tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN June 13, 2018 5:30pm-6:41pm EDT
the presiding officer: is the senator restating his unanimous consent -- mr. perdue: yes, i ask unanimous consent that -- rry, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that it be in order to call up amendment 2870 to amendment 2282. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. van -- mr. van hollen: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from inn *eup. a senator: i heard my colleague from maryland and arkansas. therefore i object. mr. donnelly: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. a nator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. the presiding officer: i rise to discuss my efforts on senate armed services committee on behalf of of the people of indiana for a defense bill that supports indiana's role in our nation's defse, that protects america's security interests and defense-related jobs. mr. donnelly: before i get to that, though, i want to take a
moment to acknowledge the chairman of our committee, my frnd senator john mccain. he's an american hero. i hope as he watches the senate do its bipartisan work on this year's ndaa, the john s. mccain national defense authorization act, that he knows all of us here are thinking of him back in arizona, wishing him the best in his battle. when you think about john mccain, you think about a fighter. you think about the epitome of a man who defends ourreom every single day. i'm proud he's our chairman. i'm proud he's friend. and i want to talk about provisions i secured in a national defense bill that we're considering. efforts i supported and an amendment that i filed. i'm proud of the many contributions hoosiers make to the safety and security of our
nation, most especially those brave men and women who volunteer to put on the uniform in service to our country. i'm also proud of the thousands of working men and women who go to work in the dark every day to manufacture the highest-quality products and equipmenthat support and protect our war fighters. from humvees and transmissions to satellites and aviation braking systems, hoosiers know a key strength of our military is the technological and quality advantage that american manufacturing gives to our war fighters. in fact, it's with those friends and neighbors in mind that i want to talk about the importance of ensuring that the equipment used by our armed forces in the jobs, the moms and dads who go to work every day to build that equipment stay right here in america. one of the provisions i pushed hard for and was included in the bill requires the examination of the f-35 supplyinnrder
to ensure tt key manufacng capabilities are not being sent abroad. jeopardizi the backbone of america's future air force. workers at the honeywell facility in south bend, indiana currently manufacture components for the braking mechanism for the f-35, one of the most technologically advanced aircraft ever built. i'm told that next month the last foraging equipment will come to the facility for hoosier works to manufacture these components. honeywell is planning to send the manufacturing work for thefn turkey. while turkey is a member of nato, it is on a concerning path of crumbling democratic norms, and it's in the process of purchasing a missile defense system from russia. that's not the kind of place
where we should be manufacturing critical components for one of the most advanced war-fighting machines in our arsenal, particularly when we have trained, experienced, talented, patriotic, devoted american workers in south bend, indiana, who want to continue doing this work, protecting our men and women, and keeping our nation safe. what's more, if the u.s.-turkey relationship deteriorates further, i'm concerned our country won't have acces to a critical component of our most sensitive aircraft or missile or radar. we don't currently know what future threats will emerge to our supply chain. this congress and the american people should know the answers to those questions. i believe my provision will help us get to the bottom and find
those answers. another provision i authored that the senate armed services committee adopted as part of this bill would ensure that our nation retains key national security capabilities within the federal workforce. i also fought to keep key sectors of our defense industrial base robust and secure from threats, such as tampering and counterfeit parts. that work happens at the naval support activity center in crane, indiana. in addition, another measure i supported that's included in this bill ensures that companies that provide products crucial to our national defense are not purchased by a foreign adversary like china. when it comes to our national defense work, i believe it's critical that our policies
encourage companies to invest in american workers in communities at home and penalize those that ship work to fri that's why i proposed an amendment that is simple and clear. federal defense contracts funded by american taxpayers should go to companies that emplo americ wkers. my amendment which is based on my end outsourcing act allows contracting officers to take into consideration a company's outsourcing practices when awarding federalontracts. it's common sense. our federal tax dollars should go to companies tha inves i and support american workers. when defense work shipped from american companies to other countries, it can hurt our national defense, our workers, and our communities.
finally, i want to highlight a provision that has been mentioned by my colleagues i strongly supported in this bill that helps protect american telecommunications security, whn important p of ourional security. specifically, this bill includes a provision that prohibits the department of defense from procuring, obtaining, or renewing contracts that utilize equipment or services from china's huawei's technologies or z.t.e. corporation. huawei is reportedly being investigated by the department of justice for potentially violating u.s. sanctions laws as it relates to iran. z.t.e. solid sensitive technologies to iran and north korea in violation of u.s. sanctions laws.
i'm concerned about the administration's recently announced deal to roll back penalties against z.t.e., and i think this measure in the senate, in our national defense bill would be an important step tordng safeguard our telecommunications industry. i'm hopeful the senate will soon pass the national defense bill. it is bipartisan. it's not democrat. it's not republican. it's american. it's an example of what we can accomplish together. i'm proud that it would help protect our national security and american jobs, and it also includes a number of provisions that are vital to indiana. and i'd like to close by again saying how honored we are that this is the john mccaindefee bi. what annary chairmanhe has been. we wish him well. we hope he's getting stronger
every single day, and we look forward to seeing him here in the chamber soon. mr. president, i yield back. mr. tillis: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tillis: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i'm coming back to the floor sadly to make a speech that i promised to make every week that i'm in the u.s. senate as long as a part pastorm north carolina who's been in mission in turkey for almost 20 years, until he's released from a turkish prison. before i get started with that, i also want to thank senator donnelly for his comments because i think we share a common concern with respect to the joint strike fighter program, and that's something i'm going to have in my discussions, and i also thank in advance senator shaheen who's worked with me on a bipartisan basis to highlight the concern that we have for a man who's
been in a turkish prison for 614 days. he was arrested in october of 2016 for nothing more than being a missionary. i went to turkey about two months ago, visited him in a turkish prison after almost 17 months of being in prison without any charges. they brought charges against him that are some of the most bogus excuses for evidence that you could possibly imagine. and i am certain that if it was somebody with these charges in the united states jail system or prison system that they'd be released the day the charges were filed. this is pastor brunson. he's little over 50 years old. since he's been in prison he lost 50 pounds and spent almost 17 months in a prison cell designed for eight people that had 21 people in it, that entire time without a single formal charge lied against him. pastor brunson is a presbyterian minister from western north
carolina, an area called black mountain. he was swept up inhe arrest that occurred after the illegal coup attempt that i think was inappropriate and that i publicly opposed because i think there's a peaceful way to change regimes. but pastor brunson wasn't one of the people who caused the coup. but if you went to that courtroom like i did and spent 12 hours in that courtroom, you would have heard absurd charges from over a dozen secret witnesses, many of them in prison, talking about the food that somebody may have ate, which is a preferred food of a terrorist organization. or the fact t light was on in a small church in izmir for four hours and certainly there had to be something bad going on. that's the nature of these charges, and i'm not making it up. this man is doing everything he can to have the truth be heard, but i actually believe this is not about a judicial process. this is not about valid charges.
this is about a political hoag and i'll tell you the day that i was absolutely confirmed this became a political hostage, it's the day that president erdogan had the audacity to make this statement. president erdogan believes that there's someone here in this coun involved t coup attempt. we've reached out to turkey and said if you can process a valid basis for extradition, we have a treaty with turkey, an extradition treaty, we would be happy to consider that based on the merits of the case, and we still would be. but the president had the audacity to s w can short circuit all of this by you trading yr pastor for our pastor. president erdogan clearly demonstrated that he has the authority to release this illegally and improperly imprisoned american who's been in turkey in prison for 614 days, but he chooses not to. on a bipartisan basis, i should tell you that one of the reasons
why i find this so insulting is because turkey has been a nato ally since 1952. you have to understand what being a nato ally means. what it means is the greatest, the most powerful nationn earth has committed to dloying mean women in american uniforms to turkey to protect turkey if the attacked by an outside aggressor. we have a commitment to protect the turkish people. we have a commitment to put our meand women in harm's way to protect the turkish people. but we have a turkish president who's acting less like a nato ally and potentially like a would-be adversary and beyond it. this isn't an argument theturkt people. i've been to turkey several times. they're wonderful people, but this president is taking a position that has to have a consequence. and again, you can go back and talk about what our obligations are under the treaty. first and foremost, it's to
treat an ally that has that very heavy obligation to defend another nation to go to some other soil and defend that nation, to treat them with respect, to treat their citizens with respect. if they're a criminal, present the evidence and prosecute them. there are americans in turkish prisons. they've committed murders, robbery and other cmes, and there was legitimate evidence put forth for me be okay with that. but i'm not at all okay with the way president -- or pastor brunson has been treated by the turkish judiciary. we tried everything we could for about a year and a half on a diplomatic basis, and it's gone nowhere. after my last trip to turkey, i decided that we had to get turkey's attention. and on a bipartisan basis, we started that by passing an amendment in the national defense authorization act that will ask very important, or ask for the answers to very important questions. one of those, some of those have to do with the illegal
detainment of american persons in turkey. the other one has to do with a very important, in fact the most sophisticated tactical fighter that's ever flown through the air, the joint strike fighter or e f-35. turkey is a very important part of the supply chain to the joint strike fighter, and turkey has requested joint strike fighters to put into their air arsenal. on its surface because they are a nato ally, i don't object to it. but today i strongly object to it. so we passed language in the national defense authorization act that we'll be voting on fairly soon that will put turkey on notice, choose what you want to be. do you want to be an ally that treats your other ally citizens with respect, do you want to be an ally that builds defense systems that are from allies or do you want to go down the path and lose the support of the
american people along the way? i want to thank chairman inhofe for his support of the amendment. i want to thank the big bipartisan vote of the senate full committee on armed services that voted for this amendment, and i look forward to getting this passed into law when we finally confer with the house and send a message to turkey that we want to be your ally. we want to be there in your darkest hour to defend your security. convince members of the senate that you want to be our ally, that you want to treat our citizens with respe ahat you will free pastor brunson. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: mr. president, i'm pleased to join senator tillis
on the floor today as he discusses turkey and pastor brunson. and, senator tillis, i applaud your continued support for pastor brunson. we have joined to keep pressure on turkey's president erdogan. we're not agents for other actors like the turkish papers have claimed. quite the contrary. as cochairs of the nato group. we value turkey's importance as an ally and we want u.s.-turkey relations to improve. yet, supporting turkey and the turkish people should not mean appeasing the turkish president. it is clear that the less we push back as a nation against
turkish president erdogan, the more emboldened he becomes. five years ago if you asked any diplomat or american officia if turkey would stoop so low to take an american hostage and leverage them for political gain, no one would say tt's a possibility, yet, that's where we are today. turkey not only joined the rks syria, north korea, and venezuela as a hostage take he but it has shifted its orientation away from nato and toward russia for no other reason except for erdogan's financial and electoral gain. ev with propaganda, there are things that the turkish government can't hide. turkey's rapidly falling currency, the faltering state of their judiciary, the inexplicable enrichment of president erdogan a his family and his inner circle.
these are well known concerns. according to well-known earth, a research that tracks -- it is a clear indication that those who can leave turkey are choosing to so. unfortunately, the turkish people can only do so much while living under a dictatorship, a dictatorship that is about to expand on june 24, the date of turkey's next election. for this reason the united states should not stay silent about what's happening in turkey and what's happening to nato because of turkey. senator tillis and i both serve on the senate armed services committee and we successlly ded a bipartisan and widely supported amendment to this year's defense bill that's moving through theenate. the amendment would stall the delivery or transfer of f-35 int strike fighter to turkey. now, i hope both the departments
of state and defense hear congress loud and clear. we should have no signing ceremonies, no planes, n moves to wken nato are acceptable at this time. our government is well aware of the serious security concerns that may come i tke takescontl . my colleague, senatoronnelly and senatorillis have already spoken eloquently to that. first, the tsh government said they have a defense system to shoot these planes down. nato partners need this to counter russian activity. we would be handing this technology over to the kremlin if we granted turkey these claims and congress will not stand for it. second, and absolutely critical to this afternoon's discussion, is that nothing should be more important than the safety of american citizens. pastor brunson has been held in
turkey since october of 2016. the charges against him are clearl fabricated and the legal proceedings have been a hisen not allowed to call upitnesses and the identities of the secret witnesses in his indictment are known to be petty criminals. what is happening to pastor brunson is an absolute shame, but it has become a sad reality for those living in turkey because turkey has already imprisoned over 50,000 of its own people. now, i wish we could do more for all of these people, but at the very least, our government has a duty to act when any american anywhere is held unjustly by a foreign government. we must do everything we can to bring americans home, to bring pastor brunson home. i encourage the administration to use every tool available in their diplomatic and economic
toolbox to bring the pastor and innocent americans home at once. in the meantime senators tillis, lankford, and i will continue to push for targeted sanctions against erdogan and all officials who are involved in unlawful detention of americans in turkey andeill not cease our efforts until turkey joins the community of democracies it once belonged to. we hope this day comes sooner rather than later. so, mr. president, i would also like to talk about an issue that has not made it into the defen authorization bill, unlike the amendment that senator tillis and i support. sadly, help for the afghans who have aided our troops in the war in afghanistan is not included in this defense authorization bill. now, as most of us know in the
senate, the afghan special immigrant visa program allows afghans who supported the u.s. mission in afghanistan and who face threats of harm to them or their families because of their service, we allow them to apply for refuge in the united states through the special immigrant visa program, o s.v. program. and over the years there's been strong bipartisan support for this effort to bring those afs in harm's way back to the united states. i'm pleased to have worked with senator til senat wicker, senator leahy, senator graham, and, of course, senator mccain who has been the champion in the senate to address thi issue. i am proud to partner yet again with these senators, and we introduced legislation to authorize 4,000 s.i.v.'s for 2019 so that we can continue to bring to the united states those
people who are at risk. and even as the administration sharply restricts immigration and refugee programs, president trump has made an exception for those who serve alongside our soldiers and diplomats. he has included 4,000 afghan s.i.v.'sis bget request for this upcoming fiscal year. the support for this program truly is bipartisan, and i'm here on the floor with senator tillis today to try and put a face on this important program. afghan civilians who have assisted our military as interpreters, firefighters, and construction workers, and community lia sorns are argument by the tax bill -- taliban for working with the united states. without congressional approva our diplomats will be powerless to help those afghans.
moreover, those officials in afghanistan will be powerless to help themselves. unless congress acts, this will collapse and we will sufferhe cion.n eects of this we cannot afford to break our omises to the afghan people, to those who served our mission with such loyalty and at such enormous risk, particularly at this time. u.s. forces, our military and our diplomats, have always relied on local people to help accomplish our mission, and ashe engagements, we will need this kind of support in other places in the future. so what does it say to people if we renege on our promises to the afghans? we must be aware of the message we're sending to partners around the world when w don't fulfill our diewpty to protect -- duty to protect them after they have protected us.
and this is exactly why countless military commanders and ambassadors have pleaded with congress to extend t afan s.i.v.rogram nar john main, a leader,m as i said, in the effort to ensure the safety of afghan s.i.v.'s. we worked together each year since 2013 and his presence is sorely miss haded this year. but during last year's ndaa debate, he said, and i quote, we're talking about the lives of men who have put it on the line for the men and women who are serving. they are going to die if we don't pass this amendment and take them out of harm's way. don't you understand the gravity of that? that's what senator mccain had to say in 2016 when we were trying to get this done in the defense authorization bill, and
he's right, you know. there's no plan b for these afghans. either we save them by authorizing additional special immigrant visas or they will die. they will be killed. their families will be killed. andf senator mccaiereeablo come- were able to come to the floor today, i have no doubt that he would be right here with senator tillis and me saying the same thing. i hope that we can doenator mccain a service by reauthorizing the program he cared so much about under the bill that bears his name. now, we've also had many officials who have spoken out against attempts to limit the eligibility of applicants, former ambassadoro afghanistan ryan crocker said, and i quote, when deciding whom to kill, the taliban don't make such distinctions in service, nor should we when determining who
to save. similarly, our former commander in afghanistan, general stanley mccrystal said, afghans performing a variety of roles are vital to the u.s. mission whether they work directly or indirectly with u.s. forces. i would urge congress not to erode already limited eligibility guidelines. in addition to our soldiers and marines -- in addition, our soldiers and marines are keenly interested in protecting afghan civilians who serve with them. many of them owe their lives to the afghans inarious roles who went into combat with them, and the roles afghans serve in range from interpreters to lawyers to aide administratorso cafeteria workerrers. abdul, who doesn't want his name used because he fears for his family back home, worked as a
ch he helped our troops translate documents they were having t interpret on and o base. one night he came in, someone jumped him, beat him up and threatened to kill his family and him if he continued t help the united states. abdul was recommended for a special immigrant visa. the sergeant who found him recommended him for that visa. the chief who approved the application felt that abdul's work for our nation was worthy enough to save our life. he wasn't an interpreter. he wasn't part of a narrow group of afghans who helped us, but he was there nevertheless putting his life on the line for americans serving in afghanistan. lar in keane, new
hampshire, i met with a remarkable individual from afghanistan. he had worked closely for the u.s. agency for international development in kabul. she wen door-to-door encouraging women to take out microloans to start their small businesses. she eventually became vice president for operations at the usaid sponsored microloan program. for a woman in afghanistan going door to door and working closely with americans, this was dangerous work. she drew unwelcome attention wherever she went and she became aigh-profile target for the talibannd others. then one day in 2013, she got a call at her usaid office. it was from a distraught wife of a usaid colleague in afghan. the caller's husband had just been murdered. apparently in retaliation for his work with the americans. realizing that her life was in danger, too, patmanah applied
for a special immigrant visa. for t years, she and her husband were subjected to repeated interviews at the u.s. embassy in kabul. she told me while that background check was going on, they had to move periodically, because as soon as they settled someplace, the taliban would find out wheree and they would b threatened again. her background was checked and checked before visas were finally granted. now thankfully patmanah now lives happily in keene, her husband has found work, they have a 3-year-old daughter, and they are welcomed as valued members of the keene community. when it comes to the s.i.v. program, there is no shortage of inspiring narratives like the ones i'm sharing today. it's no wonder that during his own confirmation process, secretary of defense general james mattis said, and i quote, most of our units could not have accoed their mission
without the assistance, often at the risk of their own lives, of these courageous men and women. we would never leave an american warrior behind on the battlefield. likewise, we must not leave behind those afghans who served side by side with our warriors and diplomats. we made a solemn pmise to these brave men and women. i know that those of us here who believe we need to keep that promise are going to do everything we can to make sure that those special immigrant visas are authorized and available next year to those thousands of afghans who are still in the queue, who are still a threat to themselves and their families because of trying to help in afghanistan i encourage all of my colleagues in the senate to allow this program to continue, to notmit any ill-informed
notions about the program's eligibility standards or the vetting process distract from itsuess and from the strong bipartisan support it receives each year. i urge my colleagues to keep our promise to our afghan allies by supporting these efforts. i am very pleased to be here with senator tillis who is also committed to this effort to try and this done. i ow my colleague, senator ernst, who is here to speak is also a supporter of this program. there is strong bipartisan support to make this happen. we should not allow one or two people to keep us from moving forward. so thank you, mr. president. we will continue to work on this effort. mrs. ernst: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mrs. ernst: the national defense authorization act on the floor
today is a bipartisan bill to ensure that our war fighters are able to work across the full trum conflictsnd suor objectives lai out in the 2018 national defense strategy i'm disappointed that we were not able to come together and workhrough a robust bipartisan amendment process this year on the floor. we h a great markup, and i'm thankful my colleagues across the aisle were so willing to work together in a bipartisan manner on this piece of legislation. as the chair of the emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee, i worked hard with my ranking member, senator heinrich of new mexico, to ensure the ndaa invests additional funding in innovative technologies so that we can maintain u.s. technological superiority over near peer
adversaries, particularly in the areas of hypersonics, unmanned systems, directed energy, and artificial intelligence. the ndaa provides much-need funding to oural operations forces who are playing a key role in combati terrorist networks and countering -- networks encounteng growing aggressions by adversaries like russia, china, and iran. it also fully funds theequest for the preservation of the force and families initiative and expands key authorities to provide enhanced support to the families of our special operators. by supporting a total of $716 billion for our nation's defense, the ndaa provides the flexibility needed for our military to make targeted investments for the future.
it also addresses issues deeply impacting our service members, and want to especially thank senator warren of massachusetts for her work with me to address research and treatment options r traumatic brain injuries. this is an issue that is especially important to me as a veteran as i havewn a worked witidua that have experienced blasts, rollovers, and military vehiclen military vehicles, and we know the implications that come to those that suffer from traumatic brain injury. i urge my colleagues to support the ndaa. this bill is absolutel vital to restoring the health of our military and supporting our national security objectives. again, i urge my colleagues to support this bill. it is vital we complete our
ndaa. and, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. thursday, june 14. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and morning business be closed. finally, i ask that following leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of h.r. 5515, with the time until the cloture vote equally divided between the two managers or their designees. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mrs. ernst: mr. president, if there is no further business to come before the senate, i a that it stand adjourned under the previous order, following --
the statue of liberty, lady liberty, as we like to call her, has stood as a of how open america has been to treating those fleeing oppression when they arrive on the shores of america. emma lazarus -- give me youry es yrning to breathe fred well, that's a vision that we can connect to because virtually every american family has family roots that are tied to immigrants and tied to people pursuing freedom and fleeing oppression, fleeing religious oppression, fleeing civil war, fleeing famine, but coming to the refuge of the united states of america, knowing that there they can be treated well and have a fair chance to thrive.
in modern times, we have converted this into an asylum policy. an asylum policy means that if you are truly fleeing repression, oppression, if you're truly fleeing danger and would be in danger of your life if you return, you can gain admission to the united states of america. in fact, we have put it into international treaties and into national law. and there it is, the torch, the beacon signaling to the world that we stand for human rig but now we're in a new and different place. on may 7, our attorney general announced a dramatic change completely contrary to the provision of the statue of liberty.
what the attorney general put forward was that should you flee oppression overseas and find yourself washed up shores of the united states of america, we will not greet you with a fair chance to present your case and thrive. we will instead grab you, treat you as a criminal, rip your children outer your arms, and lock you up. that's the new policy. that's the jeff sessions, donald trump, john kelly policy of the united states of america. when i heard about this, i didn't really believe it was possible that we could adopt, any administration could adopt a policy of inflicting deliberate trauma onto children. there is no moral cod the world that supports such an action. there is no religious tradition on our beautiful planet that
supports such an action. but there it was, the decision to create a deterrence from peopleomg to our shores by mistreating the children who have already arrived. mistreat the child today, deter so family abroad from ever bout coming. that is a dark stain on america. this strategy of deliberate harm to children. so last sunday, a week ago sunday, i went down to find out is this really true? so i went to a detention center and gain admission to the detention center. now, the detention center is a large space split into different yo ce can call them cells of fencing. fencing posts, chain-link fencing. the first room that i went into
had smaller cells, maybe 12 by 12r 15 by 15. they looked like cages. people were just arriving, being put into them. and it's really a deeply -- deeply saddening to see the terror in their eyes, the tears on their cheeks. they didn't know what was going to happen to the and then they go through a series of desks where they are interviewed, many by computers because they are talking to people far afield, somewhere across the united states, an electronic connection being interviewed, and then they are taken to a very large room, a warehouse-style room. this is not the facility i was in. this is not a 2018 picture, but it looks very much like what i saw. and since people are not allowed to enter the facility with any camera now, i'm using this picture to share with you approximately what it looks like. there were the same green pads,
there were the same space blankets, there was the same chain link, there was the same fencing, there was the same big room. w, what is theoday in terms of that physical stu is no different than what was there in theast administration. sn't the issue. the issue is how that is being put to work, because under this new policy, instead of treating families seeking asylum with respect until they have their hearing, instead of keeping the families together so that they do gain admission to the united states, they will be in good shape, they will be in good care, instead, we're inflicting harm on them, harm on the parents and harm on the children. any child psyche lodges cal expert will tell you -- psychological expert will tell you when people have fled trauma abroad, perhaps gone over tough hurdles again to the united
states, the one thing they hang on to is their parents' hand, the father's hand, the father's or mother's hand, that close connection. they're together. they will see this through together. it's the one little sphere of safety in a big, dangerous world. and then in a room like this, after they've gone through the processing desk, the children are ripped out of their parents' arms. their parents are incarcerated in one of these divid cel the children in another. they may not be able to see each other across the warehouse. they don't know what's going to happen. so when i was in a room that looked very much like this a week ago sunday, i was standing in front of a big cell that held just young boys. and they were lining up. they were lining up to be able
to get some food and they were told to line up from the smallest to the largest. that made a pretty dramatic picture with the smalles tyke in front, knee high to a grass r grasshopper. maybe 4, 5 years o a then older boys lined up maybe through 16, 17 years old. and as you stare at this group of children, see this group of children, you realize that some of them are unaccompanied minors. they arrived in the united states by themselves. but others within the previous 24 hours or maybe just a couple hours before you're present, that child was separated from his or her parents. i asked about the dramatic scenes that come from this, of wailing children and frantic parents. i was told that happens
occasionally but not so often. then i heard the stories of how the children are now being separated. and i don't knowow often this happens or this is the way it's done, but the parents are told, we're taking your child to the bathroom or we're taking your child for a bath, and then the child never reappears. and the parent is shepherded off to holding cell and the child to somewhere else. there is something so wrong with the idea that this is the plan to deter famies from seeking asylum in the united states by mistreating massively those who have already arrived. but that's what's going on.
john f. kennedy once wrote, this country has always served as a lantern in the dark for those who love freedom but are persecuted in misery or in need. now, he users the phrase lantern rather than torch, but i imagine he might have had in mind that glowing orb of lady liberty holding up that light. he said the country has always served as a lantern in the dark to those who love freedom but are persecuted in misery or in need. well, not now because the new policy is that if you are persecuted, we will treat you as a criminal. we will lock you up. we will take your children away. and we don't care that it's
inflicting massive trauma on the child because we want to send a message to some other family still overseas. that is so profoundly disturbing now, after the children have been separated, they're sent elsewhere but to where? well, some are sent to a large holding area or detention facility, and i tried to visit one of those in brownsville, texas. and this is a converted walmart. and it is run by a nonprofit that by all accounts worksd to take good care of children. and ironically it's named casa padre, house of the father because there are no fathers there because the childrenave been torn away and they've been brought here. and no matter how well they are cared for in this walmart, it
can't erase the stain of the trauma inflicted on the child by tearing them away from their parents. now, i wanted to go in and see how these children were being cad for so i applied and i was told, well, you can get in if you apply two weeks in advance and maybe we'll grant permission so, therefore, you can't even block it on your calendar. this is clearly a strategy that does two things. one, it makes very difficult for a member of congress to arrange to g bause of the complexity of our schedules, and second of is granted, they have two weeks to prepare to put on a show for you. so you won't actually see how the detention center is being operated. that's what members of congress need to be able to see. they need to be able to know what's really going on behind those doors. thati was told these doors, there were hundreds of children being held, maybe as many as a thousand. i wanted to know how many are there, how many were
unaccompanied minors. that is, arrived unaccompanied. how many of them were torn away from their parents? do they have the right resources for counseling and they do they have the right food for nutrition. how crowded has it become with this surge. we kno there a surge. in one roughly 12-day period in may, the department of homeland security told us they took 658 children away from 638 parents. in 12 days, 12 or 13 days. hundreds. mo than 600. that's over 50 kids a day being taken away. how many is that per month if that was the same schedule going on 50 per day? well, it would be about 1,500, 1,500 kids per month. we're told the number of children in the care in the united states increased 29%
between may -- april and may. that is a concern of who is being crowded in, how are they being taken care. well, i didn't get behind those doors. instead, our good friends inside called the police. they hadn't asked me to leave. in fact, when i called up the phone number that was poste the with of the walmart, the wonderful, nice secretary said e supervisor would like to come out and talk to me. great. it actually turned out the supervisor wanted to come out and talk to the police he had called. i find it quite interesting that at level of defensiveness about seeing wt's inside the facility -- i knew i didn't have offial permission because i had tried to arrange it and had been turned down. but i also thought, really? a supervisor of a children's facility can't walk you through and explain to you what's going
on there? and i wanted to draw attention to the fact that this secrecy has to end. we have to be able to know as members of congress what is going on with these children across the country. first and foremost, they should never be torn away from their parents while the family is seekin asylum. but if they are unaccompanied minors, they need to be treated with incredible, appropriate care, not conceed in buildings where members of congress can't gain access. that's why i'm putting forward the congressional access to children's det facilities act. no clever acronym for it. it's just straightforward. we're having to legislate that in our role under the constitution of supervisorring and understanding what's going on in the executive branch so that we can enactiate policies or allocate appropriate resources, we actually have to pass an act to be able to do it.
i'm told by the nonprofit leaders at this facility that they are lobbying. they have no problem showing a member of congress what's going on and talking about what they need and what they don't need. but we need the administration to have the same philosophy, the same respect for the people who serve here. now, we alsoave another bill. this is senator feinstein's bill. it's called the keep families together act. it's just a simple statement with some additional advice and caveats and supporting structure and arguments, but basically it comes down to a simple statement. if people are seekingmlu, do not injure the children, n injure the parents. let them be a whole family until they have their hearing. that's the best thing.
if they do win asylum and are going to be deported and don't win asylum, there's no need to inflict harm deliberately on the children or on the parents. this is so distressing that one refugee father who came with hin away from him was so upset as i would be if my child was torn out of my arms, that he committed suicide. marco munez from honduras came to our shore with the vision of the statue of liberty and was met with people who tore his child away to who knows what end , that he would everis child again. knows what kind oft that child was going to receive and what kind of stress that father went through to get his child safely from the most abottom natural conditions -- a, to aly under international
law and yet we responded with treating him like a criminal. there's more going on here. there are these no man land areas betweico and the united states, and people walk across from one side to the other. and the idea is you walk across one side and you go in the door of the other. but when i met with an immigration attorney, a probono volunteer, she went on that bridge and found there were people left on that bridge she said in one case for ten days. for another case more than ten days. this is very h territory. w would you like to be stranded in no man's land between two countries for more than a week, perhaps not having prepared with water and with food? where do you go to the bathroom over thaten-day period while you're stranded in between these places? and i was told that it appeared to be a deliberate effort to
slowwalk people at the border point where it's absolutely legal to come into the unite states of america seeking asylum in order to persuade them tolean side where they were incredibly vulnerable to mexican gangs who knew they had no suppo structure. she told me there had been kidnappings and then extortion from the families for money to release individuals who had returned to the other side. and she told me how people had gone elsewhere and then crossed the border and prentszed them -- presented themselves to the border guards in order to get in the custody of the u.s., present themselves for asylum but then were treated once again as criminals. now to add insult to injury, the day before yesterday, the attorney general announced a new asylum policy. here's the policy as it's been forever. now we're going to change the definition so that those who are fleeing domestic violence, those who are fleeing organized crime,
drug gangs, who have attacked them, threatened their lives or children's lives, no matter how well you document it, no matter we can pvet, no matter that you can prove if you go back you will be targeted for death, you do not qualify for asylum in the united states of america. that's a change that has to be closely examined. i met a woman at a respite center down in texas. and she hadee released because she was very pregnant. and so they said, we're not going to put her in prison. we're going to release her until she has her hearing. and she told me her story. that her family h gotten into a dispute with the drug gang that ran the community. so they had sent a team of people to gang rape her and that her life had been threatened and she had to leave immediately. she couldn't make accommodations for her children. her children couldn't come with her. she didn't know how they were.
and she said, i have no idea th ts child is cause is the product of the gang attack. and she qualified under our rules for asylum if sould document her cas until two days ago. but now she can't go to that asylum hearing under this new rule designed to keep people who have experienced enormous trauma abroad from qualifying, who've all qualified. so not only is this administration inflicting trauma and pain onld send message to some other group of families overseas, but they're changing the rules of folks who arrived here that have stood up for so long and stood upped so -- and stood up so well. i think about how lady liberty no longer has a torch. dy liberty's torch has been snuffed out. the settlement boll tohe world
-- the symbol to the world under the sessions-kelley -- under the sessions-trump-kelly policy, she carries a pair of handcuffs. and that is absolutely wrong. when john f. kennedy wrote that our country has always served as a lantern in the dark, he could never have imagined the evil policy, the darkness of heart, the deliberate infliction of pain and trauma on children that would come out of this administration policy, and it's our responsibility here in this chamber to debate this the issue and to change that policy and say, america willevllow children to be deliberately
harmed to send some political message to some family overseas. in fact, we will never allow them to be deliberately harmed under any circumstance. let's restore the lantern that lady liberty has so proudly borne for so long. thank you, mr. president. mr. sasse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. sasse m pnt, i rise today to draw attention to one particularly important element of the national defense authorization act which sets before this body. first, it's worth noting that, despite the bizarre dysfunction of the last couple days around here, the ndaa is usually a time each year when the senate looks like a deliberate it body, when we look like an actual legislative body. most of the sound bites get set aside this week or two every
year as we focus on the first purpose of the federal government, which is to provide for the common defense. the ndaa reveals our shared commitment to the men and women in uniform who sawyer country so well. ho serve our country so well. this legislation aims to prioritize among the many important tasks that are going on in the pentagon and in the brood broader department of defense. if we're going to call on men and women to stand ready and go into battle when necessary, we must equip them with the right tools to be able to get their job done. that's what this legislation is about each year. but it's not enough simply to be about defending against traditional enemies and traditional threats. we also need to use this annual occasion to pause and deeply look at the new and emerging threats we face. and when you ask national security and intelligence experts in private and in public what keeps them up at night, as i do multipleimes every week
-- isk this question of people in the scif -- you find something strange in the city, you have an agreement, executive and legislative folks, whether republican and democrat, have widespread agreement that the long-term domain challenge we face is that america is woefully unprepared for it the age of cyber war. 30 years ago when the digital age was still in its infancy and the first computer viruses and bugs were created, the united states did not have a cyber doctrine to defend our interests. that was understandable in 1986 because these were new threats. it doesn't make any sense in 2018, and yet it's still true. we don't really have any coherent doctrine to defend our interests, and this i inexcusable. we are today overwhelmingly the most advanced digital economy and digital society in the world, and thus we are almost
inevitably the number-one target globally for cyber crime. but ourdder have anniversary attacking us not merely as targets of opportunity. they're also attacking us because they sense our passivity. state and non-state actors alike are becoming regularly more brazen year offer year from 20 -- year over year from 2012 to the present. we see this brazen action coming from china, russia, iran, north korea,and lots of jihadi non-state actors. yet we still do not have a cyber doctrine to guide our cyber process. we don't have a cyber doctrine to guide our action and we are unprepared for the warfare of to 20, 2025 and 2030. how can this be? how can we lack a strategic plan not merely to respond to the attacks against u.s. public and private-sector net with but also to -- net wherebis but also to go it a step further and deter them in realtime? why do we lack this plan?
since joining this body in january of 2015 alongside the presiding officer, i have pushed for a strategic plan that clearly articulates how we will defend ourselves against the new threats in cyberspace. unfortunately, this call has fallen on deaf e in both the legislature and the executive branch, both democratic and republican administrations. there is far too little urgency and when you speak with generals, whenou speak with c.i.a. station chiefs around the world, nobody disputes this. everyone knows we're unprepared and we're underinvested in this domain, and yet no one is really in charge. fortunately, we are talking a major step in this ndaa to adess this deficit in our war planning. while no one piece of legislation and no single proposal can possibly address all of our cyber deficits, there is nonetheless some very good news in this ndaa for both the public as a whole and for those of us who are losing sleep about
our cyber underpreparedness. the legislation we're debating today and will vote on in some form tomorrow includes a proposal to bringri nation security into the 21st century by establishing a cyberspace so layerum commission. this commission is modeled after dwight eisenhower's 1953 project solarium. ike recognized that our nation needed a clear strategy. needed to be able to defend our allies and ourselves -- rselves and our allies against the expanding soviet threat. this ishere both the historian and the strategist moo me gets excited. eisenhower sequesterrered three different teams of experts at the national war college for six we tasking them with a menu of large-scale strategic frameworks for the age of nuclear confrontation. the result was a new national
security directive, nsc-1612/2 that charted a course that would guid u.s. policy and bureaucratic development over the many decadesfol war. we desperately need similar strategic clarity today. the thr to american security are actuall even more dynamic and unpredictable than in those early years of the cold war. then there were giant technological and scale barriers to becoming a nuclear power whereas today launching a cyber attack that has global reach requires only some coding capability, a labtop and an internet connection. this new group, the cyberspace solarium commission wil bad o 13 members putting experts along many silicon valley types to debate, think through and propose a comprehensive path forward. one of the reasons ike solarium commission wked so well is
because ther was urgency and focus. under this cyber solarium commission, there would be a deadline to reenvision all organizations across our cyber planning and response year. by september 1 is9 this commission would be delivering to both the president's cabinet and to the defense and intelligence committees of the congress a comprehensive plan to guide cyberty policymaking gog forward. we cannot continue to stand idly by, waiting for a massive cyber attack to occur and then figure out h we'll use that as a catalyst to begin future planning. we should be planning and prioritizing before the crisis. for 30 yrs we haven't yet developed our committed to a serious strategy. now is the time to act, and this ndaa represents one of the best innovations we have had that we can set up this national cyberspace solarium commission to report back within one year a comprehensive plan. thank you, mr. president.
the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate the previous order, the senate there are a number of amendments expected tomorrow. a final vote set for the middl of next week unless an earlier agreement is reached. we will have live coverage when they return. the agricultural committee marked up the farm bill today. that set agriculture and federal food policy for the next five years. they debated section by section and made changes.