congress has passed the vital legislation to authorize funding and provide for necessary authority for military to protect this great nation. i'm proud that the senate armed services committee overwhelmingly passed this bill. i think we actually had -- we at one point had 300 amendments that we were able to sit down, reason together, incorporate several of them in a manager's package and come to the floor and actually passed it unanimously. we didn't have one dissenting vote in the committee. that was almost unheard of. it's not more than just a piece of legislation. it's a message to each and every one of our service members that you're our number one priority. that's why i didn't like the idea that there is an objection to moving on to this bill today, because i was with them all last
11:55 am
week, those who are overseas, telling them what we were going to do, why it has the top priority. unfortunately, this sends a wrong message to them. but it's more than just a piece of legislation. it's what we have to do to defend you. after all, you have to keep in mind that the number one thing that we need to be doing in thid states senate as well as in the house is defending america. our founding fathers said that, it's in the constitution, and that's what we are about to do now. so the fiscal year 2019 ndaa has the largest pay raise in ten years. in some small way, it honors their enormous sacrifice. in total, the ndaa supports $716 billion in fiscal year 2019 for national defense. it authorizes a base defense budget of $639 billion for the
11:56 am
department of defense and the national security programs, and then some in the department of energy that are related to our national defense as well as $69 billion in overseas contingency fund. it all adds up to $716 billion. that's what we should be doing around here. we're glad we got to the point where we can only give the top priority to defending our nation as it should have always been. this is funding, an important step towards recovering from years of cuts in our defense budget. under the budget control act and sequestration that harmed our military readiness, it slowed down our modernization efforts. as i mentioned before, sequestration has held us back, but it has not held our adversaries back. all the time that we were held back over the last ten years, our peer competition out there,
11:57 am
russia and china, they haven't been holding back. that's why i said in areas such as the artillery, they are ahead of us. every time i go -- and i'm sure the chair finds the same thing to be true. you go back home where the real people are and they assume we have the best of everything because we have -- that was kind of a standard we set in world war ii, and of course we backed away from that. so we have the areas not just of artillery and the triad that we had, we were not able to keep that up. all the time we were doing nothing for the last ten years in the triad system, the chinese and the russians were advancing and they're ahead of us now. hypersonic. hypersonic is something not many people know about. it's a weapons system that moves five times the speed of sound. this is something that is going to be where future wars are going to be fought, and yet china and russia are both ahead of us right now. and so we are with this bill going back and are advancing in
11:58 am
some areas where we have been very, very slow. and the goal as always is to provide our war fighters with the resources and capabilities they need and to do so on time, on schedule, and at a reasonable cost. i'm going to run over this because i think it's important that the people out there know and even some members of this body, if they're not on the committee, they might not be aware of it, but the -- it's an authorization, and what the legislation does, it authorizes starting with $23 billion for shipbuilding to fund ten new construction battle force jets. it provides procurement of 117 naval aviation aircraft. it has $6.6 billion to procure 75 f-35 joint strike fighters. i think we all recognize the mistake that we made back when we had the 22. we should at that time have stayed with the original amount. now we regret we didn't do that.
11:59 am
we don't want to make the same mistake with the f-35. we have that provision in there. $2.3 billion to procure 14 k.c. 46's. this is kind of interesting because that's going to ultimately replace the k.c.-135's which have been around for 58 years now. i can remember the -- in the last administration, the secretary of the air force was having an event. i remember commenting out at elgins air force base. i said in 1959, two wonderful things happened. number one, i got married. number two, we delivered our first kc-135. she said well, i guess that offers security for you here at altes for the next 59. i think it is. that's how important that is. our kr-135's are necessary, and 14 in addition we have. we


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on