Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Aug 16 2018 09:30 AM

The Senate convened.  

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Aug 16 2018 09:53 AM

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #1008, A. Marvin Quattlebaum, of South Carolina, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit.
  • At 12:00 p.m. the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #1008, A. Marvin Quattlebaum, of South Carolina, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 1, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #1009, Julius Ness Richardson, of South Carolina, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit.

 

Senator McConnell: (9:45 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "We have more to do for the families across America who count on us to work hard and to fight for them. That's why the next legislation the Senate will consider is a pair of critically important appropriations bills that will fund our national defense along with the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services. Talk about subjects that are vital to the American people, at stake is a 2.6% pay raise for U.S. service members, the largest pay raise for troops in almost a decade. The equipment tools and training they need to complete their missions when the John S. McCain national defense act became law earlier this week."
  • Spoke on the pending judicial nominations.
    • "But first, Mr. President, the Senate is currently considering two well-qualified nominees, both for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Yesterday afternoon, we voted to advance the nomination of Marvin Quattlebaum, a graduate of Rhodes College and the University of South Carolina who presently serves as district judge for the District of South Carolina. And at noon, the Senate will vote to confirm his nomination. When he was nominated to the federal bench last year, Judge Quattlebaum received strong bipartisan support from the Senate. The American Bar Association deemed him unanimously well qualified, their highest possible rating."
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "The tax reform and regulatory reform help make this happen. They help to unleash free enterprise and give Callwell's customers the confidence to fill up the warehouse's backlogs and drive up 2018 sales by 14% so far. Callwell is just one case study in what's become a national phenomenon. Nationwide, consumers are experiencing renewed confidence, retail sales are up 6.4% from July of last year. According to one industry survey, a majority of U.S. manufacturers say this favorable policy climate has been more likely, more likely to raise wages for their workers."

Heller, Schumer, Hatch, Daines

Executive Session (Quattlebaum Nomination)

Aug 16 2018 10:48 AM

Senator Heller: (9:57 a.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to the late former Senator Paul Laxalt.
    • "He said, always stay close to families, friends, and constituents, they'll never lead you astray. Having been a presidential campaign advisor to President Reagan, President Bush, his advice carried great weight and I knew I needed to listen to every piece of advice he was willing to give me. Senator Laxalt had a profound impact on many of my colleagues here in the Senate. It didn't matter if you were a Democrat or Republican, Senator Laxalt would be your friend. In fact, on my very first day as a senator, I remember my colleague, Senator Leahy, telling me about all of his work and his fond memories of his friend Senator Laxalt."

 

Senator Schumer: (10:05 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "We've already achieved substantial increases in funding for important priorities through the appropriations process, including significant new resources for the N.I.H., significant new resources to combat the opioid epidemic, significant new investments in infrastructure, child care, social security, and the V.A. That's a big victory for the American people who have waited too long for our country to invest in them. Middle-class families are worried about staying in the middle class. People trying to get to the middle class are worried that the ladder is steeper and longer. These kinds of things help them, college affordability, helping with child care, building infrastructure, making sure social security is around."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "This effort by former President Bush does not represent the National Archives or the George Bush presidential library. That's what the archivists said. They are separating themselves from such a secretive, nondemocratic process. For a down the middle organization like the national archives, very reluctant to comment on political matters to put out a statement like this goes to show how far the Republicans, Chairman Grassley, have departed from precedent. The obstruction is shocking. Everywhere you look Republicans are deciding what constitutes the proper review of a nominee chosen by a Republican president."

 

Senator Hatch: (10:17 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "There's been much ado about documents, but in the end it's much ado about nothing. One of the things - I heard many of my colleagues say is that because we reviewed all of Justice Kagan's records from the time she was in the executive branch, we must review every scrap of paper that crossed Judge Kavanaugh's desk while he was in the executive branch. That just isn't so. When Justice Kagan was nominated, the Senate did not ask for nor did it receive all of her records from the time in the Obama administration. In fact, the Senate never requested, and the Obama administration never provided, any of Justice Kagan's records from her time as solicitor general, and they certainly did ask for every document from the solicitor general's office that referred to Justice Kagan by name, initials, or title."
  • Spoke on suicide prevention.
    • "Too many Americans who are struggling with mental illness or who see their family or friends suffering do not know where to turn for help. But by making resources like the national suicide prevention lifeline system more accessible and user friendly we can truly save thousands of lives. I would like to thank all of those who helped to get this bill across the finish line, including Utah State Senator Thatcher and Congressman Chris Stewart who introduced the bill in the House."

 

Senator Daines: (10:40 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Madam President, I come to the floor today to discuss one of the significant - most significant responsibilities I have as a United States senator, and that's providing advice and consent on the president's nominee to the Supreme Court. I just had the privilege of hearing from my very distinguished colleague, Senator Hatch, Chairman Hatch, President Pro Tem of the Senate Hatch. I heard about the scandals. He drives a minivan, he goes to church on Sundays. For heaven's sake, he's a Redskins fan? I applaud the chairman for sharing perspective around some of the ludicrous arguments by those on the other side to obstruct this outstanding nominee for the United States Supreme Court Judge Kavanaugh."

Nelson, Whitehouse, Wyden

Executive Session (Quattlebaum Nomination)

Aug 16 2018 11:28 AM

Senator Nelson: (10:50 a.m.)

  • Spoke on WRDA legislation.
    • "And it's not right. It's not fair for the hardworking fishing guides, the restaurant employees, anybody that has a business with regard to our beautiful beaches and people enjoying the natural bounty. All are being affected through no fault of their own. And then that's on the east coast. On the west coast of Florida, our white sand beaches aren't as crowded with tourists. But with what? The rancid corpses of fish. This is the puffer fish. This is on one of southwest Florida's beaches. The turtles, the casualties from massive noxious red tide, and this event, a bacteria that occasionally appears in the Gulf of Mexico and moves."

 

Senator Whitehouse: (11:06 a.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "From the shores of Rhode Island and our beautiful Narragansett Bay to the forests of southern Oregon. Rhode Island is looking at losing significant territory to storms and sea level rise. Oregon is seeing ancient forests go up in smoke. For most of the country, this summer has been a scorcher. July was nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit above average and before that, the contiguous U.S. Experienced its hottest may and third hottest June on record. Its oceans, too, just last week the Rhode Island organization save the bay recorded ocean surface temperatures in little Narragansett Bay off the coast of westerly Rhode Island at nearly 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest in over a decade of data and perhaps the highest ever in Rhode Island history."

 

Senator Wyden: (11:09 a.m.)

  • Spoke on wildfires.
    • "Senator Whitehouse, thank you very much, not just for today when we're going to talk about wildfires but because you have year after year been on this floor prosecuting the consequences, laying out the consequences of the failure to deal with climate change. And certainly it is hotter and drier in the west. And what I'm going to do is spend some of the short period we have together describing how these wildfires, they're not your grandfather's wildfires. They are bigger, they are hotter, they're more powerful. In my home state, last summer we saw a fire leap the Columbia River. Columbia River has always been a break in terms of fire. Fire just leaped over it."

Cornyn, Schatz, Graham

Executive Session (Quattlebaum Nomination)

Aug 16 2018 12:03 PM

Senator Cornyn: (11:36 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the accomplishments of the unified Republican government.
    • "This is a direct tangible impact on the quality of life of all Americans. The declaration of I Independence - of Independence designates this among the unalienable right, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I'd like to think that by getting our foot off the neck of the economy by repealing 
      unnecessary overregulation and by cutting taxes, letting people keep more of what they earn, that we are pursuing those unalienable rights on behalf of the American people. Certainly the pursuit of happiness. The labor department reported earlier this month that unemployment has fallen to 3.9% in July, which is close to the 18-year low that was achieved in may this year."

 

Senator Schatz: (11:57 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the First Amendment.
    • "We swore an edge to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, including its First Amendment, which says in part, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. And so we can't let statements by the president declaring that the press is the enemy of the people go unchallenged. Both parties complain about the media, but who could argue with Thomas Jefferson, who wrote, that our liberty depends on freedom of the press and that cannot be limited without being loss, or James Madison said that the freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of the liberty."

 

Senator Graham: (11:58 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the pending judicial nominations.
    • "I have known him for well over 20 years. He is one of the most capable lawyers I've ever met. He has got a great reputation as a district court judge. I want to thank my Senate colleagues for moving his nomination forward. He'll be a great addition to the Fourth Circuit. He's very sound conservative judge incredibly fair-minded. To my Democratic colleagues who moved his nomination through the Judiciary Committee, thank you. Later in the day we'll vote on cloture on the nomination of Julius Richardson to be on the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. He was reported out of the committee 20-1. Both gentlemen are unanimously well-qualified by the A.B.A."

Isakson, Perdue

Executive Session (Richardson Nomination)

Aug 16 2018 01:46 PM

Senator Isakson: (1:17 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "In fact, as my father used to say, son, do what you want to do when nobody is looking and do the same thing when nobody is looking that you do when they are looking. You want to always do the right thing regardless of the question and regardless of what answer you have to give. The supreme court has a tremendous responsibility in our governance. It's one-third of our government. We have a three-legged stool of government. The bureaucracy we are in in the legislative branch. The executive branch the president runs. But the supreme court is the ultimate arbiter. I want a levelheaded person who understands me making those decisions."
  • Unanimous Consent –
    • Notwithstanding Rule XXII, all post-cloture time on the Richardson nomination expire at 1:45 p.m. today.
    • (Without Objection)

 

Senator Perdue: (1:17 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "I believe that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic. If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case and I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law. Unquote. I don't know how you could be more-clear than that, Mr. President. In 2006, during his confirmation hearings for the D.C. Circuit, he faced unmerited accusations, much as he is today. Judge Kavanaugh simply responded, and I quote, there is one kind of judge, an independent judge under our Constitution, unquote. I think it's very clear where this man's mind is, and that is to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States. Those quotes show that this man is very serious and he needs to be strong and considered as the next justice of the United States Supreme Court."

Shelby, Stabenow, Brown

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Aug 16 2018 03:47 PM

Senator Shelby: (3:00 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "The package before the Senate marries the two largest fiscal year 2019 appropriations bills, that is the defense bill that funds all the national security and the labor H.H.S. Education bill. Each of these bills, Mr. President, carries the near unanimous support of the appropriations committee, which is quite unusual. The chairman of the Labor/H.H.S. subcommittee, Senator Blunt, and his ranking member, Senator Murray, worked together to produce a strong bipartisan bill that balances many competing priorities. I commend both of these senators for their hard work and I want to take this time to thank them for their continued efforts in this regard. "

 

Senator Stabenow: (3:14 p.m.)

  • Spoke on in tribute to Aretha Franklin.
    • "A couple of things happened on April 29, 1967. For one, it was my 17th birthday. For another, that was the day that Aretha Franklin released "Respect." And let me tell you, that song felt like a gift that day, and it felt like a gift every time I've heard it ever since. Her voice really was a gift, not just to me but to the whole world. She won 18 Grammies. The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award was the 1974 Kennedy Center Honors awardee and was the first woman, the first woman inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame."

 

Senator Brown: (3:37 p.m.)

  • Spoke on worker's rights.
    • "I don't understand the logic. I don't understand the morality of that. I would hope this congress would look at my legislation which will turn that around. It's our jobs in car act. It simply will say if you buy an American car, at 100 different models of cars and trucks qualify for this. If you buy an American car or American truck, mostly made in the United States, assembled here, you will get $3,500 off of that price of that car at the dealership and that is in essence paid for by making the foreign tax rate we charge U.S. companies that move overseas, charge that same tax rate that we charge in this country."

Monday, August 20 -

  • The Senate will convene at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will VOTE in relation to Menendez Amendment #3705 and then Fischer Amendment #3706 in relation to H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • Note: the following amendment is pending to H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill: Shelby Amendment #3695.
  • Note: the following amendments are pending to Shelby Amendment #3695 to H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill: McConnell Amendment #3699, Menendez Amendment #3705, Fischer Amendment #3706.

 

Senator Sullivan: (4:05 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to the Alaskan of the Week.
    • " Mr. President, it's Thursday, even though we had a bit of a short week in the Senate, it's one of my favorite times of the week here in the Senate because I get to talk about the Alaskan of the Week, which is a recognition we give to somebody who's doing something important in our state. I can see by the smile on the pages' faces it's their favorite time of the week too because we talk about Alaska, talk about somebody who is making a difference. Maybe it's a difference just in their local community, maybe it's state, maybe it's nationwide. But what I really enjoy doing in this speech every week is not just highlighting my great state, and, of course, we all think our states are great."