Reid, McConnell, Durbin

Opening Remarks

  • Today --
    • The Senate will resume consideration of S. 3414, the Cybersecurity bill. The time until 2:15 PM is for debate only. The time until 12:30 PM will be equally divided, with the Majority controlling the first hour and the Republicans controlling the second hour.
    • At 12:30 PM, the Senate will recess until 2:15 PM for the weekly caucus lunches.
    • At a time to be determined this week, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session for up to 1 hour of debate, equally divided, on Executive Calendar #518, Carol J. Galante, of California, to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Following the use or yielding back of time, the Senate will conduct a ROLL CALL VOTE on confirmation of the nomination (60 votes required).

Senator Reid: (10:02 AM)
  • Spoke on the Cybersecurity bill.
    • SUMMARY "I would just alert everyone to this: I would hope those people led by Senators Lieberman and Senator Collins will work to come up with a finite list of amendments so we can move on to the Cybersecurity bill. I've spoken to the Republican leader yesterday and I'm being really patient trying to get a list of amendments we can agree on. I hope that can be done soon. It is very important that we make a determination whether we're going to be able to get a bill. There's not a lot of time left to tread water, so to speak."
  • Spoke on Obamacare.
    • SUMMARY "There's no question that this bill, signed by President Obama, is landmark. It is a landmark piece of legislation. It signaled an end to insurance company discrimination among many, but especially against those who are ill, against those are preexisting conditions, and especially, against women. As a result of this bill we passed, being a woman is no longer a preexisting disability For many, many years, companies have charged American women higher premiums. Why in because they're women. And for years American women have unfairly borne the burden of high costs of contraception as well. Even women with private insurance often wind up spending hundreds of dollars each year more for birth control. Today women of reproductive age spend two-thirds more out of their own pockets for health care costs than men largely due to the high cost of birth control. But starting tomorrow, no insurance plans must cover contraception. How much? No additional pay at a under health reform, about 47 million women will have additional access to those resources without cost-shank many on the other side have downplayed these benefits or fought to repeal them altogether. Hard to comprehend but true. Forcing American women to - every year - every year millions of women in the United States put off doctors' visits because they can't afford the co-pays. Millions more skip pills or shots to save money Starting tomorrow - again, Wednesday of this week - women will no longer have to reach in their pockets to pay for wellness checkups. They can do screening for diabetes, HPV testing, diabetes screening, all in the law today starting to. All women will have access to all forms of FDA-approved contraception without having to shell out more money on top of their premiums. Any insurance company discrimination will help millions more women afford the care they need when they need t it will restore basic fairness to the health care system. Sometimes the practical thing to do is the right thing to do. That's what the legislation that we worked so hard to pass is all about. It's about doing the right thing for everyone. But today we're going to focus on women."

Senator McConnell: (10:14 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "I have listened carefully to the majority leader's speech about what most Americans refer to as Obamacare. I think given the fact that our friends on the other side are going to focus on that bill this particular week, it might be a good idea to have a vote on it on the pending bill. It would be my intent to offer an amendment that I know my friend does not support, but nevertheless many Americans would like to know here ... I think it would be appropriate to have a vote on the repeal of Obamacare. I think it would be good to offer that amendment during the pendency of the bill on cybersecurity which we believe be opening to amendments. I wonder if my friend thinks that might be something both sides would agree would be a good idea?"

Senator Reid: (10:15 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "I wonder if the court reporter can state the big smile on my face. Show that. Can you imagine how ridiculous my friend, the republican leader's statement is? Listen to what he said. We're talking about cybersecurity. We talked about the dangers in cybersecurity if we don't do something about it. And he's now telling me that he wants a vote to repeal all the stuff that I just talked about, on cybersecurity? That is very difficult to comprehend. I think we should understand that I don't think a woman getting contraception has a thing to do with shutting down the power grids in America or the financial services in America or our water systems or our sewer systems. That's what cybersecurity is all about. Not whether a woman can have contraception or whether she can have a wellness check to find out she's got cancer from not having had a mammogram."

Senator Durbin: (10:16 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "Do I remember that the very first amendment on the transportation bill was offered by Senator Blunt of Missouri on family planning? Is there a family planning amendment available on every bill now that will be offered by the Republican side? I know the House Republicans have had 33 votes to repeal Obamacare. Are we going to try to match them with similar efforts in the Senate?"

Senator Reid: (10:17 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "Response to my friend is this. I try to be very calm about things in life generally, especially things here on the floor. But I can't remain very calm about this. I have 16 grandchildren. They are evenly divided between boys and girls. I want my granddaughters to be treated so that if they want to go get some-- have some contraceptive device in school I'm bragging about that they got in those schools - they should have the ability to do that. I think as I - I just can't imagine what we're talking about here on the senate floor. Cybersecurity, one of the most important - it's the most important issue, I've already said, dealing with if you want to talk to General Petraeus, he'll tell you what it is. You want to talk to General Demsey, he'll tell you what the important issue is. The number-one issue today is whether we're going to have bad people attack our country and shut it down. Now we're here being asked if we're going to have a vote on cybersecurity, as to whether my grandchildren can have contraception."

Senator McConnell: (10:18 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "I guess the answer is no. My friends are going to spend a week lauding the advantages as they see it of an immensely unpopular bill that was passed a couple of years ago on a straight party-line vote: Obamacare. Yet in a week in which apparently they are going to laud the various provision of it, they're not willing to have a vote in support of it. So I gather that's a vote we will not have. I will request the opportunity to do that again; anticipate listening to my good friend, the majority leader, such a request would likely be blocked."
  • Spoke on the sequester.
    • SUMMARY "For weeks Republicans asked the president to tell the American people how he plans to carry out these cuts. He simply refused to do so. So last week Congress passed legislation requiring him to do so. In fact, it cleared the Senate, I believe, unanimously. Then yesterday there was this, an assistant secretary down at the Department of Labor is now telling people they're under no legal obligation to let employees know if they will lose their jobs as a result of these cuts. We've got an assistant secretary of labor yesterday said employers are under no legal obligation to tell their employees they may lose their jobs as a result of these cuts. In other words, the president is trying to keep those folks in the dark about whether they can expect to lose their jobs or not. Why? Well, I think it's pretty obvious. To insulate himself from the political fallout that will result. The president doesn't want people reading about pink slips in the weeks before his election. So the White House is telling people to keep the effects of these cuts secret - don't tell anybody, he says, keep it a secret - until of course after the election. Once again, the president who holds himself out as a great defender of the middle class and the goals of organized labor is putting his own political goals ahead of hardworking Americans who will be affected by these policies. Rather than let those who will be affected by the cuts know about it, he'll make everybody nervous. For three and a half years - three and a half long years this president has pushed an ideological agenda without regard for the consequences it would have on the very middle class Americans he purports to defend. The president may not want to admit it, but the economic mess we're in is his legacy. His legacy. And after three and a half years of finger pointing, he owes it to the American people to be straight about it."