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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 17, 2015 4:00am-5:01am EST

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the coalition, the consumer coalition and that the members of the staff seem to double as members of the coalition. does anybody no if the board of directors associated with this coalition, if you know the board member raise your hand. >> the gentleman yields back. and i believe that concludes all the witnesses that we had. i want to thank the witnesses for the testimony and rigorous debate. five extra days to submit additional questions to the chair which will be forwarded to the witnesses. ask witnesses to respond promptly.resident?
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the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i said yesterday that committees and members from both sides were making important progress in the appropriations and tax relief negotiations. as colleagues now know, last night the committees and members reached agreement and filed legislation over in the house. i just participated in a productive meeting where the committees walked our conference through details of this legislation.
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i know our colleagues across the aisle are discussing the matter as well. i'll obviously have more to say on this soon. now is the time for members to review the legislation for themselves. i would encourage them to do so, and i would also encourage members to debate it. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: mr. president, as the republican leader mentioned, last night the senate and house leaders finalized a bipartisan compromise. i said last night -- according to how you define "last night" -- the last e-mail i got was at 2:45 this morning from my chief of staff, who was one of the negotiators.
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anyhow, sometime in the dark in the bill was finalized. when i say "the bill," it's really two bills. it extends important tax policies for american businesses and families. this was not an easy process. members worked weeks to craft in agreement. mr. president, i mentioned yesterday and i say again today, i appreciate the cooperation, the expertise, and all the good work done by speaker ryan, leader pelosi, senator mcconnell and their staffs. i underscore and underline what my chief of staff, drew willison did. this is a good compromise. mr. president, the presiding officer not being a lon longtime
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member of congress, knows that no legislation is perfect. this is good legislation. this is truly the art of compromise. and when we say "compromise," it doesn't mean anyone is doing away with any of the principles. what it simply means is people can't be bullhead and have to be reasonable in what they're doing to accomplish their goals. in spite of republican majorities in the senate and house, we democrats were able to ensure that this legislation creates and saves middle-class jobs, protects the environment, invests in renewable energy sources. for example, by extending tax incentives for wind and geothermal, the omnibus bill will create over 100,000 jobs in the private sector. it help cut carbon emissions by
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roughly 25% by 2022. to those who will argue that lifting the oil export ban will counter those effects, that's simply not the case. it is not true. extending the wind and solar incentives will eliminate over 10 times more carbon emissions than lifting the oil export ban will create. the omnibus spending bill is good for jobs, good for clean energy and the environment. it also helps american families by including a provision that will lower health insurance premiums. but to fully appreciate the compromise, we can't simply tick off the many beneficial policies that the agreement includes. we must also consider the many troublesome provisions that didn't wind up in the legislation. when this matter came from the house, no more than 200 so-called riders, and they didn't wind up in the bill.
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many of these riders represent the worst of legislative priorities. weaken dodd-frank banking regulations, undermine the department of labor's different rules, roll back the nlrb standards, clean air, water, and climate and some of the writers tried to weaken the consumer financial protect bureau's ability to protect consumers. there were efforts made to curb the president's powers under the antiquities act, to create national monuments. these are only a few of the special interest riders that were sent to us from the house, and we did not allow 99% of these to be included, because they're harmful policies. so i say again, this compromise isn't perfect, but it's good. it's good for the american people.
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and if it weren't for democratic efforts, it would have been a lot worse. i also want to extend my appreciation to the great staff of the white house. first of all, the president's chief of staff dennis mcdonough. he is a former college football player. he is a strong man emotionally and physically, and he's very forthright, which i appreciate in the positions he takes with everybody. he's helped us guide this legislation through. we have a number of people that work at the white house that we worked intensely with. all the cabinet officers -- we had a very good relationship with jack deitch. i appreciate his involvement in so many different ways. longtime senate employee katie burn fallon has been available
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anytime we needed her. and this has been very difficult for her because she is a new mom with two little twins sms she -h two little twins. she was always available. her knowledge of the senate has been helpful in our being able to move this bill as far as it has been. and then longtime floor staffer who operated and ran the floor for many, many years marti payon. we still miss him here in the senate. he did such a good job for the country and the senate. we must pass this legislation as quickly as we can. christmas is fast-approaching. so i hope republicans in the house and the senate will move quickly to bring this legislation to the floor so we can vote on it, give the american people every confi to
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address the senate as if in morning business. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, i rise to call attention today sadly to the triumph of pork-barrel parochialism in this year's omnibus appropriations bill, in particular a policy provision thals airdropped -- that was airdropped into this
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bill, a direct contravention to the national defense authorization act, which will have u.s. taxpayers subsidize russian aggression and comrade capitalism. nearly two years ago russian president vladimir putin, furious that the ukrainian people had ousted a pro--moscow stooge in crime yarks the first days since the hitler and stal stalin, to dismember a sovereign state on the european continent. more on that 8,000 people have died in this conflict including 298 innocent people aboard malaysian airlines flight 17 who were murdered by vladimir putin's loyal supporters with weapons that vladimir putin had supplied them with. putin's imperialist campaign in europe forced a recognition for
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anyone not yet convinced that we're confront ago challenge that many had assumed was resigned to the history books. the strong militarily capable russian government that is hostile to our interests and values and seeks to challenge the international order that american leaders of both parties have sought to maintain since the end of world war ii. that's why the congress imposed tough sanctions against russia, especially against putin's cronies and their enormous -- and enormously corrupt business empires. as part of that effort, congress passepassed the fiscal year 2015 national defense authorization act which restricted the air force from using russian-made rd-180 rocket engines for national security space launches, engines that are manufactured by a russian company controlled by some of putin's top cronies. we did so not only because our nation should not rely on russia
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to access space but because it's simply immoral to help subsidize russia's intervention in ukraine and line the pockets of putin's gang of thugs who profit from the sale of russian rocket engines. last year the defense authorization bill exempted five of the engines that united launch alliance purchased before the invasion of ukraine. this allowed u.l.a., the space launch company that for years has enjoyed a monopoly on launching military satellites to use those russian rocket engines if the secretary of defense determined it was necessitated by national security. since the passage of the act in the senate 89-11, russia has continued, as we all know, to destabilize ukraine, menace our nato allies in europe with agrowsive military -- aggressive military behavior.
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putin that is violated the 1987 intermediate range nuclear force treaty and now russia has intervened militarily in syria on behalf of the murderous regime of bashar assad. clearly, russian behavior has only gotten worse. that's why a few weeks ago congress acted again and passed the fiscal year 2016 national defense authorization act. the ndaa authorized $300 million in security assistance and intelligence support for ukraine to resist russian aggression. at the same time, the bill recognized that a small number of russian engines could be needed --ing could needed -- to maintain competition in the national security space launch program and facilitate a smooth transition to rockets with u.s.-made engines. therefore, the legislation
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allowed u.l.a. to use a total of nine russian engines. the fiscal year 2016 defense authorization bill, including its provision limiting the use of russian rocket engines, were debated for months -- more months the issue was debated. the committee on armed services had a vigorous debate over this important issue. an amendment was offered to maintain the restriction on the air force's use of russian rocket engines and then a positive vote of the committee, the amendment was adopted. we then considered hundreds of amendments to this bill on the senate floor over a period of two weeks. for two weeks we literally considered hundreds of amendments, and we did so transportlytransparently, with n process, which is a credit to both sides. there was not one amendment that was called up to change the provision of that authorization
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bill concerning the rd-180 rocket engines. the legislation passed with 71 votes. then because of a misguided presidential veto, this defense legislation was actually considered a second time on the floor, and it passed 91-3. i want to emphasize again, one of the things that i was proud of for years is that we do debate the senate armed services -- the national defense authorization bill. we have every year for some 43 years and passed it and had the president sign it, and we open it to all amendments. but there was no amendment on rocket engines proposed on the floor of the a senate. why wasn't it? if there were members of the senate who did not like the provisions in the bill, we had an open process to amend it. but they didn't. they didn't because they knew they could not pass an amendment that would remove that provision
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in the defense authorization act, so now in the dead of night we just find out hours before we're supposed to vote, they put in a restriction which dramatically changes that provision that was done in an open and transparent process, to their everlasting shame. in the dark of night, not a vote -- not a vote. no one consulted on the defense -- on the defense -- on the armed services committee. this bill, including its provisions limiting the use of the fiscal year 2016 bill, including its provision limiting the use of russian rocket engines, was debated for months. the committee had a vigorous debate, as i mentioned. and here's my point: the senate had this debate. we had ample time to have this
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debate. and through months of this fulsome debate, no senator came to the senate floor to make the case that we needed to buy more russian rocket engines. no senator introduced an amendment on the floor to lift the restriction on buying more russian rocket engines. to the contrary, the senate and the full congress, including the house of representatives, voted overwhelmingly and repeatedly to maintain this restriction. this is a policy issue, not a money issue. nowhere in the realm of the appropriations committee. it was resolved as it should have been on the defense policy bill. and here we stand -- here we stand with a 2,000-page omnibus aeption pros bill, crafted in secret -- in secret crafted, members outside of the appropriations committee were not brought into the foreign relation of this legislation, no debate. most of us are seeing for the first time this bill this
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morning. and buried within it is a policy provision that would effectively allow unlimited purchase and use of, guess what, russian rocket engines. what's going on here? what's going on? u.l.a. wants more russian engines, plain and simple. that's why u.l.a. recently asked the defense department to waive the previous restrictions on the basis of national security and let it use a russian engine for the first competitive national security space launch. the defense department declined. so what did u.l.a. do when it couldn't get its way? it manufactured a crisis. though the department of defense is restricted in using these russian rocket engines, there is no similar restriction on national is a or commercial space launches, so u.l.a. rushed to assign the rd-18 0*s -- that's the rocket engines --
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that it had in its inventory to these nonnational rocket launches, despite there is no restriction. this artificial crisis has now been seized on by u.l. a.'s capitol hill leading spouse -- namely, senator shelby and the senior senator from illinois, senator durbin. overturn to ndaa's restriction. that's exactly what they've done -- again, secretly, nontransparently, as part of this massive -- 2,000-page omnibus appropriations bill. as i said, neither senator shelby nor senator durbin nor any other senator raised objections to the provisions of the bill that we are offered any alternative during the authorization process on the senate floor. that is a repudiation of the rights of every single senator in this body that is not a member of the appropriations committee.
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in fact, as i've said, and this issue was debated and voted on in the committee of armed services, the authorizing committee of jurisdiction, voted in favor of maintaining the restriction. instead, my colleagues on the appropriations committee crafted this provision in secret with no debate to overturn the will of the senate as expressed in two national defense authorization acts, and the result will enable a monopolies stick corporation -- monopolistic corporation to send potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to vladimir putin and his corrupt cronies and deepen america's reliance on these thugs for our military beinaccess to space. this is outrageous, and it's shameful. and it is the height of i had poo crasscy for my colleagues who claim to care about the plight of ukraine and the need to punish russia for its aggression. how can our government tell
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european countries and governments that they need to hold the line on maintaining sanctions on russia, which is far harder for them to do than us, when we are getting our own policy in this way? we are gutting our own policy. how can we tell our french allies in particular they shouldn't sell vladimir putin amphibious assault ships as we have and then turn around and try to buy rocket engines from putin's cronies? again, this is the height of hypocrisy. since march 2014, my colleagues and i in the senate have tried to do everything we can to give our friends in ukraine the tools they need to defend themselves and their country from russian aggression. rather than furthering that noble cause, senator shelby and senator durbin have chosen to reward vladimir putin and his cronies with a windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars, a rocket factory in alabama may
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benefit from this provision. boeing, headquartered in illinois, may benefit from this decision. but have no doubt, the real winners today are vladimir putin and his gang of thugs running the russian military industrial complex. i wish that senator shelby and senator durbin would explain to the american taxpayer exactly who we are doing business with. they won't. but my colleagues need to know. so let me explain. at least one news organization has investigated how much the air force pays for these rd-180 rocket engines, how much the russians receive, and whether members of the elite in putin's russia have secretly profited by inflating the price. in an investigative series entitled -- quote -- "comrade capitalism" reuters exposed the role that senior russian politicians and putin's close
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friends, including persons sanctions over ukraine, have played in a company called n.p.o. inter-go mash which manufactures the rd-180. according to reuters, a russian audit of that company found it had been operating at a loss because funds were -- quote -- "being captured by unnamed offshore intermediator companies ." unquote. in addition, the roy terse investigation also -- the reuters investigation also reported that the company sells its rocket engines to u.l.a. through another company called r.d.m. ross, a tiny five-person outfit that stood to collect about $93 million in cost markups under a multiyear deal to supply these engines. the defense contract management agency found that in one contract alone, r.d.m. ross did -- quote -- "no negligible work
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but still collected $80 million in unallowable excessive pass-through charges." remember that is a five-person outfit. five persons and the defense management contract agency found one contract that collected $80 million in una -- unallowable excessive pass-through charges. according to the university of baltimore school of law professor charles teefer who reviewed reuter's documents -- and i quote -- "the bottom line is that the joint venture between the russians and americans is taking us to the cleaners," he said he reviewed pentagon audits critical of iraq war contracts, but those -- quote -- "didn't come anywhere
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near to how strongly negative the r.d.m. ross audit was." we've got to do better. we've got to do better than this. some may say we need to buy rocket engines from putin's cronies in russia, in particular. they will cite a letter from the department of defense in response to a list of leading questions from the appropriations committee just a few days ago which they will claim as confirmation that the department believes that the united states will not have a domestically manufactured replacement engine for defense base launches before 2022. of course that's nonsense. when the department of defense starts making predictions beyond its five-year budget plan, what i hear is -- quote -- "this isn't a priority but we don't really know. either way this is unacceptable. both the authorizers and appropriators ramped up funding
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for the development of a new dough meskically manufactured -- domestically manufactured engine. the pentagon needs to do what it failed to do for eight years: make this a pliert. -- a priority. indeed american companies have already said they could have a replacement engine ready before 2022. our money and attention should be focused on meeting this goal, not subsidizing putin's defense industry. proponents of more russian rocket engines will also cite claims by the air force that u.l.a. needs at least 18 rd-180 engines to create a -- quote -- "bridge between now and 2022, when a domestically manufactured engine becomes available." this too is false. today we have two space launch providers, u.l.a. and space-ex. that no matter what happens with the russian rd-180 will be able to provide fully redundant capabilities with u.l.a.'s delta
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4 and space ex falcon 9 and heavy space launch vehicles. there will be no capability gap. the atlas 5 is not going anywhere any time soon. u.l.a. has enough atlas 5's to get them through at least 2019, if not later. and as i alluded a moment ago, the pentagon agrees that no action is required today to address a risk or assured access to space. in declining u.l.a.'s recent request for a waiver from the defense authorization bill's restriction, the deputy secretary of defense concluded -- quote -- "they don't -- they do not believe any immediate action is required to address the further risk of having only one source of space launch services. indeed, in its recent letter the department of defense even confirmed that u.l.a. has enough engines to compete for each of the nine upcoming competitions
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and that the number they will pursue is -- quote -- "dependent upon u.l.a.'s business management strategy." so i ask senator shelby and senator durbin what are your priorities? as we speak, the ukrainians are resisting russian aggression and fighting to keep their country whole and free. this omnibus appropriations bill will send hundreds of millions of dollars to vladimir putin, his cronies and russia's military industrial base as russia continues to occupy crimea, destabilize ukraine and their neighbors in the region. what kind of message does that send to ukrainians who have been fighting and dying to protect their country? how can we do this when putin is menacing our nato allies in europe? how can we do this when russia continues to send weapons to iran? how can we do this when putin continues to violate the 1987 intermediate range nuclear
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forces treaty? how can we do this when putin is bombing u.s.-backed forces in syria fighting the murderous assad regime? i understand that some constituents of senator shelby and senator durbin believe they would benefit from this provision, but as "the new york times" editorial board stated earlier this year, when sanctions are necessary, the countries that impose them must be willing to pay a cost too. after leaning on france to cancel a sale of two ships to russia because of the invasion of the ukraine, the united states can hardly insist on continuing to buy national security hardware from one of mr. putin's cronies. i repeat, that is in "the new york times." mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the article -- the editorial entitled don't back down on russian sanctions by "the new york times" be included in the record. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. mccain: on the record, i make this promise: that this language undermining the national defense authorization act is not removed from the omnibus, i assure my colleagues that this issue will not go unaddressed in the fiscal year 2019 national defense authorization act. up to this point we have sought to manage this issue on an annual basis, and we've always maintained that if a genuine crisis emerged, we would not compromise our national security interests in space. we've sought to be flexible and open to new information. but if this is how our efforts are repaid, then perhaps we need to look at a complete and indefinite restriction on putin's rocket engine. i take no pleasure in saying that. i believe that avoiding the year over year conflict over this matter between our authorizing
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and appropriations committee is in our nation's best interest. such back and forth only delays our shared desire to end our reliance on russian technology and from our space launch supply chain while injecting instability into our national security space launch program. that instability threatens the reliable launch of our most sensitive national security satellites and the stability of the fragile industrial base that supports them. but i cannot allow -- i cannot allow the appropriations committee or any other member of this body to craft a take-it-or-leave-it omnibus spending bill that allows a monopolistic corporation to do business with russian oligarchs to buy overpriced rocket engines that fund russia's belligerent and ukraine in its neoimperial
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ambitions. i'd like to address this issue in a larger context. the way that the congress is supposed to work is that authorizing committees authorize, whether it be in domestic or international or in this case defense programs, the responsibility of the authorizing committee is to make sure in the case of defense, the armed services committee, the training, equipping, the authorizing the funding, the policies, all of that fall under the armed services committee. the appropriations committee is required in their responsibilities to decide the funding for these programs. it is within -- it is within their authority to zero out a program if they don't think that the funding is called for or necessary. they can add funding if they want to for various programs.
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but this -- this is a complete violation, a complete and total violation. this issue was raised in the subcommittee and addressed in subcommittee on the armed services committee. it was in the full committee. it was addressed on the floor where there was hundreds of amendments that were proposed. and yet, what was decided by the armed services committee remained intact until in the dark of the night, until 10:00 or 11:00 or 12:00, whatever time it was this morning, up pops a direct contradiction, a direct dismembering, a direct cancellation of a provision in the law where we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars that have no bearing
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whatsoever on the authority and responsibility of the appropriations committee. so there's two problems here. one, it was done in the dark of night. until the middle of the night. no one knew. and second of all, it is in direct violation of the relationship between the authorizing committees and the appropriations committee. so i say to my colleagues that are not on the appropriations committee, if you let this go, then maybe you're next. maybe it's an amendment or a program that you have supported, that you through debate and discussion and authorizing in the committee and votes and amendments on the floor of the senate, and then in the middle of the night in december, when we're going out of session in 48 hours or so, or 72 hours, that then up pops a provision that negates the entire work of the authorizing committee over days and weeks and months.
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i say to my colleagues, you could be next. you could be next. and that's why this in itself, subsidizing vladimir putin, is outrageous enough. but if we're going to allow this kind of middle-of-the-night airdropping, fundamental changes in programs and proposals and policies that have been debated in the open, that have been voted on in the open, completely negated, then we are destroying the very fundamental structure of how the united states senate and the united states congress is supposed to work. so, madam president, i yield mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, the senior senator from arizona came
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to the floor this morning and raised a question about a provision in the omnibus appropriation bill, particularly that aspect relating to the department of defense. during the course of raising the issue, the senior senator from arizona used my name on the floor repeatedly. it was refreshing and i'm relieved. the senior senator from arizona has not attacked me on the floor for three weeks, and i was fearful that he's feeling under the weather, but clearly he's in fine form and feels good, and i welcome him back to the floor for another attack on me personally. so let's talk about the issue that he raised because it's complicated but extremely important when it comes to the defense of the united states. here's what it boils down to. in the early 2000's, there were two companies making rockets
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that launched satellites. the two companies were boeing and lockheed, and they competed with one another, but in the early 2000's -- and i don't understand why -- they made an argument to the department of defense that the nation would be better off if they merged the two companies into one company and then provided the rockets to launch satellites to defend the united states and collect information. they argued that if they work together, it would cost less, and they merged. with the approval of the department of defense, they continued to bid on satellite launches. and what happened was a good thing and a thing that was not so good. what was good is their product was very reliable. they launched satellites with great reliability, and that is of course what america and its national defense requires. the bad part is the costs went
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through the roof. up about 65% over this period of time since they created this united launch alliance, costing federal taxpayers about $3 billion more for launches than it did in the past. so they argued that they would eliminate competition and provide reliability, they did, but the costs went up dramatically. then a new player arrived on the scene, spacex, associated with elon musk, a name that is well known in america. they decided to get in the business. they were going to build rockets and launch satellites, too. naturally, the united states of america said be my guest, but prove you can do this in a way that we can count on you because when we need a satellite launched to collect information, we want to make sure it's successful. spacex over the years improved,
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evolved and developed the capacity to launch satellites, to the point where nasa, for example, the national aeronautics and space administration, used spacex rockets successfully. it reached a point where the department of defense said to spacex you are capable and will be certified to compete now for department of defense business, and that is to the credit of spacex that they reached that point. i thought this was an exciting development because once again we were going to have competition between the united launch alliance, the old boeing-lockheed merger, and spacex, the new company. the owner of spacex said to me and said publicly we can do this for a fraction of the costs to american taxpayers. what i did was invite the recess of both -- the c.e.o.'s of both
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companies to come to my subcommittee when i chaired the defense subcommittee in 2014. no one had quite seen a hearing like this before. we put the c.e.o.'s of both companies at the table at the same time and we asked them questions about their operations, their reliability, the cost, their projections for the future. then at the end of this hearing, i said to the c.e.o.'s of each of these companies i want to do something that's a little unusual. i want to offer to each of you the opportunity, if you wish, to submit ten questions to the other c.e.o. that you think should be asked and perhaps we didn't, and so they did. it was a complete record and a good one. and it really for the first time showed me that we were moving to a new stage in rocket science and capacity that could serve the united states by keeping us safe and keeping the costs down, and that, of course, should be our goal. then there was a complication.
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vladimir putin of russia decided to take aggressive action in invading georgia and ukraine and other actions by him that we considered confrontational tended to freeze up the relationship between the united states and russia. why is that important? it's important because the engine being used by the united launch alliance to launch america's defense satellites was an engine built in russia. and so people started saying why in the world are we giving russia and vladimir putin the opportunity to sell rocket engines to the united states? and secondly, why would we want to be dependent on russia for rocket engines? so the debate started moving forward -- how do we exclude the russians from building the engines and still have competition between these two companies?
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and that is what brings us here today. we were trying to find the right combination to bring competition and reliability without engaging the russians. now, everyone in congress knows we have authorizing committees and appropriations committees. the senior senator from arizona is the chair of the defense authorizing committee, the armed services committee, and i have been chair now and am the vice chair of the defense appropriations subcommittee. the senior senator from arizona started including provisions in the authorizing bill, saying that we could not -- the u.l.a., the united launch alliance, could not use russian engines to launch satellites and compete for business using those engines in the united states. and so the air force came to see
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me. first, i might add, a letter was sent when this provision was added in the defense authorization bill, a letter was sent in may of this year, signed by ash carter, the secretary of defense, and james clapper, the director of national intelligence, suggesting that this exclusion of russian engines so quickly could cause a problem, in terms of the availability of missiles to launch satellites as we need them. the limitation that was put in by the defense authorization committee as to the number of engines that could be used would be quickly depleted, and the air force and the department of defense and our intelligence agencies said that may leave us vulnerable, so they asked the senator from arizona to reconsider that provision. he did not. if anything, the language that came out of conference on this provision really made it even more difficult for the united launch alliance to consider
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using a different type of engine. i might adhere they don't have an alternative engine to the russian engine. united launch alliance uses it now. we've said to them develop an american engine, and i stand behind that, and they have told us it will take anywhere from five to seven years for that to happen. i understand this is a complex assignment. we want them to get it right. it seems like a long time, but it really points to the dilemma we face. if the united launch alliance cannot use -- cannot bid for work with the department of defense using a russian engine, they don't have an alternative engine to bid with. at that point then, spacex becomes the sole bidder, the monopoly source for engines. we have tried to move from u.l.a. as a monopoly source sole bidder to competition, and now by injecting this prohibition against russian engines beyond a certain number, we're getting
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back to the days again of a sole bidder. so what we have allowed in this omnibus appropriation bill is language which gives one year of flexibility to the department of defense when it comes to bidding for these satellite launches, and of course it means that the united launch alliance will be using russian engines for that bidding. now, the senator from arizona came to the floor and spent most of his time talking about the aggression of russia and the aggression of vladimir putin and how we need to be strong in response. back in the day when our relationship was more constructive, the senator from arizona and i actually traveled to ukraine, i agree with him about the aggression of russia and mr. putin and why the united states needs to be strong in response, but we've got to be careful we don't cut off our nose to spite our face. if we reach a point here where we don't allow u.l.a. to use a
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russian engine to compete, we could endanger and jeopardize the opportunities of united states needs to keep us safe. that's exactly what the secretary of defense and mr. clapper said in writing to senator mccain. my message is that there is nothing, incidentally, in this omnibus bill that was not discussed in the original bill as marked up. no air drop of language is a slightly different version of the language but says the same thing, that we think there should be some flexibility as u.l.a. moves to develop their new engine. the department of defense has convinced me that it would be shortsighted of us to make it impossible for u.l.a. to even bid on future satellite launches. god forbid something happens to spacex where they can't launch satellites. at that point then we're in a terrible situation. we can't keep our country safe when we should. none of us want that to occur.
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so this provision that's in the omnibus bill gives one year, one year for the department of defense and the air force to continue to work with u.l.a. to have a launch, to have competitive bidding. if spacex performs as promised and comes in with a lower bid for those launches, they deserve to win and they will, but for the meantime, we want to make sure that we have the availability of sourcing beyond just one company, beyond spacex. i am impressed with all of these companies. the senator from arizona raised a point that boeing has its headquarters in my home state. i'm very proud of that. i have worked with them in the past. i think it's an excellent company and does great work. but my initial premise in starting this conversation in the appropriations subcommittee was that we should have competition and boeing should face competition. the insertion of the russian engine issue has made this more
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complex, and it will take us some time to reach what should be our ultimate goal -- quality, reliable engines in these rockets to launch satellites to keep america safe and the certainty that if one company fails to be able to meet our defense needs, there's an alternative supplier. that, to me, is the best outcome possible. mr. president, this section 8045 of the department of defense appropriations act is really critical to our national security in launching satellites into space. we've got to assure the department of defense and our defense agencies can put critical satellites in orbit when needed. we've got to make certain that the cost of these launches is competitive so that taxpayers end up getting the best outcome for the dollars they put into our national defense. we've got to generate competition to drive down costs, and we've got to bring to an end
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our reliance on russian manufactured rocket engines. i wish that were not the case. i irish that our relationship with russia was positive in every aspect, but it's not, and i join with virtually all of my colleagues in believing that the sooner we move away from russian-made engines to american-made engines in competition, the better for us and the better for our nation. there's no doubt that our omnibus appropriation bill recognizes the need to end our reliance on russian engines, and we actually put our money where our mouth is. we added $143.6 million on top of the $84.4 million requested by the president to accelerate the development of a new rocket engine. this amount is $43.6 million more than the $100 billion authorized by the defense authorization committee. so we are making certain that we are going to end this reliance on russian engines. the question is how we manage
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the space launch through several years of launches before we have that engine. we need to do it without jeopardizing our national security. the general provision which i referred to allows for space launch competition in 2016 without regard to the source of an engine. it will permit real competition on four missions in 2016, and it will avoid trading one monopoly for another. i think i've explained how we've reached this point. i think there is good faith on both sides. i don't question the motives of the senior senator from arizona. i hope he doesn't question mine. what we need to make certain of is that we move toward a day when america is safer and that the money spent by taxpayers is well spent. and, mr. president, at this point, i yield the f


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