Senate Calendar

Monday, June 4, 2012

Brown-OH, Inhofe (The Senate Stands Adjourned)

Paycheck Fairness bill (S. 3220)

Jun 04 2012

Senator Brown-OH: (6:20 PM)
  • Spoke on the Student Loan bill.
    • SUMMARY "25 days the cost of attending college, a trade school, a university, a two-year community college will increase for some 380,000 students in my state of Ohio. It's because without congressional action, something which we have tried to fix repeatedly on the floor of the United States Senate, without congressional action, interest rates for Stafford loans are scheduled to double on July 1. Now, this was done five years ago bipartisanly that we were able to do this. President Bush signed legislation for a Democratic Congress, Democratic House, Democratic Senate to freeze interest rates on Stafford subsidized loans for American college students for five years at 3.4%. That expires July 1 and it's something that we need to do, we have tried to do, it's repeatedly been batted down by threats of a filibuster If we don't act, then future college graduates will see an average of about a thousand dollars in extra interest fees for Stafford student loans. My colleague, Senator Jack Reed and the Senator from Rhode Island, Senator Harkin and I have introduced the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike which would keep college affordable for more students. The act is fully paid for by closing a corporate tax loophole. We want to pay for this. We don't want to add to this debt for college students, we don't want to add to their personal debt by allowing the 3.4% interest rates to double."

Senator Inhofe: (6:31 PM)
  • Spoke on the Obama-EPA War on Coal.
    • SUMMARY "This month the United States Senate will have the opportunity to put a stop to the second most expensive EPA regulation in history, the rule known as utility MACT - it's kind of confusing. Let me kind of share with you what it means That means maximum achievable control technology. In other words, the EPA comes along and makes a regulation where there is no technology that will accommodate the rule. So that's what it's all about and that's why the Obama EPA calls it, so that people won't know what it is and how much it costs. It's the first step - we're talking about utility MACT - it's the first step to kill coal in the United States. Right now we in this country depend upon coal for 50% of our electricity and you can just imagine what will happen to your energy costs as well as millions of lost jobs. I've introduced a resolution to kill it. By voting for my resolution, S.J. Res. 37, members of the Senate can prevent the Obama EPA from causing so much economic pain for American families. It requires only a majority vote in the Senate and the House and it would have to be signed by the President. People would say, well, why would the Senate sign a bill that would stop his EPA from over-regulating. I would suggest to you, right before an election, he doesn't want to go on record as causing that many job losses. And that much damage to our economy. So the utility MACT is the centerpiece of President Obama's effort to kill coal. Utility MACT is specifically designed to close down existing coal plants while the Obama EPA's greenhouse gas regulations are specifically designed to prevent any new coal plants from being built. So they want to shut down the coal plants that are there now and prevent new coal plants from being built. Keep in mind, 50% of our energy comes from coal. The goal behind these policies is not surprising, but what is surprising is that while President Obama goes around pretending to be for an all-of-the-approach on energy and let's make sure we understand what that is. An all-of-the-above approach was the Republicans' idea. We're for all of the above. We're for nuclear energy, we're for fossil fuels, coal, gas, oil, renewables, everything else. So that's what all of the above means."

Senator Brown-OH:
  • Performed Wrap Up --
  • Tomorrow --
    • The Senate will convene at 10:00 AM and Majority Leader Reid will be recognized. It is anticipated the Senate will resume consideration of the Motion to Proceed to S. 3220, the Paycheck Fairness bill. The time until 12:30 PM will be equally divided, with the Majority controlling the first 30 minutes and the Republicans controlling the second 30 minutes.
    • At 12:30 PM, the Senate will recess until 2:15 PM for the weekly caucus lunches.
    • At 2:15 PM, the Senate will conduct a ROLL CALL VOTE on the Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 3220, the Paycheck Fairness bill.
The Senate stands adjourned until 10:00 AM Tuesday, June 5th.

Jun 04 2012

Confirmed, 88-1:
Executive Calendar #613, Timothy S. Hillman, of Massachusetts, to be United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts.
The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Cardin, Leahy, Kerry, Brown-MA

Paycheck Fairness bill (S. 3220)/Executive Session

Jun 04 2012

Senator Cardin: (4:22 PM)
  • Spoke on the Paycheck Fairness bill.
    • SUMMARY "It provides for an effective enforcement so women, in fact, can hold their employers responsible if the disparity is based upon their gender, which should not be in America. The Paycheck Fairness Act will require employers to show pay disparities that are truly related to business justifications and job performance and not gender. It prohibits employer retaliation for sharing salary information with co-workers. Under current law, employers can sue and punish employees for sharing such information. In addition, this legislation strengthens remedies for pay discrimination by increasing compensation women can seek. The Paycheck Fairness Act also would strengthen the Department of Labor's ability to help women achieve pay equity by requiring the Department of Labor to enhance outreach and training efforts to work with employers in order to eliminate pay disparities and to continue to collect and disseminate wage information based on gender. The purpose of this act is to avoid discriminatory pay, not to sue employers after the fact, and therefore this bill, the paycheck fairness act, is well balanced. In providing remedies, yes, if in fact an employer is discriminating on pay based on gender but to provide help to employers so that they can take the appropriate steps to make sure that, in fact, their work force is fairly paying their employees. The legislation makes clear that employers are liable only for wage differentials that are not bona fide factors. Bona fide factors include items such as education, training or experience. Employees will also be able to argue that employers should use an alternative employment practice that would serve the same business purpose without producing the wage differential. The legislation is crafted to avoid any undue burden on small businesses. I think you and I both understand the importance of small businesses in the work we did on the small business committee. This act delays from taking effect for six months after its passage so that the labor secretary and EOC can develop technical assistance material to assist small businesses in complying with the new law. The agencies are charged with engaging in research, education and outreach on the new law. The EOC is charged with issuing regulations to provide for the collection of pay information from employers. The law specifically states that these regulations should, and "consider factors including the imposition of burdens on the employers, the frequency of required data reports and the most effective format for data collection.""

Senator Leahy: (5:00 PM)
  • Spoke on the Violence Against Women Act.
    • SUMMARY "I hoped the House Republicans would follow our demonstration of bipartisanship by moving forward with the Senate-passed VAWA reauthorization bill. Instead the leadership in the House, Republican leadership chose to proceed with a bill that doesn't reflect the core values of VAWA. I mention these core values because we worked, both parties, in this body to reflect what is most important in it. Their bill, the House Republican bill, does not include protection for all victims. It takes away existing protections that have proven effective in preventing domestic and sexual violence. The House bill is not VAWA. Regrettably, the House Republican leadership would not even allow a vote on the bipartisan Senate-passed bill which really does do the job. They would not allow open debate regarding the relative merits of the different versions of the bill. Ours protects all victims, and theirs which rolls back protections. Had the House had the opportunity to pass on the Senate-passed bill, or vote on the Senate-passed bill, I believe it would now be law and the President would have signed it. Nearly two dozen House Republicans, along with most Democratic members, voted against restrictive House bill ... The provisions in our bill that protect battered immigrant women, native women, and the most vulnerable among us have trouble accessing services were recommendations from those very professionals who work with crime victims every day. The bipartisan Senate bill intended to respond to changing unmet needs of victims and to prevent future acts of domestic and sexual violence. Instead of picking and choosing as they tried to, among who would get protection, we came up with a simple fact. We said a victim is a victim is a victim. If somebody has been victimized you don't go and the police don't go and say, well, we could help this battered person, maybe even murdered person, we might get involved in this provided they're not an immigrant or provided they're not a native American or provided that they're straight. That's not the way it works ... Never heard a police officer say, well, before we go any further on this, what category does this battered victim fall into? Because unless they fall into one of these specific categories that the house bill had, we can't do anything for them. No. No police officer ever said that in my presence nor in anybody else's presence. Fortunately, the House Republican leadership refused to consider two house bills that mirror the Leahy-Crapo bill, including one introduced by a Republican. They also raised a procedural technicality as an excuse to avoid debating the Senate bill even though the speaker of the House has the right to waive that technicality to allow the senate to move forward on the bipartisan Senate bill. The Majority leader tried to move us forward two weeks ago by proposing a way to resolve the technical objections by house republicans to consider the bipartisan Senate-passed bill, but the Republican leader objected. Frankly, victims should not be forced to wait any longer. They have to wait longer, they're not going to benefit by improvements made by the bipartisan Crapo-Leahy bill unless both houses of Congress vote to pass this legislation."

Senator Kerry: (5:11 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hillman nomination.

Senator Brown-MA: (5:14 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hillman nomination.

Kyl

Paycheck Fairness bill (S. 3220)

Jun 04 2012

Senator Kyl: (3:03 PM)
  • Spoke on the FY 2013 defense cuts (Budget Control Act).
    • SUMMARY "The implication is that if we make economic arguments against these automatic cuts, mainly that they will result in massive job losses, that we undercut our arguments against the President's stimulus spending, which is ostensibly created in order to stimulate consumer demand and therefore increased spending which is supposed to get us out of the economic doldrums that we're in. I'd like to make two points in response to that. First, of course, eliminating more than a million defense-related jobs, which is what will happen if the automatic sequestration occurs, will obviously hurt the economy. It will obviously result in job losses and many, many people will suffer, and that's what a George Mason University study said that this $492 billion in cuts will contribute to. In fact, the same point was made in a CBO study that was released a couple of weeks ago. So how could such massive job losses not do economic harm? A million jobs, jobs in both private and public sectors comprise a substantial part of our economy. In fact, just in my own state of Arizona, there are about 33,200 private sector jobs at risk if these automatic defense cuts were to take place. But - and this is my second point - most federal spending, certainly including defense spending, is for purposes other than stimulating the economy. I support spending for national security because it's necessary for the nation, not because it also happens to provide jobs, and that's the way it is with a lot of federal spending. We support the programs because they satisfy a need and certainly the number one need of those of us in the congress and the president is to provide for the national defense. So we spend what we think is necessary each year to provide for the national defense. Now, the fact that that also can create some jobs is a side benefit, if you will, in an economic sense but it's not the reason that we do the spending in the first place. If that spending is cut way back, however, there's no question that jobs will be lost, and I think that's worth pointing out in the context of a discussion about economic recovery. What I would not do is support unnecessary spending on defense or anything else. Just to create more government government-supported jobs, just for the sake of stimulating the economy. The taxpayers don't have enough money to contribute to the federal government for that purpose. We should spend what's necessary and no more. So supporting existing defense jobs is very different from supporting redistributionist government stimulus spending for jobs there is no demand for and on government payments for things like food stamps and other transfer payments that don't necessarily translate to new jobs but simply move money around. The difference really is how you spend the money. And I just reiterate that Republicans support defense jobs because they produce something essential to our national security, and the things that they relate to, intelligence and making equipment and weapons and so on, the jobs that produces is incidental to the primary reason that we support those jobs."

McConnell

Paycheck Fairness bill (S. 3220)

Jun 04 2012

Senator McConnell: (2:20 PM)
  • Spoke on the Student Loan bill.
    • SUMMARY "For weeks, President Obama's been running around ginning up college students and late-night television audience over an impending interest rate change on college loans, pointing the finger at Republicans. But not only are Republicans supportive of solving this problem, we're the only ones who've actually passed legislation to do so. House Republicans passed a bill weeks ago that would have preserved current rates, and late last week, Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, Senator Kyl and I sent a joint letter to the President proposing multiple solutions to the problem that was thoughtfully and carefully designed to gain the President's support. In fact, the solutions were based on the President's own proposals. Let me say that again. We sent a letter to the President advocating continuing the current rate for another year and proposed pay-fors that he himself has endorsed. So you can imagine how surprised we were to see one of the President's political advisors say on one of the Sunday shows yesterday that Republicans in Congress are sitting on our hands and an op-ed this morning by Education Secretary saying that Congress isn't lifting a finger to resolve the problem. So let's be very clear about all this. Republicans in Congress are the only ones actual working to solve the student loan issue and unless the President isn't having his mail forwarded to him on the campaign trail, he knows it as well as I do. I couldn't help but notice the President's on a fund-raising blitz in Manhattan today, and no doubt it's easier to walk into these events when you've got a good piece of fiction to sell about Republican obstructionism. But the President's campaign rhetoric is increasingly at odds with the reality. On the student loan issue at least, it's Republicans who've been working on a solution and the President who's been totally AWOL. All he has to do is pick up the phone and tell us which one of his own proposals he'll accept. It's that easy. But the truth is, the President doesn't really want to solve this problem. He seems to prefer the talking point, again and as disingenuous as it is."

Reid

Opening Remarks

Jun 04 2012

  • Today --
    • The Senate will resume consideration of the Motion to Proceed to S. 3220, the Paycheck Fairness bill.
    • At 5:00 PM, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session for 30 minutes of debate, equally divided, on Executive Calendar #613, Timothy S. Hillman, of Massachusetts, to be United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts.
    • At 5:30 PM, the Senate will conduct a ROLL CALL VOTE on the nomination.
  • Tuesday, June 5th --
    • At 2:15 PM, the Senate will conduct a ROLL CALL VOTE on the Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 3220, the Paycheck Fairness bill.

Senator Reid: (2:02 PM)
  • Spoke on the Paycheck Fairness bill.
    • SUMMARY "It's crucial we pass the bill, the Paycheck Fairness Act. It's really common sense. It would give workers stronger tools to combat wage discrimination, bar workers, and help ensure more adequate compensation for gender-based pay discrimination ... We want workers to have stronger tools to combat wage discrimination, bar retaliation for discussing wage information. Some people have been fired because he should found a man working the same job, they're fired for another employee telling them what they made. We want this Paycheck Fairness bill because it would ensure more adequate compensation for victims of pay discrimination. Women make up nearly half the work force and an increasing number of women are the primary wage earners ... More than half the women in college are women. So this problem affects women, children, families across the country and it really does. With the economy struggling and families stretching every dollar closing the pay gap is more important than ever. No woman working to support herself or her family should be paid less than a male counterpart. They're doing the same job. They should be paid the same. Some employers, have taken advantage of women, knowing they'll work for less. Maybe a single parent, don't have to pay her what we pay him. With all this going on, with the examples I've given, the Republicans are filibustering this bill. They won't even let us vote on it. But what's new? They have filibustered even things they agree with. They don't agree with this. They don't want women to make the same amount of money so they're filibustering this. They're filibustering even letting us get on the bill. They're filibustering what is called a motion to proceed. A rule that I think needs to be changed in this body and it will someday. They're filibustering the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would help even the playing field for women in the workplace Unfortunately, it seems paycheck fairness may have two strikes against it. Number one, it would be good for women, and good foe the economy. So republicans are going to oppose it. Paycheck fairness is right for the country, but it appears Republicans will wind up on the wrong side of this issue as well. Sending the message to little girls across the country their work is less valuable because they happen to be born female."

Jun 04 2012

The Senate Convened.

Jun 04 2012

The Senate is considering S. 3220, the Paycheck Fairness Act.  The Senate is also considering the nomination of Timothy S. Hillman, of Massachusetts, to be United States district judge for the District of Massachusetts.  Republican senators continue to focus on creating jobs, lowering the deficit, reducing gas prices, and replacing the Democrats' health care bill with reforms that will actually lower costs.