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Senate Proceeding on Nov 16th, 2007 :: 4:07:43 to 4:33:00
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Jeff Sessions

4:07:43 to 4:07:55( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: it the way that has been suggested. mr. president, i thank you, and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: | quorum call: the presiding

Jeff Sessions

4:07:43 to 4:33:00( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

4:07:55 to 4:08:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i ask to speak in morning. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. sessions: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be

Jeff Sessions

4:08:01 to 4:08:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: dispensed. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. sessions: i ask to be allowed to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. session ses

Jeff Sessions

4:08:19 to 4:08:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we are facing a face -- mr. sessions: we are facing a number of challenges in the senate and in the congress. none is more important than our willingness and our responsibility to properly support

Jeff Sessions

4:08:36 to 4:08:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the men and women in our armed forces who are serving us today in iraq and afghanistan, serving us because we voted to send them there, doing the policy of the united states that has the support of the

Jeff Sessions

4:08:49 to 4:09:15( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: president, the chief executive, the commander in cheif and has been supported by the congress. yes, we have had a lost debate and a lot of dissension, and a lot of come complaints, but when the chips

Jeff Sessions

4:09:15 to 4:09:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: have been down, time and time again, we have authorized and funded the activities that are going on now in the name of the united states of america in iraq and in afghanistan. we had an election last fall

Jeff Sessions

4:09:29 to 4:09:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and the in membership did the american people did not say we want to pull out regardless of the cops. none of us are happy with the way things are going. they seem to be drifting in a bad way with

Jeff Sessions

4:09:41 to 4:09:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: no positive results. we had, after this election, last spring, april and may, we had a big debate about it. president bush says, you know, we need to change policy. i'm going to send a new general

Jeff Sessions

4:09:56 to 4:10:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: over there, general petraeus, and we're going to change tactics. i'm going to ask you to prove additional -- approve additional troops. i'm asking for a surge in troops. so we talked about it and we debated

Jeff Sessions

4:10:16 to 4:10:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: it right here in this senate. this great nation's legislative branch responded to the president's call and had a debate on it. we had no obligation to fund that. none whatever. but earlier in the summer,

Jeff Sessions

4:10:35 to 4:10:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we voted 80-14, to fund the surge in iraq and to send general petraeus and to give him a chance to utilize a new tactic and a new strategy for confronting the terrorist forces we were facing there. in particular,

Jeff Sessions

4:10:49 to 4:11:02( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: al qaeda, which was really a strong entity at that time. i got to tell you, i was worried about it. things had not gone as well as we had expected. we had a bad year. and casualities were up. attacks

Jeff Sessions

4:11:02 to 4:11:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: were up. and it was -- it was a tough time. but as part of that debate, we asked general petraeus to come back in september and give us a report. and the democratic colleagues and others, all

Jeff Sessions

4:11:23 to 4:11:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of us, were concerned. we wanted a report to see how things were going. we weren't going to have a blank check, an unending obligation to iraq if things were going to work. that's a fundamental synopsis,

Jeff Sessions

4:11:41 to 4:11:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: a fair analysis. general petraeus came back and gave us his report. general jimmy jones and a group of other independentive value independent evaluators were sent over there at the direction of congress when

Jeff Sessions

4:11:53 to 4:12:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we passed the supplemental to fund general petraeus and the surge. we required another report -- not just general petraeus, but the jones commission, to congress back and make a report. we asked the

Jeff Sessions

4:12:08 to 4:12:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: general accounting office to do an accounting evaluation, the independentnt g.a.o., as w they all came back in september. we had hearings, debate and discussion and we continued to go forward. we voted, in essence,

Jeff Sessions

4:12:27 to 4:12:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to continue to allow general petraeus to pursue the plans he was carrying out. and some progress had been made. and it was notable but it wasn't sufficient for us to say with certainty that a major

Jeff Sessions

4:12:43 to 4:12:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: change positively had occurred. we couldn't be certain of that. but it looked like some progress was being made with more troops and new tactics. so we said then, let's go forward. and we did.

Jeff Sessions

4:12:58 to 4:13:11( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and now we've seen some very dramatic, positive developments in iraq. the iraqi people, by all accounts -- i think few can dispute this -- have felt that the american troops are reliable allies.

Jeff Sessions

4:13:11 to 4:13:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we've changed our tactics in how we deal with the local iraqi officials and tribal leaders and mayors and chiefs of police. we are doing a much better job under general petraeus, i think, of partnering

Jeff Sessions

4:13:30 to 4:13:48( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: with them. they have turned against al qaeda. osama bin laden's troops, their terrorist group, that thought they were going do take over iraq and al anbar, the worst area in iraq, for al qaeda, has

Jeff Sessions

4:13:48 to 4:14:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: made a transformation. al qaeda is on the run throughout iraq. violence is down substantially. can i get you we it will continue to go down? i can't. i can tell you by two-thirds this last month, deaths

Jeff Sessions

4:14:05 to 4:14:21( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of american soldiers is down by a similar margin, attacks on iraqi civilians were down, which were always much higher in death than our american soldiers. and attacks on iraqi soldiers are down. al

Jeff Sessions

4:14:21 to 4:14:34( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: qaeda has been removed. the sadr group has quieted down and seem to be working with the government and the government hasn't performed like we would like it to. the parliaments and the -- there has not

Jeff Sessions

4:14:34 to 4:14:50( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: performed like i would like it see them perform. they deserve credit such, i think, criticism for thatbut it is not an easy thing to do, just to walk in and reach agreements that affect the future

Jeff Sessions

4:14:50 to 4:15:11( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of iraq, oil revenue, and military power within iraq for generations to come. it's understandable they would be somewhat reluctant. they need to do better. fundamentally, things this day are so much better

Jeff Sessions

4:15:11 to 4:15:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: than they were in april and may and so much better, even, than they were in september that it's quite remarkable. no one, i think, can deny that. okay. so, we're a great nation. we have a great congress.

Jeff Sessions

4:15:23 to 4:15:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and we went through a national post election discussion about what it do. were we just going do pull out regardless of the consequences? were we going to give general petraeus a chance to do a new tactic?

Jeff Sessions

4:15:38 to 4:15:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we voted to give him a chance. and it's beginning to work better than i think any of us would have predicted so far. and it is rather dramatic. so, i would say to my colleagues at this point in time,

Jeff Sessions

4:15:54 to 4:16:09( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: for goodness sake, let's don't now start cutting back on the ability of our soldiers to have the resources they need to continue what they're doing. let's don't try to pass legislation that detects

Jeff Sessions

4:16:09 to 4:16:22( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: general petraeus how to conduct operations in iraq. what do a group of politicians in a dysfunctional congress have to offer to one of the most brilliant leaders this nation has ever produced, general

Jeff Sessions

4:16:22 to 4:16:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: petraeus, who in a few short months has achieved dramatic progress there. we are committed there. our soldiers are committed there. they're serving us now. i had an e-mail just the other day sent

Jeff Sessions

4:16:37 to 4:16:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to me by a relative of a soldier in iraq.~ and he was saying things really are better. and the only concern he was what the u.s. congress would do, whether or not we would pull the rug out from under them

Jeff Sessions

4:16:57 to 4:17:14( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: if we were going to deny them the resources they need to continue the progress after all this effort to walk away after all we've done is to me just unthinkable. so we're at a point now where to

Jeff Sessions

4:17:14 to 4:17:31( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: get a supplemental that will allow the military to plan their year's activities, plan to go forward with, as you know, general petraeus' commitment to reduce troops by next summer. we're talking about

Jeff Sessions

4:17:31 to 4:17:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: a $50 billion supplemental with all kind of strings attached to it. and the president is not going to accept it. he cannot accept it. he is not going to accept it. so for us to continue to pursue

Jeff Sessions

4:17:49 to 4:18:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: a supplemental with excessive strings attached to it, that's too small, leaves the military under uncertain -- leaves the military uncertain in the support of the american people and the congress

Jeff Sessions

4:18:05 to 4:18:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: is a bad thing for to us do. it really is. it really is not good. well, oh, they say, you know, let's just keep the military out there. let's let them know that we're watching them, we're going to keep

Jeff Sessions

4:18:18 to 4:18:31( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: control of them instead of giving them the funding they need for a year or more, let's just do it a few months at a time and then we can bring them in here and we can beat them up and we can appeal

Jeff Sessions

4:18:31 to 4:18:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to our antiwar people out here in the country and let them know that we're fighting for them and we'll just do all these things and it won't hurt anything. but it does hurt. if you were walking

Jeff Sessions

4:18:43 to 4:19:04( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the street in baghdad right now attempting to execute the policy of the united states of america, placing your life at risk does, it not make any difference to you whether or not congress is behind

Jeff Sessions

4:19:04 to 4:19:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: you or not? i think it does make a difference. and i asked general casey yesterday, the chief of the staff of the army, former commander in iraq, i said, general casey, i'm concerned that what we're doing

Jeff Sessions

4:19:17 to 4:19:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: is going to undermine the confidence the american soldiers have in the support they have at home, that it will embolden the enemy and make our allies less certain of our commitment. i said, i know

Jeff Sessions

4:19:30 to 4:19:47( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: you don't want to be drawn into a political debate debate, but that seems to me to be the situation. and he just summed it up this way. he said, senator, as i said in my opening statement, it just sends

Jeff Sessions

4:19:47 to 4:20:02( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the wrong message. doesn't send the wrong message that we can't, after our full debate this summer, we can't now continue for just a few months to support our troops? they're in the field now. whytand

Jeff Sessions

4:20:02 to 4:20:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: now we here idle? why are we not doing our part to show them the support we need. and we will manage -- we will watch this situation in iraq. and if it gets worse and things are not moving effectively,

Jeff Sessions

4:20:19 to 4:20:31( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: then we ought to as a congress continue to consider whether or not to remove our troops to cut off funding. but that's not what we're going to do. colleagues, we're not going to cut off funding for

Jeff Sessions

4:20:31 to 4:20:48( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: our troops while they're making the kind of progress they're making. it's not going to happen. so if we are going to actually follow through eventually and give this money to them, why don't we do

Jeff Sessions

4:20:48 to 4:21:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: it in a way that helps them to be even more successful instead of doing it in a way that makes it more difficult for them and places our soldiers, in truth, at greater risk? this is what deputy secretary

Jeff Sessions

4:21:08 to 4:21:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of defense wrote just a few days ago, november 8, about the budget situation we are now in. yes, we did pass a defense appropriations bill but we -- we've done it -- but we've funded the military effort

Jeff Sessions

4:21:20 to 4:21:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: in iraq and afghanistan but separate supplemental appropriations. it allows us to have really more control over what's actually being spent on the war effort to do separately -- to do it separately.

Jeff Sessions

4:21:39 to 4:21:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and he wrote this letter, this is secretary gordon england. he said, i'm deeply concerned that the defense appropriations conference report under consideration does not provide necessary funding for

Jeff Sessions

4:21:53 to 4:22:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: military operations and will result in having to shut down significant portions of the defense department by early next year. closed quote. he goes on to say, "without this critical funding, the department

Jeff Sessions

4:22:10 to 4:22:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: will have no choice but to deplete key appropriations accounts by early next year. in particular, the army's operation and maintenance account will be completely exhausted in mid to late january, and

Jeff Sessions

4:22:27 to 4:22:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the limited transfer authority available can only provide three additional weeks of relief. this situation will result in a profoundly negative impact on the defensivelyian work force, depot -- defensivelyian

Jeff Sessions

4:22:44 to 4:22:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: work, depot maintance, and training activities. specifically, the department would have to begin notifications as early as next month to properly care out the ret not closure of military -- resultant

Jeff Sessions

4:22:56 to 4:23:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: cloash tour of military facilities -- closure of military facilities and the closure of further military activity. if you were secretary of defense, what would do you if you've got soldiers in the field

Jeff Sessions

4:23:10 to 4:23:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: authorized by the congress, authorized by the commander in chief and you run out of money, you have to lay off your civilian personnel and you have to get the money to the soldiers whose lives are at

Jeff Sessions

4:23:26 to 4:23:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: risk? secretary england goes on to say, "in addition, the lack of any funding for the iraqi security forces and the afghan national security forces directly undermines the united states' ability to

Jeff Sessions

4:23:44 to 4:23:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: continue training and equipping iraqi and afghan security forces. thereby lengthening the time until they can assume full security responsibilities. further, and -- and i'll just leave it at that.

Jeff Sessions

4:23:56 to 4:24:11( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so these are not idle threats. the money is running out. we ought not to be dangling the defense department out there, leaving them hanging with uncertainty, having them spend hours and hours figuring

Jeff Sessions

4:24:11 to 4:24:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: out how they're going to juggle personnel, developing plans to lay off nonessential civilian personnel, although i suppose in some sense all are essential, but laying off civilian personnel and canceling

Jeff Sessions

4:24:26 to 4:24:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: contracts. it will result in substantial expense to the government for penalties and that kind of thing. we ought not to be doing that. this is what secretary geren said -- excuse me, secretary of the

Jeff Sessions

4:24:42 to 4:24:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: army geren said yesterday at the armed services committee hearing, where i'm -- where i'm a member -- said -- quote -- "let me just conclude with a brief comment on the supplemental." he goes on to

Jeff Sessions

4:24:57 to 4:25:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: add -- quote -- "very quickly, we run through the resources that are available to us." "dr. gates has told us to start planning for what we're going to do when we, if we reach the point where we do

Jeff Sessions

4:25:26 to 4:25:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: run out of our o&m funding," operation and maintenance. and start making plans for what we as an army would do with that eventuality. he goes on, he pleaded with us us -- quote -- "last year, we had

Jeff Sessions

4:25:42 to 4:26:02( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: a bridge funding that helped us through this period. this year we don't have that funding so we just ask that we know there are many issues you are all working on and working through regarding that

Jeff Sessions

4:26:02 to 4:26:22( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: supplemental, but it's very important for us to be able to provide the orderly and reliable support to our soldiers for us to get that funding." now, isn't that a reasonable request for him to make?

Jeff Sessions

4:26:22 to 4:26:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i know moveon.org doesn't want us to fund the military but we voted 80-14 to do this as a senate and the house also supported it. and why are we putting the military in a position to go through incredible

Jeff Sessions

4:26:37 to 4:26:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: gymnastics to try to manage this effort because we are leaving them hanging about whether or not we're going to give them the money to support our troops. now, senator john thune of south dakota,

Jeff Sessions

4:26:51 to 4:27:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: a member of the armed services committee, asked this of general casey. general casey is the chief of staff of the army. and he said -- quote -- "and i want to ask general casey, if i might, a question

Jeff Sessions

4:27:05 to 4:27:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: because earlier this year, the army -- it was at an army posture hearing that your predecessor, general schoomaker, raised concerns about the effects of not delivering adequate and predictable funding,

Jeff Sessions

4:27:19 to 4:27:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: particularly in the form of supplemental funding for the war effort. we're 46 days into the first quarter of fiscal year 2008. we don't have an authorization bill. we don't have a bridge funding bill

Jeff Sessions

4:27:38 to 4:27:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: for the departmenof defense. and we don't have a fiscal year 2008 global war on terror supplemental." senator thune goes on, "we recently sent a defense appropriation bill to the president which he has

Jeff Sessions

4:27:51 to 4:28:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: signed into law but that has little effect on the war effort. so my question is: what will be the effect of no timely bridge funding or supplemental funding? will you have to cancel service contracts,

Jeff Sessions

4:28:08 to 4:28:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: lay people off, slow down work at depots and that sort of thing? if you could address that subject." and this is what general casey says, a career military man. "secretary gates" -- secretary of defense

Jeff Sessions

4:28:20 to 4:28:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: gates -- "has instructed us to begin planning for that possibility. the signing of the appropriations bill did two things. one, it gave us money for our base budget but it also stopped the continuing

Jeff Sessions

4:28:36 to 4:28:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: resolution funding that was going to support the war. so now we are faced with having to fund the war without a bridge out of the base budget. our army o&m account is about $27 billion. when you

Jeff Sessions

4:28:54 to 4:29:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: look at our army base budget, you're talking about $6.5 billion. if the army is asked to fund" -- "$6.5 billion a month. if the army is asked to fund this without any type of bridge or without

Jeff Sessions

4:29:10 to 4:29:25( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: any additional resources, we are going to run through that $27 billion around mid-february and we cannot wait until then to start making some of the decisions that will have to be made. our employment

Jeff Sessions

4:29:25 to 4:29:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: contracts, many of them require 60 days or 45 days notice before you can furlough somebody. we have many of the services that are provided by civilians, by contractors, and it would have a hugely

Jeff Sessions

4:29:41 to 4:29:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: detrimental effect on the home base. we will beggar the home front to make sure our soldiers that are in theatre have everything they need. and it will put a terrible burden on our soldiers, on families,

Jeff Sessions

4:29:57 to 4:30:14( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: on the institutional army, our ability to train. timely funding is absolutely essential. an organization of our size cannot live effectively with unpredictable funding, and we need that supplemental

Jeff Sessions

4:30:14 to 4:30:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: passed soon or we're going to have to start planning for the possility that we're not going to have it." can anybody dispute that general casey is exaggerating about that? can anybody dispute that uncertainty

Jeff Sessions

4:30:29 to 4:30:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: in funding has a terrible impact on the pentagon? so senator thune asked another question. general schoomaker also testified that the army was forced to cash flow itself through the first quarter of

Jeff Sessions

4:30:42 to 4:30:59( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: 2006. could you explain what that means and will the army have to do that again? general casey -- quote -- "we're in that position now. the o&m account is our account that offers us the greatest

Jeff Sessions

4:30:59 to 4:31:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: flexibility. most of the other accounts are constrained by specific, we call the term color of mey. but if we would find ourselves having to spend that o&m money not only to support the army but to support

Jeff Sessions

4:31:19 to 4:31:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: also the war effort, so we're in that position today. and using up funds at a rate of $6,000 a month against a $27 billion total." so i hope in the weeks to come that our leaders here on the senate

Jeff Sessions

4:31:38 to 4:31:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: will begin to work together in a way that can allow us to approve this funding that i think with certainty we will ultimately approve sooner rather than later.~ and not going threw this painful exercise.

Jeff Sessions

4:31:49 to 4:32:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and i have to say, mr. president mr. president, i really think it would be a lot better for our country. i think it would be a lot better for our military. i think it wab a lot better for our allies

Jeff Sessions

4:32:03 to 4:32:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: -- it would be a lot better for our allies and i think it would put news a much better position against our enemies if the leader of the united states senate, the majority leader, would quit saying

Jeff Sessions

4:32:20 to 4:33:00( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: this is a doomed, failed effort. it is not helpful. we have vote ed to support this effort. and we don't need to be saying publicly it's not going to work when in fact we are achieving more success

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