Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Feb 27 2018 10:00 AM

The Senate convened.  

Schumer

Opening Remarks

Feb 27 2018 10:23 AM

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #623, Elizabeth Branch, of Georgia, to be United States Circuit Judge for the 11th Circuit.
  • The Senate will recess from 12:30 p.m to 2:15 p.m to accommodate for the weekly policy lunches.
  • Note: all time during recess, adjournment, morning business and leader remarks will count post-cloture on the Branch nomination.  
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #153, Russell Vought, of Virginia, to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #437, A. Marvin Quattlebaum, of South Carolina, to be United States District Judge for the District of South Carolina.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #438, Karen Gren Scholer, of Texas, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #439, Tilman Eugene Self III, of Georgia, to be United States District Judge for the Middle District of Georgia.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #536, Terry A. Doughty, of Louisiana, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana.

 

Senator Schumer: (10:10 a.m)

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "Now, in the wake of the tragic shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School that took the lives of another 17 Americans, we must try again to pass meaningful changes to our laws to keep our children safe. That's our duty, and there are many things we could and should pursue. Yesterday, I suggested that comprehensive background checks would be an excellent and necessary place to start. It doesn't make sense that we allow anyone, regardless of their criminal history, felons, or a history of mental illness, to walk into a gun show or go online and buy a gun, no questions asked. There's no sense in that."
  • Spoke on net neutrality.
    • "Now, Mr. President, on another matter, today Senate Democrats will be introducing our legislation to reverse the F.C.C's repeal of net neutrality. It has the support of every single Democrat and one Senate Republican, Senator Collins, from the state of Maine. I tell all my Republican colleagues this C.R.A is the best way to undo the terrible decision to repeal net neutrality."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "The article goes on to document how the Republican tax bill has unleashed a wave of share buybacks and stock repurchasing programs, things which help out rich executives and shareholders but don't accomplish much for everyday American workers. You're the C.E.O of a company, you are judged by whether your stock's going up. The quickest hit on that is buy back your shares, reduce the number. It doesn't help your workers, doesn't help American productivity. It helps your bottom line, Mr. C.E.O. That is so wrong."

Durbin, Cornyn, McConnell

Executive Session (Branch Nomination)

Feb 27 2018 10:50 AM

Senator Durbin: (10:23 a.m)

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "I often wondered when this moment might occur or whether it would occur. There has been such a long litany and string of mass shootings, massacres. It's sad to say there was a numbness setting in when terrible things occurred in places like Las Vegas, in Texas, in other states. You wondered is that - is that the event? Is killing those innocent children at sandy hook elementary school in Connecticut, will that be the tipping point? Will America finally say enough? It appears on this day, 13 days after the tragedy in Florida, that we are near or at a tipping point when it comes to gun safety. Some of it is very personal."

 

Senator Cornyn: (10:33 a.m)

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "Because when you say here in Washington and particularly in Congress I want everything on my list or I want nothing, one thing is for sure. You'll end up with nothing. And that simply is an unacceptable outcome, particularly when it comes to the public safety crisis manifested here most recently at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. We know that there were many, many failures. You might even call this a systemic failure when it comes to the children at Stoneman Douglas High School. First and foremost, why didn't federal and local law enforcement follow up on threats and warnings? This young man, the shooter who took the lives of 17 people, he telegraphed in very clear, unmistakable language what he intended to do."

 

Senator McConnell: (10:48 a.m)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Elizabeth Branch to be a Circuit Court Judge for the 11th Circuit.
    • "Judge Branch has sat on the Georgia Court of Appeals since 2012. This follows a fine career that spanned both private practice and public service. Judge Branch has previously answered the call to serve at the Department of Homeland Security where she worked as associate general counsel and then at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Her record and qualifications are well known. Our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee reported her nomination favorably by an overwhelming vote confirming this worthy nominee will be a further credit to the outstanding work of Chairman Grassley and the members of the committee."

Lee, Portman (UC)

Executive Session (Branch Nomination)

Feb 27 2018 12:21 PM

Senator Lee: (11:05 a.m)

  • Spoke in tribute to Frederick Douglass.
    • "Mr. President, 200 years ago this month, a man was born into slavery in a cabin not far from here, in Maryland. The child knew his mother only briefly. They were cruelly separated when he was young. He knew his father only by the rumors. He didn't even know the exact day of his birth. Yes, even his birthday, that for many of us foundational aspect of identity, was denied him by the cruel mastery of slavery. This slave was whipped and beaten. His days were filled with toil. His nights were filled with restless turning on a packed dirt floor. That is not where the story ends. No, it is only the beginning of the incredible life of Frederick Douglass."

 

Senator Portman: (12:18 p.m)

  • Unanimous Consent –
    • That notwithstanding Rule XXII, all post-cloture time on the Branch nomination expire at 4:00 p.m today and the Senate VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #623, Elizabeth Branch, of Georgia, to be United States Circuit Judge for the 11th Circuit.
    • (Without Objection)

Portman, Thune, Daines, Sanders

Executive Session (Branch Nomination)

Feb 27 2018 03:31 PM

Senator Portman: (2:19 p.m)

  • Spoke in tribute to two Ohio police officers killed in the line of duty.
    • "Eric loved working with Sam, but what he really loved was his kids and wife. His most important job, he said, was being a husband and father. He was survived by his wife and two daughters. Both men are loved and respected members of the Westerville community and both will be sorely missed. I had a chance to talk to their colleagues over the weekend and heard many stories about them and their bravery and commitment to service. I also had the great honor to meet with the families of both of these fallen officers over this past weekend in Columbus, Ohio. Linda Morelli and Jamie Loring are incredibly strong women and mothers."
  • Spoke on the opioid crisis.
    • "More Americans are dying from drug overdoses than the total number of casualties during the Vietnam War. Every year more Americans are dying from drug overdoses than the total number of casualties from the Vietnam War. Think about that. It's a staggering statistic. On average, more than 174 Americans die every single day from a drug overdose in 2016, that's up from 143 Americans in 2015, and 105 Americans in 2010. 2016 was the deadliest year. And 2017 it is estimated to be even deadlier. Opioids, prescription drugs, heroin, synthetic forms of heroin are increasingly the reason why. Opioids were the reason for over two-thirds of overdose deaths than is five times higher than in 1999."

 

Senator Thune: (2:43 p.m)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "So, Mr. President, we lowered our nation's massive corporate tax rate which was the highest in the developed world. We lowered tax rates across the board for owners of medium and small and farms and ranches. They I allowed them to free up cash that they can reinvest in their operations and in their workers. We brought out the U.S. International tax system into the 21st century by replacing our outdated worldwide system with a modernized territorial tax system so that American businesses are not operating at a disadvantage next to their foreign competitors. The goal in all of this, Mr. President, was to free up businesses, to increase their investments in the American economy and in American workers, and that's exactly what businesses are doing."

 

Senator Daines: (3:12 p.m)

  • Spoke on Department of the Interior nominations.
    • "Mr. President, as chairman of the Senate Western Caucus and a Montanan, I'm here to urge the swift confirmation of two nominations who are outstanding to serve the department of interior. The first is Ryan Nelson, a native of Idaho Falls, Idaho, as solicitor of the Department of Interior. The second is Susan Combs, a rancher from Big Bend, Texas. She's nominated to be assistant secretary for policy, management, and budget. Both of these positions are critical to managing our public lands and our wildlife. Yet these two well qualified individuals have been waiting in a bureaucratic limbo. Mr. Nelson was first nominated over 209 days ago and miss combs received her first nomination over 231 days ago."

 

Senator Sanders: (3:16 p.m)

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "And if that is the case, that person should not be buying a gun. I think serious gun safety legislation must include addressing the so-called straw man purchases. And this is a provision where people can legally go into a gun shop, buy the weapons that they want. But then they're going to sell those weapons or distribute those weapons to people who should not be owning those weapons and could not have purchased those weapons on their own. So I've indicated that it is my view that we should ban assault weapons in this country, weapons which are designed for no other purpose but to kill human beings."

Markey, Flake

Executive Session (Branch Nomination)

Feb 27 2018 04:01 PM

Senator Markey: (3:32 p.m)

  • Spoke on net neutrality.
    • "Mr. President, today I would like to speak on behalf of my constituents and the tens of millions of Americans who rely on a free and open internet. Make no mistake, we are locked in a historic battle, a historic battle to preserve the core principles of competition, innovation, and consumer choice that have made the internet the world's greatest platform for commerce and for communications, a historic battle to restore the hallmark of American innovation and democratization, a historic battle to protect the ink cue baiter and job generator, a battle for net neutrality. In December, the trump F.C.C, Federal Communications Commission, eliminated net neutrality."

 

Senator Flake: (3:46 p.m)

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "I just met with several of the students from that shooting at the school in Florida and heard the very compelling case that they make to take this issue seriously and do what we can on a commonsense basis to make it more difficult for those who shouldn't have guns to have guns. Regardless of what happened in Florida these past couple of weeks, this is a measure that we should have taken before. It's been brought to the floor of the senate, has received majority support here. I think it's simply common sense for someone who is not permitted to fly in this country and is considered by the federal government to be a potential threat to national security, I think that they should not be allowed to purchase a firearm as well."

Collins, Heinrich, Wyden

Executive Session (Vought Nomination)

Feb 27 2018 05:34 PM

Senator Collins: (5:08 p.m)

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act which would prohibit suspected or known terrorists from legally purchasing a firearm. I would like to thank my colleague, Senator Heitkamp, Flake, Heinrich, Toomey, Baldwin, King, Nelson, mansion, and Kaine for their co-sponsorship of this bipartisan bill. I particularly want to recognize the leadership of Senator Heinrich, who has joined me on the floor this evening as we introduce the bill and explain it to our colleagues. Mr. President, often referred to as no fly no buy, this bill represents one of the sensible steps that we can take to reform our nation's gun laws to better protect our people. Our bill is based on a simple principle."

 

Senator Heinrich: (5:17 p.m)

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "It is no secret to my constituents or even my colleagues here that I am a passionate outdoorsman, a hunter, and owner of firearms. And I strongly believe that law-abiding Americans have a right to own guns for sport and for self-defense. I am teaching my own sons how to safely, how to responsibly use those firearms. But the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners like myself, know that congress must take action to close some of the loopholes and reform our laws to keep those deadly weapons out of the hands of those who would turn them against our communities."

 

Senator Wyden: (5:23 p.m)

  • Spoke in tribute to Ursula Laguin.
    • "To the end she fiercely resented the constant attempts to pigeon hole her as a sci-fi author. She shattered ceilings and inspired generations of readers and authors. She is going to be missed, even as her legacy lives on. Ursula Laguin was born on October 21, 1929, in Berkley, California. Her parents were both successful anthropologists who encouraged their kids to think and to question. Exposed to mythology and science fiction at an early age, she soon grew tired of what she would later describe as white men and soldiers going forth and conquering the universe."

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 12:45 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #153, Russell Vought, of Virginia, to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, post-cloture.
  • At 4:30 p.m, the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #153, Russell Vought, of Virginia, to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
  • Note: all time during recess, adjournment, morning business and leader remarks will count post-cloture on the Vought nomination.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #437, A. Marvin Quattlebaum, of South Carolina, to be United States District Judge for the District of South Carolina.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #438, Karen Gren Scholer, of Texas, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #439, Tilman Eugene Self III, of Georgia, to be United States District Judge for the Middle District of Georgia.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #536, Terry A. Doughty, of Louisiana, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana.

 

Senator Whitehouse: (5:34 p.m)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "Not one. Many of these companies had very public pro-climate positions. None, none said they had even been consulted by the chamber about the chamber's anti-climate crusade. And the U.S Chamber of Commerce's war on climate action isn't just in lobbying congress. It also spends tens of millions of dollars in elections, using political attack ads to sink pro-climate candidates. So I asked in my last speeches, why. Why the chamber advanced the special interests of the fossil fuel action opposing climate action, ignoring their own pro-climate members and turning their backs on the whole renewable energy and green technology economy."

 

Senator Warren: (6:11 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Indian Health Service.
    • "The I.H.S is a big deal. It is the primary federal health care provider for American Indians and Alaska natives. It serves 2.2 million people spread across 36 states. It has a budget of nearly $5 billion annually. The I.H.S provides care for more than - through more than 660 clinics, hospitals, and health stations on or near reservations, many of them in remote rural locations located hours away from other health facilities. It serves more than 13 million outpatient visitors a year. The doctors and nurses and other health care providers in I.H.S hospitals and clinics do everything from delivering babies to providing dental services to fighting the opioid crisis, but right now, more than a year into President Trump's term, there is still no permanent leader at the Indian Health Service."