tv U.S. Senate CSPAN July 5, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
then began falling, subprime borrowers defaulted in record numbers. the reason that lenders were willing to make these risky loans and the reason security issuers were willing to fund them is that they knew they would be paid up front. mortgage investors and homeowners themselves would end up bearing the long-term consequences. arrangements like this gave rise to the acronym ipg, why bg, meaning i'll be gone, you will be gone. a watcher for short-termism in the mortgage industry during the boom. home owners responded to rising home prices, applicable terms, and tax-advantaged of mortgage debt to raid their home equity, cashing out to to do more than half a trillion dollars per year at the peak of the boom. meanwhile, financial institutions frequently sought to maximize their lives. they sometimes move assets to the shadowy off-balance-sheet structures were regulation and capital requirements were less stringent. that strategy worked brilliantly until the eventual collapse and investor confidence and market
liquidity forced these assets back onto the balance sheet weather was not enough capital on hand to support them. leading financial companies proved adapt to create new loan structures and funding strategies in the years leading up to the crisis but all too often these innovations left participants with badly misaligned economic incentives. for compensation of loan officers, portfolio managers and bank ceos was typically based on current year loan volume. earnings are stock prices with little regard for the risks that were building up in the system. the most damaging of all, some the largest and most complex financial companies women exempt from the discipline of the market place because their size, complexity and interconnectedness made them too big to fail under the resolution processes in place at the time. the expectation of a large financial companies enjoyed the implicit backing of the federal government allow the managers of the company to book short-term profits while ignoring the buildup of tail risk in here in
a complex mortgage instruments they held. in the financial market chaos that followed the september 2008 bankruptcy of lehman brothers, the expectation of government support persistent important financial institutions, or sifis, became a really good government assistance to financial institutions took on a variety of forms. a total commitment of almost $14 trillion by the spring of 2009. direct assistance to the largest financial institutions easy to short-term crisis of confidence in the interbank market. and our financial system began to function again. the policymakers fail to effectively attack the root cause of the problem, which was the enormous backload -- backlog of unaffordable and underwater mortgage loans that continues to slow the recovery of our housing market and our economy. bailouts result in a host of adverse consequences for financial system over the long term. they undermine market discipline and promote risk-taking.
they inhibit the restructuring of troubled financial companies and the recognition of losses. they keep substandard management in place and reserve a sub optimal allocation of capital. they are inherently unfair to well-run banks. that bailouts of 2008 tainted the reputation of the entire banking industry. and killed at the competitive balance in favor of some megabanks. in the first quarter of this year, the cost of funding earning assets, only about half aside for banks with more than $100 billion in assets as it was for community banks with assets under $1 billion. in the end bailouts violate the principles of limited government on which our free enterprise system is founded. that's why the fdic was so determined to press for a more robust and more effective sifis framework as a centerpiece for the dodd-frank framework that was enacted last summer. titles one and two in dodd-frank authorized the creation of just such a resolution framework that can make that spes solvable in
a future crisis. this starts the door to designate launch banking organization and certain non-bank companies as sifis. and then suggest that you heighten oversight and higher capital requirements in relation to the risk they pose to the financial system. these companies also be required to make a liquidation plans or living wills to shut it could be resolved in a crisis without a bailout and without messing up the financial system. these provisions are designed to restore the discipline of the marketplace to the megabanks, to end of the ability to take a risk at the expense of the public, and to eliminate the competitive advantages they enjoy over smaller institutions. some of the rhetoric and the financial reform debate has been either shortsighted or simply inaccurate. as part of the reforms we advocated in order liquidation of 40 for sifis like the authority which used for years to resolve fdic insured institutions. this ola is expressly designed to facilitate the third of one
of these companies without a bailout which is expressly prohibited by the new law. but what is the sound but i keep hearing about this provision? bailouts as far as the eye can see. we need to spread the word as to what the sifi framework is really all about and what is at stake if we don't see that the next new authority is fully implemented before the next crisis. the resolution plans required under the sifis under dodd-frank will be greatly important to obtain the information we need, to carry out an orderly resolution, that place is losses on shareholders and debt holders which is where they belong. the fdic and the federal reserve are going to need to stick to their guns and insist that these companies simple by their structure is necessary to ensure that they can be resolved without a bailout if some future crisis. that almost likely take place when markets are calm and the possibility of crisis seems remote. once again people are going to ask why now? why are we making such, putting
such onerous demands on private sector financial institutions? and it will be need to be explained that the alternatives is to risk another financial crisis that could someday draw millions of people out of work and record public finances. short-termism is also alive and well in the ongoing debate over bad capital requirements. some banking industry representatives are claiming that higher capital requirements will raise the cost of credit and derail the economic expansion. this is a terrific example of the sort of static short-term thinking that got us into this mess in the first place. there's a lot of recent research that shows higher capital requirements in the range that we're talking about who have a very modest effect on the cost of credit. they will create a large net improvement in long-term economic growth by having more capital, this frequency and severity of financial crises. if your time horizon if anything longer than six months or so i think that's a pretty good trade
off. the fact is capital requirements us-based nephews are mostly the same as those that were in existence before the crisis. the reason banks are not many more not is a combination of risk aversion on their part and reduced barware demanded they have plenty of capacity to lend. large banks have in raising capital since the crisis started and most either already meet the new basel iii standards or are well positioned to do so solely through retained earnings. banks that need more time will benefit from the extended period designed to assure a seamless transition to the new standards, including any sifi surcharge. another dodd-frank is a rule regarding issues of mortgage-backed securities to retain 5% of the credit risk of the pool. risk retention is necessary to get a short and long-term interest in the performance of the underlying mortgages. but given the controversy that has surrounded this rule i have to say i regret that congress also carved out an exception for safe mortgages as defined by the regulatory agencies.
everyone it seems believes that their mortgage should receive this qualified residential mortgage, or q. or m. status, and if this takes them from small print in the mortgage rate that will result from mortgage retention of the connection they're not making is that small extra cost is the price we must pay in the short term to put a little equity behind these mortgages to ensure that incentives are properly aligned and to avoid a costly repeat of the mortgage crisis in the future. we also need solid long-term thinking on other important national policy issues. too often the response of subpar economic growth has been another tax credit or a cut in interest rates that feels good for a while but does nothing to enhance the long-term performance of our economy. deep political divisions appear to have -- a long-term investment in education and public infrastructure that will pay dividends over many years their programs of national service, like the civilian conservation board, once provided job skills to young people in need as they work to
conserve and develop our natural resources. we still see the ccc's handiwork in national parks and forests throughout the country. a sense of pride and purpose in still by programs like this is certainly greater to put a few extra dollars in consumer pockets, much of which is used to purchase foreign made goods. we need to get serious about entitlement reform that will make our system of old age insurance and health care sustainable over the long run. as longevity rises and the baby boomers retire. the longer and healthier lives that most of us will lead compared to previous generations is wonderful and much underappreciated historical development. but would this blessing comes the need to make choices that involve short-term sacrifices. we have to work longer, pay more into the system, and perhaps impose means test on benefits or more, likely all three. our loophole ridden tax system which favors debt financing over equity, and homebuilding over
long-term investments is badly in need of an overhaul. closing the loopholes will result in a more inefficient allocation of capital and allow us to reduce marginal tax rates while raising more revenue that can be used to help pay down our national debt. but some of us will have to give something up in the short term in order to secure those long-term advantages. where will the focus be when this question is debated in congress? reported in newspapers and ranted about in the blogs. in a world obsessed with instant gratification and lightning round debates, we are in dire need of leadership, both public and private, that would change in patience and sacrifice now in return for a brighter and more stable future for us and our progeny. the media plays a critical role in all of this. you report the facts so others can make informed decisions. and you know better than anyone that getting a story factually correct requires going beyond the soundbites to verify the
accuracy of claims. there is no shortage of rhetoric for you to investigate. your average today down to the truth of the story will help the public get beyond the soundbite of the day, and think about the long-term consequences of the policy choices and personal choices that all of us must make. fortunately, there are signs the public is our changing direction at least in terms of their personal decision-making. total household debt is down by almost 5% from precrisis levels while the personal savings rate has risen to its highest level in 15 years. speaking to you today, i am reminded of this advice i received when i took the job as fdic chairman five years ago. it came from one of my predecessors, whom i share many of you knew well. the fdic's foremost responsibly is to maintain public confidence in the banking system, he said. we are the ultimate guarantor of the people's money. today we ensure some
$6.4 trillion in thousands of banks across america. while literally thousands of fdic insured institutions have failed over the years, nobody has ever lost a penny and insured deposits. bill emphasized to me one of the keys to public confidence is transparency. as you would expect, much of what the fdic does and bank supervision and bank closings is confidential as it pertains to individual institutions. but the fdic chairman needs to be visible to the public, accessible to journalists and fully engage in the policy debates of our time. so i took this advice to heart. and as many of you know i've tried my best to reach out to the media, to talk to reporters, and to be a reliable source for the information that you need to tell stories with accuracy and perspective. and i think it has been a constructive relationship that has served the public interest. even at the height of the crisis can easily the worst since the 1930s, you didn't see massive
runs on banks. working together we averted a penny. people left their money in their insured deposit. it was a good example of how americans can still be counted on to make wise choices, to benefit themselves and their country when they are armed with the facts and the courage to consider the long view. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much. so now we will engage in that give-and-take that you develop with the news media grab a lot of questions from our audience. some of them were specifically stemming from the speech, some of them were handed to me before we came in. we have an interesting mix your this afternoon. we have a lot of very focused financial journalist who can really get in on the nuance of the micro aspect of things. we have members i'm sure of the general public. we have some international
visitors, and i think one of the great things about your ability is to speak directly in a way that is understandable. that's not always shared by regulators or politicians. so let's start soda with the big picture. here we are several years out of the financial crisis and you talk about some of the liquid fx. mr. bernanke talked about the risk this week, some of the problems that particularly persistent, seem to be continuing and may raise the risk that the slow down that we seem to be experiencing at the moment process. what anxiety level do you think is appropriate for the public and our policymakers right now as we look out to the risk that we see that seem to be percolating over the horizon on any number of different fronts? >> well, i think these are risks but they are subject to our control and influence. if we take some action and make some decisions. i think with the housing market we still have a low level from. these loans need to be
the industry, this is another promise aligned incentives where a banks don't own a lot of loans. incentive to mitt glit the loss through effective servicing. that is why the government needs to step in more assertively because this is market breakdown. this is much more senior level attention and focus. and in resources and, i'm not sure that is happening right now. >> why is that? >> i don't know. okay. because, we think back several years ago, seems as if hope we could contain the
crisis by focusing on the housing market. and yet, here we are. you talk to foreclosure experts. they can cite a data point and say that is hopeful, right? but nobody is really willing to say, i see the end, anywhere, in the near future. is it because there is sense of intervention fatigue in the public and there is not political will in the leadership to try to make the selling point that is something that needs to be done? >> yes, to some extent, short-termism theme. unless we see a quick easy fix, we don't do anything. during the crisis a lot of capital infused quickly into large institutions that was he easy to do. write a big check. i was proud of the decision-making. i don't regret it. it stablized system. it doesn't fix long-term problem which were the mortgages. harder to go in there and fix the mortgages. that is why we lack the political will if not right
in front of us and not easy to do we don't seem to get it done. >> you referenced the greek crisis is. mr. bernanke was asked this week what is the risk to our banking system if indeed sort of a worst-case scenario mr. thinks out. obviously those process yet to be resolved. what do you think the risk is first of all to the banking system and to the broader economy with respect to the fwreek situation? >> well, again that is the problem that is solveable if europe has the political will to make the hard choices to stable eyes its situation. if it gets out of control it could be get pretty ugly there and here. there is not a lot of direct exposure but certainly to greek debt but there is a lot of direct exposure to european banks. there are obviously a lot of interrelationships between our banking system and theirs. this is why i'm so frustrated about the whole debate on capital right now. we have been arguing for a long time begins something called the basel ii advanced approaches which is implemented in europe in the early 2000s and led to
really quite precipitous declines in capital levels there. basically allows bank to set their own capital, their own risk weights on capital purposes using their own internal models. we have been pushing hard to try to get a leverage ratio which would serve as constraint on capital took low to get the ratios higher, the quality of capital better but also some objective parameters on the use of this, these advanced approaches to stop this decline and get the capital levels up in europe. instead i find myself and others defending trying to have a stable capital base here where i wish the u.s. political will would be to engage in europe and say you need to get your banks, your banks need to deleverage more, higher capital cushions. this is complicating their ability to solve the greek debt situation. many other banks are highly leveraged. >> so you're headed for discussion on this very subject in the near term, right? >> right. >> is it fair to say you are
among those who are trying to set the highest bar for the capital requirements? >> we are trying to set a high bar. i think we are trying to set a bar we think is achievable on an international basis because again, my, we can always do what we think we need to do here in the u.s., the fed has the authority to set capital levels wherever they feel they need to be for large banking organizations. again the bigger challenge to make sure we have an accord that will get capital levels up in europe. i publicly said i think at 300 basis point surcharge, so you have a 10% tangible common equity ratio for the largest financial institutions is something we can and should do and i think it is achievable. >> here is a direct follow-up to your speech. one person asks why do you use the euphemism system, short-termism instead of greed? when financial institutions a bit of speech filing here act solely for profit with complete disregard for consequences of their actions it is historically been referred to as greed and not short-termism, good
point, right? >> right. ist ace good point but i think it goes beyond greed. i think our political process now is also suffering from short-termism. i don't think that is greed. i think that is perhaps more concerned about your immediate re-election prospects than the longer term consequences for country. if you're worried about keeping your job somehow make that turn into greed analysis. that may be a bit of a stretch so i do think it goes beyond that i think greed is certainly a good example of short-term thinking but there are other factors at play and so that's why i use, not so much euphemism. because i thought it would be more all encompassing. >> more congenial in the spirit we like to promote at the "national press club". first quarter date from the agency first year-over-year decline in revenue. first since 1983. 0 interest rate policy hurting banks profitability and by extejt shun should interest rates be raised to
help assist? >> that is an interesting debate. i certainly hear that from a lot of bankers that a gradual increase in interest rates, you know, incremental increase in interest rates could make lending more profitable and therefore provide more incentives for lending. certainly an argument that the federal reserve board are aware of. there is counter argument in terms of economic impact maybe it is time to think about a it a little more. what we've been doing is not giving us the impetus we've been hoping for but maybe something to think about a bit more. >> variation on that question. a couple weeks ago, jpmorgan ceo jamie dimon asked fed chair ben bernanke whether regulators understand the full impact of sort of the forthcoming regulatory environment. and it is a common criticism from some quarters people say well, overregulation making us less able to compete. is there any validity to that concern, that criticism? >> well, i think going back
to capital, i think at that we have done a lot of cost benefit analysis already and overwhelming weight of the literature shows that, 10% i've been calling for is actually moderate range of what studies would justify based on cost benefit analysis concerning payoffs in terms of system stability in terms of reducing severity of the next crisis with out impact on lending cost. i think some of this extend more from the inner play of the derivatives regulation, the volcker rule, and i think on that score that is going to be more of a phased-in approach and perhaps with the, under the auspice of the fsoc, financial stability oversight council we could do analysis of interrelationship of these rules. that is not to say we shouldn't move forward, we should but understanding the interrelationships to make sure the rules working together will achieve the intended outcomes makes some
sense but so i think, you know, by itself, sure, analysis to understand inner relationships is good but i wouldn't want to be interpreted as a reason for not engaging in reforms that we know are needed and certainly on capital. it has been studied long already. >> someone is asking about another downside. no one is asking about the upside. so as you look at the implementation of efforts of dodd-frank where do you see the greatest pitfalls in the potential derailment? >> boy, that's a really good question. i do think this derivatives oversight is very important. that is not an area where my agency has the lead. it is with the sec and the cftc but i think it is extremely important and i hope very much that congress gives this agencies the money they need to implement some very important and needed reforms and derivatives transparency and oversight. the cds market in particular i think continues to be far too opaque for purposes of
assuring system stability and i, i, you know, it was a key driver during the crisis and so i would hope that that, those fund would be available to implement those rules because i think they're very important. i think just more generally again, maintaining the political will, it is, i've been quoted as saying this before there is a lot of amnesia right now and a lot of push back on things so obviously needed like higher capital. and one of the things i hope to do when i leave is try to engage the public more generally on some of these issues and try to explain to them in terms everyone can understand why it is important, why they need to be engaged why they need to be paying attention to what their elected officials are doing this fall, because this crisis hurt us all terribly and i don't ever want to it repeated. >> right. one of the responses was to take some of the traditional brokerage houses and make them commercial banks. woe all have situations in the breadth of these enterprises they're seeking return on investment essentially taking depositers
money investing it in financial markets. does that mean there is increased financial risk there? >> i think that's a lot of what the volcker rule has tried to is trying to address. we don't want insured deposits for proprietary trading. we have insured banks and volcker rule strengthens pebush shuns to insured banks to bank holding companies as well i think he is important given the fact a number of major investment banks become bank holding companies and have larger depository institutions. so i think again with the voker rule the tools are there to make sure insured deposits are not used for proprietary trading and again just another area where we need to have very vigorous and robust implementation. some have suggested going farther and separating out the investment banks and commercial banks i don't see that getting traction here in the u.s. though i have suggested it is part of the resolution plans that the regulators will be requiring of very large financial
organizations that perhaps part of those can show greater legal and financial autonomy between the investment bank and commercial banks to reinforce the volcker restrictions. >> with regard to dodd-frank someone is saying now there seems to be so much political push back and i might ask you a question about that specifically in just a moment, does the debate about the lack of job creation and the status of the recovery have the potential to overtake implementation? >> well there again, i think i would just implore the media to really drill down. when people are just starting to blame financial regulators for a broader economic problems, i'm sorry, but that just, most of these rules haven't even been finalized yet. they haven't had any impact. seems to me this is a an effort to make, blame the regulators for something that has nothing to do with what we're doing and completely outside of our control and in point of fact what the regulators are trying to do now is provide for more stable system so when you get into the next
inevitable downturn, we won't have this severe impact on the real economy that we had in the most recent crisis. so, you know, these are, these financial reforms promote a healthy, long-term sustainable growing, economy. they help redirect financial services towards supporting the real economy through the traditional functioning of credit intermediation. again the capital rules. the higher capital charges are much more significant on the trading book assets, right than they are on the banking book where the loans are kept. so the capital incentives will be for lending vis-a-vis trading and their market activities. so, again, what the financial regulators are doing is supports a healthy, vibrant, sustainable economy not the other way around and again, when you hear this i just hope people will scratch below the surface. >> okay. with banks, some banks anyway too big to fail, financial screams complexed unravel in cases involving wall street billionaires,
sometimes seemingly difficult to prosecute. how will some of these larger banks ever regain the confidence of the american public and if not, is that really a problem? >> well i think it is and this is the why i, i would hope the more responsible members the industry would work with the regulators as opposed to against us and rein in the trade groups and paid lobbyists here because i think it is in their interests. what kind of horrible reputational damage has been done by the industry from these bailouts? it is in their interest to have more stable system. having rules to constrain the excessive risk-taking. weed out the bad players in the industry. it is in their interest just as much as ours. the incontinuesty and cynicism and anger toward the banking sector continues to be quite problematic. so i wish the industry would see it in their interest to work with regulators to get this fixed. >> there is some speculation after president obama was elected that you might be tapped as treasury secretary. you were critical of some of
the policies of both the bush and obama administration in the crisis particularly regarding housing and relief for underwater borrowers. do you think they have listened closely enough to your views and what advice would you offer your successor any other independent regulators in terms of speaking up in such a way? >> well, you know, i'm not a bart of the administration. i'm head of an independent agency. i was appointed in the previous administration. i don't think it is their obligation, i'm not an advisor to the president and it's not his obligation to, to listen to me or give any credence to my views. i speak out when i see risks to the banking system and i see continuing risk to the banking system and hopeful that i have some input on broader public policy decision-making but, you know, the president has the right to choose who advises him. i'm sure he has confidence in those who are advising him. and their frustrations we've had again on the intensity
of effort on the housing problem but, i wish him well and i wish his administration well. >> that was again a very cordial statement. in keeping with the spirit of the "national press club". i asked someone else here recently on another subject who was let's say comparable position to you what kind of grade they would give the current administration with regard, let's say, management of the financial crisis and now in the current situation. let's just say for the administration as a whole, what kind of letter grade would you give? you want us to drill down? >> it's a good question. i'm not going to answer it because i don't want to, look, i'm trying to speak on policy, i don't want anything that i say or positions i may articulate to look like they're pro or connie particular candidate or any particular political party. i try to avoid that impression. i'm afraid if i start
grading president or any other elected official i will get into that. i will take a pass. >> got a couple weeks where you might consider taking another approach. the sec passed rules to require money market fund to invest in assets with high credit ratings. because interest rates are so low in the u.s. the money market fund managers south investment in european bank debts which have exposure to greece. are you worried the money market fund will obviously be hit if this situation continues to unravel? >> well, i worry that the people understand where their money is put. if they have money in mon money market funds they should do some checking and the sec improved disclosure rules. some are invested in treasury rules that don't have exposure to european banks and but others do. first and foremost people should check and understand where their money is, if that is consistent with their comfort level. i think longer term, i. unfortunately folks do think of this money as somehow guaranteed and again that
was reinforced by the crisis when the government stepped in after the reserve fund broke the buck. i think making a float as mutual fund do will help provide better clarity and understanding if they have money in money market fund about the safety or relative risk of their investment. i do think this underscores this is a problem. we meaning fsoc and sec leadership solve sooner than later. >> one of the most trauma tick events occurred during the crisis was the failure of lehman brothers. in retrospect do you think more should have been done to save it to the extent that the government bailed out aig and did it take the experience of lehman to lead to the aig decision? >> that is a, no, i don't think more should have been done to save it. i think we need better tools and, i think, it was, you know, i don't, even looking back at that situation, i think the original problem probably was with bear stearns. i think that created expectations.
it's, we were, quickly say we were far removed from the lehman bankruptcy that we were not, it was an investment bank. has a couple of very small insured banks that actually are still solvent and operating within the bankruptcy. so you know, we didn't have the, direct involvement in that. but, i do think it surprised me when i saw the market reaction because the place was so sick for so long, i thought everybody just understood and they didn't and i wonder if part of that was because the bailout expectation. bear stearns and had government assisted deal done for it and even though its shareholders took some loss they still were kept alive and everybody else was protected. so, you know, hindsight is always 20, 20. this is going forward why we push so hard for resolution authority. one of the other problems of lehman bankruptcy and bankruptcy in general is the way derivatives contracts are treated. so with our process we can actually require derivatives
counterparties to continue to perform. in a ups about they have the right to close out the positions and pull their collateral out and that led to a lot of the disruption with the lehman bankruptcy. i think perhaps the best lesson learned how to fix that going forward what we tried to do with providing broader powers for what we call title 2 fdic style resolution authorities that con provide continuity of operations you just don't get in bankruptcy. >> okay. one question, someone says efforts among republicans now to water down some of the reforms as one a member of gop yourself are you particularly disappointed about that? >> watered down? >> watered down reforms in particular. >> you know, i've been disappointed yes with some republicans. i've been disappointed with some democrats too. i think, you know, regulators will never be glamorous people. we'll probably never be popular people. it is easy to pete up on us so we get pushback. it is not just coming from the republicans. retention rule there is a
lot of democrats push back as well. i'm disappointed in a lot of people. would were harshly criticized after the crisis being asleep at the switch and some of that was justified. but now that we're trying to fix it, there is a lot of amnesia setting in. so i just hope that congress will let us exercise the judgment and authorities that were given to us under dodd-frank. this is what they pay regulators do, to make these kinds of decisions. this why they set bank regulatory agencies and cftc with independent agencies so they can't make decisions that sometimes will be politically unpopular. i hope members of the both parties will let the agencies do their work. >> you're at the "national press club", earlier you mentioned not to let's say pay too much attention to the need for sound bites which was particularly painful thing for broadcast journalists to hear. in all seriousness run for congress in jent tall shadow of kansas and subjected
essentially to international scrutiny how do you feel like you've been treated by the news media? >> i think pretty fairly overall. there have been a couple times where i had to some real issues but, for the most part, i think, we've been treated fairly. and i think in situations where we've felt that a story didn't accurately or fairly present all the perspectives including ours, we've found the press to be responsive to that. so i think overall we have had a good relationship. i hope you feel the same way. we have put a high emphasis on transparency. i think it's very important for the public to understand what it is the fdic does because it hits them directly. it is their insured money in those banks so i want them to understand what we do and i think that's one of the reasons we fared pretty well with public opinion. they understand what we do. they appreciate what we do. if i do say so myself in attribute to all my 8,000 staff we've done it pretty well. >> so you referenced public opinion there.
that played into the let's say, either fortunate or unfortunate aspect you weren't successful in congressional run back in kansas back in the day, depending how you view fate. bob dole has been quoted saying one thing that played into that you were a single woman running for office. just so happens your husband is very close to the podium today and so that is very visible that you are married now. would that mean that the political landscape might have shifted oaf the years and you might be a more political, viable political candidate in the future? >> well you know, scott and i were dating during that campaign and he is a democrat. [laughter] so he woo, he would come out visit me and we would hide him actually. shows how much love this man has for me and i have for him. we had a big bear costume would use in parades. you put the bear costume on so nobody would see where it was. with the care bears. they had a bear care sash and kids love it. so thank you, dear. and, i don't know.
i think, i don't think i really want to run for anything again. the reason is, i i'll tell you i love campaigning. i loved interacting with swroters. i hated fund-raising. i spent half of my time on the phone asking people for money. that was singularly most degrading thing i ever had to do. i think it's a shame what we put members of congress through to do this. i don't know what the answer is but money has really overcome this process and i think also other people that might want to serve from even getting into it. >> thank you. we're almost out of time. before we ask the last question we have a couple of housekeeping matters to take care of. first of all, i'd like to remind you about some of our upcoming luncheon speakers on june 30th. gary sinise the oscar-nominated actor will announce the formation after special foundation to help causes around the military. on july 1st, mr. charles bolden, the administrator for nasa will discuss the nation's future in space and plans to extend a human
presence beyond low earth orbit. we also know that the retiring astronaut, mark kelly, will be at our head table that day. and ted leonsis who made a couple interesting draft picks for the washington wizards and majority owner as well of the washington capitals will be here on july 13th. in terms of would-be formalities i would like to present you with our highly sought-after, national press club coffee mug. >> thank you. >> finally a last question for our speaker, you're planning to write a book after you leave office and we're wondering whether it will take us behind the scenes of all the critical decision making in the financial crisis? will it be a tell-all or is there an angle or message to average people you would like to get across in the book? >> so it will not be a tell-all. i don't like, i think everybody worked very hard in this crisis with the best of motives. there were certainly different perspectives and philosophies and i think it
is important for those to be explained to the readership. that's really what i'm trying to accomplish. also the crisis some of the things that happened after the crisis and some of the problems we still need to work through and some of the reforms very important to enact. i hope very much with this book i engage the general population on some of these issues traditionally been with the banking regulators. because it is really important for people to understand. this is relevant to them. impacts them and important to them and they need to be engaged. thank you. >> how about a round of applause for our guest today. i'd like to thank our national press club staff including our library and broadcast center for helping to organize today's event. there is reminder find out more what goes on the national press club on our website. you can also get a copy of today he is a program from www.press.org. thank you, we're adjourned.
>> sheila bair leaves the fdic this coming friday after leaving her five-year term. fdic vice-chair. martin gruenberg has been nominated to replace her. >> the senate was scheduled to take a week-long break for the july 4th holiday but majority leader reid decided to have senators return today to continue negotiations on the debt and deficit. on the floor military operations in libya. starting at 2:00 p.m. eastern with a vote on moving the resolution forward at okay. the house is -- 5:00. the house is out for the july 4th holiday. lawmakers return to
legislative business on 2:00 eastern on wednesday. the main work this week will be on defense spending for fiscal 2012. also expected, the flood insurance program. you can see the house live on c-span and the senate on c-span2. >> it used to be we didn't release transcripts of arguments. now we release them within a half you are who. used to be audio recordings of the court's arguments were released at end of the term. now they're released at the end of every week. we are moving in a particular direction. cameras present all sorts of challenges that these other areas don't. >> right now on j span's youtube channel, watch chief justice john roberts latest comments on cameras in the courtroom. american history tv and "booktv" vignettes from our local content vehicles online at youtube.com/c-span.
>> when the senate gavels in today at 2:00 p.m. eastern they will continue the debate on use of military force in libya. the senate foreign relations committee approved the resolution last month authorizing the use of u.s. troops in the nato mission for one year. we're going to show you the committee's one hour ten minute discussion of that resolution. earlier in the day the senate foreign relations committee heard from the state department's legal advisor, harold coe who said the president did not violate the war powers act of 19723 in intervening in libya. >> so now, like to turn to
the primary reason that we're today which is the resolution on libya. i've said a lot about this in the last weeks. i think most of you know where i stand. i'm not going to tie up the committee with a long opening statement on it. i would say that we had a good hearing. i thought this morning for those who were able to be there. i think it was helpful that we heard from the legal advisor to the state department, the morning before we do consider this vote. i think he clarified the legal position and the reasoning for some of the administration's approach to this. it may not have satisfied everybody but i think it was clarified. i think this is the important thing. i would say this to all my colleagues. i know there are colleagues here who believe that the communication could have been better. that the process could have been held better. senator corker is probably correct that, we heard at
the last minute about what our particular rationale was with respect to the constitutional grounding. i think we can agree that we are where we are. i'd like, if we can, to stay as focused and as disciplined as possible in trying to figure out, so what's the best way forward? how do we sort of go from where we are now? i think there were powerful reasons for the united states to join with others in creating a no-fly zone, and forcing colonel qaddafi to keep his most powerful, poet tent and dangerous weapons out of the fight. and if we slice through the fog of misinformation and weigh the risks and benefits alongside our values and our interests which are always at stake, i think the argument can be made powerfully that rationale for being there is compelling.
i'll reserve comments as we go forward with respect to the amendments but i do really think the question today is a fairly fundamental one. do we at this particular moment, when qaddafi is bunkered down in tripoli and when yesterday the international criminal court issued a arrest warrant for him on krigs charges of crimes against humanity where our forces are supporting a nato mission aimed at preventing more such atrocities do we want to stop the operation? that really what is comes down to. i think there are very good amendments that have been well-thought out. we have worked them through, that can clarify some issues that need clarification, that can help to refine some of the arguments and even some of the limits and i think that's healthy and i look forward to that. so, i personally believe
that the passage of this resolution can be an important step in, we'll certainly be heard by the rest of the world and i want to emphasize that to the members of the committee. what we're doing here today is not of small consequence. and i have always said to the members and think you know this, we're strongest as a country, and we advance our interests most effectively when we confine the -- can find the common ground. i hope we can find that common ground in the course of our deliberations now. so the joint resolution has three critical elements. first it authorizes the president to continue the limited use of armed forces in support of the united states national security policy interests. it secondly provides the authority expires after one year of enactment of this resolution. and thirdly, it clearly states that congress does
not support and will not support sending ground troops into libya. so i look forward to the amendments, and to the debate and senator lugar, i think you have an opening series of proposals. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have a short opening comment. prior to that. i want to say today the committee will consider perhaps the most important question within its jurisdiction, whether to authorize the president to wage war. we do so at a time when the united states is so engaged in wars in afghanistan and iraq and our national debt exceeds $14 trillion. in light of these circumstances and the lack of united states vital interests in in libya, i do not believe we should be intervening in a civil war there. american combat forces are so efficient at certain types of operations and are over the horizon technology is so potent that the use of the military instrument to
right wrongs exists as a tremendous temptation for presidents. american intervention in libya did not come as a result of a disciplined assessment of our vital interests or an authorization debate in the congress. given all that is at stake in pakistan, afghanistan, iran, saudi arabia, egypt, syria, yemen and elsewhere in the islamic world, a rational strategic assessment would not devote sizable american military and economic resources to a civil war in libya. it is an expensive diversion that leaves the united states and our european allies with fewer assets to respond to other contingencies. under the constitution, it is our responseability to determine whether we should be a party to libya's civil war. as a part of this process we will consider the terms and scope of the joint resolution before us today. i'm concerned this resolution would provide broad authorities, permitting significant expansion of the united
states military involvement in libya's civil war. the resolution would authorize the president to reescalate united states military involvement in libya, to and potentially beyond the lead role it played at the beginning of the operation when the united states carried out intensive airstrikes on a daily basis. the resolution would only limit the president to actions quote, in support of united states national security policy interests, end of quote and quote, to enforce the united nations security council resolution 1973, end of quote. this would accommodate much more intense u.s. military action that is currently occurring. the resolution contains no legally-binding prohibition on the introduction of american ground troops in libya. it addresses this issue only through non-binding language indicating that congress, quote, does not support, end of quote, deployment of ground troops. the administration has said
it has no plans to introduce ground troops in libya, strong majorities of both the house and both house of congress, opposed the introduction of ground forces, from all indications the american people do not want troops there. i see no reason why this prohibition should not be binding. the resolution fails to counteract the president's assertion that current u.s. operations do not amount to hostilities and therefore do not require congressional authorization under the war powers resolution. allowing this assertion to stand unchallenged would increase the risk that presidents will conduct similar military interventions in the future without seeking or receiving congressional authorization. the resolution also being lacks sufficient provision for congressional oversight of the operation, their costs, their potential impact on other u.s. national security objectives. i have offered five amendments to address these concerns that have been circulated to all members.
they would first, narrow the authorized role of the united states military forces to the intelligence-sharing, refueling, search-and-rescue assistance and planning support. second, establish a legally binding prohibition on the deemployment of ground forces. third war powers resolution applies to current u.s. military operations in libya and continuation of these operations would require congressional authorization. fourth, requires the specific reports on the libya operations on strict deadlines and fifth, express the sense of the congress that post-war reconstruction costs should be borne primarily by the libyan people and the arab league nations. i welcome the chance to consider these amendments and the amendments offered by other members of the committee. i would like to be a co-sponsor of senator webb's second degree amendment to my amendment on ground troops and i thank the chairman for the opportunity to make this statement. >> well, senator lugar, i
thank you. you served on this committee longer than i have and, pleased to be able to work with you on these issues. and, i'm grateful to you for cooperation which get in doing so. thank you for contribution to these amendments. i think they have been very important. i think there is broad consensus on four of your five amendments, potentially with some second degree amendments. and so, what i would like to do is save the amendments on libyan assets, if we can, to be considered at the end of the business meeting, but if we start with, lugar amendment number one, regarding the sense of congress on reconstruction and stabilization of costs, i'm not aware of any second-degree amendments. senator lugar, if you want to speak to your amendment, please do but -- >> the purpose of this amendment is to express the sense of the congress about
funding reconstruction and stabilization costs in libya. it would provide that such costs should be borne primarily by the libyan people and the arab league countries which requested military intervention in libya. the president's emphasized that our military involvement in libya was undertaken in significant part to response for requests from the libyan opposition and the arab league. for this reason, appropriate that these parties should bear responsibility for shouldering costs to rebuild and stablize libya following conflict. expressing this expectation now will allow these parties to plan appropriately to meet such costs. i urge members to support my amendment. >> senator lulg garr, i will support your amendment. -- lugar. i think it is a good amendment. i'm not aware of any second-degree amendments. is there any further debate on senator lulg garr's amendment? if not, all those in favor say aye. opposed nay. the ayes have it and the amendment is adopted unanimously. senator lugar, do you want
to proceed to your second amendment. >> the second amendment -- >> mr. chairman? >> yes, senator corker. >> it was my understanding because of the nature of my amendment number ten, that at this point it was going to go and then lugar, number two because they are related and the outcome of one affects the outcome of the other. both sides had agreed to that was my understanding. >> yeah. no, senator lugar, if that's all right with you. >> that's fine. >> we certainly don't have any problem with that. senator, you want to go ahead. >> i'm proposing i think it is corker number ten. we had an interesting hearing today and a number of people on our committee were here to be a part of that hearing.
on june 15th something very interesting happened, unique happened and that was that the president sent over a letter stating that we were not involved in hostilities in libya. and i think people on both sides of the aisle have thought that was not the case or at least the vast majority of people have thought, i think in the senate, that when you're involved in bombing military installations and doing what predators do among populations, that that in fact is hostilities. and so my concern, which i expressed earlier today in the hearing and have all along is the precedent that this sets. the president has said that he believes that the war powers act is constitutional. but then what he has done is chosen to define hostilities in a way that is very different than it was reported out of congress in
1973. and so what this amendment seeks to do is to say, that the president, within 30 days, can either state that he believes the war powers act to be unconstitutional, many presidents have done that, or to state that he in fact believes the war powers act is constitutional, and we are in fact involved in hostilities. if we allow this war to go ahead as it is, and allow the president to be able to define what hostilities are, what that does, whether it's a republican president or democratic president, and candidly i think democrats probably worry more in general about republican presidents from time to time, what that would do is allow a president in the future by his own definition to decide what hostilities are and therefore to not consult with congress on this issue.
in the testimony today, many of you were here and heard it, some of you were not able to be here, but the legal advisor, haired koh said the following: because the war powers resolution represented a broad compromise between competing views on the proper division of constitutional authorities, the question of whether a particular set of facts constitutes hostilities for the purposes of the resolution has been determined more by interbranch practice than by a narrow parsing of dictionary definitions. both branches have recognized the different situations may call for different responses. and specifically, he pointed to how under president ford, when this question came up in the maya incident, lee and hoffman, the folks then sort of working on the issue said the term
should not be necessarily read to include situations where the nature of the mission is limited. situations that do not involve full military engagements with which the resolution, the war powers act, was principally was concerned. where the exposure of u.s. forces is limited, i.e., situations involving sporadic military or paramilitary attacks on our armed forces and where the risk of escalation is, therefore, limited and it goes go on. now, it's clear for 40 years there's been a struggle over this question of when do or don't you consider armed forces are actually introduced which is the language of the war powers resolution into hostilities? and i would simply say to my friend that senator lugar's amendment does declare -- i'll read from it, declare the authority for the limited use of the united states armed forces
is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization under the war powers resolution. and as such, is our determination that we're in hostilities, per se, because he adopts that it's under the war powers. but under senator corker's amendment, he requires something further. he asks -- he requires a certification from the president that, one, the president either deems the war powers resolution to be constitutional and acknowledges that hostilities are occurring or the president deems the war powers resolution to be unconstitutional. the problem is, the president has made it clear through his legal advisor and through their own statements, they don't believe either. so you can't pass something that requires the president to certify something that he just doesn't believe when we're
already adequately placing the power of the congress to declare that this fits the war powers act and is hostilities. hard declaration is what matters not further requiring something from the president. senator durbin? >> thank you, that i remember. i think it for the record bears at least repeating how we the to the war powers act over the veto of president nixon. congress decided the president's opinion of constitutionality notwithstanding we overrode his veto, the congress overrode his veto. i think that's something we should think about as we address your particular concern here. there's no question the presidents as commanders in chief don't necessarily want to wait on congress and they're worry what might have to happen if congress has to decides issues of national security. last week in the house of representatives, they made a dog's breakfast out of the war powers act in our situation in
libya because they refused to authorize the activity and then refused to defund the activity. and you can understand why commanders in chief ask congress to get out of the way when it comes to national security when the houses reaches a conclusion like that. i would say if all due respect, senator corker, and i respect the president very much, his opinion on the constitutionality of this is irrelevant. what we have established is the law of the land and we are enforcing it and i think senator lugar's action is very clear and direct that we're saying this fits under the war powers acts. these are hostilities under the war powers act and should the president defy and i hope he does not i would say this goes to another branch of government the judicial branch. we passed the law over the president's veto. it's the law of the land and the president's opinion on its constitutionality i don't think is a relevant consideration at this point.
>> senator cardin? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i feel very strongly that the war powers act has been triggered and that the president had obligation to come for authorization and we have an obligation to deal with this by resolution. and i'm going to support senator lugar's amendment because i think that clarifies the issue and makes it clear that the war powers act, in fact, was triggered. the president should respect that. i don't think we can by legislation resolve the conflict between the executive and legislative branch on this. i just don't think we can't do it. and there may be other options that the president believes other than the two that senator corker has listed in his options. i think senator corker, what you try to do is make it as crystal clear about the war powers but i don't think we can by legislation resolve this issue in this resolution. we may want to revisit the war powers act. maybe that's what we should be
doing. but in this resolution dealing with the libya situation, we make it clear that the war powers act has been triggered and i think senator lugar's amendment makes that even stronger and i will support it, but i think your amendment takes us in a direction that really is not appropriate for us to do. >> i'd just add to what senator cardin said, senator corker, i neglected to mention this, but senator lugar's amendment paragraph b, page 2, specifically states that our actions and he defines what they are, in fact, constitute hostilities. so there's a very specific embrace of the war powers act and of the fact of hostilities. yeah, senator corker. >> so i have accomplished what i wanted to accomplish. i think that the administration has been cute in their response,
and i think it has created a mini firestorm in congress by being cute in their response about whether we have hostilities ongoing or not. i realize the vote will be against and especially in light of the fact that senator lugar has clarified this and that's why i wanted to go in advance of him. but i do want to say one more time that i think a precedent is being set here, where a president by himself can decide what hostilities are or aren't and my sense is, if we let it stand as it is, we're going to -- we're going to have some other issues to deal with down the road that are going to be very much in conflict so i withdraw the amendment. >> well, senator corker, as i said earlier today, i have great respect for your contribution to the committee and you are participation here and your thoughts on it.
i just -- i think that history has shown that this question of hostilities is not necessarily one of cuteness. it's one of judgment. and particularly where the particular categories fall the way they do, and i would ask simply that this record of this deliberation reflect the testimony of legal advisor harold koh so i would put that in the record at this point in time so that that is clear for people who study these issues. and that said, is there any further debate on this amendment? yes, senator kuehns? >> if i might, mr. chairman, procedurally are at lugar 2? >> no, we're not. >> i withdraw it. >> 'cause i just thought procedurally for us trying to follow the flow of the argument, what i took from the dialog back and forth was that many of us agree that it is important to
clarify whether or not the interpretation of hostilities being proffered is being accept and amendment lugar 2 strongly disagrees with that and suggests that we are currently engaged in hostilities and the war powers act is engaged and i think the best path forward is to simply enforce an act. i do think after this morning's hearings there's questions being raised about future conflicts. they are important questions of precedent as senators corker and lugar about cyberwars, drones and i think are worth our consideration once we get past today's deliberation that i think are heavily influenced by the unique circumstances and the unusual facts that pertain to the libyan conflict. >> senator corker i agree with you completely and i think we need at this morning's hearing i think all of us are going to need to spend some time at some point dealing with this issue of the war powers act and trying to
figure out what remote warfare and cyberwarfare and drones and so forth are going to trigger and not trigger and i think it's a very healthy contribution. the procedure right now would be to vote first on the corker amendment. sorry, i didn't hear. i apologize completely. in that case, then the pending amendment is the lugar amendment number 2. >> just a brief statement. i intend to support the amendment and just state even though while i do support it i do continues to have questions of the constitutionality of the war powers resolution. >> we then will vote now on lugar number 2. all those in favor say aye. >> aye. >> opposed nay. the ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to.
yeah, senator inhofe. >> let the record reflect that i voted no on this. >> yes thank you and we now go to lugar number 3. >> mr. chairman of this amendment is to establish a legally binding prohibition on the use of appropriated funds to deploy u.s. ground forces in libya. the kerry-mccain resolution allows for uncertainty on this point. it contains language that congress, quote, does not support, end of quote, the deployment of ground troops. this language is none binding and it would leave open the possibility the president would rely on the authorization contained in the resolution to deploy ground troops. given the violent u.s. interests are not implicated in libya and the u.s. is in iraq and afghanistan, it's appropriate for congress to appropriate the deployment of ground forces in libya. if the president felt it was necessary to deploy ground
troops in libya as some point in the future, under my amendment, he would still have the option of coming to congress to seek authorization for such a deployment. such a future authorization would override the prohibition contained in my amendment. senator boxer has asked that she would be added as a cosponsor to this amendment. i ask that she be so added. >> absolutely, without objection, so added. >> in addition senator webb will have some and to expand my opening statement to prohibit the deployment of u.s. ground forces in libya where post-conflict roles such as peacekeeping. i would also extend the prohibition to prevent the united states from deploying private contractors on the ground in libya. i appreciate these constructive additions to my amendment and i ask members to support both my amendment and senator webb's second degree amendment. >> thank you, senator lugar.
it's my understanding there's two second degree amendments, senator boxer wants to be heard. >> thank you. i just want to thank senator lugar very much for this amendment as some people who follow the action on the floor, a few of us did go down the floor and had a good colloquy with senator kerry on this. and, clearly, senator kerry was very directed and so there's nothing in the underlying bill that authorizes the use of ground troops but there's nothing that prohibits the use of ground troops and i think that this amendment is very appropriate and i'm very glad senator kerry is supporting it and i wonder if i might do this. i'm also very supportive of what senator web is trying to do here not to allow any ground troops and some other operations. i want to make sure, if i could, through the chair, ask senator webb, if his -- his amendment would preclude any type of funding for others to do the peacekeeping work? or is it just aimed at boots on
the ground? >> it would not. and if the chair would allow, maybe i should explain what the second degree amendment does. as senator lugar points out, the attempt of this amendment -- the purpose of this amendment is to provide some clarifications and to the original amendment that senator lugar offered and i appreciate him offering it. it basically states that no funds should be obligated or expended for deploying units or members of the armed forces on the ground in libya for the purposes of engaging in ground combat or supporting stabilization or international peacekeeping operations following the removal of gadhafi regime. there's been a lot of discussion back and forth as to what it really means when we say no boots on the ground. the house as many know voted with 405 votes to prohibit boots on the ground.
but the question that has not really been answered is what happens after gadhafi falls? what do we do? to answer senator boxer's question, this is not intended to address the issue of funding at all. the language which was perfected by legislative counsel says no members for the purposes of supporting these stabilization operations, not funds. but what this amendment also does is to say that there shouldn't be contracts with private security contractors to do those sorts of things but then it lists two important exceptions. one is, for the immediate personal defense of united states government officials, including diplomatic representatives or for rescuing members of nato forces and then in an attempt to separate what we're doing now from what's going to happen after the gadhafi regime inevitably does leave it says if the permanent
determines and certifies to the congress that action is necessary, then he can come to the congress and ask for legislation to be enacted specifically authorizing any further operations. this allows us to clarify really what this debate is about and it allows the administration to come back to us if they have a different look at things in the future. we can't really predict what's going to happen in the coming months. and again, i very much appreciate senator lugar's cosponsorship of this second degree amendment. >> there are some issues that are raised by virtue of that and i'll raise them in a moment. but i want to let some other colleagues have a chance. i'll come back to it. senator? >> senator webb, if i could just clarify, so your understanding of the impact of your second degree amendment -- would it prohibit united states funds from being used to support or sustain multilateral peacekeeping? my understanding from what you just said is no. >> it would not prohibit funds. it prohibits funds for units or
members or private security contractors to do those functions. >> if i could just interrupt here for a second, unfortunately, that's not the way the language would be interpreted, the way it's written. i'd be happy to try to work with you but it specifically -- it specifically prohibits funds from being used for the purposes of supporting stabilization or international peacekeeping operations following removal. that could be interpreted to mean our contribution to the united nations could not be spent with respect to peacekeeping. it's, frankly, just too broad. now, if there's a way to try to narrow that, i'd be happy to try to work with you. i understand exactly what you're trying to do. but i also think we ought to keep our eye on the ball here.
what we're trying to do is come up with a clear and specific authorization with respect to the armed forces and i think if we start reaching too far here in trying to think of every possible scenario, post-gadhafi, we might wind up tying ourselves in knots sometimes just by reaching too far. and i'd be prepared to accept that. i think it makes sense and it ought to be part of what's potentially boots on the ground in the military operation but if we go so far to say no funds can be spent supporting stabilization -- i mean, that can be economic development assistance. >> if the chair would allowed me to respond to that. >> sure, sure. >> we sat down with legislative counsel on this and actually as someone would spend four years drafting legislation as a committee counsel in an earlier life, if you read this, it says no funds for the purpose of
deploying units or members for those purposes. it doesn't say no funds for the purposes. now, if somebody wants to put a further clarification in there, but that is the way that statute would be read. >> well, supposing -- would you accept perhaps changing as a modification, change the word "supporting" to "participating in"? >> i wouldn't have a problem with that. >> so is there any objection to modifying the webb amendment to that effect? if there isn't, we would consider it so modified and then we will take them again in the order that we need to here, which is second degree is the first amendment. i think the court for secretary, isn't it? >> no webb. >> webb second degree. >> if webb's is accepted mine would not be relevant. it was slightly narrower and
there was some question -- >> so once again -- >> well, no, you had questions as to when you were going to accept webb before he came into the meeting, now that you are, that makes mine not necessary. >> i did. i was prepared to -- as long as we were able to revise it with respect to that support and we have so revised it, so i would be prepared to accept it. is there any further debate on it? senator isakson? >> senator, i don't want to be a fly in the ointment. in reading this last night, both your second degree as well as the principled amendment, the thought occurred to me about the deployment of a s.e.a.l. team or the special operation that became necessary, is the exception in y'all's opinion -- that's a southern term for both of you. [laughter] >> is it y'all's opinion that the security of american personnel and/or the rescue of nato forces could be construed to be broad enough to give the latitude to deploy a s.e.a.l. team for a targeted mission to
bring them out or would they have to come to congress to get approval for that? >> it would be my reading of this amendment and also there are no terminologies in this amendment that address national command authority. >> so the answer is -- that restriction wouldn't exist by virtue of this language? >> in my reading of it, it had not. it certainly wouldn't be the intention. >> that would be the same for me. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman? >> senator shaheen. >> can you just clarify the change in language that you're looking for in senator webb's amendment. >> the change in language is line 2, page 2 in the webb amendment. the fourth word "supporting" would be changed to read to "participating in" stabilization. >> mr. chairman, i'm sorry to belabor this i was surprised at senator webb's answer to your
question because i thought that he was precluding the deployment of american troops except in the specific instances of rescue. and what his answer was -- and i'd ask him to clarify it is that you could send in a s.e.a.l. team under a national commander authority which suggests to me that the president could send in more than a seal team under national command authority. so could senator webb clarify that? >> it was not the intention of this amendment to address that part of our national security. >> can i suggest this? so that we don't step in any holes we don't mean to step into. that we temporarily set aside this amendment, that we have staff from both senator webb and my staff get together just to make sure -- any staff that would like to, go in the back room and make sure that we're
agreement as to the meaning of the language and we can go back and we can deal with this with senator lugar's first degree amendment. >> if i understand what senator webb is trying to do, he's trying to require the president come back to congress if he wishes for us to participate in the stabilization effort using american troops. i think that's a reasonable request. but i think that's the main thrust that you're trying to do is say it requires authorization. am i wrong in that, senator webb? >> there's an exception paragraph here which speaks to certain situations in which the president might be able to deploy for the rescue of government personnel for dealing with emergency for nato, et cetera. >> but that is the same exceptions that's in the body of the resolution? >> correct. >> so it's consistent with what we've already put into the body. what i think senator webb has tried to do here is make sure we don't get involved in the long-term stabilization presence without specific authorization from congress. >> i'll tell you what. >> senator cardin?
>> there's another way of skinning this, we always at the end of this process ask for the -- ask for permission of the committee to do technical changes necessary. i think the intent is clear. i think it would qualify as a technical change as necessary. >> senator chairman? >> that's not the question what senator isakson asked. senator isakson asked if the president could send in what appears to be a combat force in his case a seal team with a mission that goes beyond the two exceptions and i heard the answer from senator webb, yes. so it's no longer a question of precluding deployment except in certain instances. it's precluding equipment in certain instances and not precluding the president's authority as commander in chief to send in a seal team, a brigade or more for some combat mission and i think that blows a hole right in the middle of this conversation. >> no, i think --
>> that's clearly not what is plenty by national command authority. >> mr. chairman, can i be heard. i don't get the excitement here about this because the commander in chief can do that every day in the week anywhere in the world. there's nothing in senator webb's response to this that should surprise anybody. if the commander in chief believes it's necessary to send in troops anywhere in the world, including libya, for our national security, he can do that. >> if i may clarify the term then. there seems to be some confusion. national command authority is a term of art for those sorts of things that happened when osama bin laden was taken out. these happen to be a seal team unit but they were under the direction actually under the cia and that's beyond the intent here. i think senator cardin hit the nail on the head. what we're trying to do is to make very clear that this prohibition and everybody keeps talking about during this period
of time against ground forces should continue after gadhafi leaves so we don't end up in the same situation that we were in, for instance, in beirut in 1983. >> and can i -- can i -- i want to second what senator boxer is saying. i think the language here is actually pretty clear, folks. and i'm comfortable with it. it is paragraph a that simply says that the money can't be obligated for deploying units or members of the united states armed forces on the ground in libya for the purposes of engaging in ground combat operations or participating in stabilization or international peacekeeping operations following the removal of moammar gadhafi from government. and during the transition to a new government in libya. it's clearly limited in time, space, operation, intent, and i think under those circumstances, is really part of the overall effort to say american troops are not going to be on the ground in libya and that's the
way it's understood. is there any further discussion with respect to what is now the webb second degree? >> mr. chairman? >> yes. >> i'm going to support the second degree and senator lugar's amendment. you know, it's with mixed feelings -- i mean, i think this underscores what we're doing here. i mean, we can't fight hostilities with 100 generals. you need a commander in chief who has full authority to do what he needs to do. and this thing comes to us in just a messy, messy background. you know, we've got nato commitments we've got to think about. we've got other essential security issues around the world including afghanistan and pakistan and yemen and somalia. you know, we got looming insolvency in this country which gets worse every day and a lack of a definitional goal of where
we're headed and putting these are together and making these constitutional decisions and other decisions it couldn't be in a worse case scenario and background than what we're dealing with here. so i'm going to support it but i've got real reservations about it. thank you, mr. chairman. >> welcome to the united states congress. [laughter] >> are there -- if there's no further discussion, then we will vote on the webb amendment. all those in favor say aye. those nay. the aye have it and the webb amendment to the lugar amendment is adopted and now senator lugar's amendment is the pending amendment. is there any further discussion on the lugar amendment? if not, all those in favor of the lugar amendment say aye. opposed nay. the ayes have it. we move to lugar amendment number 4. >> mr. president, number 4 is to limit the scope of operations in
libya that would be authorized under the resolution. in particular, my amendment would restrict u.s. military operations to search and rescue intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, aerial refueling and operational planning. it would preclude air strikes carried out by u.s. aircraft or armed drones. my amendment gives members an opportunity to vote for a narrower range of authorized actions than is provided for in the kerry-mccain resolution. as currently drafted, the resolution would allow significant escalation of our military operations in libya. this could include a return to the lead role the united states forces played at the beginning of the conflict when the united states carried out intensive air
strikes on a daily basis. i believe that such an expansive u.s. military role in libya is unwise. i urge members to narrow the scope of our military involvement in libya as suggested in my amendment, namely, a search and rescue, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, aerial refueling, and operational planning. that would be the extent of the mission. >> well, senator lugar, this is the only amendment of yours that i feel compelled to oppose. and i would say to my colleagues that even in the house of representatives where i think many of us had some questions about what their approach was, they voted down a similar restriction. they voted it down because in effect this would really needlessly tie the hands of the commander in chief and i think it tells nato, it tells gadhafi and it tells the rest of the
world that we're simply not going to finish the job here. and we're not going to leave in the capacity of nato, the current efforts limited as they are to be able to protect civilians even on the ground. the drones protect civilians. they have the ability to be able to discriminate between who's who because you have the ability to watch for a considerable period of time what is happening before you're doing something. and because of that, you're actually able to do a better job of protecting civilians which was the original intent of the u.n. engagement in the request for nato involvement. i know others are well versed in this. some of you serve on the intelligence committee. you're very aware of the capacity that we get through that. and because we have the ability to survey the battlefield for a long period of time, we can distinguish between rebel --
between gadhafi forces, we can see where people have come from and where they're going and that discrimination gives us actually a greater ability to protect civilian lives. if we were to vote -- i think it's an unintended consequence of senator lugar. i completely understand what he wants to achieve. but i do believe it would tie the hands of the operation in a very significant way and damage our ability to be successful. so i will oppose this amendment. is there any further debate on the amendment? if there is no further debate, i think we probably -- do you want a roll call vote? it's your call. >> yes. >> the clerk will call the roll. >> mrs. foster? [roll call]
>> and let me just behalf of senator udall he is in new mexico where they had the terrible fires, and he was down there last night and was not able to get back in time, but he is doing his business there and appropriately. we now turn to senator menendez who i think -- say again? oh, excuse me, senator lugar? >> thank you very much. >> i apologize. >> it's to enhance congress's ability to conduct responsible oversight of any continued united states military operations in libya. it would require periodic reporting on the costs of the operations and how these costs are being paid for. it would also require periodic reporting on the impact of the ongoing operations in libya on other u.s. and nato military operations including operations against the taliban and al-qaeda in afghanistan. reporting on these issues is not
provided for in the kerry-mccain resolution. given that the resolution would authorize military operations that could go on for as much as a year, and could expand in scope from current u.s. operations, i believe it's important that congress have the necessary tools to conduct oversight of these issues and to know their costs. i urge members to support the amendment. >> senator lugar, this is another excellent addition. i believe senator corker has the second degree, i think, originally senator lugar add 15-day reporting. i think the 60-day. and i think senator corker originally had 15 and i agreed to do 30 and i think that's reasonable for us to be able to have reasonable oversight. so senator corker do you want to propose your second degree and -- >> sure. i will acquiesce to our chairman and say 30-day reporting and i would like to change my
amendment to a 30-day reporting and that's acceptable. >> any objection to modifying the original corker amendment at this time? if not, it is so modified. all those in favor of the corker amendment to the lugar amendment say aye. the ayes have it. the lugar amendment is so amended and it is the business. all in favor of lugar amendment number 5, aye. oppose nay? the ayes have it and the amendment is adopted. thank you, senator lugar. now, i think we do proceed to senator menendez's amendment. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is amendment number 6 which i've asked unanimous consent to modify basically narrowing the reporting requirements by eliminating section c line 6 to 13.
this amendment is pretty simple. and i would hope we would have the support of all of our colleagues. on december 21st, 1988, pan am 103 exploded over lockerbie scotland. 12 years later, the individual who was convicted of conspiracy for planting the bomb that brought down the flight was sent to serve a life sentence in august of 2009, he was released on compassionate grounds by the scottish government who said he has less than three months to live today approaching two years he remains live and in tripoli. these families have been searching for justice and for answers for more than 20 years. and the rupture of the gadhafi government presents a real opportunity to learn who ordered the bombing. who collected the intelligence to carry out the plan? who made the bomb and in
addition to the bomber who bears responsibility for this and other heinous attacks and who should be brought to justice so does three things. it requires the president to continue many investigative activities into the bombing of pam am 103 and other terrorist attacks attributed to the government. the president urged the transitional national council and any successor government of libya to cooperate and participate in the investigation and it states lastly, that the president shall consider the cooperation of any successor government of libya with respect to the investigation when making the distribution of property and u.s. assistance and it has a more narrowed reporting requirement. i think that justice dictates it and it is our opportunity to try to get justice for the families of these american citizens and i hope we can have the support of the full committee. >> senator menendez, i do think it's an excellent amendment. i don't think anybody has been more diligent than you have been
in raising the appropriate questions and seeking out accountability on this topic and i think a lot of people thank you for it. i do. and i join with you and thanking with the modification and the limitation i think it's a good amendment. i will support this amendment. is there any further debate on this amendment? if not, all those in favor of the menendez amendment as modified say aye. >> aye. >> opposed nay? the ayes have it the amendment is adopted. senator corker, you're up. i think you have a series of amendments. >> and it's my understanding that this amendment is acceptable to our chairman. if it's acceptable to others but basically it's ambiguous what's the difference between our military and political goals are and what it seeks to clarify as the removal of gadhafi is our political goal, not the military
goal as stated, and i think that's acceptable to the chairman and it just further clarifies what our real role in libya is today. >> senator corker, i agree with you. i think it's a good amendment. it does clarify the goals. i think the amendment is self-explanatory just on its reading. and i appreciate the distinction that you've drawn. i think that's an important distinction and it's one that fits the white house's own definition of its policy. with that said, is there any further debate with respect to this amendment? if not, all those in favor of corker amendment number 7 clarifying goals say aye. aye. >> opposed nay. the ayes have it and the amendment is adopted. i think we're going to ballpark co -- bipartisan corker number 8 and go to 9. >> we just agreed momentarily
ago to have 30-day briefings and what this would do is make sure in all areas of this resolution we receive 30-day updates and again, i would assume this would be acceptable to all. >> is there any debate? if not as modified for 30 days, all those in favor of the corker amendment number 9 say aye. aye. >> opposed nay. the ayes have it and the amendment is adopted. >> number 11, right now the resolution authorizes the use of military force for a year. nato has -- its mission is only through september the 27th. what this amendment would do is state that the military operations are authorized for a year unless nato suspends its operations sooner at which time our operations would also be suspended. it just syncs up what we're
doing and what nato has stated it is doing through its resolution and i understand this is acceptable to the leadership. >> senator corker with one -- let me ask you, if you'd be willing to make one modification to it. as it now reads, because it says on the date of authorization, it is possible for somebody to interpret that as simply being september 27th, which is when the current authorization changes. i think you have to reflect the possibility -- the likelihood -- i mean, obviously, everybody hopes it's going to be over by then but if it isn't, we don't want to have the authorization, the linkage -- you don't want to send a message to colonel gadhafi that's what it's tied to. so i would ask you if you would change the word "authorization" to "operations" on the date that nato operations ends or one year after enactment. if you do that, i think it's unambiguous. is that modification acceptable?
>> that's fine. >> is there any objection to the modification? if not then it is modified. all those in favor of the corker amendment as modified say aye. >> aye. >> all those opposed, nay. the ayes have it and corker amendment number 11 is adopted. senator rubio, i understand -- you plan to offer only one of your three amendments; is that correct. >> that's correct, mr. chairman. i want to withdraw 12 and 13. >> without objection, they are withdrawn. and you want to speak to number 14? >> number 14 -- and i think we've passed around the text and so i would like unanimous consent to modify number 14. and the text i think has been passed on. the best way to understand it basically combines my amendment 14 with senator inhofe's amendment 15 and senator isakson's amendment 16 and it
reads that the president should recognize that a course is nonbinding. the tmc is the legitimate government of libya and it also asks the funds of the regime that have been frozen should be used to reimburse the united states as a nato member for expenses incurred in connection with the operation odyssey dawn and operation unified protector. it should also be used for humanitarian and reconstructive assistance and ensure full payment of awards as issued by the foreign claims settlement commission. those are, i believe, victims of terrorist acts by moammar gadhafi. so that's what the amendment, if adopted, would take amendments 14, 15, and 16 and turns them into one. >> senator rubio, thank you very much. it's very constructive amendment for a number of reasons. first of all, many of us have been very concerned about the issue of the transnational council. as you know chancellor merkel in
germany recently visited and recognized the transnational council. others have suggested that the united states ought to be doing so. there are technical reasons and clear, legal reasons as to why we haven't, which relate to a lot of different things including the behavior standards that are applied to colonel gadhafi at this moment in time that are international law but that said, i think this sentiment expressed by the senate of the united states is an important message to that council. it's a message to gadhafi. it's a message to the world and to our allies we're engaged in this endeavor. and at the same time, i think i raised this issue originally in one of our hearings and we put in legislation with respect to the use of gadhafi frozen assets and the long-term payment here. i think one of the benefits of successful outcome in libya,
when it happens, is that this is a country of 6 million people. it's actually a smaller population than the population in my state massachusetts, but it's an enormous country with vast assets particularly its revenues from oil. and i think, therefore, there's a huge ability to have a manageable post-gadhafi effort but at the same time, our expenses are important. and i think senator inhofe and senator isakson both appropriately wanted to encompass in this resolution some reflection of our need to deal with those expenses. i think they've done a good job of doing that. we've embraced that. senator rubio has graciously accepted that as part of his amendment. and so i personally will support this amendment. i think it's a good one. and senator lugar, i think you wanted to comment. >> yes, mr. chairman, i'm
doubtful about the current value of this amendment for those reasons. that the tnc is self-appointed and unelected. it does not necessarily represent the full breadth of libyan society or all elements that will form a successor libyan government. as has been often commented during our debates, we really do not know who all the rebels are. in addition, representatives of the tnc and areas of libya that remain under the control of gadhafi forces are forced to remain anonymous now. touting their understanding. and their legal complication of recognizing the tnc. doing so could have the perverse effect of absolving the current libyan regime of carrying out legal obligations including compliance with u.n. security council resolutions because they would no longer be acting on
behalf of the libyan state. recognition of a successor government of libya is in my judgment best left until the end of the conflict and not pre-judge before the parameters of the successor government are fully known. and so for these reasons i will oppose the amendment. >> mr. chairman, may i be heard on this? >> yes, senator boxer. >> while senator lugar speaks for them maybe senator rubio had the opportunity to meet with the members of the rebel government and has met and involved them in those. i just feel very uncomfortable -- it's not that i really -- i mean, i like the intent of what you're doing. i support what we're doing in libya, but for me, i just feel uncomfortable. these kinds of things can come back and bite you. that's been my experience in life. when you really don't know for sure. and i think, you know, this administration is looking at all this and they're weighing the
same questions that senator lugar posed. so i'm very respectful of this amendment. its intent. i'm respectful of my chairman supporting it. i do want the proceeds that we do get from gadhafi to go and reimburse us. i actually like my friend senator inhofe's amendment. this one is a little more vague about how we distribute it. unfortunately, i would oppose this unless the senator would want to work with us and maybe try to modify it in some ways. >> senator rubio? >> thank you. on the issue of the transitional council, let me say a couple things. the first is, obviously, this is nonbinding language. ultimately the decision is upon the president also to make the decision what to do here. i think we all irrespective where we fall on this issue share a common goal of this thing ending as soon as possible. and one of the keys of this is ending as soon as possible is convincing the inner circle is doomed and they better abandon him and what he's doing there.
that's critical to that. now, obviously, a lot will have to happen after he is gone one way or the other in terms of outlining the future of the country but many of other nations have already done this. the chairman has mentioned germany has done it and many other nations have done as well. the united states at least a statement from this congress the president should do it will really, really gave added weight to those in the inner circle of moammar gadhafi that he is doomed and his days is numbered and it will accelerate the process of ending this conflict. and so i think it's critically important that the statement like this be made by the senate and i hope i could persuade my colleagues there to support it. >> senator isakson? >> chairman, out of an abundance of caution, i want to reserve the right to often as mine as a stand-alone amendment. >> you always have that right in the event, if not, we can deal with a division and -- or, you know, a separate amendment so i
understand. you're not exhibiting some trepidation about the outcome of this, are you? >> i learned to be insecure is the best way to act so i want to be cautious. >> well, you're now secure. yes, senator cardin? >> i was going to ask for a division because i think there's two separate issues and we could vote them separately. one is the recognition of the transitional national council. the other is reimbursement of funds for the cost of the operations. i support the second -- senator isakson's provisions on the reimbursement of funds for the costs. and let me just explain why i oppose the resolution here on recognition. this resolution is a resolution where congress is exercising its, i believe, constitutional authority when we have troops that are in hostility and that's what we need -- and he should with be involved in that. the responsibility of recognition rests with the president. i would suggest we can weigh in
at the appropriate time but i don't think this is the appropriate time or the appropriate vehicle for us to weigh in on recognition of the transitional national council. so i'm going to oppose that part and would ask for a division or separate amendment so we could vote on the reimbursement of funds. >> the senator has a right to ask for a division. and we will, therefore, have two votes on this amendment as divided by section -- it is, what, section -- not number, but section 1, section 2. is there further debate on it? senator? >> it would be helpful to me as well as i'm weighing these competing concerns the legal advisor for the state department earlier today suggested when asked that the reason that the recognition hasn't yet happened is it strengthen the abilities as senator lugar mentioned the united states potentially hold legally accountable in international courts of the gadhafi regime and i'm wondering whether it has any consequence
for the issues raised by senator isakson and senator inhofe which i support, meaning, securing reimbursement potentially or a settlement of claims. i don't know if it plays any role in that. i agree with what i think is a laudable goal senator rubio has laid out, namely, bringing this to a conclusion as rapidly as possible, sending signals to the leadership around gadhafi that we support his rapid removal or departure from power. but i, frankly, at the end of the day lacking a clear resolution between those two points, i'm inclined to leave it to the judgment of the department of state. >> i'm going to recognize senator menendez, i understand every colleague wanted to reserve their right on this to vote, you know, according as they see fit in terms of the advice this morning of the legal advisor. and with respect to the second part of this, obviously, that is being worked on right now through all the legal hoops and we do have legislation before us
in the senate that will further that. this is a sense of the senate and i want to emphasize that to everybody so it doesn't tie anybody's hands. senator rubio? >> i just want to say this and i think it's important to understand that even though what we do here in the minds of some may be symbolic in nature and it -- it does send a message and believe it or not, i think you do believe it and most of you do believe it the people involved in this conflict back in libya are paying attention to this and it will have an impact on them psychologically in how they behave so i would say just as i think it's important for us to send a message that the tnc is the legitimate government of libya, i think it would be equally disastrous for us to spend a message or for the message today to be that the u.s. senate has refused to recognize them and so if there are still questions and there's any doubt about that, i would prefer to withdraw that amendment rather than have a vote on it to send that kind of message -- which ultimately i think could be overcome over the next few days before we reach the floor. >> good idea. >> that by unanimous consent you
allow me to un-amend my amendment and then i can withdraw amendment number 14 and we can proceed -- >> actually, actually, senator, what i'd ask you to do is to withdraw, if you would -- to modify your amendment to withdraw division 1 so that it is still your amendment with respect to senator isakson and senator inhofe with respect to the division 2 piece and we will vote on division 2. so is there objection to senator rubio amending his amendment in the way i described? if not, then -- senator methenez, are you okay? >> no longer. >> you no longer need to. therefore, we will vote on the rubio amendment as modified. all those in favor say aye and opposed nay. and the rubio amendment has passed. and that brings us now to a vote on final passage. is there any further comment with respect to final passage on
the resolution? if not, the clerk will call the roll. >> mr. chairman, very, very briefly. well, look, can i have unanimous consent to include at this point in the record why we're voting yes? >> absolutely. any statements of all senators with respect to to their votes will be placed in the record as stated live and in full. can i just say a word to all the members of the committee and everybody disappears. i want to express my appreciation for the way we were able to proceed through this markup. this can be complicated. it can be contentious. everybody has worked unbelievably diligently and in good faith to work through the best interests of our country and i just as chair want to express my appreciation to everybody for the cooperative way in which this has been approached. i think it's been very responsible. i think the outcome reflects that. that said, will the clerk please call the roll.
resolution is approved. and hopefully we'll take it up on the senate floor. i want to thank all members for their prompt attendance and good work. the minority views will be reflected in the report and if there is any technical change that needs to be made we'll work it with senator lugar. we stand adjourned. >> that resolution just discussed will be coming up on the senate floor. the u.s. senate approximate
about to gavel in today. votes proceeding on the mesh on the military's mission on libya are set for 5:00 pm eastern today. "congressional quarterly" reporting the debate could last through the rest of this week. the bipartisan legislation crafted by john kerry and john mccain. and now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray.
eternal spirit, our guardian and guide, deepen our trust in your will and your purposes. lord, use our lawmakers as diligent partners in doing your will on earth. may they not lose heart or become discouraged because of the daunting problems they must solve, but each day may they resolve to faithfully labor to please you. help them to be good stewards of the gifts you have given by striving for peace and justice, sacrificing for the needy, and
trancending differences for the sake of the common good. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the presiding officer: join me in reciting the pledge. of al legiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., july 5, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable jim webb, a senator from the commonwealth of virginia, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye,
president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following any leader remarks, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s.j. res. 20. at 5:00 p.m. the senate will vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the libya resolution. this vote will be longer than usual to accommodate senators returning after the holiday which occurred yesterday. but that doesn't mean it will be open forever. we'll be happy to be a little lenient but we'll do the best we can. i ask unanimous consent that john tka*euly from the -- john daly from the state department be granted privileges to the floor during debate on senate joint resolution 206789. the presiding officer: without objection. skwroeup in one of his poems -- mr. reid: in one of his poems t.s. elliot wrote hurry up please, it's time. yesterday this great nation
celebrated its 235th birthday. in those years we've accomplished many admirable things and we've done it together. we've landed on the moon, invented ways to save lives, fought democracy and freedom around the world. now we stand poised to make a different kind of history. for the first time the united states of america stands at the brink of defaulting on our financial op tkpwaeugss. the chief -- obligations. the chief economist has said writing a check for america will be tantamount to writing a bad check. we risk the fate of this country's economy. last time this country was plunged into a major recession, just three short years ago, we took the world with us. when wall street greed caused
near collapse of our financial system, americans across the country lost their jobs, homes and savings, and so did people across the globe. this country is only beginning to recover, and the world with us. but the crisis we face now as one of even greater proportion, without exception the most respected economists of our time said if america defaults on its debt, we'll have the dire consequences here and around the world. catastrophe, they called it. that same u.s. chamber of commerce economist said failure to avert this crisis is -- quote -- "not a possibility." he could not even conceive the republicans in congress would shirk their duty. defaulting on a debt would risk millions of american jobs, halt tax refunds, social security checks, medicare payments and checks for our troops. the depression it would cause at home would ripple around the
globe. some suggested instead of getting social security checks, social security recipients would get an i.o.u. from the federal government. this crisis is not a new problem. it's been around for months. we no longer have months or even weeks to avert this catastrophe. we have days. yet my republican colleagues have walked away from the negotiating table when we're nearing a solution and so close to disaster. why? to protect oil companies, to protect owners of yachts and corporate jets, to protect corporations who ship jobs overseas, to protect millionaires and billionaires from paying their fair share. 20% of all the income earned in this nation is earned by less than 1% of its citizens. it's this top approximately 1% the republicans are determined to protect. republicans walked away from negotiations to protect them. meanwhile the richer getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is
disappearing. middle-class families are struggling to make ends meet. that's why i brought to the floor legislation demanding millionaires and billionaires contribute their fair share to this crucial deficit-reduction struggle. when republicans talk about shared sacrifice, they mean the sacrifice should be shared by those who can least afford it. democrats believe the sacrifice should be shared by the richest, the richest as well. the others have sacrificed too much already. as we debate this in the u.s. senate this week, negotiations with the vice president and the president should continue. invitation to republicans to help prevent a catastrophic default remains open. to become part of the solution rather than part of the problem, all republicans have to do is accept our invitation. the time is here for my republican colleagues to put politics aside. simply put, we're out of time.
but democrats can't negotiate with ourselves. when one side comes to the table and the other refuses, it's impossible to negotiate. so this week we'll debate the solution to this crisis with the republicans, like it or not. democrats will be clear about what's at stake. really the fate of our country and the global economy. we'll be clear about our priority to avert a catastrophic default and protect our fragile economic recovery. we'll be clear about the middle ground we've already found. we must cut the deficit to get our fiscal house in order. democrats are willing to compromise but compromise does not mean allowing our republican colleagues to put the wants of a few millionaires and billionaires ahead of this nation and the world. i repeat the words of t.s. elliot: hurry up, please. it's time.
mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: when we subsequently go into morning business, i ask speakers on the republican side be limited to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, washington is engaged in a debate right now over the kind of country we want to be. the specific issue is this: at some point over the next several weeks the federal government will no longer be able to borrow the money it needs to cover the cost of promises it has already made. so the president wants congress to raise the statutory debt limit set by congress. he wants us to raise the limit on the national credit card. now, what republicans have said is that the only way we'll do it is if democrats agree to change their ways so we don't end up with the kind of situation that
we're witnessing over in greece. and make no mistake, that's exactly where we're headed if we don't do something significant and do it now. democrats so far have refused. instead they're making what can only be described as a bizarre request under the circumstances in the middle what have we all agree is a debt crisis, they would like to spend even more. they want a second stimulus, more deficit spending. in the middle of a jobs crisis, they want to raise taxes that we know will kill even more jobs when even the president has said raising taxes would leave job creators with less ability to hire. these are their solutions. this is what the president came off the campaign trail to defend last thursday. and this is what republicans oppose. our view is that the way you solve a debt crisis is to go on a diet, not a shopping spree.
our view is that the way to create jobs is to make it easier for businesses to hire, not harder. frankly, we don't think the voters sent a wave of republicans to washington last november because they wanted us to raise taxes. they sent us here to restore some sanity. but the president and his democratic allies in congress don't seem to get it just yet. right now they're calling for a tax on aircraft manufacturers because they think it's good politics. it's their cheap attempt at trying to make anybody who opposes it look bad. what they forgot is many of them voted to repeal a similar tax on the same industry during the clinton administration because of the devastating effect it had on jobs. they made the same arguments then. we need to raise taxes on luxury goods to get more money. and it backfired. the shipbuilding industry alone lost tens of thousands of jobs.
now our democratic colleagues surely must remember this. but apparently they would rather have fun trying to character tour their political opponents rather than trying to work out a bipartisan solution that would actually enable to us balance the books. here's the point. washington needs to find a way to spend less. taxing more is their easy way out. they'll start with aircraft manufacturers. then when that's enough -- and it never is -- it's some other industry. then another. and before you know it, you're going after absolutely everybody. why? because it's ease tkwroer find sreul -- easier to find villains and excuses than it is to make tough choices. but most americans know what it's like to make tough choices,
and they want to know if they have to do it, why can't washington? that's why i invited the president over here last thursday to talk with republicans. my hope is that he would listen to republicans and hear firsthand why we think raising taxes in a weak economy is bad idea and what the realities are over here. my goal, as i said on thursday, was to get together and talk about what tofs actually -- what's actually possible. the obama administration said it wasn't a conversation worth having. republicans in congress believe finding a way to redust the deficit and put -- reduce the deficit and put medicare on more secure footing is a conversation worth having. so today i would thraoeubg reextend the offer. i think the best way to solve this impasse is for the president to hear what needs to be done and how we can do it. hear what can actually pass here in congress. he needs to understand the principles at stake here from our point of view.
it's not about rich and peer, not about -- rich and poor, it's about having washington make some tough choices for a change. americans want to see accountability here in washington. they've seen democrats spending trillions of dollars we don't have, and they've seen the economic situation get worse in many respects than it was several years ago, and the facts speak for themselves. since the president took the oath of office, nearly two million more people are unemployed. that's a 17% increase in the unemployment rate under president obama. gas prices have nearly doubled, up 86% since january of 2009. in the past two years the federal debt increased 35%. debt per person has increased by over $11,000. health insurance premiums for working families have shot up
19%. and while home values across the country have declined by 12%, they've clearly made the economy worse. americans -- get this -- they think washington needs to find a way to pay its bills or scale back its commitments, just like everybody in the country does. americans have made enough sacrifices the past few years. it's time for washington to learn to make some sacrifice of its own. so hopefully the president will agree that reducing the debt is indeed a conversation worth having. i think we can do it, but i think he needs to understand what the legislative realities are and why, and we're committed to a result that will restore the people's confidence, not only in our economy but in our government. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the majority leader.
mr. reid: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i understand you're about to have the clerk report a motion to have a motion to proceed. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s.j. res. 20 which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to the consideration of s.j. res. 20, a joint resolution authorizing the limited use of the united states armed forces in support of the nato mission in libya. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: mr. president, i withdraw my motion to proceed to calendar number 88, s.j. res. 20. the presiding officer: the motion is withdrawn. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to calendar 23, s. 1323. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 93, s. 1323, a
bill to express the sense of the senate on shared sacrifice and resolving the budget deficit. mr. reid: i have a cloture motion at the desk in that regard, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 93, s. 1323, a bill to express the sense of the senate on shared sacrifice and resolving budget deficit. signed by 17 senators as follows. reid of nevada, durbin, schumer, lautenberg, franken, rockefeller, reed of rhode island, whitehouse, brown of ohio, sanders, kerry, merkley, stabenow, inouye, leahy and cardin. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i withdraw my motion to proceed to s. 123.
the presiding officer: the motion is withdrawn. mr. reid: i move to proceed to s.j. res. 20. the presiding officer: the motion is before the senate. mr. reid: i ask consent that the time until 5:00 p.m. be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees, that any time spent in quorum call be equally divided, and there is already an order in effect that republicans will be limited to 10 minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. a senator: mr. president. rhett the -- the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. wyden: mr. president, international trade is one of the best ways to create good-paying jobs for our people. as long as our workers and our companies are treated fairly in the tough global markets they compete in. that is not the case today. chinese trade sheets, after being found guilty of dumping
their goods in america, now launder these goods by illegally shipping them through korea and other countries. this illegality is undercutting our workers, undercutting our companies, and is driving hard-working americans out of jobs, and all of this is taking place, mr. president, under the sleepy eyes of america's so-called trade enforcement agencies. because this trade rip-off is growing and the united states senate will soon take up trade agreements that could fix this problem, i want to take just a few minutes this afternoon to make clear how this scam actually works. the reason i have this information is because, as chairman of the senate finance subcommittee on international trade, my staff set up a dummy company that intervened directly
with suppliers in china in order to learn firsthand how the chinese firms brazenly shirk america's trade laws. first, what happens, mr. president, is the u.s. department of commerce, after thorough and substantial investigation, imposes antidumping duties on certain chinese merchandise that was shown to be dumped, which is to say the merchandise is being sold at below market prices. the next thing that happens is the chinese supplier of the merchandise that was tagged with the antidumping duties rather than stop selling at dump prices into the u.s., the chinese essentially shore up their american buyers by soothingly conveying that these duties are not going to impact their prices. the suppliers sometimes characterize complying with u.s. trade law as merely a political
issue. after that, the chinese goods are shipped into korea, for example, where the goods are repacked into boxes that say made in korea. the documentation then follows the merchandise that is also going to be altered or forged to suggest that the merchandise indeed originates in korea rather than china. from there, the merchandise enters into our country, often at the port of long beach in california and u.s. customs officials declare the goods to not be subject to antidumping duties because purportedly, if you look at all the labeling, they don't own ij nature in -- originate in china. this transshipment, mr. president, is laundering, laundering plain and simple, and it is a rip-off of the american worker. my concern is once the
u.s.-korea free trade agreement goes into force, korea would become a supermagnet for this kind of merchandise laundering. why would any chinese supplier launder merchandise through singapore, for example, when doing so through korea would bless their merchandise with the duty-free status that the u.s.-korea free trade agreement provides? the answer, mr. president, is obvious. they wouldn't. that's why the congress needs through legislation to send clear instruction to the bureau of customs and border protection, and these are our cops. they are the commercial cops at america's ports. they need to be instructed about how to identify and combat the evasion of america's trade laws. my view is this is absolutely critical to ensuring that the u.s.-korea free trade agreement is not a tool that further
empowers unscrupulous chinese exporters. now, for almost a century, our trade laws, the antidumping and the counterveiling duties have been enforced by democratic and republican administrations. they resemble -- they represent the front-line defense that protects our american workers. they are the laws that protect our businesses and our families from unfair and unscrupulous trade practices employed by foreign competition. but what we are seeing around the country, mr. president, is that these antidumping and counterveiling duties are being evaded, and the problem is growing. what we have seen is it takes years for the government to look into and conclude investigations of merchandise laundering. during this period of foot
dragging, our companies get hammered by the foreign trade cheats, and when the cheats get caught, the enforcement agencies have almost never taken the steps necessary to ensure that the duties that are owed are actually collected. the discrepancy between how much the u.s. government is owed by these foreign trade cheats and how much is actually collected is embarrassing, mr. president. we're collecting something on the order of 20% of what is owed to our government, and that's only from the companies that actually got caught and were prosecuted. the fact is there are many more that are missed every year. so, mr. president, i hope colleagues as we go to the trade debate here understand that the point of trade agreements is that it's possible to export more of our goods and services around the world. what we want in trade agreements
is to grow things here. we want to make things here. we want to add value to them here, and we want to ship them somewhere. so we want to export our goods and services, not export our jobs. but unfortunately, again and again, as a result of our competitors evading the trade laws, we have got a broken enforcement process, mr. president. that is why three democrats here in the united states senate and three republicans in the united states senate have joined me in introducing a legislation -- a piece of legislation that puts the teeth back in our trade laws. senators snowe and blunt and mccaskill and brown and portman and schumer and i all join together, three democrats and three republicans, in introducing s. 1133.
this legislation requires customs to quickly and transapparently investigate duty evasion. it requires the customs agency to use existing law to ensure that it can collect the correct duties on merchandise. the legislation requires customs to appropriately share this information with other federal agencies because we have seen again and again that often one of the agencies doesn't talk to the other. and finally, it requires the appropriate agencies to make sure that in the future, they're going to report to the congress promptly on what is being done to fully address the problem. let me wrap up, mr. president -- i see colleagues on the floor -- by simply saying that i believe trade agreements create more jobs for our people, but the fact is trade agreements without
enforcement can cost our people jobs, so this time as the congress goes forward considering trade legislation, it's important to show the american people that as our trade agenda moves forward and moves forward aggressively, that in the days ahead, instead of major trade competitors laundering merchandise, as we have seen in our committee's investigation to avoid the trade laws, our trade laws would finally be fully enforced. mr. president, with that, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: mr. president, i understand i have ten minutes to speak on the resolution before us. the presiding officer: that is correct. mr. corker: if you would let me know when i speak for eight
minutes or longer, so i have two minutes left, i appreciate it. >> i wonder if my colleague from -- the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. wicker: would you yield on that point? mr. corker: it is my understand you wish to speak for two minutes. mr. wicker: i appreciate that. mr. president and my colleagues, this weekend, a local newspaper in mississippi ran a lead editorial that wondered aloud whether the cancellation by the senate of the independent state recess signaled a -- quote -- "serious effort on the part of senate leaders" -- unquote and the white house to make headway in addressing the federal debt. regrettably, the answer to that question is obviously no. and for that reason, i want to announce at this point that i will be voting no this afternoon on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to a
debate on libya. clearly, libya is an important issue. i'm a member of the armed services committee. i have the greatest of respect for both my chairman and the ranking member, but i would remind colleagues what the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said recently. the most important national security issue facing the united states of america is the national debt, and we should not move to a vote on libya and to a discussion on libya, which frankly is almost academic at this point until we debate the crucial issue facing the united states senate, and that's the issue of the national debt. if we had a serious effort to talk about the national debt in this week of recess that has been canceled, we -- we would be
convening the budget committee today and asking them to report a budget on the floor for the first time in almost 800 days so we could have a debate on the floor about the budget. if the senate majority -- the presiding officer: the senator has used two minutes. mr. wicker: could i have another minute? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wicker: if the senate majority were serious about their efforts to reduce the federal debt, the administration would not be continuing its efforts to spend our way to prosperity. we would be bringing to the floor a budget to cut spending, to make a serious effort against these huge federal deficits that we're seeing, we wouldn't be
engaging in the politics of fear, we wouldn't be engaging in the politician of class warfare. we would be getting to business this week. i hope that's what we will do. the only way i know to get to that debate is to vote "no" often the motion for cloture this yf noon. i think a number of my colleagues will be doing so. if some 41 of us can muster to vote "no" on the motion to invoke cloture on libya, then we can get to the one and only reason that we are back in town and that is this debt that consumes us that threatens our national security and our national well-being, and we are called upon to debate by our colleagues and our constituents. and i thank my friend from tennessee for yielding. mr. corker: thank you, mr. president. and i thank the senator from mississippi for his comments. mr. president, as i mentioned, i rise to speak about s.j. resolution number 20.
i think there's been some misinformation about what we're doing this afternoon. i know the presiding officer and i were in a foreign relations meeting last week and offered several amendments that were not passed. many people have said that what we're going to be debating possibly this evening -- i hope that we don't -- is something that the president has asked for. mr. president, i know the presiding officer knows differently. the president did not ask for what it is that we're going to be debating this evening. the president earlier asked for a resolution of support but not an authorization for this third war that we're undertaking right now in libya. that is not what the president asked for. as a matter of fact, the president in a very cutely worded letter to congress tried to state that we were not involved in hostilities in libya, and he did so in order to circumvent a law that's been on the books for many years called the war powers act. and so the president is not
seeking what the senate is getting ready to debate on the floor at all. as a matter of fact, the president is trying to circumvent the war powers act. and so there's no question in my opinion that the president should be made to seek authorization. but then that brings us to the issue at hand. mr. president, there is no way that anything we do on the senate floor other than possibly pulling our troops out of libya, which is not what this resolution is about, is going to affect anything we're doing in libya one iota. let me say that one more time. if the resolution that we're debating possibly this evening were to actually be debated and passed, it would not affect one iota of what we're doing in libya. the fact is the house has already turned down the same resolution. so basically, we're burning a week's time on something that is
totally irrelevant to what is happening in libya, and certainly irrelevant as it relates to what is before us as a country. as the senator from mississippi just mentioned, the biggest issue facing our country today is this issue of the debt ceiling and our debt, the fact that we have $14.2 trillion or $14.3 trillion of indebtedness and we're moving beyond that is correct the fact that we have $1.5 trillion in deficits this year, the fact that we are spending $3.7 trillion and only have $2.2 trillion, the fact that we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that we spend every day that we're here and that 47% of that is coming from people overseas. that is the most important issue before us. that is the reason that we're back here this week during july recess. and i'm glad we're here. but we need to focus on the issue at hand. just to speak to how dysfuncti dysfunctional the united states senate is, we're here over the
debt ceiling, we're here over the fact that we have huge deficits and we don't have an agreement to deal with that, but instead of focusing on the issue at hand, which is what most people back in tennessee or virginia or some other place would do if they had a problem, we're going to focus on something possibly that is irrelevant and has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue at hand, just to make the american people think that we're doing something. mr. president, i also will vote against cloture this evening, and i'm here on the floor to urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle -- i've gotten calls since i landed this morning from tennessee from democratic senators who want to figure out a way to resolve this issue, from people who understand that our country is heading for a train wreck as it relates to our debt ceiling because there haven't been serious negotiations that have taken place.
so the senator from mississippi is right. believe iter not, in -- believe it or not, in a we need spends $3.7 trillion a year, we haven't had a budget in 797 disas. i can't believe that is as a citizen. i certainly can't believe that as a united states senator. i don't think most citizens in our country realize that we are spending right now $3.7 trillion of their money this year and deeven have a budget that's passed. one hasn't even come out of committee, a committee, not to be pejorative here, that has a majority of people on the other side of the aisle that could easily, if they wanted to, just pass a budget out to the senate floor to be debated. so i know sometimes things are difficult to get done around here, but certainly it's difficult to address the number-one issue that we have before us in our country, these huge deficits which are creating
this issue of the debt ceiling that -- quote -- "has to be raised" and the fact is again we're possibly this evening getting ready to move to an issue that is totally irrelevant -- very important and certainly something that's been mishandled tremendously, but certainly something that whatever action we take this week in the senate is going to be unaffected, unaffected, its not going to have any affect on it whatsoever other than senators feeling good about the fact that they did something that actually ends up bearing no truit truitt. so, mr. president -- or presiding officer, i urge people on both sides of the aisle to vote against cloture, to take this issue up that we're in a third war, a war that the president doesn't want to call a war by saying that we're not involved in hostilities -- obviously we are; we have pred predators doing what predators
do, we have military bombing military installations. if north korea were in our country bombing military installations and using predators to do what predators do, i think we would say that that is hostilities and no doubt we're involved in hostilities and that issue should not be left aside and undealt with. but, again, today the big issue, the issue of the day, is our debt ceiling. the issue is our debt. the issue is that we don't have a balanced budget. the issue is that we don't have a fiscal straitjacket that calls us to act responsibly. so i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote "no" this evening for cloture. let's not take up an issue that will have no effect on -- that has nothing to do with the debt ceiling and let's move to those kind of issues that will. i know that there isn't a budget, and unfortunately the debate at present -- it is my understanding that the chairman oof the budget committee is goig
to unveil some plans. that would be wonderful. there are some budget process issues that are at least relevant to the topic at hand. so, mr. president, i urge m.i.a. people to vote "no" theefnlg i thank you for the courtesy of time and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from inen. mr. lugar: mr. president, i understand that our leader, senator mcconnell, has asked that we speak for no more than ten minutes, but i would like to ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to speak for 25 minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. lugar: i thank the chair. mr. president, our debate today takes place in the context of deep economic uncertainty at home, coupled with extraordinary dangers overseas. our country is suffering from high unemployment -- 9.1% of americans out of pork work, manr years; our national debt stands well over $14 trillion and our
credit rating is in doubt, gas prices are still around $4 a gallon in many locations, the number of americans use requiring food stamp assistance has reached ha 45 million. some businesses are returning to profitability, but long-term economic growth is threatened by numerous forces including the skyrocketing national debt, declining home values, high energy costs, and increased competition for export markets. overseas, almost 100,000 american military personnel are fighting a difficult war in afghanistan and mornin more tha0 of our troops have been killed in afghanistan with roughly 12,000 wounds. meanwhile, we still have 46,000 troops in iraq, a deployment that has cost almost 4,500 american blieive lives with more than 4,200 wounds.
our troops have experienced multiple deployments over the last eight years that have strained our armed forces. terroristterrorists or rather tn the korean peninsula are extremely high with no resolution of the problem of north korea's nuclear program. we continue to pursue international support for steps that could prevent iran's nuclear program from produce ago nuclear weapon. we remain concerned about stability in pakistan and the security of that country's nuclear arsenal. we are attempting to counter terrorist threats emanating from pakistan, east africa, yemen and many other locations. into this confluence of economic and national security commitments, the president has involved our nation in a civil war in libya. we find ourselves in a situation where congress is debating vast
cuts in domestic programs to make essential progress on the deficit, even as president obama has initiated an expensive, open-ended military commitment in a country that his defense secretary has said is not of vital interest. any member who has been here to witness the last ten years should understand that war is an inherently precarious enterprise that is conducive to accidents, to unintended consequences, and miscalculations. the last ten years have also illuminated clearly that initiating wars and killing the enemy is far easier than achieving political stability and reconstructing a country when the fighting is over. this is why going to war should be based on u.s. vital interests. it is also why congress has an essential role to play in
scrutinizing executive branch rationalizations of wars and their ongoing mismanagement. this holds true no matter who is president or which war is being fought. the president stated that he intervened in libya in conjunction with the international community to save lives that would have been lost hadicaid qadhafi's forces -- had qadhafi's forces been left unchecked. but saving lives alone cannot be our standard for using military force. there is no end to the global humanitarian emergencies in which united states military and economic power might be devoted. saying that american military power in libya is morally justified is not the same thing as saying it is wise. there are many other questions that must be answered and a disciplined examination of whether to go to war.
the administration placed much weight on expressions of approval by the united nations and the arab league. it is better to have international support than not when considering war, but neither of those institutions is determinative to an assessment of united states vital interests. even after qadhafi leaves power, we will be at risk of substantial costs. already nato has called for a u.n. peacekeeping force to be deployed on the ground in libya to help secure a transitional government. as the largest contributor to the united nations, the united states probably will bear a significant share of that cost, even if no american troops participate. what follows qadhafi's regime will be a true nation-building exercise. despite massive natural
resources, libya was a poor and largely undeveloped country before the first nato bomb fell. we have been assured the libyans will have the financial resources to pay nor this reconstruction effort, but we have heard that assurance before. we have had ample experience during the last decade, but the difficulties of reconstructing nations in which we have intervened. in justifying our intervention in libya's civil war, the president has claimed that failure to do so would have emboldened other dictators to resort to violence in the face of popular protests. at a minimum, the unfolding tragedy in syria is evidence that our intervention in libya has done little, if anything, to deter such repression. in fact, i think it is more likely that dictators such as bashir al-assad, have learned
the opposite lesson from the libyan example. that lesson is, do not let an opposition force gain control of territory or the west might intervene to protect it from the sky. and in this thinking behind the syrian government's brutal military takeover of the cities -- or is this the thinking of the syrians as they take over the cities? at the same time, our libyan involvement has made it more difficult to obtain security council action of any sort, even rhetorical, against the syrian regime. american intervention in libya did not come as a result of a disciplined assessment of our vital interests or an authorization debate in congre congress. in the broader strategic context that i described, a civil war in libya is not a priority that required american military and economic investments.
it is an expensive diversion that leaves the united states and our european allies with fewer assets to respond to other contingencies. president obama's assertion that he does not need a congressional authorization to wage war in libya represents a serious setback to the constitutional limits on presidential war powers. historians will point out that this is not the first time that a president has gone to war unilaterally. but saying that presidents have exceeded their constitutional authority before is little comfort now. moreover, the libya case is the one most likely to be cited the next time president obama or a future president chooses to take our country to war without congressional approval. declarations of war are not an acanachronistic exercises.
they force the president to submit his case for war to congress and the american people. they allow for a robust debate to examine the case and they help gauge if there is sufficient political support to commit american blood and treasure, and they define the role and strategy of the united states. neither u.n. security council resolutions nor administration briefings are a substitute for a declaration of war or other deliberate authorizations of military operations. actions leading up to the wars in iraq and afghanistan at least acknowledged that congressional authorization was vital to initiating and conducting war. despite deep flaws in the process of authorizing those wars, there was recognition that both required a deliberate, affirmative vote by congress. during this debate, there will be appeals to set aside discussions of war powers issues
in favor of expressing support for the military mission underway. we will be asked to send a message to colonel qadhafi notwithstanding our displeasure with president obama's unilateralism. i understand that one can be for the libya mission while simultaneously be critical of the president's failure to involve congress in his decision making. but i also believe it would be difficult to render a judgment on the libyan operation without reference to the process failures have that preceded this debate. first, in the long run, the significance of the war powers precedent created by president obama's unilateral intervention in libya and his subsequent rationalization for not needing congressional authority will be far more significant than the short-term geopolitical consequences of what happened in -- what happens in libya. and, secondly, we are debating
an authorization that the president has taken no affirmative action to seek, that he asserts is not necessary under the constitution or the war powers act and that presumably will have little impact on his actions. even if one believes that the president somehow had the legal authority to initiate and to continue u.s. military operations in libya, it does not mean that going to war without congress was either wise or helpful to the operation. there was no great -- there was no good reason why president obama should have failed to seek congressional authorization to go to war in libya. a few excuses have been offered ranging from an impending congressional recess to the authority provided by the u.n. security council resolution 19 1973. but these excuses do not justify the president's lack of constitutional discipline.
12 days before the united states launched hostilities, i called for the president to seek a declaration of war before taking military action. the arab league resolution, which is cited as the key event in calculations on the war, was passed a full week before we started launching cruise missiles. there was a time to seek congressional approval and congress would have debated a war resolution if the president had presented one. that debate would not have been easy but presidents should not be able to avoid constitutional responsibilities merely because engaging the people's representatives is inconvenient or uncertain. if the outcome of a congressional vote on war is in doubt, it is all the more reason why a president should seek a debate. if he does not, he is taking the extraordinary position that his plans for war are too important to be justice set by a
disapproval vote of the congress. the founders believed that presidents alone should not be trusted with war-making authority and they constructed checks against executive unilateralism. james madison in a 19 -- rather, a 1797 letter to thomas jefferson stated -- and i quote -- "the constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrate, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war and most prone to it. it has, accordingly, with studied care vested the question of war in the legislature." clearly -- that's the end of the quote from madison. clearly there are circumstances under which a president might be justified in employing military force without congressional authorization. but as senator jim webb has pointed out systematically, none of the reasons apply to the libyan case. our country was not attacked or
threatened with an attack. we weren't obligated under a treaty to defend the libyan people. we were not rescuing americans or launching a one-time punitive retaliation, nor did the operation require surprise that would have made a public debate impractical. in this case, president obama made a deliberate decision not to seek congressional authorization of his action either before he commenced nor during the last three months. this was a fundamental failure of leadership that placed expedience above constitutional responsibility. moreover, the highly dubious arguments offered by the obama administration for not needing congressional approval break new ground in justifying a unilateral presidential decision to use force. the accrual of even more war-making authority in the hands of the executive is not in our country's best interest, especially at a time when our nation is deeply in debt and our military is heavily committed overseas.
at the outset of the conflict, the president asserted that u.s. military operations in libya would be -- quote -- "limited in their nature, duration and sco scope." three months later, these assertions ring hollow. americans and coalition activities have expanded to an all but declared campaign to drive qadhafi from power. the administration's unable to specify any applicable limits to the duration of the operations and the scope has grown from efforts to protect libyan civilians under immeant threa threat -- imminent threat to obliterating libya's military arsenal, command-and-control situations and leadership apparatus. most recently, the administration has sought to avoid its obligation under the war powers resolution by making the incredible assertion that u.s. military operations in libya do not constitute hostilities, a view that has
been rejected by many supporters of the war. let us be clear. we are deliberately trying to overthrow the government of libya with military force. we were instrumental in putting the alliance together. we were the major force behind the u.n. resolution authorizing the war. we set the table for the nato operations through an intensive bombing campaign to open the w war. our planes and drones continue to bomb libya, and most missions flown by allied pilots are dependent on the intelligence and refueling capabilities that we are providing. the means that we are using to overthrow the libyan government are limited in the sense that we could be applying more military force to the task, but the goal of the operation is not limited. we are using military force to achieve regime change. defining these actions as something less than hostilities
requires extraordinary legal contortion. administration analysts focus on questions of whether the united states casualties are likely to occur, thereby minimizing other considerations relevant to the use of force. such an interpretation would deny congress a say in other questions that are obviously implicated in the decisions to go to war, including the war's impact on u.s. strategic interests, on our relations with other countries, on our ability to meet competing national security priorities. the administration also implies that because allied nations are flying most of the missions over libya, the united states operations are not significant enough to require congressional authorization. this characterization underplays the centrality of the u.s. contribution to the nato operations in libya. we are contributing 70% of the coalition's intelligence capabilities and the majority of
its refueling assets. the fact that we are leaving most of the shooting to other nations does not mean that the united states is not involved in acts of war. if the united states encountered persons performing similar activities in support of al qaeda or taliban operations, we certainly would deem them to be participating in hostilities against us. this state of affairs is at odds with the president's own pronouncements on war powers during his presidential candidacy. for example, in december 2007, he responded to a "boston globe" question by saying -- and i quote -- "the president does not have power under the constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." end of quote from president obama. american combat forces are so efficient at certain types of operations and over-the-horizon
technology is so potent that the use of the military instrument to right wrongs exists is a tremendous temptation for presidents. if we fail to come to grips with this now, i fear that we are setting the stage for presidents to undertake other humanitarian interventions without congressional approval. the president does not have the authority to substitute his judgment for a constitutional process when there is no emergency that threatens the united states and our vital interests. the world is full of examples of local and regional violence in which the united states military could be applied for some altruistic purpose. under the constitution, the congress is vested with the authority to determine which, if any, of these circumstances justify the consequences of american military intervention. the foreign relations committee of the senate marked up s. j.
res. 20, significantly improving the resolution in several key aspects. first, the committee adopted amendments that senator webb and i introduced establishing legally binding prohibitions on the introduction of american ground troops and contractors into libya. the original resolution addressed this issue only through nonbinding language that the president could have ignor ignored. second, the committee adopted an amendment i offered requiring specific reports on the libya operations from the administration on strict deadlines. these deadlines were strengthened further by an amendment from senator bob corker. the original resolution lacks sufficient provisions for congressional oversight of the operations, their costs and their potential impact on other u.s. national security objectives. third, i offered an amendment specifying the war powers resolution applies to current u.s. military operations in
libya and that continuation of these operations requires congressional authorization. this was adopted by acclimation after members on both sides delivered statements supporting the amendment. in doing, so the committee reputed yaitd the administration -- repudiated the administration's contention that the operations in libya do not constitute hostilities and not subject to the war powers resolution. fourth, we stated reinstruction costs should be born primarily by the libyan people and arab league nations. even with the success of these amendments, s.j. res. 20 remains overly broad despite its stated purpose of authorizing limited use of force. specifically, it contains no meaningful limits on the use of american air assets over libya. the resolution clearly would give the president the authority to escalate the american role in
the bombing campaign. i understand that some members of the senate may favor that course, but members who have concerns about a reescalation of the u.s. combat role should understand passage of the resolution not only gives the president that authority, it makes such a reescalation more likely. the defining limitation of s.j. res. *f s.j. -- s.j. res. 20 can nations to protect civilians. effectively any use of air power consistent with this u.n. resolution is permitted under s.j. res. 20. using resolution 1973 as justification, the president already engaged in an intense bombing campaign against libyan targets at the beginning of our intervention. by definition, the administration and our allies would regard s.j. res. 20 as permitting at least the intenseity of american bombing
that was undertaken in the first week of the war. moreover, president obama publicly has defined the removal of colonel qadhafi as in the interest of protecting libyan civilians. from the administration's point of view, almost any strike that degrades libyan military capabilities or contributes in some way to the potential for the ouster of qadhafi can be justified as contributing to the protection of civilians. this could include the use of slower fixed wing aircraft, flying close air support missions and perhaps even helicopters. passage of this resolution does not guarantee that there will be a full-scale reescalation, but if president obama is armed with this resolution and if the libyan operation drags on, it is almost inevitable that the american role in libya will expand. we know that some of our allies are running short of ammunition. we also know that public opinion in some allied nations may trend
against continuing this mission. our military is the best and most capable in the world. if the president has this broad authorization from congress in hand, allies will be far more confident that the united states will pick up the slack if they withdraw or limit their participation. in a recent press conference the president said -- and i quote -- "there is no risk of additional escalation." but the only barrier to escalation would be the decision-making of the president himself. i do not believe that our intervention in libya civil war was prudent in the context of u.s. vital interest. i continue to be concerned that the united states role in libya will escalate, that libya's reconstruction burdens could fall on our country, and the libyan operations siphon retentions -- attention and resources away from more important national security priorities. i cannot support the broad
mandate that this resolution would give to the president to expand u.s. military activities over libya. i urge my colleagues to join me in opposing adoption of s.j. res. 20. i thank the chair and i yield the floor. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, i would just briefly like to say that the matter of the merits of the libyan resolution that the majority leader wants to move to is not something i'm addressing at this point. it's a significant issue, and good senators can disagree about that. but the reason we're here this week is because 46, i believe it was, senators from the republican side objected to the memorial day recess because we've done nothing on the budget, and it was clear we were going to object again when it came to the 4th of july because we've got the debt ceiling that we're told creates an emergency by august 2. we haven't passed a budget in 797 days. the democratic majority has not even brought one up to the floor
in that long. and the country is spending itself into decline and damaging the future of our nation. we know that. it's been talked about for months. we've had no discussion in the budget committee, of which i'm ranking member, marking up any kind of budget this year. the budget act, united states code says we should pass a budget by april 15. so the objection that i had and others had to going home and recessing this week was not to discuss the libyan resolution. it was to get -- to work now to confront the financial situation that we're in. and we are not going to be serving our constituents will if some sort of secret agreements
reach fruition and a bill is plopped down on the senate floor august 1 and asked to be, and demanded to be passed by august 2. that's not responsible. it's not acceptable. even the president understand that, and last week he said this, "there is no point in procrastinating. there is no point in putting it off. we've got to get this done. and if by the end of the week we've not seen subtanks progress, i think -- substantial progress i think members of congress need to understand we're going to have to start canceling things and stay here until we get it done." and he's talking about spending, debt, the debt ceiling, the limit on the amount of money the united states government can borrow. that's what he said last week. that's what we've been saying for over a month. so, regardless of how one feels about the libyan resolution,
that's not what we need to be doing this week. the letter we wrote to senator reid concerning the memorial day recess said this. this was a month ago. "until a budget plan is made public and until that plan is scheduled for committee action on what basis can the senate justify returning home for a one-week vacation and recess when our spending and debt continue to spiral dangerously out of control." close quote. that's what we said then, that remains true now. this congress is acting in an irresponsible manner, and it's not healthy for us. i'm beginning to wonder if the united states senate is, in fact, beginning to lose its reason for being.
do we just sit here and wait for two, three, four, five people to meet in secret and then tell us in the last 11th hour, last five hours that we have got to pass a bill? is that legislating? is that what congress should do? we certainly are in violation of the budget act that says a budget should be commenced to be marked up in the budget committee by april 1 and passed by april 15. we haven't even called one up. haven't had one in 797 days. so, mr. president, i would just recall, as we make the decision on our vote today, what the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff admiral mullen has said recentary, and -- recently, and that is that the greatest threat to our national security is the debt. that's what he said. the president has not asked for the libyan resolution. it's not something he cares
about, apparently. he hasn't asked for it, he doesn't consider it important. i'll tell you one thing that we have got to do. we have got to fulfill our responsibility as congress as the people who control the purse. that's our ultimate constitutional responsibility. we're not fulfilling it. and therefore, i would urge my colleagues not to move to the libyan resolution but send them a message to our democratic leadership that we intend to insist that we move toward considering the financial crisis this nation faces. i thank the chair and would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mrs. hutchison: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mrs. hutchison: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. hutchison: mr. president, as of now, we are scheduled to vote on a motion to proceed to senate joint resolution 20 regarding libya.
mr. president, we have been called in to session having made plans to spend this week in our states, meeting with constituents, as we try to do at least once a month, but we have been called back in because there is a budget crisis in this country, because we have a debt ceiling of over $14 trillion that is getting ready to be hit, and we need to focus on that and that alone during this week. we have been talking about it. we have been talking around it. and honestly, mr. president, we don't seem to be making much progress. if we're going to do anything this week, we should be talking about how we are going to address this issue. this is what is on the mind of the people of our country today. i have been home over the weekend, just got back, and everyone i talked to is scared
to death about this debt, about what is going to happen. people think there does need to be significant change, reform, a different way of doing business than just borrowing and borrowing and borrowing. they are also concerned about hitting the debt ceiling and not lifting it. and they are wondering what in the heck are you going to do. so now we are back here in session because of that crisis, and somehow we're talking about libya. now, libya is important. it is important because there are american troops, part of a coalition that has been put there by the president without really consulting congress, and now there is a resolution which, frankly, i could not support. i will not give the president authority to continue this. i think we need a full and fair debate on that, but now is not
the time to be doing that when we are four weeks away from a potential debt crisis that could affect our -- people in our country right now, people who depend on our government to function, as well as our global standing. so let's talk about what we could do. what we could do is produce a budget. it has been 797 days or so since the senate has passed a budget resolution, so we haven't set the level of spending and the priorities for spending that congress, which is our constitutional responsibility, it is congress' to pass a budget, we haven't passed a budget in almost two years, almost two years. now, we have got to do that because we're coming on about
three months from the end of a fiscal year. we should be passing appropriations bills that are based on a budget, but we don't have a budget. and i would say let's go back to basics. when you have a big problem, you go back to the basics where you have to start to solve a problem, and the basics are a budget. if we can agree on a budget -- and heck, i think we all agree that if we get one on the floor, there are going to be a lot of amendments, there are going to be a lot of amendments to a budget resolution. let's get started. let's use this week to produce a budget resolution and let's start having the amendments about spending levels, about spending priorities. that will be a way that we can start the process of determining if we can, in fact, lift the debt ceiling because there are
significant cuts in the spending in this country that would show the rest of the world that is holding our debt, as well as the american people who are living with this government and holding part of the debt, that we're serious, that we are going to get our financial house in order and we're going to do it with a budget resolution that cuts spending and sets priorities, like every family and every business in this country are required to do, and most states, by the way, are required to do it as well. a few don't, and we see them sort of ambling over toward the b word, bankruptcy, and that's not a possibility. that is not a possibility for this country, and we need to take the reins right now to assure that the world knows we are not going to handle our
fiscal responsibilities by continuing to borrow when we know we don't have the revenue coming in to pay for all of these programs. so, mr. president, i'm going to vote against cloture today. i'm going to vote against cloture along with, i know, many people for different reasons. some people are voting against cloture because they don't think we ought to be giving the president the authority to continue going into another country's civil war when we have such commitments in afghanistan and iraq, when we are overdeploying our troops, when we are spending money that we are having to borrow, when we are taking the lion's share of this responsibility for our allies. many of us think that we
shouldn't be adding another country where it's supposed to be a support function, but we all know that that is what leads to something more and then something more, and i thought senator lugar said it very well, then you have the aftermath of the end of a civil war and the responsibilities for that. so this is not the time, in my opinion, to be giving that kind of authority to the president. but above that, above that, we are here because there is a crisis upon which i think we have a united view of the goal, and that is to put our fiscal house in order, but we're not united in the united states senate about how to do it. so let's have that debate this week. let's have that debate that says we should be spending more or we should be spending less, that we
should be taxing more or taxing less, because we have real disagreements on that. i'm the spend less, tax less group, but there are views that are differing. let's put it out there and start the debate because if we have a budget resolution, then everything can be solved from there. if we have a budget resolution that we can agree is the right amount of spending for the debt crisis we're in, then we will know the way forward to dealing with the debt crisis. that's a real possibility, and that's what we ought to be talking about. i will not support cloture on a motion to proceed to a libya agreement that the president can continue the united states involvement. i think we need to deal with the crisis that congress has a say in doing. certainly congress had a say in producing it, and we are the
ones responsible to the american people for solving the problem that has been created. so, mr. president, i urge my colleagues not to vote for cloture on the motion to proceed on the libya resolution and instead turn to the budget, put a budget resolution out, and for the first time in almost two years we can begin the walk together to solve this problem by passing a budget resolution that will lower spending, hopefully keep taxes low so that our fragile economy can continue on the path toward improvement rather than putting obstacles in place that would have businesses feel confident to hire people and get this unemployment rate of over 9% off the books. that would be the answer for this week, in my opinion, and i hope that the majority leader will turn to the budget, let's
leader. mr. reid: ask consent that the call of the quorum being termed. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. chairman, the senate was scheduled today at 5:00 to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the bipartisan libya resolution which was sponsored by senators kerry, mccain, levin, kyl, durbin, feinstein, graham, and others. i've spoken with the republican leader just a short time ago, and we've agreed notwithstanding the broad support for the libya resolution, the most important thing for phos focus on this week is the budget. so we'll work to recipient a vote on -- to set up a vote on the sense of the senate resolution that i have offered on shared sacrifice and perhaps the republican alternative as well.
and meetings are in process now and will continue on the debt limit and the larger debt matter throughout the capitol and i'm confident everyone knows the white house is involved in these. so i ask unanimous consent that the cloture motion with respect to the motion to proceed to proceed to s.j. res. 20 shall vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i withdraw my motion to proceed to s.j. res. 20. the presiding officer: the motion is withdrawn. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to calendar number 93, s. 1323. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. mr. reid: that's 1323. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 93, s. 1323, a bill to express the sense the senate on shared sacrifice in
resolving the budget d. mr. reid: mr. president, there will be a vote at 5:00 p.m. today on a motion to instruct the sergeants to notify senators for their ten dance in the united states senate at this important time in our country's history. i noit the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: mr. president, i wanted to extend on some remarks that i made on the senate on june the 6th, the report that i was reporting on on june the 6th evaluated audits produced by the department of defense
office of inspector general in fiscal year 2010. i called that report a report card because that's exactly what it was. each of the 113 unclassified reports published in fiscal year 2010 was reviewed and evaluated and graded in five categories my report was produced by the department of defense office of inspector general in fiscal year 2010. after each report was graded individually, all the scores for each report in each category were added up and averaged to create a composite score for all 113 reports. although 15 top-quality audits
were highlighted in the report, the overall score awarded to the 113 was basically d minus. that's low, i know. maybe the score should have been a little higher. clearly none reflected any of the reforms that inspector general haddell put in place in 2010 as all were published well in advance of that date. my staff read these reports as educated consumers. we expected these reports to provide leverage in the monumental day-to-day department of defense oversight task. we want them to provide assurance that the defense department is spending taxpayers' money wisely. some reports did that, but most did not.
this report prepared by this senator from iowa is sure of one thing. the audits, which are the subject of my report card, are now somehow exempt from oversight and public scrutiny. in other words, these audits should just not sit on the shelf and collect dust. they need as well to be put under public microscope, especially when they cost almost $1 million a piece to produce. $1 million for an audit report is a heck of a lot of money. so that's exactly what we did in the report card. what these reports in the -- put these reports in the public spotlight, and i will keep them there until i see sustained improvement at the inspector general of the department of defense. as the report states, and as i
explained in my speech on june 6, this grading system was subjective and imperfect. however, as subjective and inexact as it may be, i believe it provided a reasonable and rough measure of audit quality. following my speech, the defense department inspector general had hadell pounced on my report. he expects strong opposition to the low score. he claimed it did not adequately reflect $4.2 billion what he called achieved monetary benefits identified in 2010 fiscal year reports. to address hadell i.g.'s concerns, my staff prepared a report that linked the $4.2
billion where those savings were reported. that information was provided to me on june 20. i call it a crosswalk. it takes me to the exact page of each report where the savings were discussed. this document lists $4.4 billion in identified potential monetary benefits and collections of $4.2 billion. after reviewing the crosswalk, i have concluded that inspector general hadell had a legitimate gripe about my report card. he is right. it should have included a section that addressed potential savings. soil address those issues right now, focusing on four reports that contain almost all of the $4.2 billion in savings listed in the collections column. in grading these reports, we did not give sufficient credit for
potential savings in inefficiencies. they were casualities of the grading system for one reason. if the exact dollar amounts of the alleged fraud and waste were not verified using primary source accounting records and using primary source accounting records are very important, then they did not pop up on my oversight radar screen. my staff is attempting to work with the audit office to develop a mutually agreed upon set of standards for grading audits. the purpose of these discussions would be to create a grading process that would accurately capture the true quality of all reports, including policy reviews that uncover real savings in efficiencies. from the beginning, i've been very critical of the audit office for producing far too many policy reviews and far too few hard-core contract and
payment audits. for the most part, the policy audits have no measurable monetary impact whatsoever. however, i've learned recently that at least a few are important for other reasons. i'm told that some of these reports are real value in the work of our armed services committee here in the senate. contract and payment audits are also very important, and i would say most important. they go right to the heart of the i.g.'s core mission, to root out and deter fraud, waste and theft. if they're right they too can produce big payoffs. those audits earn top scores in my report card. i'm not saying that the audit office should do nothing but contract payment audits, but what i am saying is this, the current mixture of auts creates
a huge imbalance in favor of policy reviews as opposed to monetary reviews. so a better balance needs to be established by the inspector general's office. that said, i have an admission to make to my colleagues. i finally found a policy audit that i like. this report is en titled "recapitalization and acquisition of light tactical wheel vehicles." that audit report is number 2010-039, dated january 20-29, 2010. it identified potential savings of $3.84 billion. that's 900% of the savings uncovered -- that's 90% of the savings uncovered in all the fiscal year 2010 audits. in my report card, i gave this audit a low grade. this audit failed to connect the dots on the money trail and
verify dollar amounts using primary-source contracts and payment methods. plus, it took 16 months to complete. when you add the four to six months of planning that often precede an audit start date, you're probably looking at two years to complete the audit, and that's far too long. but this report had other important qualities that were overlooked. it uncovered gross violation of applicable procurement regulations, including the use of sole-source contracting arrangements. it also determined that the proposed vehicle might duplicate the capabilities of existing vehicles. in the midst of this audit, for reasons that remain unclear, the project manager decided to stop the program and -- quote -- "put the $3.84 billion in funding to
better use in fiscal years 2010 to 2013." this language suggests that all of the money was reallocated within army accounts for other purposes. clearly the audit may have helped to stop $3.84 billion in potential waste. that's excellent. but this does not constitute savings in the classical sense, as all the money was shifted to other army projects. waste could have happened in those other projects as well. and it reminds me while we're here in session in what normally would be a recess, and i'm reporting that the inspector general found $3.84 billion in potential waste, that now that they're trying to find trillions to cut down on the budget deficit, it might be a time to look at the defense department
and stop the reprogramming of money. if it's going to be saved, it ought to be saved. and that means it would cut down on the deficit. the presiding officer: the senator has used ten minutes. mr. grassley: i would like to continue if there's no objection. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: using modified grading system reflects the good quality of this audit. it would have earned a higher score were it not for an excessively long completion time n. this particular case, however, the impact of the audit was apparently felt while the audit was still in progress, so the timeliness rule may not apply here and probably should be aside. there are three other audits containing savings in inefficiencies i would like to discuss. the next is the predator implementation of the predator sky warrior program 2010-082 dated december 10, 2010.
the purpose was to determine whether the air force and army complied with the department of defense directives and law to combine the predator and sky warrior drone program the defense department estimated that $400 million could be saved by merging the two programs. while the audit was in progress, the department of defense pulled the rug out from under the auditors. a new directive was issued stating that the new praplts did not -- programs did not have to be combined. to counter this move, the auditors recommended administrative action against those who failed to comply with the original directive. the department of defense now concurred and tossed the auditors a bone. the department of defense wig geld out of harm's way by offering to do meaningless lessons-learned exercise. in the end the auditors caved in, r agreeing with the department of defense plan was responsive and backed o. despite what period to be an unsuccessful outcome, the office of the inspector general claimed
this audit produced $60 million in savings. the audit indicates the $60 million was reprogrammed to meet higher priority operations. end quote. that means it was reallocated to other department of defense accounts and, thus, not safe. since this audit was all about an opportunity to save $400 million and the department of defense balked, maybe these so-called savings might be better characterized as lost savings. in my report card this, audit earned low scores mainly because it failed to verify actual cost of two drone contracts using primary-source accounting reports. and it failed to assess the validity of the department of defense estimated savings of $400 million. i'm not convinced this audit deserves a higher score, especially since it took 22 1/2
months to complete, and the recommendations though initially tough were watered down in the end. the last one that i want to report on is entitled "the deferred maintenance and carryover of the army abrams tank, number 2010-43 dated march 2, 2010." this report concluded that contrary to the army's claims, depot maintenance on m-1 tanks was not deferred in fiscal year 2008. all planned overhauls were in fact completed, but a large sum of money was left over. the army requested and received a formal written waiver to carry over $346 million in unneeded and unused fiscal year 2008 m-1 maintenance funds for use in 2009 and beyond. the reason was incapacity at a plant. without the waiver, this money would have canceled and lost.
the report concluded the army documents contained -- quote unquote -- inaccurate, misleading information that may have caused a violation of the antideficiency act that recommended the waiver be rescinded and $275 million in fiscal year 2008 money be canceled and reprogrammed or reduced. the army appeared to agree with the recommendations to disclose the $275 million carryover to congress, but nonconcurred with other recommendations. the report does not point to any real savings. the report probably deserves a higher score except for the timeliness and strength of recommendations. it was untimely, taking 22 months to complete. in addition, there were unresolved issues about the waiver document. did the document who signed -- did the official who signed the waiver know that the document would have been alleged
contained false and misleading information? and was he questioned about his truthfulness? if so, the report should have been recommended that he be held accountable. to summarize, mr. president, there are two main problems with these four reports on savings and collections, and the fourth one i'm not going to go into now to save time, and i'll put that in the record. none was timely, number one. number two, reported savings were unverified and elusive. first, these four reports took an average of 19 months to complete. two took a total of 45 months or almost four years to finish, and that does not include the 4-6 months it takes to get an audit rolling. as i have said on other occasions, the power of top-quality audit work is greatly weakened by stale information. second, these four reports supposedly produced $4.2 billion
in collective savings, but all of that money appears to have been shifted to other department defense accounts and spent. to the best of my knowledge, not one cent was really saved or really deposited in the taxpayers' bank account. only in government could you save all the money and still claim savings. what we're really talking about here are lost savings that grew out of waste that was thankfully discovered and avoided and waste that is avoided surely as monetary benefits. in closing, i'd like to share a simple observation with my colleagues. for some reason, auditors in the office of inspector general show a great reluctance to use the word waste, in their reports. that word rarely, if ever, appears in their audits. at the same time, auditors seem overly eager to tout savings and
efficiencies. now, why would that be? could it be that their superiors in the pentagon take a dim view of the word waste? savings may be nothing more than the flip side of waste. auditors detect and verify potential waste and then convert it to potential savings by proposing remedies to eliminate the waste. maybe the auditors need to start calling it what it is, call it waste, w-a-s-t-e, and then talk about savings. i yield the floor. mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to be recognized as if in morning business for such time as i shall consume. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: madam president, first of all, we came back. we weren't anticipating coming back from this recess that we were going to be on, and i can't help but think a lot of that was the result of the statements that president obama had made
criticizing the senate for leaving at a time when the debt is so bad and all of that when, in fact, i just -- i think that's a bum rap. i mean, you know, we were -- we have a serious problem i think we need to address, and that is the spending, and all these things that president obama is doing right now to make everyone think that we're trying to address it, appointing committees, appointing groups to get together, having the vice president head up this group and the other group and republicans and democrats, all the president has to do is quit spending. madam president, i have been here for a few years and i remember all during the -- the clinton administration, during the clinton administration we -- i remember 1995, i came down to this podium on the floor complaining that president clinton had come out with a new budget and that budget was was $1.5 trillion. i said this is just unbelievable. it's not sustainable. we can't do it. that was $1.5 trillion to run this country for a period of one
year. now, this president has come up with three budgets, each one of the budgets is multitrillion dollar deficit budgets. the last one, $1.65 trillion. now, madam president, this is more than the total amount of money it took to run the entire country. it's all in the president's budget. comes out, initially initially $800 billion for stimulus that didn't stimulate. this was something that it just -- i don't know why either nobody cares or the american people aren't listening. it's very, very simple. we have a problem because the president spends money like no one else has in history. here he is right now. he has actually raised the debt more than ever president from george washington to george w. bush. every president. and yet he comes out and says what are we going to do about spending? the answer is quit spending. well, hopefully the american people remember this, and this is not the reason, frankly, that
i'm down here today, because in spite of what you might be reading and led to believe in the various publications, other things are going on. there is one piece of legislation, madam president, that i'm going to be introducing tomorrow. i have been working on it for a year -- for about six months, and i have talked to people. we have caucuses in the united states senate about every kind of concern. we have an army caucus, an air force caucus, we have caucuses on caucuses. one of the caucuses we have is a general aviation caucus. i'm splik sensitive to this in that i have been flying airplanes for over 50 years, and it's one where you're dealing with single-issue people. anyway, tomorrow, wednesday, i'm going to introduce legislation. it's going to be very important to people who are the single issue people who fly airplanes. i know a lot of us don't even care. i have heard people say they are all fat cats. i defy anyone to go up to oshkosh once a year the last weekend of every july and see
the hundreds of thousands of people up there. they are not wealthy people. they are single-issue people. many of them have made airplanes, experimental airplanes in their garages. this is something that we have enjoyed for many, many years, and it's something that i have -- i have enjoyed, but i think because of my involvement, i probably receive more complaints and more requests from people out there in the real world, pilots, over things that have happened when the federal aviation administration has caused to try to even revoke their license or give them the fear of reef ovation. over the years, there have been several instances where i have passed legislation to fix the system by which the f.a.a. proceeds in these enforcement actions. i can remember back in -- in year 2000, probably yet today the greatest single pilot, most gifted pilot in america is a guy named bob hoover.
bob hoover is up in years now. he is actually older than i am. like me, he is still flying airplanes. bob hoover, they did a -- what they call an emergency reef revocation on bob hoover. i never did find out what allegedly he did wrong, but it allegedly happened in the field, where this great pilot -- in fact, i say, madam president, he would take a twin-engine shrike up to 10,000 feet, cut the engine, do aerobatics, down where the crowd is. all of this with a glass of water up there on his dash. he just is really one of these unbelievable human beings. anyway, he came to me, said what am i going to do? they have taken away my livelihood and all this. and of course other people, airline pilots who make a living flying airplanes, they could have an emergency revocation. anyway, i passed a law, it took two years, shouldn't have, but it takes two years for the emergency revocation. if something happens, he gets
his license revoked, there is a process he can offer appeals and makes it a fair process. so i have been dealing with this for a long period of time. now, i have to say this with any bureaucracy that has the power to take action against an individual, it's our job in congress to ensure that there are appropriate safeguards in place to prevent agency overreach. this bill provides that. it simply does four things. i read over it real quick. those out there who are pilots understand what i am talking about. first, it requires the f.a.a. enforcement action against the piement. in the case there is enforcement action, the f.a.a. has to grant to the pilot all the relevant evidence such as the air traffic communications tapes, flight data, investigative reports, flight service stations communications and other relevant air traffic data 30 days before any action can actually be proceeded, an enforcement action against the pilot. now, that is just a matter of fairness. if a person is going to be accused of something, he has to
know what he is being accused of. and this is currently not done and often leads to a pilot grossly uninformed of his alleged violation and recourse. the same section requires that the f.a.a. advise a pilot who is the subject of an investigation relating to approval, denial, suspension, modification, revocation of an airman certificate of the nature of the investigation, that an oral or written response to a letter of investigation is not required, that no action can be taken by the f.a.a. against a pilot for declining to respond, that any response can be used as evidence against the pilot, and that the f.a.a.'s investigative report is available. now, that sounds like a lot of talk on there. all we're saying is that this pilot is entitled to have all the information that other people have. i'll give you a good example. one of the things that we know and i have heard in all of my 55 years of flying, is that when you talk to a controller, he can be a controller, in a control tower or anything else, that they have to keep that recording
and can you have access to the recording. i always thought this was true until something happened to me and i found out that isn't true. so this means until we have the pilot himself can have access to that, that's not going to happen. secondly, it clarifies the statutory deference. it's a legal term. it relates to the national transportation safety board on actions by the f.a.a. this is what happens. the f.a.a. would -- would do something, would come, and this could theoretically be appealed to the ntsb. the problem with that is the ntsb -- that's the national transportation safety board -- has routinely just rubber stamped anything that comes from the f.a.a. it's called statutory deference. so that decision has been able to take place in the appeal process. now, to give you an example, in fiscal year 2010, there are 362 aviation certificate appeals filed with the ntsb's law judges. the board's judges held 61 hearings on these appeals and
reversed the f.a.a. order only five times. also during this time period, there were 40 pegz seeking review of the f.a.a. -- petitions seeking review of the f.a.a. emergency determinations. of these, six were procedurally defective and were dismissed and on that basis and ten were voluntary. the remaining 24 petitions were considered on their merits with only one, one being granted out of 23 being denied. so you know that this is a -- a serious problem. now, what this does is not only clean up the difference but it does the second thing. it allows an airman at his own discretion to be able to appeal to the federal district court. the third thing the f.a.a. -- the bill does is require that the f.a.a. undertake a notice to airmen. this is kind of complicated, but a notice to airmen is called a notam. a notam is something that they are supposed to involve the
people and the pilots flying so if they are going to go into a certain airport, they will have all the information as to what's wrong with that airport. something might be down, a system might be down, any number of things could take place. but nonetheless, it simplifies that system. what we're doing, any pilot knows what a notam is, but for those who don't, they are notices provided by the f.a.a. to give pilots information on airspace, runways, flight conditions and all that. now, the procedure is -- is -- has been the thing that hasn't worked because they have actually said there are notams and they didn't file the notams, and there is no way for the pilot to be able to tell if there is a notam out there, even if he is required to determine that there is. the current system merely says it's the pilot's responsibility to have notams of an airport even if the f.a.a. has not posted it. fourth and finally, the f.a.a.'s medical certification process has long been known for a multitude of problems. the aircraft owners and pilots association receives each year 28% of all of the -- all of the
legal assistance of 28% are related to the f.a.a.'s medical certification process and forms to provide greater clarity and questions and reduce the incidents of misinterpretation that have in the past led to allegations of intentional falsification against pilots, nonprofit general aviation groups, aviation medical exercise and other qualified medical experts who will make up the advisory board. so this is just an advisory board, the same way with revamping the notam process. these are the advisory boards that will work with the f.a.a. coming up with this system. so there are two provisions that the bill will require f.a.a. review of current practices and two other provisions that make specific -- the system specifically fairer for pilots. after years of intervening to help fellow pilots, i was never fully appreciative of the feeling of desperation until -- until it happened to me, and this was last october.
i was flying a group of nonpilots in my twin engine -- one of my planes, the twin engine holds six people. we were flying into cameron county airport. a lot of people don't realize how big texas is. cameron county is way down in the tip of texas. it's about the same distance as key biscayne, florida, or someplace down there. it's way down there. i used to be a builder and developer there. i have landed there over 200 times. i was flying a group down there. they happenedded me off to the valley approach, took me all the way down to runway 13. i will read what they said. the approach control said you are cleared for visual approach to runway 1-3. then i responded, and he said yes, 115 echo alpha. roger, before you go there, there is traffic landing there at 900 feet. that's fine. this is what they do. that's wonderful. so i started landing. as i started landing -- and you get to a point in a twin-engine plane pull of people where you are slow enough down, you can't
make a go-around, i was almost touching down when i saw they were working on the runway. it was too late to go around. the three problems i have had -- and i have heard countless times from pilots that are corrected, we correct with this legislation. when i tried to get the voice recording, it took me four months, and i'm a united states senator. i figured what about these people out there, the frustration they are going through? so we'll correct that. i was required to respond to allegations within ten days. by the time i received it, it was four more days of accusations, enforcement actions. i didn't even know the reason for the enforcement actions. and then three, the notams we found were never posted until 11 days after this took place. in other words, i did nothing wrong but at any time i could have suffered the revocation of a license. i think it is important that most of the people working at f.a.a. are really helpful. this year is my 32nd
consecutive wreer to attend the oshkosh fly-in. the first thing i do is go up and talk to all the controllers. i thank them for all they're dosmght less than two weeks ago i was flying from oklahoma to wyoming. i called up, instrument day, had to get clearance at 5:00 a.m. in the morning. his name was bill libeno. he couldn't have been more helpful to me. and he actually gave me -- you talk about giving me all the notices. runaway 1432 is closed. pproach lights are out. he couldn't have been more extremely effectual. now, i have a lot more to talk about, but i know there are others who want to get in here before this very significant vote that's coming up at 5:00 which think is a live quorum call. and i only would say this: i am going to introduce this bill wednesday. if there is anyone here -- we've already got senators johanns and begich. they're on as cosponsors and we have several others as
cospomples i would say any staff -- i know no members are listening -- but any staff who happens to be listening right now, if your member wants to at least be sensitive to the needs of general aviation, this may be his only chance this year. and i suggest that those individuals who really care about the problems i just outlined, that they become cosponsors of this legislation before i introduce it tomorrow afternoon. with that, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator kentucky. mr. paul: i ask unanimous consent to speak for ten minutes as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. paul: madam president, i as well as many americans are concerned for the future of our country. i'm cornered that we may not be able to continue to pay our bills. i'm concerned that one day in the year future we could look like greece. i don't want to see america ri - rioting in the streets because we canst can't pay our bills. that day is coming in the near future if we do not wake up to the problem. i am not alone in this. members of the president's own
administration have said that the number-one threat to our national security is our national debt. it's out of control. august 2 is fast-approaching. august 2 is when the debt ceil something reached. what is the debt ceiling? it's like reaching your credit card limits. if you've got a $5,000-a-month credit card limit and you've reefed it, do you calm the company and say, give me more credit, or do you try to live within your means, do you try to only spend what money you have? we as a country have been spending money we don't have for really a generation. but it's now getting out of control. we owe china hdz 1.1 trillion, we owe japan nearly a trillion dollars. it's spending, spending addiction is our problem. we are now spending -- it is just out of control -- we are spending $10 billion a day. of that $10 billion a day, we're
borrowing $4 billion. we are spending $100,000 every second. of that $100,000, we're borrowing $45,000 a second. and we're paying for our debt at historically low interest rates, about 2.5%. but many of us have lived through a time when interest rates were much higher. the historic average is over 5%. if interest rates go back to the historic average, we will be swamped in debt. interest will become over the next ten years $5 trillion. this is what looms, our future that looms is not a good one unless we get things under control. so last week a group of us said, no more. we do not want to discuss anything else until we start discussing solutions for the debt, solutions for the looming
debt crisis. we said, no more. and so today we will win and draw attention back to the debt ceiling. we're not going to talk about anything until we resolve this. but we have to have a real discussion. it's got to include republicans and democrats and independents and everyone. but you know what's going on? there is a resolution before the senate now, the democrats say raise taxes and that will fix the problem. the problem is not revenue. the problem is spending. we used to spend about $1 in $5 up here. now we're spending $1 in $4. so $1 in $4 in the economy is coming to washington. 25% of the g.d.p. is spend in washington. but that's money that's not left in the marketplace, not left in the hands of those who earned it, and not left in the hands of people who can create jobs. it's being wasted up here. we're not spending the money
wisely. we spend more than we take in and so interest to finance this profligate spend something bankrupting us. the vast majority of our problem is interest, and it will grow. it's growing exponentially. you can look at the chart on interest and you'll see that interest is going to consume us. if you look as the debt rises, it is rising exponentially over the next few years, unless we do something about it. unfortunately, i don't think the democrats are serious about this. they've produced a resolution that says they can raise taxes, which is a nonstarter; it is a horrible prescription for an economy in the middle of a recession. our resolution says that government can simply not act any differently than individuals, that they should have to balance their budget. we've been introducing a resolution that says we as republicans will vote to raise
the debt ceiling if we do three things: significant cuts in federal spending, at least back to the percentage we were before we got into this administration; statutory caps -- these say we are limited to how much money we can spend each year; and then the third thing is we want a balanced budget amendment. if we have these, we will vote to raise the debt ceiling. but short of that we can't possibly vote to raise the debt ceiling unless government changes its ways. government is not spending your money wisely. people can't account for -- even the account cannot balance their books. they refuse to be audited because they say they're too big to be audited. we have to do something about a government that's out of control. but we want a serious dialogue with the other side, and instead what we're get sag frivolousness. so what i would say to the democrats today is, you want to vote on raising taxes, you think that's an answer? they have got a resolution. i don't want to filibuster the
resolution. i'll vote on it tonight. if you want to vote on raising taxes, if the democrat party wants to be the party of raising taxes, i'm happy to be in the party that's not the answer. so, madam president, i call for a vote immediately today, democrats want to raise taxes, let's do it. i'm happy to vote on that today because it is not the answer. if the other side wants to have a full-throated debate on this, let's do t let's debate over the next two days and then we have a solution. let us vote on raising the debt ceiling. we don't have to wait. raise the debt ceiling contingent upon a balanced budget amendment. the american people demand it and i think we should ask for nothing less. thank you, madam president. and i yield back. mr. mccain: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator fromsenator from arizon. mr. mccain: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to engage in a colloquy with my colleague from south carolina, after i make a few remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: madam president, it's pretty obvious that the
senate feels that it's priorities and i think they are well-placed, particularly in light of the fact that the 4th of july recess was canceled because of the issue of the debt limit and the deficit and our lack of action and need for action on the issue, and i understand that and have suggested and agreed that this resolution on libya be delayed. however, i would point out that the senate does need to have a debate about united states policy and military action in libya. whether my colleagues are supportive of what we are doing in libya or not, i think is an issue that needs to be debated on the floor of the senate. i believe the senate does play a
constitutional role and maybe even more unique one than the other body. so i think it's time that we did have a debate, discussion of this issue and an opinion rendered in keeping with the war powers act. unfortunately, the administration has made it far more difficult than it otherwise might have been, if we had carried out our responsibilities and the president carried out his responsibilities somes ago. the fact is that this conflict would have been over if we had taken a leadership real role and declared a no-fly zone when the rebel forces were on their way to benghazi. the fact is that if the united states had full -- used the full weight of its air assets in this conflict, qadhafi would have gone now. and i would tell my colleagues, have no doubt, qadhafi will go. he will go.
the question is, when? and what role did the united states of america play in supporting these people who are fighting for freedom? what role did the united states of america play in trying to free up qadhafi's ill-gotten gains and have them given to the transition national council? what role did the united states play in leading from behind in libya? the united states of america leads, not nato. we lead nato. and when someone says nato is leading on this conflict, i would remind my colleagues that 28 members of nato, only eight members are actually in the fight. and one of our major allies, germany, has taken a hike. so if we had used the ac-130 gunships, the a-10 wart hog, qadhafi would be gone now. but the fact is he will go.
and it is up to us, in my view, to express our support of people who are seeking the same rights and freedoms that are guaranteed to us. so -- and i would remind my colleagues who said we never should have been involved in any way, it is a fact that qadhafi and his forces were on the gates -- at the gates of ben gay disirks a city of 700,000 people and qadhafi has said that he would go house to house and kill -- and kill -- whoever they thought had resisted them. now, we say that we should never have allowed srebenica where thousands of people were massacred. we said we should never have alloweallowed rwanda wasn't to . the united states did the right thing by stopping qadhafi's forces at the gates of benghazi and preventing the massacre of i don't know how many thousands of innocent civilians.
and there is no doubt what qadhafi has promised if he's able to remain in power, a man who has the blood of americans on his hands because of the bombing of pan am 103, because of terrorist acts that he supported in africa, and he will do so again, and has pledged to do so. when my colleagues ask, what american national security interests are at stake? look at the man's past actions and look what he has promised to do if he will -- if he is able to stay in power. and that is, to pose a direct threat to the united states of america's vital national security interests. we are involved in lib imra. we're providing -- we are involved in libya. we're providing, as my colleague from south carolina will testify, we'll providing refueling, we're providing intelligence, we're providing all kinds of assistance, so -- and we are including using predators, which are killing the
bag guys. and so to somehow allege that the united states is not engaged in hostility, which would trigger the war powers act, is simply -- is simply sophistry. and the senate has been silent on this issue for too long in my view. but i also want to caution my colleagues about preventing united states action as well as authorizing. the last time the united states of america -- the congress of the united states of america engaged in cutting off funding was at the end of the vietnam war. and whether historians or people happen to acknowledge it, a lot of bad things happened after we cut off funding for -- in vietnam, and amongst them was millions of vietnamese putting in reeducation camps and thousands slaughtered. so i would caution my colleagues
about actions of congress which prohibit certain actions on the part of the administration. but, most of all, america should lead, we should use our air assets, not our ground assets, to get rid of this brutal dictator and his regime. every day that goes by, innocent civilians in libya are wounded and killed. so i'd ask my colleague from south carolina if he had a few words but also to address the issue of how much u.s. involvement actually is there, which would then by most objective observers trigger the united states congress's requirement to act in keeping with the war powers act and our constitutional obligations. mr. graham: well, i thank the senator, and i'll give you my thoughts as briefly as i can.
my first thought is we're living in incredibly dangerous times. exciting and dangerous. what is the arab spring about? what are people asking for in libya? they're asking to replace qadhafi and form a new government where they'll have a say. i don't think that's too much to ask. all i can say is that america's freedom is best secured when she, america, is assisting others to obtain theirs. and the one thing history tells us, free people settle their differences woit resorting to the -- without resorting to the evils of war. so to those throughout this body and throughout this country, i know we're broke. we're here today supposedly to talk about the budget. we're not doing anything but talking. we're $14.3 trillion in debt. there's all kind of ideas between republicans and democrats how to get the country's fiscal house in order. it's the 5th of july and we're up here looking at each other doing nothing.
but there's another part of the world, as the senate and the house basically talks about america being in debt, there are people dying as i speak trying to change their government for the better. and what should we do? i'll tell you what we should do. we should help where we can. and senator mccain has experienced war unlike very few people in this body. and he knows that when you go to war, bad things happen to good people. and the idea that he or myself or anybody else relishes trying to go to war or being in war is just -- is offensive, quite frankly, because he knows better than i and i have a pretty good understanding of what happens when you go to war. here's what happens when you don't sometimes. bad people are able to do incredible things that you wind up having to confront later and
it costs everybody more to have waited. so what are we doing in libya? we're following rather than leading. now, to senator mccain's question. nato bombing activities are being done without american air power. we spend more money than all nato nations combined on defense. i know a lot of americans don't like that. i don't like it either but it's the way it is. we are the arsenal of democracy. when america doesn't fly, wars go on longer, more people get raped, more people get killed. and let me tell you, if qadhafi survives, this is the end of nato. and if you don't want america to go alone in this dangerous wor world, count me in. but who are we going to partner with if the u.n. is seen by the american people as an unreliable group to deal with dictators -- and it is?
what if nato is no longer an organization that people throughout the world respect on the side of good and the evil side of the ledger doesn't care if nato gets involved because they don't have the will to do anything about it? so we should be involved with our nato partners. our nato partners depend on libya more than we do. they came to afghanistan not because they were attacked but because we were attacked. they were our friends, they're our allies. they've been with us trying to make sure afghanistan never goes back into the darkness, a place to attack us or them again. so when they need us, i would tell president obama, now's not the time to sit on the sidelines. i know we're a war weary nation, but there is no upside to qadhafi staying in power. that is a national security nightmare for this country. here's a recent headline. "qadhafi threatens to attack european over airstrikes. colonel qadhafi has threat inned
to carry out attacks against homes, offices in europe unless nato calls off the airstrikes in libya." he actually means it. hitler meant it. he means it. so we should be talking about the debt. we're not. we should be taking a stand against qadhafi in an effective way. and as you said, senator mccain, we're leading from behind. and i just cannot tell you how upset i am with policies coming from this administration that are sending a signal to our allies that we're not as reliable as we should and to our enemies that we don't have the same amount of will to protect our freedom as they do to take it away from us. mr. mccain: i'd ask my friend, isn't it true that we are providing tanker support, logistic support, predator strikes, intelligence and all
kinds of assets to those eight nations that are involved in the fight? and when you are using predators and killing people, that's pretty well fits the definition of hostilities and yet for reasons which are still not clear to me, the administration fails to acknowledge that? mr. president, could i also just say one thing that is very concerning as well -- well, perhaps, can i just also say one thing is very concerning as well. it's this recognition of the transitional council. i know my colleague, because we were just in turkey, noticed that another country, turkey, one of the most important nations in the middle east, just recognized the transition national council, froze the assets that qadhafi has, and yet this administration refuses to do so. there are some $30 billion, i am told, of qadhafi assets that we could freeze and make available to the transition national
council. it may require some legislative action but it requires administration leadership. and they could then pay people, could provide arms and weapons to their own people as well as subsidies for the government. again, an example of leading from behind. the french, the italians, the turks and other nations have all now recognized the transition national council yet the united states has failed to do so. mr. graham: if i could try to answer the hostility question. when you're using predator drones to bring down military targets, that to me is an acceptable situation in libya. i don't want ground troops in lib ya. the people in -- i don't want ground troops in lib ya. the people in libya don't want a ground invasion by nato forces. and what do we have to offer better than anybody in the world? intelligence gathering. these platform as that are gathering information about
targets, senator mccain, are unique to america. the target packages that are being put together are being done mostly by americans and we're turning these target packages over to nato countries. some of the aircraft that are flying -- and god bless our allies for taking this risk -- are 30 years old. no one has the ability like the american air force and naval forces to -- to carry on aerial campaigns. but some people in this body have a right to have their say like we do. we should be debating this. but the administration's position that a predator drone attack is not a hostile act is dangerous. because yemen, the administration, with my full support, is taking the fight to yemen today. they're using predator drone attacks against al qaeda groups in yemen. we just had special forces involved in killing al qaeda operatives in somalia. we have to be on the offensive.
we need to be hitting these people over there before they can reorganize and hit us here. so i support the administration's ability and constitutional right to take the fight to the enemy. but for them, senator mccain, to tell the body these are not hostile acts is the ultimate confusion. it's confusing to the enemy. it's confusing to our allies. it's confusing to the american people. and i reject this definition being offered by this administration that using predator drones to attack targets is not a hostile act. i believe that the war powers act is unconstitutional. there's two things we can do in this body as a member of congress. we can declare war and we can cut off funding when we don't like things the way they're going. we very seldom declared a war in this nation from a congressional point of view for a reason, but we have constantly engaged forces that wish to attack us
and our allies without declarations of war. if you don't like what we're doing in libya, cut off funding, don't try to micromanage the war through congressional fiat. so $30 billion is available to the libyan people. it's money frozen, stolen by qadhafi. the turkish government, the french, the british, in some sense have recognized this transition national council. if we would do that, they would have access to the $30 billion. and, senator mccain, you've met with the leadership of this council. i have too. they would gladly pay us back for any assistance we could provide if they could get their hands on the money. do you agree with that? plc mccainmr. mccain: i've been personally assured -- by the way, one of who has a doctorate from the university of pittsburgh, and others from the university of washington, so let's dispel any illusions we
don't know who they are. they're good and decent people who've risen up against an oppressive and repressive dictator and murderer, that they -- they want to reimburse the united states for our expenses the way the kuwaitis and the saudis did after operation desert storm. but the point is that, again, i'd say to my colleague, anybody who believes that it is not in america's national security interest to see qadhafi gone has paid no attention to his words and his actions. and history will record how the united states stood on people who were struggling, both peacefully and where in necessity station -- necessitated, used the force of arms, is where the united states of america was. mr. graham: and if i may, we've got our good colleague, naval intelligence officer, senator kirk from illinois and we'll
certainly yield to him but one last thought. we need to get our fiscal house in order, we need to decide among ourselves how important is national security. to me, it's the most important thing in congress. if we don't get that right, there's nothing else that's going to matter there. will never be economic prosperity in america if the world is in the hands of evil people who will make it very difficult for us to travel and trade and do business. and the other thing we need to do after we balance our budget is to have a clear vision of who we are and what we believe. i believe that we're destined to lead the free world. i don't consider it a burden. i consider it the birthright of all americans. not only to maintain our freedom but to help others secure theirs. and a word of warning, the day that america rejects that leadership role is a day we will eventually lose our freedom and more damage will be done to this
country if we disengage than if we do engage. so with that, i would like to recognize senator kirk from illinois. mr. kirk kirk: well, i would age with the gentleman on the concept, but i understand from the majority leader that we are not going to take up the libya resolution now. and i would just urge them that before we descend into any potential partisan warfare on any other issue, there is a bill that is ready for the senate consideration right now, that is overwhelmingly, unanimously approved by democrats and republicans on the appropriations committee and it's ready for senate consideration this week. my hope is that we will now, or maybe tomorrow, take up the military construction and v.a. appropriations bill which senator johnson and i have coauthored, which senator inouye and senator cochran have approved. it's $1.2 billion in discretionary spending below the president's request.
it's $620 million below the enacted level. and it's even $2.6 million in budget authority below the house mark. this is ready to go. and so absent debate on some other resolution which has little to no future in the house of representatives, my hope is that we will follow the house that has already approved the v.a.-milcon appropriations bill, we will take up overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation that benefits our men and women in uniform and those veterans, and twhethat we will not waste thisk on legislation that has little to no future. instead, we will achieve something this week by having taken up the milcon-v.a. bill, which was so overwhelmingly approved by the senate appropriations committee just last week. and with that, madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i appreciate my friends' advice on how to run the senate. i appreciate it very