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Bill N.
Democrat FL

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  • Department of Homeland Security Funding

    by Senator Bill Nelson

    Posted on 2015-02-04

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    NELSON. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Mr. NELSON. Madam President, I wish to talk about the necessity of having an appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security and the fact that it is being held up over the issue of folks in the House of Representatives who do not want to appropriate money for the actions that the President has taken in trying to improve a dysfunctional immigration system. Holding up the funding for the Department of Homeland Security appropriations is absolutely ridiculous, in the opinion of this Senator.

    The fact is the clock is ticking because the funding runs out in just a couple of weeks--February 27. What does the Department's name imply? Keeping the homeland secure.

    In one regard, that means cyber attacks. Doesn't it occur to someone that we have had an extraordinary number of cyber attacks recently? Most everybody will remember Sony. People were attacking us because they wanted to stop the expression of free speech, in this case with regard to a movie the Sony company had produced. Because they got in and got all of the personal data and were manipulating the internal controls of the company with this cyber attack, it is the Department of Homeland Security that is charged. Hopefully, if we can ever pass a cyber security bill that can be signed into law, the portal through which the early warnings will come will be the Department of Homeland Security. By the way, that cost the Sony corporation about $100 million.

    How about what happened to all of the customers of Target: Addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses were taken from 70 million Americans who were customers of Target.

    How about Yahoo: Passwords and user names were exposed to cyber attacks.

    How about eBay: Users' passwords, because of a cyber attack, had to be changed because they were compromised.

    How about a number of major banks, including JPMorgan Chase: Seventy- six million households and seven million small businesses' accounts were affected by the attack.

    How about Home Depot: Six million accounts were put at risk.

    That ought to be enough to continue the funding of the Department of Homeland Security, but there is a lot more.

    Most folks understand that TSA, which checks us as we go through the security at airports, at seaports--TSA is a part of the Department of Homeland Security. Are we going to cut off the funding for TSA--TSA that is now trying to stop the new kind of attacks with nonmetallic explosives? Remember, because of our intelligence apparatus, working through liaison partners in other countries, about 2 years ago a cartridge in a printer was discovered ultimately going onto an airplane that was bound for the United States--that was a nonmetallic explosive. We were fortunate we got that, but they continue.

    These folks who are trying to attack us all over the world are trying very ingenious ways to avoid the security, and we rely on TSA-- especially at American airports--to protect us.

    We simply in a couple of weeks can't afford for the appropriations to stop.

    How about immigration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Again, another responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security, and we are going to cut off the funding on what kind of folks are coming across our borders and what kind of folks we are going to be checking and rechecking and what kind of things they are bringing into the borders.

    There are a lot of people who want to get into this country to do us harm. That is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security.

    So it is not only ridiculous to this Senator, it is almost silly. But the problem is it is tragic, and it could be horrendous given the fact that people around the world are trying to harm us as we try to protect ourselves in our national security every day.

    This is a debate we should not be having. Unfortunately, it is a condition our politics have come to, and we need to stop that condition.

    I leave the Presiding Officer on a happier note. As the Senate goes into recess at the conclusion of my remarks, happily all of the Senators are going to a bipartisan luncheon where we are going to talk about things we can do together. Indeed, that is the happiest thing I have heard today.

    Madam President, as I yield the floor, I understand that pursuant to the previous order, the Senate will stand in recess.


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