Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013by Senator John McCain
Posted on 2013-03-13
McCAIN. Mr. President, could I ask my friend a question while he
is on that subject?
Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask permission to engage in a dialogue
with my friend from Arizona.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. McCAIN. I say to my friend from Illinois that there is no further objection. The Senator from Oklahoma and I have reviewed the bill and yesterday we discussed its length and our obligations. I promise to my friend from Illinois that we will not rehash that discussion we had. We have no objection whatsoever to taking up amendments right now and moving forward with that. I hope that is perfectly clear to all Members. Very frankly, I am eager to move forward.
I will mention to my friend from Illinois that I appreciate the new responsibilities he has. I appreciate the responsibilities he has addressing, as he just said, the largest single part of our appropriations bill which is in the Defense authorization. During the intervening time we had requested, I came up with, for example, $65 million for Pacific coast salmon restorations for States, which includes Nevada. We are going to restore salmon restoration in the State of Nevada? Also listed here is the Department of Defense to overpay contracts by an additional 5 percent--totaling $15 million--for Native Hawaiian- owned companies. I would be glad to include this long list for the Record.
There is a request for $993,000 in grants to dig private wells for private property owners; $10 million for USDA high-energy cost grant program to go to subsidize electricity bills in Alaska and Hawaii; $5.9 million for economic impact initiative grants. The list goes on and on.
I say to my friend from Illinois that we were trying to examine this legislation--the 587 pages or whatever it is--to find this sort of issue. It is our obligation to do so. We have found these things, and we are still finding additional elements.
I see my old friend, the distinguished majority leader, on the floor. We are ready to move forward with amendments. I was saying to my friend from Illinois that we found numerous additional provisions in this legislation that we think are important for debate and discussion. I won't go through all of them, but some of the items include $120 million for Guam; $5 million for the National Guard STARBASE Youth Program; $154 million for alternative energy resource. It goes on and on. In the meantime we have ships that cannot deport, planes that cannot fly, and men and women we cannot train and equip. Yet we have this kind of stuff on the appropriations bills.
I want to share with my colleagues that the Senator from Oklahoma and I finished examining this bill yesterday. We are prepared with amendments and moving forward with vigorous debate. If there was any misunderstanding about that, I apologize to the majority leader and my friend from Illinois.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The majority leader.