VOTE EXPLANATION
(Senate - July 14, 2016)

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[Pages S5140-S5141]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                            VOTE EXPLANATION

 Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I was unable to cast a vote on 
the motion to invoke cloture on the compound motion to go to conference 
on S. 2943, the National Defense Authorization Act. I missed the vote 
today because I was attending a funeral. Had I been present, I would 
have voted in favor of the motion. The final vote on this motion was 90 
to 7, and my absence did not impact the outcome.
  The National Defense Authorization Act specifies the budget and 
expenditures of the Department of Defense. This legislation is 
essential to support our men and women in uniform and to defend our 
Nation. I voted in favor of this legislation on final passage in the 
Senate.
  Mr. President, I was unable to cast a vote on Senator Shaheen's 
motion to instruct the conferees on S. 2943, the National Defense 
Authorization Act, NDAA. This motion to instruct would increase the 
number of visas for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa, SIV, program. I 
missed the vote today because I was attending a funeral. Had I been 
present, I would have voted in favor of the motion. The final vote on 
this legislation/motion was 84 to 12, and my absence did not impact the 
outcome.
  The Afghan Special Immigrant Visa, SIV, program has served an 
important role in protecting Afghan allies who risk their safety, as 
well as the safety of their families, in order to help our troops 
serving in Afghanistan. This program is supported by two former 
commanders of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, retired Generals McChrystal 
and Campbell, who both acknowledge how crucial the SIV program is to 
our national security and to our allies.
  Mr. President, I was unable to cast a vote on Senator Sullivan's 
motion to instruct conferees on S. 2943, the National Defense 
Authorization Act. This motion would help implement President Obama's 
announcement to maintain troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as 
improve the capacity of the NATO Alliance. I missed the vote today 
because I was attending a funeral. Had I been present, I would have 
voted in favor of the motion. The final vote on this legislation-motion 
was 85 to 12, and my absence did not impact the outcome.
  I support this motion to instruct conferees because the proposal 
would strengthen our fight against ISIS and our security partnership 
with European allies. Last week, President Obama announced that the 
United States will maintain a force of approximately 8,400 U.S. 
military servicemembers in Afghanistan through 2017. These servicemen 
and women will continue to train and advise Afghan Forces and conduct 
counterterrorism operations. In order to maintain the progress that 
global coalition made against the Taliban during Operation Enduring 
Freedom and to prevent the spread of ISIS in the region, it is 
essential to authorize these operations.
  As we work to fight terrorism abroad by increasing our efforts to 
build and lead the international coalition against ISIS, we must also 
confront the threat that Russia poses. That means we need to increase 
capacity and operational responsiveness of the North Atlantic Treaty 
Organization, NATO. At the NATO Summit in Warsaw this month, President 
Obama and our allies pledged to increase the capacity of the European 
Reassurance Initiative. This is essential to deter Russian aggression 
and ensure that one of our most vital defense alliances is able to 
respond to evolving threats. The U.S. troops who will participate in 
the increased rotational presence in Poland represent a necessary 
response to Russia's increased aggression and provocation in the 
region.
  Mr. President, I was unable to cast a vote on the motion to invoke 
cloture on H.R. 5293, the fiscal year 2017 Defense Appropriations Act. 
I missed the vote today because I was attending a funeral. Had I been 
present, I would have voted against invoking cloture, as I did on July 
6, 2016. The final vote on this motion was 55 to 42, and my absence did 
not impact the outcome.
  Congress passed a bipartisan agreement, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 
2015, which outlines funding levels for 2016 and 2017. Attempts to 
circumvent the Bipartisan Budget Act are a violation of that agreement.
  Mr. President, I was unable to cast a vote on the motion to invoke 
cloture upon reconsideration on the conference report to accompany H.R. 
2577, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations. I 
missed the vote today because I was attending a funeral. Had I been 
present, I would have voted against the motion to invoke cloture, as I 
did on June 28, 2016. The final vote on this motion today was 52 to 44, 
and my absence did not impact the outcome.
  On May 19, 2016, I voted for the Senate version of the 2017 
appropriations legislation to fund military construction and the 
Department of Veterans Affairs when the Senate passed that bill by an 
overwhelming majority of 89-8. However, this conference report does not 
reflect the Senate position and instead slashes $500 million from our 
military and our veterans when compared to the funding levels included 
in the bipartisan Senate-passed bill.
  This conference report also includes certain policy riders I do not 
agree with attached to the funding that the

[[Page S5141]]

Senate originally included to combat the Zika virus. The conferees also 
decided to offset these emergency funds by cutting funding for other 
important initiatives including funding that is continuing to be used 
to combat the outbreak of the Ebola virus. When faced with an 
emergency, whether it is a devastating weather event like a tornado or 
a hurricane or a public health threat, we come together as Americans to 
ensure that we are providing the necessary resources to our friends and 
neighbors in their time of need. Including controversial offsets to the 
Zika emergency response funding only causes unnecessary delay and 
prevents assistance from getting to the health care professionals, 
researchers, and others who need these resources to combat the Zika 
virus.

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