Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2018

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Mar 07 2018 09:30 AM

The Senate convened.  


Opening Remarks

Mar 07 2018 09:47 AM

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, post-cloture. 


Senator McConnell: (9:39 a.m)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "Research from Harvard indicates that community banks provide more than half of all small business loans. Let me repeat that. A majority of small business loans are handled by community banks. This is even more pronounced in rural areas and farming communities, like those I represent in Kentucky. A whopping 77% of agriculture loans come from community banks, 77%. In this era of online banking and multinational corporations, smaller institutions remain uniquely able to build community connections. Community bankers get to know their residents and business owners on a personal level. That perspective lets them extend credit to small-scale entrepreneur, farmers, ranchers, and other Americans who might not have access otherwise."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "It's made bonuses, raises, and benefits for working families, daily news and communities all across our country. Automakers are planting deeper roots in America. Innovators like apple are bringing billions back to invest here at home. Retailers from corner stores to national chains are rewarding their hardworking teams. And there's another sector in which the benefits of tax reform are flowing freely. America's growing craft beverage industry. That's because the new 21st century tax code included a provision known as the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act spearheaded by Senator Portman and Senator Blunt."

Schumer, Cornyn, Barrasso

Motion to Proceed to the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)

Mar 07 2018 11:05 AM

Senator Schumer: (9:52 a.m)

  • Spoke on China.
    • "Now, Mr. President, President Trump's instincts on China are correct, but his execution is poor. He should stick with those instincts, not let those who label anything we do to protect America against China's rapacious policies as protectionist, but at the same time he should fix his plan so it really does what he intends it to do or wants it to do. So I have been one of the chief critics of status quo on trade. Americans - and I share this -- resent all those academics who any time you try to do anything with China, they say protectionist, trade war. The bottom line is simple. China's eating our lunch. China's rapacious."
  • Spoke on infrastructure policy.
    • "Frankly, President Trump's plan, to put it kindly, president trump's plan on infrastructure was underwhelming. It's gone over like a lead balloon. And it's very simple why. After a year of bold promises about trillion-dollar infrastructure, a plan to build, quote, gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways across our land, President Trump's infrastructure plan proposed no new net increase in infrastructure funding. It put in $200 billion and then took it away by cutting the existing programs of infrastructure."


Senator Cornyn: (10:04 a.m)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "That's where people go when they want to buy a house and they need a mortgage, when they need some start-up money for a new business, where they need to go borrow money, for example, to buy seed and equipment to plant a crop if you're in the agriculture sector. That's where they get access to credit, and that's why it's so important. And unfortunately, since the Dodd-Frank law passed in 2010, we've seen a lot of that access to credit, particularly among small and medium size banks and credit unions dry up, because what they had to do is they had to hire more people but not for the purpose of making more loans."


Senator Barrasso: (10:56 a.m)

  • Spoke on health care.
    • "Making it permanent protects people. It protects people so that a future administration doesn't do what President Obama did and try to wipe out choices for Americans. So this legislation I'm introducing today gives people a choice to have these plans for not just 90 days which was allowed at the end of the Obama Administration, but for a full 346 days. So it's up to a year. It will also make sure people can renew these plans if they want to so it can become their permanent insurance, free from the mandates of the Obama health care law. Protection from being dropped if they were sick. Remember, that was one of the biggest promises of the Obamacare time that was broken."

Reed, Alexander, Durbin, Wicker

Motion to Proceed to the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)

Mar 07 2018 01:53 PM

Senator Reed: (12:26 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "In short, we had to do something to respond and avoid another financial crisis because behind each of these harrowing numbers were our constituents and their families who saw their life savings and their jobs and their homes evaporate in a flash. That something was the Wall Street reform and consumer protection act also known as the Dodd-Frank act. And I'm proud to have drafted and supported several of its provisions, such as the creation of a consumer watchdog, a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the CFPB. My bipartisan language calling for a dedicated office of service member affairs at the cfpb which helps ensure our service members and families are protected in the consumer finance base in the same way these service men and women protect us."


Senator Alexander: (12:41 p.m.)

  • Spoke on national parks.
    • "I would say that the best idea to support America's best idea is the proposal that Secretary Zinke has made to take care of the maintenance backlog in our national parks. Half that maintenance backlog are roads. Of course when we pay for the roads this way, that means all the money that's now being taken away from all the other national park services - we're talking about the National Mall where I get up in the morning and walk every day or the Great Smoky Mountain National park where I walk when I go home on the weekends - the money can be used for other purposes there. In all 417 of those parks. If we don't do this, madam president, we'll never catch up because this backlog, this $11.6 billion backlog is four times the annual appropriation for the national park system."


Senator Durbin: (1:00 p.m.)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "It's an announcement that affected the lives of about 800,000 people living in America. The announcement was that the president was going to abolish the DACA program. DACA was a program created by President Obama by executive order. And under that executive order, if you were brought to the United States as infant, a toddler, a young child, if you grew up in this country, educated in this country, had no criminal record of any consequence, the president, President Obama, said you have a chance to apply to stay in this country on a temporary renewable basis two years at a time and you won't be deported and you can take a job."


Senator Wicker: (1:31 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "A company creates trust-preferred securities by creating a trust, issuing debt to it and then have it issue preferred stock to investors. Trust, debt, and preferred stock to investors. The FDIC used to like trust-preferred securities. They consider them sound investments before 2010. And may I repeat the FDIC asked many banks to invest in these securities. However, through its interpretation of the regulations, the FDIC is now counting these securities against the capital holdings of the bank. Who's affected by this? Well, Mr. President, it happens to be 20 small banks in the heartland of America."

Rounds, Capito, Blunt

Motion to Proceed to the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)

Mar 07 2018 02:13 PM

Senator Rounds: (1:46 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "I rise in support of the bill which is being considered on the Senate floor this week. As a member of the Senate Banking Committee, I am pleased to be a supporter of the legislation which will provide much regulatory relief to our banks and credit unions which has been difficult since the passage of the Dodd-Frank. Enacted in 2010, Dodd-Frank was an overreaction to the 2008 financial crisis. Rather than actually addressing the underlying issues that caused the financial crisis, Dodd-Frank created a massive new bureaucracy and saddled our financial institutions with burdensome an onerous regulations. It is 2,300 pages in length and created 400 new rule makings which led to 27,000 federal mandates on American businesses."


Senator Capito: (1:56 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "I wanted to come to the floor today to talk about the bill we have in front of us, Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. That's a mouthful there. But what it is a culmination and reaction to the Dodd-Frank which was created in 2008 in reaction to the financial crisis. I think it is important to note where this is directed. In Dodd-Frank so much of the focus was placed on large banks and larger institutions, but what has been lost in the debate and some of the unintended consequences is how that massive and burdensome regulatory legislation would affect the smaller banks, the community banks, and the credit unions."


Senator Blunt: (2:05 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "And if you did, that had to come out of something else, come out of the ability to to do the kind of business you wanted to do. According to the independent community bankers of America, despite holding less than 20% of the nation's banking assets, community banks fund more than 60% of small business loans and more than 80% of United States agricultural loans all in that 20% of the banking assets of the country. Furthermore, they operate in many areas where other banks don't, where they are the only physical banking presence, frankly, in one out of every five U.S counties have only one bank, and that one bank is a community bank, a small bank."

Enzi, Fischer, Merkley, Crapo, Whitehouse

Motion to Proceed to the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)

Mar 07 2018 03:05 PM

Senator Enzi: (2:13 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "And I opposed its creation during the debate. I opposed it because it is not a government agency under any way, shape, or form or rule that we have. There is no control whatsoever over this group. The makeup of the bureau is quite unique in that a sole director rather than a bipartisan commission is the singular decision-maker of the agency. And doesn't even require approval by congress for who that person is or the length of their term. Furthermore, the bureau is not subjected to an appropriations process, having guaranteed money from the Federal Reserve to fund the agency's existence. How does that work? They get a percentage of the revenue of the Federal Reserve that would normally be allocated, they get it before the federal government."


Senator Fischer: (2:22 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "Over the course of the past year, I've received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from people and businesses across Nebraska about this bill, but the outpouring of support from community banks and credit unions has been particularly notable. These institutions are the pillars of our local communities. They sponsor local little league sports teams, they provide scholarship funds, they award grants to students. The prosperity of America's small financial institutions is directly tied to the success of the communities that they serve. These institutions from Eastern Nebraska to the panhandle have shared with me their support for this bill that we have before us today."


Senator Merkley: (2:35 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "When the economy came down, the wealthy and well off did very well. They picked up properties at pennies on the dollar. But who was hurt. The American people were hurt. The American workers were hurt. They lost their jobs. They lost their retirement. They lost certainly so much in terms of the financial foundation for their family. And yet here we are again. We seem to have forgotten that when you let the big banks rampage through our economy, you're setting the stage for another big mess. High-risk gambling on wall Street, destroying America's financial lives, lost homes, lost jobs, lost retirement savings."


Senator Crapo: (2:52 p.m.)

  • Spoke on nuclear energy.
    • "This measure is a result of strong bipartisan measures on many members. A number of senators have worked with us on this legislation. I want to give special thanks to Senator Whitehouse who is here with us today. He has been my tireless partner in this effort. Thank you, senator white house, for your hard work and the assistance of your staff. Sometimes even on the easiest of legislation - and this was not in that category. This was a critical, strong piece that has taken a lot of attention, but sometimes it just takes a lot of work and effort and time. I appreciate Senator Whitehouse's efforts to stick with us as we actually help move this ball forward as we have tried to get this across the finish line."


Senator Whitehouse: (2:59 p.m.)

  • Spoke on nuclear energy.
    • "This bill, the nuclear innovation and capability act has been so well summarized by Senator Crapo that I won't go back and resume rise it but I will emphasize that I think and it's our intention that it provide an opening for nuclear innovation into next generation, third generation, even fourth generation nuclear technologies with the goal that we can compete effectively enterally, to be the producers of clean, safe nuclear energy and with the hope, and at this point I think it's somewhere between a hope and a prospect, that this technology will develop to the point where we can begin to look at our existing nuclear waste stockpile and use these new technologies to turn hazardous and dangerous nuclear waste for which we have no present plan into something that is valuable and can help create energy."

Crapo, Brown, Warren

Motion to Proceed to the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)

Mar 07 2018 04:38 PM

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

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "But the resounding message from Congress was, that our constituents have asked for regulatory relief and consumer protection and economic growth and we stand ready to deliver it. We and our neighbors have noticed that many of our community financial institutions have closed their doors over the last decade. In fact, we've seen almost no new community financial institutions chartered or new branches being opened over the last few years. These financial institutions of all sizes and forms provide critical services in our communities. They help businesses manage operations, help entrepreneurs get funded to start their businesses, help families to buy a home, help all of us to save for our kids' educations and help us deal with financial emergencies."


Senator Brown: (3:51 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "They see an opportunity. They see an opportunity to grab more for themselves. It's the history of this country. We know what happens whenever congress listens to Wall Street and listens to the big banks and Wall Street and the big banks get their way, inevitably the economy stumbles, or worse crashes, because we've given too much to the big banks, they put too much risk on the system, and places like my zip code, Cleveland, Ohio, my zip code in 2007 had more foreclosures than any zip code in the United States of America. That's not because anybody in my neighborhood has anything that they deserve this. It is what happened when big banks get too powerful and this is what happens."


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

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "If this bill passes, Washington will scrap those rules for 25 of those enormous banks. Under this bill, a bank that controls up to a quarter of a trillion dollars in assets and has offices around the country and around the globe will follow the same rules and regulations and same oversight as a tiny, little bank in Adams, Massachusetts. Now, that's great if you are a quarter of a trillion dollar bank, but not so great for anyone else. This bill isn't about restrictions on asset measures and investments, it's not appropriate leverage ratios and proprietary trading. It is from keeping hardworking families from getting crushed from another financial crisis. It is about a Congress that isn't here to do the bidding of quarter trillion dollar banks."

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.


Senator Whitehouse: (5:05 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "Since John Chafee, climate change had been a bipartisan concern. But in 2010 came the Supreme Court's disastrous Citizens United decision, which allowed the fossil fuel industry to unleash limitless dark money on our elections. The polluters' money and threats cast a shadow across any Republican who might work on carbon pollution, and it ended that bipartisanship. When I gave that first speech, even the White House had thrown in the towel on climate change. After letting Waxman-Markey die on the vine. You couldn't get them to put the words climate and change in the same paragraph, at least not until the president engaged on this issue in his speech in June of 2013."


Senator Murkowski: (5:25 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Jim Balamicci.
    • "Jim was really a giant in Special Olympics, both at the local level and at the national level. And I think it is most fitting that the celebration of Jim's life will occur during the weekend of the Alaska Special Olympics Winter Games. This is going to provide an opportunity for the many Special Olympians, for the coaches, volunteers. I'm actually going to be there to help pass out awards there, but so many of us whose lives have been touched by Jim's inspiration will be able to gather together to show our love and our admiration for, again, a truly great man. Being born in Alaska affords one a certain quantum of bragging rights when it comes to leadership."