tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN December 9, 2020 5:59pm-7:04pm EST
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. the presiding officer: is the senate presently in a quorum call? the presiding officer: the senate is. mr. whitehouse: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you, mr. president. i mentioned recently in one of these speeches that an identity laundering group called donors
trust decided to do a letter to the editor of my home state paper. asserting that they were just as innocent as newborn lambs. the center for media and democracy has recently obtained the i.r.s. form 990 for calendar 2019 for this little lamb donors trust, and it has some fascinating findings. donors trust took in a total of $312 million in donations in 2019, nearly a third of a billion dollars up from $198 million in 2018. of that more than two-thirds came from two huge donations,
two. one for $150 million and another for $69 million. out of $312 million they received, $219 million came in two donations. and both of the donations were anonymous. now, who makes anonymous donations of that size? most people making a donation that big want their name on the building at the university. what is going on? who has that kind of money to give away and a desire to hide themselves. one wonders. donors trust gave out $162
million in grants in 2019, mostly to right-wing groups. this is up from 14 -- $142.3 million in 2018 i probably should not say that donors trust gave them out but rather that they transmitted the funds for the anonymous doarchors -- donors because a donor can tell donors trust where the money is to go. donors trust then provides the expedient service of hiding the donor's identity. so where did this anonymous money go? well, grants of interest include $7 million to the federalist society. one year, $7 million up from last year's $5.9 million. yes, this is the same federalist
society that has selected judges and justices for the trump administration. is it not obvious that big special interests might buy their way to the federalist society judicial selection table with big anonymous donations. when you farm out to secretive private organizations the power to select supreme court justices and the secret of organizations take big anonymous donations, what else are you to expect? it would be interesting to know who paid for a voice in selecting supreme court justices. and it would be interesting to know what business they may have
before the court. but all of that is shrouded in secrecy and anonymity. it would be logical to assume that $7 million bought a seat or two at that table. we just don't know for whom or what their interests were. relatedly, donors trust transmitted $10.5 million to something called the 85 fund, a leonard leo shell group formerly known as judicial education project. who is leonard leo? leonard leo ran the justic justice-picking, court-packing scheme for the federalist society for years until an
expose by "the washington post" made it prudent for the operation to bring in a new face named carrie saab reno. it's a little bit like replacing a burned agent in a covert operation with a new agent. the logical conclusion is that this $10 million is also related to packing the courts with special interests chosen judges and justices. if so that brings the total for that project over $17 million counting the federalist society money, $17 million in one year, just through donors trust. of course once you've packed the court with agreeable justices, you need to tee up agreeable cases for them.
and guess what? donors trust also transmitted $2.7 million to advocacy groups that bring those cases, including the groups that presented to the supreme court janice, the anti-- janis, the antilabor case and shelby county, the antivoting rights case. these are just two of the more infamous of the 80 5-4 partisan decisions giving big wins to republican donor interests, just the kind of interests that have the money to push millions through donors trust and the motive to use donors trust to cover their tracks. when this dark money-funded enterprise is not busy at the
task of packing the court, it's busy promulgating climate denial and obstruction. its been at that particular scheme for years. climate denial and related political obstruction, packing the courts, and electing republicans are the three primary purposes of this dark money enterprise. to keep climate denial cooking, donors trust transmitted nearly $19 million to right-wing local so-called think tanks collectively called the state policy network, a group that promulgate climate denial and obstruction at the state government level and to alec,
the american legislative exchange council which drafts up right-wing and climate denial and obstruction legislation for state legislators. this alec group is so reprehensible that even exxonmobil withdrew its support for it or maybe they just laundered their support through donors trust. we don't know. not content with climate denial and obstruction at the state level, donors trust also transmitted $4.5 million in anonymous money to eight different national climate denial organizations. these include the heartland institute notorious for comparing climate scientists to the unabomber and sending 200,000 fake climate denying
textbooks to school teachers around the country. on this graphic prepared by a researcher into the climate denial enterprise, donors trust is front and center right here, right in the middle of the web, and that heartland institute is right here, part of the network. the other organization it funded is the competitive enterprise institute which planted noted climate denier myron ebell to lead the trump transition at e.p.a. and usher in the disgraced scott pruitt as administrator. on a personal note, i should thank donors trust for transmitting $769,000 for some
anonymous donor or donors to a dark money opposition group called capital research center which has as one of its tasks to feed misinformation about me to right-wing media outlets. i think that's my reward for calling out this whole crooked dark money operation. and wouldn't you know they send out a dark money group to defend their dark money operation. i appreciate the attention and the irony. others in the donors trust dark money creep show include $4 million to project var veratas h cooked up sting videos in minnesota and other states to feed the false election fraud
narrative of donald trump and the far right. also $1.5 million to a beauty called v. dare foundation whose website is a investigator for anti-semitism, xenophobia and white nationalism. i can see why someone would want to hide giving a million dollars to that. donors trust has a tag-along entity that sends a lot of money into the same places. the charles koch foundation. in fact, it's a little hard to tell where this koch foundation ends and where donors trust begins. donors trust has provided significant financial support to the koch political operations major front group through the americans for prosperity foundation. which is here on the graphic. it's like a reunion going
through this research. and donors trust in turn has received financial support from the charles g. koch foundation so money out to the koch political operation and in from the koch foundation. i don't know why the koch foundation couldn't just have given the money directly. it's been reported that the koch network has provided donors trust with most of its backbone. even to the point of being described as part of the koch network. and the donors trust employees have extensive histories within the koch network of political front groups. the center for public integrity reported this gem, and i quote, at a private koch fund raising meeting in the summer of 2010, donors trust hosted cocktails and dessert for a target-rich
environment of wealthy donors. sweet indeed. so when we look at this charles koch foundation, we're looking at something interlinked with donors trust. and sure enough there's also overlap in where the money goes. in 2019 this koch foundation gave out $141 million, up from $127 million in 2018. for the state level climate denial state policy network we talked about, it gave $2.5 million across 13 so-called think tanks. and it gave nearly half a million dollars to that same alec, american legislative exchange council we talked about. other koch grants of note include over $22 million to george mason university whose
role as a hot house for developing deregulatory and climate denial theories is well documented in nancy mclean's terrific book democracy in chains. this $22 million continues a relationship that helped put koch operative naomi raul from george mason into the trump white house and then on to the d.c. circuit court of appeals to do the koch operation's business from behind rogues. and remember those special interests front groups that tee up legal cases for the judges and justices that have been ushered on to the courts?
the koch foundation turns up there, too. the koch foundation has spread $6.2 million around ten separate amici curiae, friends of the court that showed up in the case called americans for prosperity versus becerra and what do you know. yup, americans for prosperity is that koch political operation main front group. such a small world. why would koch political interests want to fund ten amici in a case where a koch front group is already the plaintiff? well, let's look at that case. the becerra in americans for
prosperity v. becerra is the attorney general, nominee for h.h.s. secretary now, i gather. the case is an abstruse technical challenge to how the i.r.s. shares tax information with states. why this gathering of the koch-funded clan of front groups around this little technical case? because the lifeblood of all this dirty operation is dark money. indeed, today our supreme court is the court that dark money built. so the dark money operation sees a chance to enshrine dark money
in the american constitution. the dark money forces that built this court want the court to expand the first amendment to protect anonymous dark money political spending by secretive billionaires and corporate interests. this is the case where they intend to make their move. and it's waiting in the supreme court right now. who knows? maybe it's been waiting for justice barrett. lined up as amici curiae in this otherwise nondescript case in the order of their koch foundation funding are the cato institute -- can't read this well enough to point them out, but these are inhabitants of
this graph as well. $2.4 million. texas public policy foundation, $1 .5 million. pacific legal foundation, $1 million. new civil liberties alliance, $1 million. buckeye institute, $140,1200. -- $104, 100. pacific research institute, $1 see,000. philanthropy roundtable, institute for justice, 584. when you look at the kind of money that's being doled out, i think the institute for justice and the national right to work legal foundation have some cause to complain that they got treated so poorly with such small donations from such a big operation.
the gathering of that clan is not the only clue that something is up. big players in the dark money racket like the fossil fuel titan marathon petroleum and the massive climate obstructer that calls itself the u.s. chamber of commerce are already objecting to requests for information about their dark money operations by asserting that such a right exists. they're already asserting that such a right exists while the dark money schemers are lining up in this case to make that push to the supreme court. wouldn't it be convenient if they helped build a court willing to agree with them and
establish this new right to the dark money influence? mr. president, this whole dark money mess smells to high heaven. why big donors feel they have to hide, why this complicated network to play whac-a-mole with different groups who can show up, why the orchestration of supreme court briefs with groups that purport to be separate, why the whole scheme? it's a recipe for corruption. it prevents citizens from understanding what's going on in their own democracy. it empowers in the worst forces in politics. it is the mechanism through
which climate denial has been effectuated, and it is wrapping its tentacles more and more tightly around our united states supreme court. and donors trust -- that sweet little lamb -- is at the center of the web doling out hundreds of millions of dollars. some lamb. donors trust is a wolf in lamb's clothing. or perhaps better to say, donors trust provides the lamb's clothing that cloaks the wolves so that they can feed more voraciously and anonymously on
figure it's time to clarify a few things that are said about our president. i know that right now a lot of people are believing that we're going to have a change, have a democrat president. a lot of decisions are being made, talk is being made. to show you that there is a big difference of opinion, i want to say a few things about our president, just to remind people. you know, they've forgotten what has happened. now, i know that there's differing opinions on that, partisan opinions and all that. right now my very close friend from the democrat aisle and i are going to hopefullloy have a vote tomorrow -- hopefullloy have a vote tomorrow that will -- hopefully have a vote tomorrow. a significant bill. senator reid and i have an agreement on almost every element of it. we've both come to the
conclusion that it's a tremendous bill. it's one that you really can't justify opposing. a lot of things have been said that are not true. but i want to just mention a couple things. because this is a good time to do it. we have a president who's done things that are just have never been done before in terms of accomplishments, positive accomplishments. i remember two years ago i wrote this little card because i was making -- taking track of all these good things that have happened. and i remember showing it to the president at that time. he read that, and he was very excited about the way that we had imposed it. keep in mind, this is two years ago. if you look at these ten things that this president has done -- first of all, the big tax cut that he had. and, by the way, when we look at the fact that he did such great things for the economy prior to the pandemic, we had the best economy we've had in my
lifetime. the pandemic changed all that. but he did this by looking back at history, and it was not a republican, it was a democrat -- it was president kennedy who had the wisdom to say when he was working on the great society programs that were going to cost so much money, he said, well, if we -- we've got to raise our revenue. the best way to increase revenue is to decrease tax rates. so he decreased tax rates. we all remember that. wow, it worked. and, unfortunately, the president died before he could really take advantage and enjoy the benefits of the work he had done by his tax cuts. but that has been trade since that time and it has worked. but what this president did in addition to that he didn't have just tax cuts, he had regulation cuts. now, if you have the -- i call it the golden day of regulation relief. the best economy we've had in that period of time.
you know, they say that full employment is 4% unemployment when in fact we actually got down below 3%, and that was something that has not been done in my memory, and all these things happened -- and good benefits came from that. there is a difference of opinion between democrats and republicans. we understand that. i've always felt that the best thing that -- an indicator of success in the economy is to see how many people you get off of food stamps and a lot of liberal friends say that they measure it by how many people get on food stamps. but, nonetheless, we've got 5 million people off of food stamps. that's what happened. that's why we had the economy we had. i hate to think of where we would be today if we -- if we had started with an average economy. we started with the best economy we've had in my lifetime. so, anyway -- and that was because of the president.
and the support he had from our party. the second thing was -- i hold up -- now, keep in mind i'm from oklahoma. we're an oil state. and we knew that during the obama administration it was a war on fossil fuels. fossil fuels are coal, oil, and gas. and so an effort to try to get it back into renewables, you know, someday we may have the development of renewables. they are a not there now, in spite of what the previous speaker said. they're not there available now. so what this president did was he stopped the war on fossil fuels. now, as a result of that, we had -- and this is the first two years -- we had a 277% growth in crude exports, 132% increase in coal exports, and 52% increase in natural gas exports. a lot of that translated into the economy that we were
enjoying. in terms of illegal immigration, i know this became very controversial, the wall. people didn't like the idea of the wall. i can remember a conversation i had with netanyahu when i was in israel once and he said he didn't understand how a modern state can have borders that are not secure. he said, you can't do that. that doesn't work. well, he's now got that done against a lot of opposition. we all know that. and israel -- how many presidents -- every president i can think of in my career here in washington has said we need to move the united states embassy in israel to lem loam. but they do -- in israel to jerusalem. but they don't do it. the water resource act. right now the fa fa reauthorization were both booming successes.
and then in judges. i don't know that it's a record, but in the period of time, the four years that this president has been in office, we've had about 220 judges that have been confirmed, these are all judges that have one thing in common. they really believe in the constitution. they're constitutionalists. in addition to that, he has three of the united states supreme court judges. and then on the repeal -- if you talk to anyone in business in america -- this was a couple years ago -- about the biggest problem they had, it was the dodd-frank effort. that was overregulation of business and industry. so he relaxed those rules. that gave a lot of the prosperity, the reason for the economy that we have today. and the record employment that he has given us of 157 million jobs. but this is back two years ago. now, i would say that, if you single out one thing -- i don't say this critically of the obama
administration. we all have different priorities, and i've considered president obama to be a friend. however, his top priority was not the strong national defense. he had other priorities, we all know that. as a result of that, if you will take the last five years, that would have been from year 2000 to 2010 to 2015, in the last five years, he reduced the funding of the military by 25%. it's never been done before. but that's something that this president came in and immediately -- and i chair the committee so i'm very -- i was very much involved in this, but we ended up with all these things lifting that and putting it back in the position that it should be. now, this is interesting because somebody reminded me, this john
bonzo reminded me this morning, he said what you ought to do is get a list of these things that happened since two years ago. real quickly, just saying identifying china as the number one adversary in the n.d.s., national defense system, which has worked very successfully. that's a program that's put together by six republicans, six democrats, all experts in the field. talking about national defense, and he stuck with that and has identified china for the problems that they are giving us right now. he has -- he had new investments in the future. hypersonics is a good example. after the last administration, china and russia both surged ahead in their research on hypersonics. that's one of the most recent developments of modern equipment, and that has worked. we're now -- we're not quite there yet, but we're catching up
in the signer world. he's chance -- in the cyber world. he's advancing it in that area. and as far as the terrorist leaders, baghdadi and soleimani, both of them were considered to be the worst terrorists in the -- on the planet, and he has taken both of them out. he established the space force. the space force is something that we really needed to do because not so much that we were behind in anything, but the fact that our competition, russia and china, were in their particular space forces, and we wanted to make sure everybody knew and our partners knew we were right there with them. and of course they eliminated the widows sanctuary and the abraham accords. this is really interesting because it's not just the -- we have arab countries right now that are working closely with israel. this hasn't happened before. it is being -- the u.a.e. is right now working on -- with
them, and the israelis didn't have to give up anything. so that's a major advancement that we enjoy. then of course one of the issues we're working on right now is on these arms sales. we feel that we need to be selling arms to our allies, and we want to make sure the whole world knows if you're a loyal friend of ours, we want to make sure that we do for them what we should be doing for them. during that time frame, he rescued 55 hostages in 24 countries. that is a big deal. so anyway, with all these things that have been going on and getting tough -- i know people are upset with his attitude towards nato. he believes in nato, but he believes that the partners in nato need to start carrying their fair share, and it worked. it increased their share by about $130 billion. that's something that when you talk to real people -- get out
of washington and you talk to people on the street and say why are we in nato when they are not carrying their end of it, that's all changing. well, anyway, that's what this president has done, but there is one thing that is happening that i think is maybe the most significant thing that this president, the president has accomplished. he came out with something. i don't know who thought of the word, warp speed, because i have had a hard time remembering that. i have to write it down because i forget it. he came out with something where a general perna is a real expert and has been monitoring what is going on and getting the medical equipment necessary to defeat this thing that we have been under now for almost a year, and he said -- keep in mind, this is back in june. in june, he said by year-end, by december, maybe as early as november, but by december, we're going to have the decision made
and have a way to stop the pandemic that has been plaguing us for so long. and you know, we had a hearing and the chair knows this. he was in attendance at that hearing. we looked at the things that general perna were coming up with that showed us conclusively that we're going to have a vaccine that was going to work by year-end, and then it would take about three fronts after that to get the distribution going. so we're talking about having this thing over by april. now, the interesting thing, that happened in january -- in june, and yet, that is still today -- it's a -- we're right on schedule for that to happen. so my fellow senator from oklahoma, james lankford, gave a speech yesterday. it was fascinating. it took a long time to do it, but he went into all of the
indicators that were out there. you come to the conclusion, this plague is going to be over, and we're going to be able to get back to normal. that would be certainly good. so i just want to mention that those things are happening, and those things are things that were on behalf of our president. there he is out there, a lot of people. i have never seen the media turn against someone like they have our president. so people don't even know these good things. i'm hoping we can get this out so that people will be aware of it. now back to the bill that we're going to have, i know that my partner is the ranking member on the armed services committee, is going to want to be heard concerning some of the great things that we're going to be doing in that bill. i will be doing the same thing tomorrow morning to try to get out. so this is a bill that we can all be proud of. i have never seen it misrepresented so much as this bill has been misrepresented. and with that, i'm anxious to
hear my partner talking, and i will yield the floor. mr. reed: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. i also want to thank the chairman for his extraordinary leadership in getting us to this point. for 59 years straight, we have passed the national defense authorization act, and i think honestly without the chairman's leadership, we would have failed this year, so he is owed a great debt of gratitude by all of us and appreciation, particularly from the men and women of the military. let me speak a bit about this year's bill, the william m.mac thornberry national defense authorization act for 2021. we reached a conference committee report which was fair and bipartisan. in fact, i think the best testimony of that was the vote last evening by the house of representatives. 335 to 78 with one member voting
present. that is by definition bipartisan, substantive, overwhelmingly supported by both sides as a fair, and not only fair but extraordinarily beneficial piece of legislation to the country. you don't get that vote on something that's partisan and narrowly defined and divisive. this bill is bipartisan. again, exhibit a, the vote last night in the house of representatives. we passed it for 59 years. there should be no exception this year. this is the 60th, and i hope we complete that, and i expect we will complete that tomorrow. and indeed, this whole effort like everything else in this country has been twisted and exacerbated by the covid virus. we have to deal with that.
but we recognize that despite all the complications, despite all the issues that come before us, one of our most important constitutional duties is to provide for the security of this nation and provide for the men and women who wear the uniform in the united states. this bill does that. this important bipartisan legislation enhances our national security, strengthens military readiness and defense capabilities. it protects our forces and their families, and it supports the defense industrial base. this bill authorizes the active and reserve component end strength necessary to meet national defense objectives, provide a 3% across-the-board pay raise for the troops, and authorizes a number of bonuses, special, and incentive pay authorities necessary to retain and recruit the highest quality individuals for military service. the conference report, as i indicated, passed by an
overwhelming margin in the house, and i hope and believe we'll have that same outcome tomorrow in the senate. despite everything this bill does to bolster our national security, there have been threats to veto the bill by the president. that is his prerogative as president of the united states, but our responsibility and our prerogative is to pass legislation which is sound, we hope bipartisan, and serves the needs of the nation and particularly in this case the troops, and i believe we've done that. there has been some discussion by the president of repeal of section 230 of the communication decency act of 1996. obviously, that's not in our jurisdiction. it is a complicated issue to simply at the end of this process stick it in. it does a great disservice to the committees of jurisdiction, as well as to the complexities involved in taking away a major
factor in the operation of social media companies all across this country. and so once again i think it was wise to resist trying to insert that section 230 into the bill. indeed, our national security and our troops should not be held in a sense hostage to a very specific business concern, and our legislation does not do that. as i mentioned a minute ago, the prices affecting every citizen is an expo nonessential spread of the covid-19 virus. if you add the families and defense department civilians, the number infected is over 48,000. these infections undermine our readiness, including the ability to train and to deploy safely. to respond to this health crisit
serious crisis we have faced in 100 years with respect to a pandemic -- the conference agreement requires the department to develop a strategy for pandemic preparedness and response, maintain a 30-day supply of personal protective equipment, and to have the capability to resupply such equipment rapidly and review the military health system's response to covid-19. the conference agreement also requires the creation of a registry of tricare beneficiaries diagnosed with covid-19 and provides transitional health benefits for national guard members and their families. i can't think of a more timely and necessary provision than this provision in our legislation which addresses this pandemic that faces us today. now, there has been one very high profile -- there are several high-profile, but one high-profile issue debate
surrounding the bill this year, and that's the conference agreement including the senate provision renaming military installations that are named after confederate leaders. this provision establishes a commission to make recommendations for the renaming or removal of names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the confederacy or any person that served voluntarily with the confederacy. the provision also requires the secretary of the defense to rename and implement the commission's plan within three years of enactment. now, i know the president recalls this, but this passed our committee by voice vote with one, i recall, objection by the senator from missouri. it came to the floor, and there were some attempts to make changes, but changes were not made. the bill passed overwhelmingly. i believe over 80 votes, including the precise language that is in this conference
report. so we went from committee to the floor to the conference with the same language that was not objected to significantly by anyone. i think that should be pointed out. and the senior department officials at the department of defense are all open to changing these dates. there is bipartisan support on this issue, and i think it is something that will be implemented and will be appropriately implemented. the conference agreement also includes a number of provisions aimed at including diversity and inclusion within the department of defense and services, including the creation of a chief diversity officer within the department and inclusion of programs of the department to respond to white supremacists, extremists, and criminal gang activity within the armed forces. and i say with some sense of remorse and regret that unfortunately there are some --
i don't think significant numbers, but some of these individuals, and we have to respond to them, and we are responding to them. the conference report also includes the elijah cummings antidiscrimination act of 2020 which enhances antidiscrimination employee protections for federal workers. also the conference agreement strengthens the department's civilian workforce by including technical fixes and improvements of the paid parental leave program authorized in last year's defense bill. as the president recalls, last year was a major break through giving federal ploifees the incent -- employees the incentive of paid parental leave and it'sen extremely well received. now we've made sure no one has been left out. we are all, i believe, disappointed that as we look at the record of all the services dealing with sexual assault in the military, that they have not made the progress that i think we all deem necessary.
now, to reduce barriers and encourage victims of sexual assault to report that they were assaulted, the conference report requires the secretary of defense to establish a safe to report policy that would allow victims to report a sexual assault without being punished for minor misconduct related to the assault. now, we're also concerned about the issue of domestic violence affecting our military families. the conference report requires a contract with a private sector independent entity to assess the department of defense's domestic violence program and to recommend improvements to enhance the prevention of and response to domestic violence in the military. now, let me turn to the requirements of specific military services. the conference report supports a number of programs necessary for the modernization, including robust funding for the army's future vertical lift program and long-range precision fires. for the navy and marine corps,
the bill would add roughly $3 billion to authorize a number of unfunded priorities identified by the chief of naval operations and the commandant including funding for the c.n.o.'s top unfunded priority and the current multi-year procurement program. it also mandates changes in the execution of shipbuilding and unmanned system development program, changes that should instill more rigor and discipline within the navy's efforts. with respect to the air force, 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 aircraft or cost of services, all the services which 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 course of the f-35 program. now, turning to science and
technology, i'm pleased that the bill increases funding for important research activities such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing. it also includes several provisions that strengthen our domestic manufacturing and industrial base, including in critical sectors such as microelectronics, pharmaceuticals, and rare earth materials. the conference report adopts a large number of recommendations from the cybersecurity solarium commission which was cochaired by senator king. i must applaud him for his extraordinary work. they did a remarkable bit of work. senator king and his colleagues in the senate and the house of representatives. the conference report established the national cyber director position within the executive office of the president to provide national leadership for cybersecurity which cuts across many agencies and jurisdictions. which is one of the key recommendations but we have many more recommendations included in the report. now, as we turn and look at the
world outside the united states, particularly with regard to russia and europe, the conference report enhances our ability to deter russian aggression, maintain strong support for the ukraine, and affirms our commitment to the transatlantic partnership by calling for a strong u.s. force posture and capabilities in germany. the conference report also expands sanctions on entities engaged in the construction of the nord stream 2 pipeline and a requirement to impose sanctions under the countering america's adversaries through sanctions act, caatsa, on turkey for its purchase of the russian s-400 air defense system. turning to china, our other major adversary and as the chairman pointed out, the two mayor major fee -- major features in the new national defense strategy authored under the guidance and direction of president trump, turning to china the bill established the pacific defense initiative, a
new authority for the department of against modeled after the european deterrence and additional $150 million in funding. i give credit to the chairman because it was his idea and asked me to participate with him. but it is a great recognition of the world as it exists today. china in an adversarial position. and we responded to it. i believe these are one of our strongest bills yet on countering a threat that china posed to the united states and our partners and ally, including india, taiwan and other countries in the region. now, with respect to countering the continued threat posed by isis, the conference report extends the iraq and syria train and equip programs at the request of funding level while ensuring appropriate congressional oversight of the use of such funds. specific to iraq, the conference report continues efforts to normalize security assistance to iraq by transitioning funding to enduring authorities and not
other temporary expedience we've been using over the last several years. many years frankly. for afghanistan, the bill extends the authority of train and equip afghan security forces and enhances congressional oversight. it requires an assessment of the progress such as anticorruption, recruitment retention of security forces and commitments made by the afghan government in support of intraafghan negotiations. it also includes restriction on funding to reduce u.s. forces in afghanistan until the administrator submits an assessment of the impact of such actions on u.s. security interests. in addition, the bill includes a provision to enhance congressional oversight of the administration's negotiations with the taliban to ensure the taliban is in compliance with the commitments made on february 29, 2020, and to address current and projected threats to the homeland emanating from afghanistan.
the key commitment is that we would be able to maintain a counterterrorism presence that would be adequate and sufficient to suppress any threat emanating from afghanistan. and that has to be confirmed. and we're still waiting for that confirmation. i'm also pleased that the conference agreement includes several provisions collectively known as the u.s.-israel security assistance act to extend foreign assistance, cooperative development programs, and other support to israel. these provisions demonstrate our unwavering commitment to israel. now, turning to our nuclear triad, the conference report authorizes the president's request to continue the modernization of our nuclear deterrent which is quickly nearing the end of its life and the president recognizes that very precisely. the conference report will also ensure the continuation of much-needed modernization efforts, continue to rebuild our aging national nuclear security administration infrastructure,
and the conference does not support additional testing as the directors of our weapons labs have assured us and certified that it is not necessary at this time. mr. president, the bill before the senate is bipartisan with strong support in congress. this bill is critical to our national security but more importantly, it provides the resources our troops need in order to do their job and return home safely to their loved ones. any discussion of veto on this bill undermines the commitment, i believe, that we've made to our service members and should be off the table. vetoing this bill would send the wrong signal to our forces, our allies, and our adversaries at exactly the wrong time. it is not necessary and it should be avoided. let me close in a way i began. let me commend senator inhofe. he's worked this bill tirelessly and i believe he's been fair and
transparent throughout the process. and as i said before, the reason we have this bill for the sixth -- assuming our vote is strong tomorrow is because of the chairman and several others but it's the chairman. but i'd also like to take a moment to commend mac thornberry. the bill is named after mac. he is an extraordinary gentleman. i had the privilege of serving with him for two years in the house of representatives. he's an individual whose wise counsel, whose integrity, whose decency and dedication to the men and women of the armed services is unparalleled. he's an extraordinary gentleman. i can't think of a more fitting tribute and a more attribute than naming this bill after mac thornberry. now, i have to conclude by saying despite the appearance that we've done all this work, our staff is extraordinary. john bonsell and liz king, the
staff directors did a superb work. and let me recognize my staff, my democratic staff. jodi bennet, carolyn shu dp a, john clark, jerry feldman, creighton green, osca, gary le lad, maggie mcnamara cooper, john quirk, if i own that tomlin, and last but not least, elizabeth king. again, this f.y. 21 national dense authorization act conference report is a culmination of months of hard work. it is a good bill. i would say in fact it is one of the best bills that we have passed in many, many years. and it will provide for our national security, our men and women in uniform, and their families. i urge my colleagues to support it and, mr. president, i would yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
services committee, senator reed, is just -- he's absolutely right. i think about the people that he was praising, the staff people. it's very -- you don't very often hear people back in the real world really appreciating the time and effort that comes from the staff. in this case, the two individuals that senator reed talked about, john bonso and liz king, i don't remember one weekend that they've had off during this whole thing. they just -- they're just workaholics. they know how significant this is. they know we've had a defense authorization bill for the last 60 years. the worse thing we can do to our kids in the field who are risking their lives is not send them the resources necessary that are in this bill to defend america. i ask unanimous consent that the committee on veterans affairs be
discharged from further consideration on h.r. 7105 and the state proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 7105, an act to provide flexibility for the secretary of veterans affairs in caring for homeless veterans during a covered public health emergency and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: no objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the moran substitute amendment at the desk be agreed to, the bill as amended be considered read a third time and passed, and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. 4996
introduced earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 4996, a bill to ensure funding of the united states trustees extend temporary bankruptcy judgeships and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on homeland security and government affairs be discharged from further consideration of s. 2315 and that the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 2315, a bill to amend section 4712 of title 41 united states code to clarify the inclusion of subcontractors
and subgrantees for whistle-blower protection. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 511, s. 3418. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 511, s. 3418, a bill to amend the robert t. stafford disaster relief and emergency assistance act and so forth. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the committee-reported amendments be withdrawn, the peters' substitute amendment at the desk be considered and agreed to, the bill, as amended, be considered
read for a third time and passed, and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i have six requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have been approved by both the majority and the minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. inhofe: and, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. thursday, december 10. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, morning business be closed. finally, billion ting the
leaders' remarks, the senate resume consideration of the conference report accompanying h.r. 6395. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: mr. president, if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned unt watch live coverage here on cspan2. ♪ ♪ you are watching cspan2. your unfiltered view of government. created by america's cable television company as a public
service. i'm brought to you today by your television provider. senator doug jones gave his farewell speech from the senate floor today. he talked about his experience on capitol hill for the last three years. working with colleagues across the aisle and the many issues he hopes the senate might address his absence. before his remark senate minority leader chuck schumer paid tribute to senator jones. >> now mr. president, sadly i returned to the floor today to say farewell to another member who will conclude his time in the senate at the end ofth the term. the junior senator from alabama,ou doug jones. we all know doug came to the senate as a story courtroom lawyer and u.s. attorney. but fewer people know about his more humble origins. doug was born and raised in fairfield, alabama, just outside of birmingham. the scent of a stilt worker, the grandson of a coalminer.