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Public Statements

Bring Jobs Home Act--Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Alabama. A lot has been said, and those of us who serve on the Armed Services Committee have been watching what is going on with a lot of distress. I think it is important for us to understand how we got into this mess to start with. By his own budget, we have a President who has given us over $1 trillion in deficit each year for 4 years, totaling $5.3 trillion. So that is the mess we are in that we are trying to get out of. But in all that time, the one that has not been properly funded has been the military. The first budget he had he cut out the F-22, the C-17, and the future combat system--all these systems that were so important--and it has gone downhill since then.

As you project the President's budget out, as has been said, we are talking about reducing about $ 1/2 trillion. Now comes sequestration. That is over and above. A lot of people don't realize it. They think we are talking just about the $ 1/2 trillion that will be cut over a period of time. I will use one of the charts that was actually put together by the Senator from Alabama that shows where this stuff is coming from. Everything seems to be exempt except the military. Food stamps, exempt 100 percent of it; Medicaid, 37 percent; and only 10 percent of the DOD base budget. So why is it we find ourselves in a situation where that is the problem?

The only thing other thing I want to mention is this. I have every reason to believe, because I have heard from people in industry, the President of the United States is trying to get them to avoid sending out pink slips until after the November 7 election. I would remind him that we have something called the Workers Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act--WARN Act--and that requires any of these companies, prior to sequestration on January 2, within 60 days, which would be November 2, to notify people of their pink slips.

But this is what I wish to remind people. They do not have to wait. If they want to do it today, they can do it. I think it is imperative the people--the workers who will be laid off work as a result of Obama's sequestration--know in advance of the November election, and we are going to do everything we can to make sure that happens.

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Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, earlier today, we had a colloquy on this floor talking about the devastating effects of sequestration, and I think we covered most everything. One of the significant parts of this is how we got here in the first place.

Not many people realize that in our form of government the President of the United States, whether he is a Democrat or a Republican, comes out with a budget each year. Of course, we have not actually passed a budget in the Senate, so that becomes the budget.

In his budget, starting 4 years ago, he has had, each year, in excess of $1 trillion of deficit each year. Add them all up and it is $5.3 trillion of deficit.

I only mention that in conjunction with the concern we have on sequestration. How did we get here in the first place? This is something that is very much of a concern for us because it seems as if, when we look at all the increases, the deficit increases during this administration since 2008, the only area that has not been dealt with fairly, in terms of keeping up with our obligations, is national defense.

I am not too surprised this happened, but it did. In fact, I can remember going over to--let me interrupt myself.

Madam President, it is my understanding I have 30 minutes; is that correct?

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Mr. INHOFE. Oh, fine. I like that better.

After the first budget, I can recall going over to Afghanistan, knowing this President would be disarming America in his first budget. I think he will go down in history as the most antidefense President we have ever had. But I remember going over there. I knew, with the tanks going back and forth in the background, that I would be able to respond and to get some attention of the American people.

Of course, that first budget, I remember it so well. He did away with our only fifth generation fighter, the F-22; did away with our lift capability, the C-17; did away with our Future Combat Systems, which would have been the first ground transition in 60 years. Then what I am going to talk about in another portion of my presentation this afternoon did away with the ground-based interceptor in Poland. Now that was the first budget.

Since that time, it has been deteriorating even more. So our national defense has been doing everything it can to try to stay afloat, try to support our troops who are over in harm's way. It is becoming more and more difficult.

If we project what this President has done and would be doing over the next 10 years, it would be cutting the military by $ 1/2 trillion. Now, that is bad enough, but what is worse is what would happen under sequestration.

Under sequestration, the way he has engineered sequestration, the cuts would take place--as was pointed out very effectively by the Senator from Alabama, Mr. Sessions--the amount of cuts that would come from sequestration would be coming almost entirely from the military. So not only is he projecting a cut of $ 1/2 trillion in our military as it is today, but if Obama's sequestration goes into effect, it is going to be another $ 1/2 trillion. So we know what this is going to do to jobs, we know what it is going to do to our ability, we know what it is going to do in terms of putting our troops in harm's way.

So I would only say, in my State of Oklahoma an article came out. It was by Marion Blakley, the president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association. She released a report, and it was covered very well by Chris Casteel in the Oklahoman in this morning's paper.

They talked about: Surely, Oklahoma could lose 16,000 jobs. Well, that is bad enough, but the figure actually is much higher than that when we throw in the uniformed presence we have and the jobs we would lose.

In my State of Oklahoma we have five major military installations. We have Tinker Air Force Base, which does a lot of the repairs on the heavy stuff, KC-135s, and so forth. We have Vance that does primary training, an excellent job. We have our depot and the ammunition depot that is in McAlester. We have Altus Air Force Base that trains people in flying the heavy stuff. And we have Fort Sill in Lawton, OK.

I have to say, this is a great compliment to my State of Oklahoma because we have had, since 1987, five BRAC rounds. It is called Base Realignment and Closure Commission rounds. These are rounds where they go through and make evaluation as to which of these military establishments are perhaps not making the contribution to our Nation's defense they should, and then they go through readjustment and realigning, and so forth.

I am proud to say in my State of Oklahoma, the five military establishments I just now mentioned all have benefited from each of the rounds in terms of numbers of missions and numbers of people. I have to say there is a reason for that. It is not political influence, as a lot of people might guess. It is community support.

I have people saying, well, every community, every State has that. No, it is not true. When there is a problem and a need, we pass bond issues such as the very large bond issue in Oklahoma City to allow us to get the GM plant and, consequently, we have new missions going in. So I am saying that in a complimentary way.

On the other hand, with the sequestration that will be the Obama sequestration that will take place starting on January 2 of this coming year, we would have huge losses in Oklahoma. The estimate is probably closer to 22,000 jobs in the first year that we would be suffering in my State of Oklahoma.

It is bad enough what that will do to the economy in my State of Oklahoma, but what is even worse is what it does to our national defense. We have no way of knowing right now where that money is going to be coming from. I had a conversation--the first one in a long time yesterday--with Dick Cheney. Of course, we all recall not just his Vice-Presidential relationship, but he used to be Secretary of Defense.

He was one of those who was trying to make a lot of the cuts, and he did make a lot of the cuts. But he was talking about, if they do this and have these across-the-board cuts, it would be not just devastating--I mean, we all understand it would be devastating. That word was actually used by Secretary of Defense Panetta, who is under the Obama administration, saying the Obama sequestration would be devastating to our military.

But Dick Cheney was kind of pointing out some of the areas of interest. One of my backgrounds, and I still do it today, I have been a flight instructor for 50 years. I am sensitive to the need we have for pilots and how to train them. If we are to take across-the-board cuts, that would mean our pilots in the Air Force, in the Navy, and the Marines would not be subjected to the training I believe, in my opinion, would keep them as the crack pilots they are today.

The thing they would probably do is say: Well, we have simulators. We have simulators. That does not do it. Everybody knows that does not do it. So the cuts the Obama sequestration would make would be devastating to the whole country, devastating to my State of Oklahoma but more so, it would affect the lives of our troops.

You know, there is this kind of a myth out there, and the American people believe it, that the United States has the best of everything; when we send our kids into battle, that they have the best equipment always. That is not true. There are a lot of areas where we do not have the best. For example, the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon. There are five countries, including South Africa, that have better equipment than we do.

So as we look down the road and we see these cuts that are taking place, and then come back, as I just did from the Farnborough Airshow, seeing the other countries--France and all the other countries--and their propulsion systems, they are developing vehicles that are actually, in some cases, better than what we are doing over here.

The problem we are having is the deep cuts that have taken place in defense. I would have to say there is one thing that I am concerned about. This is kind of a warning shot for manufacturers, for defense contractors around the country that it is my opinion that the President--and I have heard this from several of the defense contractors, saying the administration is leaning on them not to send pink slips out on firing these people as a result of the Obama sequestration until after the November 7 election.

Well, I think they are overlooking that there is a law that was passed back in 1988 called the WARN law. It was the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification law. It says if we go through something like this, we have to send out pink slips--or the contractors have to send out pink slips to those who are going to lose their jobs 60 days prior to the time that is going to take place.

Well, if sequestration takes place on January 2, that would mean November 2, only 5 days before the election. So I just want to make sure everybody knows. The law says they must do it by 60 days. But they can do it tomorrow if they want to. I think the people of this country who are going to lose their jobs due to the Obama sequestration should be entitled to know they are going to get their pink slips before the election so that could certainly affect what they are going to be doing in an election.

MISSILE DEFENSE

That is not what I came down to talk about because we already talked about that before. But I would like to mention something that occurred in the last couple of days that has put us in a more dangerous position, and nobody is talking about it.

Back in December of 2002, President Bush issued a National Security Presidential Directive, Directive No. 23, announcing the plan to begin deploying a set of missile defense capabilities that would include ground-based interceptors, sea-based interceptors--land, sea, and space, kind of a triad system.

This is a system that people did not object to at that time because they remember back when people used to give President Reagan a hard time. When they talk about Star Wars, they talk about there will be a time when people have missiles that can be aimed at the United States, and they said the idea that we could shoot down a missile with a missile or shoot down a bullet with a bullet is inconceivable. They did not believe that would ever happen, but it is happening today and we all know it. We know the missile capability of countries that would like to kill all of us. So it is a very serious threat right now.

By the end of 2008 President Bush had succeeded in fielding a missile defense system capable of defending all 50 States and had security agreements with the Czech Republic and Poland on the construction of a third missile defense site. The radar would be in the Czech Republic.

I can remember talking to one of my favorite people, who was the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, about this subject. This took a lot of courage for President Bush to go in there and say: Look, we have a serious problem.

Let me kind of get into the record--I want to make sure people understand this. We have great ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California. I am confident that any missile coming in from that direction we can kill, we can knock down. The problem is if it came from the other direction, such as Iran, we do not have that capability. Sure, we might get one lucky shot from the west coast, knock it down, something coming into the east coast. With 20 kids and grandkids, that does not give me a lot of comfort.

Instead, in his wisdom and the wisdom of the administration under the Bush administration, we started building a ground-based interceptor in Poland with the radar located in the Czech Republic. Russia did not like that. They do not like the idea that we are defending ourselves in--you have to use your own judgment to decide why they have come to that conclusion. But it took courage for the Poles and the Czechs to come up and build this thing, and they agreed to do it.

I remember talking to Vaclav Klaus when it first started. He said: We want to make sure if we make this commitment and we anger Russia that you are not going to pull the rug out from under us. I gave them the assurance that was not going to happen.

Well, unfortunately that did happen. When President Obama was elected, he first cut the budget for missile defense by $1.4 billion, and he killed the ground-based interceptor in Poland. At that time--this is very significant our intelligence had said Iran will have the capability of sending a nuclear weapon over a delivery system by 2015.

Well, the Obama administration cut that program. They said: No, they are not going to have that capability until 2020. Well, guess what happened. Just 2 or 3 days ago, Secretary Panetta said on ``60 Minutes'' that he believes Iran would be able to procure the nuclear weapon in about a year, and then it will take them another year or two in order to put it on a delivery vehicle. That would be 2015. So now we know we were right way back in the Bush administration. We know the danger that the Obama administration has put us in. I think people are going to have to understand that is true.

For us to use the system that President Obama wants to use, we would have to have capability--it is a system called SM32B. That missile would give us that protection we would have otherwise gotten by the system in Poland and the Czech Republic and would not be developed to be able to use until after 2020.

So this is something that is probably one of the most serious matters we are dealing with right now. I remember very well when President Obama was meeting with Russian President Medvedev on Monday, March 26, of this year, President Obama said--this is when the mic was on and nobody knew that he could be heard. He said:

On all of these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it's important for him to give me space.

He was talking about Russian incoming President Vladimir Putin. These are his words.

This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.

What does that tell us? It tells us that not only is it bad enough what he has already done in taking out our ability to defend ourselves against an incoming missile from anywhere, specifically from Iran, but it is a crisis that we are dealing with that has got to be dealt with.

LAW OF THE SEA TREATY

I want to mention one last thing because it is new--it is not new; it is something they have been trying to do for a long time. I quite often criticize the United Nations. Many times they do not have our interests at heart. I am very glad we got the 34th signature on a letter we were prepared to send saying: Do not bring the Law of the Sea Treaty for a ratification vote to the Senate because we will vote against it.

Now, 34 Senators signed that letter, which means they cannot do it. They are still having the hearings and all of that because they like to talk about it, I guess. But we are not going to cede our jurisdiction over 70 percent of the Earth's surface to the United Nations, nor are we going to give the United Nations the power, for the first time, to tax the United States of America. That is what we would find in this treaty.

That is when he signed this treaty. I only mention that because these treaties that come along somehow--I don't know what it is, but there is something about the internationalists, and a lot serve in this body. They don't think any idea is a good one unless it comes from the U.N. It makes you wonder where is sovereignty anymore.

Here is another one, the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which they are trying to get through. Over the past 15 years, the idea of creating a global arms trade treaty has been debated at the United Nations. During the Bush administration, the United States stood in opposition to such a treaty. Yet it should come as no surprise that soon after entering the White House, President Obama reversed this position and went to work crafting and negotiating a U.N. arms trade treaty.

We all hear about gun control and what we are going to do with your ability to keep and bear arms. We hear about the second amendment to the Constitution, how it means very little to a lot of people.

It should be noted first that the treaty is currently being negotiated, so we cannot speak with certainty about the details. However, in March the president of the conference that is negotiating the treaty released a ``chairman's draft.'' Through the draft, we know that the treaty may seek to establish certain criteria that must be met before the international transfer of conventional weapons--including small arms and light weapons--is allowed to take place.

Here is what we are talking about. I remember that back during the Clinton administration they were saying: We have to do something about restricting arms in the United States. After all, they said, look at all of the things happening with the drug cartels in Mexico and in Central America; they are getting their weapons from the United States. That was the justification for having a gun treaty at that time. This isn't all that bad.

We don't know the details of this yet, but we know the draft treaty may seek to establish certain criteria to be met before we can sell to other countries. We have a lot of friendly countries out there to which we would like to sell.

Although we all agree that a committed effort must be made to prevent terrorists and criminals from acquiring weapons, the treaty could undermine our foreign policy and national security strategy and infringe Americans' second amendment rights. In Oklahoma, maybe people are a little more sensitive to second amendment rights, but I seem to be hearing from them, and they are dead right. The heart of the problem with the treaty is the notion that bad actors will continue to be bad actors. We have seen this time and time again. Law-abiding nations will constrain themselves to the terms of the treaty, and rogue nations and corrupt states will contravene the explicit text of the treaty that only months ago they were negotiating and wholeheartedly endorsing.

I can remember using this argument on gun control in the United States. Gun control assumes that people out there are going to obey the laws. But they are not the problem people; it is the people who are not going to obey the law. Why would they single out a law on gun control that would preclude them from having guns if they are criminals to start with? It doesn't make sense. Internationally, the same thing is taking place.

This treaty is rife with opportunities for such behavior. In fact, the draft requires that provisions ``shall be implemented in a manner that would avoid hampering the right of self defense of any state party.'' One need look no further than the current conflict in Syria to see how ridiculous this requirement is. The arms that Russia is currently supplying to Syria obviously have a dual purpose--for its national defense against a foreign aggressor but also to be used in the oppression of its own people. We know that is happening. Just yesterday we watched this taking place. Russia would, of course, claim they are doing it for their own defense.

How, then, does anyone expect an arms trade treaty which would not have stringent enforcement mechanisms to have any impact whatsoever? The answer is, against bad actors and rogue nations, it will not. But against nations such as the United States, the arms trade treaty may have a considerable impact.

Take, for example, the requirement in the draft that arms should not ``be used in a manner that would seriously undermine peace or security, or provoke, prolong or aggravate internal, regional, subregional or international instability.'' Does anyone deny that each and every time we supply weapons to some of our greatest allies, such as Israel, Taiwan, and South Korea, that we are, in fact, prolonging regional or international stability? The answer is no. But this is instability that is necessary for international order and the prevalence of democracy in regions where it might not otherwise exist. Yet the terms of the draft treaty could be read to prohibit such weapons sales.

We can all agree that it is a great understatement to say that we don't want American gun companies selling weapons internationally when they might be used to commit violations of human rights, but, as everyone knows, we already have laws on the books that prohibit this. The export of firearms is already subject to a very strict and complex regime.

The U.S. international trade in arms regulations--that is why I call this the foot in the door, a first step--which has been promulgated pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act, already strictly limits the transfer or sale of firearms. This regulatory regime has been in place since the 1950s. The United States has been doing this for a very long time. Other nations--our allies primarily--have mirrored our export control regime because it is so comprehensive.

This goes back to my earlier point. The United States has been very responsible in the area of exporting firearms, but other nations will not be, even as signatories to this treaty. It gets back to the nations that are the bad guys--they will not pay attention to the treaty even though they signed it.

The final point is that this treaty, even if negotiations result this month in a finalized version, is just going to collect dust in the Senate. We already have 58 Members of this body who have already signed a letter in opposition, and I feel strongly that this will meet the same fate as the Law of the Sea Treaty and so many other U.N.-sponsored treaties.

So you know the administration is in constant negotiations with international groups, such as the United Nations, and we have to go around and get people, as we did on the Law of the Sea Treaty. We have 35 Senators saying they will vote not to ratify, and that means you are wasting your time. Why are we even talking about it if it can't be ratified because it takes two-thirds for ratification? The same thing is true here, except we have 58 Members.

Keep in mind that the collectivists who are opposed to the private ownership of firearms, opposed to the second amendment rights, are the ones who are trying to do it internationally.

With that, I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.

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