Monday, Feb. 12, 2018

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Feb 12 2018 03:00 PM

The Senate convened.  


Opening Remarks

Feb 12 2018 03:08 PM

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill, with the time until 5:30 p.m equally divided in the usual form.
  • At 5:30 p.m, the Senate will VOTE on cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.
  • Note, on Friday, February 9, cloture was filed on the motion to proceed to H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.


Senator McConnell: (3:03 p.m)

  • Spoke on the president's FY2019 budget request.
    • "With a bipartisan funding agreement now in place, Congress and the White House can work together to begin rebuilding our military, improve care for veterans, and tackle other urgent matters from disaster relief to the fight against drug addiction. I especially appreciate the president's focus on improving America's infrastructure. The quality of our country's infrastructure affects everything from our long-term economic future to working Americans every day -- Americans' everyday routines. As of 2016, nearly one in ten bridges in our nation is structurally deficient. The average commuter loses 42 hours per year to delays. And the average age of our inland waterways, locks and dams is over 50 years old. We're intimately familiar with this in Kentucky where we ship millions of tons of coal, agricultural products, and other cargo on more than 1,900 miles of inland waterways."
  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "As I have repeated many times, I will ensure that a fair amendment process gives senators the opportunity to submit proposals for consideration and votes. I hope this body can seize this opportunity and deliver real progress toward securing our border, reforming aspects of immigration policy, and achieving a resolution for individuals who are brought to our country illegal when they were young. The American people have heard no shortage of rhetoric on this issue."

Schumer, Durbin, Cornyn

Motion to Proceed to the vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 12 2018 04:22 PM

Senator Schumer: (3:34 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "The purpose here is not to make a point, as the Republican leader just said, that's easy. The purpose is to get something done. That's hard, but it really is so important. It won't be easy, it's certainly achievable. Democrats are fully committed to protecting dreamers and we have long supported effective border security. Many Republicans are in the same boat. The only enemy here is overreach. Now is not the time to place -- now is not the time, nor the place, to reform the entire legal immigration system. Rather, this is the moment for a narrow bill and every ounce of our energy is going into finding one that can pass."
  • Spoke on infrastructure funding.
    • "Unfortunately, despite a glaring need, the president's proposal would do very little to make our ailing infrastructure better. Instead of proposing direct federal investments to help all parts of the country, the trump infrastructure plan relies on private parties or state and localities to put up the lion's share of the money. In turn, those entities would either have to charge local taxpayers now tolls or raise taxes and other fees to pay for the new infrastructure. So a word that describes so much of the president's bill, probably about 80% of it, is Trump tolls."
  • Spoke on the president's FY2019 budget request.
    • "He slashes education, environmental protection and Medicare and Medicaid. While corporations reap billions in tax giveaways, older Americans now have to worry about the Trump Administration cutting Medicare and Medicaid. It's in his budget. Many others, including children and working families, would be hurt by the budget as well. If Americans want a picture of who president trump works for, the combination of the tax bill and this budget that he approached today make it crystal clear."


Senator Durbin: (3:47 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "And I hope that we can tackle it and get it done. Well, the question that needs to be asked is, what will be debated this week. I think a lot of things may be debated. It's an actual open debate on the floor, to some extent. And it could conceivably not only deal with DACA and the DREAM Act, it might even get into other immigration issues. There was a recent poll that was taken by Quinnipiac on some of the issues that might come before us this week in the United States Senate. The American people have been listening to this conversation, and they've come to some pretty interesting conclusions. This is a new Quinnipiac poll that was just released today. By a margin of 81% to 14%, Americans want dreamers to gain citizenship."


Senator Cornyn: (4:07 p.m)

  • Spoke on CFIUS.
    • "This is already - this has already been shown to happen in a number of documented cases. Standing by and allowing our national security to be compromised through these continued transfers of dual-use technology and know-how to China would be highly irresponsible if we just stood by and watched this continue to happen. That's why CFIUS, the committee on foreign investment in the U.S, that process needs to be updated and modernized. As its core, the bill I've introduced would expand the scope of reviewable transactions to more effectively address national security concerns. CFIUS has not been updated in more than 40 years, and since that time global threats like the one posed by China have grown in complexity and scope."
  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "It will be a process that's fair to all sides. Once we vote to adopt a motion to proceed, my colleagues and I will have the opportunity to have our proposals considered under regular order. In other words offer amendments, debate amendments and vote on the amendments. Amendments, as usual, will have a 60-vote threshold before they can be adopted. 60 votes, that's what we need. What I'm interested in is solving the problem, and that means not only a proposal that can get 60 votes, but one that can pass the house and be signed into law by President Trump."

Grassley, Cotton, Ernst, Tillis

Motion to Proceed to the vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 12 2018 04:57 PM

Senator Grassley: (4:22 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "As a result of our meetings and conversations with our colleagues, the senators sponsoring this amendment have attempted to develop a simple, commonsense framework that can address everyone's concerns while also providing necessary and critical changes to our nation's immigration laws. So what does our amendment do? Working off the bipartisan, bicameral framework agreed to January 9 at the White House, our amendment has four key pillars. Now, I said bipartisan, bicameral. That's approximately 23 members of Congress that met with the president for an hour and a half to boil down all the issues that can be brought up, and we ended up with these four key pillars."


Senator Cotton: (4:35 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Let's solve this problem by passing a law. And this bill is the one bill that can become a law because it is the one bill that translates the president's framework into actual legislation. It provides legal status and ultimately citizenship for people who were brought here through no fault of their own as minors before the age of accountability. It provides more money and legal authorities to secure our southern border and help our brave immigration agents. It eliminates the useless Diversity Visa Lottery and reallocates those green cards to more productive and worthwhile purposes, and it puts an end to the practice of extended family chain migration allowing an immigrant to bring not just his or her spouse and minor children but parents, siblings, and ultimately grandparent, aunts, uncles, on down the extended family tree."


Senator Ernst: (4:42 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "And all of those that have participated in the discussions on the secure and succeed act. This legislation puts us on the best path forward to provide a permanent solution for our DACA recipients all while strengthening our borders and entry security. Our legislation addresses the unique challenges faced by the DACA population, many of whom were brought to America by their parents through no fault of their own when they were just children. In Iowa and across our nation, DACA recipients are an integral part of our community. They are our neighbors. They are our classmates. And they are our churchgoers."


Senator Tillis: (4:48 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Some 1.8 million will qualify once we ratify this bill and send it to the president's desk. But coupled with this, it's critically important to not make the mistakes of the past. First off, let's not just come out and assume we're going to pass a stand-alone DREAM Act. The reason for that is it's failed every single time it's been attempted. It's failed under a Republican administration, failed under a Democratic administration. It even failed at a time when President Obama was in the White House and there were super majorities of Democrats in the Senate and a majority in the House. So even when not a single Republican vote would be necessary, they were unable to produce a solution. Now this week we have an opportunity to debate one that I think works."

Hatch, Nelson, Lankford, Cortez Masto

Motion to Proceed to the vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 12 2018 05:37 PM

Senator Hatch: (4:57 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "We cannot continue to keep people in our country and grant them work authorization by executive fiat. DACA recipients deserve certainty. So too do other immigrants who enter our country legally and have done their best to follow the rules. We also need better border security and interior enforcement. 30 years ago we granted amnesty to nearly three million illegal immigrants, and the result over the next two decades was a surge in illegal immigration. We need to prevent that from happening again. I think it's fair and equitable to give DACA recipients a pathway to lawful status because they came to our country through no fault of their own."


Senator Nelson: (5:01 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "I am looking forward to this debate, as Senator Hatch has indicated. It's going to be a robust debate, and it could produce the best of what the senate can produce, a bipartisan agreement which it will have to be in order to get to 60 votes. And I'm glad to come here to the floor to support the dreamers because since months ago when the president said that he was eliminating protections for dreamers, and some of them have already lost that status, these young people - of course they were brought here sometimes as infants. They have grown up here. They only know America as their country, and we owe it to them to enact permanent protections and a path to citizenship."


Senator Lankford: (5:06 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "But with that, we have to pick up the issues surrounding it at the same time. The president actually gave the nation a great gift at that time, a deadline. Immigration for two decades has been well known to be a problem, but there has been no deadline. The president set the deadline of March 5. To have this resolved. We're nearing that now. It's time to move from just debating it in the hallways and in our offices to debating it on the floor of this chamber and trying to get this resolved. And here's what I propose, along with Chairman Grassley, John Cornyn, David Perdue, Thom Tillis, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst and myself."


Senator Cortez Masto: (5:26 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "They are studying hard, serving in our communities, our churches, and our military all while working multiple jobs to support their families. In meeting with them, I've learned they are their own best advocates. Dreamers deserve the chance to speak for themselves. They deserve better than to be used as pawns in a cynical game. They should not be forced to choose between achieving protection in the only country they've ever known and seeing their families attacked with arbitrary and cruel cuts to family unification and the diversity Visa programs. I am tired of seeing the white house pit people against one another. Tonight and this week Congress is about to determine the futures of these patriotic young men and women."

Wrap Up (The Senate Stands Adjourned), Hassan

Wrap Up

Feb 12 2018 06:15 PM

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.
  • The Senate will recess from 12:30 p.m to 2:15 p.m to accommodate the weekly policy lunches.
  • Note: all time during recess, adjournment, morning business, and leader remarks count post-cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.


Senator Hassan: (6:08 p.m)

  • Spoke on the opioid epidemic.
    • "Mr. President, I'm encouraged by recent work in Congress to provide a significant increase in funding to combat this crisis. Over the past months, I have been pushing for more support for treatment, recovery, prevention, and law enforcement efforts, and the bipartisan agreement that passed last week included billions of dollars in additional resources, an important next step in strengthening our response. This is welcome news for states across the nation grappling with the challenges of this epidemic, and it will be critical that these new federal dollars are prioritized for states like New Hampshire that have been the hardest hit."
  • Spoke in tribute to Cassandra Laveck.         
    • "Last year, after learning that child brides face a higher likelihood of domestic violence and divorce and a lower chance of professional success, Cassandra set out to close the legal loopholes that allow children as young as 13 to wed in New Hampshire. As she took on this fight, she heard stories of women in her community who had been abused by their spouse after being married as a minor. Cassandra bravely shared the story of her own grandmother and great grandmother, both of whom were married as young teenagers and were subsequently abused by their husbands."