tv U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business CSPAN May 17, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT
mr. smith: i yield myself the balance of the time. that's a question, why are they there, and in the case of 26 of them, they are there because mistakes were made in picking them up. this happened with many people at guantanamo, particularly in the early days. these people have been there for a long time where we basically weren't taking any chances on who we picked up. we threw out a wide net and brought people in. now, there are estimated to be 44 of the folks there who are the baddest of the bad, who we have direct connections to active terrorism, who we know are a threat to the united states of america and i am not proposing whatsoever we should release those. but the question of why they are there is absolutely right, and it is not for the reasons that the previous gentleman stated in the cases of at least 26 of these inmates. they are there through a combination of mistakes, misidentification, misinformation, many different reasons why they were picked up and the problem is now, how do we transfer them? how do we find a home country
to send them to? i totally agree, if you're talking about incredibly dangerous people who have done what the previous people said, we have got to keep those people to protect america, but that is not the case with some of the inmates at guantanamo. that's why we've been working to return these inmates to countries where they can be safe, safely return to. it's not everybody at guantanamo who falls in that category and that's the reason i oppose this amendment. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from washington yields back the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from indiana is recognized. mrs. walorski: thank you, mr. chairman. mrs. walorski: thank you, mr. chairman. i guess an answer to the question that has been asked here, it is a commonsense amendment. how did a detainee go from sudan to yemen? the rules are too loose.
let's bring in accountability and there is accountability in this country. these are the worst of the worst. and the ones we are talking about from this point forward continue to have unbelievable issues, unbelievable dangerous criminal attached to their title and i'm asking for accountability and transparency and i yield back. the chair: the the gentlewoman from indiana yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from indiana. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the amendment is agreed to. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. thornberry: i offer amendments en bloc. the clerk: en bloc number 3 consisting of amendments number 4, 24, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 49 and 50, printed
n part b of house report offered by mr. thornberry of texas. the chair: the gentleman from texas, mr. thornberry and the gentleman from washington, mr. smith are recognized. mr. thornberry: each of these amendments have been worked on both sides of the aisle. i believe this package deserves members' support and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from exas reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. >> i rise to claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. o'rourke: i yield two minutes to the the gentleman from texas. >> my amendment today would require the defense department
and f.a.a. to discuss the helicopter noise. and develop recommendations to reduce the noise on people and property. the airspace around washington, d.c., is more highly congested than any other part of the country. 144 helicopter operations take are here every day, 75% military. one recent addition to our airspace is a hybrid helicopter and airplane with the width of an eight-story building. it has been deployed to iraq and afghanistan and now the peaceful communities of northern virginia. as most of my colleagues know, he osprey with transfer to a helicopter while hovering at a low altitude. this takes place over the
neighborhood of arlington, virginia. the communities in my district are relate particular and are sensitive to the needs of the military. but the roots of the altitude caps dictates best practices, not military aircraft designed for a conflict zone. it is not possible or even practical but given the military's insistence, it is only right they work with the f.a.a. and offer possible solutions. i offer my members to support this. and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: we have no speakers on this amendment on this point so i reserve. the chair: the gentleman will continue to reserve. the gentleman from texas is recognized. the gentleman from texas is
recognized. mr. thornberry: before i yield pleased to yield one minute to the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. mcgovern. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mcgovern: i rise in favor of the amendment which is part of this en bloc to create a medal for surviving family members. over 200,000 service members conducted nuclear weapons tests and were exposed to radiation. sworn to secrecy, they couldn't tell their doctors. presidents provided specialized care. but this isn't enough. a constituent of mine, another atomic veteran brought this to my attention. last year, with the help of the chairman and the d.o.d.
authorization bill we included this amendment but the department of defense insisted that the senate remove it, their explanation is we don't have a medal. congress should find another way. that is no excuse. that is dismissive and ungrateful. we should be appalled. these atomic veterans have already died. they kept a code of silence that led them to pass away. support this amendment and i urge the senate to do the same thing. the chair: the gentleman is recognized mr. thornberry: i have no no additional speakers and i urge adoption of the en bloc passage. the chair: the question is on the amendments offered by the gentleman from. the ayes have it. the enolympic amendments are agreed to. -- the en bloc amendments are
agreed to. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. thornberry: i offer additional amendments en bloc. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendments en bloc. the clerk: en bloc number 4, number 48 rnings 51, 52, 5 , 54, 5, 56, 57, 58, 59 and 61 printed in part b of house report offered by mr. thornberry of texas. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 73 , the gentleman from texas, mr. thornberry and the gentleman from texas, mr. o'rourke each will control 20 minutes. mr. thornberry: this is additional en bloc package number . i believe this en bloc package
deserves the support of all members and i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. o'rourke: i'm not in opposition, i rise time to claim opposition. at this time, i do not have a speaker, so i will reserve time. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. other gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: neither do we. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. o'rourke: i will continue to reserve for a short period of time. mr. thornberry: i yield myself one minute. there are a number of subjects that are covered in this en bloc package. and i think it exemplifies the work that goes into creating
this defense authorization bill. if you look at the size of the bill, it is very large. as a matter of fact, it is over 1,200 pages when you look at the legislation. of course, one of the reasons this bill is so large this year is that it includes five major packages of reforms, including acquisition reform, health care reform, commissary reform and military justice reform. i understand that not all members may not agree with every position. i don't. but the point is this bill supports the men and women who risk their lives to serve our country. that is the time when all of us should put aside whatever differences we have with this provision or that and come together on what has been for 54 years and continues to be this
year a bipartisan product and so for all the amendments that are included in this enolympic package, they deserve the support of the house and i hope they will be adopted. the chair: the gentleman reserves. mr. o'rourke: i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from california, ms. chu. ms. chu: the women business centers fill a critical gap in our economy. despite being more than 50% of the population, women own just 30% of all businesses and others keep growing there. by providing resources, women business centers are designed to make sure that women-owned businesses succeed. that's why it is imperative that female entrepreneurs are able to
access these resources. the reality in large densely populated areas, the need is greater due to the higher concentration. language county was home to more women-owned businesses than any other county in the country. some women have to wait weeks or months or forced to travel long distances because the center closest to them was unable to meet the demands of the my amendment would address this aatlanta by ensuring that the s.b.a. considers the population density when reviewing and selecting eligible organizations. we must continue to work to ensure that these centers are convenient and accessible for all women, because when women succeed, america succeeds. i urge my colleagues to support
this amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from california yields back. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: i yield myself one additional minute. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. thornberry: among the amendments in this en bloc .ackage is one by mr. nolan i think it's per example this amendment comes from a democratic member but important for all of us to do what we can to ensure that training and weapons provided to forces we are assisting in syria are not misusing that equipment and to take that one example where i believe a good amendment has been accepted by both sides of
the aisle that help ensure that the goals we all share in this case, the syrian training and equipment program that that is an example of the bipartisan nature of this bill. similarly, there is an amendment y mr. aguilar to improve the ability to recruit cyber professionals and enormous to compete with silicon valley and other places that are recruiting cyber professionals but a good and valued step. those are examples of the amendments in this en bloc package. i reserve. mr. o'rourke: we have no other speakers on this amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: i yield the balance of my time and urge adoption. the chair: the question is on
the amendments en bloc offered by the gentleman from texas. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the en bloc amendments are greed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 25 printed in part b of house report 114-569. for what purpose does the gentleman rise? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 25 printed if house report 114-569, offered by mr. larsen of washington. the chair: pursuant to the house 32, the gentleman from washington and a member opposed will each control five minutes. seeksrsen: this amendment prohibits on 115
collaboration but provides the secretary of energy with waiver authority. however the secretary of energy can only exercise the waiver if there's a new emergency and we completely eliminate the backlog of physical security maintenance work at d.o.e. defense nuclear sites in the u.s. i stand with my colleagues in opposition to russian aggression in crimea, ukraine, syria and threatening activity in the baltics and elsewhere. however, i believe the terms of this waiver are wrong and would be, frankly, impossible to execute. if we give the secretary of energy a waiver, it should be achieveable. this is why my amendment improves the standard to a simple one as the secretary must certify that this cooperation will reduce the nuclear threat. it's no secret that nuclear material in russia is vulnerable to threat, to theft and smuggling. according to harvard university's managing the atom project, russia's nuclear
material is threatened by insiders and outsiders. nuclear material stolen in russia does not have to remain in russia. currently we don't have nuclear threat reduction work with russia. but if the opportunity presented itself and it was in the interest of national security why not at least have that option? so i encourage members to support my amendment so our government can protect americans from nuclear terrorism regardless of where that material originates. with that, i urge people to support this amendment and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> i rise to claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thornberry: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thornberry: i appreciate the points raised by the gentleman from washington state, mr. larsen. i remember very well one of my early speeches on the floor of the house was on a motion to recommit supporting a democratic
motion, actually, regarding our efforts to help the russians get control of their nuclear material because that certainly has been an important priority. it it is also true that since was in the well in the mid 1990's on that, things have changed. what we see is russia spending an incredible amount of money modernizing a variety of weapons systems, including their nuclear weapons. including submarines and bombers and a whole variety of things but including new nuclear weapons. yet on the other hand we have enormous backlogs of deferred maintenance, we call it, in our nuclear infrastructure and our nuclear weapons complex. what that -- deferred maintenance is a nufe my, mr.
speaker. even in my own district we have folks working in deplorable conditions and we're talking about engineers and others working in conditions that no one should have to work in. because we have neglected our infrastructure throughout the nuclear complex. so i think the purpose of the underlying provision is that we shouldn't spend money doing what russia has the money to do for itself, especially when our own nuclear infrastructure is in such disrepair. now there's a waiver provision, you know, if there's something crucial then obviously another arrangement can be made. but the basic premise is, russia has changed, they are behaving not only more afwressively but modernizing their military, meanwhile, we have neglected ours, it's time for us to catch up. and so i would reserve the balance of the time.
the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. larsen: i agree with the distinguished gentleman from texas that russia has changed this ethreat of loose nuclear material has not changed. and nuclear material in russia is far more vulnerable than in the united states and stolen nuclear material anywhere is a threat to americans. now on a bipartisan basis this committee has increased funding for domestic security improvements. however, current funding levels that backlog will exist for years. if congress is going to establish a waiver process, it should be an achieveable one. right now we do not do any of this work in russia. but we have the opportunity to reduce the nuclear threat and we should keep that option available and i ask this body to support my amendment and with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: i appreciate the
importance that the gentleman places on securing nuclear material. i share his view. i still am very concerned, for example, that terrorists will obtain and we know they would use nuclear material if they have the opportunity. but the concern here is that we are doing things for russians with american taxpayer dollars and so they need not do it for themselves and in fact what they do for themselves is build more capability that threatens us. we can't continue down that road. so i oppose the amendment and i urge members to to likewise. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from texas yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from washington. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed. -- is not agreed to.
amendment number 26 printed in part b of house report 114-569. for what purpose does the gentleman from alabama seek recognition? mr. rogers spst i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 26 printed in part b of house report 114-569 offered by mr. rogers of alabama. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 1732, the gentleman from alabama and a member opposed will each control five minutes. the gentleman is recognized.
mr. rogers: i offer an amendment to ensure congress is getting full information about one of our nation's highest priority defense mission nuclear deterrents. several years ago, the secretary of energy tasked the nation's nuclear energy lab to produce a study on the future of nuclear deterrents. it was finalized in august of 2014, almost two years ago. the secretary made a personal commitment to senior member os they have armed services committee he would send over the report resulting in that study. now two years later, we still have not received that report. this amendment would assure d.o.e. access to provite this -- pro-- acts to provide this to congress. ensures congress has appropriate oversight and visibility into the issue of nuclear deterrence. efense's -- it's only a couple million dollars in the
administration's funds this is enough to ensure we receive the report and will not impact the d.o.d.'s mission at all. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? >> thank you, mr. chairman. the chair: does the gentleman claim time in opposition? >> i do claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. >> i appreciate my friendship with the gentleman from alabama but i think this amendment goes way too far. to fence half the funds of the office of secretary of energy is verkill. mr. cooper: secretary muniz has done an excellent job. this is a punishment that will go to the next secretary. a man who is not in any way responsible for this delay. and has there been a delay? it's my information that the chairman of the full committee has had access to this report, access to this report has been offered to the gentleman from
alabama and to myself. without having read the report we do not know what issues of classification or bureaucracy are involved in this but this is among the nation's most precious and most classified secrets. so to me, to use a sledgehammer like this, against a good person and against that good person's successor, whoever that may be is really a crude way to handle a breakdown in communications. surely there's a better way to solve this problem. his office is just down the street, we get along with him just fine, he's been fully communicative and extremely able in every aspect, but to have a delayed report merit a sanction like this is pretty extraordinary. so i would urge my friend, the gentleman from alabama, to reconsider and not have what i onsider to be a staff-driven tiff escalate into something much greater than it should be. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from alabama is
recognized. mr. rogers: i appreciate my friend's remarks. i agree. i like mr. moniz. i think the secretary is a fine man. trying to do the right thing. and i've had a conversation with the ranking member earlier today and hadn't had a chance to follow up with him, i've been toe floor doing a lot of stuff. the only problem i've got with withdrawing the amendment is we need this report between now and the time we go to conference. to take what we -- is yielded from it and visit with the appropriators. just me reading the report with you in congress wouldn't give me the documentation to take what it says, which i believe it says, and produce deuce some policy that will deal with what the report says is a threat to our country system of for that reason, i would like to urge my colleagues to vote for the amendment and reassure my friend and the secretary that if in fact the report is forthcoming
and we're going to have two months between now and the time we go to conference, i will be happy in conference to ask that this provision be withdrawn. with that, i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from alabama reserves. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. cooper: i thank the gentleman from alabama. i urge he and other members not use this in any way as a precedent. it's one thing to fence an appropriate amount of money over a worthy disagreement but this is overkill in this case, at least in my opinion system of we probably will not prevail on the vote but we need to establish precedents that will work for the strongest possible defense for this country and a minimum of bureaucratic conflict. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from alabama is recognized. mr. rogers: i thank my friend from tennessee and urge my friends in the house to vote yes. i yield back my time. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from alabama. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it, the amendment is agreed to. the chair: now in order to consider amendment number 60 rinted in house report part b. zinzinatti i ask that my number 0 be modified and be in place at the desk. the chair: could the gentleman first offer his amendment. zinzinatti modify the amendment in the committee of the whole. the clerk: amendment number 60 printed in part b of house report offered by mr. zin key of montana. the chair: does the gentleman seek unanimous consent to amend the amendment?
zinzinatti i ask that the modification be considered as read and amended. the clerk: insert amendment number 60 printed in heart b, the following, the amendment as modified is as follows, at the end of subtitle d of title 16 add the following new section, section 16 request for forces to meet security requirements. a, certification, and five days after the date of the enactment -- zinzinatti i ask that the reading be suspended. the chair: is there objection to modifying the amendment? without objection, the amendment is modified. the gentleman from montana, mr. . n key and a member opposed zinzinatti our service members many have the ability to do
their job. each and every day, they are tasked with protection of our nuclear weapons and thankfully they have performed their mission successfully. unfortunately the gravity, these men and women must use helicopters from the vietnam era. larger than the state of maine while using the helicopters that are over 50 years old. air force demonstrations have shown time and time again that critical shortages exist and their success. the air force and department of defense have known this but unfortunately have consistently kicked the can down the road. this amendment ensures this does
this now. and have proven its vulnerability. this is a full and open competition but does not allow the air force to further delay replacement and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from montana reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. o'rourke: i rise to claim time in opposition. the chair: without objection. mr. o'rourke: i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from texas yields back. zinzinatti i yield the gentleman rom arizona, one minute. >> we had a technical issue earlier and we had reached out o my friends' office and i congratulate your staff and it was a procurement timing and has
been taken care of with the amendment to the amendment. and anyone who is listening that the concerns have been dealt with and we are now in support of the gentleman's amendment. mr. schweikert: i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from arizona yields back. the gentleman from montana is recognized. zinzinatti -- yield to the gentleman from alabama. mr. rogers: secretary carter has said that the nuclear deterrent priority is our number one national security mission but that rhetoric has not matched up with the decision on this issue coming from the secretary's office. the fleet that is used by the air force security forces helos.s of vietnam-era
this is a case study in a failed d.o.d. acquisition process. the first move was in 2004. joint staff validated a requirement in 2010. the air force canceled the program in 2011. and they jofrlede this in conducting a sole source program proposing competition in 2018. an admiral said quote maintaining this requires a modern helicopter with sufficient exabets to counter today's and future threat. it does not meet the icbm security requirements as outlined by d.o.d. we have been warped, colleagues. let me be clear, this is the
security of nuclear weapons here at home. there is no higher priority. if we are go down the path of competition, that's fine. but we have no more time to waste. i urge the gentleman's amendment. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from montana is ecognized. the gentleman from montana is recognized to close. mr. zinke: thank you everyone for working on this bill but not delay the program. we need to replace the howies. the acquisition process as we have identified is broke. i thank my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to place this in importance, our nuclear weapon and arsenal, we face an
enemy and ensuring that they are safe at all times is part of what this congress should be doing and i yield. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment as modified offered by the gentleman from montana. thaferede. the amendment as modified is agreed to. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. thornberry: i move that the committee do now rise. the chair: the question is on the motion that the committee do now rise. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the motion is adopted. accordingly, the committee rises.
-- narrowly passed an amendment to force women to register for the draft. it was a surprise when it went through. but rather than have an embarrassing vote on the floor to strip that ladgewadge out they included for the rule for the debate self-executing language. essentially language that would automatically upon adoption of the rule strip that section from the bill and replace it with language just requiring a report, a study, on this -- on the draft. host: wie taking a look at the number of amendments, 61 amendments they'll be dealing with ood, the -- today. the number filed, 377.
one of those was from the chair of the armed services committee, macthornberry, and deals with the size of the president's national security staff. what are the details here. guest: there have been concerns by former defense secretary robert gates, leon panetta and several others, other lawmakers and others in the national security establishment, about the outside influence of the national security council, which has grown pretty steadily since the 1960's. but obama's council now is numbered at about, pleaved to be numbered at about 400. there's concern that the people who work for the n.s.c. have too much say over military operations and other matters. so what thornberry's amendment would do is require senate confirmation of the national security advisor if the staff, the n.s.c. staff, numbers more
than 100. host: that's a pretty unusual move. would that be making a big change? do you see it happening? guest: it would be a big change. it essentially, the n.s.a., the national security advisor has typically been somebody the president chooses, doesn't have to go through a rigorous senate confirmation process. that person has the ear of the president. i do expect this to pass. it is the chairman of the armed services committee who is putting it forward. so he certainly has a significant amount of influence. there have been concerns on both sides of the aisle about the n.s.c. dabbling in areas where perhaps defense secretary or secretary of state or the military should have a greater say. host: let's move on. there are a couple of amendments dealing with guantanamo bay, one from representative nadler of new york and one from representative walorski. what can you tell us about
these? guest: guantanamo is a continuing area of debate. the nadler amendment would relieve restrictions on closing guantanamo. congress has been fighting the obama administration since 2009 over efforts to shutter the controversial prison. and i expect that amendment to fail. it being a republican controlled congress and most republicans opposed to closing guantanamo and some democrats as well. the concern largely being where we put the detainees who remain there. the walorski amendment would require a memorandum of understanding with any country that we -- any country we send detainees to, that we transfer detainees to. and then they would have to report that memorandum to congress. so it would add another layer of bureaucracy to efforts to
transfer all the cleared detainees out of guantanamo. host: what other amendment should we watch for when debate continues tomorrow? this is the first day of two. guest: i expect the next traunch of amendments to be significant in size as well, the house is hoping to finish by 7:00 or 7:30 wednesday night on this bill but we'll see what the committee reports out. it's everything from weapons systems, tricare, health care, i've seen amendments on ps -- ptsd, on national guard issues, it'll really run the fwa mutt. host: and a veto threat from the white house. we'll continue following you. let us know how thing prossgress. we'll fol owe our -- follow you @cq tter, your handle is megan scully. >> the amendment by mac
thornberry limiting the size of the national security council passed by voice vote. you heard conversation on the jerrold nadler amendment dealing with fwauntaun moe, that's coming up for a vote three amendment votes, we expect around 8:30 eastern or system of we'll have it live here on c-span as debate can'ts on defense authorization. later in the week, debate on the chamber's first appropriation bill of the year. they plan to work on the nearly $82 billion military construction-veterans afairs spending measure. despite the house not passing a budget. live coverage around 8:30 eastern or so here on c-span. today is primary day in oregon and in kentucky. bernie sanders campaigning in california ahead of the june 7 primary in california. we'll have live coverage of senator sanders' rally at the cal state-dominguez hills coming up at 11:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2.
>> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up wednesday morning, kentucky republican congressman thomas massie will be on to talk about the future of the libertarian movement and its impact on campaign 2016 now that kentucky senator rand paul south of the race. michigan senator gary peters will join us to talk about the flint water crisis and other news of the day. and in our focus on magazines we'll highlight "washington monthly wrtsy stephen rose bygone days he evoked by the trump and sanders campaigns are largely myth. be sure to watch us live at 7:00 eastern. >> now to today's white house briefing with josh earnest.
he smoke about a number of issues including the 9/11 terrorism bill passed in the senate, zika virus funding and transgender bathroom access. mr. earnest: good afternoon, everybody. welcome to the dry white house briefing room. i do not have any announcements so we can go straight to your questions. >> the senate passed legislation today by voice vote that will allow families of 9/11 victims to sue in u.s. court for any role the saudi government played in the attack. does the white house threaten to vote -- threat to veto that bill still stand? mr. earnest: the advocates of the legislation have suggested they have taken into account our concerns by more narrowly tailoring the legislation. but unfortunately, their efforts were not sufficient. to prevent the longer term unintended consequences that we
.re concerned about this legislation would change long standing international law regarding sovereign immunity. continues to nt harbor serious concerns that this legislation would make the united states vulnerable in other court systems around the world. there's also a concern that hasn't gotten as much attention about the potential vulnerability that is created for some of our allies and partners in u.s. courts. related to ern is the fact that sovereign immunity critical iple that is to our national security. the united states is more
engaged in activities in other countries than any other country in the world. typically those are activities other countries benefit from significantly. peacekeeping activities or humanitarian relief activities or other activities in which the united states is supporting the national security activities of other countries and the national security of other countries is enhanced by the involvement of the united states. but our involvement in those activities is made more complicated by the chance that the principle of sovereign immunity could be eroded. so the administration strongly continues to oppose this will begin nd conversations. >> are those areas of concerns you cited strong enough to lead to vetoing the bill if it gets to the white house? mr. earnest: as i think i
mentioned before, given the concerns we have expressed, it's difficult to imagine the president signing this legislation. that continues to be true. >> will the white house, as the bill goes to the white house will the white house work with the lawmakers to keep the bill from coming up there? is it important enough for you to try to do that? mr. earnest: i think there are a variety of options, that's one of them. another would be seeking additional changes to the bill that would more directly address the concerns that we have been raising for months now. so there are multiple options. we would anticipate having conversations with members of congress about this issue. i would just note that there are both democrats and republicans in the house of representatives that have expressed concerns with the bill. so there is an opportunity for us to work in bipartisan fashion to try to address the serious concerns we've raised about the unintended consequences of this
legislation being enactedful >> just before we came out, concerning the veto, statement of administration policy that $6 2 eased on the billion zika bill in the house, saying they would recommend the president vee to that, the senate is voting on three different zika funding measures, one for about $1.1 billion that seems most likely to advance. where does the white house fall on that particular bill? mr. earnest: we have several concerns with the house bill. he first concern is that it is woefully insufficient given the significant risk that is posed by zika. that's not just my own personal analysis. that's the analysis of our public health professionals who advise the administration about
what should be included in the supplemental appropriations package that we sent to congress nearly three months ago. so it's disappointing that congress is, at least the house of representatives, is three months late and more than $1 billion short of doing what's necessary to protect the american people. there's no reason that this should be a partisan or ideological issue. this isn't a question of, you know, government philosophy. this is a question about whether or not you're actually committed to ensuring that we're doing everything possible to protect pregnant women and babies in the united states of america from getting the a debilitating disease. or at least a virus that has a debilitating -- that has debilitating consequences for the neurolarge call development of babies. so we're quite disappointed that the house is so late in acting and what they've put together is
so woefully insufficient. it's not just our public health professionals who have expressed those concerns. i would note that one certain republican senator from florida was on the floor of the united states senate today expressing those concerns. i think it does raise the question for the 17 republican house members from the state of florida about what their view is. the republican senator from the state of florida has indicated that the congress should act expeditiously to pass the $1.9 billion funding proposal that our public health expert says is needed. i think it would be interesting to understand exactly what position the 17 other republicans from florida who represent that state in the ongress think of this. it's a relevant question, i
think it underscores the point i was making before that there's no reason this should be a part season issue. this is a basic matter of the public health and well being of the american people. >> and the bill for $1.1 billion? mr. earnest: the senate, fortunately, appears to be make manager progress. they will also include a vote on the $1.9 billion proposal we put forward back in february. we strongly encourage democrats and republicans to come together around that bill. that's what our public health professionals say is needed to do everything possible to protect the american people from zika and this would be an emergency appropriation that would be available to state and local officials and federal government scientists immediately. that's -- we believe that is the
preferred -- we believe that's the best way to protect the american people from the zika virus. >> are you saying it's $1.9 billion or nothing? mr. earnest: i'm saying that's what health professionals say we need. we're looking for congress to act on that request. the other concern with the house bill isn't just that the amount of resources committed is much smaller. e funding would be offset by taking away resources that are currently being used to protect the american people from ebola. and traditionally when congress has been faced with a public health emergency, they haven't wasted a lot of time looking for
funding offsets. and that's a pretty dangerous exercise because it delays the needed funding but it also risks gutting other critical priorities. let's talk a little bit about how that ebola funding is being used. right now that funding is being used by the c.d.c. to work with the health ministries in both gi nee and liberia to -- in both guinea and liberia to address the rapidly changing ebola cases there. right now they are assisting the government in tracing nearly 1,000 contacts. these are individuals who are at heightened risk of potentially spreading ebola. the c.d.c. has 100 staff deployed over there and that staff is helping to process 10,000 samples per month in liberia, sierra leone and guinea. so it's clear that what's happen, the work that the c.d.c.
is doing in west africa was very lpful in the fall of 2014 in stopping the spread of that terrible disease. but it requires vigilance. and the lesson that we should have learned from 2014 is that the united states and the american people benefit from the enhanced capacity of public health officials in other countries. that stopping the spread of a dangerous virus in another country makes the american people safer. and i -- when that was an academic, hypothetical exercise, there was some skepticism that some people expressed about that notion. but there weren't many people expressing skepticism about it in the fall of 2014 when this was concern about the ebola virus appearing in the united states. so it is a bad idea for republicans to move forward with a proposal that would gut our
efforts to follow through in the fight against ebola and it's a bad idea for republicans to further delay the eemergency funding that's necessary to protect the american people from he zika virus. >> in baghdad, several bombings today. extending the deadliest wave of the year in bombings. prime minister said -- he said the political crisis there is hampering the fight against the islamic state. does the administration share that concern? mr. earnest: let me start by saying the united states strongly condemns the barbaric attacks today in iraq by isil that specifically targeted innocent civilians. we extend our deepest condolences to the victims and their families.
the string of attacks by isil is the latest reminder of the danger the group poses to all iraqis and the importance of iraqi leaders working together. you recall back in 2014, the u.s.dent made the offer of military assistance to iraq contingent upon iraq's central government more effectively uniting that country to confront isil. so that should be an indication that unified, effectively -governed iraq is critical. it has been a central part of our strategy from the very first day. and we have been encouraged over the last year and a half over the efforts that