Monday, Jun. 22, 2015

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Jun 22 2015 03:01 PM

The Senate convened.

McConnell, Reid

Opening Remarks

Jun 22 2015 03:16 PM

Today –

  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business until 5:00 PM, with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each.
  • At 4:00 PM, there is a filing deadline for all first-degree amendments to both H.R. 2146, the legislative vehicle for the Trade Promotion Authority bill, and H.R. 1295, the preferences and Trade Adjustment Assistance bill.
  • At 5:30 PM, the Senate will conduct up to two confirmation VOTES on:
  • Executive Calendar #156, Peter V. Neffenger, to be an assistant secretary of Homeland Security; and
  • Executive Calendar #124, Daniel R. Elliott III, to be a member of the Surface Transportation Board.
  • Note: Cloture has been filed on both H.R. 2146 and H.R. 1295.


Senator McConnell: (3:02 PM)

  • Spoke on the Neffenger nomination.
    • "We'll vote to bring long overdue leadership to an agency in urgent need of reform and culture change and that's the T.S.A. I wish the White House hadn't waited six months to send us a nominee to lead this troubled agency. But now that the administration finally has, we're glad to see it's a highly qualified candidate like Peter V. Neffenger. It's never easy to ensure a Senate review process that's appropriately thorough yet necessarily expeditious in the face of so many months of White House delay but that's just what Chairman Thune and Chairman Johnson achieved with the nominee before us. I thank them both for their good work."
  • Spoke on trade.
    • "Now I know how important it is particularly for my friends on the other side of the aisle to get both T.P.A. and T.A.A., Trade Adjustment Assistance. That linkage has been acknowledged from the beginning of this process. It's why I set in motion a process last week - filing cloture on the vehicles for both T.P.A. and T.A.A. - so that we get one done followed immediately by the other. One will be done, followed immediately by the other. That will put both pieces of legislation on the president's desk before the July 1 state work period. I don't want anyone to think that we're getting T.P.A. done this week with a promise to get T.A.A. done at some other time. The process this week is very, very clear. We will vote on T.P.A. and then we will vote on T.A.A. So here is how that will look. Tomorrow we'll begin the process of approving T.P.A. The next day we'll begin the process of approving T.A.A. along with the AGOA and preferences measure. And before the week is out, I intend to go to conference on the customs bill. This is a bill with broad bipartisan support. Members of both sides want to get it done. And we are going to formally begin the process to complete our work on the customs bill."


Senator Reid: (3:07 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "Unless the Republican leader acts in just five days, for example, we'll see the consequences of another manufactured crisis. On June 30, the charter for the export-import bank is set to expire. This is serious business. This institution creates jobs for providing loans and loan guarantees to foreign customers to purchase American exports. This year alone the export-import bank supports 165,000 American jobs. 165,000 jobs that allowed American workers to earn a living. These jobs cost taxpayers zero - nothing. In fact, this bank saves the American taxpayer money. In the last ten years the bank has returned more than $7 billion to the U.S. Treasury."
  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "The Senate also faces another looming deadline manufactured by the Republican leadership. At the end of July, the Republican funding for the federal highway program will expire. In five days we lose the import bank. In just a few weeks we lose the highway program. Our nation's roads, bridges, highways and transit systems are in desperate need of repair. 64,000 bridges are in a state of being structurally deficient. This isn't 6,400. It's 64,000 bridges. And 50% of our roads are dangerously in need of repair. Still, Republicans in Congress have refused to work with Democrats to make adequate long-term investment in our country's surface transportation programs."

Nelson, Hatch, Cornyn, Sanders

Morning Business

Jun 22 2015 04:29 PM

Senator Nelson: (3:14 PM)

  • Spoke on commerce.
    • "Google certainly has the technical expertise to make sure unsuitable videos for kids are screened or filtered out, especially when Google markets the app as being suitable for children. Indeed, section 5 of the F.T.C. Act prohibits deceptive marketing practices. I applaud Google for its efforts to create healthy online experiences for children, but in this case, their efforts fell short. And I would expect Google to change this right away. Furthermore, YouTube kids should also be sensitive to the fact that younger children often don't understand the difference between advertisements and noncommercial content. So kids' online services that have commercial advertising should make sure that advertising is clearly distinguished from the other content. Google should not take advantage of this well-known vulnerability among children."


Senator Hatch: (3:23 PM)

  • Spoke on the South Carolina shooting.
    • "I wish to extend my first heartfelt condolences to our friends in Charleston, South Carolina. Last week we witnessed an unspeakable tragedy with the shooting at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church. This heinous act has left families reeling and the nation in disbelief. Words can little console nor can they heal hearts of those who have lost. Still I wish to say just a few words to the neighbors, families, and friends who have suffered most. Know that your nation suffers with you, no question about it. You are in our prayers, our thoughts. May you feel peace and love. May you find healing in god. And may the shooter be swiftly brought to justice."
  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "If Iran has failed to sufficiently address even the core cause of the sanctions against them, what confidence do we have in them moving forward? It is particularly tell that the U.N. expert panel assessed that a decline in reports by member states of Iranian violations results from one of two factors. Either Iran has decreased its prohibited activity significantly or member states have refrained from reporting noncompliance so as not to disrupt the negotiations process. In light of the revelations contained in this report, the latter appears far more likely. As the president continues to push for a permanent deal with Iran's leadership, this report is as alarming as it is timely. Past performance may not universally predict future behavior, but it certainly should be part of the consideration. Moreover, this report is far from the only sign of Iranian malfeasance. As recently as yesterday, the Iranian parliament voted to prohibit international inspections of known military sites, casting into serious doubt its commitment to a workable nuclear deal. Given these troubles moves, the president should explain to the American people what level of confidence he has negotiating with Iran given how it repeatedly violates the international community's mandates with impunity. The stakes are too high to act as if Iran is a trustworthy partner."


Senator Cornyn: (3:31 PM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "First and foremost, we are prepared to help the more than six million Americans, including nearly a million people in my home state of Texas, whose costs would suddenly skyrocket as yet another consequence of this disastrous legislation. But in doing so, we will empower the states to opt out of ObamaCare, allowing them the flexibility to more effectively lower costs and increase choices. We will promote not command and control solutions emanating from here in Washington under the philosophy that Washington knows best, we will promote market-based options without the threat of harmful, onerous, expensive mandates. Repealing these mandates will help the American people finally get the coverage they need at a price they can afford. So in short, we will do everything in our power to protect the people affected by this flawed legislation, but we will not protect the president's failed law."


Senator Sanders: (4:16 PM)

  • Spoke on the South Carolina shooting.
    • "I am not the governor of South Carolina. I am not in the South Carolina legislature, and I do not live in South Carolina. But I do believe that the time is long overdue for the people of South Carolina to remove the Confederate Flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia. That flag is a relic of our nation's stained racial history. It should come down. If any good can come of the terrible tragedy in Charleston, it is that the people of South Carolina now have the opportunity to finally turn a page on our past. Frankly, the Confederate Flag does not belong on statehouse grounds. It belongs in a museum."

Klobuchar, Carper, Nelson, Lankford

Executive Session

Jun 22 2015 05:40 PM

Senator Klobuchar: (4:42 PM)

  • Spoke on synthetic drugs.
    • "The Salts Act amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow consideration of a number of factors when determining whether a controlled substance analog was intended for human consumption, including looking at the marketing, the advertising and labeling of a substance and its known use. That is a much more honest way to look at what is actual consumption. You don't just look at the fact that there is a label on it that says it because that's what they do to protect themselves, the drug dealers. Instead what you do is you look at what is actually going on here. You look at the marketing, the advertising, the labeling and the known use. The bill also says that the existence of some pieces of evidence that a substance was not marketed advertiser labeled for human consumption should not stop prosecutors from being able to establish based on all the evidence, the totality of the evidence that the substance was, in fact, intended for human consumption."


Senator Carper: (5:11 PM)

  • Spoke on the Neffenger nomination.
    • "I want to thank Chairman Johnson and his staff for acting swiftly on the nomination so it could be acted swiftly on the Senate today. In less than two weeks we will celebrate the 239th anniversary of our nation's Independence. On the days surrounding that celebration, millions of Americans will be traveling to spend time with their families and friends. We owe it to each of them to have a permanent senate-confirmed T.S.A. administrator in place."


Senator Nelson: (5:16 PM)

  • Spoke on the South Carolina shooting.
    • "It was announced in the press this afternoon that the governor of South Carolina has said, let's take that battle flag down from the capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina, put it in a museum. We'll see the ensuing fight that occurs with regard to the legislature and changing the law. It was a few years ago that a very courageous Republican governor that led the effort to take that battle flag off of the top of the capitol of South Carolina and put it at that confederate monument still on the capitol grounds, and that courageous Republican governor lost his next election as a result of that. So it's time for us to move on."
  • Spoke on the Neffenger nomination.
    • "The nominee that the senator from Delaware just spoke about for T.S.A., Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger, he's obviously had a distinguished career. His reputation precedes him, 34 years in a variety of capacities. He has an expertise in critical areas of crisis management and port security. It'll serve him well as the head of T.S.A., which I believe that the Senate will confirm him today. He was involved in that disastrous oil spill in the gulf. He was the national incident commander, and he helped lead that emergency response to which we are still seeing the results of that spill, those of us on the gulf coast. That disaster required coordination between all levels of government and all of its agencies as well as the management of people in technology."


Senator Lankford: (5:28 PM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "In the days ahead the Supreme Court will rule on this. And I believe strongly they're going to rule for the plain text of the law. Not just about ObamaCare, but because they have to make a decision as the Supreme Court, does the law mean what the law says, or can any administration on any law in the future reinterpret it based on their preferences? If there is one area that would be a great path for us to follow, it is in the days ahead we get back to the government is about the law, and we follow the law. Because we are a nation of laws. Not just a nation of leaders. And the law is to be king in our nation. So let's interpret it the way it's written and let's give people back the freedom that they want and need, let's put the patient back in health care."

Vote Results (Confirmation)

Executive Session (Neffenger Nomination)

Jun 22 2015 06:14 PM

Confirmed, 81-1:

Executive Calendar #156, Peter V. Neffenger, to be an assistant secretary of Homeland Security.

The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Wrap Up (The Senate Stands Adjourned)

Wrap Up

Jun 22 2015 06:53 PM

Tomorrow –

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 AM.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 2146, the legislative vehicle for the Trade Promotion Authority bill.
  • At 10:00 AM, under the rule, there is a filing deadline for all second-degree amendments to both H.R. 2146, and H.R. 1295, the preferences and Trade Adjustment Assistance bill.
  • At 11:00 AM, under the rule, the Senate will VOTE on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 2146.