Floor Updates

Reid, McConnell

Opening Remarks

Mar 08 2012

09:49 AM

Senator Reid: (9:32 AM)

Today --
  • The Senate will proceed to a period of Morning Business for 1 hour, with Senators permitted to speak up to 10 minutes each. The time will be equally divided with the Majority controlling the first 30 minutes and the Republicans controlling the second 30 minutes.
  • Thereafter, the Senate will resume consideration of S. 1813, the Highway bill.
  • The following 30 amendments are in order to S. 1813, the Highway bill (and will be voted on in the order listed):
    • Vitter amendment #1535 (OCS oil and natural gas leasing) (60 votes required);
    • Baucus amendment (rural schools) (60 votes required);
    • Collins amendment #1660 (Boiler MACT) (60 votes required);
    • Coburn amendment #1738 (duplicative/overlapping federal programs) (60 votes required);
    • Nelson-FL amendment #1822 (RESTORE Act) (60 votes required);
    • Wyden amendment #1817 (Keystone XL pipeline) (60 votes required);
    • Hoeven amendment #1537 (approve Keystone XL pipeline) (60 votes required);
    • Levin amendment #1818 (offshore tax havens);
    • McConnell side-by-side to Stabenow amendment #1812 (60 votes required);
    • Stabenow amendment #1812 (energy tax credits) (60 votes required);
    • DeMint amendment #1589 (repeal certain energy tax subsidies) (60 votes required);
    • Menendez/Burr amendment #1782 (energy tax credits) (60 votes required);
    • DeMint amendment #1756 (state authority);
    • Bingaman amendment #1759 (privatized highways);
    • Coats amendment #1517 (make percentage of gas taxes equal to percentage of apportioned funds);
    • Brown (OH) amendment #1819 (Buy America provisions);
    • Blunt amendment #1540 (off-system bridges);
    • Merkley amendment #1653 (farm vehicle exemptions);
    • Portman amendment #1736 (state transportation spending flexibility);
    • Klobuchar amendment #1617 (transportation of agricultural commodities and farm supplies);
    • Corker amendment #1785, as modified (adjust FY13 discretionary spending cap);
    • Shaheen amendment #1678 (increase funding for public transportation systems with less than 50 buses);
    • Portman amendment #1742 (non-highway uses in rest areas);
    • Corker amendment #1810 (limit expenditures to amount in Highway Trust Fund);
    • Carper amendment #1670 (removal of federal program limitations);
    • Hutchison amendment #1568 (prohibit new tolls);
    • McCain amendment #1669, as modified (noise abatement over Grand Canyon);
    • Alexander amendment #1779 (overflights of national parks);
    • Boxer amendment #1816 (sense of Senate re: expeditious environmental reviews);
    • Paul amendment #1556 (emergency exemptions).
  • At 2:15 PM, the Majority Leader expects to begin a series of ROLL CALL VOTES on the 30 amendments in order to S. 1813, the Highway bill. A managers' package will also be in order, along with applicable budget points of order and applicable motions to waive.
  • Spoke on the Highway bill.
    • SUMMARY "I've said many times not everything we do this year should be a big fight. We should be able to move things forward without waiting for a month to get things done. This bill is truly indicative of how we have to get things done and why I appreciate the cooperation of Boxer and Inhofe. We have a dilapidated system of highways. We have 70,000, I'm not misspeaking. Not 7,000. 70,000 bridges in America that are in dire need of repair or replacement even. 20% of our roads are not up to safety standards. Thousands of pedestrians are killed because they rely on unsafe sidewalks or non-existing sidewalks. Every day millions of Americans, a disproportionate number who are low-income, minority, disabled or old, are forced to rely on overcrowded mass transit systems straining to meet the demands of growing ridership. America's crumbling infrastructure is a terrible drag on our economy."

Senator McConnell: (9:35 AM)
  • Spoke on the Keystone XL pipeline.
    • SUMMARY "I'm also happy to report there are a number of strong, very strong job-creating measures in the mix. One that stands out is Senator Hoeven's amendment on the Keystone XL pipeline, that massive private-sector project that will create 20,000 jobs almost immediately. Most Americans strongly support building the pipeline, and of course the significant number of construction jobs that would come along with it. It incomprehensible to me that the president of the United States, I read, is actually lobbying against Keystone pipeline amendment. There is a report this morning the President is personally making phone calls to Democratic senators he thinks might vote for the amendment, asking them not to. Frankly, it's hard to even comprehend how out of touch, how completely out of touch he is on this issue. Think about it, at a moment when millions are out of work, gas prices are literally skyrocketing and the Middle East is in turmoil, we've got a President who is up making phone calls trying to block a pipeline here at home. It's really almost unbelievable. What we're seeing in Congress this week is a study in contrast. On the one hand, you've got a republican-controlled house that is about to pass a bipartisan jobs bill that would help entrepreneurs and innovators by getting Washington out of the way and today we've got a Democratic-controlled Senate trying to line up votes against amendments that would create jobs, and a Democratic president lobbying against the biggest private-sector job-creation project in our country."
  • Spoke on the bipartisan JOBS bill.
    • SUMMARY "The bipartisan jobs bill the house will pass later today is supported by the President. It is ready to go, and I hope that once it gets over to the Senate we'll simply take it up and pass it. It's an example of a measure that is supported by Republicans and Democrats and the President that we believe will clear the house with a very large majority. I think the sooner we pass that here in the Senate and send it down to the president for signature, the better."