tv [untitled] May 14, 2012 11:30pm-12:00am EDT
the first is the treaty clause under the constitution that sets forth a super majority procedure in the senate. the second widely recognized provision is what is referred to as executive branch/congressional agreements. trade agreements are the most frequent example of this where a simple majority vote is necessary to bind the united states of america. there is a third category which we would refer to as executive, sole executive agreements. that is to say where some agent of the executive branch makes an oral or written agreement designed to bind the country. there is a statute that deals with this. title 1 section 112 b of the u.s. code. what that size is when there is such an agreement entered into that within 60 days of the
agreement being entered into the secretary of state has to notify the house and the senate where presumably the house and the senate for all of our powers whether appropriations powers. or authorization power to take appropriate action. now i do think the gentleman who offered the amendment is correct that there is a technical possibility here that the executive branch could bind the united states, at least for this 60-day period before this would happen. i guess i would ask anyone on the other side. mr. turner would know this. are there any examples where this administration has bound the united states to such an agreement and then complied with the 60-day notice that is in title one second 112 b. have they done that at all? since 2009, does anyone know? >> i do not know but one addition from our hearing. they expressly stated in our hearing that they intended not to seek senate approval for this.
>> and i apologize for not being present here and i'm not in your subcommittee. i would have been an interloper. did they say that they were not going to submit it as a treaty? or did they say they intended to bind the united states and then comply with the 60-day provision? what did they say? >> we were having a discussion with respect to the treaty. they indicated that once it was passed that there would be regulations that would restrict the u.s. operations. they did not mention any other approval process. >> not to be picky but that raises yet another issue. if an executive branch department promulgates regulations it does so under the administrative procedures act. which has a whole different tract that we're on. i would just come back to this point and i don't expect you to know this answer. i don't either. i'm not aware of any situations since 2009 where this administration has entered into such an agreement and then made
the 60-day notice. and the merits of such an agreement should be evaluated if it happens. i would think a far more prudent course here than passing a statute would be for members to write a letter. i'd sign it that would strongly urge the administration -- >> we would be glad to do another one. >> at the very least to subject such an agreement to the normal legislative/executive majority rule process. i'd be in favor of that. i think preemptively tying their hands because of something we think they might do is a slippery slope that without any basis that i can tell on what they have done in the last three years is a slippery slope you do not want to go down. i would oppose the amendment because i think it is hypothetical and premature. i would be willing to sign a
letter urging for a binding legislative process before they could bind the country. i would yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. there is no further discussion on the amendment. the question is on the adoption of the amendment offered by mr. l lamborg, log-0302. so many in favor say aye. those opposed say no. the ayes have it. amendment is agreed to -- >> mr. chairman, a recorded vote, please. >> recorded vote is requested. we'll roll this recorded vote to the end of the subcommittee mark. any additional amendments on this subcommittee mark? >> mr. chairman, i have an am d amendment. >> will the clerk please pass out the amendment? without objection, reading of the amendment will be dispensed with. the chair will now recognize the
gentleman. for the purposes of offering and explaining his amendment. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the amendment that you have before you is a response to the implementation of the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty. our subcommittee has been very active in holding hearings on the effects of the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty including a
reflective review of the president's commitments that he had expressly stated were necessary for safely implementing new s.t.a.r.t. he indicated that the levels that we were going to go to in our stockpile and in the deployed nuclear weapons was a number low enough that we needed to take before we got to those numbers. what this amendment does is it takes those representations by the president and his statements of what was necessary. these are items that the president identified as required or necessary, the ones included. we have put them together and provided them as a to-do list for this committee and the department of defense and this administration. i yield back. >> the chair will now recognize the gentle lady from california, ms. can czyz, for five minutes. >> as you can probably tell from this amendment and i'm sure most
people have not read it because it could be a book, 45 pages long. my ranking member says. basically what this amendment would do is to infringe on the pentagon's flexibility to implement the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty in the most cost-effective manner. the implementation of the new s.t.a.r.t. and future reduction should not be held hostage to predetermined levels of funding that can be taken by unforeseen economic or other developments. we had this issue earlier where we talked about what we assumed would be funding moving forward and we find ourselves in a budget constrained atmosphere. i've talked to you about our hearings where the generals and the administrators have said we feel confidence in what we are doing.
we believe the money is in the budget that the president has put forward will allow us to do our job correctly. we had a couple of amendments where we tried to strike some of that money because the administrators and others had said they wouldn't know what to do with that, etc. so this really speaks to what the administration said it would do as it was working to pass the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty and really what is going on now in congress and with our nation. i would like to say that as i said earlier that the cuts to the nnsa weapons activities were spear headed by the republican led house, not by the administration. and the administration has gone
forward in this budget year and put more moneys in. i mean, your amendment just passed to continue to put more. $323 million more into this. the key measures as to whether the united states is funding capabilities necessary to maintain the health of the nuclear stockpile, that should be a standard. that should be the commitment. i believe that the president has that standard that it wants to ensure that our capabilities are there as they work through the reductions in the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty. how we fund that, how the numbers are cut will depend on this congress. it will depend on tradeoffs and it will depend on our military experts who are working with these weapons to tell us what is an acceptable stockpile, whether
our stockpile is in good shape, et cetera. so i really do believe that this 45 pages of come in and check with me every other day and let me see how much money you have spent or how much money you are allocating or did you go through the left door or did you go through the right door, i mean, i don't really believe that that is an effective way for us to ask the administration to move forward and implement this new s.t.a.r.t. treaty. so i would ask my colleagues to vote no on this amendment. and i yield back. >> the gentle lady yields back. any further discussion on this amendment? the gentleman from california, mr. garamendi, is recognized for five minutes. >> i only wish that the ranking member had been able to talk for
ten or 15 minutes so i had time to read the entire amendment. i'm a fairly fast reader, but 46 pages. it appears to me that there is an inconsistency here. the general notion as i understand it of the amendment that i have been able to read quickly is that it is designed to assure that the nuclear stockpile is safe, secure and reliable. fair enough. a law has been on the books for a long time that requires the directors of the laboratories, nnsa to annually certify under some real serious penalties for them that the stockpile is safe, secure and reliable. they have adequate resources to maintain it. that's already in place. i'm not at all sure why this is necessary. i noticed a serious inconsistency in the bill itself. one of the major ways in which
the safe, secure and reliability is to be achieved is with the utilization of the national ignition facility in lawrence livermore laboratories. it is there for that specific purpose and has other purposes, also. that was why it was built. now, in this bill there is a 50% fence built around 50% of the money allocated to the laboratory for the operation of the nif facility. in other words, they can't use that money until some sort of report or ignition is achieved. now, if the facility was only to be used for ignition, that is fusion, okay. but the facility is specifically there and the reason it was created was to provide the science necessary to understand
whether nuclear weapons were safe, secure and reliable. so in one part of the bill we say you have to do all of these things. 46 pages of reports. another part of the bill says you can't use 50% of the money that was allocated for that purpose. exactly what is going on here is presidential politics and some really bad policy development. that's what has happened. you want to take a shot at the president over the start treaty and tell the whole world we are not safe because because because 46 pages of requirements tying them in knots nine ways to sunday and in the same very bill by the same subcommittee you take away 50% of the money necessary to do the job to find out if it is safe, reliable and secure. doesn't make good public policy.
and we seem to have fallen into a swamp of presidential politics here. unfortunately we should do better. i yield back my time. >> the gentleman yields back. any further discussion on the amendment? the chair now recognizes the ranking member ship from washington for five minutes. >> just two quick points. this is unbelievably prescriptive in terms of restricting the administration's ability to implement a rather key piece of policy, unnecessary and also the amendment is 48 pages long and i can assure you other than mr. turner not a single member of this committee will have any idea of what they are voting for so i urge us to reject it. if there are ways we want to monitor this process i think there are ways other than a 48-page detailed amendment. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back.
any further discussion on the amendment? if not -- go ahead. that's find. if not the question is on adoption of the amendment offered by mr. turner. so many as are in favor will say aye. those opposed no. the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. roll call vote has been requested. we'll call this vote at the end of the subcommittee mark. any further amendments on the subcommittee mark? >> i have an amendment. >> the gentleman is recognized. will the clerk please distribute the amendment. without objection the reading of the amendment will be dispensed with.
>> thank you. >> we better not do any more votes before we come back. the chair recognizes the gentleman for the purpose of offering and explaining his amendment. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this amendment would direct the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the secretary of defense to report regarding the impact on national security of reducing our nuclear weapon stockpiles as required by the new start treaty.
i think there is for strong supporters of the new start treaty such as myself it is self evident that reducing our nuclear stockpiles when we already have the capacity to destroy the earth many times over is within our clear national security interests. in fact, i think the united states should be boldly leading the world towards the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons rather than dumping needless billions into more weapons when we already have more than enough nukes to deter any rational actor who may threaten us. i think there are some irrational actors out there but they are all from ten horn
dictatorship run countries like north korea which just this past april fired off a missile and it was a long range missile that they were testing. but it was a complete and utter failure. so i'm not afraid of north korea at this time though i admit we need to be prepared for anything they can throw at us. but i think there is no objective case to be made for maintaining a stockpile of thousands up on thousands of nuclear war heads. that is why i welcomed the new start treaty as a step in the right direction. but i understand that some of my colleagues on this committee have some consternation about the new start treaty.
and i respect those views and i believe that those views should be addressed. so i propose a simple remedy. let's get our senior military leadership, the most experienced and capable officers in the armed forces with much more broad and fact based perspective than we can ever have on this committee on how such policy changes impact our security. let's give them the opportunity to give us their views on this question. and that's what this amendment would do by requiring our top military leaders to report to us swiftly and directly regarding their view of the merits of our policy. i'm confident that our view which is cutting the stockpiles
is perfectly consistent within the security interests would be validated, but in the national interests i'm happy to put that question to our military leaders even if it risks getting the wrong answer or getting an answer that i don't want to hear. let's pass this amendment, get that expert advice and it's just a common sense amendment and i'll yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. any further discussion on the amendment? if not the question on the adoption of the amendment is offered by mr. johnson. it's log 197 r 1. so many as are in favor will say aye. those opposed, no. opinion of the chair is the nos have it. a role call vote has been requested. we'll call this vote at the end of the subcommittee mark.
offering and explaining his enblank amendments. >> the package is compromised of a series of amendments that have been worked out with members of the minority addressing some corrections and some issues that members of the committee have brought to light. it includes an amendment to amend section 223. amendment to insert directive report language. and amendments to amend title 10. amendment to title 9. an amendment to section 137. an amendment to insert directive report language and to amend section 227. amendment to insert changes to directive report language. amendment to the following two to directive report language. ms. sanchez has an amendment to title xxxi. and an amendment to title two.
>> any discussion? if not the questions on the adoption of the amendment so many as are in favor will signify by saying aye. those opposed no. opinion of the chair the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. are there any further amendments to the subcommittee report? >> mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. >> will the clerk please pass out the amendment? >> it's number 211. >> without objection reading of the amendment will be dispensed with.
>> if you don't want to stay until 6:00 in the morning i don't want to stay until 6:00 in the morning. may i, mr. chairman? >> the gentle lady is recognized for the purpose of offering and explaining her amendment. >> so this amendment is about preserving effective oversight for health, safety and security for workers in the public. sections 3113 of the mark contractor governance, overnight and accountability mandates that the national nuclear security administrator establish performance based oversight as opposed to transactional. and gives limited authority to waive this type of oversight if he reports it to congress. what am i talking about here? let's say just to give you an example of what type of oversight we are taking away, we
are going to a performance based instead of a transactional based. currently it's transactional based. for example, if the national transportation safety board goes to a crash site to uncover what went wrong with an aircraft that is performance based. if after doing that they make recommendations on the safety of that particular type of plane then that is transactional based. and i believe that we should ensure that there is transactional based oversight especially with our nuclear facilities. performance based oversight is good for acquisition, for budgeting, for personnel programs but health, safety, the security, the oversight of all of these in particular nuclear safety and hazardous operations i believe requires transactional based oversight to reliably reduce the risks of accidents.
examples of catastrophic accidents that resulted from inadequate overnight, three mile island. fukushima, big upper branch, performance base d oversight allows a shift to more self-regulation by contractors and is, i believe, inappropriate for an industry using ultra hazardous materials and technologies. this amendment was also to ensure that the administrator cannot limit the oversight from the defense nuclear safety board. or other federal agencies overseen in nnsa. in other words, i believe that with respect to safety we should have this type of oversight. and i'll yield back my time, mr. chairman, and ask everyone to please vote for my amendment. >> the gentle lady yields back
her time. >> mr. turner is recognized for five minutes. >> we oppose the amount md. ms. sanchez delineated several concerns that were valid and those were addressed in the t n turner amendment 0441 that pass the unanimously. others are areas of concern that we would oppose. >> would the chairman yield on that point, please? yield some time? >> i already yielded back. it will be up to the chairman. >> the chair now recognizes -- no, the chair asks if there's any other discussion on the amendment? mr. garamendi, the gentleman from california, is recognized for a minute and a half. >> i yield my time to the ranking member. >> thank you. mr. turner, the amendment seeks to correct some of the deficiencies but it still leaves the authority for determining the type of oversight for high hazard operations to the nsa
nnsa administrator. this would result in weaker standards and change long-standing oversight of these operations. again, i would urge my colleagues to vote for my amendment. if you care about health and safety of those workers in those facilities, you should be voting for my amendment. and i yield back to the gentleman from california. >> the gentleman yields back? >> no. no, i don't. not yet. this issue is not one that has become new to this committee or to the nuclear labs. the issue of safety has been around for a long time and, in fact, the current situation which is burdensome and should be modified, and the chairman is correct about modifications. i'm not sure about the details that have been proposed but this is also a community issue. the issue of safety in the surrounding communities is extremely important.
livermore now surrounds or nearly surrounds the launch livermore national laboratory and the issue of nuclear safety on that -- in that laboratory and in the community is very, very much in play. i have not had a chance to review the chairman's detailed amendments and the details of it. but i would hope that they deal with the security. not having that information and not having the kind of review that's necessary at least as a representative of livermore, i would suggest that the ranking members that there will be ample time either on the floor or in a conference committee to work that out. but right now this is a matter of immense importance, not only to the workers in the laboratory but in the surrounding communities. i support the amendment -- the amendment by the ranking member.