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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. McCAIN. If we can then--obviously, we can call a vote at any particular time. So I would suggest again that we try to dispose of other amendments after the vote on the first Feinstein amendment, and then we will try to dispose of additional amendments between the disposition of the first Feinstein amendment and the second one, with the hour of debate equally divided, and Senator Feinstein can begin.

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Mr. McCAIN. Is it the Senator's impression that action by the United Nations Security Council is pretty dim given the stated positions of Russia and China on this issue?

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Mr. McCAIN. So then it really makes a more compelling argument to those who may be wavering on this amendment that there is a clear record on the part of China and Russia in the U.N. Security Council that we cannot expect a Security Council vote, but perhaps we could expect other nations to follow suit once the United States leads on this issue.

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Mr. McCAIN. These questions are for either Senator.

Is it true that in this legislation, there is a national security waiver, that the President can waive the provisions of this bill if he feels it is in the national interest? Also, how do you respond to the argument being put forward that this could destroy the world's financial system if this legislation would be put into effect?

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, very briefly I would like to thank the Senators for their leadership on this issue. There is a threat to the security of the world posed by the Islamic nation of Iran. This is much needed legislation.

I think it is important to note, as they did, that there is a national security waiver given to the President of the United States, and also we cannot expect a lot of help considering the membership of the United Nations Security Council and Russia and China's unwillingness to act on behalf of reining in this path that Iran is on to the acquisition and the possibility and the capability for the use of nuclear weapons.

I congratulate both sponsors of the amendment, and I hope we can get a recorded vote.

I yield the floor.

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Mr. McCAIN. I note the presence of our friend from Texas, who would like to voice his objections to the package of amendments which is pending which have been agreed by both sides because of his concerns about a particular amendment he had. I would like to hear from him in a minute.

I would like to say to my colleagues on this side of the aisle, if you have an objection, please come to the floor. We would intend to vote--or seek approval of what the distinguished chairman just proposed--at 5 after the hour. That gives them 15 minutes.

I yield the floor.

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Mr. McCAIN. I just wish to say I strongly support the amendment by the Senator from Texas, and I will do everything I can to see that this issue is raised. I cannot comprehend why we would not want to provide one of our closest allies with the equipment they need to defend themselves with the growingly aggressive mainland China exhibiting the characteristics of intimidation and bullying and perhaps threatening Taiwan.

I wished to state, first of all, my appreciation to both Senators from Texas, who have been very involved in this issue, and I wish to tell them I will do everything I can to make sure this amendment is adopted. We do need to send the signal that we support our friends.

I yield the floor.

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Mr. McCAIN. Madam President, I thank the Senator from Massachusetts for his amendment. He has spent a great deal of time in his life serving in the National Guard, including spending time in Afghanistan recently. He understands the burdens our National Guard men and women bear. I am very grateful for his careful attention to their needs. This is clearly an issue that needed to be addressed. We are proud to have it as part of our legislation.

Again, my thanks to the Senator from Massachusetts as well as to my friend, Chairman Levin, for helping make this amendment possible.

I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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Mr. McCAIN. Reserving the right to object, and I will not object, for the benefit of our colleagues, after spirited discussions for a long period of time we have reached a compromise with the Senator from California on language concerning detainees and there are certain Members on my side who wanted a vote on the original amendment as written. We modified it, so that there will be a vote on the original Feinstein amendment and then on the one which is modified by agreement among most of the people involved. There may be some who will still oppose it, but we have reached an agreement among the Senator from California, the chairman, myself, the Senator from Idaho, the Senator from South Carolina and others, that I think will be agreeable to the majority of the Members.

I suggest to my friend, the chairman, that when the vote starts at 6, perhaps we can line up the other remaining amendments, on some of which we hope to get voice votes, some of which will require recorded votes, as is the procedure under postcloture.

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I will not repeat what the chairman said except that I would like to thank Senator Feinstein for her willingness to sit down and negotiate with us, and Senator Durbin, who has been a passionate advocate. I would also like to thank all of the people who came to the floor so often. I think the Senate is a better institution as a result of the debate, and I am sure the Senate and the American people are much better informed on this very important national security aspect of this bill.

I thank my colleagues. I urge an aye vote.

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Mr. McCAIN. I support the amendment. I think this amendment is vital at this time to send a strong signal to Iran, which recently tried to pull off the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador here in Washington, DC. It is long overdue, and it is too bad that the United States has to do it by ourselves rather than having the U.N. Security Council act. This is a strong amendment. I think it is very important and, again, I strongly support it.

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Mr. McCAIN. It sounds simplistic, and the hour is late and we need to vote, but the fact is there were 382 amendments that were submitted. There were hundreds of amendments that were waiting, and the fact is that initially the Cornyn amendment was not agreed to, so it is a little more complicated than that. There were literally 400 or 500 amendments that were filed, and we had to at some point cut off the process. For next year's bill we will try to get a situation where it is far more inclusive and far more informative. When you are dealing with 500 amendments, I know that each is important, but there is no way you are going to be able to get through the authorization bill with that many amendments that are filed, and that is just a fact. We are doing the best we can to accommodate the Senator from Texas and the Senator from Oklahoma and every other Senator who didn't get their amendment voted on.

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