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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, this was unanimously approved by the committee. There is a provision in there that would simply require the Department to plan to reduce funding for civilian and contractor personnel by approximately 5 percent, which would be less reduction than what is contemplated from the military side.

Right now, the President's budget, not counting sequester, would reduce military personnel by 123,900 men and women serving in the military or 5.5 percent over 5 years.

Since 2001, the civilian personnel in the Department of Defense has increased by 100,000, a 16 percent increase and a 37 percent increase in civilian pay costs.

The Department of Defense continues to be top heavy with headquarters. The Office of the Secretary will grow by 25 percent from 2001 to 2017.

Look, we all know that the Department of Defense is being downsized, so there has to be, obviously, a commensurate reduction in civilians, which is actually less than what is actually contemplated in the military.

This was unanimously reported, and I have had conversations with the Secretary of Defense, who agrees that we need to reduce the civilian personnel as well as the uniformed personnel.

I urge my colleagues to reject this amendment.

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I thank Senator Menendez and Senator Kirk for this very important action of tightening sanctions on Iran.

The centrifuges are still spinning in Tehran, and we have enacted strong sanctions. They have had some effect, but we have not had sufficient effect.

I thank Senator Menendez and Senator Kirk for this language in this amendment. I will not go through a list of all the actions that will be taken against Iran, but the screws need to be tightened. This is an important act, and it can--I emphasize, can--lead to a way to prevent a conflagration in the Middle East.

I thank Senator Menendez for his leadership, and I yield the floor.

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, again, I hope our colleagues understand we are either going to do this finite list or we will have cloture and nonrelevant amendments will automatically fall. I hope everybody understands this is one of two options, and it seems to me if we agree on a finite list, we can then have a better chance for amendments to be considered.

I wish to thank the majority leader and all our colleagues for their patience throughout this very difficult process. I hope, in the interests of achieving the objective of passing this legislation, we will allow the amendments that are relevant and debate and votes.

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Mr. McCAIN. I thank the Senator from New Hampshire. She is an advocate and a very active and important member of our committee.

I also would wish to thank her for arranging yesterday's event on behalf of and in memory of one of the great Members of this body, Warren Rudman. I thought it was a wonderful event, and I thank the Senator, both senators from New Hampshire, for arranging what I think was a very fitting tribute to one of the real giants of the Senate in the New Hampshire tradition, so I thank the Senator.

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I hope our colleagues and staffs who are observing our deliberations would think seriously about their amendments and how they can be consolidated, whether they really need to be considered. We are working through large numbers of amendments. We will probably be revealing a finite list, and we hope we can satisfy all Members' concerns.

I yield.

I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, could I say we now have, believe it or not, a pretty manageable list. We have been working for 3 days on amendments, on compiling amendments, on disposing of amendments, various managers' packages, and we will have an additional managers' package or two today.

I ask our colleagues to cooperate in the next 20 minutes and have their staffs--and themselves if they are in their offices--examine this list, which is available, and make sure it is agreeable to them so we can lock this down and then move forward to having voice votes, managers' packages, and, where required, rollcall votes. We will not deny any Senator this right, starting on Monday night. We look forward to having agreement from everybody. I believe we can, beginning on Monday, get this legislation done.

I would also like to say that I appreciate the patience of the majority leader, who has a large calendar. We appreciate his patience on this issue.

Finally, I would say again that I think we are showing and can show Monday night that this body is capable of taking up a piece of legislation without a cloture vote, without filling up the tree, without all the other parliamentary maneuvers and objections, and come forth with a piece of legislation that I think all of us can be proud of but, more importantly, that is of significant importance to the men and women who are serving in the military and our ability to protect this Nation.

I thank the chairman again for his unstinting effort.

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