Lee (UC), Cotton, Leahy, Durbin, Reid, Hatch, Menendez, Wyden

Vehicle for Trade Promotion Authority (H.R. 1314)

Senator Lee: (3:41 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    • "The director of national intelligence, the telecom industry, the N.R.A., privacy groups, and 338 members of the House of Representatives. This is a supermajority, a super-duper majority. We've had a week since the House passed this bill and it's time we took it up in earnest and gave it the full attention and consideration of the Senate that it deserves. Then we can return to T.P.A. and finish it without facing expiration of a key national security tool without anything to put in its place. This is a bill, the U.S.A. Freedom Act as enacted by the House of Representatives represents an important compromise, represents a very careful and effective balancing between privacy and security interests, recognizing the fact that our privacy and our security are not in conflict, they are part of the same thing."
  • Unanimous Consent –
    • The Senate set aside consideration of H.R. 1314, the legislative vehicle for the Trade Promotion Authority bill and move to the immediate consideration of H.R. 2048, the U.S.A. Freedom Act.
    • The motion to proceed to H.R. 2048 be agreed to.
    • The bill be open for amendments.
    • Upon disposition of H.R. 2048, the Senate resume consideration of H.R. 1314.
  • (Senator Cotton objects)


Senator Cotton: (3:44 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    • "We could have perhaps already been done with the T.P.A. bill if the other side of the aisle had allowed amendments to be processed last week, if there hadn't been a needless filibuster on the motion to proceed to the bill. But that's water under the bridge. We should move forward in an orderly fashion, processing amendments that are pending on the Trade Promotion Authority bill. We should have a final vote on that bill. Then we should move on to the PATRIOT Act reauthorization bill. There will be time for robust debate in public which is exactly what so many of our members have been doing in private, be given the classified nature of these programs."


Senator Leahy: (3:46 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    • "We can pass the bill, the U.S.A. Freedom Act that passed in the House. It meant that both sides have given a lot to get there. We ought to pass it in this body at some point. Maybe when the trade act and the highway bill, the other things are out. We ought to just take it up and pass it. If there are questions once it's gone into effect, we can always come back and make other changes. We ought to pass it, at least give some stability to our intelligence authorities. The read of - the director of national intelligence, the attorney general. They have all said they support it. We have to accept it and go forward. It takes care of the questions of the courts and the issue of constitutionality, and we should do it. "


Senator Durbin: (3:49 PM)

  • Spoke on trade. 
    • "That's why I'm supporting Senator Elizabeth Warren's amendment that removes fast-track authority for any trade agreement that includes these investor state dispute settlements. State-to-state dispute settlements would still be available if a corporation's rights have been violated or if a country passes a law that violates a trade agreement. But there is no need to go that extra step and give priority to the rights of corporations over the rights of people when it comes to laws that protect health, food, clean water and clean air. As the Senate continues to debate on giving fast-track authority to these trade agreements currently being negotiated, we still don't know what's in the agreements, not entirely. Providing fast-track for these agreements would prevent this Senate from offering amendments that would provide only one up-or-down vote after the agreement is finalized."


Senator Reid: (4:09 PM)

  • Spoke on the export-import bank.
    • "They're telling their Republican friends in Congress that the United States should just get rid of this program. They don't care that this will put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage, and that's an understatement. That don't care this will cost U.S. Jobs and that's an understatement. They don't even care this will put a larger burden on taxpayers who will have to make up the lost revenue. All the Koch brothers care about is maintaining their warped ideological view for making more money for the massive business interests. I encourage my colleagues to reject this misguided view. Let's stop shooting ourselves in the foot. Let's pass a long-term extension of the export-import bank. On this bill, the trade bill, if it became part of the trade bill, it would be signed into law. The president loves the bank. He said so publicly. We've been trying to get this done. But now the Republicans have said no thanks because their guiding light, the Koch brothers, don't like it because it's a government program."


Senator Hatch: (4:17 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "In short, ISDS poses no threats to the American taxpayer. In the end, virtually all of the tall tales we hear about ISDS come in the form of ridiculous hypotheticals that have very little basis in reality. But the facts are what they are. While it is only used sparingly, it remains an important tool to protect U.S. investors and businesses. It is a fixture in international agreements, and if our negotiators did not demand its inclusion in our trade agreements, they would be doing our country a disservice. In March, "The Washington Post" editorial board not really known for having a pro-business bias, published and editorial outlining the shortcomings of the anti-ISDS crusade. I'm all for a fair and open debate on trade policy. I'm glad we're on the floor having this discussion. I just hope we can stick to the facts and not spend our time debating unsubstantiated smear tactics. I urge my colleagues to vote against the Warren ISDS amendment."


Senator Menendez: (4:24 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "Thanks to the community of advocates against trafficking and the commitment of my colleagues on the committee, the "No Fast-Track for Human Traffickers" amendment is in the legislation we are debating presently on the floor. I understand there are those who would prefer to see this amendment just disappear. But just like those who are protecting those around the world, it will be alive in every trade agreement now and in the future. This says we will not be silenced. We will not be bound because some want free trade at any human cost, even if it means letting those nations that our own State Department has determined to be negligent at best in dealing with the scourge of human trafficking in their countries."


Senator Wyden: (4:32 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "At that time, and colleagues, the committee approved an important amendment to ensure trade agreements with countries that drop the ball on trafficking get no special privileges here in the congress. And the reason that my colleague has put all this time and energy and passion into it is I think we understand, everyone here, Democrats, Republicans, that human trafficking is a plague that must be fought at every opportunity. So what Senator Menendez and I have done over the last few weeks is to work together to try to find a practical way to further improve the language in this original amendment. And what these alterations, really, improvements, are going to do is to create a new process by which the president will report to the Congress on the concrete, specific steps other countries are taking to crack down on trafficking."