[Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 16 (Thursday, February 3, 2011)]
[Senate]
[Pages S531-S538]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




   FAA AIR TRANSPORTATION MODERNIZATION AND SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT--
                               Continued

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. S. 223 is the pending measure.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. I thank the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky.


                            Amendment No. 21

  Mr. PAUL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendments and call up amendment No. 21.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is 
so ordered.
  The clerk will report the amendment.
  The assistant bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Paul] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 21.

  Mr. PAUL. I ask unanimous consent the reading of the amendment be 
dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To reduce the total amount authorized to be appropriated for 
 the Federal Aviation Administration for fiscal year 2011 to the total 
amount authorized to be appropriated for the Administration for fiscal 
                               year 2008)

       At the end of title I, add the following:

     SEC. 108. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR FEDERAL 
                   AVIATION ADMINISTRATION AT FISCAL YEAR 2008 
                   LEVELS.

       Notwithstanding any other provision of, or amendment made 
     by, this title, the total amount authorized to be 
     appropriated by this title to the Federal Aviation 
     Administration for fiscal year 2011 is $14,719,000,000.

  Mr. PAUL. Madam President, the amendment I have presented to the 
floor for the FAA bill is an amendment that I think is a first step 
toward looking at budgetary restraint. The President, in his State of 
the Union Address, talked about freezing spending at 2010 levels. If we 
were to do that at the inflated levels of 2010, we would add $3.8 
trillion to the debt over the next 5 years. It does nothing to the 
looming debt crisis to leave things at 2010 levels because these were 
levels where we had already increased spending by over 20 percent.
  What I am asking is a very modest proposal; that is, that all 
spending go back to the 2008 levels. This is not a significant cut. We 
have increased things dramatically in recent years. FAA has been 
increased in funding by 50 percent over the last 8 years. We can fund 
the upgrading of NextGen and various things by looking for cost savings 
within the bill. These are things we must do.
  The American people are demanding cost savings. The American people 
do not understand why we must pay inflated rates for our wages for the 
workers on Federal projects. They do not understand why Davis-Bacon 
wages, which were often 30 percent higher than the wages paid on other 
projects, private projects, must be paid. People are familiar with this 
even in their home States when you talk about the building of schools, 
how schools cost 20 and 30 percent more because of having to have 
inflated wages and extra regulations, extra paperwork that the Davis-
Bacon laws require.
  What we are looking for is cost savings everywhere--in this bill, in 
every bill that comes forward. As long as I am able to and as long as I 
am allowed, we will ask for spending reductions.
  Many people in this city are for a balanced budget. They say they are 
for a balanced budget amendment. But how can they be for a balanced 
budget amendment if they are not willing to cut spending? This is a 
very small, almost token cut in spending, but we have to do it 
everywhere.
  When people ask how will you balance the budget, you have to say I 
will cut spending. This is a very small first step to take the spending 
for this particular department to 2008 levels. I think it is a step 
long overdue. It is a chance for Members who say they are for a 
balanced budget to put their vote where their mouth is.
  Let's vote to cut spending. Let's vote to cut spending on this bill 
now.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the 
quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Webb). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                            Amendment No. 27

  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that 
amendment No. 27, offered by the Senator from Oregon, Mr. Wyden, be 
added to the list of pending amendments.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report the amendment.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from West Virginia [Mr. Rockefeller], for Mr. 
     Wyden, proposes an amendment numbered 27.

  The amendment is as follows:

[[Page S532]]

(Purpose: To increase the number of test sites in the National Airspace 
 System used for unmanned aerial vehicles and to require one of those 
      test sites to include a significant portion of public lands)

       On page 96, lines 4 and 5, strike ``at 4 test sites in the 
     National Airspace System by 2012'' and insert ``by 2012 at 10 
     test sites in the National Airspace System, one of which 
     shall include a significant portion of public lands (as 
     defined in section 203 of the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 
     (16 U.S.C. 1722))''.

  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. HARKIN. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum 
call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I rise to discuss an alarming trend that 
seems to be developing on this, the first substantive legislation we 
are considering in this new Congress. At least three amendments have 
been filed--one of which has already been offered, others expected to 
be offered shortly--that make unnecessary and misplaced attacks on 
basic rights and protections for American workers.
  I find it deeply disturbing that in this difficult economy, some of 
my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to be chomping at the 
bit to bring American workers down a notch or two more. I don't think 
the safety of our skies has to come at the expense of fair wages, safe 
working conditions, and other basic workplace rights. I hope all 
Republicans in this Chamber don't share that radical viewpoint.


                            Amendment No. 14

  The first amendment I will focus on today would deny transportation 
security officers basic collective bargaining rights. That amendment 
was offered by my friend, the distinguished Senator from Mississippi. 
Well, that is fundamentally unfair and a poor way to treat hard-working 
people who are on the frontlines of our effort to keep America safe.
  Currently, most Federal employees--including other employees at the 
Department of Homeland Security, such as Border Patrol, Immigration and 
Customs officials, and the Coast Guard--all have a voice in the 
decisions that affect their safety, their families, and their future.
  Other Federal security employees also have these protections--the 
right to collective bargaining--including Border Patrol agents, Capitol 
Police officers, Customs and Border inspection officers, and Federal 
Protective Service officers.
  That is right. All these wonderful policemen we see out here day 
after day, who are doing a hard job protecting us, protecting all the 
people who work in the Capitol and all these buildings around here, all 
our Capitol Police officers--guess what--have the fundamental right of 
being organized and collectively bargaining for their hours, wages, and 
conditions of employment. Do we feel any less safe because of that? Of 
course not.
  Despite working side by side with these colleagues, transportation 
security officers, TSOs, are denied the rights these other employees 
enjoy. They do not have a voice at work. They do not have statutory 
whistleblower protections or the right to appeal if they are subject to 
discrimination or unfair treatment by their supervisors.
  The absence of collective bargaining rights has made TSA less 
effective. Our transportation security officers, TSOs, have twice the 
average rate of injury for Federal employees. A recent Best Places to 
Work survey ranked TSA 220 out of 224 Federal employers, and turnover 
rates are among the highest for any Federal agency. Let me repeat that. 
Turnover rates at TSA are among the highest for any Federal agency.
  I submit that low morale and high turnover at a frontline security 
agency are a recipe for disaster, and Senator Wicker's amendment will 
only exacerbate the problem and make it worse.
  I have heard some deeply disturbing rhetoric from my Republican 
colleagues about the effects of granting TSOs collective bargaining 
rights. They say collective bargaining rights keep security workers 
from performing their jobs effectively. Well, these insinuations are an 
insult to every man and woman in uniform who works under a collective 
bargaining agreement across this country. To suggest that unionized 
workers will not do what is best for our country in the event of an 
emergency is scandalous.
  How many remember that image of 9/11--9/11--when we saw the towers 
come crumbling down, and we saw men and women running to escape the 
disaster, running away from it? Who was running into it? Our 
firefighters, our emergency medical teams, our police officers--all of 
them unionized, members of organized labor, operating under a 
collective bargaining agreement.
  Does anyone question their loyalty, their devotion to duty--many of 
whom lost their lives or are severely impaired for life because they 
did their duty--simply because they were union members? We are saying 
somehow they are less, they are less than others simply because they 
belong to a union?
  Also, on 9/11, Department of Defense employees, operating under a 
collective bargaining agreement, were required to report wherever they 
were told, regardless of their usual work assignments. No Federal union 
tried to hold up this process in any way to bargain or seek 
arbitration, and not one single grievance was filed to challenge the 
redeployments after the fact--not one.
  Increasing employees' voices at work has the potential to improve the 
functioning of our security systems. Think about this: When you travel 
abroad, you go through screening devices. Go to London, go to Paris, go 
to Luxembourg, go to Rome, go to Tokyo, go to Brisbane, go to Sydney, 
go anywhere around the world where they have airport screeners and--
guess what--they all work under collective bargaining agreements. The 
unions that represent these screeners have worked hand in hand with 
their governments to improve security procedures and to make our skies 
safer.
  Senator Wicker referenced a 2003 memo from the Under Secretary of 
Transportation for Security for the rationale for his bill. Well, 
currently TSA is reviewing that 2003 decision and is expected to make a 
determination soon about the relationship between safety and collective 
bargaining. I think we should defer to that agency's expertise on this 
issue rather than hastily approving an amendment that would limit the 
administration's ability to adapt.
  Collective bargaining, I believe, is the best way to bring dignity, 
consistency, and fairness to a workplace. It will make our TSO 
workforce more safe and stable, enhancing the security of our skies. 
Restoring these essential rights is long overdue. I urge my colleagues 
to oppose the Wicker amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant editor of the Daily Digest proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that Senator Paul be 
recognized to call up amendment No. 19 which deals with the Davis-Bacon 
issue; that there be 30 minutes of debate equally divided between 
Senators Paul and Rockefeller or their designees; that upon the use or 
yielding back of time, there be 10 minutes of debate equally divided on 
the Whitehouse amendment No. 8 dealing with laser pointers; that this 
time be equally divided between Senators Whitehouse and Hutchison or 
their designees; that upon the use or yielding back of time, the Senate 
proceed to vote in relation to the Whitehouse amendment, to be followed 
by a vote in relation to the Paul amendment; further, that there be no 
amendments or points of order in order to the amendments prior to the 
votes; and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid 
upon the table, with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. That being the case, we will have votes probably around 
5:30, give or take a few minutes. Everyone should be alerted that there 
is likely to be some time yielded back. If that is the case, we will 
begin voting sooner.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky.

[[Page S533]]

                            Amendment No. 19

  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to temporarily set 
aside the pending amendment so I may call up my amendment, amendment 
No. 19, which is at the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The assistant editor of the Daily Digest read as follows:

       The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Paul] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 19.

  Mr. PAUL. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment 
be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

 (Purpose: To limit the application of the Davis-Bacon Act in the case 
                   of projects funded under this Act)

       On page _, between lines _ and _, insert the following:

     SEC. __. NONAPPLICATION OF DAVIS-BACON.

       None of the funds made available under this Act (or an 
     amendment made by this Act) may be used to administer or 
     enforce the wage-rate requirements of subchapter IV of 
     chapter 31 of part A of subtitle II of title 40, United 
     States Code (commonly referred to as the ``Davis-Bacon Act'') 
     with respect to any project or program funded under this Act 
     (or amendment).

  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, the amendment I have offered to the FAA bill 
is an amendment to exempt the FAA from the Davis-Bacon restrictions. 
Most of us know, when we talk about schools being built in our district 
or in our neighborhood, the cost of schools and anything built under 
Davis-Bacon determines prevailing wages. This means if you are a 
carpenter making usually $14 an hour in Bowling Green, KY, the 
government comes in and says, Well, you need to pay $35 an hour. It 
inflates the cost of building projects and it does us no good as a 
society. What happens is we build less schools, less airports, and we 
are unable to have enough money in our country to provide for the 
things we want. We can build 20 to 30 percent more airports if we don't 
force union wages that are above the market wages on our government 
projects.
  I think it is inexcusable, at a time when we run a deficit of between 
$1.5 trillion and $2 trillion in a year, that we want to inflate the 
cost of government projects. The marketplace should determine market 
wages, and we should have a marketplace that allows us to build more 
airports and more schools.
  I think it is not a good idea to have the government get involved by 
forcing wages above the market wage. If you pass this and you allow an 
exemption from Davis-Bacon, you will save about $500 million just in 
this department. If you would allow this across government, you would 
save $11 billion.
  My point in bringing this up is that this won't balance the budget, 
but you have to start somewhere. Everybody says we have to do 
something, but nobody is willing to do anything that will reduce 
government expenditures. I think this is one small step forward, and if 
you can't vote for this one small step forward, you are not serious 
about balancing the budget. That is why the American people are unhappy 
with us in Congress, because we won't do anything, we won't step 
forward, we will not be bold, and we will not start cutting spending.
  I recommend to the Senate that we pass this amendment as one small 
step forward but an important step toward trying to get our fiscal 
house in order.
  I yield to Senator Hutchison.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Mr. President, how much time does Senator Paul 
control?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is 12\1/2\ minutes remaining.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Mr. President, I want to withhold until the other 
side has had a chance to speak. Then I will take part of Senator Paul's 
time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, does the Senator from Iowa wish to 
speak?
  Mr. HARKIN. Yes, I will. Mr. President, I assume the chairman of the 
committee yields me whatever time I want to consume, and I am reserving 
some time also for the chairman.
  Here we go again. It is not the first time we have had an attack on 
Davis-Bacon. I am sure it will not be the last. Again, we have to get 
the facts out and not be led astray by misconceptions and by lack of 
really good data.
  The fact is that Davis-Bacon doesn't just create good jobs, it saves 
government money in Federal construction costs. Again, my friend from 
Kentucky has said this is going to cost more money. Well, I would like 
to see the studies because we have had a lot of studies on this over 
the years, and they show that prevailing wage laws lead to reductions 
in the costs and responsible contractors that pay workers at least a 
prevailing wage, higher productivity, and fewer safety problems.
  We need Davis-Bacon so that our infrastructure projects are built 
safely for the hundreds of millions of Americans who rely on them, 
because contractors that pay prevailing wages hire higher skilled and 
better trained workers, and they produce safer buildings, airports, 
bridges, roads, and tunnels. Senator Paul's amendment would undermine 
public safety by making it much easier for less responsible contractors 
to build important public infrastructure projects with shoddy 
construction.
  Congress has rejected attacks on Davis-Bacon before, going clear back 
to 1931. It should do so again. In the most recent vote in the Senate, 
in 2007, a bipartisan vote of Democrats and Republicans voted against 
an amendment to strip Davis-Bacon protection from funds to repair 
bridges. There has always been bipartisan support in this body for 
Davis-Bacon. In fact, we ought to read history. Senator Davis and 
Representative Bacon were both Republicans. It was originally a 
Republican bill. I hope my colleagues will recognize the value of 
continuing to support fair wages in these difficult economic times.
  This is the wrong time to start pulling the rug out from underneath 
our construction workers. Our fair wages that we have under Davis-Bacon 
are a key component of middle-class security for working families. Now 
is the wrong time to be attacking these essential protections.
  Prevailing-wage laws, such as Davis-Bacon, require that workers be 
paid the prevailing local wages and benefits. These laws ensure that 
federally supported construction projects don't undermine local labor 
standards. By removing these protections, Senator Paul's amendment 
would drive down wages, creating a dangerous race to the bottom. Again, 
that is the wrong approach to take in this troubled economy, the wrong 
approach to take for worker safety, the wrong approach to take for 
making sure what we build with taxpayer money is built well, with well-
trained, well-motivated, and well-paid workers.
  We want a real recovery. These working families--construction workers 
who haul steel, pour concrete, build the bridges and the walls and do 
all these things--build the infrastructure of our country. We want to 
make sure they have good, family-supporting jobs, with fair wages and 
decent benefits. That is what Davis-Bacon is about.
  I urge a defeat of the Paul amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, I oppose this amendment also. There 
are reasons for Davis-Bacon. One of them, for example, is it protects 
communities and employers by keeping the wage standards of low-wage 
areas from being imported into high-wage areas, and also the reverse. 
What do I mean by that? Obviously, West Virginia has a very different 
wage level than New York or Maryland or many parts of Virginia. They 
could come in and bid on a contract and either bid very low and do a 
bad job or bid very high and get it, for whatever reason. This prevents 
artificially inflating wages.
  The inference was that it costs more to have Davis-Bacon. Some people 
don't like Davis-Bacon, and I understand that. But the law specifically 
requires that all workers must be paid no less than the prevailing 
wages and benefits that are paid in similar projects in that area. So 
it attaches the Davis-Bacon concept onto the regional local wage area. 
Virginia and Maryland are not far from West Virginia, so people want 
contracts, and they are likely to bid.
  Since it was enacted, Davis-Bacon has protected taxpayers and workers 
from low-ball contractors who try to compete. You know that song. We 
all see it so much. They come in and bid a

[[Page S534]]

low price, and they get it, and there are all kinds of extra things 
added on--cost-plus. It doesn't happen under this; it isn't allowed. So 
the law effectively makes sure the taxpayers get their money's worth. 
As the Senator from Iowa indicated, numerous studies indicate that 
projects built under Davis-Bacon are more likely to be completed on 
time, within budget, and with fewer repair costs.
  So this is a very significant amendment. But it is not about bilking 
the taxpayers. It is protecting the taxpayers. Davis-Bacon puts the 
contract wages in line with what is prevailing locally. That is the 
law. It makes sense to me. I strongly oppose the amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas is recognized.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Mr. President, I rise to speak in favor of the Paul 
amendment.
  The Davis-Bacon Act was passed in 1931. We had a very different labor 
and diversity of wages. There were not minimum wages to the extent we 
have today. Today, every State has a different cost of living, 
different standards of what kinds of construction requirements there 
are, and thousands of buildings in this country are built in the 
private sector very safely, very efficiently. But when Davis-Bacon 
kicks in, for a government program, it skews the entire wage scale of 
that community, causing an inflation to other projects.
  The studies I have seen prove that Davis-Bacon increases costs 
throughout a community because it sets an artificial standard, not 
taking into account the cost of living in that area. No one can argue 
that the cost of living in New York is very different from the cost of 
living in Texas or West Virginia or Tennessee. We should not be trying 
to change the norm in an area by artificially inflating the costs, and 
that is exactly what Davis-Bacon does.
  If we are going to hear the voice of the people, who said last 
November: We are tired of business as usual in Washington and in 
Congress, we will pass the Paul amendment because this is the first 
step toward efficiency--to say that the projects going forward in this 
bill will not be subject to Davis-Bacon; they will be subject to 
bidding on contracts. And bidders do not necessarily win because they 
have the lowest bid. The person who is doing the contracting has the 
leeway to take into account quality and the reputation of the builder. 
So it is not as if the lowest bidder gets every bid. It is a process 
that is orderly. But Davis-Bacon does inflate the cost.
  I think the Paul amendment is an excellent one. I think it will show 
that the people in this Senate got the message in November--that we 
don't have to sit with a 1931 law that is no longer necessary because 
the protections are in place, and we need to build our taxpayer-funded 
facilities in the most efficient way that saves taxpayer dollars.
  I support the Paul amendment and hope it will pass.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, I congratulate the Senator from 
Kentucky. He is on the mark. Our priorities are two: One, to make it 
easier and cheaper to create private sector jobs; two, to reduce the 
Federal debt.
  The Paul amendment makes it easier and cheaper to create private 
sector jobs. Why? Because it permits more contractors to hire more 
people to do more work at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer.
  Also, according to the General Accounting Office, it will help lower 
the Federal debt. In fact, the GAO has recommended changes to the 
Davis-Bacon Act as a means for trimming the Federal deficit. Leaving 
the law the way it is, applying the Davis-Bacon law to construction 
projects all over the country, will mean fewer jobs, less construction, 
higher taxes, and a higher Federal debt.
  Passing the Rand Paul amendment will mean that we will make it easier 
and cheaper to create private sector jobs. Day after day in this 
Senate, we should be acting on legislation that remembers that in 
Tennessee, for example, we have had 24 straight months of unemployment 
above 9 percent.
  I am glad to be a cosponsor of the Paul amendment because, in my 
State and across the country, it will make it easier and cheaper to 
create private sector jobs instead of adding to the debt, creating 
fewer jobs, less construction, slower airport contracts, and higher 
taxes.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Franken). Who yields time?
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Mr. President, if I may, I ask the Senator from 
Kentucky if he is ready to yield back time and I ask the majority if 
they are ready to yield back time on the Paul amendment. If so, we can 
move on to the Whitehouse amendment.
  Mr. HARKIN. I say to my friend from Texas, I would like to have an 
additional 2 minutes.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. I will reserve an additional 2 minutes for Senator 
Paul, and we can close this out.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I heard my friend from Tennessee--and he 
is my friend--talk about how this will be cheaper, it would be cheaper 
to build things. The new Senator from Kentucky referred to that too.
  Sometimes cheapest is not always the least expensive. Sometimes 
cheapest can turn out to be the most expensive, depending upon the 
quality of the work, how long these projects are, and whether they are 
done on time.
  I have a friend in Iowa who happens to be one of the largest 
contractors in the Midwest, if not in the entire country. He has big 
earth-moving equipment. He is a huge contractor. He probably does work 
in Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, and everyplace else.
  He told me once: I will only hire union labor. I asked him why. He 
said: Because they have a great apprenticeship and training program. 
Plus, he said: I know I get well-trained workers on my construction 
jobs.
  He said: I don't mind Davis-Bacon because I get apprenticeship, I get 
training, plus I get workers I don't have to look over their shoulders 
all the time. I get quality work done.
  He said: I didn't get big by undercutting everybody. I got big 
because I did good work, and I got good quality.
  He is able to go head to head with nonunion contractors, and he has 
become the largest contractor because of the quality of his work.
  That is why I say to my friend, sometimes the cheapest is not always 
the best in terms of the interest of the taxpayers and of this country.
  I yield back the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky.
  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, this amendment is not about quality. It is 
not about unions. It is about a Federal Government that is spending too 
much money, and it is about an enormous debt we have. It is about 
starting somewhere.
  People agree that you save money if you do not have to pay the 
prevailing wage. Everybody knows it. The gallery knows it. The public 
knows it. In Kentucky, schools cost 30 percent more if you have 
prevailing wage. You build less schools. Your money does not go as far. 
It is not a good efficient use of your money.
  With regard to quality, to imply that you cannot have quality unless 
it is union labor, unless it is prevailing wage, completely ignores 
what goes on in our economy; that is to say, the 90 percent of things 
that are made in our country that are nonunion and nonprevailing wage 
do not have quality. The argument is specious. It has no substance.
  What this is about is making a first step toward controlling our 
deficit. We need to cut costs in government. If we cannot do these 
little things--this would save $500 million on this bill. It is a small 
amount in Washington. It is a large amount to us in Kentucky, to 
individuals. It is a small amount, but it is a first step toward saying 
we are going to be responsible as a Congress and say: Enough is enough; 
we cannot live with $2 trillion deficits each year. It is out of 
control. We are headed toward financial ruin, and this is one first 
step forward.
  I hope the rest of the Senate will support this amendment to exempt 
from the FAA bill the considerations of Davis-Bacon.
  I yield back the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is all time yielded back on the pending 
amendment?

[[Page S535]]

  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. We yield back all time.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays on the 
Paul amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, I move to table the amendment. I ask 
for the yeas and nays on the motion to table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The amendment will be set aside.


                            Amendment No. 8

  There is now 10 minutes evenly divided on the Whitehouse amendment. 
Who yields time?
  The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I wish to speak to this amendment 
which makes it a Federal criminal offense to target an aircraft with a 
laser.
  The prevalence of this activity has increased enormously. According 
to the FAA, there were 2,836 instances of lasers aimed at airplanes in 
2010, which is a ninefold increase over the past 5 years.
  The consequences of one of these attacks in the cockpit of an 
aircraft are significant. I am reading from a news report:

       Glendale, CA, police Sgt. Steve Robertson remembers the 
     first time he encountered a laser strike. He says his 
     helicopter was hit by a powerful beam of green light one 
     night while he was on patrol. ``It immediately [lit] up the 
     whole cockpit and it hit both of my eyes and burned both of 
     my corneas,'' said the veteran pilot. ``Instantly, I was 
     blinded. It felt like I was hit in the face with a baseball 
     bat--just an intense, burning pain.''
       Robertson was momentarily incapacitated and would have 
     crashed if his co-pilot hadn't been able to land the chopper.

  Thankfully, he recovered from his injuries.
  I express my appreciation to both Senators Boxer and Feinstein who 
are cosponsors of this amendment. Clearly, it is a major issue in 
California. I thank Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois who is the lead 
Republican cosponsor.
  O'Hare Airport is one of the busiest airports in the country. It had 
98 of these events take place in 2010.
  Senator Durbin also of Illinois is a cosponsor as well. I express my 
appreciation to him.
  The House has passed a similar measure. There is every reason to 
believe that if we take this step we will be able to help defend our 
airspace from these attacks. Obviously, they are most dangerous near 
airports when planes are taking off or landing or in low level flight, 
as police sergeant Steve Robertson was.
  It has the support of the National Association of Police Agencies and 
the Pilots Association.
  I hope very much that my colleagues will vote in favor of it and take 
this simple step to protect our aircraft travel from a new and emerging 
risk.
  Does the chairman wish to speak? I yield back our time but for the 2 
minutes to the chairman.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, this is an enormously important 
amendment. To be quite truthful, I think Senator Whitehouse would have 
been satisfied with just having it accepted by both sides, which it 
would have been. I said: Please bring it to a vote.
  This is a national security threat. The technology is going to get 
much better. He spoke about the pilot who was temporarily blinded, 
whose corneas were affected. As the technology increases, it is going 
to blind pilots permanently. Maybe if they are accurate, they can get 
both the pilot and the copilot.
  All of this will take place around airports where there is obviously 
room to sight in on these people taking off and landing, particularly 
landing, I would think. It is absolutely a threat, and the numbers in 
the last 2 years absolutely prove it.
  I wish to emphasize, yes; this is on a Federal aviation bill, but it 
could be on an Armed Services Committee bill. It could be on an 
Intelligence Committee bill. It could be on a Homeland Security 
Committee bill. It is a very powerful vote because there will be a 
future for terrorists in this business, so the criminal penalties have 
to be established. The Whitehouse amendment, which I strongly support, 
does that.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Mr. President, I support the Whitehouse amendment. It 
will add to the security of our aircraft flying. I urge my colleagues 
to support it as well.
  If time has been yielded back, I call for a vote.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  If all time is yielded back, the question is on agreeing to amendment 
No. 8. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Virginia (Mr. Warner) is 
necessarily absent.
  Mr. KYL. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Oklahoma (Mr. Coburn) and the Senator from Utah (Mr. Hatch).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 96, nays 1, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 10 Leg.]

                                YEAS--96

     Akaka
     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Barrasso
     Baucus
     Begich
     Bennet
     Bingaman
     Blumenthal
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Boxer
     Brown (MA)
     Brown (OH)
     Burr
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Chambliss
     Coats
     Cochran
     Collins
     Conrad
     Coons
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Crapo
     DeMint
     Durbin
     Ensign
     Enzi
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hagan
     Harkin
     Hoeven
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Inouye
     Isakson
     Johanns
     Johnson (SD)
     Johnson (WI)
     Kerry
     Kirk
     Klobuchar
     Kohl
     Kyl
     Landrieu
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Lee
     Levin
     Lieberman
     Lugar
     Manchin
     McCain
     McCaskill
     McConnell
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Murray
     Nelson (NE)
     Nelson (FL)
     Portman
     Pryor
     Reed
     Reid
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rockefeller
     Rubio
     Sanders
     Schumer
     Sessions
     Shaheen
     Shelby
     Snowe
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Thune
     Toomey
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Vitter
     Webb
     Whitehouse
     Wicker
     Wyden

                                NAYS--1

       
     Paul
       

                             NOT VOTING--3

     Coburn
     Hatch
     Warner
  The amendment (No. 8) was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, we have made good progress on this bill. We 
are working through the amendments. The staff has been doing yeomen's 
work. The Finance Committee is going to meet on Tuesday to report out 
funding for this bill. They have a path forward to do that. We need to 
keep the amendments relative to the Federal Aviation Administration and 
that has been good. We have made, as I indicated, progress. We have had 
some substantive amendments we worked on. We are voting on a couple 
here this evening and staff have worked on a number that they can 
resolve.
  We are going to make more progress next week. We hope to complete 
action early in the week of February 14. As indicated--it has been 
scheduled for a long period of time--the Democratic Senators have a 
retreat next week. We are going to have votes Monday night and Tuesday 
morning. Everyone can count on that. But we believe, looking at the 
schedule tomorrow, we can accomplish just as much with having the 
Senate in session tomorrow. The majority will be here taking amendments 
or doing whatever is necessary on this bill. If somebody wants to give 
a speech on whatever their heart desires, they will be able to do that 
tomorrow also.
  This next vote will be the last vote of the week.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Republican leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, we are making good progress on this 
bill. This bill is being handled as we have been accustomed in the old 
days to

[[Page S536]]

handling bills in the Senate. I commend the majority leader for that. 
We are going to be able to work our way through it with amendments 
related to the subject from here on in and wrap it up, as he suggests, 
the week of February 14.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the motion to 
table the amendment of the Senator from Kentucky. The yeas and nays 
have been ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Virginia (Mr. Warner) is 
necessarily absent.
  Mr. KYL. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Oklahoma (Mr. Coburn) and the Senator from Utah (Mr. Hatch).
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Are there any other Senators in the 
Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 55, nays 42, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 11 Leg.]

                                YEAS--55

     Akaka
     Baucus
     Begich
     Bennet
     Bingaman
     Blumenthal
     Boxer
     Brown (OH)
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Conrad
     Coons
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Hagan
     Harkin
     Inouye
     Johanns
     Johnson (SD)
     Kerry
     Kirk
     Klobuchar
     Kohl
     Landrieu
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Levin
     Lieberman
     Manchin
     McCaskill
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Murkowski
     Murray
     Nelson (NE)
     Nelson (FL)
     Pryor
     Reed
     Reid
     Rockefeller
     Sanders
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Webb
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                                NAYS--42

     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Brown (MA)
     Burr
     Chambliss
     Coats
     Cochran
     Collins
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Crapo
     DeMint
     Ensign
     Enzi
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hoeven
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson (WI)
     Kyl
     Lee
     Lugar
     McCain
     McConnell
     Moran
     Paul
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rubio
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Snowe
     Thune
     Toomey
     Vitter
     Wicker

                             NOT VOTING--3

     Coburn
     Hatch
     Warner
  The motion was agreed to.


                            Amendment No. 6

  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Oklahoma is 
recognized.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment for consideration of Inhofe amendment No. 6.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Is there objection?
  Mr. KERRY. Reserving the right to object, I ask the indulgence of the 
Senator, before he engages in a discussion of his amendment, if he 
would permit Senator McCain and me to send to the desk a resolution 
with respect to Egypt. We would both like to speak very briefly on it.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, all I want to do is get two amendments in 
the queue in 30 seconds.
  Mr. KERRY. I have no objection.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Oklahoma [Mr. Inhofe] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 6.

  Mr. INHOFE. I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be 
dispensed with.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To provide liability protection to volunteer pilot nonprofit 
 organizations that fly for public benefit and to the pilots and staff 
        of such nonprofit organizations, and for other purposes)

       At the end of title VII, insert the following:

     SECTION 732. LIABILITY PROTECTION FOR CERTAIN VOLUNTEER 
                   PILOTS.

       (a) Short Title.--This section may be cited as the 
     ``Volunteer Pilot Organization Protection Act of 2011''.
       (b) Findings and Purpose.--
       (1) Findings.--Congress finds the following:
       (A) Many volunteer pilot nonprofit organizations fly for 
     public benefit and provide valuable services to communities 
     and individuals.
       (B) In calendar year 2006, volunteer pilot nonprofit 
     organizations provided long-distance, no-cost transportation 
     for more than 58,000 people during times of special need.
       (C) Such nonprofit organizations are no longer able to 
     purchase non-owned aircraft liability insurance to provide 
     liability protection at a reasonable price, and therefore 
     face a highly detrimental liability risk.
       (D) Such nonprofit organizations have supported the 
     homeland security of the United States by providing volunteer 
     pilot services during times of national emergency.
       (2) Purpose.--The purpose of this section is to promote the 
     activities of volunteer pilot nonprofit organizations that 
     fly for public benefit and to sustain the availability of the 
     services that such nonprofit organizations provide, including 
     the following:
       (A) Transportation at no cost to financially needy medical 
     patients for medical treatment, evaluation, and diagnosis.
       (B) Flights for humanitarian and charitable purposes.
       (C) Other flights of compassion.
       (c) Liability Protection for Volunteer Pilot Nonprofit 
     Organizations That Fly for Public Benefit and to Pilots and 
     Staff of Such Nonprofit Organizations.--Section 4 of the 
     Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 (42 U.S.C. 14503) is 
     amended--
       (1) in subsection (a)(4)--
       (A) by redesignating subparagraphs (A) and (B) as clauses 
     (i) and (ii), respectively;
       (B) by striking ``the harm'' and inserting ``(A) except in 
     the case of subparagraph (B), the harm'';
       (C) in subparagraph (A)(ii), as redesignated by this 
     paragraph, by striking the period at the end and inserting 
     ``; and''; and
       (D) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(B) the volunteer--
       ``(i) was operating an aircraft in furtherance of the 
     purpose of a volunteer pilot nonprofit organization that 
     flies for public benefit; and
       ``(ii) was properly licensed and insured for the operation 
     of such aircraft.''; and
       (2) in subsection (c)--
       (A) by striking ``Nothing in this section'' and inserting 
     the following:
       ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), 
     nothing in this section''; and
       (B) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(2) Exception.--A volunteer pilot nonprofit organization 
     that flies for public benefit, the staff, mission 
     coordinators, officers, and directors (whether volunteer or 
     otherwise) of such nonprofit organization, and a referring 
     agency of such nonprofit organization shall not be liable for 
     harm caused to any person by a volunteer of such nonprofit 
     organization while such volunteer--
       ``(A) is operating an aircraft in furtherance of the 
     purpose of such nonprofit organization;
       ``(B) is properly licensed for the operation of such 
     aircraft; and
       ``(C) has certified to such nonprofit organization that 
     such volunteer has insurance covering the volunteer's 
     operation of such aircraft.''.


                            Amendment No. 7

  Mr. INHOFE. I ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending 
amendment for the consideration of Inhofe amendment No. 7.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Oklahoma [Mr. Inhofe] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 7.

  Mr. INHOFE. I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be 
dispensed with.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

    (Purpose: To require the Administrator of the Federal Aviation 
Administration to initiate a new rulemaking proceeding with respect to 
  the flight time limitations and rest requirements for supplemental 
   operations before any of such limitations or requirements may be 
                                altered)

       On page 230, between lines 7 and 8, insert the following:

     SEC. 565. RESTRICTION ON ALTERATION OF FLIGHT TIME 
                   LIMITATIONS AND REST REQUIREMENTS FOR 
                   SUPPLEMENTAL OPERATIONS.

       (a) In General.--The flight time limitations and rest 
     requirements for supplemental operations under subpart S of 
     part 121 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (as in 
     effect on the day before the date of the enactment of this 
     Act), shall remain in effect unless and until the 
     Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration issues a 
     final rule in a rulemaking proceeding described in subsection 
     (b).
       (b) Rulemaking Proceeding Described.--A rulemaking 
     proceeding described in this subsection is a rulemaking 
     proceeding--
       (1) with respect to modernizing the flight time limitations 
     and rest requirements only with respect to supplemental 
     operations under subpart S of part 121 of title 14, Code of 
     Federal Regulations; and
       (2) that is not a part of, or otherwise connected to, the 
     rulemaking proceeding under Docket No. FAA-2009-1093, as 
     described in the notice of proposed rulemaking published in 
     the Federal Register on September 14, 2010 (75 Fed. Reg. 
     55852).
       (c) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this section requires 
     the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to 
     conduct a rulemaking proceeding with respect to the flight 
     time limitations and rest requirements for supplemental 
     operations

[[Page S537]]

     under subpart S of part 121 of title 14, Code of Federal 
     Regulations, if the Administrator determines that the flight 
     time limitations and rest requirements under that subpart (as 
     in effect on the day before the date of the enactment of this 
     Act) are sufficient to ensure the safety of supplemental 
     operations.

  Mr. INHOFE. I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Massachusetts.


                                 Egypt

  Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I will not send the resolution to the desk. 
It is currently being hotlined in both offices. It may actually be 
dealt with in a short period in wrap-up. Senator McCain and I wish to 
speak briefly to this resolution.
  This is a resolution which expresses the deep concern of the Senate 
over the events taking place in Egypt at this time. We acknowledge the 
long relationship and importance of the relationship with Egypt. Most 
important, we call attention to the need at this moment for the 
Government of Egypt and for all the parties involved to take every step 
possible to avoid violence, to respect the rights of people to 
assemble, to express their rights, to fight for and demonstrate for a 
transition in their lives and in their country.
  This is now a many-days-long demonstration, the longest in the 
history of Egypt. Hundreds have been killed, many thousands wounded. It 
is our hope--and we express this--that over the next days, responsible 
leadership will stand on all sides and work toward a transition process 
that respects people's rights and that builds a future that meets the 
aspirations expressed so passionately in the streets of cities all 
across Egypt. We hope this process will respect the right of 
journalists to report on the events in Egypt to the people of Egypt as 
well as the people of the world who are watching. We ask the leadership 
there to find a path by which they can transition to some kind of 
interim government over these next days that will build toward 
elections that can be free and fair and set an example for how any 
country in this kind of crisis can deal with it and, most importantly, 
meet the aspirations of their people.
  I am privileged to join with Senator McCain, Senator Graham, and 
others in an effort to try to send this message from the Senate about 
our deep concern over the violence and our hopes and prayers that in 
the next hours and days responsible leadership will step up and do what 
is right.
  I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, on behalf of Senator Kerry, the 
distinguished chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, myself, and 
others, we will send this resolution to the desk. I will send it after 
I finish my remarks. We will not be seeking a vote at this time because 
we are hotlining the resolution.
  This is a seminal moment in the history of the Middle East and the 
world. We are seeing an uprising and a movement that spread across the 
entire Middle East. Egypt is the heart and soul of the Arab world. What 
we have been watching unfold in the last week has grieved and concerned 
all of us. There is every possibility that this crisis lurches into a 
genuine massacre. We cannot afford that. We must do everything in our 
power to see that it stops. Our resolution urges the Egyptian military 
to demonstrate maximum professionalism and restraint and emphasizes the 
importance of working to peacefully restore common order, while 
allowing for free and nonviolent freedom of expression. We do not want 
the Egyptian military to encourage thugs. We do not want the Egyptian 
military to be a party to increased violence.
  We are concerned about an interim government. That interim government 
must be representative of all democratic forces within Egypt. In the 
resolution, we call on President Mubarak to immediately begin an 
orderly and peaceful transition to a democratic political system, 
including the transfer of power to an inclusive interim caretaker 
government in coordination with leaders from Egypt's opposition, civil 
society, and the military.
  Again, I emphasize, I know my colleagues know, the Egyptian military 
is the most respected institution in Egypt. They risk turning the 
people of Egypt against them unless they act as a genuine peacemaker in 
Egypt.
  I have been involved in Middle Eastern affairs for many years. I have 
traveled many times to the region. What is happening is a seminal 
event. How it turns out will affect the future of the 21st century. If 
Egypt turns to radical Islamic extremism and other countries as well, 
it poses not only a threat to America's national security but to the 
well-being of tens or hundreds of millions of people who have the God-
given right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as we 
guarantee to all people.
  I thank Senator Kerry again. We are sending a message from the Senate 
that I am sure the overwhelming majority of my colleagues will agree 
with: Stop the bloodletting. Let's start a peaceful transition to a 
free and open society and a government that can regain and hold the 
trust of the people of Egypt. This is a seminal moment and one that I 
believe the future of peace in the world will be relied upon.
  I thank my colleagues. We look forward to further discussion. We 
wanted to bring this up now. It is very important, since tomorrow could 
be a very critical day in the history of the Egyptian people's struggle 
for independence and freedom.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from South Carolina.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I congratulate and compliment my 
colleagues from Massachusetts and Arizona. This resolution represents 
the best of the Senate. We have two people who are very well versed in 
the ways of the world and understand America and what we stand for. 
They have crafted a document I would like to cosponsor.
  I ask unanimous consent that I be added as a cosponsor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Tomorrow is a big day for the future of Egypt. Senator 
McCain said it well: To the Army, I doubt if they are watching C-SPAN, 
but they have a chance to bring order out of chaos and to continue to 
have respect throughout the world and within the borders of Egypt. Do 
not let this opportunity pass. An interim government should be formed 
quickly, as this resolution urges. When it comes to the Egyptian 
people, I have faith that the young women who are risking life and limb 
in the square tonight and tomorrow are not doing so to be required to 
wear a burqa in the future. I have faith that the young men who are 
risking life and limb tonight and tomorrow would not want such a fate 
for their daughters and their wives. I have great respect for Islam. 
Radical Islam, similar to any other form of radical religion, is a 
threat to all we hold dear. The Egyptian people have a chance to chart 
a new way for the future of the Arab world and the world at large. This 
resolution is a statement of principle by the Senate that we stand with 
you and all those who believe in tolerance and the dignity of mankind.
  This statement is bipartisan. It is well thought out. I think it 
reflects where the American people want to be in relation to Egypt.
  To those in Congress who want to act quickly about defunding our 
relationship with Egypt, please consider the consequences of such 
action. Give the Egyptian people a chance to work this out. Give the 
Army a chance to bring order out of chaos. It is in our national 
security interest that we have a stable Egypt. The army is the most 
respected institution.
  Mr. McCAIN. Will the Senator yield?
  Mr. GRAHAM. Yes.
  Mr. McCAIN. Isn't it time to urge democracy and freedom and not the 
time to threaten? There is plenty of time to threaten the Government 
and people of Egypt with reprisal. The time now is to urge democracy 
and freedom.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Well said. It is now time for the United States to say 
what we are for and urge the Egyptian people to realize their hopes and 
dreams and that we want to be their partner. Now is not the time to 
sever the partnership. Now is the time to stand by a future partnership 
that would be beneficial to both countries. This resolution is a 
statement of principle that I hope the Egyptian people will see as an 
acknowledgment by the Senate that we are with them when it comes to 
their best hopes and dreams.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. I also ask unanimous consent to be added as a 
cosponsor of the resolution.

[[Page S538]]

  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. I also commend these two great leaders, Senator Kerry 
and Senator McCain, for coming together on this resolution. A lot of 
people try to bring us apart in this institution. But they were counted 
here today with one voice. I was in Vietnam with Senator McCain. I 
couldn't get over all the people who came up to him and still talked 
about the work he and Senator Kerry had done together, with POWs and 
other issues, how they had gone to Vietnam together. Well, once again, 
they have come together at a time of great crisis to have the Senate 
tell the people of Egypt that we are there with them and we are behind 
them.

  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Hawaii is 
recognized.


                            Amendment No. 14

  Mr. AKAKA. Mr. President, I rise today to strongly oppose Senator 
Wicker's amendment to prevent Transportation Security Administration 
employees from being able to collectively bargain.
  There is no need for the Senate to use valuable time considering this 
issue right now. Congress gave the Administrator of TSA the authority 
to determine if and how collective bargaining should take place in the 
Air Transportation Security Act, which established TSA in the wake of 
the attacks of September 11.
  Administrator Pistole, who has a strong national security background, 
is evaluating this issue in detail and I believe we should let him 
complete his review.
  Although I believe Administrator Pistole should be given time to make 
the decision on granting collective bargaining rights to TSA employees, 
I want to address the arguments some are making in opposing TSA 
workers' rights.
  I believe giving TSA employees a greater voice in the workplace would 
be good for security. TSA suffers from low morale, high attrition, and 
high injury rates.
  National security is jeopardized when agencies charged with 
protecting our safety continually lose trained and talented employees 
due to workplace injuries and a lack of employee protections.
  Moreover, the vast majority of Federal employees have collective 
bargaining rights. This includes other employees of the Department of 
Homeland Security performing similar security functions, such as Border 
Patrol agents, Federal Protective Service officers, and Immigration and 
Customs Enforcement officers.
  In addition, there currently are some private airport screeners with 
full collective bargaining rights. Airport security is handled by 
contract screeners in a handful of airports, including some large ones. 
These contract employees have full collective bargaining rights. 
Ironically, some have recently been arguing for contracting security at 
more airports, saying the security is better there. To be clear, I 
strongly support federalized airport security, but if there are any 
benefits where security is contracted, perhaps it is because the 
screeners are unionized, not because they are privatized.
  Proponents of collective bargaining restrictions say they are 
necessary so that TSA has the flexibility to respond to emergencies. 
That is simply not true. Under Federal law, agencies are provided 
authority to take any actions they deem necessary to carry out their 
missions during an emergency. Granting collective bargaining rights 
would not in any way hinder TSA's flexibility to transfer employees in 
the event of a national emergency.
  Moreover, under civil service laws, TSA employees, as other Federal 
employees, would be prohibited from striking if they are granted 
collective bargaining rights.
  We all remember the heroic first responders who rushed into the World 
Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. I vividly recall 
the Capitol Police officers working frantically to protect our safety 
when it appeared the fourth plane could strike the Capitol. These were 
unionized workers. Like the heroes of 9/11, the brave men and women of 
TSA have dedicated themselves to protect our security. There is 
absolutely no basis for the Republicans to argue that TSA employees 
would invoke union contract restrictions rather than rise to the 
occasion in an emergency.
  I urge all Senators to protect TSA employees' opportunity to have a 
voice in their workforce by opposing the Wicker amendment.
  Mr. President, I yield back my time.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                            Amendment No. 32

  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside 
the pending amendment to call up, on behalf of Senator Ensign, Ensign 
amendment No. 32.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from West Virginia [Mr. Rockefeller], for Mr. 
     Ensign, Mr. Conrad, and Mr. Hoeven, proposes an amendment 
     numbered 32.

  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

 (Purpose: To improve provisions relating to certification and flight 
standards for military remotely piloted aerial systems in the National 
                            Airspace System)

       Beginning on page 96, strike line 9 and all that follows 
     through page 97, line 8, and insert the following:
       (3) establishes a process to develop--
       (A) air traffic requirements for all unmanned aerial 
     systems at the test sites; and
       (B) certification and flight standards for nonmilitary 
     unmanned aerial systems at the test sites;
       (4) dedicates funding for unmanned aerial systems research 
     and development relating to--
       (A) air traffic requirements; and
       (B) certification and flight standards for nonmilitary 
     unmanned aerial systems in the National Airspace System;
       (5) encourages leveraging and coordination of such research 
     and development activities with the National Aeronautics and 
     Space Administration and the Department of Defense;
       (6) uniquely addresses the requirements of military and 
     nonmilitary unmanned aerial system operations;
       (7) ensures the unmanned aircraft systems integration plan 
     is incorporated in the Administration's NextGen Air 
     Transportation System implementation plan; and
       (8) provides for integration into the National Airspace 
     System of safety standards and navigation procedures 
     validated--
       (A) under the pilot project created pursuant to paragraph 
     (1); or
       (B) through other related research and development 
     activities carried out pursuant to paragraph (4).
       (b) Test Site Criteria.--The Administrator shall take into 
     consideration geographical and climate diversity in 
     determining where the test sites to be established under the 
     pilot project required by subsection (a)(1) are to be 
     located.
       (c) Certification and Flight Standards for Military 
     Unmanned Aerial Systems.--The Secretary of Defense shall 
     establish a process to develop certification and flight 
     standards for military unmanned aerial systems at the test 
     sites referred to in subsection (a)(1).

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