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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. TURNER of Ohio. I want to thank Chairman Forbes for his commitment and support for the Air National Guard and also thank Chairman McKeon.

This amendment is not about the National Guard or the Air National Guard or even: How are we going to support our Guard? This amendment is about cutting missile defense. If you look at the amendment, it looks to take money from our national security, specifically in the area of our missile defense. Now, this is one amendment of a series of amendments that are coming across from the other side of the aisle that are attempting to cut missile defense.

This occurs at a time when Iran and North Korea continue to increase as a threat to our country. Secretary Gates even said, as he was departing, that North Korea is rising to the level of being a threat to the mainland of the United States--missile defense becoming that much more important.

Coincidentally, as we know, this also comes on the heels of the President's having what people know as an open-mic event when the President was caught surprised that his mic was open so that the American people could hear a conversation that he was having with President Medvedev in which he said that after the election--his last election--that he would have greater flexibility to deal with the issue of missile defense.

Now, the President, in his secret deal with the Russians has not yet told us what it is that he would lessen in our missile defense; but I know, as we look to these amendments, they are consistent with the issue of: Do we have a strong missile defense? Do we not have a strong missile defense? Do we follow the President's lead of a weakening of our national defense and our missile defense?

On this side of the aisle, I think the American people believe that we need a strong missile defense, we need to make certain that we're protecting our homeland; and we're protecting our mainland.

I asked the White House and I asked the President if they would tell us what was in this secret deal that they have with the Russians, and they did respond to me in a letter of April 13, as Ranking Member Smith mentioned. This letter does not say at all that there are any terms that the White House is willing to discuss, but it does say this sentence:
It is no secret this effort will be more complicated during election years.

Even in writing and in the open-miking event, the President says that after this election he'll have more flexibility, meaning that he can't stand in front of the American people and tell us what his plans are for missile defense or it could affect his election, meaning the electorate themselves would not support what this President wants to do with missile defense. I know the electorate would not support this Keating amendment.

It is important that we have a strong missile defense as we look to Iran and North Korea, and this Ground-based Midcourse Defense system that they want to cut in this amendment is the only one that we currently have that protects mainland United States. The CE1 intercepter has been tested, and it is three for three in its success. This is a system that works, that we need to make certain that we continue, and it certainly is one that I know the American public supports and wants us to continue.

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Mr. TURNER of Ohio. The gentleman states that his amendment only takes 9 percent from missile defense. The gentleman is stepping forward and saying what's in his amendment. The President, however, won't tell us how much he wants to cut from missile defense as he goes through this election cycle with the secret deal that he has with the Russians.

The one thing that we know is that this system stands ready to defend the United States, and it is necessary. Iran and North Korea continue to increase their threat to the United States. This system deserves our funding. It deserves the funding that's in this bill. This amendment should be defeated.

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Mr. TURNER of Ohio. Thank you, Chairman McKeon.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the Johnson amendment.

The Johnson amendment strikes from this bill the call for a study. A study is just the obtaining of knowledge. It strikes in this bill a study on what our options need to be in response to an increasing threat from North Korea. This study is necessary for us to understand what our options are.

What has changed? Why are we concerned about North Korea? Why do we need to pursue these options? One, we know that they most recently have unveiled a road-mobile missile launcher that Secretary Gates has said is an ICBM that puts the United States mainland directly at risk. Secondly, Secretary Panetta testified in front of our committee that there appears to be a link between China and the road-mobile missile launchers that we've seen and perhaps the missile technology, and we know that North Korea has been pursuing nuclear capabilities.

Our normal response to this has been our missile defense capability, where we've tried to bolster our missile-defense capability as North Korea gets increasingly dangerous in its quest to reach the United States with ICBMs and again a nuclear-capable North Korea. But we have grave concerns as to whether or not our missile-defense system would be there in order to be able to protect us. That's why we need to pursue additional options, because we continue to have from the other side of the aisle amendments to reduce our missile defense.

At the same time we know that the President most recently was caught in an open-mic discussion with the President of Russia, President Medvedev, indicating that after the election had occurred in the United States, when he would have, as he described it, more flexibility, that he would address the issue of missile defense. So we know that the President in his discussions with Russia has a secret deal that's supposed to be unveiled after the election that can't see the light of day during this election, holding the American people hostage to what its terms are. As this secret deal proceeds, this President could continue to weaken our missile-defense system as we have the rise of North Korea.

Mr. Franks in his amendment in our committee merely asks for information and for a study. What should our response be as we see North Korea reaching for capability to reach the United States? We know of their nuclear capability. We've seen them unveil their road-mobile missile launchers, and we know that this President, in his secret deals with the Russians, has said, I'm looking for greater flexibility in missile defense.

Our only defense currently for North Korea and its quest for missile technology that can reach the United States--this is important that we rise to the issue of asking the question, as Mr. Franks has, what do we need to do, especially in light of the President's secret deal with the Russians.

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Mr. TURNER of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, I am in opposition to redundant reporting and requests on items that are already available. Section 1045 of the FY12 National Defense Authorization Act, condition nine of the Senate's resolution of ratification for the New START Treaty, already requires almost exactly the same report as this amendment would require. But the President--not the Secretary of Defense or the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff--is required to provide this report forward.

The report is required to be submitted whenever there is a shortfall in funding from the section 1251 plan levels. Because the FY12 omnibus appropriations resulted in a 5 percent shortfall, the reporting requirement was triggered, and the report was due in February. Congress has yet to receive the report. So perhaps one of the things that we need to do is to just have the administration file the reports that are already being requested instead of requiring an additional report.

This amendment is duplicative of an existing reporting requirement. We think that we should work together to ensure that the administration provides us with the reports that are already due.

We too have very serious concerns as to how this administration is moving forward with its New START implementation. Part of the concerns that we have, obviously, is that the preamble to the New START agreement includes a statement that the Russians state that our missile defense system is part of the overall effect of the balance between the two nations. The administration says that the preamble, referring to missile defense, does not apply. But yet we see the President in an open-mic discussion with Medvedev saying, After the election, I will have greater flexibility on missile defense.

So there is some confusion as to whether or not this administration believes that missile defense and New START are tied together. We certainly are going to look for a greater illumination by this President of what his secret deal is and whether or not it involves New START.

Part of the discussion that we have in the reports that are due is holding this administration accountable to answer the questions that are already on the table, file the section 1045 report that was due in February and answer the question, What's the secret deal?

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Mr. TURNER of Ohio. We certainly share our concern with the other side of the aisle as to how New START will be implemented and its effect on our missile defense system.

The issue of President's secret deal with the Russians is not really one that's open to interpretation. This is not some speculation. This is not an issue of my opinion that there's a secret deal. You can go to YouTube and type in ``President Obama, Medvedev,'' and you will see them sitting with an open mic.

You will, with your own ear, hear the President say, This is my last election, which should be offensive to every person in the electorate because it says, As soon as I am free from having to respond to the election process or to the electorate, I will be--and what he says is: I will have more flexibility after my election. That's freedom. He asks for space from Mr. Medvedev, who said, gleefully, it seemed to me--and that is editorializing--I'll go tell Vladimir. So Vladimir knows something we don't.

So we can say, Well, what does Vladimir know? Well, we know that Putin said in a March 2, 2012, interview with RIA Novosti about the President and his negotiations on missile events:

They made some proposals to us which we virtually agreed to and asked them to get them down on paper. They made a proposal to us just during the talks, they told us: We would offer you this, this, and that. We did not expect this, but I said, we agree.

This is Putin saying this--We agree.

Now that's a deal. When the other side says, we agree, that's a deal.

Do we know what the terms are? No. That's a secret. So a secret deal on missile defense is something we know is happening. You can go to YouTube and see the President talking to Medvedev. You can see him saying, I'm going to go tell Vladimir. You can look up Mr. Putin's interview on March 2, 2012, when he says his response was, we agree.

And what's the President's response when we ask, What are the terms of this deal, Mr. President--the terms that you won't let the Republican see? He says, Nothing.

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Mr. TURNER of Ohio. I want to thank Mr. Price.

Mr. Chairman, I want to echo what he has just said about the importance of this amendment. This amendment merely says that the President shall not unilaterally do these reductions without it being pursuant to a treaty or a statute passed by Congress, just that Congress has to be involved.

This provision parallels a provision in the new START Implementation Act. It recognizes the concern that Congress has from the information that is coming out of the administration. The Associated Press just reported that the Obama administration is weighing options for sharp new cuts to the nuclear force, including a reduction of up to 80 percent in the number of deployed weapons following just on new START, which has additional reductions, coupled with the President's open-mic statements that he wants greater flexibility on missile defense in a secret deal with the Russians. You have to come to a point where Congress has to be concerned that they be in the loop, that the President not take unilateral actions to both reduce our nuclear weapons at the same time that he's negotiating to diminish our missile defense system with the Russians as part of his secret deal.

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Mr. TURNER of Ohio. Well, I must say that we certainly have to be concerned about troop reductions in light of the possible secret deal between the Russians and the President.

I stand in opposition to this amendment because, first off, here you have Congress looking to withdraw troops that of course strategically our Department of Defense says that we need, and that intuitively we understand why they are there. We don't have troops there standing guard and defending Europe. We have troops there that are part of the alliance that are working in concert for the defense of the United States and our allies in issues of the war on terror, issues of training, issues of jointness, issues of logistics. I mean, Europe is not just a place where our troops are standing to oppose invasions of Europe; they're not there for that anymore. They're there for logistics of things such as the pirates that we have off of Africa, that people are abusing our resources to try to make certain that commerce can continue; the issues in Afghanistan, to make certain that we have the logistics for our troops and what they need; ensuring that our allies have jointness in training, working together and being present so that we can ensure that NATO works together in concert.

This provision would also lead to an incredibly negative perception among our NATO allies and partners that the U.S. is not committed to its NATO Article V responsibilities. You will recall, the NATO Article V, the only time it's been invoked was in favor of the United States after we were attacked and went into Afghanistan after 9/11.

These troops are present as part of the overall security of the United States. They're not there as a stake in the ground to protect Europe. To not look to our military for their strategy, for their determination as to where we need troops, for their use of deployment is for us to say that this Congress constitutes itself as the experts in military deployment, and we're not. This is not where the debate should occur.

We should oppose this amendment.

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Mr. TURNER of Ohio. I appreciate the gentleman from New Mexico's statement that sometimes it's best to make things as simple as possible. So looking at this as the most simple as possible, the gentleman's amendment merely says: ``Strike.'' So we're striking a provision from the current bill. That provision of the bill merely says that $150 million is for domestic national security-related enrichment technology.

Domestic. And what is this for? This is for our nuclear weapons programs. This is not for a truck fleet to take things from one side of the country to the other. This is our nuclear weapons program.

This provision that is asked to be struck says that it is for domestic national security-related enrichment technology. That means that if you're not doing domestic, you're going to have the United States be subject to foreign sources. Again, these are critical components of our nuclear weapons infrastructure and our nuclear Navy. We do not want to have foreign dependence upon a critical infrastructure.

Tom D'Agostino, director of the NNSA, recently came and briefed members of the Armed Services Committee and those who had an interest in this amendment. And he said, Conclusion: Domestic uranium enrichment capability is required to support national security and meet nuclear nonproliferation objectives.

So we have, one, a critical component of nuclear weapons; two, the issue of domestic or foreign; three, whether or not it's necessary and we need it. Those answer are all yes, which is why we should oppose this amendment.

The next thing is, what does this amendment actually do? This amendment, in striking this section, strikes a critical provision where it says that the United States, upon spending these dollars for our domestic capability, gets a license to the technology. The United States gets delivered to it, the technology of this domestic production. If this is struck, the domestic production, which the money will be spent anyway, no longer has a license.

Now the reason why we spend it anyway is because this amendment from the gentleman from New Mexico deletes section 3156 but it doesn't delete the charts on page 992 from the back of section 4701, which has the line item in it. The money gets spent anyway, but we lose the license.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. TURNER of Ohio. We certainly share our concern with the other side of the aisle as to how New START will be implemented and its effect on our missile defense system.

The issue of President's secret deal with the Russians is not really one that's open to interpretation. This is not some speculation. This is not an issue of my opinion that there's a secret deal. You can go to YouTube and type in ``President Obama, Medvedev,'' and you will see them sitting with an open mic.

You will, with your own ear, hear the President say, This is my last election, which should be offensive to every person in the electorate because it says, As soon as I am free from having to respond to the election process or to the electorate, I will be--and what he says is: I will have more flexibility after my election. That's freedom. He asks for space from Mr. Medvedev, who said, gleefully, it seemed to me--and that is editorializing--I'll go tell Vladimir. So Vladimir knows something we don't.

So we can say, Well, what does Vladimir know? Well, we know that Putin said in a March 2, 2012, interview with RIA Novosti about the President and his negotiations on missile events:

They made some proposals to us which we virtually agreed to and asked them to get them down on paper. They made a proposal to us just during the talks, they told us: We would offer you this, this, and that. We did not expect this, but I said, we agree.

This is Putin saying this--We agree.

Now that's a deal. When the other side says, we agree, that's a deal.

Do we know what the terms are? No. That's a secret. So a secret deal on missile defense is something we know is happening. You can go to YouTube and see the President talking to Medvedev. You can see him saying, I'm going to go tell Vladimir. You can look up Mr. Putin's interview on March 2, 2012, when he says his response was, we agree.

And what's the President's response when we ask, What are the terms of this deal, Mr. President--the terms that you won't let the Republican see? He says, Nothing.

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