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John M.
Republican AZ

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  • Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013—Motion to Proceed—Continued

    by Senator John McCain

    Posted on 2013-03-12

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    McCAIN. Mr. President, along with the Senator from Oklahoma, I intend to object. I think the Senator made the case. I will remind my colleagues that 1 week ago Senator Coburn and I sent a letter to Senator Reid and Senator McConnell with copies to Senator Mikulski and Senator Shelby.

    We stated in one sentence: We write to inform you of our intention to object to entering into a time agreement before consideration of a continuing resolution until we have had at least 72 hours to review its contents.

    That is what we wrote. That is what we asked for.

    I will remind my colleagues again, it is a 587-page bill of over $1 trillion that we got at 9 p.m. last night. Is there anyone who has had time to read this entire bill that is 587 pages long? We are talking about $1 trillion, and we are holding up the Senate? We have had since 9 p.m. last night until 3:30 p.m. this afternoon to examine a 587-page bill of over $1 trillion.

    What we have already found--and we have not finished, but we hope to be finished with examining this legislation within a few hours--is the most egregious pork-barrel spending during a time of sequestration. I find it mind-boggling. We spent 3 weeks in December on the floor of this Senate doing the fiscal year 2013 Defense authorization bill. There are provisions in this CR that were directly prohibited in the Defense authorization bill.

    I respect the knowledge of the Senator from Alabama and the Senator from Maryland on defense issues, but we spent 3 weeks and hundreds of hours in hearings including amendments and markup. For example, we said there would be no money for Guam until we have a coherent strategy laid out by the administration as to how we were going to implement the base realignment. The fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act prohibited expending that money.

    What have they crammed into this 587-page bill? There is $120 million for a public regional health laboratory and civilian wastewater improvements in Guam. Why? I ask my friend from Alabama: Why does this directly contradict the authorization bill which was just passed that said no money would be given to Guam for these purposes until such time as we had developed the strategy for the base realignment in Guam? Is it because the Senator from Alabama and the Senator from Maryland know something more than the Defense authorization bill authorizers did? We had debate, discussion, and authorization of this, and we specifically prohibited it.

    So here we are. We have not been able to deploy an aircraft carrier because of sequestration. We have had to cut down on flying hours. We have had to reduce maintenance. We have had to make all kinds of tough decisions as to the men and women who are serving, not to mention the equipment, operations, and maintenance.

    What have we already found out in this bill? I want to assure my colleagues I am not making this up. There is an additional $5 million for the National Guard Youth Challenge program. I think the National Guard Youth Challenge Program is a pretty worthwhile project, but is it worthwhile when we are having to keep a carrier from deployment? There is $5 million for the National Guard STARBASE Youth Program; another $154 million for the Army, Navy, and Air Force ``alternative energy research initiatives.'' This type of research has developed such shining examples as the Department of Navy's purchase of 450,000 gallons of alternative fuel for $12 million, which is over $26 per gallon.

    There is $18 million for unspecified ``industrial preparedness,'' $16 million for Parkinson's disease research. That part is out of Defense, my friends. That is not out of Health and Human Services; it is out of Defense. There is $16 million for neurofibromatosis research, $16 million for HIV-AIDS research, which is a worthy cause, but it is taken out of Defense. There is $9 million for unspecified radar research, $567 million for unrequested medical research, $20 million for university research initiatives, and $7 million for the Civil Air Patrol program increase.

    The list goes on and on, and we have not finished. How in the world do we have a provision ``for an incentive program that directs the Department of Defense to overpay on contracts by an additional 5 percent if the contractor is a Native Hawaiian-owned company,'' how in the world is this justified during this time of sequestration? I note the presence of our leader on the floor, and I want to assure the leader, with all due respect, that this is a 587-page bill of over $1 trillion. We got it at 9 p.m. last night. I hope that in a few hours we will be able to finish examining this bill. What we have found so far is so egregious it is hard to imagine that anybody--in light of the sequestration and the damage it does to the lives of the men and women who are serving the military--could have added these kinds of provisions and, frankly, is beyond anything I think I have ever seen in the years I have served in the Senate.

    I yield to the distinguished majority leader, but before I do, I object.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.

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