Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Feb 14 2018 10:00 AM

The Senate convened.  


Opening Remarks

Feb 14 2018 10:20 AM

Today -

  • 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 McConnell: (10:10 a.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "My Democratic colleagues have spent months, months, as we all know, demanding the senate take up this issue. They even shut down the government, shut down the government - unnecessarily, I might add - in order to secure this very week for this discussion. But now that the time has come to make law instead of just making points, they're stalling. Why? Why? After months and months spent demanding that the senate take up this issue do they now object to even starting the debate? Because they know, no matter how long they spend in closed-door negotiations, they can't change the fact that the president has spelled out a fair and generous framework that will be necessary to earn his signature."
  • Spoke on infrastructure investment.
    • "Today he'll host committee chairmen and ranking members at the White House for a bipartisan, bicameral meeting on that subject. I'm grateful the president is prioritizing this and reaching across the aisle. Experts agree that America's aging infrastructure needs a lot of help. Nationwide, 9.1% of our bridges are considered structurally deficient. 13.6% are considered functionally obsolete. One recent study suggested road congestion costs us $160 billion a year. From road congestion. But the answer is not simply to throw new money at old problems."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "Now, on one final matter, for eight years under President Obama, our economy didn't perform as well as it should have. America's wages and salaries hardly grew. Many job creators sat on the sidelines, wary of new tax increases or heavy-handed regulations. Washington had its foot on the brake. Last year, all that changed. President Trump and his Republican Congress set out to make life easier for workers and for job creators."

Schumer, Durbin, Menendez

The vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 14 2018 11:20 AM

Senator Schumer: (10:34 a.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "They know that this president not only created the problem but seems to be against every solution that might pass because it isn't 100% of what he wants. If at the end of this week we are unable to find ale bill that can pass - find a bill that can pass - I sincerely hope that is not the case - the responsibility will fall on the president's shoulders and those in this body who went along with it. Bipartisan negotiations are ongoing, perhaps very close to a conclusion. Nothing is ever certain given the contentious nature of this debate, but I am hopeful that senators can put the president's hard-line demands to the side and come up with a deal that works for both parties. If we want to go beyond border security and the DACA kids, let's do comprehensive reform. We did it once. It worked pretty well in the Senate. The house blocked it. But let's go back to it."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "They predicted that corporations would spend the tax savings on benefits for workers. The evidence is already mounting that those predictions were wrong. Since the beginning of the Republican tax bill, corporations have been pouring billions of dollars into stock repurchasing programs, not significant wage increases or other meaningful investments in workers. It is now these stock buybacks, stock repurchasing, which benefit primarily the people at the top, have reached a significant milestone. Since the passage of the Republican tax bill there has been over $100 billion in stock buybacks."


Senator Durbin: (10:44 a.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "They're doing important things in this country. But President Trump announced on last September 5 the program that protects them, that allows them to work, would end. And then he challenged us. He said to the Senate and the House, do something about it. Pass a law. Isn't that what you're there for? The president's right, that's our job. And this week we're going to try to pass a law to end this crisis which is going to reach ahead on March 5 of this year when the DACA program officially ends at 1,000 young people a day lose their protection."


Senator Menendez: (11:02 a.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "They're afraid that if they came out of the shadows and registered with the government, they would end up on a short list for deportation. And what's depressing is that this administration's actions have proven them right. Now DACA recipients and undocumented dreamers alike fear that they have a target on their back, and that's because Trump put an expiration date on their dreams when he decided to end DACA. Now, let me be clear, DACA was never perfect and it was never a replacement for truly comprehensive immigration reform, and make no mistake, we still need comprehensive immigration reform, and I'm as committed as ever to that cause, a cause that I have spent the better part of my congressional career trying to achieve."

Tillis, Leahy, Cornyn

The vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 14 2018 12:16 PM

Senator Tillis: (11:19 a.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "I do and the president does. I find it remarkable that somebody would say that a president who has endorsed a bill to provide a path to citizenship to 1.8 million people, two and a half more than President Obama provided a temporary, if that's hard-line, my goodness. Now border security. Why is border security important? Is it just purely a hard-line deportation force sending people out? No. I already talked about - number one, hundreds of millions of doses of heroin, fentanyl and other illicit drugs cross our borders every year. We don't have the technology and infrastructure to interdict them. The $25 billion, about $18 billion would be spent for border security, about 10% to 15% on the northern border, the remainder on the southern border."


Senator Leahy: (11:50 a.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Mr. President, the Senate is debating the fate of our nation's dreamers this week. And everywhere I go, people recognize the uncontestable truth that underpins our discussion. We're all a nation of immigrants. Unless you're a Native American, you come from a line of people who come from somewhere else. In fact, more than any other country on Earth, the simple fact is a defining characteristic of our national identity. Throughout our history, immigrant communities have greatly enriched our nation. Their individual stories have become the American story. Out of many, we have become one."


Senator Cornyn: (12:00 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Mr. President, today a group led by chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Grassley, formally introduced a bill to address the DACA issue, the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals issue that we've heard so much about as well as border security. I think it's a good starting point. I'm proud to be a cosponsor of the legislation which is called the Secure and Succeed Act. Perhaps the most important thing about this bill is that it actually has a good chance of becoming law. That's because the president supports it. It encompasses the four pillars that the president's laid out for us in any solution to the DACA challenge. The secure and succeed act provides legal status and a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 1.8 million people who meet the specific criteria of DACA."

Perdue, Sanders, Merkley, Blunt

The vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 14 2018 02:09 PM

Senator Perdue: (12:31 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Over the past 11 years, Congress has failed to fix our broken immigration system, primarily three times, primarily because it's attempted to solve the entire situation, the comprehensive problem, and that would be the legal situation, the temporary work Visa problems, and then the illegal situation. The Secure and Succeed Act only deals with our illegal immigration policy. From the onset of these negotiations, President Trump has been consistent with what he wants as part of any immigration deal, dealing with the illegal immigration system. He gave us a clean framework months ago and said any plan that did not fit that framework would not become law."


Senator Sanders: (12:44 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "The situation we are in right now as a result of trump's action means that if we do not immediately protect the legal status of some 800,000 dreamers, young people who were brought to this country at the age of 1 or 3 or 6, young people who have known no other home but the United States of America, let us be clear that if we do not act, and act soon, these hundreds of thousands of young people could be subject to deportation. And that means they could be arrested outside of the home where they have lived for virtually their entire life and suddenly be placed in a jail. They could be pulled out of a classroom where they are teaching, and there are some 20,000 DACA recipients who are now teaching in schools all over this country."


Senator Merkley: (1:34 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "That's us. America. And that's why a century after our nation's founding, the French gave to the United States the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty that has stood as a beacon of hope, welcoming those from other lands. And inscribed at the foundation pedestal of that statue are these words: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuge of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, the tempt effort toss to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door. Those were the welcoming words to hundreds of thousands arriving here in the United States."


Senator Blunt: (1:54 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Of course we want them to be part of our economy. Of course we want them to be part of a vital and because they are who they, an even younger society, then we would be without them, why would we want that to happen. So we have two issues here. The idea of people who are raised here who have done everything that anybody else would do to acclimate as an American in all ways, who went to school here, who did everything else here, 70% or 80% of the American people - I occasionally see a number even higher than that - believe they should be allowed to stay."

Barrasso, Hirono, Cortez Masto, Heinrich

The vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 14 2018 03:22 PM

Senator Barrasso: (2:09 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "One of the first places they are seeing it in this their utility bills. Gas, electric, and water utilities are cutting their rates because their taxes are going down under the law. Until Vermont - Vermont, Mr. President, Vermont's only gas utility company is cutting their rates 5% because of the tax law. Both of the senators from Vermont voted against the law. But it was because of the Republican law that passed that caused these rates to go down. In fact, 23 states and the District of Columbia will pay lower utility bills because of the tax relief law. Other states are looking at cutting rates. Rates are going down in California, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, states where every Democrat senator voted against the tax law."


Senator Hirono: (2:36 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Mr. President, it's time for the senate to do its job as a separate branch of government. This week we can come together in a bipartisan basis to resolve the crisis Donald Trump created when he canceled DACA. We can provide hundreds of thousands of young people in our country their shot at pursuing the American dream without fear of deportation. Right now these young people who are brought to this country as children are terrified that they will be separated from their families and the lives they built here in the only country they know at love. I've met and spoken with so many dreamers in the halls of congress these past months. Their focus, determination, and commitment in this fight continues to be extraordinary and inspiring."


Senator Cortez Masto: (2:55 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "According to the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council a typical immigrant family will pay an estimated $80,000 more in taxes than they will receive over their lifetime. They bring long-term economic benefits to our country by starting businesses, purchasing property and supporting the education and achievement of their children. Research shows that immigrants drive growth. They generate two patents at twice the rate of native Americans born here. In 2014, they earned $1.3 trillion and contributed $105 billion in state and local taxes and nearly $224 billion in federal taxes. "


Senator Heinrich: (3:06 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "When president trump made the outrageous decision last fall to end the deferred action for childhood arrivals, or DACA program, he threw hundreds of thousands of dreamers deep into fear and uncertainty. Two weeks ago I was proud to Yvonne Acosta, one of the estimated 7,000 dreams from New Mexico as my guest at the state of the union address. Yvonne's family emigrated to the United States when she was 12 years old. She learned English through middle school and graduated high school in Astancia, New Mexico. It was during these challenges years of learning that Yvonne was encouraged by her teachers to grow and to learn. Yvonne knows the power that educators hold to create positive change in the students' perspective of themselves."

Murphy, Grassley, Casey

The vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 14 2018 03:57 PM

Senator Murphy: (3:15 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "President Trump gave you something that says immigration on it. Why aren't you accepting it? It's a terrible proposal. It's bad for America. To his credit, president trump does attempt to try to deal with these dreamer kids, but there are three million potentially eligible individuals in this country, and it only allows about 1.8 million of them to get through the process. But that's really not the worst part. The worst part is it cuts legal immigration by 40%. It basically abandons this country's commitment to family-based immigration. Listen, I wouldn't be here if we only had skills-based immigration. Most members of this body wouldn't be here if the only way that your parents or grandparents or great grandparent could have come here is because of a Ph.D."


Senator Grassley: (3:27 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "And then of course we didn't do anything Monday, didn't do anything on this issue Tuesday. I don't know whether we're going to have any votes today. But here we are debating immigration. We have a chance to do what members of the other political party as advocates for dreamers and DACA kids, and we have them on this side but maybe not as vocal or as loyal as Democrats are on this issue, and now somehow we have a difficult time getting the issue up, getting it up and getting something passed. And I offer to my 99 colleagues something the president said he would sign. Now maybe you don't like exactly what's in that proposal."


Senator Casey: (3:47 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "In Pennsylvania, ending DACA would result in an annual loss of $357.1 million to the state G.D.P, according to the center for American progress. Currently, about 900 dreamers are serving in the United States military, and more than one out of every seven DACA-eligible immigrants have language skills that are currently in short supply in the U.S military. It makes no sense to remove these dreamers from a country they call home. I believe it's both wrong and dangerous. The American people overwhelmingly support allowing dreamers to stay in the United States. It's about time congress listened to the nearly 80% of Americans who want to pass protections for dreamers along with increased border security so we can prevent this situation in the future. So it's time for action."

Toomey, Blumenthal, Lankford, Coons

The vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 14 2018 05:16 PM

Senator Toomey: (4:03 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "He was in the U.S illegally, he was deported in 2009, but illegally reentered the U.S and in 2015 the police arrested him on charges of aggravated assalts and other crimes. When the background check went through, the Department of Homeland Security saw the Philadelphia police had this guy. They knew who this guy was. They knew he was here illegally and knew he had been deported and knew him to be the dangerous criminal that he was and so they asked the Philadelphia police, could you hold this guy for 24, 48 hours until we can get an agent there to take him into custody and begin deportation proceedings. We know he's a bad guy. We want him out of the country. Unfortunately, Philadelphia police had to refuse. Instead, they released him on to the streets in January of 2015."


Senator Blumenthal: (4:21 p.m)

  • Spoke on the shooting in Florida.
    • "Watching the pictures today as I came here to the floor was deeply moving, even though there is much that we don't know, a lot of information that we lack about what is happening at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The images of emergency vehicles and emergency responders of young people and children evacuating a school after another tragic incident of gun violence. It brings back memories that are searing and harrowing. Once again, we feel that churning in our stomach, that sense of gut punch, and a wrenching of hearts that reminds us of how we felt the day of violence in Newtown."
  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "The dreamers who would be covered under legislation that I hope will pass in the next 24 hours came here as children. They grew up as Americans. This country is the only one they know. English is the only language. Many of them speak. They go to our schools, serve in our military, and support our economy. They believe in the American dream. All of us believe in the American dream but so do they, and they work hard and give back."


Senator Lankford: (4:43 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "This has been dealt with literally with hearings for decades. But what I've heard for the past several months is, there's no time to do any of those things. The only time that we have is to deal with DACA. We can't discuss anything else. Meeting after meeting after meeting, since early November I've heard the same thing. There's no time, there's no time, there's no time. Now we're getting down to the day and there's still a conversation about how do we deal with these four simple issues we've talked about for months. The house and senate have debated for decades. We've had untold number of hearings on for decades on these issues to try to actually land them, to get legislation ready, and to get this resolved."


Senator Coons: (5:01 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "The whole point is that we may be boisterous and intemperate, which John has certainly also been accused of being a time or two, but we don't stop striving for our ideals, believing in our future and respecting one another. That's often difficult, especially here in politics. But it is the challenge that comes with the blessings of liberty and of serving this great country. So I was honored when Senator McCain reached out to me a week ago to say let's work together to introduce in the senate legislation that could help solve our most pressing immigration issues and keep our country moving forward. The bipartisan bill that we have introduced, the McCain-Coons bill, here in the Senate doesn't solve every immigration issue we face and it doesn't try to."

Wrap Up (The Senate Stands Adjourned), Durbin

Wrap Up

Feb 14 2018 07:44 PM

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.
  • Note: on Wednesday, February 14, cloture was filed on Durbin (for Coons) Amendment #1955, to H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.
  • Note: on Wednesday, February 14, cloture was filed on McConnell (for Toomey) Amendment #1948, to H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.
  • Note: on Wednesday, February 14, cloture was filed on Schumer Amendment #1958, as modified, to H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.
  • Note: on Wednesday, February 14, cloture was filed on Grassley Amendment #1959, to H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.


Senator Durbin: (7:01 p.m)

  • Spoke on gun violence.
    • "Mr. President, every day in America, we face the devastating reminder of the toll of gun violence. Today we watched the scene at the high school in Parkland, Florida, where yet another school shooting has taken place. It is gut wrenching. We know that so many families have just had their worlds and lives changed forever by senseless gun violence. Ironically, this is the tenth anniversary of a similar shooting at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. Our prayers go out to the victims, to those families, and to the first responders and of course to the parkland community. Yesterday, in the city of Chicago, which I am honored to represent, we lost one of our finest."