Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Feb 13 2018 10:00 AM

The Senate convened.  


Opening Remarks

Feb 13 2018 10:11 AM

Today -

  • 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 McConnell: (10:03 a.m)

  • Spoke on recent flooding in Kentucky.
    • "My staff in Eastern Kentucky is working closely with local officials, monitoring the situation and receiving updates. As always we're deeply grateful to the emergency responders who rescued a number of people from their homes or their cars, helping their fellow Kentuckians through this hardship, they've again earned our thanks."
  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "The solution provides funding to secure the border, reforms extended family chain migration and recalibrates the Visa Lottery Program. This proposal has my support, and during this week of fair debate, I believe it deserves support of every senator who's ready to move beyond making points and actually making a law. But if other proposals are to be considered, our colleagues will have to actually introduce their own amendments rather than just talk about them. I made a commitment to hold this debate and to hold it this week. I've lived up to my commitment. I hope everyone will cooperate so this opportunity does not go to waste."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "Week after week the headlines are full of more bonuses, more pay raises, and more new benefits for hardworking Americans as a direct result, a direct result of tax reform. With all this good news pouring in, it's easy to forget how hotly the debate over tax reform was contested. Republicans argued that letting middle-class families keep more of their own money and giving American job creators a 21st Century tax code would unleash more prosperity and directly help American workers." 

Dubin, Schumer, Grassley

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

Feb 13 2018 11:42 AM

Senator Durbin: (10:30 a.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "It's the first time in five years we've taken up this issue. There are many compelling reasons for us to get this right. President Trump, on September 5, announced that he was going to end the DACA program, a program created by executive order by President Obama which protects 780,000 young people documented in the - who were undocumented in the United States. March 5, which is just a few weeks away, means that many people and those just like them will be subject to deportation and no longer allowed to work legally in the United States."


Senator Schumer: (10:46 a.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "It's a debate upon which the lives of the dreamers depend. They were brought into this country as kids through no fault of their own. For many of them, America is the only country they remember. They learn in our schools. They work at our companies. They serve in our military. They're stitched into the very fabric of our nation. This week we have the opportunity to offer these dreamers protection and the chance to finally become Americans. And this is supported in every state throughout the nation. 80% of Americans, a majority of Democrats, independents and Republicans all support allowing the dreamers to stay here and become American citizens."
  • Spoke on infrastructure funding.
    • "While the Trump infrastructure plan gives with one hand, the Trump budget takes more away than is given. That doesn't show much of a commitment to do infrastructure. That shows sort of a schizophrenic administration. And even on the side where they tried to give, the Trump infrastructure plan has a lot of flaws. Already cash-strapped state and local governments would likely have to raise taxes on their constituents to fund new investments. Meanwhile, private entities will seek projects with the quickest return on investment. If you have a big, large resort, a lot of wealthy people going there, yeah, a private person might build a road."
  • Spoke on the president's FY2019 budget request.
    • "After calling education the civil rights issue in our time in his first address to Congress, President Trump proposes a 10% cut in education funding. Ask your school boards throughout America how they feel about that. Alongside hid long delayed -- his long delayed infrastructure plan president trump proposes to cut transportation funding by nearly a fifth, a decrease so large it would result in a net cut in infrastructure funding even if you add in the president's new infrastructure bill."


Senator Grassley: (11:25 a.m)

  • Spoke on the False Claims Act.
    • "So we're talking about a piece of legislation that I got passed more than 30 years ago that had been good for the taxpayers to make sure that their money is handled the way the law requires. And obviously if it's taken fraudulently, it's not handled the way that the taxpayers would expect. So with that introduction, I want to bring up some problems with the false claims act. Today there's some troubling developments in the court's interpretation of the False Claims Act. To understand these developments, I want to review a little history. In 1943, Congress gutted the Lincoln-era law known as the False Claims Act. At that time, in - during World War II, the Department of Justice said that it needed no help from whistleblowers to fight fraud."

Thune, Grassley

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

Feb 13 2018 12:29 PM

Senator Thune: (12:15 p.m)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "A larger business struggling to stay competitive in the global marketplace while paying substantially higher tax rates than its foreign competitors too often had limited funds to expand or increase investment in the United States. And so when it came time for tax reform, we set out to reform the business side of the tax code to benefit American workers. We knew that for American workers to have access to good jobs and opportunities, the American economy had to thrive. And that means that American businesses have to thrive. And so we took action to lessen the challenges facing American businesses."


Senator Grassley: (12:21 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "About 20 minutes ago, our majority leader, Senator McConnell, tried to move debate along on an immigration bill, and I'm puzzled that the minority leader, Senator Schumer, objected, and the reason I'm puzzled is because for a long period of time, maybe for some of the members on the other side of the aisle and even some people on our side of the aisle, for a long period of time, maybe ten years, people have been advocating for certainty for the young people brought here by their parents that we call either dreamers or DACA people. To give them certainty. To give them legalization. And so the majority leader two weeks ago promised the minority an opportunity to have a debate on that issue. The first debate on immigration since 2013, I believe."

Murray, Cornyn

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

Feb 13 2018 03:32 PM

Senator Murray: (2:24 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "To start, dreamers, hundreds of thousands of our friends and our neighbors, our teachers, our firefighters, our service members, our students, are not criminals. They are not ms-13 gang members. Nor are they the shadowy figures depicted in discussing campaign ads in the president's speeches. They are not a drain on our economy. In fact, dreamers are just the opposite, contributing in countless ways to our communities and enriching the lives of so many others. So who are dreamers? Dreamers are determined, they are passionate, they are American in every way except on paper. They are fighting for the only lives they have ever known. They are fighting for their loved ones with everything they have got. "


Senator Cornyn: (2:29 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "We said, please, President Obama, give us a chance to work with you to come up with a solution. And he listened and said no. I'm going to do - I'm going to sign an executive order or action and I'm going to go this alone. Well, unfortunately for the young people who were the beneficiaries of this DACA executive order, the court struck it down and so they were left in doubt and in some jeopardy wondering whether now that they had been granted a deferred action against deportation by President Obama what their future would look like. And so president trump, upon the advice of General Kelly, who was then secretary of homeland security, said give the congress some time to deal with this, and, indeed, here we are with a deadline of March 5."

Reed, Whitehouse, Peters, Cardin, Van Hollen

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

Feb 13 2018 05:51 PM

Senator Reed: (4:26 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "These people and their families have had to endure fits and starts of uncertainty as Democrats and some Republicans have worked tirelessly to advance the DREAM Act and other compromises offered chiefly by Senators Durbin and Graham also have supported by the presiding officer only to have President Trump and Republican majority find a way to say no or to stall the process. This week, however, the Senate has an opportunity to address the panic and stress the president caused not just for those on DACA and their families but also for our nation's businesses and our broader economy. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for this chance for an open debate on a solution for dreamers."


Senator Whitehouse: (4:57 p.m)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "I'm here for my 197th Time to Wake Up speech. We're getting a little dog eared but we keep doggedly along. Last week I spoke about corporate America outsourcing its lobbying to the U.S Chamber of Commerce, a determined enemy of any action on climate change. When pro-climate companies support the chamber, they support its anti-climate lobbying and its anti-climate election spending and threatening and they enable the chamber's anti-climate stranglehold with the fossil fuel industry on Congress."


Senator Peters: (5:20 p.m)

  • Spoke on rural broadband.
    • "The administration's plan fails to provide any dedicated funding for rural broadband. Strategic federal investments are needed to fill in the gaps for states and local communities struggling to keep up with the internet demands of today, let alone getting ahead of the connectivity demands of tomorrow. This administration's infrastructure proposal would only create more gaps. Although the administration is advertising their infrastructure proposal as a $1.7 trillion plan, $1.5 trillion of it would fall on the backs of cash-strapped state and local governments. If this is all that they are proposing, this is simply a lost opportunity."


Senator Cardin: (5:27 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "And I strongly support that and would vote for a bill on the floor right now tonight that's been introduced by some of our colleagues that protects the dreamers in and of itself, with nothing else connected to it. We should do it. It shouldn't be controversial. But I also urge us to make sure that we take care of those that are in T.P.S status. It's a smaller group. It doesn't have the same degree of national attention, but it's the same values, the same economic concerns, it's the same families and it's the same issues. So I hope we find a way in which we can include both the dreamers and T.P.S and protect their status here in America, give them pathways to citizenship because it's the right thing for them, it's the right thing for their families, it's the right thing for our nation, it's the right thing for our economy."


Senator Van Hollen: (5:41 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "They know no other country as home. They have been in classrooms with our kids. They have pledged allegiance to the flag. They are now students either in college or working in businesses. Some of them are small business owners. Many serve in our armed forces. And it would be disgraceful if after welcoming these young people, we were to cast them away. Unfortunately, last September President Trump lit the fuse on the deportation of the dreamers, and that clock has been ticking every day and every month as we approach the March 5 deadline. And so we as a Senate, as Republicans and Democrats, but more importantly as Americans, need to come together and finally do our work so that we operate as a body that can help solve problems in this country."

Wrap Up (The Senate Stands Adjourned), Moran

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

Feb 13 2018 06:38 PM

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of and VOTE on the motion to proceed to H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.


Senator Moran: (6:28 p.m)

  • Spoke on Native American labor.
    • "But the NLRB has intruded upon the gains made. The Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act that is introduced and will be before the Senate before long is pretty straightforward and it is straightforward. It exempts tribal-owned entities operated on tribal-owned lands. Businesses owned by individual tribal members or any operations off the tribal lands still remains subject to the scrutiny of the National Labor Relations Board. In 2013, the United States Senate had a vote taken on reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. It included new authorities for tribal governments to protect Native American women, including when harmed by non-Indians."