Thursday, Jun. 25, 2015

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Jun 25 2015 09:52 AM

The Senate convened.

Reid, McConnell

Opening Remarks

Jun 25 2015 10:12 AM

Today –

  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business for one hour, with Democrats controlling the first 30 minutes and Republicans controlling the second 30 minutes.


Tuesday, July 7 –

  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to the consideration of S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.
  • At 5:30 PM, the Senate will VOTE on the confirmation of Executive Calendar #81, Kara Farnandez Stoll, to be United States circuit judge for the Federal Circuit. 


Senator Reid: (9:52 AM)

  • Spoke on voting rights.
    • "Senator Leahy, introduced robust legislation to repair the damage from the Supreme Court Shelby County Decision. I'm happy to support the efforts made by the senior senator from Vermont. His bill would restore the heart of the Voting Rights Act. It would create a new nationwide coverage formula that applies to any state with repeated voting rights violations in the last 25 years. It would also establish a targeted process for reviewing voting charges and also any changes these jurisdictions would make all around the country and have a record of discrimination against voters. This bill requires reasonable public notice for voting changes and allows the attorney general to request federal observers to present in places where a serious threat to racial discrimination may occur. We must do everything we can to restore and reestablish and defend the Voting Rights Act."


Senator McConnell: (10:01 AM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "The road to yesterday's win for the middle class on T.P.A. was never going to be an easy one. It was hardly a quick one. We always knew that was going to be the case, but I thought we owed it to the working men and women of our country to push ahead anyway. So we did. Through every bump and every twist along the way Republicans and Democrats held together in achieving something that can present more opportunities for working families we proved new ideas in the Republican Congress in passing legislation that can facilitate the lowering of barriers and the lifting up of our workers in the 21st century we proved this is a new Congress that's back to work on behalf of the American people."
  • Spoke on Warrior Games 2015.
    • These men and women are taking part in Warrior Games 2015, an annual D.O.D.-organized sporting event for both veterans and wounded, ill and injured service members from every corner of the country. This year's games featured approximately 250 athletes from across the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marine Corps. All these wounded warriors gave it their all in heated competition. Their bravery and their perseverance through adversity serves as a source of inspiration to the rest of us. Their determination serves as a continuing reminder that heroism endures long after events on the battlefield. It was a great honor to meet some of these courageous athletes and their families yesterday afternoon. They were right here in the Capitol. I shared the thanks of a grateful nation with many men and women who wear our nation's uniform or who recently have."
  • Spoke on PTSD Awareness Day.
    • "Sadly, post-traumatic stress disorder is an affliction that touches too many veterans. Raising awareness and fighting the myths that surround it are important. There are effective treatments for PTSD and all of us can do a few simple things in honor of PTSD awareness day. First we can learn more about PTSD by getting the facts on the condition and its treatment. We can also reach out to someone who might have PTSD or be at risk, particularly among the veterans community. Finally, we can pass along what we learned to others to continue to raise awareness. So I hope Americans will take action this PTSD awareness day to shed some light on an often misunderstood condition and hopefully to reach out to someone in need."

Reid, McConnell, Graham, Enzi, Barrasso, Murphy

Morning Business

Jun 25 2015 11:34 AM

Senator Reid: (10:29 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "Today in this great country of ours, the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare, has survived the latest partisan attempt to deny health care to working families, millions of working families won today - America won today. The Supreme Court ruled against Republicans who were seeking to strip 6.5 million Americans from the subsidies that enabled them to buy health insurance. America won, I repeat. Very pure, very simple. More than 10 million Americans are covered by the exchanges operating across the country, many of them insured for the first time. 85% of these men and women receive tax credits that help them afford that coverage. But on top of that, 12 million more Americans now have coverage through the Medicaid and children's health insurance programs. The commonwealth fund recently found that more than 8 in 10 adults, that's four-fifths of people who have these programs, are satisfied with them."


Senator McConnell: (10:36 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "Today's ruling won't change ObamaCare's multitude of broken promises, including the one that resulted in millions -- literally millions of Americans losing the coverage they had and wanted to keep. Today's ruling won't change ObamaCare's spectacular flops. Spectacular flops. From humiliating website debacles to the total collapse of exchanges in states run by the law's loudest cheerleaders. Today's ruling won't change the skyrocketing costs in premiums, deductibles and co-pays that have hit the middle class so hard over the last few years. The politicians who forced ObamaCare on the American people now have a choice. They can crow about ObamaCare's latest wobble towards the edge or work with us to address the ongoing negative impact of a 2,000-page law that continues to make life literally miserable -- miserable - for so many of the same people it purported to help."


Senator Graham: (10:37 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "I'm surprised. I'm disappointed. But the ruling is now in and Senator McConnell said it well this doesn't mean that ObamaCare is fixed. It means that it's going to continue until somebody finds a better way or we're going to be left with Obamacare for the rest of our lives and your children's lives and those that follow. 2016 race domestically will be centered on health care as the most dominant domestic issue in the country. If you're run for - if you're running for the house or you're running for the senate or you're running for senate, here is what this Supreme Court ruling means. If the public wants to continue Obamacare, which I think would be a huge mistake, vote Democrat if you want to repeal and replace Obamacare with something better for you and your family, bipartisan, vote Republican. "
  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "As I speak, Secretary Kerry is on his way to Geneva to try to conclude nuclear negotiations with the Iranian regime. To Secretary Kerry, I urge you to suspend negotiations until we clear up two matters. Number one, the supreme leader, Ayatollahal Khamenei, said on state-run television in Iran yesterday and the day before, "all economic, financial and banking sanctions implemented either by the United Nations Security Council, the United States Congress, or the administration must be lifted immediately when the deal is signed." Secretary Kerry, would you please tell the Ayatollah that is unacceptable and repudiate that statement before you negotiate any further. The Iranian parliament several days ago passed draft legislation prohibiting the international community from having access to Iranian military facilities to determine the state of the Iranian nuclear program. Secretary Kerry, please suspend negotiations until the Iranian government repudiates this concept. The p-5 plus 1 should be first in this area. There will never be signed with Iran that will not allow inspections anytime, anywhere, particularly military sites. How can you negotiate any further until they repudiate the actions they have taken?"


Senator Enzi: (10:45 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "I ran into one man who said, you know, I have a very successful business, and I just got this tremendous location that's only 50 miles away that I could put in another one. But that would put me over 50 employees, and that puts me in a different category on health care costs. The people that are working for me like the health care costs I'm providing, but I would have to go to a whole different level or pay huge fines, and I can't afford to do that. So I'm not going to do that other location. I'm not going to put 50 more people to work. For too long the debate over health care has placed politics before the best interest of patients. No matter the court's ruling, it's time for Democrats and Republicans to deliver what the president promised but ultimately mailed to deliver. We need a health system that expands access and promotes quality patient-centered care while actually bring bringing the costs down. We must allow states the freedom and flexibility to ensure hardworking Americans can get the care that they need. It's time for both parties to work together on real solutions that rely on these principles. We should move forward on a bipartisan basis to provide more choices and a better health care system for hardworking Americans."


Senator Barrasso: (10:56 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "I would say that ObamaCare cannot be fixed, but health care in America must be fixed. They say what are you going to do about it as a Republican? There are incredible Republican plans out there, each of which is much better than the president's health care law. We still have 30 million Americans without insurance, concerned about the fact that they still need care. So we are going to continue to work to repeal and replace this health care law with a law that will allow people to get what Senator Enzi has been talking about. We need people, we need patients to get the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower costs. That's what Republicans are committed to and that's what Republicans, in spite of today's ruling by the Supreme Court, will continue to work for."


Senator Murphy: (11:08 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "Hopefully we can move on after a presidential election, two Supreme Court cases, 60-plus votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the House of Representatives, end debates here in the united states Senate. Maybe now is the moment where Republicans will choose to close the books on trying to strip away from millions of Americans the benefits that they have received from the Affordable Care Act. This is an important day for over 10 million Americans who have health care right now because of the Affordable Care Act. I'd argue it is an important day well for the separation of powers, the recognition that it is the legislative body that sets policy for this country."

Hatch, Gardner, Cardin, Cornyn

Morning Business

Jun 25 2015 12:32 PM

Senator Hatch: (11:34 AM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "I am very concerned because it doesn't solve any problems and we're going to continue to have this tremendous spiral of huge costs and problems eat us alive until our friends on the other side get what they really want and that is a single payer system, in other words, socialized medicine, where they'll throw their hands in the air and say this isn't working ultimately, especially when all these costs come in 2017 and 2018, this isn't working and we're just going to have to go to a one size fits all government-sponsored health care in this country where the government will determine everything. That's what they're headed for, somehow we've got to stop that or we're going to find ourselves in a socialist position where we won't be able to stop things in the future. I had hoped that maybe the court would propel us on a better course here, on the other hand, I do understand what they've written and I'd even predicted some of it because clever judges can find ambiguities where none exists, in other parts of the text, clever judges can find ambiguities where others aren't able to find."


Senator Gardner: (11:43 AM)

  • Spoke on the Rural Emergency Acute Care Hospital Act.
    • "A solution that Senator Grassley and I are working together to allow rural hospitals in financial distress to switch from being a critical access hospital to this new category of hospital called a rural emergency hospital. This new category would offer reimbursement rates that are consistent with the care, needs and capabilities of rural hospitals, but more importantly allowing them to remain open. Keeping that emergency room, that critical emergency room service open. Now, the emergency hospital must provide emergency medical care and observation 24 hours a day, seven days a week by on-site staff. So we're still providing quality care but we're allowing them overcome the fact that they have seen their in-patient services decline, enabling them to keep their emergency services open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to make sure that trauma patients can see the doctor provided the necessary medical care that they need during that all-important golden hour."


Senator Cardin: (11:53 AM)

  • Spoke on law enforcement.  
    • "The legislation would require local law enforcement officials receiving burn jag and cops hiring program funds to submit officer training information to D.O.J., including how their officers are trained in the use of force, encountering racial and ethnic violence, de-escalating conflicts and constructive engagement with the public. It requires local and state police departments to promptly submit their force data to the F.B.I. The legislation requires the Department of Justice to issue a port on its plan to assist state and local law enforcement agencies to improve training in the use of force, identify racial and ethnic bias and conflict resolutions through the course of an officer's career. The final piece of the title one act establishes a pilot program to assist local law enforcement in purchasing and leasing body-worn cameras and requiring privacy studies." 


Senator Cornyn: (12:03 PM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "The fact is, ObamaCare has been a disaster for millions of hardworking families. And it was really sold under false pretenses. The president said, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Well, that ended up not being true. If you like your policy, you can keep your policy. Well, that ended up not being true for roughly 5 million people who lost their insurance coverage that they liked because the law said they couldn't keep it anymore. And then there was the fact the president said if prices of health coverage for an average family will come down $2,500. $2,500. None of those proved to be true. So despite the Supreme Court's disappointing decision, I will not stand down in my opposition to this bad law because I know we can do better. And I look forward to working with our colleagues to eventually protect the American people from the harmful effects of ObamaCare and get the American people what they thought they were going to get out of health care reform in the first place - coverage they wanted at a price they could afford. Neither one of which is delivered under ObamaCare."

Murkowski, Booker, Booker

Morning Business

Jun 25 2015 01:53 PM

Senator Murkowski: (12:14 PM)

  • Spoke on Waters of the United States.
    • "Bottom line is that the new WOTUS rule will have results that in many cases will just be absurd in Alaska and add significant, significant costs. For us, this rule is the equivalent of the roadless rule that killed off logging in the Tongas National Forest, ending hundreds of jobs. I know this is an issue many of us in this body care about, many of us in this country care about. It speaks to what we see when we have agencies that go beyond their jurisdictional authority, that go beyond the scope of the laws that were passed with good intentions. I want us to get back to that place of sane laws that allow us to have that clean air, clean water, but when we see interpretations like we have with wotus, it's Tim to stop them."


Senator Booker: (12:41 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "I will not judge this deal before I see a final agreement and I encourage my colleagues to read that final text, as I'm sure they will, before making judgments about the deal. We need to see what is in it. Under the joint plan of action, we have seen unprecedented inspections into Iran's nuclear infrastructure take hold. Iran's enriched stockpile has, indeed, shrunk. There are limitations on their enrichment processes. And enrichment has been confined to, indeed, one facility. This is progress. It is my hope that the negotiators are building upon this progress and working towards a comprehensive final deal. There is much at stake. The bar is set high. As it should be. It is high and that for a deal, questions that I have raised are among the many that will be asked, that must be asked as we approximate examine a final in the coming weeks."


Senator Cruz: (1:20 PM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "We'll bring back economic growth. We'll bring back opportunity. And then we'll pass commonsense health care reform that makes health insurance personal and portable and affordable, that keeps government from getting between us and our doctors. We will recognize that this horrible experiment has failed. And when millions of Americans lose their jobs, are forced into part-time work, lose their health care, lose their doctors, when millions of Americans see their premiums skyrocket, it's incumbent on members of this body, it's incumbent on the federal government to fix the wreckage they caused, to fix the wreckage that the Supreme Court has now embraced lawlessly. We will repeal ObamaCare, and I will fight with every breath in my body to make sure that happens in 2017."

Stabenow, Coons, Hatch, Durbin

Morning Business

Jun 25 2015 02:40 PM

Senator Stabenow: (1:32 PM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • " I hope that instead we'll get about the business of making sure it works as well as possible and that we are strengthening the quality measures, the opportunity for competition and continue to bring rates down. We know if in fact health reform is repealed, it will increase deficits by hundreds of billions of dollars, cause 19 million Americans to lose their health insurance just next year, according to the budget office. 19 million people, 24 million people in the next few years. And under the Congressional Budget Office repeal would result in $353 billion increase in the budget. I want to congratulate the Supreme Court for common sense today, understanding what we meant, what legislative intent was all about, and urge that we now decide that we're going to work together on health care moving forward."
  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "We have 36 days left to act. Now, when we want to, we can act pretty quickly. I commend colleagues from the E.P.W. Committee who have come forward with a six-year bill. We have in front of us a policy passed by the committee. I want to congratulate Senator Inhofe, Senator Boxer for coming forward with a proposal that will increase the funding over time and I believe and hope we will do it in an even more robust way. And they've put forth policies that will long term create the economic stability for our businesses and the jobs for our workers and our families that they need. The Drive Act, as we call it, is an important step forward. I want to commend the chairman of the Finance Committee for holding hearings on how we finance that because that's our responsibility."


Senator Coons: (1:52 PM)

  • Spoke on Alan Levin.
    • "I rise today to honor someone I've had the privilege of calling a friend for many years and who is retiring after serving the state of Delaware for the past six years, Alan Levin. Alan and I both had our first tours of duty working for the same Republican senator. I was an intern for senator Bill Roth in the early 1980's and Alan was his counsel in the mid-1980's. Alan a wide and well-respected leader in Delaware's Republican leader has since 2009 served as director of the Delaware Economic Development office where he's worked every day to attract businesses to Delaware and help them create good jobs in our communities."


Senator Hatch: (1:55 PM)

  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "I've been interested in how the Democrats are constantly pushing to get moneys for the highway system. All of us are. Every one of us in this body wants to do everything we can for the highway system. However, they're talking in such big terms that the only way you could possibly reach those kind of moneys would be with further tax increases. Now, my experience here as -- when our friends on the other side of the aisle call for tax increases -- it's so they could spend. If we raised the amount of money they're asking in tax increases, you can see I can just tell you all the projects that are going to be done that many of which are not the crucial projects in this country. All I can say is that we're going to try and find the moneys, but we don't want to raise taxes."
  • Spoke on the Senate.
    • "In other words, the Senate has taken more than seven times -- let's be more accurate - roll call votes in the first six months of this year than the current minority leader allowed in all of last year. It is worth noting that a majority of the roll call votes taken this year have been on amendments introduced by Democrats. A majority of the roll call votes taken this year have been on amendments by our friends on the other side. They haven't been blocked. This is powerful evidence of the Republican-led Senate is committed to working in a manner respectful of the minority's voice. Additionally we have considered and agreed to 183 amendments this year. That means we've agreed to nearly four times as many amendments in the first six months of this year than we did in the first six months of the last Congress."


Senator Durbin: (2:19 PM)

  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "They said it will never last, it will never stay. And then eventually public sentiment changed and people realized that Social Security was critically important for America. The same thing was true for Medicare. There were those who said socialized medicine, we've got to get rid of it and now 60 years later, 50 years later, they understand it is part of America for millions of Americans, it's critically important. Medicaid, same thing. Well, I hope today will be that turning point on the Affordable Care Act. Where we decide on a bipartisan basis this is part of our future, providing insurance for uninsured Americans, doing it in a fair way particularly for those in lower income situations. This was an historic decision, at the Supreme Court, 6-3, decisive majority opinion said the Affordable Care Act is legal, constitutional and should move forward. I hope that message makes it across the street over to the halls of Congress."

Wrap Up (The Senate Stands Adjourned)

Wrap Up

Jun 25 2015 02:55 PM

Tuesday, July 7 –

  • The Senate will convene at 2:30 PM.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to the consideration of S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.
  • At 5:30 PM, the Senate will VOTE on the confirmation of Executive Calendar #81, Kara Farnandez Stoll, to be United States circuit judge for the Federal Circuit.