Amendment Text: S.Amdt.3095 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)

Shown Here:
Amendment as Proposed (11/29/2012)

This Amendment appears on page S7144 in the following article from the Congressional Record.


[Pages S7136-S7146]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




        NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2013

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of S. 3254, which the clerk will report by title.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 3254) to authorize appropriations for fiscal 
     year 2013 for military activities of the Department of 
     Defense, for military construction, and for defense 
     activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military 
     personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other 
     purposes.

  Pending:

       Kyl amendment No. 3123, to require regular updates of 
     Congress on the military implications of proposals of the 
     United States and Russia under consideration in negotiations 
     on nuclear arms, missile defense, and long-range conventional 
     strike system matters.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The senior Senator from Michigan is 
recognized.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, before Senator Reed leaves the floor, I 
want to first thank him for his comments about myself and Senator 
McCain and the other members of our committee. Senator Reed of Rhode 
Island has and will continue to make--and, hopefully, for many decades 
to come--an extraordinary contribution to the work of this body. I have 
seen it firsthand on the Armed Services Committee where he is the 
chairman of the SeaPower Subcommittee, but way beyond that. He brings 
an experience and a thoughtful commitment to this work which is second 
to none, and it is incredibly valuable to every member of our committee 
to have him as a member of the committee. I cannot express how grateful 
I am for that, and I cannot exaggerate how grateful I am for his 
presence and for his work.
  Mr. REED. If I may simply say that I thank the chairman.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, in a few minutes I hope to be able to lay 
out a roadmap for our work here--at least for the next couple hours. We 
hope to be able to deal with a modified Kyl amendment as well as 
dispose of, we hope, an Ayotte amendment and a Hagan amendment. There 
will be debate with each of those, and this is just tentative because I 
want to discuss this, obviously, with Senator McCain. But if this works 
out, there could be a couple votes in an hour or so. But, again, I am 
not announcing that; I am just sort of giving as early a warning as I 
can to our colleagues as to what is at least a likely prospect at this 
time. But, again, that is going to have to await the presence of 
Senator McCain, with whom I am working so closely on this matter.
  So with that, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


     Amendments Nos. 2888, 2924, 2949, 2960, 2963, 2969, 2991, 3083

  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendment be set aside and that the following amendments be called up 
and agreed to en bloc, the motion to reconsider be considered made and 
laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate: Kohl No. 
2888, Manchin No. 2924, Webb No. 2949, Wyden No. 2960, Sessions No. 
2963, Heller No. 2969, Hoeven No. 2991, and Barrasso No. 3083.
  Mr. McCAIN. All these amendments have been cleared on our side.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments were agreed to, as follows:

[[Page S7137]]

                           amendment no. 2888

       (Purpose: To provide for the payment of a benefit for the 
      nonparticipation of eligible members in the Post-Deployment/
     Mobilization Respite Absence program due to Government error)

       At the end of subtitle A of title VI, insert the following:

     SEC. 602. PAYMENT OF BENEFIT FOR NONPARTICIPATION OF ELIGIBLE 
                   MEMBERS IN POST-DEPLOYMENT/MOBILIZATION RESPITE 
                   ABSENCE PROGRAM DUE TO GOVERNMENT ERROR.

       (a) Payment of Benefit.--
       (1) In general.--Subject to subsection (e), the Secretary 
     concerned shall, upon application therefor, make a payment to 
     each individual described in paragraph (2) of $200 for each 
     day of nonparticipation of such individual in the Post-
     Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence program as described 
     in that paragraph.
       (2) Covered individuals.--An individual described in this 
     paragraph is an individual who--
       (A) was eligible for participation as a member of the Armed 
     Forces in the Post-Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence 
     program; but
       (B) as determined by the Secretary concerned pursuant to an 
     application for the correction of the military records of 
     such individual pursuant to section 1552 of title 10, United 
     States Code, did not participate in one or more days in the 
     program for which the individual was so eligible due to 
     Government error.
       (b) Deceased Individuals.--
       (1) Applications.--If an individual otherwise covered by 
     subsection (a) is deceased, the application required by that 
     subsection shall be made by the individual's legal 
     representative.
       (2) Payment.--If an individual to whom payment would be 
     made under subsection (a) is deceased at time of payment, 
     payment shall be made in the manner specified in section 
     1552(c)(2) of title 10, United States Code.
       (c) Payment in Lieu of Administrative Absence.--Payment 
     under subsection (a) with respect to a day described in that 
     subsection shall be in lieu of any entitlement of the 
     individual concerned to a day of administrative absence for 
     such day.
       (d) Construction.--
       (1) Construction with other pay.--Any payment with respect 
     to an individual under subsection (a) is in addition to any 
     other pay provided by law.
       (2) Construction of authority.--It is the sense of Congress 
     that--
       (A) the sole purpose of the authority in this section is to 
     remedy administrative errors; and
       (B) the authority in this section is not intended to 
     establish any entitlement in connection with the Post-
     Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence program.
       (e) Offset.--The Secretary of Defense shall transfer 
     $2,000,000 from the unobligated balances of the Pentagon 
     Reservation Maintenance Revolving Fund established under 
     section 2674(e) of title 10, United States Code, to the 
     Miscellaneous Receipts Fund of the United States Treasury.
       (f) Definitions.--In this section, the terms ``Post-
     Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence program'' and 
     ``Secretary concerned'' have the meaning given such terms in 
     section 604(f) of the National Defense Authorization Act for 
     Fiscal Year 2010 (Public Law 111-84; 123 Stat. 2350).


                           amendment no. 2924

    (Purpose: To require an additional element in the report on the 
    accuracy of the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System)

       On page 175, line 10, insert after ``in order'' the 
     following ``to provide for the standardization of 
     identification credentials required for eligibility, 
     enrollment, transactions, and updates across all Department 
     of Defense installations and''.


                           amendment no. 2949

    (Purpose: To extend the temporary increase in accumulated leave 
               carryover for members of the Armed Forces)

       At the end of subtitle C of title V, add the following:

     SEC. 526. EXTENSION OF TEMPORARY INCREASE IN ACCUMULATED 
                   LEAVE CARRYOVER FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMED 
                   FORCES.

       Section 701(d) of title 10, United States Code, is amended 
     by striking ``September 30, 2013'' and inserting ``September 
     30, 2015''.


                           amendment no. 2960

 (Purpose: To require a report on mechanisms to ease the reintegration 
 into civilian life of members of the National Guard and the Reserves 
                 following a deployment on active duty)

       At the end of subtitle B of title V, add the following:

     SEC. 513. REPORT ON MECHANISMS TO EASE THE REINTEGRATION INTO 
                   CIVILIAN LIFE OF MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD 
                   AND THE RESERVES FOLLOWING A DEPLOYMENT ON 
                   ACTIVE DUTY.

       (a) Study Required.--The Secretary of Defense shall conduct 
     a study of the adequacy of mechanisms for the reintegration 
     into civilian life of members of the National Guard and the 
     Reserves following a deployment on active duty in the Armed 
     Forces, including whether permitting such members to remain 
     on active duty for a limited period after such deployment 
     (often referred to as a ``soft landing'') is feasible and 
     advisable for facilitating and easing that reintegration.
       (b) Elements.--
       (1) In general.--The study required by subsection (a) shall 
     address the unique challenges members of the National Guard 
     and the Reserves face when reintegrating into civilian life 
     following a deployment on active duty in the Armed Forces and 
     the adequacy of the policies, programs, and activities of the 
     Department of Defense to assist such members in meeting such 
     challenges.
       (2) Particular elements.--The study shall take into 
     consideration the following:
       (A) Disparities in reintegration after deployment between 
     members of the regular components of the Armed Forces and 
     members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces, 
     including--
       (i) disparities in access to services, including, but not 
     limited to, health care, mental health counseling, job 
     counseling, and family counseling;
       (ii) disparities in amounts of compensated time provided to 
     take care of personal affairs;
       (iii) disparities in amounts of time required to properly 
     access services and to take care of personal affairs, 
     including travel time; and
       (iv) disparities in costs of uncompensated events or 
     requirements, including, but not limited to, travel costs and 
     legal fees.
       (B) Disparities in reintegration policies and practices 
     among the various Armed Forces and between the regular and 
     reserve components of the Armed Forces.
       (C) Disparities in the lengths of time of deployment 
     between the regular and reserve components of the Armed 
     Forces.
       (D) Applicable medical studies on reintegration, including 
     studies on the rest and recuperation needed to appropriately 
     recover from combat and training stress.
       (E) Other applicable studies on reintegration policies and 
     practices, including the recommendations made by such 
     studies.
       (F) Appropriate recommendations for the elements of a 
     program to assist members of the National Guard and the 
     Reserves following a deployment on active duty in the Armed 
     Forces in reintegrating into civilian life, including means 
     of ensuring that the program applies uniformly across the 
     Armed Forces and between the regular components and reserve 
     components of the Armed Forces.
       (c) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the 
     congressional defense committees a report on the study 
     required by subsection (a). The report shall set forth the 
     results of the study, including the matters specified in 
     subsection (b), and include such comments and recommendation 
     in light of the study as the Secretary considers appropriate.


                           amendment no. 2963

 (Purpose: To authorize the posthumous honorary promotion of Sergeant 
            Paschal Conley to second lieutenant in the Army)

       At the end of subtitle H of title V, add the following:

     SEC. 585. POSTHUMOUS HONORARY PROMOTION OF SERGEANT PASCHAL 
                   CONLEY TO SECOND LIEUTENANT IN THE ARMY.

       Notwithstanding the time limitation specified in section 
     1521 of title 10, United States Code, or any other time 
     limitation with respect to posthumous promotions for persons 
     who served in the Armed Forces, the President is authorized 
     to issue an appropriate posthumous honorary commission 
     promoting to second lieutenant in the Army under section 1521 
     of such title Sergeant (retired) Paschal Conley, a 
     distinguished Buffalo Soldier who was recommended for 
     promotion to second lieutenant under then-existing procedures 
     by General John J. Pershing.


                           amendment no. 2969

  (Purpose: To require a report on the future availability of TRICARE 
                  Prime throughout the United States)

       At the end of subtitle A of title VII, add the following:

     SEC. 704. REPORT ON THE FUTURE AVAILABILITY OF TRICARE PRIME 
                   THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES.

       (a) Report Required.--Not later than 120 days after the 
     date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense 
     shall submit to the Committees on Armed Services of the 
     Senate and the House of Representatives a report setting 
     forth the policy of the Department of Defense on the future 
     availability of TRICARE Prime under the TRICARE program for 
     eligible beneficiaries in all TRICARE regions throughout the 
     United States.
       (b) Elements.--The report required by subsection (a) shall 
     include the following:
       (1) A description, by region, of the difference in 
     availability of TRICARE Prime for eligible beneficiaries 
     (other than eligible beneficiaries on active duty in the 
     Armed Forces) under newly-awarded TRICARE managed care 
     contracts, including, in particular, an identification of the 
     regions or areas in which TRICARE Prime will no longer be 
     available for such beneficiaries under such contracts.
       (2) A description of the transition and outreach plans for 
     eligible beneficiaries described in paragraph (1) who will no 
     longer have access to TRICARE Prime under the contracts 
     described in that paragraph.

[[Page S7138]]

       (3) An estimate of the increased costs to be incurred for 
     healthcare under the TRICARE program for eligible 
     beneficiaries described in paragraph (2).
       (4) An estimate of the saving to be achieved by the 
     Department as a result of the contracts described in 
     paragraph (1).
       (5) A description of the plans of the Department to 
     continue to assess the impact on access to healthcare for 
     eligible beneficiaries described in paragraph (2).


                           amendment no. 2991

(Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate on the maintenance by the 
    United States of a triad of strategic nuclear delivery systems)

       At the end of subtitle H of title X, add the following:

     SEC. 1084. SENSE OF SENATE ON THE MAINTENANCE BY THE UNITED 
                   STATES OF A TRIAD OF STRATEGIC NUCLEAR DELIVERY 
                   SYSTEMS.

       (a) Findings.--The Senate finds the following:
       (1) The April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review concluded that 
     even with the reductions specified in the New START Treaty, 
     the United States should retain a nuclear ``Triad'' of land-
     based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched 
     ballistic missiles and nuclear capable heavy bombers, noting 
     that ``[r]etaining all three Triad legs will best maintain 
     strategic stability at reasonable cost, while hedging against 
     potential technical problems or vulnerabilities''.
       (2) The resolution of ratification for the New START 
     Treaty, which the Senate approved on December 22, 2010, 
     stated that ``it is the sense of the Senate that United 
     States deterrence and flexibility is assured by a robust 
     triad of strategic delivery vehicles. To this end, the United 
     States is committed to accomplishing the modernization and 
     replacement of its strategic nuclear delivery vehicles, and 
     to ensuring the continued flexibility of United States 
     conventional and nuclear delivery systems''.
       (3) In a message to the Senate on February 2, 2011, 
     President Obama certified that he intended to ``modernize or 
     replace the triad of strategic nuclear delivery systems: a 
     heavy bomber and air-launched cruise missile, an ICBM, and a 
     nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) and SLBM'' 
     and to ``maintain the United States rocket motor industrial 
     base''.
       (b) Sense of Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate that--
       (1) the United States should maintain a triad of strategic 
     nuclear delivery systems; and
       (2) the United States is committed to modernizing the 
     component weapons and delivery systems of that triad.


                           amendment no. 3083

    (Purpose: To authorize the Secretary of Defense to maintain the 
  readiness nd flexibility of the intercontinental ballistic missile 
                                 force)

       At the end of subtitle C of title II, add the following:

     SEC. 238. READINESS AND FLEXIBILITY OF INTERCONTINENTAL 
                   BALLISTIC MISSILE FORCE.

       The Secretary of Defense may, in a manner consistent with 
     the obligations of the United States under international 
     agreements--
       (1) retain intercontinental ballistic missile launch 
     facilities currently supporting deployed strategic nuclear 
     delivery vehicles within the limit of 800 deployed and non-
     deployed strategic launchers;
       (2) maintain intercontinental ballistic missiles on alert 
     or operationally deployed status; and
       (3) preserve intercontinental ballistic missile silos in 
     operational or warm status.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, I wish to talk this morning about an 
amendment I had intended to offer but I am not going to be offering 
today because there is an important portion in the House Armed Services 
Committee that covers my concerns. That was the amendment I had drafted 
that is cosponsored by Senators Lieberman and Collins. I appreciate 
their support.
  My amendment would establish an east coast ballistic missile defense 
site to make sure the east coast of our country is protected from 
missile threats. Let me describe why I thought it was very important. 
My amendment would have established both a study on three potential 
locations for an east coast missile defense site, an environmental 
impact study, and a plan for deployment of that site.
  Where we are right now, unfortunately, is we have Iran, and no one 
disagrees that Iran has an active ballistic development program. They 
can already reach Eastern Europe. Many analysts believe Iran will be 
able to develop the capacity to strike the mainland United States with 
an ICBM by 2015. Our existing missile defense sites right now that 
protect this country have the capacity--if, for example, North Korea 
were to launch an ICBM toward the west coast, we would have an 
opportunity for two shots at that missile to protect our country.
  In other words, if the President of the United States got an awful 
call that a missile was coming from North Korea toward the western 
coast of our country, he would have an opportunity to have one shot, a 
look, and then a shot to take that missile down to protect our country; 
two shots to take the missile down.
  But as it stands right now, when it comes to the east coast of our 
country, including the Capital, Washington, DC, the center of our 
government where we stand right now, my home State of New Hampshire, 
New York, all those population centers, if Iran were to develop the 
capacity to have an ICBM, where we are today is we would only get one 
shot at that missile if it were to be shot at the eastern coast of the 
United States instead of a shoot, look, shoot that we have if North 
Korea were to shoot a missile toward the western part of our country.
  I think this is deeply troubling. We should be developing that 
capacity to make sure our country is fully protected.
  I would like to address others who have looked at this. This year the 
National Research Council recommended an additional ballistic missile 
site in the United States in the Northeast to more effectively protect 
the Eastern United States and Canada, particularly against Iranian ICBM 
threats should they emerge. That is, of course, because some analysts 
believe they could develop that capacity as soon as 2015.
  The markup coming out of the House Armed Services Committee already 
contains language and authorization for the actual establishment of an 
east coast missile site. That is one of the reasons I will not be 
offering my amendment today to conduct this study on environmental 
impact and also planned deployment because the House version already 
contains a requirement that an east coast missile defense site be 
developed.
  Some would say--in fact, one thing I would like to address is that we 
may hear from the administration that they are working on a hedging--
and a different hedging strategy--to make sure the east coast is 
protected. And that hedging strategy would be plans to deploy the SM-3 
Block IIB missile in Poland. But where we are today with the SM-3 Block 
IIB shows why it is important for us to use technology that already 
exists to protect the east coast; that is, because the SM-3 Block IIB 
is only a plan on a piece of paper. It doesn't exist yet, and there 
have been concerns relayed about its development and, in fact, the 
development of the SM-3 Block IIB has already been delayed to 2021, 
which does not meet where we are with the potential that Iran could 
develop ICBM capacity by 2015. It just would not work.
  But what we do know is that we already have technology that exists, 
and if we were to deploy a missile defense site now on the east coast, 
that we would get the opportunity to have a look, shoot, look on the 
east coast were Iran to launch a missile toward the east coast of our 
country.
  We only need to look at what happened recently in the conflict with 
Hamas, the missiles that were being shot into Israel and the Iron Dome 
system to understand the importance of missile defense. Now, that is a 
system that focuses on short-range missiles, but we all saw the number 
of civilians that could be protected by the capacity of having a robust 
missile defense system, and I can't imagine why we wouldn't want to be 
in the position to make sure the east coast of our country would be as 
protected as the west coast when it comes to an emerging threat from 
Iran.
  There is no question that the more we hear about the behavior of 
Iran, the more troubled we should be as a country. Not only do they 
have a robust missile development program, but we all know they are 
also making efforts to acquire the capability of having a nuclear 
weapon.
  Now is the time for us to act, not to find ourselves in 2015 with no 
plans as to how to deploy an east coast missile defense site to make 
sure the east coast of our country has the same protection as the west 
coast. Now is the time to act because, in addition, in 2012 in the 
defense authorization, we asked the administration to submit a plan to 
us as to how they would hedge, a hedging strategy to make sure the east 
coast was as protected as the west coast.
  They have yet to submit that plan, and so now is the time for us to 
make

[[Page S7139]]

sure we go forward with technology that already exists to ensure that 
the east coast of our country is protected.
  I cannot imagine the President of the United States being in a 
position as we go forward in our country where, if a missile were 
coming from Iran toward our Capital, he would be told we only have one 
shot to take that missile down versus if a missile were coming to the 
west coast of our country in L.A. from North Korea, that we would have 
two shots to take that missile down.
  We want to make sure our country is protected. The threat from Iran 
is a very real threat. That is why I was going to offer this amendment, 
to make sure we had a study, an environmental impact analysis and a 
plan that the Department of Defense could use to deploy an east coast 
missile defense site.
  But my colleagues in the House, including Representative Turner, have 
already addressed this issue directly with the requirement contained in 
the House mark of the Armed Services Committee. I think it is very 
important what they have done.
  I thank the Chair very much for giving me the opportunity to speak 
today.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona is recognized.
  Mr. KYL. First, I would like to speak to the Senator's amendment. I 
want to compliment her, commend her and her other cosponsors--Senator 
Lieberman, Senator Collins, and others--in their effort to bring 
attention to what is clearly a great need that is going unmet. I agree 
the House's action is very important to begin to move this process 
forward.
  The Senator's amendment is even less specific than the action taken 
by the House. We are going to need a study of the environmental impacts 
and evaluate possible locations. It is going to have to be done. It 
seems to me to make sense that this amendment would begin that process, 
and so I support that very strongly.
  I would also like to speak to some of the military requirements which 
go to the fundamental question of whether we are going to move forward. 
If the Senator does not want to speak further right now, I would like 
to speak to that issue.
  Ms. AYOTTE. Yes. Thank you.
  Mr. KYL. All right. Mr. President, as I said, this particular 
amendment doesn't require that the administration actually establish a 
site for an east coast defense, but I do believe such a site would 
provide an important and critical measure of protection for the east 
coast of the United States and also those in the southeastern part of 
the United States.
  This has become more important due to the cancellation of earlier 
plans to deploy long-range ground-based interceptors in Poland. That is 
what it originally was going to provide, full protection for the United 
States. That would have provided what is called an ``early shot'' or a 
shot early in the trajectory of a missile coming from someplace--for 
example, the Middle East--toward the United States.
  In conjunction with the missile defense sites that we already have in 
Alaska and in California, a site further to the east would provide what 
is called a multiple-shot opportunity or an ability in the event that 
there was more than one missile or one had to distinguish between 
decoys or one of our first missiles wasn't effective in reaching its 
target; it would give us, in effect, a second chance to shoot down the 
missile, which is always what we want to do in planning these kinds of 
missile defense systems.
  In fact, this was the actual rationale for, the actual basis for the 
third site deployment in Poland, to improve protection of the United 
States, while at the same time affording protection for our European 
allies against longer range ballistic missile threats from the Middle 
East.
  This is a critical point. We are involved in missile defense not just 
to protect our allies, say, in Europe but also to protect the homeland 
of the United States of America. But the current administration's plan 
seems to be oriented toward protecting allies in Europe and not 
strengthening the protection of the people in the United States of 
America.
  The administration says it can cover the ballistic missile threat 
from the Middle East with the current inventory of 30 ground-based 
interceptors. First of all, I seriously disagree with that assessment. 
In any event, there is no way to know if that can be done for sure.
  Let me cite the President's own Ballistic Missile Defense Review 
report, which says:

       Looking ahead, it is difficult to predict precisely how the 
     threat to the U.S. homeland will evolve, but it is certain 
     that it will do so.

  So you can't say based upon what happened a couple of years ago, or 
the deployment of the ground-based interceptors, that only 30 of them, 
bear in mind, are going to protect our homeland at all.
  Now how does the administration then plan to make up for what it has 
done in terms of canceling programs that further develop the so-called 
Ground-Based Interceptor. Well, it plans to compensate for this loss of 
original Ground-Based Interceptor deployments with something that is 
called the IIB missile, the SM-3 Block IIB.
  That is a missile that would be deployed in Poland, for example, but 
the problem is there is no SM-3 Block IIB missile. That is something 
that is in the minds of some scientists. It is on vu-graphs. There are 
pictures of what it might look like, but there is no such missile.
  Indeed, without discussing classified material here there is no way 
to know whether we are actually even going to be able to develop such a 
missile. In fact, its development, rather, has already been delayed to 
the year 2021.
  Now, think about it. Think about it. This is 2012, and we wouldn't 
even begin developing such a missile for another 9 years? This is 
something way off into the future, if it works, and there is no 
commitment to deploy it and, indeed, the President has already talked 
with President Medvedev of Russia about further flexibility in 
designing our missile defense system. It is no secret that this is 
potentially on the chopping block, notwithstanding the commitments of 
the President earlier to deploy it.
  The NRC has, in fact, recommended that there be an interceptor site 
on the east coast of the United States as a possible substitute for 
this Block IIB. This concern has been raised before, and the 
administration has yet failed to provide a hedging strategy that the 
fiscal year 2012 NDAA required. So we have known of this deficiency, 
the fact that the GBI system is not adequate, the fact that the SM-3 
Block IIB system may never be deployed. We have asked for a hedging 
strategy.
  So what do we do if none of this works, if we don't go forward with 
it? We don't have that even if the law has required it.
  What this amendment does is to shine an even brighter light on the 
concern that I have had for a long time, which is why the 
administration hasn't provided sufficient resources and attention to 
our missile defense efforts to protect the homeland of the United 
States. That is precisely what this would do. Sure, it would help with 
regard to our friends in Europe, but the primary point of this is to 
protect the American people. What is wrong with that?
  Some examples that lead to my concern are that in his first budget, 
the President reduced funding for the ground-based system. That is the 
Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System that is also known as the 
national missile defense system, by $500 million, $\1/2\ billion. Then 
another billion dollars was reduced between his fiscal year 2011 and 
fiscal year 2012, 5-year budget plans. So they have taken an enormous 
amount of money out of the development of the system that was supposed 
to protect the United States. The President cut back the number of 
Ground-Based Interceptors for the defense of the homeland.
  Originally, under the Bush administration, it was going to be 44. 
Well, that is a pretty small number when you stop to think about it, 
but they have cut it back to 30. Then in addition they subsequently 
cancelled the 10 GBI interceptors that we were going to send to Poland 
for defense of Europe as well as the United States.
  So they have not only cut back on the funding for the development of 
the program, they have cut back on the actual number of the 
interceptors that we have already developed.
  Third, the President curtailed any significant development and 
modernization of the GMD system, and he

[[Page S7140]]

cancelled the Multiple Kill Vehicle Program, which was intended to be a 
significant upgrade to the current Kill Vehicle. The current design is 
over 20 years old.
  When we talk about a kill vehicle, of course, we are talking about 
what is on the nose of the missile that goes up, the interceptor 
missile, how it intercepts the ballistic missile in flight, how it 
finds it, how it triggers the final phase of the intercept, and how it 
actually impacts the offending missile.
  The technology has improved dramatically since the 20 years that has 
elapsed from the design of the original kill vehicle of the GBI. First 
of all, they have reduced funding for the program. Secondly, they have 
cut back the number of missiles in the program. Third, they have 
stopped the development of the next generation of the real business end 
of the missile, the kill vehicle, so that it can't improve with 
technology and improve to meet the evolving threats of those that are 
developing missiles against us.
  Remember, countries such as Russia, for example, have extraordinarily 
sophisticated multiple-entry vehicles with decoys and other technology 
to try to evade a missile defense that the United States has produced. 
If we don't develop our technology and deploy it to keep up with these 
developments, we are not going to have an effective system.
  Over the next 5 years the administration intends to spend $20 billion 
on regional missile defense compared with only $4 billion for homeland 
missile defense. So we are going to provide protection for our allies--
European allies and so on--but only $4 billion over the next 5 years. 
That is about $1 billion a year on a system that is critical for the 
protection of the United States.
  I would ask my colleagues to recall the Missile Defense Act of 1999, 
going all the way back then, which requires the United States to build 
a missile defense system capable of protecting our Nation against 
limited ballistic missile attacks from rogue nations and protect 
against any accidental and unauthorized launches from any source. We 
need to ensure our homeland missile defense system is as robust as 
possible, and a missile defense site on the east coast may be one of 
the best means for accomplishing this.
  In other words, of course, we are concerned about North Korea or 
Iran, but there are a couple other countries in the world that may not 
wish us any harm but that have extraordinarily capable systems--I speak 
specifically of China and Russia. We have always wanted--and the law 
requires us--to provide protection against the kind of unauthorized or 
accidental launch that can occur. This is not an idle concern. We spend 
enormous amounts of time and energy and money trying to make sure these 
extraordinarily lethal weapons are never launched by accident or by 
some unauthorized event. That is one of the reasons for a missile 
defense system, to ensure that kind of accident never would result in 
harm to the United States. Of course, what they are also worried about 
is, if that ever happens, then there is the question of retaliation. 
How do we know this is not intentional? How do we know we shouldn't 
retaliate?
  Wars can be started almost by accident, and the best protection 
against that is a missile defense system that can ensure no harm is 
done even if there is such a launch. In the meantime, we can find out 
whether this is real, whether we need to respond, whether we need to 
start another war. That is the benefit of a missile defense system.
  It is beyond me why the administration reduces the funding, cuts back 
the numbers, and kills the advanced technology we could put into our 
system to protect the people of the United States of America. I 
understand the difficult choices that have to be made in a time of 
austerity, but we are not talking about extraordinary amounts of money. 
The amendment of the Senator from New Hampshire simply calls for a 
study of the location of the site and what the impact of that would be. 
That is the first step in deciding where to put this additional bit of 
protection.
  I think this is a priority. To oppose just the idea of investigating 
how we are going to be proceeding, especially with the little bit of 
money that entails, is difficult to understand. It is not too much to 
ask. We have a moral responsibility to protect our people. It makes 
strategic sense because of the exposure of our American homeland to 
these long-range missile threats and because of the critical 
vulnerability we have right now.
  The commander of NORTHCOM, the military entity with responsibility 
here--General Jacoby--told Congress last March:

       No homeland task is more important than protecting the 
     United States from a limited ICBM attack . . . we must not 
     allow regional actors, such as North Korea, to hold U.S. 
     policy hostage by making our citizens vulnerable to a nuclear 
     ICBM attack.

  That is part of the problem. There are some people in the United 
States who actually believe it would be beneficial for the United 
States to be vulnerable to a missile attack from another country. They 
actually believe that would be advantageous. The reasoning is rather 
weird, but it goes something like this: If we develop defenses that 
could protect the American people, then other countries will want to 
develop even more effective systems that can try to override those 
defenses, and that puts us into a spiral of arms development that would 
be very costly.
  One can argue that theory, but there are a couple things wrong with 
it. First of all, recall this was the argument used against getting out 
of the ABM Treaty to enable the United States to develop an 
antiballistic missile defense. It was going to create this big arms war 
between then-Soviet Union and the United States. It didn't. Both sides 
have reduced our warheads. One of the reasons why is because it is so 
expensive, and the Soviet Union, now Russia, realized we could have 
driven them into bankruptcy. It is one of the reasons--one of the 
reasons--Russian officials have cited for the collapse of the Soviet 
Union. They knew Ronald Reagan meant it when he said he was going to 
develop a missile defense system. They knew they couldn't spend enough 
money to overcome it or, if they tried, they would go into bankruptcy. 
It is expensive.
  I don't necessarily think we have to fear a new expensive arms race 
because there are very intelligent people in other countries, such as 
Russia, for example, who appreciate the fact that would be a fools's 
errand. They may want to threaten, but they are not going to do it 
because they can't afford it any more now than they could back in the 
days of the Soviet Union. They know the United States has the resources 
to trump whatever they do come up with. That is the first point.
  But the second point is the moral one. Is it moral for leaders who 
have responsibility for the national security of the American people to 
deliberately--knowing this is the case--leave them vulnerable to an 
attack that could kill millions of Americans at a time? If we have the 
means of avoiding that result, we should. We do. We have that means. It 
may require a little bit more money. It may require not cutting back 
the number of interceptors we have deployed. It may require continuing 
with the advancement of technologies we know are out there. It may 
require siting missiles in a country of Europe, on Aegis cruisers or on 
the east coast of the United States. We know how to do all these 
things.
  Is it moral for leaders of the United States to leave our people 
deliberately vulnerable to an attack by others when we know we have the 
means to prevent it, and there is a cost-benefit that obviously favors 
the deployment of an additional site of ground-based interceptors?
  I think for the Senator from New Hampshire to propose that we begin 
looking at where a new site might be and determine what the 
environmental impacts of that are as a complement to what the House of 
Representatives has already done in passing the bill that says we need 
to move forward is a perfectly reasonable step, and I commend her and 
the other cosponsors of this amendment for bringing this matter to the 
attention of the Senate and to the people of the United States. This is 
part of our responsibility to our constituents and all the other 
citizens of our great Nation.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I just to want follow up on the remarks 
of my colleagues Senator Kyl and Senator Ayotte.
  Last year, I asked for and obtained language in the Defense bill that 
would

[[Page S7141]]

require the Defense Department to report on the effectiveness and need 
and ramifications of a hedging strategy for the United States, and that 
was due within 75 days of the bill being passed. My understanding is 
the Defense Department produced that analysis and they sent it to the 
White House as early as last spring and it has not been produced.
  So now we have the House having passed language that actually funds 
moving forward with a hedging strategy on an American-based system to 
give us a layered defense, which I think is probably necessary but 
because we have not gotten a report from the Defense Department it is 
hard to know. I would first say it is not acceptable that we have not 
received that report. It has gone on too long. I guess I and Congress 
have been too reticent in insisting that it be produced.
  I would say to the Defense Department and the administration, we 
expect that report to be produced. I don't want to cause trouble in 
your world, but it has been made, it has been sent forward, and it is 
time to have it come to the people's representatives who have to make 
decisions about how we are going to defend America. I will be using the 
various rights I have as a Senator to move that forward.
  I wish to quote from a story in today's Washington Times, referring 
to a statement made by Mr. Fereidoun Abbasi, who is Iran's nuclear 
chief. The article states: ``Iran will step up its uranium enrichment 
program by sharply increasing the number of centrifuges used to make 
nuclear fuel.''
  There are some people still saying we don't know if Iran wants to go 
forward with a nuclear weapon. How could this possibly be? They have 
been subjected to the most rigorous sanctions that are damaging their 
economy. Yet in today's paper their nuclear chief says they are 
accelerating their plans to go forward. There is no doubt about what 
they are doing. I wish it weren't so. I truly wish it weren't so. I had 
hoped they would change their mind. Maybe they will change their mind, 
but it is false to say they haven't made up their mind and they are not 
going forward to build a nuclear weapon. That is so plainly obvious I 
don't know how anybody could ever suggest otherwise. The only question 
is, Can we somehow bring to bear enough pressure on them to get them to 
change their mind? There is a long article about that in today's paper.
  I was pleased Chairman Levin and both Democratic and Republican 
members of the Armed Services Committee produced a unanimous bill. 
Senator McCain, Senator Levin, both fine, wonderful leaders of our 
committee, and every member all signed off on the legislation. I think 
that speaks well for our committee. They also approved this language 
dealing with the failure of the Department to produce the hedging 
report--and it has a number of fact-finding points in it which I will 
share with my colleagues:

       The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has 
     testified to Congress that . . . ``Iran already has the 
     largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, 
     and it is expanding the scale, reach, and sophistication of 
     its ballistic missile forces, many of which are inherently 
     capable of carrying a nuclear payload.''

  That is President Obama's National Intelligence Director, and he is 
the man to make the final opinion on that for the President. Let me 
quote additional language from the committee:

       The 2012 Annual Report to Congress on the Military Power of 
     Iran by the Department of Defense states that, in addition to 
     increasing its missile inventories, ``Iran has boosted the 
     lethality and effectiveness of its existing missile systems 
     with accuracy improvements and new submissions payloads.''

  Also in the report:

       North Korea warned the United States in October 2012 that 
     the United States mainland is within reach of its missiles.

  I will wrap up, since I can't talk much longer anyway. We have to 
recognize the grim fact there are very dangerous countries with nuclear 
weapons--North Korea--or are rapidly developing them--Iran--capable of 
putting them on missiles and that have missile systems already. So 
North Korea has a missile system they believe can reach the United 
States right now. We need to be sure our defense system is sufficient. 
I wish it weren't so, but that is the way it is. I think the Defense 
Department understands this.
  I think the administration says it does, and we are doing some good 
things to be prepared for that. However, we have to confront this 
question of an east coast site, and we need this report. I believe we 
are going to need additional layered defenses, and we might as well 
prepare to do it. In the scheme of the entire investment in our 
national defense, it won't be the kind of expenditure that will break 
the defense budget. It is something we can work into our defense 
budgets.
  I thank Senators Ayotte and Kyl for their comments.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEVIN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Hagan). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  Mr. LEVIN. Madam President, we are waiting for Senator Cornyn to come 
to the floor, and he will be speaking on the modified Cornyn amendment. 
We also are waiting for Senator Inhofe to come to the floor, and he 
will be speaking on a Hagan amendment. Then we would expect, after a 
fairly short amount of debate--perhaps 10 minutes but not set yet--by 
each of them, perhaps a minute or two by the sponsors of the amendment, 
particularly in the case of the Hagan amendment, to describe the 
amendment, we would then go to a rollcall vote on both of those 
amendments. That is the plan. It is not yet in a UC agreement formally 
because we want to make sure we are protecting the Senators in terms of 
the length of time they need to describe either their opposition to the 
Hagan amendment in the case of Senator Inhofe or their support of the 
Cornyn amendment in the case of Senator Cornyn.
  We hope Senator Klobuchar will now be recognized for a few minutes to 
describe a couple of amendments she has filed. She is not going to call 
them up at this point, but this would be a period for her to describe 
those two amendments.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Madam President, I thank Senator Levin and Senator 
McCain for their leadership, including their leadership on this very 
issue last year when the Defense Authorization Act was on the floor. 
Last year we made some improvements.
  Here is the issue. According to the Veterans Affairs Administration, 
a full one in five female veterans at VA facilities across the country 
says she has had an issue with sexual assault or harassment. In 2010 
the Department of Defense cited more than 3,000 reports in the 
military. We know that the vast majority of our soldiers are law-
abiding and would not engage in this kind of behavior, but this is 
clearly an issue, and we have seen an increase.
  I would like to again take the time to recognize Senator Levin and 
Senator McCain, who last year supported the inclusion of the amendment 
that I introduced to preserve records of military sexual assault in the 
2012 National Defense Authorization Act. Until that time, it was really 
a patchwork of rules for each branch of the military as far as how long 
those records would be preserved. Thanks to the support of every woman 
Senator, we were able to get this changed, and so now these records are 
preserved.
  But there are still some additional changes that can be made. Those 
are the amendments that I submitted. There is a records retention 
amendment--and I am working with the chairman and ranking member on 
this issue--that once again tackles this issue. Unfortunately, not all 
records are being stored for 50 years, as was our agreement last year. 
Documents filed in a restrictive reporting setting are stored for just 
5 years, and this amendment changes that.
  Our second amendment, No. 3103, addresses another area of records 
retention, and its purpose is to target the issue of repeat offenders. 
As we all know, sex offenders are often repeat offenders, and what this 
does is target it and makes clear that only substantiated charges of 
sexual offenses would be preserved in the permanent personnel file of 
the perpetrator.

[[Page S7142]]

  The third amendment, No. 3104, involves sexual assault reporting and 
expands the data the Department of Defense reports on sexual assault 
incidents in the military.
  The fourth amendment, No. 3105, tackles one of the key precursors to 
sexual assault--sexual harassment.
  The fifth and final amendment involves the disposition of sexual 
assault cases. It makes a statement about what the U.S. policy should 
be regarding the disposition of sexual assault charges in the military.
  All of these requests came from women in the military. My office has 
been working with these women. They signed up to serve. They performed 
their service well and honorably. In the course of their service, if 
they experienced an assault that could have been prevented, an assault 
that would not have been experienced had they not volunteered for the 
service, then our country owes them the basic decency of ensuring them 
a fair trial, fair access to health benefits, and the promise of 
justice. That is the goal of our amendments.
  I appreciate the leadership of Senator Levin and Senator McCain in 
not only working with me last year to dramatically alter this policy so 
these records are now preserved for 50 years but for working this year 
on improvements to that policy once again.
  Madam President, I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a 
quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, I request that the order for the quorum 
call be rescinded for a point of inquiry.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. INHOFE. It is my understanding that the chair has an amendment 
that is going be considered at the present time, and my question is, 
Are we ready to go into that? Is the Presiding Officer going to be able 
to do that from up there?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. LEVIN. If the Senator would yield, we thank him for noting that.
  Senator Hagan did have an opportunity last night to go into her 
amendment, and she was willing to do that at that time. We understood 
that, of course, the Senator would like an opportunity to speak against 
the Hagan amendment, which is the opportunity that is being provided 
now, and then I think it would be appropriate for someone to take 
Senator Hagan's place at the Presiding Officer's position so she can 
speak for a few minutes in support of her amendment after the Senator 
has completed. If the Senator could give us an idea about how long he 
expects?
  Mr. INHOFE. Not more than 7 or 8 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, I was not here when the Presiding 
Officer spoke last night; however, I am familiar with the amendment 
that is here.
  Let me share with some of the Members here. I hope they don't look at 
this amendment as just part of the amendment that was defeated 
yesterday.
  We talked about biofuels. There are a lot of people here who are 
supportive of biofuels. I am supportive of biofuels. In fact, we are 
very active in Oklahoma right now in developing various biofuels. We 
are one of the leaders in the Nation, and we actually have a lot of 
plants located in my State of Oklahoma. This is not that issue. It is 
not whether you believe biofuels is something we are working toward in 
the future. We are. We all know that. This is whether we should take 
our very scarce defense dollars--in this case, the dollars that would 
otherwise go to the Department of Navy--and put them into subsidizing 
the private sector in building these plants.
  What we are looking at now is to either retrofit or build biofuel 
refineries. This is interesting because right now I have a list of 
about 100 different biofuel plants--many of which are in my State of 
Oklahoma--that are not subsidized by the Federal Government, and there 
is no reason for these to be subsidized by the Federal Government. This 
is something that can be done.
  If you look at the Navy and the problems they are having right now, I 
think people realize their operation and maintenance funds are 
stretched to the maximum. They have readiness problems right now. They 
have a higher op tempo than they have had in the past. And I think it 
is important for people to understand that if you keep giving away $170 
million here and more there, that is coming out of O It is coming 
out of our readiness. Right now, if you talk to any of the higher 
levels in the Navy, they will say they have never been in this 
situation before. They have already had readiness problems over the 
past few years, with more than one-fifth of the ships falling short of 
combat readiness and fewer than half of their deployed combat aircraft 
being mission-ready at any given time.
  I urge us to reconsider whether we should be in the business of 
building these plants or retrofitting them because this is something we 
haven't done before.
  Now, Energy and Agriculture are doing it currently. Yesterday I stood 
on the floor and talked about how we are taking over the responsibility 
of the Department of Energy. We are trying to make the decisions as to 
how we are going to do this. Should we be developing the progress of 
the biofuels--which we are doing in the State of Oklahoma without any 
Federal Government assistance--or should we be defending America with 
these dollars? Now, Energy, yes, they are going to spend money on this, 
and the Department of Agriculture is certainly currently spending money 
on it, but we have not been doing it.
  I understand that the Presiding Officer, who is the author of this 
amendment and who is from North Carolina--and I am reading now from one 
of the Web sites, from a newspaper there saying that a private company 
backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will build a $130 million 
biofuel refinery in Sampson County, with an estimated 300 jobs there. 
They talk about what they may be doing through the Department of 
Defense. ChemTex was awarded a $3.9 million grant in June to convert 
more than 4,000 acres across 11 counties to begin producing miscanthus 
and switchgrass and biofuel conversions. The USDA, which is supposed to 
be doing this, estimates that farmers will see a net revenue increase 
of $4.5 million in growing and selling grass.
  I come to two conclusions on this. One is, as I just read, they are 
already doing it now in the State of North Carolina. They are already 
paying, subsidizing these plants. That is their job, to evaluate and 
decide whether to subsidize these biotech plants or whether that should 
be a function of the Department of Energy.

  When we look at these--I asked my staff before this--we didn't have 
notice, to my knowledge--I asked my staff on the floor to tell me 
whether there are any of these plants currently being subsidized in any 
way by the Department of Defense. His answer was no, after a very 
cursory look.
  We do have the DOE and DOA, Department of Agriculture and Energy, 
doing that. I hope everyone here will look at this. I will actually 
join the author of this amendment in encouraging the Department of 
Agriculture and Department of Energy to look carefully at this, as well 
as some of our plants in my State of Oklahoma. On this list I am going 
to submit as part of the Record, there are about 100 plants scattered 
throughout the country, including my State of Oklahoma. We need to look 
at those and evaluate those and make the determination is this a 
function government should perform? If so, wouldn't it be more logical 
to do it as we are doing it today, through the Department of 
Agriculture and the Department of Energy and not use our scarce 
readiness--in this case Navy--dollars that are desperately needed to 
subsidize this?
  I retain the remainder of my time. I know the Senator who is offering 
the amendment may want to make some comments. Maybe not. But I urge my 
colleagues to stop and realize this is something brandnew, having the 
Department of Defense do a function that has heretofore been done by 
the Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy, and keep it 
that way.
  When the appropriate time comes, I will ask for the yeas and nays on 
the amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. LEVIN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the next

[[Page S7143]]

amendment in order to be called up is the Cornyn amendment, No. 3158; 
that after the Cornyn amendment is reported it be in order for Senator 
Hagan or designee to call up her amendment, No. 3095; that there be up 
to 10 minutes of debate equally divided between the chairman and 
ranking member or their designees prior to votes in relation to the 
amendments in the order offered; finally, there be no amendments in 
order to either amendment prior to the votes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEVIN. That means we would be voting on the amendment of Senator 
Cornyn first, the amendment of Senator Hagan second.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. McCAIN. That will take approximately 30 minutes? Before the vote?
  Mr. LEVIN. I think Senator Cornyn only needs about 5 minutes. We have 
cleared that amendment. There is support for it.
  Senator Hagan only needs, I believe, 5 minutes. That means that in 
about 10 minutes----
  Mr. McCAIN. Ten minutes we will be ready to vote.
  Mr. LEVIN. Unless there are others who wish to speak. A couple of 
votes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.


                           Amendment No. 3158

  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, I thank the distinguished chair of the 
Armed Services Committee and ranking member for their work with us on 
this important amendment.
  The Veterans' Administration defines a backlogged claim as one that 
has been pending for more than 125 days. Scandalously, there are 
600,000-plus backlogged claims in the Veterans' Administration system 
and about two-thirds of all pending claims are backlogged.
  There has been a lot of attention, particularly in my State and 
across the country, by veterans to this unacceptable situation. In my 
State we have currently at the Veterans' regional office in Texas a 
State agency called the Texas Veterans Commission that is working with 
both the Waco office and other field offices in Houston and elsewhere 
to clear these backlogs. The Texas Veterans Commission is doing 
outstanding work, working on a voluntary basis to help make sure 
veterans file fully developed claims which shortens the processing time 
dramatically. The goal of the Texas Veterans Commission is to reduce 
the backlog of VA claims in Texas by 17,000 in 1 year.
  You can see from the size of the problem this is an important first 
step but it is only that, a first step. The purpose of my amendment is 
to provide this useful model across the country, to require a plan from 
the Veterans' Administration to deal with this backlog. I am confident 
that Members will have no trouble voting for this amendment because I 
am sure they have heard what I have heard from my constituents about 
how outraged and upset they are at the current backlog of claims.
  In order to capitalize on the successful model we have implemented, 
this amendment would require the Veterans' Administration to report to 
Congress with a plan to address the claims backlog through partnerships 
between the Veterans' Administration and other entities including State 
veterans affairs offices and county veterans service offices, similar 
to the Texas Veterans Commission operation in my State. The purpose, of 
course, is to eliminate the current backlog of claims and ensure that 
new claims are fully developed when they are submitted, all with the 
purpose of making sure that we keep our commitments to veterans who 
have made great sacrifices serving our country, that we will keep our 
commitments to them, that we will keep our promises once they return 
home having suffered the wounds of war, both seen and unseen.
  I ask the support of my colleagues on this important amendment.
  I ask unanimous consent to set aside all pending amendments and call 
up Cornyn amendment No. 3158.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk 
will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Texas [Mr. Cornyn] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 3158.

  Mr. CORNYN. I ask unanimous consent the reading of the amendment be 
dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit to 
   Congress a plan to reduce the current backlog of veterans claims)

       At the end of subtitle H of title X, add the following:

     SEC. 1084. PLAN TO PARTNER WITH STATE AND LOCAL ENTITIES TO 
                   ADDRESS VETERANS CLAIMS BACKLOG.

       (a) Findings.--Congress makes the following findings:
       (1) The Department of Veterans Affairs defines any claim 
     for benefits under laws administered by the Secretary of 
     Veterans Affairs as backlogged if the claim has been pending 
     for 125 days or more.
       (2) According to the Department, as of November 24, 2012, 
     there were 899,540 pending claims, with 604,583 (67.2 
     percent) of those considered backlogged.
       (3) The Department's data further shows that, on November 
     22, 2010, there were 749,934 claims pending, with only 
     244,129 (32.6 percent) of those considered backlogged.
       (4) During the past two years, both the overall number of 
     backlogged claims and the percentage of all pending claims 
     that are backlogged have doubled.
       (5) In order to reduce the claims backlog at regional 
     offices of the Department of Veterans Affairs located in 
     Texas, the Texas Veterans Commission announced two 
     initiatives on July 19, 2012, to partner with the Department 
     of Veterans Affairs--
       (A) to assist veterans whose claims are already backlogged 
     to complete development of those claims; and
       (B) to help veterans who are filing new claims to fully 
     develop those claims prior to filing them, shortening the 
     processing time required.
       (6) The common goal of the two initiatives of the Texas 
     Veterans Commission, called the ``Texas State Strike Force 
     Team'' and the ``Fully Developed Claims Team Initiative'', is 
     to reduce the backlog of claims pending in Texas by 17,000 
     within one year.
       (7) During the first two months of these new initiatives, 
     the Texas Veterans Commission helped veterans complete 
     development of more than 2,500 backlogged claims and assisted 
     veterans with the submission of more than 800 fully developed 
     claims.
       (8) In testimony before the Subcommittee on Disability 
     Assistance and Memorial Affairs of the Committee on Veterans' 
     Affairs of the House of Representatives on September 21, 
     2012, Diana Rubens, Deputy Under Secretary for Field 
     Operations of the Veterans Benefits Administration, indicated 
     that the Department of Veterans Affairs has experienced 
     positive outcomes in projects with the Texas Veterans 
     Commission, stating that both Veterans Service Organizations 
     ``and state and county service officers . . . are important 
     partners in VBA's transformation to better serve Veterans.''.
       (9) At the same hearing, Mr. John Limpose, director of the 
     regional office of the Department of Veterans Affairs in 
     Waco, Texas, testified that the ``TVC is working very, very 
     well'' with regional offices of the Department in Texas, 
     calling the Texas Veterans Commission a ``very positive story 
     that we can branch out into . . . all of our stakeholders.''.
       (b) Report.--
       (1) In general.--Not later than 60 days after the date of 
     the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
     shall submit to Congress a plan to reduce the current backlog 
     of pending claims for benefits under laws administered by the 
     Secretary and more efficiently process claims for such 
     benefits in the future.
       (2) Contents.--The report required by paragraph (1) shall 
     include the following:
       (A) A summary of all steps the Secretary has taken thus far 
     to partner with non-Federal entities in support of efforts to 
     reduce the backlog described in paragraph (1) and more 
     efficiently process claims described in such paragraph in the 
     future, including two previous initiatives by the Texas 
     Veterans Commission, namely the 2008-2009 Development 
     Assistant Pilot Project and the 2009-2011 Claims Processing 
     Assistance Team.
       (B) A plan for the Secretary to partner with non-Federal 
     entities to support efforts to reduce such backlog and more 
     efficiently process such claims in the future, including the 
     following:
       (i) State and local agencies relating to veterans affairs.
       (ii) Organizations recognized by the Secretary for the 
     representation of veterans under section 5902 of title 38, 
     United States Code.
       (iii) Such other relevant government and non-government 
     entities as the Secretary considers appropriate.
       (C) A description of how the Secretary intends to leverage 
     partnerships with non-Federal entities described in 
     subparagraph (B) to eliminate such backlog, including through 
     increasing the percentage of claims that are fully developed 
     prior to submittal to the Secretary and ensuring that new 
     claims are fully developed prior to their submittal.
       (D) A description of what steps the Secretary has taken and 
     will take--
       (i) to expedite the processing of claims that are already 
     fully developed at the time of submittal; and

[[Page S7144]]

       (ii) to support initiatives by non-Federal entities 
     described in subparagraph (B) to help claimants gather and 
     submit necessary evidence for claims that were previously 
     filed but require further development.
       (E) A description of how partnerships with non-Federal 
     entities described in subparagraph (B) will fit into the 
     Secretary's overall claims processing transformation plan.

  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  Mr. CORNYN. I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mrs. HAGAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the order for the 
quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Merkley). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                           Amendment No. 3095

  Mrs. HAGAN. I call up amendment No. 3095.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from North Carolina [Mrs. Hagan], for herself, 
     Mr. Johnson of South Dakota, Mrs. Murray, and Mr. Udall of 
     Colorado proposes an amendment numbered 3095.

  The amendment is as follows:

 (Purpose: To strike the prohibition on biofuel refinery construction)

       Strike section 2823.

  Mrs. HAGAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to add Senators 
Shaheen, Collins, Schumer, Stabenow, Whitehouse, Coons, Udall of New 
Mexico, and Tester as cosponsors.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. HAGAN. Mr. President, I spoke about this bill last night at 
length. I want to give a brief summary today of this amendment.
  This bipartisan amendment would remove provisions from the underlying 
bill that prohibit the Department of Defense from participating in a 
program with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy 
and private industry to develop advanced biofuels refineries. It is a 
1-to-1 match. As the largest single consumer of fuel in the world, the 
DOD uses approximately 120 million barrels of oil each year, spending 
over $17 billion in fiscal year 2011. This dependency on a single 
source of energy leaves our military readiness at risk. When the price 
of oil goes up $1, it costs the Navy an additional $30 million. We are 
looking at an investment here of $170 million by the Department of the 
Navy. Last year alone, this additional fuel cost forced the Navy to pay 
an additional $500 million more because the price of fuel was $1 
higher.
  Our senior military leaders recognize the importance of diversifying 
the fuel supply with advanced biofuels. The Navy Secretary Mabus, Chief 
of Naval Operations ADM Johnathon Greenert, and Marine Corps Commandant 
GEN James Amos wrote to the Armed Services Committee about this.
  I ask unanimous consent to have their letter printed in the Record at 
the conclusion of my remarks.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (See exhibit 1.)
  Mrs. HAGAN. They write that:

       The demand for fuel in theater means we depend on 
     vulnerable supply lines--the protection of which puts lives 
     at risk. Our potential adversaries, both on land and sea, 
     understand this critical vulnerability and seek to exploit 
     it. The Navy and Marine Corps have been aggressively 
     evaluating how both energy efficiency and alternative sources 
     of energy can provide tactical benefits to our expeditionary 
     forces.

  If you look back in history, the Navy's leadership on energy 
innovation is nothing new. It was the Navy that shifted from sailing 
ships to steam-powered ships in the middle of the 19th century, steam 
to oil in the 20th, and pioneered nuclear power in the middle of the 
20th century.
  In the 1950s, the Defense Production Act, which is the same entity 
the Department of the Navy, Department of Energy, and Department of 
Agriculture are working under, played a critical role in the 
development of nuclear-powered submarines and the commercial nuclear 
power industry.
  Yesterday the Senate approved Senator Udall's amendment having to do 
with the cost of fuel and being able to invest in biofuels. With strong 
bipartisan support this amendment passed. However, our work is not done 
in this area. It is critically important that we approve this amendment 
so the Navy can continue working with the Department of Agriculture and 
the Department of Energy to spur the development of advanced biofuels 
refineries capable of producing cost-competitive drop-in biofuels for 
our military.
  I urge my colleagues to support this amendment and I yield the floor.

                               Exhibit 1


                                       Department of the Navy,

                                     Washington, DC, July 9, 2012.
     Hon. Carl Levin,
     Chairman, Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. Chairman: We are concerned that certain 
     legislative provisions adopted by the Senate Armed Services 
     Committee may restrict the Department of the Navy's ability 
     to improve its exposure to the price volatility of petroleum-
     based fuels.
       The ability to use fuels other than petroleum will increase 
     our flexibility and reduce the services' vulnerability to 
     rapid and unforeseen price changes, which can negatively 
     impact readiness. A $1 change in the price of a barrel of 
     oil, for example. results in an approximately $30 million 
     change in the Navy budget. In addition to alternative fuels, 
     operational and tactical energy efficiencies improve the 
     endurance of our forces, reduce dependence on a vulnerable 
     logistics tail, and in the end, lower total ownership costs. 
     Shore energy efficiency improves the resilience of our 
     facilities and conserves resources that can be reapplied to 
     enhance readiness.
       The demand for fuel in theater means we depend on 
     vulnerable supply lines--the protection of which puts lives 
     at risk. Our potential adversaries, both on land and at sea. 
     understand this critical vulnerability and seek to exploit 
     it. The Navy and Marine Corps have been aggressively 
     evaluating how both energy efficiency and alternative sources 
     of energy can provide tactical benefits to expeditionary 
     forces by reducing their dependence on external fuel 
     supplies, as is the case at many Combat Outposts in Helmand 
     Province today. We are quickly incorporating these promising 
     technologies into regular procurement.
       Our military knows how to innovate in areas crucial to our 
     national defense. GPS, the internet. and much of modern 
     medical and surgical procedures owe their existence to 
     military innovation. The Navy has been a leader in energy 
     innovation, moving from wind to coal, coal to oil, and then 
     nuclear power. Our modest investment to qualify and partner 
     in developing alternative sources of energy such as wind, 
     solar, and advanced biofuel, is a continuation of our long 
     tradition of American ingenuity to provide greater energy 
     security.
       In accordance with Department of Defense Policy. the 
     Department of the Navy is pursuing assured access to enemy 
     with a balanced approach that includes the flexibility to use 
     alternate sources of energy. History highlights that over-
     reliance on a single critical resource jeopardizes 
     operational success and thereby degrades energy security.
       We request your support in enabling the Department to 
     pursue a judicious, balanced and diversified energy 
     portfolio. This course of action will enhance combat 
     capability, reduce costs and improve the security of energy 
     supplies for our forces.
           Sincerely,
     Jonathan W. Greenert,
       Chief of Naval Operations.
     James F. Amos,
       Commandant of the Marine Corps,
     Ray Mabus,
       Secretary of the Navy.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. With reference to the Udall amendment yesterday, I want 
to make sure our colleagues note this is not the Udall amendment. This 
is something different. This would mean for the first time we would be 
spending our DOD dollars, very scarce dollars--in this case the 
Department of the Navy--to build refineries or retrofit refineries. 
That has not been done before. As I said to the Senator from North 
Carolina when she was presiding: This is a function that has always 
been performed by the Department of Energy and the Department of 
Agriculture. In my State of Oklahoma we have several of these 
refineries and potential refineries and retrofits that are needed. 
However, we went through the proper channels, the Department of 
Agriculture and the Department of Energy. So if we vote for this 
amendment, it will be the first time we are using our readiness dollars 
to do something the DOA and the DOE are supposed to be doing. That is 
what distinguishes the difference between the two.

  Mr. JOHNSON of South Dakota. Mr. President, I come to the floor today 
in

[[Page S7145]]

strong support of amendment No. 3095 offered by Senator Hagan to strike 
section 2823 from the National Defense Authorization Act.
  Section 2823 would severely limit the Department of Defense's ability 
to use alternative fuels to enhance our Nation's national security. 
This section would needlessly prohibit the Department of Defense from 
entering into a contract to plan, design, refurbish, or construct a 
biofuels refinery or any other facility or infrastructure used to 
refine biofuels unless such planning, design, refurbishment, or 
construction is specifically authorized by law.
  Under the authorities of the Defense Production Act, DPA, the 
Department of Defense has created the Advanced Drop-In Biofuels 
Production Project. This initiative is focused on creating a public-
private partnership that will provide incentives for private sector 
investment in cost-competitive, advanced biofuels production 
capability. This initiative requires at least a one-to-one cost share 
with private stakeholders.
  In furtherance of this initiative, in August 2011, the Department of 
Navy, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy signed 
a memorandum of understanding to invest $510 million, equally shared 
among them, for investments in the joint construction or retrofitting 
of plants and refineries to produce advanced biofuels. Now is not the 
time to prevent this important program from continuing. Before this 
project can be finalized, the President has to determine that this is 
essential to the national defense. Only then will it go forward. I am 
confident that this requirement in the DPA will ensure that only the 
most important projects for our national security will go forward.
  As chairman of the Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over the 
DPA, I believe it is misguided to limit the authority of the Defense 
Department to continue with this project. As the largest single 
customer of oil in the world, the Department of Defense spent $17 
billion in fiscal year 2011 on fuel. This dependency on a single source 
of energy forces the Department of Defense to reallocate funding from 
other critical needs when oil prices spike. An increase of $1.00 in the 
price of oil costs the Department of Defense over $100 million. Last 
year alone, spikes in oil prices required the Navy to pay an additional 
$500 million on higher fuel costs.
  The renewable fuels industry has played an important role in 
addressing our energy needs. Unfortunately, section 2823 would hinder 
our Nation's ability to promote renewable energy sources within our 
country. By striking this provision, we will allow the Defense 
Department to retain its authority to take essential steps to diversify 
the energy sources available to our military. I believe that energy 
security is an essential part of national security.
  I thank Senator Hagan for offering this amendment. I urge all my 
colleagues to support this important amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time has expired.


                           Amendment No. 3158

  Under the previous order, the question is on agreeing to amendment 
No. 3158 offered by the Senator from Texas, Mr. Cornyn.
  The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. LEVIN. Between the first and second votes we are having now, we 
will have an announcement as to the next part of this roadmap. I hope 
all Senators who wish amendments to be considered will come between and 
during these votes to Senator McCain and myself and our staffs to 
discuss other amendments which are out there and which there is 
interest in pursuing.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The yeas and nays were previously ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Missouri (Mrs. 
McCaskill) and the Senator from Oregon (Mr. Wyden) are necessarily 
absent.
  Mr. KYL. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Illinois (Mr. Kirk), the Senator from South Carolina (Mr. DeMint), 
and the Senator from Nevada (Mr. Heller).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Bennet). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 95, nays 0, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 208 Leg.]

                                YEAS--95

     Akaka
     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Barrasso
     Baucus
     Begich
     Bennet
     Bingaman
     Blumenthal
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Boxer
     Brown (MA)
     Brown (OH)
     Burr
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Chambliss
     Coats
     Coburn
     Cochran
     Collins
     Conrad
     Coons
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Crapo
     Durbin
     Enzi
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hagan
     Harkin
     Hatch
     Hoeven
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Inouye
     Isakson
     Johanns
     Johnson (SD)
     Johnson (WI)
     Kerry
     Klobuchar
     Kohl
     Kyl
     Landrieu
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Lee
     Levin
     Lieberman
     Lugar
     Manchin
     McCain
     McConnell
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Murray
     Nelson (NE)
     Nelson (FL)
     Paul
     Portman
     Pryor
     Reed
     Reid
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rockefeller
     Rubio
     Sanders
     Schumer
     Sessions
     Shaheen
     Shelby
     Snowe
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Thune
     Toomey
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Vitter
     Warner
     Webb
     Whitehouse
     Wicker

                             NOT VOTING--5

     DeMint
     Heller
     Kirk
     McCaskill
     Wyden
  The amendment (No. 3158) was agreed to.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote.
  Mrs. BOXER. I move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, first, members of the Armed Services 
Committee, immediately after you vote on this second vote, please, we 
are trying to clear nominations in the hallway, so stay around for a 
couple minutes, members of the Armed Services Committee.
  Secondly, I know the leader was going to make this statement, but he 
had to leave for a minute, so I will make it for him. We are planning 
on staying late tonight, and everyone can expect to be here tomorrow. 
We are going to have votes tomorrow unless we somehow or other finish 
this bill tonight. The leader would have said that if he were here, so 
I am saying it for him.
  Next, after this vote, I ask unanimous consent that Senator Baucus be 
recognized for 10 minutes to speak on amendments we have either adopted 
or are going to adopt.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEVIN. Then we will line up some additional amendments. There are 
two we can line up now. I thought it was going to be four, but it can 
only be two at the moment that we would take up immediately after 
Senator Baucus speaks.
  I ask unanimous consent, Mr. President, that following Senator 
Baucus's remarks we then turn to Senator Merkley, who will call up 
amendment No. 3096 on Afghanistan, and following him Senator Portman, 
who will call up amendment No. 2995, and I do not have the subject of 
that amendment. I ask unanimous consent that be the order.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, we will try to get time agreements on those 
two amendments. In the meantime we are continuing to work through 
amendments. We are going to have more cleared amendments. We are going 
to get to the detention issue today. We are going to try to get to all 
of the issues people want to raise today so we can finish by the end of 
the day tomorrow. We have assured everyone who is interested in the 
detention issue that we will be getting to that later this afternoon.


                       Vote on Amendment No. 3095

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is on 
agreeing to amendment No. 3095 offered by the Senator from North 
Carolina.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Missouri (Mrs. 
McCaskill), the Senator from Oregon (Mr. Wyden) and are necessarily 
absent.

[[Page S7146]]

  Mr. KYL. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Illinois (Mr. Kirk), the Senator from Nevada (Mr. Heller), and the 
Senator from South Carolina (Mr. DeMint).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 54, nays 41, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 209 Leg.]

                                YEAS--54

     Akaka
     Baucus
     Begich
     Bennet
     Bingaman
     Blumenthal
     Boxer
     Brown (OH)
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Collins
     Conrad
     Coons
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Grassley
     Hagan
     Harkin
     Inouye
     Johanns
     Johnson (SD)
     Kerry
     Klobuchar
     Kohl
     Landrieu
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Levin
     Lieberman
     Lugar
     Manchin
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Murray
     Nelson (NE)
     Nelson (FL)
     Pryor
     Reed
     Reid
     Rockefeller
     Sanders
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Warner
     Whitehouse

                                NAYS--41

     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Brown (MA)
     Burr
     Chambliss
     Coats
     Coburn
     Cochran
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Crapo
     Enzi
     Graham
     Hatch
     Hoeven
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson (WI)
     Kyl
     Lee
     McCain
     McConnell
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Paul
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rubio
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Snowe
     Thune
     Toomey
     Vitter
     Webb
     Wicker

                             NOT VOTING--5

     DeMint
     Heller
     Kirk
     McCaskill
     Wyden
  The amendment (No. 3095) was agreed to.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote.
  Mr. McCAIN. I move to lay that motion on the table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. I ask unanimous consent to modify the consent agreement 
that the Senators from New Hampshire, Ms. Ayotte and Mrs. Shaheen, have 
15 minutes equally divided following the remarks of Senator Baucus.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. BAUCUS. I wish to take a moment to shine the light on a dark 
topic in my home State of Montana.
  On Sunday I read something that hit me in the gut. The Billings 
Gazette reported that during 2010 at least 210 Montanans committed 
suicide. That is according to the Montana Department of Health and 
Human Services. That was 2010. In 2011 that number was 225. Another 
5,600 Montanans attempted to kill themselves last year. That is a 
startling average of about 15 per day. In a State with roughly 1 
million residents, that is nearly twice the national average.
  We in Montana have a saying that I think is quite accurate. Montana 
is really one big small town. We know each other, only about 1 or 2 
degrees of separation. You know what. If you ask if we know Uncle Joe, 
we all know each other. We know somebody who knows someone very close 
to us. We know each other's families.
  These numbers are devastating. Among the victims of suicide in 
Montana are children, parents, neighbors, friends, and sadly many are 
also our military veterans who return home only to be held behind an 
invisible enemy line known as PTSD.
  In Montana, we are a proud home to more veterans than nearly any 
other State per capita. We also had more Montanans volunteer for 
service after 9/11 than anywhere else in the country per capita. There 
are nearly 300 Montanans serving in Afghanistan today. We are proud of 
these men and women, and we are grateful. We take our responsibility to 
honor them very seriously. So the statistics are all the more alarming. 
They are very important.
  In 2011 a report from the Center for a New American Security found 
that from 2005 to 2010, all across the country a servicemember took his 
or her life almost every 36 hours.
  Matt Kuntz, the executive director of the Montana chapter of the 
National Alliance of Mental Illness, has described Montana's suicide 
epidemic as a public health crisis. Matt knows all too well that behind 
each and every one of those numbers is a family and community 
devastated by the loss. Matt is a veteran himself. In 2007 he lost his 
stepbrother, an Iraq war veteran. I know Matt, and I knew his 
stepbrother. He lost his stepbrother to suicide. His stepbrother was so 
scared, so frightened to go back to Iraq after serving three or four 
tours of duty. He knew--he said to Matt: If I go back, I know I am 
going to die. So many of my friends and buddies have died. I know if I 
go back, I am going to die too.
  That caused him to be very depressed, and it caused his suicide. So 
my friend Matt took action. He dedicated himself to raising awareness. 
Largely because of Matt's dedication, the Montana National Guard led 
the way with a successful pilot program to increase screening of 
veterans both before and after deployment. That is natural in Montana 
because, as I said earlier, we are really one big small town. We know 
each other, we want to take action, and we want to get results.
  I was proud to champion particularly the 2010 Defense authorization 
bill that took the Montana National Guard model, which we developed in 
Montana. With the DOD Defense bill, it is now implemented nationwide. 
Now every branch of the military has implemented screenings. We started 
screening before kids go over, as soon as they come back, 6 weeks later 
after they are back, another 6 months later after they are back, just 
continually screening, personal screenings. Thousands of health care 
providers have been trained under this legislation and, most 
importantly, thousands of servicemembers are now getting personal and 
private one-on-one attention from a trained health care provider.
  There is still a lot more to be done, and I am proud we took steps to 
advance the ball yesterday by passing the Mental Health ACCESS Act as 
an amendment to the current bill. I applaud Senator Murray for her work 
on the measure, and I am proud to be a cosponsor. This provision 
creates comprehensive standardized suicide prevention within the DOD. 
It expands eligibility for VA mental health services to family members 
of veterans. It creates more peer-to-peer counseling opportunities, and 
it requires the VA to establish accurate, reliable measures for mental 
health services.
  When duty calls, we in Montana answer proudly. This is about taking 
care of these men and women just as they have taken care of us. These 
people put their lives on the line in the name of our State, our 
country, and our freedom. We have a responsibility to try to do all we 
can to help them return to their families and live a reasonable, 
healthful life back at home. Too many Montanans are suffering in 
silence, as in other parts of the country.
  Thank you for the opportunity to bring a voice to this important 
cause. Thank you, Matt, and thank you all for taking action in the 
Senate to further our efforts to give servicemembers and veterans the 
care and support they deserve.
  I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the quorum 
call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                          ____________________