Leahy, Perdue, Toomey, Corker, Flake

Executive Session (Benczkowski Nomination)

Senator Leahy: (11:14 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brian Benczkowski to be an Assistant Attorney General.
    • "For years, they have studied the criminal division, and here it's an amazing, amazing nomination. I think it's enough to oppose Mr. Benczkowski's nomination because he is objectively unqualified for this important position. But there are also compelling reasons to believe that it would be uniquely reckless to confirm him to this position. Now speaking about Mr. Benczkowski's lack of qualifications to this role is not meant to denigrate him. Many of us know him, as I did from his service in the Judiciary Committee, as a staff director for the ranking member - the then-Ranking Member Jeff Sessions. But the fact is this nominee to head the criminal division has virtually no criminal law experience."


Senator Perdue: (11:24 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tariffs.
    • "Mr. President, I rise today to talk about my opposition to the Section 232 motion that will be voted on later today. I have utmost respect for my colleagues who are bringing this motion. I totally understand their logic, and I respect their point of view on this and many other issues. One of the great things about this deliberative body is that we deliberate. Unfortunately I just don't understand sometimes why this body continues to tie the hands of this president at every turn. We all know that enacting tariffs on imports is not the goal here. This president is committed to creating a more level playing field for our workers and our companies here at home to compete in an un-level playing field today that exists today in the trade word we know today."


Senator Toomey: (11:29 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tariffs.
    • "The United States has been the leader in promoting free trade around the world for many decades, and that is part of the reason that we are the most affluent society on the globe by far, outperforming the rest of the world consistently. What it does is it provides our consumers with many choices and lower costs, and, therefore, a more affordable standard of living. And it provides our workers with foreign markets. 95% of the world's population lives somewhere else. I want to be selling to them. And we do that through an environment of free trade. Take NAFTA for instance. Since NAFTA was enacted in 1994, Pennsylvanians have seen exports to Mexico increase by more than 500%. That's what happened because of the reduction in the barriers that existed, barriers to trade that existed prior to NAFTA."


Senator Corker: (11:36 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tariffs.
    • "As a matter of fact, the White House has said loosely on many occasions that they're only using Section 232 in order to try to create some kind of leverage on NAFTA. I don't understand how putting tariffs in place on our allies in Europe has anything to do with NAFTA. I don't understand how putting tariffs on our neighbors has anything to do with combating what China is doing and stealing our intellectual property. I know the presiding officer knows full well what's happening there. We do need to counter that kind of activity. I don't know if we're doing it in the best way now."


Senator Flake: (11:44 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tariffs.
    • "The president has abused Section 232 to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum impacting our allies like Canada, Mexico, countries of the E.U. Can you imagine being in Canada and being told that your steel and aluminum exports to the United States represent a national security threat. The Prime Minister Trudeau rightly called the president's recent tariffs an affront to the long-standing security partnership between Canada and the United States and he continued, kind of insulting. Canada is the United States' largest consumer. It buys more goods from the United States than China, Japan, and the U.K. Combined. Canadian companies operating in the United States directly employ 500,000 Americans. Canada and the United States share more than 5,500 miles of a peaceful border."