NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 1998 (Senate - July 10, 1997)

BINGAMAN AMENDMENTS NOS. 647-654 (Senate - July 07, 1997)

(2) the amount authorized to be appropriated under section 201(4) for chemical and biological defense counterproliferation programs is hereby increased by $36,000,000; and

(3) the amount authorized under section 301(5) is hereby increased by $15,000,000.
(b) Decrease: Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the total amount authorized to be appropriated under section 201(4) for the Space-Based Laser program is hereby decreased by $118,000,000.

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Amendment No. 653


At the end of subtitle A of title X, add the following:

SEC. 1009. INCREASED AMOUNTS FOR CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE COUNTERPROLIFERATION PROGRAMS.
(a) Increase: Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the total amount authorized to be appropriated under titles I, II, and III for chemical and biological defense counterproliferation programs is hereby increased by $118,000,000.
(b) Decrease: Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the total amount authorized to be appropriated under section 201(4) for the Space-Based Laser program is hereby decreased by $118,000,000.

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Amendment No. 654


On page 306, between lines 4 and 5, insert the following:

SEC. 1041. REPORT ON HELSINKI JOINT STATEMENT.
(a) Requirement: Not later than March 31, 1998, the President shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the Helsinki joint statement. The report shall include the following:
(1) A description of the options available to the United States to meet the objective of between 2,000 and 2,500 strategic nuclear warheads as contemplated under a potential third agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation on reductions and limitations of strategic offensive arms.
(2) An assessment of the military and budgetary consequences of each such option.
(3) An assessment of the mechanisms available to verify compliance with each such option.
(4) A description and assessment of the options available to deactivate the strategic nuclear warhead delivery systems that are required to be deactivated by December 31, 2003, under the START II Treaty, including mechanisms to ensure the verification of such deactivation and to ensure the reversibility of such deactivation.
(5) A description and assessment of the options available to limit the numbers of long-range sea-launched nuclear cruise missiles and the numbers of tactical nuclear weapons.
(6) A description and assessment of the options available to monitor and verify reductions in inventories of strategic nuclear weapons, tactical nuclear weapons, and related nuclear materials.
(b) Definitions: In this section:
(1) The term `Helsinki Joint Statement' means the agreements between the President of the United States and the President of the Russian Federation as contained in the Joint Statement on Parameters on Future Reductions in Nuclear Forces issued at Helsinki in March 1997.
(2) The term `START II Treaty' means the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Further Reduction and Limitation on Strategic Offensive Arms, signed at Moscow on January 3, 1993, including any protocols and memoranda of understanding associated with the treaty.

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AMENDMENT NO. 799, AS MODIFIED

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question now recurs on amendment No. 799. There are 15 minutes for debate, evenly divided.

Who seeks time?

Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I yield 5 minutes to the Senator from North Dakota.

Mr. DORGAN. Mr. President, I rise to support the amendment offered by the Senator from New Mexico, Senator Bingaman. My hope is that we will approve this amendment and save the $118 million that has been added to this bill for something called the space-based laser program. In supporting the Senator from New Mexico, I want to point out to my colleagues that the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization has reported to the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, `There is no validated military requirement for space-based laser .'

I will read that again because I think it is critically important. The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization has reported to the appropriations subcommittee, `There is no validated military requirement for space-based laser .'

Yet, $118 million is added to this authorization bill for the space-based laser program. Last year, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the cost of deploying 20 space-based lasers , starting in the year 2006, would be $24.6 billion. According to Defense Week, however, the Pentagon's Program Analysis and Evaluation Office estimates the cost of the space-based laser at closer to $45 billion. Neither estimate includes the annual cost of replacing the space-based laser satellites. The Congressional Budget Office pegged those expenses at $1.6 billion per year.

The question is, do we need it and can we afford it? That is a question we ought to ask about almost everything, I suppose. Do we need it and can we afford it? In answer to the first question--do we need it at this point?--it seems to me that the answer is no.

The experts themselves tell us we don't need it, and the adding of $118 million continues the incessant desire by the Congress, over many, many years, to throw money at this program. And $100 billion has been spent on national missile defense in over four decades. The question is, what have we gotten for the $100 billion? What would $100 billion have done invested in other areas of our country or spent for other purposes? Then, what have we gotten for our $100 billion invested in national missile defense?

In North Dakota, we have the remnants of what was the free world's only antiballistic missile program. It was opened after the Nation spent billions and billions of dollars on it. Then we mothballed it within 30 days of its being declared operational.

America's taxpayers have a right to question and wonder whether this is a wise use of their money? If I felt this program was a critical element of what is necessary for this country's defense, I would be here supporting it. But the Pentagon doesn't feel it is a critically important program, necessary for our country's defense. That is why they didn't ask for the $118 million. That is why the $118 million is now being added here in the authorization bill.

The Senator from New Mexico asks that we take this $118 million out of this bill. I support the Senator from New Mexico on the question of, do we need it and can we afford it? The answer is no on both counts. It is not just an answer that I give; it is an answer that comes from military officials themselves who say there is no validated military requirement for the space-based laser .

Mr. President, I hope that when we vote on this amendment, those who wish to save money, those who wish to stop spending money that we don't have on things we don't need will decide that we will approve the amendment offered by the Senator from New Mexico and cut the $118 million for this program, which has been added to this program in this defense authorization bill.

Mr. President, I thank the Senator from New Mexico for yielding me time, and I yield the floor.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?

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Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire addressed the Chair.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.

This has been one of the best managed programs in the history of U.S. ballistic missile defense efforts. You cannot often say that, that the program is on budget, on time, reliable, and even under severe funding constraints it has continued to make remarkable technical progress. It offers the best hope for the future of providing highly effective global boost phase defense against ballistic missiles of all ranges.

There was an independent review team appointed by the directer of BMDO to study the future of the SBL Program that has recommended that this program transition to the development of a space technology demonstrator for launch in the year 2005. And the funding contained in this bill supports the recommendation. It does not violate the ABM Treaty, for those who may be concerned. It keeps our options open to deploy this system.

I get very concerned, Mr. President, when year after year--and this the seventh straight year--there has been opposition expressed on the floor in spite of the full support of the committee on this program. This is a tremendously important program, and I think my colleagues need to understand that there is an expansion of the number of countries possessing ballistic missiles, not only nuclear but chemical and biological. These warheads present a serious challenge to the security of the United States. They are all over the world--North Korea, Iran, Iraq, just to name a few--China. They threaten our troops and they threaten our cities, and to take away a technology that can protect those cities, protect those troops in the field is outrageous. It is outrageous. It is immoral. I do not understand the intensity of the effort to do this year after year after year.

As the number of countries with these ballistic missiles continues to increase and as the range of those missiles increases, the expansion in the number of targets to defend will dramatically increase. With this technology, we are able to get these missiles in their boost phase and make the debris from those missiles fall back on the aggressor or the firer of the missile.

That is what this technology is all about. That is why it is so important, Mr. President. And to come down here year after year, time after time, and arbitrarily try to kill a program that has been on budget, on time, supported by the defense people and protecting our troops, protecting our cities is flat out irresponsible. There is absolutely no justification for it anywhere.

I urge my colleagues to look very, very carefully at what they are doing here because if this vote were to prevail and this amendment were to be passed, it would do serious damage to our security and, frankly, put our cities at risk, our bases at risk and our troops at risk throughout the world.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.

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Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, how much time remains?

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 2 minutes remaining.

Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, first I would like unanimous consent to add Senator Moseley-Braun as a cosponsor of the amendment.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, let me first just clarify what we are about here. The amendment that Senator Dorgan and Senator Moseley-Braun and I have offered is not an amendment to cut out the funding that the administration has requested in this area. It is to support the funding that the administration is requesting in this area. The administration in its budget said that it wanted $28.8 million in the space-based laser program this year, and that is exactly what we are proposing.

Now, at the committee level and the subcommittee level an additional $118 million, or essentially five times as much funding, was added to the request of the administration. What we are trying to do is say let us go with what the Pentagon requested. That is not an unreasonable position.

Last evening, Senator Lott spoke in opposition to our amendment, and he said clearly in his view the space-based laser was, and I think this is an exact quote, `the national missile defense option of choice.'

That is just flat wrong. The Pentagon has made it very clear that their option of choice is the ground-based interceptor which we are funding through the National Missile

Defense Program in this budget. In fact, we are funding it at twice the level that the administration had earlier requested. Instead of the plan of spending $2.3 billion over the next 5 years, we are going to spend $4.6 billion on that.

I support that, and our amendment does nothing to interfere with that. So the option of choice is the ground-based program which we have already agreed to go ahead and fund.

The real question here is where is the money coming from? If we are going to do this space-based laser , where is the money coming from? We would think it totally irresponsible for the administration to come in with this kind of request in 1998 if they could not tell us what they were going to do in future years to follow on in building this so-called demonstrator. But we think nothing of just adding it ourselves and saying, well, we will worry later about how we are going to fund this thing. So that is the issue.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time has expired.

Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to support the amendment.

I ask for the yeas and nays.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?

There is a sufficient second.

The yeas and nays were ordered.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment. The yeas and nays have been ordered. The clerk will call the roll.

The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.

Mr. FORD. I announce that the Senator from Missouri [Ms. Mikulski] is necessarily absent.

The result was announced--yeas 43, nays 56, as follows:

Rollcall Vote No. 171 Leg.

[Rollcall Vote No. 171 Leg.]

YEAS--43

NAYS--56

NOT VOTING--1

The amendment (No. 799), as modified, was rejected.

(Ms. COLLINS assumed the chair.)

Mr. THURMOND. Madam President, I move to reconsider the vote by which the amendment was rejected.

Mr. LEVIN. I move to lay that motion on the table.

The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.

AMENDMENT NO. 677

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question now is on agreeing to amendment No. 677 offered by Senator Feingold. The yeas and nays have been ordered. The clerk will call the roll.

Mr. BYRD. Madam President, is there supposed to be an explanation of this amendment?