LEGISLATIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 119
(Senate - June 29, 2020)

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[Pages S3630-S3642]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                          LEGISLATIVE SESSION



  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 4049, which the 
clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to S. 4049, a bill to authorize 
     appropriations for fiscal year 2021 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.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I come to the floor as we start further 
consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act and ask my 
colleagues to pay close attention to what is included in this 
legislation. No one is going to be surprised that the National Defense 
Authorization Act might include something that had not gotten the 
bright light of day shown on it, but I am here to say to my colleagues, 
what is in this act is really egregious, and we need to correct it 
before we continue to move forward.
  This legislation--mostly done behind closed doors--is not unusual for 
the Senate Armed Services Committee, but when you think about the 
billions of dollars that we are spending, we need to make sure this 
policy out here on the Senate floor is not just another rubberstamp.
  We are here to look at particular provisions that I think are 
troubling, particularly because it wrestles away civilian control of 
our nuclear arsenal and gives it to the military--provisions that, in 
the future, would allow the Defense Department to raid dollars used by 
the Department of Energy for cleanup of nuclear waste, R&D for our 
National Laboratories, or maybe other infrastructure investment.
  I am aware that the Presiding Officer knows how much the quadrennial 
review called for in investment in energy infrastructure. So I find it 
troubling today to see that we are at a provision that would wrestle 
away control of our nuclear arsenal and give it to the military. These 
provisions are dangerous because, one, they would strip from the 
Secretary of Energy the power over his own budget by requiring that he 
agree to a sub-Cabinet member group of the Nuclear Weapons Council to 
approve the National Nuclear Security Administration's budget.
  That is right. That is why the current Energy Secretary and past 
Energy Secretaries oppose this language. They oppose it because it 
basically tells the Energy Secretary what the majority or a big chunk 
of his budget will be, and it would allow DOD, then, to prioritize 
things within the Energy budget as they saw fit for making nuclear 
weapons instead of focusing on our Federal priorities of nuclear waste 
cleanup, R&D that we want to see in our National Labs, or other issues 
that we want to see an investment in that Energy is already doing.
  I just can't even believe that this shift in control away from the 
Secretary of Energy into this sub-Cabinet so that the nuclear weapons 
complex would be moving away from civilians to the military is actually 
in this legislation. I do not believe the Nuclear Weapons Council 
understands the Department of Energy's priorities. How could they? Do 
they sit in on any of the meetings for the National Labs or the waste 
  I do believe the DOD and the Nuclear Weapons Council know there is a 
long history of raiding the nuclear waste cleanup budget, and other 
administrations have tried this. These same individuals tried this in 
2018, only to be shot down by our colleagues in the House of 
Representatives. The NNSA, or the National Nuclear Security Agency, was 
created in 2000 to be part of the Department of Energy, to manage both 
the nuclear weapons complex and the nonproliferation activities. 
Congress made them a part of the Department of Energy, not a part of 
the Department of Defense. We did that because we wanted to maintain a 
longstanding civilian control over the country's nuclear weapons. 
Giving the DOD now control over the Nuclear Weapons Council and their 
complete power over this budget gives control of our nuclear weapons to 
the military.
  I can't believe that we are here with all the things we have to deal 
with--a COVID-19 crisis, an economic crisis, justice reform--and now we 
have to worry about people, in the dark of night, changing control of 
our Energy budget and turning it over to the DOD and giving them 
control of our nuclear arsenal, to say nothing of the concerns I have 
for what they will do to shortchange the Hanford cleanup budget, which 
is a challenge to the Nation. It is an obligation that needs to be met 
every year, and I guarantee you there are always people looking at the 
nuclear waste cleanup budget and thinking they can either do it on the 

[[Page S3631]]

cut some of the funds early, or just skip the obligation. It is a 
national obligation, and this bill undercuts it.
  Yet not only does it undercut it, it would be giving the Department 
of Defense greater say over building new nuclear weapons. That is 
literally like obliterating some of the people here who have a say in 
the budget process because, basically, it is getting rid of the checks 
and balances that we have and, instead, putting this incredible process 
in place.
  So it is no surprise that my colleagues, the ranking member and the 
chair of the Energy Committee, sent a letter in opposition to the Armed 
Services Committee about this last week. I am pretty sure they have 
been ignored. They were ignored before this and are continuing to be 
ignored. The letter says:

       Most immediately, Section 3111 would empower sub-cabinet 
     level officials, primarily from DOD, to make potentially 
     sweeping decisions about DOE's budget. We believe this goes 
     against good governance and is contrary to the Department of 
     Energy's Organization Act of 1977.

  It is clear that my colleagues on the Energy Committee don't support 
this. I don't know what the fake act of the NDAA bill is that somehow 
you consulted with members of the Energy Committee, because I guarantee 
you didn't consult with them. And now every member of the Energy 
Committee has to worry about whether their priorities are going to be 
set by some sub-Cabinet person over at DOD or whether they will be 
questioning an Energy Secretary who will be able to give them an answer 
instead of saying: Senator, I don't know; I have to go check with the 
Department of Defense.
  This is unacceptable. I know my colleague, Senator Manchin, has 
worked on this and is trying to get a change to this legislation. I 
hope that we are successful in either just pulling it out right now, 
admitting it is the wrong approach and has not been discussed with the 
committee of jurisdiction, or at least having our colleagues have a 
vote on this.
  It is unbelievable that we would be changing this big of national 
policy stuck into the NDAA bill without the bright light of day shone 
on it. These provisions would allow the Nuclear Weapons Council--as I 
said, made up of a sub-Cabinet officials, primarily from DOD--to 
require significant modifications to the DOE budget. Likely, as I said, 
where else are they going to get the money but at the expense of other 
critical DOE projects? I have already told you why that is so important 
to me.
  But let's read from their report language. Basically, they are saying 
in their report language: The Secretary would be required to transmit a 
proposed budget request of the NNSA to the nuclear council, and submit 
it to the Office of Budget Management. That isn't like saying: Consider 
this. This isn't like saying: Let's discuss this. This isn't like an 
issue of saying: Here are some things we want you to better consider.
  This is a total jam by the DOD, neutering the Department of Energy on 
almost half of its budget, to basically say: We know better what to do.
  I hope my colleagues will speak loudly and clearly about this. This 
is a bipartisan issue. This is about the people we should have listened 
to in the first place. I know some of my colleagues are going to say: 
Wait, wait, wait. No, this is just a bureaucratic budget change. It is 
an interagency thing. It is just accounting. It doesn't really mean 
  No, this is a very big change. That is why I oppose subtitle B of the 
budget of the National Nuclear Security Administration and why my 
colleagues should work in a very aggressive way to stop this 
legislation with this language in it. They should take this language 
out now or work with our colleagues to basically protect the Department 
of Energy and the Department of Energy's budget and stop turning over 
to DOD something that the U.S. Congress never had an intent to turning 
over from civilian control of our nuclear weapons to the Department of 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, I rise to speak about the Fiscal Year 2020 
National Defense Authorization Act. For the 60th consecutive year, the 
Senate stands poised to pass legislation that authorizes funding for 
national defense and sets the course for the Department of Defense's 
  This year, we consider this legislation during a moment of deep 
reflection and anguish, as Americans reckon with our ugly history of 
systemic racism and the original sin of chattel slavery. For weeks, all 
across this Nation, Americans have taken to the streets to call for 
justice and call for an end to the racist violence that has stolen far 
too many Black lives. We say the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, 
Ahmaud Arbery, Atatiana Jefferson, and so many other Black men and 
women to reaffirm the simple but powerful truth that they mattered. 
Their lives mattered. Black lives matter.
  This moment is about ending police brutality once and for all. It is 
also about ending systemic racism and dismantling White supremacy in 
every aspect of our economy and our society. It is about building an 
America that lives up to its highest ideals.
  The Defense bill we are debating today takes an important step in 
this direction by addressing the honors that our Nation continues to 
bestow on Confederate officers, who took up arms against the United 
States in defense of chattel slavery. This bill denies those honors to 
military leaders who killed U.S. soldiers in defense of the idea that 
Black people are not people, but instead, are property to be bought and 
  It has been more than 150 years since the end of the Civil War, but 
10 U.S. Army posts around this country currently bear the names of 
officers of the Confederate States of America. Think about that. These 
bases were named to honor individuals who took up arms against our 
Nation in a war that killed more than half a million Americans. They 
took up arms to defend an institution that reduced Black people to 
  The Defense bill now before us includes language I wrote that would 
require the Secretary of Defense to remove Confederate names from all 
military assets. The Senate Armed Services Committee, which has a long 
history of bipartisan leadership within this body, adopted this 
language with the support of Senators from both parties, recognizing 
that this is an opportunity to correct longstanding historic injustice.
  This bill covers more than military bases. It also requires name 
changes for Federal buildings and streets on those military bases and 
at other installations that celebrate the traitors who took up arms 
against the United States to defend slavery.
  The USS Chancellorsville, for example, is named for a Confederate 
battle victory, a defeat for the United States of America. The ship's 
crest pays homage to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall 
  Defenders of these symbols of oppression speak often in generalities, 
glossing over the details of the Confederacy, the Civil War, and the 
specifics about the individuals whose names are attached to American 
military installations.
  Let's begin with the truth about the men for whom some of these bases 
are named. Fort Benning, GA, ``Home of the Infantry,'' is named for 
Brigadier General Henry L. Benning. Benning led Georgia's secession 
from the Union and commanded the Confederate soldiers at Gettysburg. He 
was a leader of the secessionist movement. Why? Because, according to 
Benning's own words, he had a ``deep conviction that a separation from 
the North was the only thing that could prevent the abolition of 
[Georgia's] slavery.''
  He was fearful that the end of slavery would lead to ``Black 
Governors, Black legislatures, Black juries, Black everything. Is it to 
be supposed that the White race will stand for that?''
  Fort Gordon, GA, is named for Major General John Brown Gordon. 
Historians believe he led the Georgia chapter of the Ku Klux Klan's 
murderous terrorists in years after the Civil War.
  Fort Pickett in Virginia is named for Major General George Pickett. 
During the war, Pickett ordered the execution of 22 former Confederate 
soldiers, men whose crime was declaring their allegiance to the Union, 
the United States of America. For this despicable act, he was later 
investigated for war crimes and forced to flee to Canada after the war.

[[Page S3632]]

  Fort Bragg, NC, is named for Major General Braxton Bragg. Bragg was a 
slave owner and, like the others, Bragg chose to take up arms against 
the United States and kill U.S. soldiers. But with an infamously poor 
record as a military commander, he wasn't very good at it. Widely 
regarded as the most disliked man in the Confederate Army, Bragg 
commanded forces that were so badly defeated at the Battle of 
Chattanooga in 1863 that he ultimately resigned. Those are just a few 
examples, as are Fort Hood, Fort Lee, Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Polk, Camp 
Beauregard, Fort Rucker.

  American military bases that carry the names of Confederate generals 
are not named for heroes, and they are not named for men who risked 
their lives defending the United States and its soldiers. They are 
named for men who took up arms against the United States of America and 
killed American soldiers in the defense of slavery. They are the names 
of men who were directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of 
thousands of Americans in the defense of slavery.
  Those who complain that removing the names of traitors from these 
bases ignores history ought to learn some history themselves. These 
bases were not named in the years following the Civil War. No. They 
were named decades and decades later--during the Jim Crow era--to 
strengthen a movement that tried to glorify the Confederacy and 
reinforce White supremacy.
  As the Nation prepared to fight in World War I, the Army needed more 
bases to train new draftees. The military decided to establish half of 
the new bases across the Southern States. Only 40 years had passed 
since the end of Reconstruction, and putting Federal troops back into 
the South was a sensitive matter. Choosing Confederate commander names 
for these bases curried favor with the same local politicians who were 
devoted to maintaining the brutal regime of White supremacy.
  The strategy was successful. In August 1917, the magazine Confederate 
Veteran noted: ``For the first time since the War between the States, 
the United States government officially paid tribute to the `military 
genius' of noted Confederate war chieftains in naming four of the 
training camps.''
  Naming these bases after Confederate rebels was wrong. After years of 
resistance and denial, the Department of Defense is finally recognizing 
that it is time for our military to stop paying homage to individuals 
who betrayed the United States and who took up arms against it to 
defend slavery.
  Secretaries Esper and McCarthy have both said they are ``open to a 
bipartisan discussion on the topic.''
  Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley also ``fully 
supports the discussion and Secretary McCarthy's efforts . . . to 
explore this issue.''
  GEN Robert Abrams, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, announced on June 
15 that he is prohibiting the Confederate flag in all U.S. 
installations in that country.
  Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger has banned the 
Confederate battle flag from Marine bases worldwide because ``this 
symbol has shown it has power to inflame the feelings of division.''
  The Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Michael Gilday, also issued an 
order last month prohibiting the Confederate flag from all public 
spaces and work areas aboard Navy installation ships, aircraft, and 
submarines, saying that the step was necessary ``to ensure unit 
cohesion, preserve good order and discipline, and uphold the Navy's 
core values of honor, courage, and commitment.''
  It is time to follow the example of these military leaders and to 
take steps to remove all forms of commemoration of the Confederate 
States of America from all of our military assets.
  Senate Republicans have suggested that Congress should simply study 
the issue. They suggest forming a commission that prioritizes the 
wishes of State and local officials but that doesn't make any 
decisions. Let me be completely clear. The current bill already 
includes a commission charged with thoughtfully executing the 
requirement to remove these names from U.S. military installations, and 
it requires consultation with local officials. The intent of the 
Republican amendment is simply to erase the requirement currently in 
the bill that requires the Confederate names to be eliminated--not 
studied, eliminated.
  It has been 150 years since Lee surrendered at Appomattox and the 
rebellion against the United States in defense of owning human beings 
was finally put down. We know whom these bases were named for. We know 
why they were named. There is nothing left to study. We are long past 
the time for action.
  The Senate Committee on Armed Services has declared that the time for 
honoring the legacy of men who championed the cause of slavery and 
White supremacy on military installations is now over. The committee 
voted to rename the installations where millions of servicemembers of 
color have lived, trained, and deployed abroad in defense of our 
country. Now the entire Senate has an opportunity to add its voice to 
the chorus, and I am certain that the House will join us soon.
  President Trump has already declared his opposition to this 
provision. He has, instead, chosen the well-worn path of hatred and 
division. So, despite the fact that the Department of Defense already 
has the statutory authority it needs to change those names, it has 
hesitated to take action in defiance of the Commander in Chief.
  Congress has the power and the responsibility to end decades of 
injustice. Servicemembers of color have been pledging to support and 
defend the Constitution of the United States for a long time. They have 
done so knowing they might be called upon to give what Lincoln called 
the last full measure of devotion, and they have done so despite being 
surrounded by these visceral reminders that the military in which they 
serve honors men who fought to kill fellow Americans and to keep their 
ancestors enslaved. We can tear those visceral reminders down, and we 
  The Confederate soldiers who betrayed the United States to fight for 
the Confederacy were fighting for the institution of slavery--plain, 
simple, ugly. It is time to put the names of those leaders who fought 
and killed U.S. soldiers in defense of a perverted version of America 
where they belong--as footnotes in our history books, not plastered on 
our Nation's most significant military installations.
  The tens of thousands of Americans protesting the appalling killings 
of Black men and women are calling upon us--on all of us--not just to 
say the words ``Black lives matter'' but to take a tangible step toward 
making it true by breaking apart the systems that have stolen countless 
Black lives and denied Black Americans opportunity and equal treatment.
  Being race-conscious is not enough. It never was. We must be anti-
racists. Removing the names, symbols, displays, monuments, and 
paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederacy and anyone who 
voluntary served it from military property is, in the broader scheme, 
only one step toward addressing systemic racism in our society, but it 
is an important step. It will bring us closer to acknowledging the 
truth of that ugly past, and it will give us a firmer foundation on 
which to build a better future for everyone.
  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. REED. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Ernst). Without objection, it is so 

                                S. 4049

  Mr. REED. Madam President, I rise to further discuss the fiscal year 
2021 national defense authorization bill.
  Senator Inhofe will be speaking later today on the bill, and I again 
want to thank him for his leadership and bipartisanship throughout the 
drafting of this very important legislation.
  As I noted last week, the Committee on Armed Services adopted this 
bill with the strong bipartisan support of 25 to 2. I am hopeful that 
we can have a productive consideration of this bill on the floor this 
week, with votes on amendments and packages of cleared amendments, so 
that we can conduct further efforts to improve and amend this 
  The bill authorizes $662.3 billion in base funding for the Department 
of Defense and Energy's nuclear programs

[[Page S3633]]

and an additional $69 billion for overseas contingency operations, 
which align with the caps established in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 
  I want to applaud the chairman for providing the Department with the 
resources it needs while remaining within the constraints we set under 
the Budget Control Act. The bill before us will provide much needed 
stability and predictability to the Department of Defense.
  For the Army, the bill supports many modernization objectives, 
including critical priorities such as Long Range Precision Fires and 
the Future Vertical Lift Program. It also fully funds critical legacy 
platforms such as the M1 Abrams tank that the Army needs until new 
systems are fielded in the future. Further, the bill includes resources 
for active protection systems for combat vehicles, as well as 
additional funding for the Army's Multi-Domain Task Force, which is 
critical to the Army's efforts in the Pacific.
  For the Navy and Marine Corps, the bill would add roughly $900 
million to authorize a number of unfunded priorities identified by the 
Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant.
  I am disappointed that we could not, however, fully fund the CNO's 
top unfunded priority--the 10th Virginia class submarine in the current 
multiyear procurement program. However, I am pleased that this bill 
provides sufficient funds to keep open the option for the 10th boat in 
fiscal year 2022 or 2023.
  It also mandates changes in the oversight and execution of 
shipbuilding and unmanned systems development programs--changes that 
should help instill more rigor and discipline within the Navy.
  Turning to air power, the bill helps improve oversight of the 
Department by requiring the Secretary of Defense to submit an annual 
30-year plan for the procurement of the aircraft in the Department of 
the Navy, the Department of the Air Force, and the Department of the 
Army. This is similar to the 30-year shipbuilding report that is 
already in statute.
  The bill also supports the Department's efforts to achieve reduced 
operating and support costs of the F-35 program and perhaps motivates 
the Department to lower costs in other weapons systems overall, which 
will be a critical factor going forward.
  In the area of special operations, our forces remain heavily engaged 
around the world, and I am pleased that the bill authorizes funding at 
the requested level of $13 billion, including increased funding for 
high-priority requirements identified by the commander of U.S. Special 
Operations Command necessary to reconstitute capabilities lost in 
combat over the past several years.
  Further, the bill also includes provisions designed to enable the 
Assistant Secretary for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict 
to more effectively fulfill advocacy and oversight responsibilities 
with regard to the Special Operations Forces.
  Turning to personnel matters, the bill authorizes the active and 
reserve component end strengths necessary to meet national defense 
objectives, provides a 3-percent pay raise for the troops, and 
reauthorizes a number of bonus, special, and incentive pay authorities 
necessary to recruit and retain the highest quality individuals for 
military service.
  Further, the bill includes a number of additional provisions that 
support quality of life for our military personnel. It authorizes $75 
million for the services to conduct better oversight of privatized 
housing and hire more staff in the housing arena. It also requires the 
Department of Defense inspector general to conduct an audit of the 
medical conditions of servicemembers and their families who lived in 
unhealthy military privatized housing.
  I am particularly pleased that this bill authorizes $50 million for 
supplemental impact aid and $20 million in impact aid for severely 
disabled military children, and it rejects a proposal by the Department 
to cut 172 teachers from DOD schools.
  In addition, the bill includes a provision, sponsored by Senator 
Gillibrand, which would allow victims of sexual assault to report 
incidents without fear of being disciplined for minor misconduct that 
was collateral to the sexual assault. It further includes a provision 
to improve the tracking and response to child abuse on military 
  Turning to readiness, the bill authorizes an additional $79 million 
in Army operations and maintenance to replace child development center 
playground equipment, which will address safety issues and provides an 
additional $47 million in Army operations and maintenance for six key 
Child and Youth Services Program improvements across multiple 
  To help counter the effects of climate change, the bill authorizes 
$50 million in planning and design for military installation resilience 
for climate change adaptation projects. It also adds $8 million to the 
Navy's direct air capture and seawater carbon capture program.
  To reduce fuel use, the bill adds $65 million to the Operational 
Energy Capability Improvement Fund to pursue promising innovations to 
weapons platforms like hybrid electric drive for ships or improved 
turbine engines for aircraft that improve combat capability with less 
fuel. The bill also increases Air Force operational energy programs 
which reduce fuel, such as using smaller fins and streamlining the C-
130 fuselage.
  I am disappointed, however, that the committee did not accept an 
amendment, offered by Senator Shaheen, which would have deemed the 
chemicals PFAS and PFOA as hazardous and a pollutant under the DOD 
Environmental Restoration Program. Elevated levels of PFAS, a class of 
manmade chemicals that have been manufactured since the 1950s, may be 
contaminating drinking water in 33 States nationwide, including my 
State of Rhode Island. PFAS has been linked to a variety of cancers, 
weakened immunity, and other serious health problems.
  Senator Shaheen's amendment would have also codified Secretary 
Esper's PFAS task force; required blood testing of PFAS in 
servicemembers and their dependents as part of their existing annual 
checkups; stopped incineration of PFAS substances by DOD until final 
guidance following EPA rules are published; reported on remaining 
installations not yet tested for PFAS and all DOD locations of PFAS 
incineration; and also added $25 million in O&M for Air Force 
environmental restoration.
  I will continue to work with Senator Shaheen and other colleagues to 
gain acceptance of this legislation. I think it is vitally important 
that we do so as we debate this bill on the floor.
  In the area of science and technology, I am pleased that the bill 
increases funding for important research activities and includes 
provisions to support Pentagon efforts to develop and deploy artificial 
intelligence, quantum computing, and emerging biotechnologies to 
protect our national security. It also includes several provisions that 
continue our efforts to reform antiquated Pentagon procurement 
practices and strengthen our domestic manufacturing and industrial 
base, including in critical sectors such as microelectronics, 
pharmaceuticals, and rare earth materials.

  In the area of spectrum management, this bill includes a provision 
sponsored by Senator Wicker, along with Chairman Inhofe, Senator 
Cantwell, and myself. I am pleased by the provision's inclusion, which 
would aid development of a common database to allow executive branch 
agencies to share finite spectrum resources efficiently. This is an 
example of bipartisan work between two important committees--the Armed 
Services Committee and the Commerce Committee--and I hope we can 
continue to build upon it.
  Turning to cyber security, I am pleased that this bill adopts 11 of 
the recommendations from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which was 
cochaired by Senator King. I want to commend Senator King on 
extraordinary work. His insight, his ability to work with others, his 
grasp of not only the present situation but what is emerging quickly in 
the future is extraordinary and commendable. He has done a remarkable 
  The Commission took on a tough issue and did a very, very thorough 
job. While we were able to include recommendations in the Armed 
Services Committee's jurisdiction in our bill, the Commission has many 
more thoughtful recommendations that span across many committee 
jurisdictions, and I hope we can work together on the floor in this 
bill to incorporate those provisions.
  The bill also requires the Department to present a strategy to the 

[[Page S3634]]

House and Congress to revive the manufacture of advanced 
microelectronics in the United States.
  This Defense authorization bill includes a number of provisions that 
enhance the United States' ability to compete with near-peer 
competitors, and we are actively seeking ways in which we can prevent 
these competitors from undermining our national security and, indeed, 
the international order.
  With regard to Russia, this bill enhances our deterrence 
capabilities, including by fully funding the request for the European 
Deterrence Initiative.
  In addition, the bill requires a report on Russian support to 
racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist groups in Europe and 
the United States. The problem of racially and ethnically motivated 
violent extremist groups is an emerging national security threat, not 
simply a law enforcement problem, as Russia and Russian agents or 
entities are working to advance Russian strategic objectives by co-
opting, supporting, and amplifying these groups to sow divisions and 
threaten our democratic institutions.
  The bill also maintains strong support for Ukraine through the 
Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and requires a 5-year plan for 
helping Ukraine build the capabilities it needs to defend itself from 
Russian aggression.
  Turning to China, the bill establishes the Pacific Deterrence 
Initiative, a new authority for the Department of Defense modeled after 
the European Deterrence Initiative, and authorizes $200 million in 
  The bill also increases funding for the Indo-Pacific Maritime 
Security Initiative to ensure that our partner countries in South and 
Southeast Asia are able to respond effectively to Chinese coercion in 
the South China Sea and beyond.
  The bill also includes a provision that was adopted during markup, 
expressing the sense of the Congress that the USS Mercy and the USS 
Comfort should conduct port calls in Taiwan to collaborate on COVID-19 
response and best practices.
  While I applaud Taiwan's efforts on COVID-19, Taiwan is not a 
sovereign state, and conducting port calls is a larger policy issue 
that should be more fully discussed and debated. For those reasons, I 
voted against the amendment.
  With respect to countering the continued threat by ISIS, the bill 
extends the Iraq and Syria Train and Equip Programs at the requested 
funding levels, while ensuring appropriate congressional oversight of 
the use of such funds. Specific to Iraq, the bill continues efforts to 
normalize security assistance to Iraq by transitioning funding to 
enduring authorities.
  For Afghanistan, the bill extends the authority to train and equip 
Afghan Security Forces at the requested funding level and enhances 
congressional oversight of such funds. It requires an assessment of the 
progress made on issues such as anti-corruption, recruitment and 
retention of security forces, and commitments made by the Afghanistan 
Government in support of peace negotiations. It also includes a 
specific reporting requirement should the Department elect to withhold 
any security assistance to Afghanistan.
  In addition, the bill includes a sense of the Senate provision, which 
I was proud to cosponsor, expressing concern that a precipitous 
withdrawal of U.S. military, diplomatic, and intelligence personnel 
from Afghanistan without effective, countervailing efforts to secure 
gains in Afghanistan may allow violent extremist groups to regenerate. 
These conditions would threaten the security of the Afghan people and 
create a security vacuum that could destabilize the region and provide 
ample safe haven for extremist groups seeking to conduct external 
  It also requires a report on current and projected threats to the 
United States homeland and that of our allies emanating from 
  Further, the bill includes a provision sponsored by Senator Shaheen 
to refine and clarify expectations for the Department on the 
implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security Act, which was adopted 
by unanimous consent during the committee's markup.
  Turning to nuclear testing, I have concerns about the addition of a 
provision sponsored by Senator Cotton which holds $10 million to cover 
costs of reducing the time to conduct nuclear tests if they are deemed 
  The United States has not conducted a nuclear test since 1992. Each 
year the three lab Directors of our National Laboratory give a written 
assessment of the stockpile and whether it needs testing. For 22 years, 
they have said that weapons do not need to be tested as long as we 
continue the Stockpile Stewardship Program. In addition, it would 
realistically take over 2 years and hundreds of millions of dollars to 
actually be ready for a test. I don't believe we should be even 
signaling that the Nation is considering doing this without a full and 
lengthy debate of the issues by Congress, and that was one of the 
reasons I opposed the amendment.

  For 18 years, the Senate Armed Services Committee has honestly 
struggled over the Defense Department's detainee policy, particularly 
regarding the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. For many years, the policy 
remained unchanged, but for the past several years, the committee has 
adopted an amendment in markup that would allow detainees to be 
transferred to the United States for emergency medical treatment and 
then returned to the detention facility at Guantanamo.
  This is an aging population of detainees, and there are certain 
conditions that cannot be treated at Guantanamo, and moving all the 
medical equipment and specialty doctors to Guantanamo would be cost-
prohibitive. However, I was very disappointed that this year the 
medical transfer amendment was defeated for the first time. Allowing 
detainees to be transferred to the United States for medical treatment 
is the most cost-effective and humane way forward to ensure we treat 
detainees with dignity and in accordance with our obligations under the 
Geneva Conventions. This is a problem that can only get more urgent as 
time passes, and I hope we can find a way forward on this issue.
  Finally, it is impossible to discuss this bill without discussing the 
many crises facing our Nation. The crisis affecting every citizen is 
the exponential spread of COVID-19, and our military is not immune. As 
of today, 11,770 military personnel are infected. Adding in DOD 
families and civilians, the number is closer to 17,000. That number 
increased by over 1,500 individuals in the last 48 hours and continues 
to trend upward. That is a startling growth in these cases. Our 
National Guard members are most heavily impacted because they are on 
the frontlines of the pandemic.
  These infections affect the readiness of our force in their ability 
to train and deploy and to do so without worrying about the health of 
their families. The administration's response to the pandemic has been 
woefully inadequate, and immediate steps must be taken to aid civilians 
and military personnel alike.
  Our Nation has also been engulfed by protests over the senseless 
murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and others at 
the hands of police officers and some civilians. These deaths magnify 
centuries of injustice and brutality against African Americans.
  These protests have been occurring across the country and have been 
overwhelmingly peaceful, although there have been isolated exceptions. 
Our Nation is in pain, but rather than call for unity and calm, 
President Trump has threatened to bring military troops against 
peaceful protesters. While the President does have the authority to 
call up military personnel under the Insurrection Act, it does not mean 
he should. It is used quite rarely as an exception to the broad 
principle embedded deeply in American democracy and history that the 
Active Armed Forces should not be used to enforce State laws or to 
exercise police power reserved to the States unless absolutely 
necessary and as the very last resort. Therefore, I am pleased that 
this bill includes a provision that was overwhelmingly adopted during 
the markup to prohibit the use of DOD funds to take actions against 
U.S. citizens that would infringe on their First Amendment rights to 
assemble peaceably and to petition the government for redress of 
  Senator Kaine of Virginia was instrumental in that bill, and Senator

[[Page S3635]]

Blumenthal of Connecticut has additional legislation that is worthy of 
  In addition, the bill includes an amendment adopted by voice vote 
that requires the Defense Department within 3 years to implement the 
recommendations of a commission on how to remove all names, symbols, 
displays, monuments, and paraphernalia from DOD assets that honor or 
commemorate the Confederacy. Such legislation is long overdue. Senior 
Department officials have all indicated they are open to changing these 
names. There is bipartisan cooperation on this issue. This is the right 
thing to do, and DOD needs to lead the way.
  To conclude, let me again commend Chairman Inhofe for his efforts in 
getting us to this point. Let me thank my colleagues especially for all 
of their hard work on getting this bill out of the committee.
  I look forward to an open debate on the floor, voting on amendments, 
and getting this legislation passed. I look forward--in fact, look back 
at the days when that was a routine procedure, when our Defense bill 
was a way in which many people from different committees and different 
aspects of the Senate could come forward and offer legislation. We 
could debate legislation, vote, move forward, and at the end have a 
piece of legislation that this entire Senate was extraordinarily proud 
of, and that is my hope for this year.
  With that, I thank you.
  I yield the floor
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, as the whole country knows now, in my 
State of Texas, we have recently lost some ground in our war against 
COVID-19. After seeing serious progress in flattening the curve, we 
have taken what Governor Greg Abbott has called a ``swift and dangerous 
  Over the last couple of weeks, the data has trended in the wrong 
direction. We have seen an increase in daily new cases, 
hospitalizations, and overall positivity rates. In response to these 
growing numbers, I have been working with leaders at every level of 
government to ensure we have the resources necessary to continue to win 
this fight.
  Yesterday, I was privileged to travel back to Texas with Vice 
President Mike Pence for a briefing on Texas coronavirus response 
efforts. We were joined by Dr. Deborah Birx and HUD Secretary Dr. Ben 
Carson--two Coronavirus Task Force members--for a meeting with Governor 
Abbott at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
  Governor Abbott discussed the concerning picture painted by these 
growing numbers. We went from 2,000 cases a day to 5,000, and the 
positivity rate soared from 4 percent to more than 13 percent. Some of 
our largest cities have experienced single-day records of new cases.
  We have relied on our growing testing capability and capacity to 
understand how quickly this disease is spreading. In several Texas 
cities, community-based testing sites have been integral as part of 
this effort. These locations are a partnership between the Department 
of Health and Human Services, local public health authorities, and 
pharmacy and retail companies, and have been a major driver of our 
large-scale testing increase. Many Texans have gone to locations and 
received no-cost coronavirus testing, and this information has been 
crucial to understanding the community spread of the virus.
  As case counts have recently climbed, the concern has only been 
magnified by an approaching deadline. Federal support for these testing 
sites was set to end tomorrow. The goal, of course, is to eventually 
shift these from Federal to State and local partners, but, to be frank, 
Texas was not yet ready to make that transition. Until we are, shutting 
down these sites would leave us without valuable information about the 
growing number of infections.
  Last week, Senator Cruz and I sent a letter to the administration to 
urge continuing Federal support for community-based testing in Texas. 
Our cities need more time to prepare to take on the financial 
responsibility of these testing sites, and it would have been a 
tremendous risk and an unnecessary risk to cut off funding before that 
transition was complete.
  On Friday, we got some good news. The administration agreed to extend 
these operations in Texas for at least 2 more weeks, with an ongoing 
evaluation period after that. This will make sure we can maintain the 
testing capacity our public and private partners have worked hard to 
establish. Now we are roughly at about 1.9 million tests taken, but 
more testing will be the key to navigating this surge. I thank 
President Trump and his administration for taking swift action 
following our request to ensure that these critical testing sites will 
remain operational.
  Each day, we are learning more and more about this virus. That is 
maybe one of the most maddening things about it. When we started, we 
had no idea what the trajectory of this virus would be. We have models, 
to be sure, but many of those models proved to be wildly wrong. People 
were necessarily and understandably anxious and some fearful about 
exactly what we were dealing with. I know we all manage risk in our 
daily lives, but uncertainty is hard to manage, and that is what we had 
at the very beginning.
  So we have learned a lot, Dr. Birx pointed out yesterday, about the 
virus. We know it predominantly affects elderly people over the age of 
80 and younger people with underlying comorbidities for the disease. 
Almost everybody else will recover from the virus. But because more and 
more people are turning up with no symptoms themselves, they are a risk 
to the people with the highest risk of mortality.
  So I also believe we need to remind ourselves of the simple lessons 
we were told at the beginning. We were actually pretty good at it. Dr. 
Carson said: We know what to do; we just quit doing it. We know we need 
to maintain social distance. Mask when we can. We need to wash our 
hands. If you feel sick, stay home. Those are the sorts of things we do 
here in the Senate, which have allowed us to safely operate these last 
couple of months.
  I also think we need to come up with a different strategy when it 
comes to testing. We not only need more testing, we need a strategy for 
testing, because until now, we have depended on people to show up and 
raise their hand and say: I want to be tested. But if you are 
asymptomatic, why would you go in for a test? You would have no 
indication that you have the virus or were potentially a risk for 
community spread to the most vulnerable part of our population.
  So talking to Dr. Birx and others, I think this is something that we 
all ought to think more about and that the administration--I know I 
talked to the Vice President about this as well--not only come up with 
a strategy for more testing but a better strategy to make sure we are 
hitting as many people as we can so we can find those asymptomatic 
carriers because that is primarily what we are finding out now with 
more testing in Texas. But we also know that, whether it is a 
combination of Memorial Day or the opening of bars, where it is hard to 
socially distance--and there is not a whole lot of that going on in the 
bars--our Governor has now tapped the brakes, has closed the bars, and 
has stopped the gradual reopening of our economy until we get a handle 
on this worrisome spread of new cases.

  If you look at the demographics of the new cases, it is people 
between the ages of 20 and 59. More and more, there are those who have 
underlying health problems who are ending up in our intensive care 
units, and as we know from before, when we wanted to flatten the spread 
so as not to impose an uncontrollable surge on ICU beds, we have to get 
our house back in order.
  For the most part, that means that not only does the Federal 
Government have to do its part, but the State and local governments 
have to do their part, and we have to do our part, each of us. Each 
American has to do their part to follow the guidelines, and we will 
defeat this virus.
  I know, in listening to Secretary Carson yesterday, that I told him 
he must have some Texas in his background because he made these 
comments, which

[[Page S3636]]

I thought were so appropriate. He said: ``We must learn to dominate 
this virus and not let the virus dominate us.'' I think that is exactly 
the kind of spirit that we all ought to have as we work forward 
together on an individual, on a local, on a State, and on a Federal 
level to dominate this virus.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                                S. 4049

  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Madam President, I am awaiting my colleague, the 
ranking member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, to come. 
We are going to engage in a short colloquy about our energy bill.
  But before we do that and before he arrives, I would like to comment 
on a matter that my friend and also fellow traveler on the Energy and 
Natural Resources Committee, Senator Cantwell, raised on the floor just 
about an hour ago, and this is with regards to a provision within the 
National Defense Authorization Act. This is section 3111, related to 
the review of the adequacy of the nuclear weapons budget at DOE.
  She has raised the concerns and articulated them extraordinarily 
well. Know that, as the chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources 
Committee, I joined with my friend and colleague, the ranking member, 
in sending a letter to the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, as 
well as the ranking member, outlining the concerns that we had with 
this provision and really very, very clearly alarmed about the lack of 
the Energy Committee's involvement in drafting this section 3111.
  But as Senator Cantwell had outlined, what this provision would do is 
effectively empower sub-Cabinet level officials, primarily from DOD, to 
make potentially sweeping decisions about DOE's budget, going against 
what we think is good governance, in contravention of the Department of 
Energy Organization Act, and, as she outlined, it could put you in a 
situation where the priorities from the Department of Energy through 
the Secretary of Energy, whether it is cleanup of legacy defense waste, 
cyber security, funding for energy innovation, all of these priorities 
could basically be put at the wayside. We have significant, significant 
concerns about this.
  I ask unanimous consent that the copy of the letter that Senator 
Manchin and I sent to Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Reed, 
outlining the concerns that we have, be printed in the Record
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

         U.S. Senate, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
                                    Washington, DC, June 26, 2020.
     Hon. Jim Inhofe,
     Chairman, Committee on Armed Services,
     U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Jack Reed,
     Ranking Member, Committee on Armed Services,
     U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Reed: As the Senate 
     begins consideration of the National Defense Authorization 
     Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, we write to express our 
     opposition to Section 3111, related to the review of the 
     adequacy of the nuclear weapons budget at the Department of 
     Energy (DOE), and several related sections. As written, these 
     provisions would undermine and subordinate the Secretary of 
     Energy's statutory authority, including his or her 
     responsibility to prepare a budget for congressional review, 
     and would likely result in collateral damage for DOE's non-
     weapons priorities.
       Section 3111 directs the Nuclear Weapons Council (NWC), 
     which is comprised of five officials from the Department of 
     Defense (DOD) and the Administrator of the National Nuclear 
     Security Administration (NNSA), to determine whether DOE's 
     proposed budget request is adequate, ``in whole or in part, 
     to implement the objectives of the Department of Defense with 
     respect to nuclear weapons for that fiscal year.'' If the NWC 
     determines the budget request is inadequate for that purpose, 
     it is required to provide recommendations, including for 
     funding levels and initiatives, to the Secretary of Energy. 
     The Secretary of Energy is then required to accept those 
     recommendations verbatim and wholesale, with no ability to 
     improve or depart from them.
       We support the objectives of increased stewardship of 
     taxpayer dollars, transparency, and oversight of the DOE and 
     NNSA budget as our nation embarks on the modernization of the 
     nuclear weapons stockpile. Those objectives will help ensure 
     continued stockpile safety, security, and reliability. 
     However, as the leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural 
     Resources Committee with jurisdiction over DOE and its 
     National Laboratories, we are alarmed by the lack of our 
     Committee's involvement in the drafting of Section 3111 and 
     related provisions.
       Most immediately, Section 3111 would empower subcabinet 
     level officials, primarily from DOD, to make potentially 
     sweeping decisions about DOE's budget. We believe this goes 
     against good governance and is in contravention of the 
     Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977. The NWC has a 
     narrower focus than the Secretary of Energy, and its 
     recommendations would likely prioritize nuclear weapons at 
     the expense of other critical missions undertaken by DOE, 
     ranging from the cleanup of legacy defense waste sites to the 
     cybersecurity of our electric grid and funding for energy 
       We are also concerned that Section 3111 and its related 
     sections would complicate the current statutory process by 
     adding unnecessary steps before the DOE and NNSA budget 
     request is finalized and thereby serve to delay DOE's ability 
     to submit its annual proposal to Congress.
       The Secretary of Energy must maintain clear control over, 
     and accountability for, the Department's budget. The 
     Secretary's statutory responsibility to certify the 
     reliability of the nuclear stockpile must also be preserved. 
     Alignment of the DOD and DOE nuclear weapon responsibilities 
     cannot come at a cost to other critical DOE programs.
       We appreciate your leadership on the NDAA bill but hope you 
     will work with our Committee on provisions that impact DOE, 
     the Secretary of Energy, and the NNSA. We filed several 
     amendments to NDAA to strike Section 3111 and its related 
     provisions, and we ask that you accept those while we work 
     towards a compromise that avoids the impacts outlined here.
     Senator Lisa Murkowski,
     Senator Joe Manchin III,
       Ranking Member.

                     American Energy Innovation Act

  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Madam President, I have come to the floor this 
afternoon to be with my good friend, the Senator from West Virginia, to 
talk about our American Energy Innovation Act. I talked on the floor 
and we talked on the floor for a long while now, talking about the 
process that we used. We spent more than a year working with members of 
our Energy Committee and many other Members of this Chamber to put 
together an overwhelming bipartisan package.
  We focused on a range of promising technologies, including energy 
storage, renewable energy, carbon capture, advanced nuclear, cleaner 
vehicles, and energy efficiency. We worked to improve cyber security. 
It would help modernize the electric grid. It addresses known 
weaknesses in our mineral security and our supply chains. It focuses on 
boosting the workforce development and job creation. It renews a range 
of popular programs, from ARPA-E to Weatherization Assistance.
  It is a significant bill, and as you may recall, we were on this bill 
earlier in the year in February, and an unrelated matter stalled that 
measure out. It is stalled, but it is not dead, and I tell you that I 
remain 100 percent committed to advancing our bill into law before the 
end of the year. I know that this is something that Senator Manchin and 
I agree on very, very strongly, that we continue our work to advance 
the energy bill into law.
  Mr. MANCHIN. Senator, I sure do agree with you wholeheartedly. It is 
something we worked on.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mr. MANCHIN. Madam President, the bill is the product of over a year 
of work and a robust process, both in the Energy Committee and also on 
the Senate floor, in early March, as you just said. And 39 of the 53 
bills are bipartisan, which you don't hear very often, and 72 Senators 
have either sponsored or cosponsored language included in the package. 
That is 72 out of 100 of our Senators, Democrats and Republicans, who 
have participated in this energy policy.
  The American Energy Innovation Act would authorize just over $24 
billion for technologies critical to an ``all of the above'' energy 
policy. I repeat: ``all of the above.'' We need everything that we 
have. That keeps our energy dependable, affordable, and reliable, while 
also reducing emissions.
  It truly takes a balanced and forward-leaning approach to updating 
our national energy policy for the first

[[Page S3637]]

time in over 13 years. This bill is necessary to help us chart the way 
to a cleaner and more secure energy future.
  As you mentioned, our bill was unfortunately derailed, Chairman 
Murkowski, back in March, by an issue that is entirely outside--
entirely outside--of the Energy Committee's jurisdiction. We had no 
input in this whatsoever, but it stopped a piece of legislation that 72 
Senators were involved in.
  Since then, the world has dramatically changed, and our hearts are 
heavy with the loss of over 128,000 Americans due to the virus. What 
our country has gone through over the last few months reinforces a need 
for a comprehensive energy bill, as we heard just 2 weeks ago from 
experts testifying before the Energy Committee.
  I am steadfast in my commitment to getting our American Energy 
Innovation Act done this year. I think it is needed more now than even 
4 months ago, when you look at the shape that our country is in. It is 
a stimulus bill. It is basically an infrastructure bill, and it is a 
reliable energy portfolio that takes us well into the 21st century.
  Senator Murkowski.
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Well, Senator Manchin, I think we both would agree 
that we were more than ready to pass the bipartisan bill before the 
pandemic hit, and, as you point out, I think it is even more important, 
and I am certainly more ready than ever to pass that.
  As you mentioned, the U.S. economy, our quality of life, and our 
health all depend on stable, secure, and an innovative energy industry. 
What we do within this bill--and, again, it is a very, very bipartisan 
bill--is we ensure that we remain a global energy leader while 
strengthening our security, making timely investments in clean 
technologies, and rebuilding our supply chains. And we have been 
talking a lot about the imperative to focus on the vulnerability of our 
supply chains.
  But it also helps us capture the industries of the future and all the 
jobs and the benefits that are associated with them. So, as I mentioned 
before, it will help to improve our cyber security and foster 
innovation. When you think about the economic growth that we have seen 
in this country since World War II, it is that innovation that helps 
spur that economic recovery.
  So, again, I feel pretty strongly that this bill was important before 
the pandemic, and it is even more important now as we try to focus on 
our Nation's recovery. I think that is where we can also help. Wouldn't 
you agree, Senator Manchin?
  Mr. MANCHIN. We both agree, Senator Murkowski, that the Energy 
Innovation Act is going to absolutely help our economy recover. We will 
never have a recovery coming off a recession or a real shutdown the way 
we have just seen unless there is infrastructure, and this is, by far, 
the best.
  Between March and April, the energy industry lost 1.3 million jobs. 
That is a 13-percent drop that essentially wipes out all industry-wide 
job growth in the last 5 years. I repeat: For the last 5 years, it has 
been wiped out over 3 months. That is on top of the major shifts in the 
U.S. and global energy markets that preceded and intensified in the 
pandemic with a catastrophic hit to the economy, and, most importantly, 
to the workers.
  American workers need immediate relief, as well as longer term 
assistance, and they need jobs in the sectors of tomorrow's energy 
economy. This energy package puts billions of dollars into research, 
development, demonstration, and deployment of energy technologies that 
will create skilled and high-paying jobs while also establishing 
workforce grants to ensure unemployed or new workers have the skills 
and opportunities to get back to work as quickly as possible.

  On top of that, our bill would help develop technologies needed in 
four sectors of the U.S. economy--power generation, transportation, 
industry, and commercial and residential buildings--that contribute 90 
percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
  While we are expecting a 14-percent drop in U.S. carbon dioxide 
emissions from the energy sector in 2020--the largest drop ever--
because our economy was shut down, those emissions will bounce back as 
our country opens back up. Investing in technologies like carbon 
capture, energy storage, and energy efficiency are critical for 
rebuilding our economy, something that we desperately need right now 
while also reducing emissions.
  Senator Murkowski, our bill invests in technologies across the board 
and across fuel types. Do you agree that keeping this ``all of the 
above'' energy package together is, by far, the best path forward?
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. It is absolutely the best path forward. When you take 
the good committee work that we have engaged in and you then bring that 
to the floor, as we have, we had substantive process. We are so close 
to getting this measure actually through the Senate, but I think we 
recognize that, as we do that, that ideal package is not before us 
right yet.
  As the chairman and the ranking member on the committee, we have 
received requests from Members who have items in our energy bill who 
are seeking to include them as potential amendments on the NDAA, which 
is currently on the floor. I have actually filed two amendments to 
NDAA. One is the text of our Nuclear Energy Leadership Act, and the 
other is our American Mineral Security Act. Effectively, this provides 
a second pathway in case we remain blocked on our energy bill. I want 
to say that this is not the preferred path at all. That is not where we 
want to go with this bill.
  My clear, clear, clear, and undeniable preference is that we enact 
all of these measures as part of the energy package. So to my 
colleagues who might think, ``Well, wait, I see a few energy-related 
provisions; what is going on?'' we are not taking our foot off the gas 
of our American Energy Innovation Act.
  I know, Senator Manchin, you have been working with us on some of 
these amendments that we are dealing with within NDAA, but I know you 
also greatly prefer to pass them as part of our broader energy bill.
  Mr. MANCHIN. Senator Murkowski and I, working together, and our 
staffs working so diligently, have put together a truly bipartisan 
energy package, which is comprehensive, and our country needs every 
part of it to get enacted--every part of it.
  Our national energy policy hasn't been updated since 2007. I want you 
to think about 2007. That was the same year the iPhone was released. 
There have been 10 different iPhone models to keep up in a world that 
is constantly evolving since 2007, but we haven't been able to do the 
same for energy policies. So it is long overdue.
  Getting this update enacted is long overdue, as I said, and I hope 
that every one of my colleagues agrees and will come together to 
support passing this bill in its entirety--in its entirety--rather than 
moving it in pieces, and that is what we want to prevent from 
  Seventy-two of my fellow Senators have language in this bill that 
they have either sponsored or cosponsored. Let's move this bill as it 
is rather than piecemeal, or, even worse, having to start from scratch 
for next year, which will put us behind even further. Would you agree, 
Madam Chairwoman?
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Senator Manchin, the thought of having to start over--
as you say, to start from scratch--is absolutely the wrong way to 
address our energy policies and the reforms that are needed. I 
completely and fully agree with you. It would be a mistake. It would be 
a significant mistake for Congress to simply give up on energy policy 
for yet another year.
  As you have indicated, Congress last enacted a major energy bill in 
2007. That is more than 12\1/2\ years ago. That is unacceptable.
  That is the thing that is holding us back then, but even despite the 
fact that we have not been able to update our energy laws, we have even 
an oil-and-gas renaissance. The cost of renewables has declined 
sharply. New technologies have begun to emerge. We have new challenges 
and opportunities to address, but what is missing here is the U.S. 
Congress coming together to modernize our Nation's energy policy.
  I think it would be a mistake to decide that this is just too hard; 
that there is not enough time left. We have been down that road before. 
Ladies and gentlemen, we are so far along in this process that we just 
need to keep pushing and keep moving. We are so far along, but that 
thinking would push us back to a reset or a restart. It is just not 
where we want to be.

[[Page S3638]]

  Senator Manchin, I will just ask one final question; that is, whether 
you agree that there will be no giving up at any point from either one 
of us on this very important American Energy Innovation Act.
  Mr. MANCHIN. That is exactly right, Madam Chairman. We have worked so 
hard on this.
  This is going through the process. We always talk about the process. 
Before it comes to the floor, every piece of legislation should go 
through the process.
  We have fifty bills that have gone through the process in our 
committee, and most of them are bipartisan. It doesn't get any better 
than that. We didn't have any disagreement at all, until we got another 
piece of legislation they were trying to throw in that we had no 
jurisdiction over. We would love to help them if we could, but they 
shouldn't hold up this bill here. Hopefully, they are working out their 
differences in the other committees. I am sure they are.
  I am committed to working with you, as we have been working in the 
past year or more, to get this completed once and for all. It is 
something I know that we, as a committee, every Member in this Senate--
72 are cosponsors--but, truly, the entire country needs. They need to 
have dependable, reliable, and affordable energy. They need that to be 
pragmatic and realistic, working with all the energies we have but 
demanding, through innovation--not elimination but through innovation--
a much cleaner result and a better environment for all of us. That is 
what we do in this bill. We tackle every part of it.
  I am very pleased to be working with you. I am as committed as you 
are to get this done before we get out of here.
  Thank you.
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Thank you.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.

                              Family Farms

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Madam President, the past few months have resulted in 
some dramatic changes in our daily lives. We all know that is because 
of the virus pandemic, but for America's farmers and the 86,000 Iowa 
family farms, there were still crops to be planted, fields to be 
fertilized, and livestock to care for, regardless of the virus 
  These family farms take great satisfaction in the fact that they are 
part of the most affordable, abundant, and safest supply of food of any 
country in the world. They are also proud to help fuel the country, 
knowing that almost every gallon of gas consumed in the United States 
is blended with renewable fuels.
  Family farmers have a lot to be proud of. As one of two farmers 
serving in the U.S. Senate, I can speak to that because I am one.
  One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is the opportunity to 
speak with farmers across the State during my annual 99 county 
meetings. Being able to hear from them directly and to use my position 
on the Senate Agriculture Committee to work on their issues is an honor 
and a privilege that I don't take lightly.
  At my meetings, farmers will introduce themselves by telling me how 
many generations of their families have made their living on the same 
land that they now operate--third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation 
farmers using the same soil and oftentimes the same tools and barns as 
generations before them.
  In fact, the Iowa Department of Agriculture Century Farm database 
shows that out of these 86,000 family farmers in Iowa, there are 20,060 
farms in our State that have been in the same family for more than 100 
years. Even more impressive, out of that 86,000 family farmers, we have 
a classification called the Heritage Farm database showing 1,360 farms 
that have been in the same family for 150 years.
  Farming isn't just a profession. It isn't just a hobby or a personal 
passion. Farming is how many Iowans leave their mark in our world.
  The legacy of many Iowa families is built and created around life at 
that farm. Every farmer intends to leave their land to their children 
better than when they found it when it was entrusted to them for their 
care in the first place. Farmers live by that creed, and it is 
reflected by the fact that Iowa is a global leader in sustainable 
farming practices.
  Through farm bill programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the 
Federal Government has proven it can successfully partner with farmers 
to enhance conservation practices.
  At the State level, Governor Reynolds and Iowa Agriculture Secretary 
Naig are leading the charge to implement the Iowa Nutrient Reduction 
Strategy--our way of cleaning up the rivers and helping the Gulf of 
Mexico to not be as dead as it is so often. This includes techniques 
like no-till, cover crops, and wetland restoration to improve soil 
health and enhance water quality.
  Researchers at Iowa State University continue to develop new 
conservation techniques, like adding tall grass prairie strips to 
fields and modeling when to best apply fertilizer.
  Iowa farmers have embraced voluntary stewardship investments and 
practices that allow them to stay productive and to be profitable--
maybe not so profitable now when corn is at less than $3 a bushel, as 
an example, but overall time profitability. They do this while also 
ensuring their land can be productive for years to come, for when it is 
time to give their children a chance to take over the farm.
  So while the Federal Government has shown an ability to partner with 
Iowa farmers, there are also times when the Federal Government has 
overstepped its authority and attempted to regulate private landowners 
with one-size-fits-all solutions.
  For example, in 2010, the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation 
Service--it goes by NRCS in most States--determined that an Illinois 
farmer by the name of Kurt Wilke and his family could not maintain and 
farm their land. This was in 2010. It is now 2020. We might have a 
resolution of this, finally. The USDA claimed the land contained 
wetlands, despite documentation to the contrary.
  In early 2011, Mr. Wilke started making improvements to his drainage 
tile system on that farm. That is when the NRCS got involved. For him, 
it was a terrible life for the next several years. They told him to 
stop the work; in other words, stop improving your land through the 
drainage tile system. They warned him that he was putting farm program 
payments at risk.
  Earlier this month, after nearly a decade of court battles with the 
NRCS--Farmer Wilke was fighting the NRCS in court battles--a 
determination by the Director of the USDA's National Appeals Division 
reprimanded this NRCS agency for overstepping its bounds. Can you 
imagine stepping in to say that a farmer can't farm his farm?
  The USDA stepped in because they had failed to obey their own rules. 
The appeals division favored Mr. Wilke. This protracted court battle 
should have been avoided.
  In regard to that, I am going to read, and then I am going to ask 
unanimous consent to print in the Record the Iowa Farm Bureau 
Federation newspaper called the Spokesman.
  This started in 2010. So, in 2020, this finally ends, where one 
division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, called the National 
Appeals Division, because of their decision, Mr. Wilke will have an 
opportunity to be reimbursed for tens of thousands of dollars in legal 
fees incurred while fighting for fair treatment.
  I ask unanimous consent to print this article in the Record
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                            [June 17, 2020]

 USDA Appeals Division Admonishes NRCS for not Following Its Own Rules

       A battle over a farmer's right to use and care for his own 
     land is one step closer to being resolved. A determination by 
     the director of USDA's National Appeals Division admonishes 
     the Natural Resources Conservation Service for failing to 
     obey its own rules. The ruling favors an Illinois farmer who 
     battled NRCS for more than a decade. The decision is a 
     welcome signal that concerns from across the countryside 
     about NRCS conservation compliance are being heard.
       In 2010, the NRCS determined that Illinois farmer Kurt 
     Wilke and his family could not maintain and farm their land, 
     claiming it contained wetlands, despite documentation to the 
     contrary. An administrative judge ruled against the NRCS, but 
     the agency repeatedly filed the same findings, forcing Wilke 
     to fight the issue in court four times over more than a 
     decade. Each time, an administrative judge ruled in Wilke's 

[[Page S3639]]

     Wilke's case is not unique. In 2019, the American Farm Bureau 
     Federation called on USDA to ensure fair treatment of farmers 
     and ranchers by NRCS, highlighting Kurt Wilke's case and 
     others. AFBF called for due process in enforcement of 
     conservation and a transparent decision-making and appeals 
       AFBF welcomes the NAD director's decision, which clears the 
     way for Wilke to be reimbursed for tens of thousands of 
     dollars in legal fees incurred while fighting for fair 
     treatment. The NAD director found that the NRCS ignored its 
     own standards in determining what constitutes a wetland, 
     stating, ``NRCS's decision to disregard evidence affected the 
     accuracy of its calculation.'' The ruling continues, 
     ``Because NAD determined that, NRCS's scopes and effect 
     analysis did not follow federal regulations or established 
     procedures, NRCS cannot now argue that it did so.''
       American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said, ``This 
     decision about a decade old case sends a strong message to 
     NRCS that the government must play by its own rules and treat 
     farmers and ranchers fairly. We understand the importance of 
     following environmental rules, but we expect fair enforcement 
     of those rules. We hope this marks the end of NRCS ignoring 
     facts and procedures. We look forward to conservation being a 
     partnership between NRCS and farmers.''
       The NAD director's decision follows a unanimous ruling by 
     the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in USDA v. 
     Boucher, which sternly rebuked NRCS conservation program 
     enforcement in 2019. In the court's words, ``USDA repeatedly 
     failed to follow applicable law and agency standards. It 
     disregarded compelling evidence showing that the acreage in 
     question never qualified as wetlands that could have been 
     converted illegally into croplands. And the agency has kept 
     shifting its explanations for treating the acreage as 
     converted wetlands. The USDA's treatment of the Bouchers' 
     acreage as converted wetlands easily qualifies as arbitrary, 
     capricious, and an abuse of discretion.''

  Mr. GRASSLEY. He finally gets justice, but just think of the life of 
Mr. Wilke for the 10 years that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and 
that agency said he could not farm his land the way he wanted to and 
put in the tile system the way he wanted to. Sometimes maybe their 
opinion is justified, but you can see how they overstepped their bounds 
and how it hurt this farmer.
  I want to give you another example of government overreach. It was 
the Obama-era regulation called waters of the United States. Most 
people know that as WOTUS. The 2015 WOTUS rule was a dramatic expansion 
of the authority that Congress provided to the Environmental Protection 
Agency to regulate the navigable waters of the United States. Remember 
navigable waters? It is supposed to be the definition of--as far as the 
big boats can go up a river. That is Federal regulation. Beyond that, 
it is State regulation, but not for that previous administration and 
WOTUS. They were going to regulate the road ditches, as an example.
  In fact, the Obama-era rule would have claimed jurisdiction to 
require Federal permission to do any number of activities, not just in 
or near Iowa rivers and streams but on 97 percent of Iowa's land.
  To clear up a common confusion, this rule wasn't about regulating 
discharge of pollution into the waterways, which is important and is 
done through other parts of the Clean Water Act. What this whole WOTUS 
rule was about was requiring Federal redtape for routine land use 
decisions with little or no environmental benefit. It was a power grab, 
pure and simple.
  One week ago today, the Trump administration's WOTUS rule went into 
effect. This rule balances the need to protect our navigable rivers 
while also protecting the private property rights of businesses, 
homeowners, and, of course, family farms. This is a major 
accomplishment, and I congratulate President Trump and Administrator 
Wheeler on getting this rule over the finish line.
  I hope people remember 4 months from now--particularly people who are 
farmers--what WOTUS would have done for you if it had been kept in 
place. You maybe would have had to get a permit from the government to 
do normal farming operations. Now you don't have to. You never have had 
to in 150, 160 years in Iowa.
  For the time being, these two examples of government overreach have 
been resolved. However, the U.S. Congress and the executive branch must 
continue to advocate for fairness and common sense when passing 
legislation or regulations that will impact private land owners.
  Farmers understand the importance of environmental rules, and farmers 
will follow those rules. However, we must demand fair enforcement of 
those rules so that they don't disadvantage family farmers like Mr. 
Wilkie of Illinois was disadvantaged for 10 years fighting the 
bureaucracy. However, we must demand fair enforcement of these rules so 
that they don't disadvantage anybody, for that matter.
  The virus pandemic that we are in has demonstrated the importance of 
supporting farmers and ensuring that we have a stable, safe, and 
affordable food supply for our country. Through natural disasters, 
through droughts, through pests, through pandemics, America's families 
are still farming. Let's make sure that the Federal Government doesn't 
get in their way so that they can pass along their legacy and their 
farm to future generations.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Boozman). The Senator from Illinois is 


  Ms. DUCKWORTH. Mr. President, I come to the floor today appalled by 
what appears to be a total betrayal of troops by the man who is 
supposed to be their Commander in Chief, a man who swore an oath to 
support and defend our Constitution from our Nation's enemies.
  This weekend, news broke that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-
linked militants for the murders of U.S. troops and other coalition 
forces in Afghanistan--bounties that have reportedly led to the death 
of at least one American servicemember, and there may have been more. 
Yet, while numerous news outlets have confirmed that Donald Trump was 
briefed on the matter months ago, his administration still hasn't taken 
any apparent steps to push back against Russia's blatant and 
provocative act of aggression. In fact, far from authorizing any 
normal, reasonable, expected retaliation, Trump has actually refused to 
issue even a cold word about the foreign adversary colluding with 
terrorists to kill Americans in exchange for cash. Instead, he has 
continued to heap praise on Russia and the tyrant at its helm, 
describing the ``great friendship'' between our countries as recently 
as last month, long after he reportedly learned about the bounty 
  Despite many independent news reports claiming otherwise, the White 
House spent the weekend denying that Trump was ever told of this 
intelligence. Well, saying that Trump administration officials are 
prone to lying is like saying they are prone to breathing, but there 
are two possible scenarios before us. Both are damning for the man who 
is supposed to be in charge.
  The first is that Trump was never actually looped in. In this case, 
ignorance isn't exculpatory. ``I didn't know that our adversary was 
helping kill American troops because no one told me'' is not an excuse 
for the Commander in Chief of the greatest military on Earth. It is, in 
fact, a confession of incompetence.
  If he was truly never told, then that means that his own staff either 
believes he is so compromised by Russia or they consider him so 
counterproductive to the running of the country that they thought it 
necessary to hide critical information about our national security from 
  If it is true that those who knew of this threat to American lives 
failed to tell the President, then we should expect a President with 
such an affinity for firing senior officials to have no qualms about 
acting swiftly to remove Cabinet officials who failed to share this 
critical information with him.
  The second and far more likely option is that they are covering for 
him; that Trump knew--that of course Trump knew--yet he still did not 
act; that this ``America first'' President went right on placing 
Russian interests ahead of American lives, kept on acting as Putin's 
lackey, trying to score Russia an invite back into what would be the 
G8, even as he learned that they were working with terrorists to target 
our troops. Then, when the news finally broke on Friday, he decided to 
lie about what he had known all along, focused more on protecting his 
own personal reputation than protecting the troops sacrificing for our 
country overseas on his orders.

  Well, at least one American servicemember is reportedly dead as a 

[[Page S3640]]

of these bounties. While he spent his weekend golfing, lying, and 
making sure the buck stopped anywhere but with him, our troops in 
hotspots around the world were forced to wonder whether they might be 
next, whether a bounty might be placed on their head tomorrow, and 
whether President Trump would even care enough to respond if that was 
the case. Once again, Donald Trump has abdicated any semblance of real 
  Look, even if we somehow swallow the pill that the Trump 
administration is so incompetent that no one ever told Trump that a 
foreign power conspired to commit acts of terror against our troops, it 
still wouldn't explain his response now that he does know. Not once--
not once--since the story broke has he expressed his sorrow for those 
who lost a loved one or expressed awe at the bravery of the 
servicemembers who are in harm's way because they love their country so 
much that they are willing to go to a war zone for her.
  He has had time to call Joe Biden names, however. He has had time to 
retweet a video promoting White power. He has had time to promote 
conspiracy theories and bolster Russia propaganda by questioning the 
American intelligence experts who work for him. Not once--not once in 
the past 72 hours has he found the time to express outrage that 
American service men and women are dead. We, the American people, 
should be outraged by what he is choosing to prioritize instead.
  I am racking my brain for any justifiable reason for Trump's 
reaction. Does he think that maybe there are good people on both sides 
of this debate too--in the debate between killing American troops and 
protecting them?
  Does he think that the word of Vladimir Putin is just as good as the 
dedicated public servants and intelligence officers who put themselves 
at great risk to make sure he has the best, most accurate information 
to make national security decisions?
  Does he think that not retaliating will help bury the issue and that 
by burying the issue, it will help keep his poll numbers from sinking 
any lower?
  Make no mistake--not responding here is a response in its own way, 
and it is a response that further endangers our national security. Just 
as he did when he pandered to another tyrant and announced he would 
sweep our troops out of Syria last fall, just as he did when he wanted 
to look tough by ordering the assassination of Iranian General Qasem 
Soleimani last year, he has put Americans in war zones in even greater 
danger than they were in already--in greater danger than they needed to 
  By refusing to call out this wrong, by decrying the reports as fake 
news, by being so incompetent in matters ranging from foreign policy to 
common decency, Donald Trump is making it more likely that other 
hostile powers will work with other terrorist networks to exchange 
other American lives for stacks of cash. He has made it more likely 
that more spouses will be widowed and more moms and dads will turn into 
Gold Star parents.
  Listen, I ran for Congress so that when the drums of war started 
beating, I would be in a position to ensure that our elected officials 
fully considered the true cost of war--not just in dollars and cents 
but in human lives. If that war must occur, then of course I will 
support it, but what I never ever imagined was that I would have to 
come to the floor of the Senate to point out that the American 
President should be angry--even furious--when another nation puts a 
bounty on the heads of our troops; that I would have to be here to 
point out for our President that the Commander in Chief of the most 
powerful fighting force the world has ever known should act like a 
Commander in Chief.
  Those troops deserve to know what the administration is doing to 
protect them and why Trump has, so far, failed to take any action to 
protect them. That is one reason why I am demanding a Senate hearing to 
hear testimony from the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, 
the Director of the CIA, and others so we can get to the bottom of this 
once and for all.
  Donald Trump has never understood what words like ``sacrifice'' or 
``courage'' mean, so how dare he let his own personal cowardice, his 
inability, or--even worse--his disinterest in standing up to Vladimir 
Putin lead to a reality where those Americans who are actually brave 
enough to put on a uniform and serve are put at greater risk. How dare 
he let his own personal insecurities and failings endanger our national 
  In the face of all he has done, all he continues to refuse to do, how 
dare he still call himself the Commander in Chief.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                                S. 4049

  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, for 59 years in a row, Congress has passed 
the NDAA--almost always on a bipartisan basis. This year will be the 
60th year in a row. I am proud to say the fiscal year 2021 National 
Defense Authorization Act continues in that long bipartisan tradition.
  There is not much around here anymore that passes every single year, 
let alone with the support of both parties. But we all know what the 
bill is all about; it is about support of our troops and our national 
security. I hope we will all keep that in mind, as we discuss the 
amendments to this bill, to keep them on topic.
  Last week, I talked a little bit about how we are falling behind 
China and Russia and how those two countries are now our biggest 
threats. I think we all know how that happened. It happened in the last 
5 years of the Obama administration. During those last 5 years, the 
President's budget took 25 percent of the military budget away from the 
military. This has never happened before. Yet that is what happened.
  What happened at the same time--I don't think a lot of the Members 
are aware of this, but China and Russia--they are the enemies out 
there. During the time that our President had defunded the military by 
25 percent, Russia actually increased theirs by 34 percent. We went 
down 25 percent; Russia went up 34 percent.
  What was China doing during this time? China, while we were going 
down 25 percent, went up 83 percent.
  You see what the problem is. They just passed us up in a lot of 
areas. We can name those--hypersonics and other areas where they were 
  They are building up their military capabilities and positioning 
themselves strategically around the world. We know they are showing up 
in places they have never been before.
  Fortunately, we have a strategy to counter them. It is called the 
national defense strategy. I meant to bring that down with me because I 
make reference to that. The national defense strategy is a document 
that is put together by 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans--all very top 
people in terms of their knowledge of the military--who get together 
and say: What should be our roadmap? What we are going to do to put 
ourselves in a position where we can counter Russia and China?
  We have the national defense strategy. It came out in late 2018. At 
that time, the military services had been implementing this plan with 
the support of Congress in previous NDAAs. This is the third year now 
that we have that.
  What we did this year was speed up the implementation. We set America 
on a course to make sure that we are setting ourselves up for success 
no matter what threat comes our way. We do that by using this document, 
the NDS, the National Defense Strategy Commission report.
  What this says is that we need to create a credible military 
deterrent that tells Russia and China and anyone else who would do us 
harm: You just can't win. We are going to win. We will beat you--no 
matter who you are out there. That is what this NDAA does.
  It says that we need to invest in the equipment, tools, weapons, 
resources, and training our troops need to succeed in their mission. We 
also make sure that they are in the right places and at the right time. 
That is what the NDAA, which we are considering right now--which we are 
proceeding to right now--will do.
  It says that our biggest threats come from Indo-Pacific region. The 

[[Page S3641]]

creates a Pacific Deterrence Initiative to enhance lethality, address 
key capability gaps, and support our allies and partners over there. 
This is something that we haven't done before. The strategic Pacific 
Deterrence is like European Deterrence. It was very successful, and 
that is what we are doing now in the Middle East.
  Several of us, including the Chair, have been to the South China Sea. 
We have watched China doing things, building islands--something that 
has never been done before--going into areas they have never been 
before, such as Djibouti. Historically, it has been the practice to do 
things in China, starting things within their city limits. But that is 
not the way it is anymore. It is now all throughout Africa, Djibouti, 
as far south as Southern Tanzania.
  It says that technology is changing the nature of warfare rapidly and 
that we have to keep up with China and Russia, who are working hard to 
build weapons that we have never even heard of. So the NDAA pushes 
innovation and makes it easier for the Pentagon to harness that 
innovation throughout the defense industrial base. We harden our supply 
chains so that China and Russia can't be a threat to us there. We have 
issues there, but the pandemic really showed us where our weaknesses 

  This bill helps us reduce our reliance on foreign countries and 
protects our supply chain and our key technologies from infiltration 
and other risks. The NDS Commission report also tells us how the 
Pentagon's massive bureaucracy sometimes inhibits our ability to 
innovate and operate. The NDAA helps the Pentagon fully implement the 
NDS, improving the way they budget, giving them flexibility to hire and 
keep top talent, but always making sure they are accountable to the 
  No matter what threats we face--no matter who, what, where, when, or 
how--the one constant is the men and women who make up the force. These 
are the brave Americans who volunteer to wear the uniform and put 
themselves in harm's way because they believe in this Nation, and they 
are willing to give their lives to defend it.
  At the end of the day, that is the most important thing this bill 
does: It takes care of our troops and their families. They sacrifice so 
much, and they risk so much. We are all aware of that. We have to make 
sure that we are taking care of them right. That is what this bill 
  This is a very serious, sacred responsibility we have--one I don't 
take lightly. While I am on the floor, throughout the debate on this 
bill, I am thinking about them.
  When we are talking about this bill, the numbers we are talking 
about--the $740.5 billion and the 2.1 million servicemembers--the sheer 
size can make you forget sometimes that these are real people who rely 
on us to do things and to do things right. That is one of the big 
differences. We hear people all the time--the anti-defense crowd out 
there is always talking about how we are actually spending more money 
on military than China and Russia put together. That is true. The most 
expensive part of the military is the people. That is the most 
expensive part.
  Of course, Communist countries don't care about the people. They just 
give them a rifle and say: Go out and kill somebody.
  Here are a few of those people who are counting on us this week.
  I am thinking about one of my former interns who started his journey 
at the Air Force Academy last week, as well as all of the other new 
cadets and midshipmen at the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy, and 
West Point.
  I am thinking about the 40 new soldiers I talked with before they 
took their oath of office on the birthday of the U.S. Army. They are 
the future of our military.
  I am thinking about the sailors and marines serving overseas whom I 
had the honor of meeting earlier this year.
  I am thinking about Janna Driver, a tireless military spouse. Her 
husband was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base. She came to my office. 
I was thinking it was something that was just happening at Tinker Air 
Force Base, but she talked about the deplorable housing situation, and 
it all started with the privatization of housing. She was talking about 
that. I assumed this is a problem that we needed to address only at 
Tinker Air Force Base. Then I found out it was all over the State of 
Oklahoma, in all five of our major military installations. Then we 
found out it was nationwide. This is something that we started working 
on. This is the privatization of housing and how it is deteriorating. 
We got on it right away.
  Again, this is something that China and Russia don't have to do 
because they don't care about taking care of their people. They don't 
have to do that in a Communist country.
  I am also thinking about Kristie Roberts, a member of the 138th 
Fighter Wing of the Tulsa Air National Guard, who lost her husband, 
Staff Sergeant Marshal Roberts, in March.
  Each of them represents hundreds of thousands of other men and women 
who are serving our Nation, and we owe it to them to get this done 
  I am glad to have by my side the ranking member, who shares my 
dedication and gratitude to our troops, Jack Reed. I have to thank Jack 
Reed for being a great partner and friend and for his support of this 
bill. In fact, Jack Reed and I have worked together for 3 years now, 
and we are singular in the efforts that we want for our military 
system. I am sure there are occasionally some differences, and we don't 
agree on everything, but we resolve the problems.
  Of course, we wouldn't be here if it weren't for our staff. We have 
John Bonsell for the majority and Liz King for the minority. I will 
talk more about them later, but they deserve a lot of praise. They are 
used to working at night, and they are used to working at odd hours. 
They are tireless. They have done tremendous work, and the proof of 
that is the overwhelmingly bipartisan vote out of committee. The vote 
to move forward with the NDAA last Thursday passed out of committee to 
the Senate floor by a vote of 25 to 2, and the 2 who voted against it 
never vote for military anyway, so I call that unanimous. I am looking 
forward to seeing the same strong bipartisan support and to voting on 
this bill, hopefully, at the end of this week.
  We are going to give it careful consideration, and I look forward to 
working with you all to make it better through the amendment process. 
That is what we are starting on right now.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The question is on agreeing to the motion to proceed.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. THUNE. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the Senator 
from North Carolina (Mr. Burr), the Senator from North Dakota (Mr. 
Cramer), the Senator from Wyoming (Mr. Enzi), and the Senator from 
Pennsylvania (Mr. Toomey).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Markey), the Senator from Oregon (Mr. Merkley), and the Senator from 
Vermont (Mr. Sanders) are necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 89, nays 4, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 128 Leg.]


     Cortez Masto

[[Page S3642]]

     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)
     Van Hollen



                             NOT VOTING--7

  The motion is agreed to.