Floor Updates


Opening Remarks

Mar 12 2012

02:17 PM

Senator Reid: (2:02 PM)
  • Today --
    • The Senate will proceed to a period of Morning Business until 4:00 PM, with Senators permitted to speak up to 10 minutes each.
    • At 4:00 PM, the Senate will resume consideration of S. 1813, the Highway bill.
    • There will be NO ROLL CALL VOTES during today's session of the Senate.
  • The following 22 amendments are in order to S. 1813, the Highway bill (and will be voted on in the order listed):
    • Roberts amendment #1826 (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 (Natural Gas Act) (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 #1814 (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); and
    • Paul amendment #1556 (emergency exemptions).
  • At a time to be determined on Tuesday, the Senate will proceed to a series of ROLL CALL VOTES on the remaining 22 amendments and passage of S. 1813, the Highway bill, as amended. A managers' package will also be in order, along with applicable budget points of order and applicable motions to waive.
  • Honored Chaplain Barry Black.
  • Spoke on GOP obstructionism of President Obama's judicial nominations.
    • SUMMARY "The Senate could act tomorrow to put highly-qualified judges on the federal bench, judges who are supported by both Democrats and Republicans. The Senate could act tomorrow to ease the backlog of cases, lighten the load of overworked judges and shorten the time it takes to see justice done in our great country. The Senate could act tomorrow to confirm 22 judges currently ready to serve but awaiting Senate action. These are 22 qualified consensus nominees, the overwhelming majority of them received unanimous support from the Judiciary committee. They have the support of Republican senators from their home states. 11 of these nominees would fill vacancies designated as judicial emergencies. We're filing, I will soon announce, cloture on all these to bring to stop the filibuster being conducted on these good men and women who want to serve. We're going to file on 17. 11 of these people that we're trying to get confirmed, are nominees from judicial emergency states, yet Republicans have refused to allow us to even vote - won't even allow us to vote - on these qualified judicial nominees. Republicans have prevented the senator from doing its constitutional duty and that's what it is. The House doesn't have to deal with this because our constitution says that that's our obligation, to confirm or reject the nominations the President sends to us. We should have up-or-down votes on these. The kind of qualified consensus nominees that in years past would have been confirmed in days or weeks now languish for months and months with no ac action. There are judges on this list go back to November of last year. Not because we couldn't have done it. These could be confirmed in a matter of minutes. The votes should be routine. They shouldn't be a fight that delays action on important jobs measures. Creating jobs is the Senate's number-one priority. Republican obstructionism is the only thing standing in the way of moving forward with additional work to get our economy back on track. Unfortunately, Republicans have forced our hand. What else can we do?"
  • Later today, Majority Leader Reid has indicated that he will file cloture on 17 judicial nominations.