tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN June 6, 2018 11:59am-1:59pm EDT
now we regret we didn't do that. 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 have $350 million to procure
air force attack aircraft. procurement of 117 army helicopters. $17 million to prototype the next generation combat vehicle. $100 million each for the u.s. -- for the marine corps light aircraft and the group five unmanned aerial system. and and lastly $10 billion for missile defense. for the missile defense agency. that's timely getting us up where we have fallen behind during the last administration. might as well see it -- say it as it is. now we have everyone agreeing that this is good. this is in the bill, in the bill that we have unnecessarily postponed for another week. so i guess that's -- someone is making a point there. that along the way the ndaa makes adjustments to the administration's budget request to ensure programs are sustainable and accountable and in protecting american taxpayers -- tax dollars. it takes steps to ensure we're
prepared for a world defined by strategic competition with china and russia, addressing china's militarization in the south china sea, and deterring russia's military aggression in cyber attacks. we know that's happening right now. several of us, including the chair, we were not long ago, just about a month ago, in the south china sea. and when you see what the chinese are doing, totally illegally, it's not land that they own. they're talking about reclaiming land. they're not reclaiming land. it wasn't previously claimed by anybody. but they have seven islands now. we're talking about over 33,000 acres that is out there that they've created huge military formations out there. when you look at these, all of our allies are assuming that they are having to now say,
take -- take sides at what might be world war i ii. when you see what they are putting on these islands, it's all military, 100% of it just as if they were preparing for world war i ii. we saw it and we know they are projecting it. it is not just the south china seas. we just got back from jabutti, they have military bases that are not within the confines of china. so this supports the implementation of a nuclear posture review by authorizing $65 million toll have -- to have a submarine launch missile. i know there will be some controversy. the ranking member and i don't agree on everything and this is one area that we probably don't
agree on. we want to have amendments and open debate, and that's what we're going to have, unfortunately that is going to be delayed for a period of time that i believe is unnecessary. the -- finally the ndaa supports our allies and partners around the world. it authorizes $5.2 billion for the afghanistan security forces fund. we just got back from afghanistan. things are going really well. we talked to general nicholson and good things are happening there in spite of an unfriendly press wants you to believe. this is -- there is $1.2 billion in counterisis effort in iraq and syria. the train and equipment program is one that we all agree, at least on the committee, that it is very important to continue that. it authorizes $6.3 billion for the european deterrence
initiative and $200 million for security assistance to the ukraine, including defense lethal assistance. this is something we should have done a long time ago. i happened to be in ukraine when they had their last election -- actually not their last election, but about three years ago and that was the time for the first time in 96 years the ukraine doesn't have one communist in their parliament. they did that because they love us. and then putin came in and started killing them. we know what happened. it was well publicized. yet, we had the opportunity send some lethal, defensive equipment to help them since they have this love for the west, and at that time the administration wouldn't allow that to take place. anyway, we offered $500 million for israel cooperative missile defense programs. when we talk about israel,
that's kind -- there's kind of an assumption that they are dormant and we're providing this. they have developed systems over there that is superior to ours. there is no better relationship anywhere in the world than between the united states and israel. we have a president who is very strongly in support of that and we have a great guy over there that looks to us as their closest friend. it also includes the foreign vefltment review -- investment review act. and the foreign investment, the authority needs to address some of the national security concerns. as we move forward to considering the fiscal year 19 ndaa, we have to remember that our constitutional responsibility is to provide defense. we forget that. people forget that we have to defend america.
they play on the assumption that we have all that we need and that it is no longer a mission in a is worth fighting for. we have to face the facts that this is the most dangerous world we have ever faced. the military advantage we once enjoyed has eroded and we cannot delay the modernization of our capabilitiesies. -- capabilities. all you have to do is look at north korea. i believe in six days from now a meeting will take place between kim jong-un and our president. it is unprecedented and i'm very excited about it, but nonetheless in this world today you can have one country that has the capability of attacking an american state. it is something that we have not had to deal with in the past. that is part of this bill that we are talking about now that we are going to be passing and going to conference with the house. today we commemorate the 74th
day of d-day, and this embodies the spirit of the sacrifice of so many, fighting sometimes against insurmountable odds in the name of freedom, and we won. i urge my colleagues to keep in mind the -- the meaning of this, the john s. mccain national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2019 will help us serve -- assert the qualitative and quantitative military advantage we have and i should say reassert it because we have lost it. general dunnford said that we have fallen behind in our quantitative advantage over the enemy. i hope that the ranking member reed will move forward with an
open amendment process. this is very important. it is one that we all agreed on. we hoped that we would be in that process right now and it didn't happen. unfortunately some time is going to be lost, so we're committed to working with everyone here as soon as possible and get the amendments on -- rolling. so, anyway, i just -- i want to yield to senator reed, but before i do, i want to make sure that we get on the record, i have never seen in the years i have been here more cooperation than we have with the democrats and republicans on the senate armed services committee, and i will yield the floor. let me unyield the floor for just a minute here. mr. president, i have six requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority.
the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. inhofe: i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. let me again thank senator inhofe. i would too comment that the collaboration was superb on the committee, a great deal of that was a result of his work and the inspiration of chairman mccain and everything that we did. as a preliminary point, i would ask that marcia be granted privilege of the floor until january 2019. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reed: i rise to address the national defense authorization act bill which passed out of the committee with a strong bipartisan vote. first, i would like to recognize senator mccain, after whom this bill is named. he has guided this committee through several ndaa's with a
steady hand. his commitment to a bipartisan process has been an example of the way that congress should fundings, and i am pleased to say that this bill follows in that tradition. again, i want to thank senator inhofe who has graciously led the committee and an extremely efficient markup which produced a bipartisan bill we are beginning to consider. we would like to be done considering it and take amendments today, but we will consider it and we will pass it and we will continue the outstanding record of annually passing a national defense act for the men and women of the armed forces. the committee held hearings on national security challenges and received briefings on emerging threats. the result of this hard work is a bill that i believe will improve the readiness of our armed forces, push back on our adversaries that threaten our
democratic system and the global order and improve the lives of those in the military and their families. this will prioritize the strategic competition with russia and china. it supports the president's budget request for resources to deter, and if necessary, defend against aggression from near-pier competitors -- near-peer competitors, this includes the european deterrence initiative as a continuing demonstration of the commitment to our european allies and the deter earns of russian expansionism. and we include the necessary resources to counter china's destabilization in the reasoningon. it calls on the administration to complete a comprehensive strategy to address russia conflict. russia attacked the heart of our
democracy in 2016 and our -- mid-term elections. yet the administration has failed to bring together our military and nonmilitary tools of national power to counter this russian aggression despite a requirement in last year's ndaa to submit to congress a whole of government strategy to counter russian maligned influence. this bill expresses the sense of the senate that we should complete a counter russia influence strategy without delay. over the course of the past year the committee has held numerous hearings in which witnesses told us that the president has not tasked the department of defense to appear to respond to a repeat of russia's influence campaign. their ongoing campaign of misinformation has lrnlg largely be -- has largely been conducted through cyberspace. they have cyber forces designed to disrupt the cyberattacks. it is my belief that the ongoing
attacks can't be such a significant attack. the bill provides a provision that allows the secretary of defense to have our side of forces to defend russian attacks on our democracy. with respect to the continued threat by isis, the bill extends the iraq and syrian trained equip programs at the funding levels, and to have the department forces to be trained. this is a prudent approach that recognizes the continued threat from isis while ensuring appropriate oversight of these authorities in a dynamic environment. i am pleased that the bill also includes provisions designed top incorporate lessons learned from the campaign against isis that can account for and respond to allegations of civilian casualties going forward. as the tip of the spear of our
efforts to counter violent extremist groups like isis across the globe, our special operations forces require the best equipment and training possible. the bill authorizes full funding for the u.s. special operationings command and will enhance the ability of the secretary of defense to act as the service secretary-like civilian responsible for the oversight and advocacy for all of our special operations forces. for the navy and marine corps, i believe the bill represents a continuation of the efforts so important for improving our armed forces. the proposals would begin significant efforts to improve the readiness of navy and marine corps aircraft, ships, and other systems. i am pleased that it authorizes funds to help to ramp up submarine discussion so that we
can replace the ohio class submarines. while i support many of the provisions of the bill regarding the navy and marine corps, the bill makes sizable -- that will be the backbone of the amphibious assault capability for the years to come. this is shortsighted and i plan to continue to work with my colleagues on this issue throughout the process. for the air for the air force this bill authorizes the a-10 wing replacement program to ensure the readiness of our a-10 fleet. additionally, the bill authorizes $350 million for the air force to procure light-attack aircraft and $2.3 billion for 14-kc 46 tankers. it provides multi-year procurement authority for the c130-j program. the bill also has provisions to begin to address the growing challenge of operating and supporting the f-35 fleet for all services. i believe this challenge will be with us for a long time and we
have to take additional actions in the future where we have begun this process. j-stars is the commanding control aircraft of ground forces. presently, the air force plans to retire j-stars with the hope, not the plan, but the hope of replacing in the future with a new concept. but i believe the bill takes a very responsible position by prevent be the air force -- preventing the air force from retiring the current fleet of j-stars aircraft and.additional resources to help the air force accelerate, developing, and fielding new capabilities to replace the current ground-moving target capability provided by j-stars. in effect, we shouldn't take j-stars away until we have something very credible and capable to replace it. as the department of defense prioritizes long-term strategic competition with china and russia, the army will be required to balance the highen -- highen end near pier fight.
this will be a significant shift for the army given that for the nearly 17 years in the past, they have focused on combat operations in iraq, afghanistan, and most recently in syria. in addition, the army has had a spotty track record in recent decades with major acquisition programs. coupled with the effects of the budget control act and sequestration, the army has had to defray modernizing platforms aimed with a conflict with a peer add remember sorries. recognizing the need to overhaul processes, the army has created a number of cross functional teams tasks -- so that new technologies and modernized platforms could be delivered to the force in a more effective manner. i commend the senior leadership of the army for making acquisition reform a priority. and i believe the bill that we are considering today supports investments for critical weapon systems and research and development activities. for example, the bill authorizes
full funding for the army's request for battle tanks as well as army helicopters to include a-64 apache helicopters and blackhawks. it makes target investments to improve the range and thee that willty of army artillery systems and supports the feeling on combat vehicles in order to better protect our soldiers. again, there is much in this area that i support but i am concerned that some of the programs were not fully funded. the most notably, the joint light tactical vehicle program. while the senate must closely review the president's budget annual request, we should be mindful of the impact of the force. ensuring our soldiers have the equipment and resources they need on the battlefield is our highest priority. in the area of space, this committee has taken irn depth briefings on the threats we face through the use of our space systems while many of the details are classified, i'm satisfied with the investments we are now making in this area
given that space is increasingly becoming a contested domain upon which our ground, sea, and air forces rely upon worldwide. i would only comment to my colleagues that in last year's national defense authorization act, we made substantial changes to the department's governance, the way they operate and the policy development within the department of defense. and we should give the department the time it needs to implement these new proposals before we consider additional tasks for the department. in the area of acquisition and technology, i am pleased to see the bill continues efforts at acquisition streamlining and reform and tries to strengthen d.o.d.'s stem and acquisition resource. we continue to take steps to improve the pentagon's ability to deploy technology systems and embrace modern commercial software production practices. we also include a number of provisions that will strengthen the u.s. defense manufacturing and industrial base which is so critical to our ability to deal with threats around the world. the committee's bill authorizes
significant increases in funding for science and technology programs above the president's requested levels, including supporting critical research areas like quantum computing, artificial intelligence, hyper sonics and direct imaging. we are on a full sail technological race with china with implications for both our national security and economic success. and many provisions in this bill are aimed to help us win that race. this bill includes efforts to drive the pentagon to engage more with our world-leading universities and small businesses, to leverage their innovation and create the technologies that will shape the future battlefield and drive the economy. among other things, the bill establishes a d.o.d. venture capital program to invest in high-tech start-ups as well as permanently reauthorizing the successful small business innovation research program. in the area of personnel, the bill includes a number of provisions designed to modernize
the personnel management system by giving the services greater flexibility to commission and promote individuals with the training and experience in specialized areas needed by the services. the bill also addresses dom domc violence and child abuse by establishing a new punitive article in the uniform code of military justice, prohibiting domestic violence, and requiring programs to address child abuse and domestic violence on military installations. the bill addresses the issue of opioid abuse by military personnel and their families by requiring a pilot program to minimize early opioid exposure and creating a new program for sharing information about opioid prescriptions with state prescription drug monitoring programs. the bill also supports a high quality of life for service members and their families. it authorizes the full 2.6% basic pay increase for all service members as well as $40 million in department of defense supplemental impact aid, an
additional $10 million in impact aid for military children with severe disabilities. the bill would apply protections of title 9 of the education amendments of 1972 to all d.o.d. schools, closing a loophole in coverage of these protections and would require new comprehensive sexual harassment policies for students in d.o.d. schools that provides protections at least equal to those afforded by title 9. i remain concerned, however, that the military service do not receive the first strength increases in this bill that they have requested. i understand the desire for quality over quantity and agree quality is paramount but i believe the services can increase and achieve the increases they requested without sacrificing service standards. i look forward to hearing from the services as we move forward in the legislative cycle about these provisions, and whether they continue to believe they can achieve the requested increases without sacrificing quality. in the area of strategic
systems, this bill continues to support the modernization of all three legs. the b-21 bomber, the ground-based strategic deterrent and submarine. these are all major acquisition programs that will take decades to field. bipartisan support is essential for the success as we move forward and this bill continues that bipartisan support. b-21 will replace the b-52 bomber which was fielded in 1962. and will be required to operate well into the 2040's. the ground-based strategic deterrent will replace the 3 which was needed in the 1970's and uses electronics that in many cases predate the earliest personal computers. finally, the columbia class submarine will replace the current fleet of 14 ohio class submarines starting in 2027 due to the potential for hull take seeing on the hoe class submarines.
by then the first ohio class submarine will be 46 years old. the oldest submarine to have ever sailed in our navy in its history. but perhaps the biggest issue to be debated in the coming days is the development and deployment of low-yield nuclear weapons. this bill authorizes the defense department's request for funding for new low-yield submarine launch ballistic missile. the request for this weapon is in response to russia with the military doctrine to escalate to deescalate which means if russia is losing a conventional war and wanted to prevent counter attacks that would displace them, they would launch a crow-yield weapon and force us to choose between suspense of our military efforts or employment of high-yield nuclear weapons heightening the possibility of escalation, all-out nuclear war. this raises question of policies that i believe require more time
to analyze and understand. i have spent countless hours and i'm not alone. my colleagues on the committee and many members of this senate have spent hours, thinking about the issues that are caused by these proposals. i'm concerned that we have not fully gration:ed -- grasped all the complex implications. indeed, there is an honest disagreement among experts in the field on this issue. while the strategic command and one of our most prominent and effective and distinguished officers makes the case for this system, others like former secretary ernie monese who is also an expert in the field says the system is not necessary. but no matter where you fall on the issue, to develop this weapon is a major change in u.s. policy. and i believe congress needs to have a say each step of the way. and under a law passed on a bipartisan basis in 2003 which i actually was involved in
crafting with senator john warner, the administration could do research on a low-yield weapon but could not develop or produce or deploy it without congressional authorization. this bill removes that restriction going forward and virtually all congressional input on these weapons and other potential weapons. given the policy ramifications of development and deployment of low-yield nuclear weapons and any type of nuclear weapon, i believe that congress should be involved every step of the way. and so we will be offering an amendment to ensure congressional oversight of this issue to continue the process which we are using today, which congress will actually debate and vote and consider the development and deployment of a new nuclear weapon. finally, this bill authorizes $638.2 billion in base funding for the department of defense and the department of energy and $68.5 billion in funding for overseas contingency operations.
i am glad the bill remains within the caps set by the bipartisan budget act we passed in february. this will enable the department to continue to restore readiness and modernize our forces. however, i will remind my colleagues that the budget deal only covered fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019. sequestration and the original cap will be back next year unless we again reach an agreement for both the defense and nondefense accounts. i think all of us have acknowledged that our national security is broader than simply the accounts in the department of defense. customs and border patrol, the transportation security agency, the coast guard, the state department, and many other agencies also contribute to our national security. the investments we propose in this bill before us will be short lived if we cannot provide sufficient resources and stability in the years to come for all of these critical functions of our government. let me conclude by once again thanking senator inhofe and my colleagues on the committee for working thoughtfully on a bipartisan basis to develop this
important piece of legislation. i would also like to thank the staff who worked tirelessly on the bills throughout this year and will continue to work tirelessly for many, many days ahead. i look forward to the thoughtful debate on the issues faced at the department of defense and our national security and finally i can't think of no more appropriate title for this bill than the john mccain national defense authorization act to symbolize the leadership and the inspiration and the direction that he is still providing us and will provide us as we move forward. and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
leader. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspended. officer without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, when i was a senior in college at georgetown university, i received a chance opportunity that literally changed my life. paul douglas, the great senator from my home state of illinois, hired me on as an intern in his office here in the united states senate. i was just a kid from east st. louis, illinois, the son of an immigrant mother, who was suddenly surrounded by senators debating some of the most profound questions in our nation's history. i used to come to the floor of the senate -- i couldn't enter the floor. let me back up and say, i used to come to the gallery of the senate as a student and observe the proceedings of the senate, never dreaming there would be a day when i could actually stand on the floor of the united states senate. i couldn't believe my good fortune as a visitor to watch people like mike mansfield, everett dirksen from my state,
paul douglas from illinois, william if you will bright, margaret chase smith, and so many others come to the floor and speak in debate. i remember signature right there as a college student -- i remember sitting right there as a college student watching. through the door came bobby kennedy. not far behind, his brother ted kennedy, both of them serving in the united states senate in those days. it was an important occasion. i think remember on this one day bobby kennedy was about to give a speech on vietnam. his wife and teddy kennedy's wife were seated in the gallery just above them and i was over here. i'm sure with my message wide open saying, i -- i'm sure with my mouth wide open saying, i can't believe that i'm here to witness it. i remember the moment today because today is the 50th anniversary of the day an assassin's bullet ended bobby kennedy's too-short life. for millions who remember him
and many millions more who weren't even born in is the 68 -- in 1968, his death remains a haunting mess. we miss his and wit, his compassion and fierce commitment to justice and democracy and his deep faith in americans coming tooth together to the -- coming together to overcome difficulties. just two months before bobby kennedy was murdered, america lost another apostle of peace and justice. the evening that dr. martin luther king jr. was murdered, bobby kennedy was in indianapolis, indiana, to give a speech. breaking the news of dr. king's death, bobby begged his listeners to not resort to effort. "we've to make effort in the united states. we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond thighs remember difficult times. what he we need in the united states is not division. what we need in the united
states is not hatred. what we need in the united states is not violence or lawlessness but love, wisdom and compassion toward one another and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or black." listening to those words, one can hear echos of president lincoln's inaugural address when he told a young nation on a knife's edge of civil war, we are not enemies but friends and look forward to a time when we would would be guided to, in lincoln's words, the ber angels of our nature. -- the better angels of our nature. bobby kennedy understood that america is great when we are guided by those angels, not by fear. as america's attorney general in the early 1960's, bobby kennedy short a wrote book entitled requesting the pursuit of justice." it had a short chapter entitled
"extremism left and right." i am going to ready a short passage from it. the words of robert frances kennedy -- not as history but as hope and a reminder that we have the ability, each of us, to choose to overcome what divides us. here's what he wrote. there have always an everywhere been those throughout our history and particularly in times of crisis who have preached intolerance, who have sought to the escape reality and responsibility with a slogan or a scapegoat. what is objectionable, robert kennedy wrote, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme but that they are intolerant. the evil is not what they say about their cause but what they say about their opponents. the intolerant man, kennedy wrote, cannot trust democracy. he condemns the motives, the morals, the patriotism of all
who disagree with him. he spreads selfish slogans and false fears. the answers to these voices, bobby kennedy tells us, quote, cannot come merely from government, no matter how conscientious or judicious. the answer must come from within american democracy. it must come from an informed national consensus which can recognize futile fervor and simple solutions for exactly what they are and reject them quickly. ultimately, america's answer to the intolerant man is diversity. on this sad anniversary, the 50th anniversary of the death of robert kennedy, we would do well to listen to his words and heed the better angels of our nature here in the united states. it is our true source of american greatness. mr. president, i ask consent that the remarks i'm about to make be placed in a separate
part in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i rise today to bring attention to the troubling erosion of our strongest and most cherished trans-atlantic alliance, the north atlantic treaty organization. over the years, i have visited some of our key nato and european allies, including lithuania, poland, as well as those on the front lines of russian military invasions. what is the constant theme that is shared in these visits? it's the importance of our alliance, our friendship, our common purpose, the importance of the north atlantic treaty organization. the importance of democratic western values and international norms and institutions are embodied in this alliance. in 1948, a world weary of war led by the united states, canada and europe decided to face the new threat from an expansionist
soviet union. a year later we banded together to create a collective shield against aggression so that governments could concentrate on achieving fuller, better existence for everyone. ever since the creation of nato, it has been essential to the national security of the united states and a vital component of the u.s.-led international order nato has made the world safer, more prosperous. underpinning the nato treaty is collective defense guarantees that essentially says the following -- an armed attack against one of us is an attack against all of us. there's only been one time in the history of nato that this has been invoked. you know what it was? it was less than 24 hours after the terrorist attacks against the united states of america on september 11, 2001. when that happened, our allies and nato immediately came to our
defense. they fought beside us, stood beside us, and pledged to be there when we needed them. they've been there with our u.s. military forces in afghanistan since 2001 to stop the spread of terrorism, and many of these neigh a lice have paid the ultimate price -- and many of these nato allies have paid the ultimate price. many more have come home injured. they did it without question because it is in service to the collective defense guarantee of the neigh a lines. the picture -- of the nato alliance. the picture today is dramatically different. in the face of russian aggression today, instead of fortifying our alliance and coming together in common cause, i'm sorry to report that this trump administration belittles the promise and commitment of nato. the president's lack of an appreciation for history, for this critical and stabilizing alliance is alarming. in the process, this president
has caused the world to lose faith in institutions and policies which have kept us safe for 70 years. in the process, the president has also shaken the confidence of our allies in our country, in our ability to lead, our ability to solve international problems in a meaningful and cooperative way with our friends and allies. how has is this administration achieved this? by repeatedly calling nato obsolete during his political campaign, by failing to -- by threatening not to defend the baltic nato members, countries directly in russia's crosshairs, by thumbing his nose at our closest allies when he reckless ly withdrew from the paris climate agreement and the iran nuclear deal. mr. president, the united states
of america is the only nation in the world that is not a signatory to the paris climate agreement. every other nation on earth acknowledges that we are facing environmental challenges which could destroy and damage the world that we leave to our children. but this president, this president withdrew the united states from that agreement. and just days ago he stepped away from the iran nuclear deal, an agreement reached under the previous administration -- which i know makes it unacceptable to this president -- but an agreement reached by china, russia, the united states, germany, france, united kingdom, and the european union. to do a what? to stop the iranians from developing nuclear weapons. president trump stepped away from that agreement. the world is not safer because of that decision.
to throw salt on the wound, the president is now in a trade war with some of these very same nato allies and he has threatened to levy sanctions against these same nato allies if they do any business with iran. defying all logic and american security interests, despite all the things i have just said, the president looks the other way when this comes to russia. despite russia's interference in our election, a conclusion reached bid every intelligence agency in the united states, despite repeated violations of international treaties and agreements, despite cyber attacks against the united states and europe, especially the baltics, despite the occupation of sovereign territory in ukraine, georgia and moldova, president trump has been virtually silent on russia's aggression. tragically, this silence has not gone unnoticed by our closest international partners.
the pew research center did a poll that shows our allies' trust in leadership is plummeting. only 11% of those who life in germany had confidence in president trump and in great britain only 22%. this is compared to 86% and 97% in those countries under president obama. gallup did a poll. after two years of his presidency, approval of his leadership is at a new low of 30% with the biggest drops of approval coming from those nations who stood by us in alliance for seven decades. the devastating message is clear, at a time when russia is challenging nato in new and more aggressive ways, our nato allies are losing faith in america. donald tusque, the european council president said the european union is no longer allusions that the united states
is a trustworthy friend. i never expected us to be plagued by such uncertainty. i certainly didn't expect that uncertainty to rise as a result of our president. because i and many of my colleagues are so alarmed by the state of affairs, senators kaine, cardin, van hollen, brown and merkley have joined me to introduce a resolution to reaffirm our commitment to nato just in time for the nato summit in july. i plead with my republican colleagues to join us in making this a bipartisan commitment to the future of nato. this resolution reaffirms what should be obvious, it urges president trump to do the same in committing to this alliance and to stand resolute against russian aggression. we know hostile nations will seek to exploit the strained relationship between natoened a the united states, and we can't allow this to happen. if our president won't d it, congress must. we need to act to reasse that america can still be trusted to
stand for the values which inspired the creation of nato and to stand by our allies and friends who share our goal for a peaceful world. thank you, mr. president. mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i want to begin my remarks by commending our colleagues in the house for taking up a bill later today that i introduced with the junior senator from michigan, senator peters, and congresswoman comstock over in the house of representatives. we passed this bill unanimously in the senate in may. i know people believe that nothing happens in a bipartisan way around here, and certainly if it does happen, then we are
sharply divided somehow. but this bill passed unanimously, defying that suspicion or that intuition. but once the house passes it, it will be headed to the president's desk for his signature and become the law of the land. it authorizes a program called project safe neighborhoods, which is a nationwide partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities and prosecutors, focused on reducing crime and improving public safety through stronger community partnerships and targeting the most serious criminal organizations and repeat offenders. since its interception -- inception in 2001, project safe neighborhood has proven to reduce crime in cities with high rates khrublg including double digit reduction in firearm crime and homicide.
let me say that again. since 2001, where it's been used, those jurisdictions, those communities have seen double-digit reductions in firearms crimes and homicides. one of the most important elements of the program is a focus on criminal organizations. when federal, state, and local law enforcement work together to focus on those who control criminal networks, we can defeat them outright. this will also bolster our efforts that we're undertaking as the the federal government to address gun violence and school safety. by about the way, i want to commend attorney general sessions for ramping up prosecution of gun-related crimes, especially the so-called lie and buy incidents, where people lie about their criminal background or otherwise hide it in order to obtain firearms
illegally. now we've taken a big step to improve the criminal background check system that is used when somebody enters a sporting goods store or gun shop to buy a firearm. because if you are a convicted felon, if you've been convicted of domestic violence, if you've been dishonorably discharged from the military, you can not under current law purchase a firearm or possess a firearm legally. but what's happened -- and we saw that in sutherland springs -- is because of the broken background check system, often the derogatory, the disqualifying information is not uploaded into the background check system, and so people enter these sporting goods stores, they purchase a firearm by lying, even though they were already disqualified under federal law, and we haveen tak big step here in congress in a bipartisan basis to shut that down. but it's going to take some time
to fix that system. and so it's important in the interim certainly at least to have the department of justice focus on those who lie and buy firearms illegally. under attorney general sessions, enforcement of our existing gun laws has been dramatically improved. there was a 15% increase in all federal gun prosecutions last year. people like me believe that we ought to focus on the person, on the individual and not on the instrumentality or the tool. because obviously people, law-abiding citizens are not a threat to public safety and certainly don't go out and commit crimes. but by focusing on criminals and people who are not legally qualified to purchase a firearm in the first place or possess one, under current law, we can help improve public safety and lower the crime rate.
what's happening under attorney general sessions in this administration is a great contrast to what we saw under eric holder, who often failed to enforce existing gun laws adequately guns violent criminals. those who illegally possess or purchase firearms must be held accountable. i'm glad to see that congress and the administration are working together to ensure that happens. project safety neighborhoods authorization act is another important piece of our bipartisan commitment to reduce violent crime by focusing on the most serious offenders and improving law enforcement relations with the communities they serve. it's important that federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies working together in close coordination, because then we can solve the most complex challenges that drive violent crime and make our communities
safer. the project safe neighborhoods authorization act is a significant step in that direction. mr. president, on another topic, this afternoon i'll be chairing a judiciary committee subcommittee hearing called student visa integrity, protecting educational opportunity and national security. you know, we are blessed in america with world-class higher education and university system. everybody wants to come to america to go to college or graduate school. and that's a good thing by and large. the point of today's hearing, though, is to raise awareness about a very real issue that we must be diligently aware of. to hear from federal agencies responsible for our national security and visa policy and vetting foreign nationals, because we know our open society here in america is also exploited by our adversaries for
their own benefit and to undermine our national security at home. we hope to shed light on policies and procedures that are in place or should be in place to address what has become a growing source of concern. that issue primarily relates but not solely relates to chinese aggressive activity to surpass the united states on all fronts -- militarily and economically and technologically whatever means necessary, legal or not, open or secret, to achieve their goals. the interesting thing about china is they have advertised their plans. they are there for the world to see, and all we need to do is read what they have said they intend to do. through its made in china 2025 strategy, china is accelerating its efforts to acquire u.s. intellectual property and
sensitive research. and that's where our universities come in. that's where most of the important research takes place. this past february, f.b.i. director wray testified before the senate intelligence committee about the security risks posed by certain foreign students and visiting scientists and scholars at america's colleges and universities. directors wray's were brief, and because of the sensitive and classified nature of the issue, he could not provide the full context and breadth of the concerns in an open setting. but what he has said publicly is alarming. he said that the f.b.i. is watching warily, he said naivete was exacerbating the problem. i think by nay kwraoef taeu, he -- b'nai kwraoef taeu, he meant a lack of public awareness of problem and a lack of
vigilance on the part of our university systems and the public generally that is what he was referring to as naivete and it's hurting our national security. he also said the chinese government has been very aggressive about planting spies, foreign intelligence officers, on our university campuses, in our research facilities in order to accomplish its goals. that's not the only way they're doing it, but that is a significant way they are trying to achieve the goals they set out and made in china in 2025, and enhancing their national security and robbing us of our technologic when it comes to particularly military use technology, they are all in. it's all of government approach. as i said, we're fortunate to have the top universities in the world, and they're known for
their open research and development environment, and that fosters collaboration and innovation across a broad array of industries, sectors, and academic disciplines, and that is a good thing. but what's happening now, as director wray said, is foreign actors are taking advantage of that environment, again of our vulnerability as an open society, and they're using it to study, learn, and acquire sensitive information to the detriment of u.s. national security. this is not an isolated problem. director wray said the bureau is monitoring universities from virtually all of its 58 field offices aos the nation, not just in major cities. so it's not just new york or san francisco, chicago, los angeles, dallas, houston. it is all across the country. approximately 350,000 chinese students are enrolled at u.s.
universities. 350,000. that's 35% of all foreign students in the united states as those numbers suggest, there is ample opportunity for mischief. most -- and i want to emphasize the word most -- most students and visiting scholars come for legitimate reasons, and we welcome them. we should welcome them. they come here to learn, share our culture, and contribute their talents to the united states. i think that our educational system here in america is one of the greatest elements of our soft power, where we invite foreign students to come to study in our colleges and universities and learn more about who we are and to learn about our values and to take those back home and to become natural allies with us in making the world a better and safer
place. but it's important to note that the chinese communist party that dominates the government in china has the capity to influence all the students from that country who come here in the academics. i want to emphasize this is not about restricting student visas. students from across the world are welcome to come and study at our colleges and universities, and i encourage all of them to explore opportunities for them to do so. it's good for them and it's good for us. what the hearing is about and what we should all be concerned about is security risks and the theft of intellectual property at our universities. again, as the f.b.i. director said, we shouldn't be naive. this theft is occurring. it's well documented, and we've got to take the necessary preventive measures to ensure
that it doesn't continue to occur. while i've highlighted china's activities, these concerns are certainly not limited to one country. there are other countries, including state sponsors of terrorism like iran, who are actively working to steal u.s. technology bypass research and development and exploit the student visa program to gain information that will benefit their countries. it it seem, like a logical target for them. if they have no regard for the rule of law, if they can steal technology that we've spent years and billions of dollars to develop and acquire and implement, it's to their huge economic advantage, and it helps catapult their national security apparatus in ways that eventually will overcome our
national security structure itself. so one example, just this last march, the department of justice indicted nine iranian hackers who stole more than 31 tear totaling $3 billion in intellectual property. while i said china is the biggest, most obvious culprit, there are others as well. and we hope to discuss all of them in our hearing. finally, let me just say, mr. president, our colleges and universities again have become a mecca for foreign nationals because of the high quality education and the academic and cultural freedoms that exist in america. in order to preserve that, those crown jewels, we have to make sure that american research is
protected. the intellectual property developed at our colleges and universities is protected. so today's hearing in the judiciary committee about the student visa program is about protecting the educational atmosphere we've worked generations to build in this country. again, our higher education system is the envy of the world. that's why students come here. they flock here. as many as they can in order to study at our colleges and universities. again, this is a good thing. but we need to hear how u.s. institutions of higher education with actively protect their most sensitive areas from potential intrusion from foreign states with less than honorable purposes and intent. in addition to the testimony we're going to hear this afternoon at the hearing from federal agency, we're going to hear from texas a&m university which has been recognized for
its excellence in providing security for that research and that intellectual property that is the target for foreign actors. we're going to hear from and a e association of international educators and about the value and talent foreign nationals bring to the u.s. educational system. these panelists will suggest this is a complex problem. no one is suggesting that it's not. there's a lot of different angles to it and we need to do our best to learn and listen from all sides and make good policy decisions about what we should do in response to this threat. so i look forward to learning about how we can continue to open our doors to foreign students while at the same time protect ourselves from espionage and outright theft that ultimately makes our country less safe. madam president, i yield the
floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: senator from florida. mr. nelson: madam president, it's interesting that the majority whip just spoke about china and this senator wants to talk about facebook and some of the things that are threatening national security. and our personal privacy. i rise to speak on the recent press reports on facebook and how the social media giant partnered with at least 60 mobile device manufacturers and shared user information with the ke of apple, amazon, blackberry, microsoft, and sam sung. and just today on the subject of china, "the new york times" is reporting that facebook also partnered with four chinese electronic manufacturers
including huawei which is known to have close ties with the chinese government and may pose a national security threat to the u.s. according to the times, these companies had access to vast amount of facebook's user data, including the information of friends who may not have provided proper consent to access and share share personal and their personally identifiable information. madam president, we don't know all the facts yet, but it's clear what facebook claims and what "the new york times" is reporting, it doesn't end up squaring up. as a result, the chairman of the
commerce committee, senator thune, and i as ranking member wrote a letter to mark zuckerberg asking that he answer a number of questions about "the new york times" reporting. specifically, senator thune and i want to know who exactly these business partners are and what are the nature of these agreements. we want to know what safeguards are in place and whether facebook conducted adequate oversight to protect user customer information from unauthorized use and storage. and we also ask whether facebook users and the federal trade commission were aware of these business agreements. currently, facebook is operating under a 2011 consent order as
part of a settlement with the f.t.c. and it's not clear whether their data sharing agreements are in violation of that order. the bottom line is these revelations are yet another example of questionable business practices by facebook that could undermine basic consumer privacy . remember, less than two months ago, mr. zuckerberg appeared in front of our committee and a joint committee hearing with the judiciary committee to answer questions in the face of the cambridge an -- cambridge an lit came fiasco. in that hearing mr. zuckerberg apologized for his company's negligence and pledged to do better. he also asserted that consumers
own their personal information and control it how it can be seen and used. i want to report that. i want to repeat what i said. he also -- this is zuckerberg. he also asserted that consumers, their users, own their personal information and control how it can be seen and used. that's what zuckerberg told our committee hearing. but the reporting in "the new york times" suggest that that's not accurate. while mr. zuckerberg asserted that developers were prohibited from collecting friends' information in 2014, he failed to mention that device manufacturers were still able to access the information.
he never revealed these data-sharing agreements in our committee meeting, the hearing in april of this year. as a rut, it's hard to know what's true anymore. and now we learn that facebook gave chinese companies believed to be national security risks, gave them access to user data. what in the word is next and what in the world is going to protect americans' personally identifiable private information? madam president, facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world with over two billion users. and in the u.s., over 200
million users. and those users interact with each other and post sensitive personal information. the company has a unique responsibility to its users to be vigilant caretakers of their personally identifiable information. they also have a responsibility to be transparent. i look forward to mr. zuckerberg's response to the letter that senator thune and i had sent to him just recently. and it's high time that congress act to provide all american consumers with the basic privacy protections that they expect and that they deserve to be