Monday, Jun. 15, 2015

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Jun 15 2015 02:00 PM

The Senate convened.


Opening Remarks

Jun 15 2015 02:13 PM

Today –

  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business for one hour, with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each.
  • Following morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act.
  • At 4:00 PM, there is a filing deadline for all first-degree amendments to both H.R. 1735, and McCain substitute amendment #1463.
  • At 5:30 PM, the Senate will conduct up to two confirmation VOTES on:
  1. Executive Calendar #131, Matthew T. McGuire, to be United States executive director of the International Bank for reconstruction and development; and
  2. Executive Calendar #132, Gentry O. Smith, to be director of the Office of Foreign Missions. 


Senator Reid: (2:03 PM)

  • Spoke on immigration.
    • "In the Senate, Republicans have tried to repeatedly stop President Obama's efforts. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people over the past three years. Shutting down this program would cause deportation of young men and women to countries they don't know. We with the president will do everything in our power to protect and defend this program and to fight the baseless lawsuit that is preventing over five million additional people from the American dream. The Supreme Court has been clear that presidents have the authority to set federal immigration enforcement priorities. I'm confident the president's actions will ultimately be upheld. I will continue to fight to protect those programs and keep families together. I look forward to the day to programs like DACA, replaced with permanent immigration reform. So vitally important."

Durbin, McCain (UC)

Morning Business

Jun 15 2015 02:39 PM

Senator Durbin: (2:11 PM)

  • Spoke on immigration.
    • "The fact you spent your entire life here means nothing, the fact that you're an exceptional student mean nothing, leave? It sounds like a harsh point of view but shared by many in Congress. This last weekend I took my grandkids, my wife and I did, out to the Statue of Liberty in Ellis Island and I took a look there at that statue and was reminded we are a nation of immigrants. I was blessed my mother came to this country as an immigrant and I stand on the Senate floor trying to do my best to make it a better country. There are people like Denise Rojas who want to make this a better country. DACA has given them that chance. Today we celebrate the third anniversary of this executive order but more importantly, we celebrate who we are, a nation of immigrants, always striving to make life better for the next generation."


Senator McCain: (2:25 PM)

Unanimous consent –

  • Tuesday, June 16, at 11:30 AM, the Senate VOTE on McCain-Feinstein amendment #1889 to H.R. 1735, the NDAA.
  • Tuesday, June 16, at 2:15 PM, the Senate conduct up to three VOTES on:
  1. Ernst amendment #1549 to H.R. 1735;
  2. Gillibrand amendment #1578 to H.R. 1735; and
  3. Motion to invoke cloture on McCain substitute amendment #1463.

Ernst, Nelson, McConnell, Hirono

Morning Business

Jun 15 2015 04:41 PM

Senator Ernst: (2:49 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This bill and my amendment are quite different than the House NDAA language. My amendment provides a three-year authorization to reduce delays and inefficiencies in arming Peshmerga forces to fight ISIS while ensuring the Iraqi government is an integral part of the process. The amendment continues to promote a unified Iraq and enhances the ability to fight our common enemy, an enemy who ultimately seeks to bring their terror here to our shores. Furthermore, the amendment preserves the president's ability to notify the Iraqi government before weapons, equipment, defense services, or related training is provided to Iraqi, Kurdish, and Peshmerga forces. It ensures it does not provide direct support to other nations other than a country or international organization. Most importantly to remember, it does not require the president to act. It provides him the authorization to do so if he feels the situation warrants it."


Senator Nelson: (3:05 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I think it was a sad day in the Senate Appropriations Committee when the committee turned down by a very narrow vote of 14-12 Senator Mikulski's amendment to restore the cut from $900 million to $1.24 billion. Now, sooner or later that appropriations bills is going to come out here. It's got a lot of other problems, as every appropriations bills has, as the Senate is finding out as we are on this defense authorization bill right now. All the funny money that is baked into it because of this so-called sequester. But when it comes out here, I'm going to ask the senators, you think it's wise policy that we continue our reliance on Vladimir Putin? As we have been doing in the defense bill, John McCain, our chairman, has been on a rampage against giving money to Vladimir Putin by virtue of us buying the Russian engine."


Senator McConnell: (3:52 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I'm asking every senator to remember all the ways that our troops and our military enrich our states and local communities. I'm asking every senator to consider the serious times we live in too. And I'm asking every senator to keep those things in mind when casting votes on the defense bill. We may be Republicans, we may be Democrats, but in the end, we should all be able to come together to support the people who support us. Let's stand together in rejecting partisan games in favor of a bipartisan bill that contains good ideas from both parties and gives President Obama the exact funding level he asks for. This bill gives President Obama the exact funding level he asks for. Let's worry less about the demands of one party's political base and more about supporting the brave men and women who live on the base."


Senator Hirono: (4:08 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "My amendment would fix this problem by establishing a legal requirement that any federally mandated reporter with credible evidence or suspicion of child abuse notify both the D.O.D.'s family advocacy program as well as the appropriate state child welfare department. This amendment would eliminate the bottleneck of having only one reporting point of contact. Instead, mandatory reporters which include teachers, doctors, law enforcement and others, must directly, must directly report such evidence or suspicion, both of the chain of command and also over to the appropriate state authorities. I am hopeful that requiring such dual reporting, no military connected children will remain in abusive homes because information never made it to the right person."
  • Spoke on immigration.
    • "Quite simply, DACA works. And the American public stands with our dreamers, immigrant families and smart are immigration policies like DACA. Over 70% of Americans reject the mass deportation approach favored by some and instead support the president's executive actions. However, DACA is only a temporary solution to address one part of our broken immigration system. It is not a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform and it has been roughly two years since the senate passed immigration reform bill with strong bipartisan support. President Obama built on the success of DACA who use his authority to expand the DACA program and create a new program for the parents of children born as U.S. Citizens. I strongly support the president's actions."

Coats, Cardin, Corker, Menendez

Executive Session

Jun 15 2015 05:31 PM

Senator Coats: (4:41 PM)

  • Spoke on Waste of the Week.
    • "In other words, overpayment, mistake made by the Social Security agency. 1.8% had financial resources exceeding the limit at which they were supposed to get. 1.7% had a change in their living arrangements. They moved abroad; no longer eligible. 5% fell under another category of reasons. The bottom line is an inspection was made. A study was plowed into in terms of how this came about. We now have the information, and money was returned, brought back through legal process. But there's still $8.7 billion out there that we didn't get back. And we want to make sure that measures are now put in place so that this doesn't continue and some senator will be on the floor five years or ten years from now saying let me tell you about the latest study of the Social Security inspector general."


Senator Cardin: (5:07 PM)

  • Spoke on nominations.
    • "Shortly our colleagues will have an opportunity to vote on two nominations that are being recommended by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I see that Senator Corker is on the floor, and I want to thank him for his help in bringing these two confirmations to the floor of the United States senate. Both of these individuals are well qualified, and I would urge our colleagues to support both nominations. One is the nomination of Matthew McGwire to be the United States executive director of the International Bank for reconstruction and development. And the other is the nomination of Gentry Smith to be the director of the office of foreign missions."


Senator Corker: (5:13 PM)

  • Spoke on nominations.
    • "I wanted to rise in support of these two nominations, and I appreciate the ranking member, the distinguished ranking member, Senator Cardin, reading out their bios. They are, in fact, Foreign Service officers. They have been in government service for - or they have been in government service for some time. I applaud their desire to serve at this level and certainly plan to support them here at our 5:30 vote and hope other members of the Senate will. And to the point regarding nominations, I think our committee in the last year couldn't have acted in a more speedy fashion in getting nominees out. I know there are some. We're starting a new Congress, and there is a little bit of a backlog that takes place."


Senator Menendez: (5:21 PM)

  • Spoke on immigration.
    • "72% of Americans believe undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States have a path towards permanent residency and ultimately to legal citizenship. Americans continue to overwhelmingly support fixing our broken system and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals success should further encourage Congress to move forward fortified by the conviction that comprehensive immigration reform is a fight worth fighting for. Let me close by saying I join my colleagues in commemorating DACA's anniversary as a day that marks three years of smart, successful policies, as a step in the right direction, as a foundation upon which we can continue to build. It's an opportunity for the American dream to be realized by some of the youngest and best and brightest that we have in the nation, many of these young men and women, I've met them are valedictorians. We need to use their internet, energy and creative talents to build a better America."

Vote Results (Confirmation)

Executive Session

Jun 15 2015 06:09 PM

Confirmed, 62-24:

Executive Calendar #131, Matthew T. McGuire, to be United States executive director of the International Bank for reconstruction and development.

The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Grassley, Brown, Blumenthal

Morning Business

Jun 15 2015 07:05 PM

Senator Grassley: (6:10 PM)

  • Spoke on executive overreach.
    • "Moreover, these agencies have the power to enforce their own regulations and the primary role in interpreting their regulations in individual cases. Thus, they exercise legislative, executive, and judicial power all in one. But this concentration of power in executive branch agencies creates a strong temptation for presidents to use it to implement their agenda irrespective of congress or the law of the land. I've been very critical of President Obama for a number of actions that I think exceed his legal authority from using the Clean Water Act to trying to regulate land use decisions in virtually every county in our country, to forcing states to adopt his preferred education policies in order to get funding and waivers, to granting a massive amnesty from our immigration laws, which even he previously admitted he didn't have the legal authority to do. I think these are bad policies, but even those who see these as short-term policy victories should be very wary of the long-term consequences of anything that erodes our tradition of respect for rule of law."


Senator Brown: (6:25 PM)

  • Spoke on summer meal plans.
    • "That means in my state almost 700,000 children on any given schoolday will be getting a free or reduced-price lunch. But during the summer months, only about 70,000 of those children get these meals or snacks. We need to do all we can to raise public awareness of these programs so that families know that the end of the school year doesn't mean an end to food services for their children. In Marion, where Winnie runs her program, she anticipates she will triple the number of meals she serves this year compared to five years ago. That's because she and other community partners have committed to making this program a success. Schools and churches and synagogues and community centers and pools and recreation centers, volunteers and organizers have ensuring that children have the healthy food they need to succeed."


Senator Blumenthal: (6:30 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The fact is that the Department of Defense's own research shows 52 unwanted sexual contacts occur every day on average across the military. That's the same rate as it was five years ago, in 2010. The fact is in fiscal year 2014, the Department of Defense estimates 62% of service women experienced retaliation for coming forward. The same percentage as 2012. Service members who report assault are 12 times more likely to experience retaliation for reporting their cases than seeing the assailant convicted of a crime. Retaliation is more likely than effective discipline or punishment against the perpetrator. The amendment that we have offered, the Military Justice Improvement Act, seeks to address this issue through explicit codification of punishment for any person deciding to retaliate against anyone who reports this crime of sexual assault. Explicit punishment for retaliation will not only send a message, but it will deter what is in civilian terms one of the most severe crimes known as obstruction of justice."

Wrap Up (The Senate Stands Adjourned)

Wrap Up

Jun 15 2015 07:13 PM

Tomorrow –

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 AM.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act, with the time until 11:30 AM equally divided.
  • At 11:30 AM, the Senate will VOTE on McCain-Feinstein amendment #1889 to H.R. 1735.
  • At 12:15 PM, there is a filing deadline for all second-degree amendments to both H.R. 1735, and McCain substitute amendment #1463.
  • At 12:30 PM, the Senate will recess until 2:15 PM for the weekly caucus luncheons.
  • At 2:15 PM, the Senate will conduct up to three VOTES on:
  1. Ernst amendment #1549 to H.R. 1735 (60-vote affirmative threshold);
  2. Gillibrand amendment #1578 to H.R. 1735 (60-vote affirmative threshold); and
  3. Motion to invoke cloture on McCain substitute amendment #1463 to H.R. 1735.