Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Aug 21 2018 10:00 AM

The Senate convened.  

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Aug 21 2018 10:18 AM

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • At 12:10 p.m., the Senate will VOTE in relation to Nelson Amendment #3773 and then Kennedy Amendment #3703 in relation to H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • Following disposition of the Kennedy Amendment, the Senate will recess until 2:15 p.m. to accommodate the weekly policy lunches.
  • 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, Nelson Amendment #3773, Kennedy Amendment #3703.

 

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

  • Spoke on U.S. energy policy.
    • " The Obama administration so-called clean power plan offered a typical story from that era, an innocent-seeming name, a pleasant sounding objective, but underneath an intrusive regulatory regime built not on effective policy but on far-left ideology. That's why I'm so grateful today the Trump administration is introducing a plan to pair back this unfair, unworkable and likely not legal policy. Remember, the far left tried to push through radical legislation like an energy tax through last Congress. Well, enough of us knew it would hurt competitiveness, victimize the poor and do little to give the American people a cleaner environment."
  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "The destabilizing influences of Iran in the Middle East and Russia in eastern Europe and the challenges on the eastern peninsula and security of our allies and the stability of commerce in the Pacific, our leaders have outlined the strategies it will take to check them. They have explained how the past decade's pattern undermine read readiness. Earlier this with year we did away with the arbitrary spending caps, we passed a defense bill that authorized the largest year-on-year increase in defense spending in 15 years. Now this week we had the opportunity to follow through appropriating the next resources."
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "We're talking about nationwide employers from AT&T to Wal-Mart and local businesses like Gliers meat in Kentucky and New Hudson in Pennsylvania. These are, in some cases, the multi-thousand dollar bonuses that my friends, the Democratic leaders in the House and here in the Senate tried to shrug off as crumbs. Maybe in New York or San Francisco, not much of anywhere else. Remember they persuaded every one of our Democratic colleagues to vote against tax cuts."

Durbin, Schumer, Alexander

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Aug 21 2018 11:03 AM

Senator Durbin: (10:14 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "Our two hard targets, the most threatening nations when it comes to the United States? Well, that's where you have to step back and shake your head and say it can't be true, but it is true. The Russian defense budget from 2017 to 2018, $78 billion. Remember my earlier figures? We're going to be spending $700 billion, and their annual budget is $78 billion. How can there be such a disparity? Well, some people have argued it's because of the accounting methods. It's the fact that Russian soldiers are paid dirt wages and ours, thank goodness, are paid just compensation and given benefits. I accept all of that, but it still doesn't explain an almost 10-1 ratio of spending in the United States against spending in Russia."

 

Senator Schumer: (10:34 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "I hope that he comes prepared to answer direct questions about his writings, speeches, opinions, and judicial philosophy. The nominee has weighed in on a number of legal issues publicly and in his role as a circuit judge. There's little reason why he should be unable to answer direct questions about his judicial philosophy, his record, and already - in already decided cases. I also hope he's willing to shed some light in the areas in his record that remain opaque. The senate and the public have only been able to see a funny fraction of the nominee's extensive written record because, unfortunately, the Republican majority continues to block access to the great bulk of these document. I'd ask Judge Kavanaugh, I'll ask our Republicans what are they hiding?"
  • Spoke on healthcare reform.
    • "Over and over again he tries to undo the health care Americans have without even understanding what he's really doing. On day one, President Trump issued an executive order aimed at the health care law. It was the very first thing he did. He then proposed legislation with congressional Republicans to repeal the health care law, devastate Medicaid, and eliminate protections for tens of millions of people with preexisting conditions. That failed. But congressional Republicans managed to repeal the coverage requirement in their tax bill of all places"

 

Senator Alexander: (10:55 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "I hope to see better behavior during the next few weeks as the senate begins hearings on president trump's nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to be a member of the United States Supreme Court. Instead of treating Judge Kavanaugh as someone recently released from San Quinten prison, I hope we treat him with dignity and respect so Americans can better understand about his temperament, about his intelligence, about his character. That's what we should want to know about a presidential nominee to the Supreme Court. The current rudeness is a recent phenomenon. Historically senators have recognized that bipartisan approval of qualified nominees helps improve the esteem of the court."

Enzi, Blunt

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Aug 21 2018 12:11 PM

Senator Enzi: (11:10 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "My amendment remedies this violation while maintaining the proposed increase to the maximum award. The amendment that I'm offering relates to the budgetary effects of the substitute amendment's proposed increase to the maximum discretionary Pell grant award for the award year 2019-2020. If anybody has been able to follow that so far, you ought to be on the budget committee. And now I'm going to give a lot more detail that will be equally as difficult because it needs to be a part of the record to show why we need the amendment that I'm talking about in order to avoid a point of order and to get the increase for this year that is being requested."

 

Senator Blunt: (11:49 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "There's not much new in here about all of the things that we could try to determine in this bill about social policy and about issues that all of us feel strongly about, but there are other committees whose principal job is to do that. Our committee's principal job is to decide how we establish the priorities for the country by how we spend the money. Senator McConnell and Senator Schumer have also both had to agree that if we're going to get these appropriations bills on the floor, if we're going to have all the members of the Senate for the first time in the case of this bill get a chance to debate this bill for the first time in 11 years, that's not going to happen if we try to have a big authorizing bill and a big appropriating bill all wrapped into one."

Crapo, Young, Durbin

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Aug 21 2018 02:52 PM

Senator Crapo: (2:15 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "When we imagine a Supreme Court justice, we think of respected jurists well steeped in legal questions, rigorous in attention to detail, respectful of traditions, faithful to the law, awed by the recognition of the proud and profound responsibility wielded, and fair to all involved. Our legal system requires it and the American people value it among their highest ideals of government. Throughout our history the central tension of our republic can be defined as the exercise of government power versus liberty. Each expands at the expense of the other."

 

Senator Young: (2:28 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "He's one of the most qualified nominees to ever come before the United States Senate. And when all is said and done, the Judiciary Committee will have reviewed more records than ever before for a Supreme Court nominee. The importance of protecting individual liberty cannot be overstated. I'm pleased we're considering the nomination of someone who by word and deed has committed himself to preserving freedom. I look forward to watching Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, and after conducting a thorough and objective review of his nomination, I'm confident that Judge Kavanaugh will be an excellent addition to our nation's highest court."

 

Senator Durbin: (2:34 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "I have listened to my colleagues who support Judge Kavanaugh ascending to the bench to a lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land. I am troubled by one particular aspect of this nomination. It is different than any nomination in the history of the United States to the Supreme Court, different in this respect. This president made it clear that any person who wanted to be eligible for the United States supreme court needed to pass a clearance by two organizations. One is called the Federalist Society, and the other is the Heritage Institute."

Thune, Portman, Moran

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Aug 21 2018 03:40 PM

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

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "When it comes to Brett Kavanaugh, the answer to both questions is yes. I don't need to tell anyone how qualified Judge Kavanaugh is. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, and a lecturer at Harvard Law School. He has extensive legal experience in government and private practice, and he has spent the past 12 years serving on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, sometimes referred to as the second-highest court in the land. His opinions have been endorsed by the Supreme Court more than a dozen times and are regularly cited by courts around the country. In short, he is eminently qualified to be a justice on the Supreme Court."
  • Spoke Republican economic policy.
    • "The economy grew at an impressive 4.1% in the second quarter of this year, bringing economic growth for the year so far up over 3%. Unemployment dropped to 3.9% in July, which is close it an 18-year low. Worker pay and benefits are increasing at the fastest pace in a decade. Consumer confidence is at a nearly 18-year high. Disposable income - that income after taxes - is up 3.35% this year. -- 3.5% this year. And small business optimism is at record high. Mr. President, in short, Republican economic policies are working. And I don't need to tell anyone that economic growth lagged during the Obama administration."

 

Senator Portman: (3:10 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the opioid epidemic.
    • "The new report shows that last year - they just got the final numbers for it - the number of people who overdosed and died from these opioid crises that we have was greater than the year before. And not just at record levels but at levels that really creates this epidemic level. 72,000 Americans died of overdoses last year. This is the map that shows where it is. And it's all over our country. Now there were a couple of states that made some progress. Those are the states in blue -- or purple here. But in all the other states you actually see an increase, overall a 9% increase in overdose deaths in our country from 2016 to 2017."

 

Senator Moran: (3:32 p.m.)

  • Spoke on in tribute to Ed Rolf.
    • "Mr. Rolf was born on December 13, 1924, in Junction City, Kansas. He attended school there and graduated from Junction City High School and attended the University of Kansas and received degrees from Columbia University and the University of Madison, Wisconsin. He was a lifelong student and always busy. He was an avid reader and researcher. He studied economics and stuck to his roots as a farmer and worked on the family farm until his passing this week. The community and state know him as a strong supporter of schools and education, and he supported scholarships and mentored many young men and women in the Junction City area."

Inhofe, Collins, Cornyn

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Aug 21 2018 05:19 PM

Senator Inhofe: (4:02 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. energy policy.
    • "You can't look at success and see what's happening and really appreciate it without rousing everyone on the other side with extreme accusations. With every executive order, the Congressional Review Act resolution that rolled back burdensome regulation after burdensome regulation, we heard that the end of the days were coming. Now, let's pause for a minute here and see how you get rid of some of these regulations. You have two ways of getting rid of regulations. One is you do it with an executive order. Sometimes that adopt work, you can't use an executive order in certain types of regulations, so you have to go to the Congressional Review Act."
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "I think it's kind of interesting to go back and look at the fact that they have 4% unemployment. You know, I have always considered for as long as I can remember, 4% unemployment is full employment. There is always going to be some unemployables, but 4% is considered to be full employment. That's what we have. It's kind of interesting. I was in Texas last week. One of my liberal friends were down there. I was talking about what can you say now? Look at the economy. The economy has never been better."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Again, the Supreme Court agreed with him. They're on his side. This opinion is also instructive to see his thinking on proper -- the proper role of the courts in our system of government. In his opinion, he wrote, quote, as a court, it is not our job to make the policy choices and set the statutory boundaries but to emphatically our job is to carefully and firmly enforce the statutory boundaries. This is the consistent part of his jurisprudence. Because of his position on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Kavanaugh has had many opportunities to check the federal government's overreach."

 

Senator Collins: (4:41 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "By including funding for three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in fiscal year 2019 while also including $250 million in advance procurement funding for an additional destroyer in fiscal year 2020. Mr. President, this funding signals our strong belief that the Navy should sustain an aggressive rate of growth for large-surface combatants in fiscal year 2020 and beyond in order to project strength in an increasingly dangerous and complex world. In recognition of national security imperatives, the Navy's own 2016 fleet structure assessment increased the target number for large-surface combatants to 104 ships from the 88 ships called for under the previous 308-ship Navy requirement."

 

Senator Cornyn: (4:58 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "These two appropriations bill are two of the largest ones in the federal government. One, of course, is for the Department of Defense, which appropriately is the number-one priority of the federal government, to maintain the peace and keep our nation safe. And the other funds the department of labor, health, and human services, and education. After we pass these bills this week - which we will - we will have passed 9 of the 12 appropriations bills which cover 87% of discretionary spending. When I mention discretionary spending, it's noteworthy that about 70% of what the federal government spends is not discretionary spending."
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "These are the men and women like Virginia Davis, a small business owner, who said the changes will help keep expenses down and help her company buy new equipment. Then there's Susan case circumstance a widow in new Brownsville, Texas, who's working part-time even when facing health issues. She wrote saying she appreciated our efforts saying that every little bit helps, close quote, especially when she's been saving up the money to go visit her grandson in California. In Texas, our economy has been robust for a long time now, and we heard that the last month, more than 23,000 jobs were added."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
    • "His confirmation process includes the largest production of documents ever in the Senate's consideration of a Supreme Court nominee. And I appreciate Chairman Chuck Grassley spearheading the effort in such a transparent, efficient, and thorough manner. Of course, to see how a judge will behave once elevated to the Supreme Court, the best evidence of how they will perform their job is how they have performed as a lower-court judge, as Judge Kavanaugh has been over the last 12 years on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The best way to find out about his judicial philosophy, his temperament, and how he actually handles cases is how he's done exactly each of those things during the 12 years while serving on the D.C. Circuit."

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • The Senate will recess from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Note: the following amendment is pending to H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill: Shelby Amendment #3695.
  • Note: the following amendment is pending to Shelby Amendment #3695 to H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill: McConnell Amendment #3699.
  • Note: on Tuesday, August 21, cloture was filed on Shelby Amendment #3695 to H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • Note: on Tuesday, August 21, cloture was filed on H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill.

 

Senator Warner: (5:27 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the revocation of John Brennan's security clearance.
    • "Mr. President, Virginia is home to tens of thousands of dedicated men and women who serve in our intelligence and defense communities. Over the years, as senator and vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I've met literally thousands of F.B.I. agents, C.I.A. officers, military service members, contractors, and other public servants who hold security clearances. These men and women work day in and day out, often thanklessly, to keep America safe. You know what? I have no idea amongst those Americans who have those security clearances, which of them are Democrats and which of them are Republicans. And that's the way our system is supposed to work. The federal government grants security clearances only to those individuals who can be trusted with our nation's secrets."

 

Senator Grassley: (5:37 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
    • "In contrast to Justice Kavanaugh's 12-year judicial track record, the 307 opinions that Kavanaugh wrote and the hundreds more he joined, Judge Kagan wrote or joined zero opinions. Judge Kavanaugh wrote or joined over 10,000 pages to judicial opinions compared to Justice Kagan's zero pages. In short, then, we have received many more pages of more relevant documents for Judge Kavanaugh than we did for Justice Kagan. This more thorough and more transparent production is also on top of the thousands of pages of Judge Kavanaugh's publicly available materials, including his extensive and impressive judicial record."