Thursday, Mar. 8, 2018

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Mar 08 2018 09:30 AM

The Senate convened.  


Opening Remarks

Mar 08 2018 09:43 AM

Today -

  • 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 McConnell: (9:35 a.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to the Legislative Counsel of the Senate.
    • "Since his appointment as legislative counsel of the Senate in 2015, he's directed that office and has done so with distinction. Now he's embarking on a well-earned retirement after nearly four decades of service to this body. Tomorrow is Gary's last day. Much has changed during the time Gary has been with us. Over the years senators and staff have asked for more and more of the legislative counsel's office. But thanks in large part to Gary's hard work and then to his leadership, we could always rely on his team for meticulous professionalism and expertise."
  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "Local lenders provide a majority of small business loans and nearly three-quarters of agricultural loans and in low-income communities, when a local bank closes, research suggests that loans to nearby small businesses plummet by 40%. Farmers, ranchers, small business, vulnerable communities, Americans need community banks and they need credit unions. But Dodd-Frank is making it harder for these institutions to survive. Millions of Americans from rural areas to inner cities now find themselves in what researchers call banking deserts. Fortunately, help is on the way."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "This week Vice President Pence has been on the road hearing how tax reform is changing America's lives and livelihoods for the better. He visited all three of those states listening to workers and small business owners. It's interesting, though, the huge number of early tax reform success stories aren't getting the applause they deserve from over here on the other side of the aisle. Every one of my democratic colleagues in the house and in the senate made the political calculation to vote along party lines and try to sink tax reform. Every single one of them in the House and the Senate."

Schumer, Cornyn, Durbin

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)

Mar 08 2018 11:06 AM

Senator Schumer: (9:55 a.m.)

  • Spoke on China.
    • "Mr. President, later this afternoon, President Trump plans to announce sweeping steel and aluminum tariffs. Let me say once again, I believe the president's instincts on China are correct. All those who were trying to push him away from his instincts will allow China over the next decade to become the next dominant economic power and greatly hurt American jobs and American prosperity and wealth. So I would say to Mr. President stick to your instincts, but while the president's instincts are correct, the execution on these tariffs is poor."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "As they buy back their stocks they use this new tax money not to help their workers but to buy back their stocks. In January there was an initial flurry, oh, these bonuses. They have been totally overwhelmed by stock buybacks. What Democrats said is proving to be true. The vast majority of this tax break is for the wealthy, by the wealthy, used by the wealthy to help themselves, not help workers. That's been the history when you give these corporations lots of money, when they have so much money already without pointing it in the direction of helping workers. Yesterday Chevron joined the parade of those with stock buybacks.'


Senator Cornyn: (10:15 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "But the fact of the matter is, all the polling is showing that its people are seeing the tax cuts and jobs act actually being implemented, they're seeing more money in their paycheck because the withholding tables were changed to reflect lower tax rates. People are seeing more take-home pay. And as the economy continues to grow, there's going to be more competition for workers. And unemployment is low. Unemployment claims are the lowest they've been since 1969. So as there's more competition for workers, that's going to force employers to pay more wages. And so everybody is going to benefit from a growing economy. Sometimes I think our colleagues across the aisle have settled for too little."
  • Spoke on CFIUS reform.
    • "But the time to act is now because this process outdated. And the committee's jurisdiction remains too narrow. Let me explain why that's so important. This review process was not originally designed and is now insufficient to address today's rapidly evolving threats to our national security. Perhaps most alarmingly, many transactions that could pose a national security risk often go un-reviewed altogether. China in particular has proven adept at cheating the current CFIUS system. It exploits gaps and creatively structures investments in U.S businesses to evade scrutiny."
  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "Speaking to the students and teachers who still flinch, remembering the sounds of bullets in the hallways of their school. 14 students died, along with one teacher, and the students' athletic director and a coach who was shielding students with his body so they would not be hit. That's the thing about these events. These stories make us sad and angry and sometimes numb all at the same time, but from those stories, from those tragedies, heroes do emerge. We saw one of those heroes last fall at Sutherland Springs, Texas, where people were gathered to worship at a small Baptist church just outside of San Antonio."


Senator Durbin: (10:37 a.m.)

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "97% of the American people believe in universal comprehensive background checks to keep guns out of the hands of those who would misuse them, convicted felons, mentally unstable people. 97%. The overwhelming majority of gun owners feel exactly the same way. So why, why in god's name have we not taken that up since the tragedy in Florida and the tragedy in Texas? There is no explanation for it, other than fear, fear of the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby. That is the only explanation. I salute the legislators in the state of Florida who this last week defied the N.R.A, defied the gun lobby, and passed their own measure for gun safety. I don't agree with parts of it, giving cafeteria workers in school the right to carry arms around the school I don't think is a wise thing at all."
  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Secondly, Mr. President, this is the week, of course, of the President Trump deadline on DACA students, the dreamers, those young people who came to the United States as infants and toddlers and young people, grew up in this country, pledged allegiance to that flag just as we did this morning, and briefed that - believed that they were a part of America until at some point in their teenaged years, their parents pulled them aside and said we have to tell you something. You're not legal here. You're undocumented here. You can be deported tomorrow, and we would be deported with you."
  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "The one pending issue that's before us I would like to discuss this morning. Mr. President, in two weeks it will be the tenth anniversary of the collapse of the company known as Bear Stearns. And as we approach that anniversary, it is remarkable to me that congress is now debating, ten years later, an effort to undo the financial reforms we put in place after what was tantamount to a recession or depression hit America. That was the worst financial crisis of our lifetime ten years ago. Many of us never want to see it repeated. I'm supportive of meaningful regulatory relief for smaller banks, community banks, credit unions, but I cannot support legislation that rolls back key Wall Street reforms at the request of the same banks that started the crisis."

Lankford, Cardin, Cortez Masto, Tillis

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)

Mar 08 2018 12:01 PM

Senator Lankford: (11:04 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "There's about 900 Oklahomans, there are farmers, ranchers, folks that some people in this room fly over. There are good families that live in that great town. Many have great credit scores and have and pay the bank back. I've been a long-time customer of this bank and in many instances the bank employees and the people in the bank have grown-up together. They know each other, but they also understand seasonal income. When you're a farmer or rancher that doesn't come in with a w-2 every single week or every month, it comes in seasonally, so they understand the credit risks there."


Senator Cardin: (11:19 a.m.)

  • Spoke on National Women's Day.
    • "By reinstating and expanding the global gag rule, president trump is denying millions of women and their families access to critical health care services and endangering their lives and the lives of their children. International women's day is an appropriate time to remind my senate colleagues that we must end the global gag rule once and for all. It was also recently reported that the state department is removing references to women's rights from this year's human rights report. I'm troubled to learn that the trump administration apparently doesn't feel that women's rights are important enough to include in our conversation on human rights. I was equally troubled to learn that the State Department removed gender equality integration from the foreign affairs manual."


Senator Cortez Masto: (11:30 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the Fair Housing Act.
    • "The difference here is that Rochelle was black. This story did not take place in 1930 when it was legal for housing lenders to discriminate on the basis of race, and it did not take place in 1968, the year that banks were banned from using race as a factor in deciding home loan applications. It took place less than two years ago in 2016. Today, 20 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, stories like Rochelle's experience is too common. We know that Rochelle was a victim of red lining. It is a term that describes the practice of denying goods or services to people on the basis of the color of their skin."


Senator Tillis: (11:39 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "My father did not have a lot of cash on hand. The way he did it, if it was an insurance job, you would bid on it, know how much money you would make at the end and then go to the bank and get what is known as a 90-day note. Most of the projects were about 60 or 90 days. You would go to a banker that you built with - built a relationship with and you would go to him and he would write you a loan and you had to pay it back in 90 days. Today, in the post-crisis world, that virtually never happens. Today we don't have community banks and personal banking relationships that people can rely on to get access to capital."

Brown, Corker, Sullivan, Fischer

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)

Mar 08 2018 01:08 PM

Senator Brown: (11:41 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "Think we would learn about it, Mr. President, when it comes to what happened ten years ago. This place - there are some pretty smart people in the senate, but they have got some kind of illness that I don't entirely understand called collective amnesia. They forget. They forget what happened ten years ago. Where I live, Cleveland, Ohio, in my neighborhood, zip code 44105, in early 2007, the first half of that year, more people lost their homes through foreclosure than any zip code in the United States of America."


Senator Corker: (12:06 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "My amendment would clarify the intent of this original bill as it relates to custodial banks. As originally introduced, Section 402 was intended to provide better tailored capital requirements for true custodial banks. There are concerns raised after revisions during the committee consideration, could open up this revision to a wider group of financial institutions. I know that was not the intent of my colleagues and my - and this technical correction amendment makes clear that Section 402 applies only when the primary focus of the banking organization is custodial activities."


Senator Sullivan: (12:11 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to the Alaskan of the Week.
    • "As many of you know, one of my favorite parts of the week is to come down to the floor to talk about the Alaskan of the Week. It is one of the fulfilling things that I get to do to talk about people who make my state very special. I know people in the gallery have seen Alaska on TV, have read about it on the news, but there's no substitute for being there. We want you all to come. It will be the trip of a lifetime. Particularly now, one of the highlights of the entire year, the Iditarod. When you visit, Alaska will change your life, the wilderness, the sense of unbridled freedom, liberty, and majesty. It's all there. It's all there."


Senator Fischer: (1:04 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Governor Charles Thone.
    • "He was born near Hardington, Nebraska. He served our country in the United States Army infantry during World War II. While serving in the House of Representatives then-congressman Thone fought on behalf of farmers and ranchers and as a member of the House Agriculture Committee. When tragedy struck with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy he served on the Warren Commission to investigate the death of our president. As governor of Nebraska, his love of our state was always evident during his time in office. He guided Nebraska during a tough farm economy in the 1970's but he always looked ahead and he supported others."

Warren, Coons, Menendez, Crapo

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)

Mar 08 2018 04:08 PM

Senator Warren: (2:07 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "The euphemism that people used them was modernization. When lobbyists start talking about modernization and clarification, it's time to buy a parachute. Let me tell you about Keycorp, one of the items taken off the list. Back in 1999, the C.E.O of that company testified that, quote, the financial law modernization that strengthens our financial institutions in and of itself will enhance safety and soundness. Think about what that means. Behind the buzzwords, that C.E.O was making the amazing claim that if banks were just allowed to take more risks and to make more short-term profits, it would actually make the financial system safer."


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

  • Spoke in tribute to a member of his staff.
    • "Marianne Kelly, or M.A.K, her acronym for her initials, as she is affectionately called in my office, M.A.K started a career with the United States Senate way back in September of 1990 as a staff assistant for then-Senator Joseph Biden, Jr. Except for a break in service, Marianne served on Senator Biden's team until he resigned to become vice president. She joined my scheduling team late in 2010. Having served now three U.S senators, Marianne brings a breadth of knowledge and experience to my front office and scheduling team, she helps maintain my schedule, helps organize, evaluate, track hundreds of invitations and scheduling requests to co-workers and constituents."


Senator Menendez: (3:12 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "Well, we passed laws to stop lenders from offering mortgages that were in many ways doomed to fail. We said that from now on, banks and mortgage lenders would have to make a reasonable and good-faith determination that borrowers could pay back their loans by looking at income, employment, credit history, monthly expenses, and other matters. And we prohibited banks from using these teaser rates to determine whether a borrower could repay a loan. We did the sensible thing, and we required them to make sure borrowers could actually afford their payments once the higher interest rates kicked in."


Senator Crapo: (3:36 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank reform.
    • "The Economic Growth Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act is aimed at right sizing regulation for financial institutions, including community banks and credit unions, making it easier for consumers to get mortgages and to obtain credit. I've said a number of times, and I will repeat, that back when we were debating the Dodd-Frank legislation about ten years ago now, it was marketed to the public as a bill to address excesses and problems on Wall Street by the big megabanks of our country. But its provisions hit hardest on Main Street. I actually, as I've said, held a news conference in Boise, Idaho, my home state, on Main Street in Boise, Idaho, and said the bull's eye, the crosshairs of this bill and the bull's eye of this bill are on Main Street."

Wrap Up (The Senate Stands Adjourned), Markey

Wrap Up

Mar 08 2018 04:40 PM

Monday, March 12 -

  • The Senate will next meet for legislative business at 4:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the pending cloture motions will ripen.
  • Note: on Thursday, March 8, cloture was filed on McConnell (for Crapo) Amendment #2151, as modified, to S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.
  • Note: on Thursday, March 8, cloture was filed on S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.
  • Note: on Thursday, March 8, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #598, Kevin K. McAleenan, of Hawaii, to be Commissioner of U.S Customs and Border Protection.
  • Note: the filing deadline for first degree amendments to S. 2155 will be at 4:30 p.m. and the filing deadline for second degree amendments will be 5:30 p.m.


Senator Markey: (4:06 p.m.)

  • Spoke on gun violence.
    • "They've forgotten that, and only in talking about the benefits to community banks. And, yes, there are some benefits. Those of us on the other side of this legislation are not arguing about that point. You could probably find consensus among all 100 senators here in this body that there is a legitimate targeted relief that we can and should provide for those community banks. But that's far from all that this bill does. This community bank relief is being used to protect the giveaways for some of the biggest banks in this country. Anyone listening to the supporters of this legislation would have no idea that 25 of the 38 largest banks in the United States will have critical Dodd-Frank rules rolled back for them."