Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Oct 03 2018 10:00 AM

The Senate reconvened.  

McConnell, Schumer

Opening Remarks

Oct 03 2018 10:41 AM

Today -

  • The Senate will reconvene at 10:00 a.m.
  • At 12:00 p.m. all post-cloture time on the House message accompanying H.R. 302, the vehicle for the FAA reauthorization, will expire and the Senate will VOTE on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 302, the vehicle for the FAA reauthorization.


Senator McConnell: (10:03 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "And when that didn't work, then the far left tried to bully and intimidate members of this body, Republican United States senators. They've tried to bully and intimidate us. One of our colleagues and his family were effectively run out of a restaurant in recent days by these people. Another reported having protesters physically block his car door. And some have seen organized far-left protesters camp out at their homes. I'm not suggesting we're the victims here, Mr. President, but I want to make it clear to these people who are chasing my members around the hall here or harassing them at the airports or going to their homes, we're not going to be intimidated by these people."
  • Spoke on the upcoming legislative agenda.
    • "Now, on a completely different matter, Mr. President, the senate is also attending to other matters of critical nationwide importance this week. Today we'll pass a fulsome reauthorization for the critical functions of the Federal Aviation Administration. We'll also take up and pass landmark opioid legislation. It's set to deliver major relief to American communities that have been decimated by the scourge of substance abuse and addiction. Every one of our colleagues represents families who have grappled with the loss of livelihoods and loved ones at the hands of this crisis, and nearly every one of them has contributed provisions to make this a truly comprehensive response."
  • Unanimous Consent –
    • That following disposition of the motion to concur with regard to H.R. 302, the majority leader or his designee be recognized to make a motion to concur in the House message accompanying H.R. 6, the opioid bill.
    • Further, notwithstanding the previous order in relation to H.R. 6, at 3:15 p.m. today the Senate VOTE on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 6, the opioid bill.
    • (Without objection)


Senator Schumer: (10:18 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "President Trump owes Dr. Ford an immediate apology. For too long, far too long, survivors of sexual assault have been afraid to come forward because they thought that powerful men would shut - shout them down and destroy their character. The president of the United States, the most powerful man there is, confirmed those fears for millions of women in the most despicable way possible. President Trump should send a message to the women of America right now that he's sorry for saying what he said about Dr. Blasey Ford, that survivors of sexual assault should not only be heard but treated with dignity and respect and compassion."

Cornyn, Cardin, Durbin

Executive Session (Kavanaugh Nomination)

Oct 03 2018 11:09 AM

Senator Cornyn: (10:40 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "And unfortunately, as a result of the mishandling of Dr. Ford's confidential letter to the ranking member, contrary to her wishes and without her consent leaked to the press, she has been thrust into this three-ring circus. She was not told by her lawyers that the Judiciary Committee had offered to send a bipartisan team of professional staff out to her home in California to interview her confidentially. Why would her lawyers not tell her that? Because they wanted this three-ring circus. They wanted, despite Dr. Ford's wishes not to be thrust into the spotlight, they evidently thrust her into that spotlight, raising the question in my mind who are they working for? Are these lawyers working for Dr. Ford, or do they have agenda and another client in mind?"


Senator Cardin: (10:50 a.m.)

  • Spoke on opioid legislation.
    • "In addition, they can't always get the services they need, particularly in the middle of the night, that - to deal with their addiction problems. The stabilization center is set up to deal with those issues. The problem is, there is no funding for stabilization centers. Fortunately, under this legislation, flexibility is given in regards to the grant program under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA, where local governments can apply for funds to deal with these innovative approaches to dealing with the addiction issue. I was pleased that that was a recommendation I had made and it was incorporated into the final legislation."


Senator Durbin: (10:59 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Now the F.B.I. investigation is under way. For the good of the Senate and for our nation, I hope that this is a complete professional nonpartisan investigation, and I hope that we are given the time to at least read the report from the F.B.I. before the Republican majority leader in the Senate plows through, as he said over and over again, to a vote in this Senate. I would hope that those who come to this issue in good faith, regardless of their position, will be respectful of a process which we may be using in the future and should respect as it reaches its conclusion."
  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "The judge called the courtroom to order. She was very respectful to the two individuals who were there, but she had a problem. One of the people before her could not get into the chair to sit down for the proceeding, and the reason that young girl, whom I will call Maria, could not get into the chair was she is 2 years old. 2 years old. One of the volunteer attorneys lifted her up and put her in the chair and handed her a stuffed owl which she clung to through the whole hearing. Now, the other person who was being subject to a hearing that day had no trouble getting into the chair."

Inhofe, Markey, Hoeven, Lankford, Nelson

Executive Session (Kavanaugh Nomination)

Oct 03 2018 12:01 PM

Senator Inhofe: (11:08 a.m.)

  • Spoke on FAA reauthorization.
    • "Mr. President, amid all this, the unfounded, uncorroborated accusation and attacks on a fine jurist, I think it's important for us to remember that other things are happening here at the same time. For one thing, I would only make one comment about the comments of the previous speaker, and that is that the program that was somewhat accurately described actually started not in the Trump administration but the Obama administration. But what I want to say is that something really significant is about to happen, and that is something we have been waiting for for a long time. If you're not on the Commerce Committee, you're not dealing with this issue or actually -- of course, there are three committees dealing with it."


Senator Markey: (11:20 a.m.)

  • Spoke on opioid legislation.
    • "Last month I reintroduced my legislation to supporting positive outcomes after release act which prohibits states from terminating an inmate's Medicaid coverage during incarceration. My legislation would instead require states to temporarily suspend Medicaid coverage, ensuring immediate access to health care services upon reentry into the community. In other words, when the prisoner is left out of incarceration and back into the community, they have access to health care services. Otherwise the likelihood of relapse is very high. And I am pleased in the conference opioid package, it includes a version of my legislation requiring states to suspend rather than terminate Medicaid coverage for young people under 21 years of age during incarceration."


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

  • Spoke on FAA reauthorization.
    • "It is not just about serving Williston, but all of northwest North Dakota as well as parts of eastern Montana and a very important growing energy industry area for our nation. So that shows the importance of the kind of provisions that we have in this legislation and how it affects every part of our great nation. Ensuring long-term certainty for F.A.A. programs like the airport improvement program are essential for our airport construction projects, as I've described in the Williston Basin, and it is particularly important that we have this funding and we're able to utilize it in an efficient way."


Senator Lankford: (11:42 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the USMCA.
    • "Well, sorry to say our wheat is that quality and so that's finally being resolved back and forth with Canada and the United States. Simple things like what is de minimis products to be able to carry across the border with Canada and Mexico. Might not seem like a big deal but allowing an individual to be able to travel across the border from the United States to Canada or back and north with a small amount of goods that they purchased is significant to someone that's just going to be a normal consumer crossing back and forth across the border. To finally get that resolved, that's been a problem for a long time."


Senator Nelson: (11:51 a.m.)

  • Spoke on FAA reauthorization.
    • "Mr. President, shortly the Senate is going to vote on legislation called the F.A.A. bill. It's the concerns of air travelers across the country. The bill before us has some key safety and security aviation measures. We've worked to cross the -- worked across the aisle to bring the Congress a five-year authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. This is the first five-year bill of the F.A.A. that has passed and will pass this Congress since the 1980's. And why is that important? There needs to be stability for planning purposes for the aviation industry."

Thune, Alexander, Cantwell

Executive Session (Kavanaugh Nomination)

Oct 03 2018 01:06 PM

Senator Thune: (12:33 p.m.)

  • Spoke on FAA reauthorization.
    • "The bill also reauthorizes the Transportation Security Administration, ensuring improved screening technologies and more explosive detection K-9's. Additional focus on security and surface transportation in public areas, and new pathways to mitigate airport security delays for an overall better travel experience. It also reauthorizes the National Transportation Safety Board, providing key reforms to modernize and improve transparency in this important safety agency's investigations, recommendations, and board member discussions. And these important provisions are just the three quarters of the bill in the jurisdiction of the Senate Commerce Committee of which I have the privilege to serve as chairman."


Senator Alexander: (12:38 p.m.)

  • Spoke on opioid legislation.
    • "I want to speak for a few minutes about another example of that. For we are in the midst of a contentious disagreement about the Supreme Court. At the same time we have an urgent, bipartisan consensus of virtually unanimous agreement to deal with the most urgent public health epidemic facing our country today and virtually every community. And that is the opioids crisis. Each one of us has stories about how the opioids epidemic is ravaging our hometowns and our home states. For example, at one of the several hearings we had in the Health Committee, which I chair, a mother, Becky Savage talked about her two sons, who she found in her basement after a graduation party one night, both dead."


Senator Cantwell: (12:54 p.m.)

  • Spoke on FAA reauthorization.
    • "As mentioned by the chairman, this is the first long-term reauthorization in decades, and it represents a five-year investment on critical infrastructure investment that our airports need all throughout the United States. It represents for us in the Pacific Northwest hundreds of millions of dollars of investments in our airports that help us continue to grow our economic and regional economies. Everybody in the state of Washington knows that we are bursting at the seams when it comes to our airports, that we need more capacity, particularly at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport where we saw an increase of nearly two million passengers. It's been one of the fastest growing airports in the nation for the last five years."

Donnelly, Capito, Klobuchar

Executive Session (Kavanaugh Nomination)

Oct 03 2018 01:46 PM

Senator Donnelly: (1:10 p.m.)

  • Spoke on opioid legislation.
    • "I've come to discuss the opioid epidemic which has taken the lives of too many Hoosiers, harming family and friends across my state and our country. This is a public health crisis. It is a complex problem. Addressing it will require all of us to work together in a bipartisan way at the federal, state, and local levels. I'm very pleased the House and Senate have worked together over many months to right - write this bipartisan legislation. The support for patients and communities act. This bill provides important new tools to combat the opioid epidemic and to work to ensure that those providing prevention, treatment, and recovery services in our communities have the resources necessary to help those in need of assistance."


Senator Capito: (1:17 p.m.)

  • Spoke on opioid legislation.
    • "This crisis has shaped our ongoing response to the epidemic as well as my contributions to the bill. In West Virginia, we understand better, I think, some of the causes of the crisis and how we can then deal with them. We have discovered what's working in our state and we have learned that the ripple effects go far beyond those struggling with addiction. It affects families and children and communities. When thinking about next steps for fighting the opioid epidemic, one of the first things I realized was that the form for state funding was not providing adequate resources to the hardest hit states, states like West Virginia."


Senator Klobuchar: (1:32 p.m.)

  • Spoke on opioid legislation.
    • "We have worked with the administration, we have worked with the House, and we see this as a bipartisan priority. One of the major pieces that's in this legislation is based on the stop act that I introduced with Senator Portman to help stop dangerous synthetic drugs from entering our country in the first place. We know this is a serious problem. Powerful synthetic drugs like fentanyl, which is up to 100 times more potent than morphine, keep coming in from China. In my state there were 172 deaths involving synthetic opioids last year."

Merkley, Blunt, Barrasso, Perdue

Executive Session (Kavanaugh Nomination)

Oct 03 2018 03:09 PM

Senator Merkley: (1:51 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Therefore, we're going to block documents a, B, and C and, therefore, create an index explaining that? No, they did not. We have a whole scale blockage of key parts of the record. And there's more than that. There's also the president's role in marking documents committee confidential. So here is the challenge. We have a responsibility, a constitutional responsibility that has been violated. And that's why today I filed a motion to compel the president to provide those hundred thousand documents marked presidential privilege to us in the Senate so we can review them and do our responsibility under the Constitution."


Senator Blunt: (2:01 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "They could have pursued with Judge Kavanaugh's private hearing - they were willing to talk about baseball tickets at the private hearing. They could have pursued in the private hearing, here's what's in this file. What do you have to say about that? Dr. Ford, as she said she wanted to be, would have been kept anonymous this that process. There would have been no reason, unless the committee would have decided to do what somebody on that committee did, to use her name, to bring this into a major public confrontation. This could have been handled in another way. Her letter, her personal trauma could have been handled in a way that it wasn't. In fact, it could have have been handled more poorly or politically by some in the minority or their staff than it was."


Senator Barrasso: (2:09 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Even before he was nominated, a number of members of this body said they would oppose the nomination not even knowing who or she might have been. But they would oppose the nomination to the Supreme Court. After the name was - came out that evening, other members of the Senate said I would oppose that. Chuck Schumer, the Democrat minority leader, said he would oppose the nomination, he said, with everything that he had. You know, it used to be that we could just disregard language like this as empty rhetoric. Not anymore. Now we know exactly what Democrats had in mind from the very start."


Senator Perdue: (2:28 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Mr. President, this has the potential of being an historic week in America. The last ten days have been very troubling to me as a United States senator, as an individual citizen, husband, father, son. I'm very troubled today by the extreme measures that we see being made right now about a case that my colleagues across the aisle are trying to make today. I'm outraged actually. After a personal incident that involved my wife and myself this week, we have seen firsthand the length to which members of the other side of the aisle will go to distract us away from the truth. This body, the United States Senate, has become nothing more than a bully pulpit for someone's special cause when it should be a deliberative body. We should be finding the truth here."

Portman, Sanders, Murray

Executive Session (Kavanaugh Nomination)

Oct 03 2018 03:15 PM

Senator Portman: (2:39 p.m.)

  • Spoke on opioid legislation.
    • "One is called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act that I coauthored with Senator Whitehouse. The other is called the cures legislation. Both of them help. CARA, the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act has grants to go to programs that work; that are evidence-based, to help on prevention and education, treatment, longer term recovery, to help our responders. The 21st Century Cures Act is grants that go directly to the federal government and then back to the programs that states work best for them. These funds that are unprecedented along with these two laws are helping. They're helping to make the federal government a better partner with state and local government, with nonprofits to combat this crisis."


Senator Sanders: (2:51 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Last night the president of the United States, instead of understanding that we have to change our culture, instead of understanding that we have got to make it easier for women who have been victims of sexual assault to come forward and tell their stories, got up on a podium in Mississippi and mocked Dr. Ford, made fun of her. Here is a woman who has come forward to do what she thought was right as an American citizen, understanding from day one that she would be attacked by political opponents. And the result of her having come forward was that she has received death threats."


Senator Murray: (3:08 p.m.)

  • Spoke on opioid legislation.
    • "Students in his school were having trouble focusing in class as they dealt with the trauma of a family member's substance use at home and some were having a hard time understanding how best to help those students with their trauma. I also heard from a staff at a hospital about how they delivered so many babies to mothers struggling with opioid addiction, many deal with neonatal abstinence syndrome. And I have heard from countless other families in my home state of Washington about how the opioid crisis has impacted their loved ones."

Cantwell, Murray, Whitehouse, Merkley

Executive Session (Kavanaugh Nomination)

Oct 03 2018 05:01 PM

Senator Cantwell: (3:52 p.m.)

  • Spoke on opioid legislation.
    • "This important legislation which I think is the third in the bills that we passed with opioids. It is ravaging communities, impacting families and we need to do all we can to help those on the front lines. That's why I've been from Port Anglias to Spokane to talk about this issue and to try to provide the solutions that my law enforcement and community people want in this legislation. I'm so excited that the legislation will mean that there are more medically available beds to those addicted to opioids. This is something we heard about in every community in Washington, the fact that those coming out of our jails addicted top opioids, basically had some modicum of an ability maybe to get off of opioids but then had to wait for weeks and weeks and weeks for treatment like in Tacoma or Spokane."


Senator Murray: (4:13 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "I heard from a woman in swim in Washington State who wrote to me, and I quote, there have been rare moments in my life when I have felt compelled to speak out. This is one. She told me when she was in junior high school she dated a boy she thought was, quote, one of the nicest guys ever. Then one day she went to his house while his parents were at church. And he assaulted her, tried to rape her, and she only barely managed to escape and run from his house. She said she never told anyone about this because she didn't know who would believe her. She was worried that people would think it was her fault, but she told me that after Dr. Ford found the courage to come forward with her experience, she found the courage to share her own."


Senator Whitehouse: (4:35 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "So we're here to talk about the challenges of human-driven climate change for our oceans and coasts. Sea level rise, ocean acidification, deoxygenation, warming, and increased storm surge. Our local agencies and officials and our coastal residents understand the changes that are coming at them. Not all states are prepared, however, and in the aftermath of severe storms like hurricane Florence and last year's hurricanes, powered up by higher seas and super-heated ocean water, we're seeing the consequences of this failure. Last month was the 80th anniversary of the great hurricane of 1938. This storm barreled through southern New England, destroying roads and ports and businesses and homes."


Senator Merkley: (4:45 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "If it was just growth and carbon dioxide and just a matter of changing the air chemistry a little with to this impact, well, we wouldn't be talking here today. But now we have the dots representing temperature changes, this set of black dots. And you can see essentially as the carbon dioxide levels rise, the temperature of the planet is rising as well. And that heat that's being trapped has been well understood for a long time. It goes back more than a century, but in more recent times, in 1959, there was a scientist, Edwin Teller, who was famous for his work on nuclear issues, and he gave a speech to the 100th anniversary to the petroleum industry."

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 11:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #1127, Brett M. Kavanaugh, of Maryland, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • Note: on Wednesday, October 3, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #1127, Brett M. Kavanaugh, of Maryland, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.


Senator Sasse: (9:16 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "I'm not here to talk about how fundamentally broken the Senate Judiciary Committee is or how absurd it is to think the problems in our committee structures are going to be solved by preening and grandstanding senators looking for soundbites. I'm here to talk about the false choice that is being repeated hour after hour after hour on television that this confirmation vote about one vacant see on the Supreme Court, in that vote we are somehow going to be making a giant binary choice about whether we do or don't care about women. That is not true. That is not what we're doing this weekend."


Senator McConnell: (9:51 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "So, Mr. President, this evening, the Senate will receive the results of the F.B.I. supplemental background investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. This is now the seventh, seventh time the F.B.I. - the seventh time the F.B.I. has looked into Judge Kavanaugh's background, and this information comes on top of what has already been one of the most thorough and most exhaustive senate reviews of any Supreme Court nominee in the entire history of our country. Five days of public hearings, 65 private meetings with senators, more than 1,200 responses to written questions from members, more than 500,000 pages of documents were reviewed, the most produced for any Supreme Court nomination in our history."