Thursday, Apr. 30, 2015

Senate Opening

Senate Opening

Apr 30 2015 09:30 AM

The Senate convened.

Burr, Tillis, Reid, McConnell

Vehicle for Iran Nuclear Bill (H.R. 1191)

Apr 30 2015 09:54 AM

Today –

  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R 1191, the legislative vehicle for the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.


Senator Burr: (9:32 AM)

  • Spoke on Chaplain Peter Milner.
    • "I rise today to welcome to this body a friend and a fellow North Carolinian, Peter Milner. Chaplin Milner serves in the North Carolina General Assembly as the State Senate's chaplain. A fellow demon deacon, an alum of Wake Forest, he received his undergraduate degree in sociology and religion. While at Wake Forest, Chaplain Miller was instrumental in the creation of the Wake Forest Volunteer Service Corps, which engages hundreds of students, faculty and staff to participate in community-based organizations."


Senator Tillis: (9:35 AM)

  • Spoke on Chaplain Peter Milner.
    • "I want to thank Chaplain Milner for being here. I want to talk about a friend. The chaplain is somebody who has blessed our legislature in the time that I was speaker of the House - and I won't repeat all of the things that Peter has done for the community. I want to speak specifically for what he has done for the Senate Chamber and the General Assembly. He was just a calm presence in the legislative body, not unlike the one we have here. But he's always somebody you could look to for guidance and support and inspiration."


Senator Reid: (9:36 AM)

  • Spoke on Mayweather Vs. Pacquiao.
    • "I am a little biased because of my relationship Manny Pacquiao. One of my real campaigners in one of my difficult races was Manny Pacquiao. And he campaigned for me. He broke training to come, flew out of L.A. You have to remember that kind of stuff. So I have a very good relationship with Manny Pacquiao. Certainly I don't have a bad one with Floyd Mayweather. But I know Manny Pacquiao much better. He stood in my corner in the past, and he will always have my support. Regardless, though, of who wins Saturday night. Regardless of who leaves the ring with a big belt, Nevada's hardworking economy will have won the fight. "


Senator McConnell: (9:45 AM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "The American people deserve a say, they deserve a say through their members of Congress. The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act will ensure Congress gets a vote to either approve or disapprove of the comprehensive agreement. Just as President Obama's successor will need to modernize our military to deal with the challenges posed by Iran's aggression, so will the president's successor want to consider Congress's view of any comprehensive deal. And a failed resolution of approval, as the bill before us would permit, would send an unmistakable signal about congressional opposition to lifting sanctions. Let me say that again, a failed resolution of approval permitted under this bill would send an unmistakable signal about congressional opposition to lifting sanctions. So now's the time for Congress to invest in the capabilities President Obama's successor may need to use to end Iran's nuclear weapons program if the Iranians covertly pursue a weapon or violate the terms of the ultimate agreement."
  • Spoke on the budget.
    • "I was glad to see yesterday's announcement of a budget conference agreement. That means Congress is now one step closer to passing a balanced budget that supports a healthy economy, funds national defense, strengthens Medicare and begins to tackle our debt problems without taking more money from hardworking Americans. It's a balanced budget that could help lead to more than a million additional jobs and boost our economy by nearly $500 billion according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In short, it's a balanced budget that's all about the future. That is also why it provides a tool for the Senate majority to repeal failed policy of the past - Obamacare - so we can start over with real patient-centered health reform. This is a good balanced budget every senator should want to support, and I look forward to the Senate taking up the budget agreement next week."

Johnson, Corker, Cardin, Collins

Vehicle for Iran Nuclear Bill (H.R. 1191)

Apr 30 2015 11:09 AM

Senator Johnson: (9:52 AM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "All I'm asking with this amendment is to provide a minimal - a minimal -- constitutional threshold, a minimum constitutional role for Congress in affirmatively approving a deal between Iran and the rest of the world and America. So all this amendment really does, in effect, it just asks the president to bring that agreement before the American people, before this Congress, allow us to have input, to affirmatively approve this in chambers, both the House and the Senate, with a mere majority vote of both chambers. Because what is currently on the floor in this bill - and again I have a great deal of respect for the senator from Tennessee. I know in his heart he believes this Senate, this Congress, should have a far more robust role and involvement in such a consequential agreement, but I also realize the challenge he's had dealing with our friends on the other side of the aisle and how very little involvement they are willing to agree to for this Senate and for this Congress."


Senator Corker: (10:05 AM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "He doesn't offer many amendments, nor do I. But the very first amendment that we voted on was the senator from Wisconsin's. We had a conversation yesterday, which I thought led to us considering, combining this request with the request from Senator Cruz, and I know we're working on that particular issue. But I understand, and we're trying to process these. I think he knows that, you know, we're trying to process votes and the very first one we processed was the one from the senator from Wisconsin. So I really do appreciate his concerns. I think he knows I share his concerns about this agreement, and I'm trying to get done what is possible. Again, if I could wave a wand and cause the national security waivers and we voted on for years ago, if I could wave a wand and those go away, then we would be in a position where we would actually need to have an affirmative vote."


Senator Cardin: (10:07 AM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "If we get everybody's patience, I am confident that Senator Corker and I will be able to work together so that we can accommodate the reasonable requests of our members and get this bill moving to the United States House of Representatives to let us maintain the balance that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee did, and let us do what the American people want us to do, and that is listen to each other. We have different views. I understand that. But the way that you can reach common ground is to listen to each other and reach a reasonable compromise that doesn't compromise the principles for which we're trying to achieve. That's exactly what the Senate Foreign Relations Committee bill does, and I urge my colleagues to exercise some restraint and let's get this bill to the House of Representatives."


Senator Collins: (10:36 AM)

  • Spoke on the Small Business Certainty and Growth Act.
    • "This economic benefit is multiplied when you consider the fact of the investment by Maine beer company and Maine's many other craft brewers on equipment manufacturers, the transportation companies needed to haul the new equipment to their breweries, the increased inventory and their breweries and the suppliers of the materials needed to brew the additional beers. So it has a ripple effect that benefits many other businesses and allows them to create more jobs as well. In February, NFIB released new research that backs this claim with hard numbers. They found that simply extending section 179 permanently at the 2014 level could increase employment about as much as 197,000 jobs during the ten year window fowing implementation. U.S. Real output could also increase by as much as $18.6 billion over the same period. In light of the positive effects that this bill would have on small businesses, on job creation, and on our economy, I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting the Small Business Certainty and Growth Act. I would note that the bill has been endorsed by NFIB, a leading voice for small business." 

Barrasso, Cotton, Cardin, Corker, Sullivan

Vehicle for Iran Nuclear Bill (H.R. 1191)

Apr 30 2015 12:42 PM

Senator Barrasso: (11:17 AM)

  • Spoke on the Federal Water Quality Protection Act.
    • "This bill says yes to clean water and no to extreme bureaucracy. It will give the Environmental Protection Agency the direction it needs, the direction to write a strong and reasonable rule that truly protects America's waterways. One that keeps Washington hands off of the things like irrigation ditches, isolated ponds, and groundwater. One that doesn't allow determinations to be based on plants and insects, one that protects streams that could carry dangerous pollutants to navigable waters or wetlands to protect those waters from pollutants. It would make sure that Washington bureaucrats comply, comply with other laws and executive orders that, well, they've been avoiding. They would have to do an economic analysis and conduct reviews that protect small businesses, to protect ranchers, to protect farmers. They would have to consult with the states, they have to make sure by consulting with the states we've got the approach that works best everywhere, not just the approach that Washington likes best."


Senator Cotton: (11:55 AM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "One, they would require a vote on whether Iran should get sanctions relief before it discloses its past dimensions of its past nuclear program, before it closes the underground bunker add Fordow and before it submits to a fully verifiable anytime anywhere no-notice inspections regime. Second, it would require Iran to acknowledge Israel's right to exist as a Jewish democratic state before they get nuclear weapons, because they continue to say that Israel will be wiped off the map. And if they get nuclear weapons, they will have the means to do so."


Senator Cardin: (12:00 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "We're prepared to have votes, but I think some of the tactics that are now being deployed are going to make it much more difficult for us to be able to proceed in an orderly way. That's every member's right to take whatever actions they want to take, but I want to tell you that those of us who want to get this bill to the finish lines gets, it gets a little frustrating. And we'll continue to focus on a way forward on this legislation, but I want to make it clear we have been prepared to find orderly ways to proceed with votes and to deal with the issues that members have been concerned about, but at times it becomes difficult with the procedures that are being used."


Senator Corker: (12:02 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "I want to thank the ranking member. I want to thank the ranking member's staff. I want to thank the minority leader's office for working with us on what was going to be a series of votes, tough votes. I have a sense that the context of this has just changed. So I regret that. I'll be working with numbers of senators on some really controversy votes that we're willing to make as we already have. As a matter of fact, the only two votes we've had thus far were considered poison pill votes. And my friend from Maryland was willing to have more poison pill votes, if you want to call them that - tough votes. But I sense that the context of this may have just changed."


Senator Sullivan: (12:15 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "I helped lead the effort in the Bush Administration to economically isolate Iran, to go our allies and say you have to divest, divest, out of the Iranian oil and gas sector, Iranian financial sector. There was no snap here. This was a slog. It took years to get companies to divest. And yet now this administration is talking about we'll snap back, no problem, we'll divest in a couple days. It's a fantasy. The administration knows it, they should stop using the term "snapback" because it's not accurate. It's not accurate. So what is the alternative? The alternative is simple. Before lifting sanctions on Iran, Iran needs to take the steps to get off the list of countries that sponsor terrorism around the world. And these are not insurmountable steps. These would include having a clear record for six months. That's it, six months. Not decades, not years. Six months. Of not sponsoring state terrorism. It would also require Iran to renounce terrorism. Simple. Don't engage in terrorism, don't try to kill our citizens, or the citizens of our allies, don't send your forces around the world to blow things up or take hostages, and then we will consider lifting the sanctions."

Blumenthal, Fischer, Murphy

Vehicle for Iran Nuclear Bill (H.R. 1191)

Apr 30 2015 02:48 PM

Senator Blumenthal: (12:55 PM)

  • Spoke on tobacco.
    • "Due to these current tax inequities, the G.A.O. has projected $615 million to $1.1 billion in losses to federal tax revenue right now, and tobacco-related health problems cost the country almost $170 billion a year in direct medical costs. We can save money and save lives through this measure, and I hope that my colleagues will support it. Every day that goes by without F.D.A. regulation harms children, it hurts people who've become addicted, it hurts all America. Every day that tax disparities exist, every day that illegal trafficking continues is a day when America pays in the casualties, human suffering, loss of productivity, loss of revenue and I hope that my colleagues will support these measures."


Senator Fischer: (1:10 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "It took many years to build the global sanctions regime that brought Iran to the negotiating table, and the fact is that it can be dismantled much faster than it can be rebuilt. We cannot afford to overlook key provisions or pretend that the precise terms of this agreement is of lesser importance. Of all the tools that we can use to influence Iran, sanctions relief is the most important. It should only be provided as part of a deal that is clearly in American interests. The security of our country and our families and the possibility of a nuclear Middle East that hangs in the balance. And there will be no simple snap-back if this agreement doesn't hold. We need to be honest with the American people and not rely on unrealistic notions to justify any deal with them."


Senator Murphy: (1:30 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "That's dangerous because as we saw in Iraq, large-scale military operations, they kill a lot of terrorists, a lot of bad guys, but they often create two for every one they kill. In the end, it's non-kinetic intervention that solves extremism, building inclusive governments, lifting people out of destitution and poverty, countering radical propaganda and showing an America that backs up all of its talk about human rights and civil liberties with action. I'm so thankful to Chairman Corker for taking the time to work on this bill with Senator Cardin and Senator Menendez and others to make it something that we can truly rally around today. That takes guts to show patience, to give ground, to talk to people that you don't agree with. It's actually diplomacy that wins the day here more often than not. It's our guiding value as a bad, as an institution. It's what makes this place work when it works, and we are best when we recognize that the value of diplomacy and the results that we get from it doesn't expire at the edges of this chamber."

Cornyn, Klobuchar, Carper, Markey

Legislative Session

Apr 30 2015 04:48 PM

Senator Cornyn: (2:47 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "Texas and our entire country stands to gain a lot from this pending trade deal, and I'm happy to see the president is promoting this among some members of his own party who are a little bit divided on this issue. I think it's fair to say on this side of the aisle we're a little more unified but this is not something we're going to get done unless the president steps up and delivers votes from that side of the aisle from members of his own political party. And I hope he will roll up his sleeves and he will dive right in and engage and produce those votes. We can't produce those votes on that side of the aisle. Only the president, the leader of his party can do that. I'm happy to see this chamber in the United States Senate has continued in a spirit of bipartisanship by Passing Trade Promotion Authority out of the Senate Finance Committee and I hope we'll take it up here as a body very soon. As I said in conclusion this legislation will open up global markets which is good for our economy, good for jobs and good for better wages for hardworking Americans, including Texas families."


Senator Klobuchar: (3:38 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "The time has come to show that we are serious again, serious about ensuring that a final agreement is strong and enforceable. And most importantly, blocks Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. We may not agree on everything, but we must certainly agree on something that so many of us have been talking about, a role in the United States Congress, a role in the United States Senate in having a say over this agreement. That is all this bill is about. Passing this bill will show our commitment to our country's security and the security of our allies and our partners. It transcends partisan politics, and that is something that when it comes to foreign relations and when it comes to dealing with a country like Iran must stop at the water's edge."


Senator Carper: (4:05 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "First of all, Senator Corker and Senator Cardin's compromise satisfies one of my key goals of not undermining our negotiating team before any final can be reached with the Iranians. Second, for those who insist that Congress be given a chance to weigh in on a final nuclear deal with Iran, this bill that we're debating today and we'll probably debate a little bit more early next week, this bill will empower members of Congress to cast a vote for or against any final deal before it's implemented. And finally, for those members who think that no deal is the best deal, this bill gives those members the opportunity to make their case to our respective colleagues at an appropriate time."


Senator Markey: (4:35 PM)

  • Spoke on tobacco.
    • "To make it appealing to them because they've got to get them when they're 13, 14, 15, 16. That's the marketing plan. It's all been the marketing plan. Since my father started smoking when he was 13, and he would say to me, Eddie, you have no idea how hard it is to stop. You have no idea how much I need to smoke, how much I need the nicotine. And you could see it. And is it started when he was a kid. And that's the way it begins, because people don't start smoking when they're 20 years of age. We all know that. Everyone listening to this knows that. And that's why this marketing campaign is so invidious. That's why what they're doing plays right into what we've known for a century is the business plan of the tobacco industry. So I urge the F.D.A. to act. I urge the members of this body to rise up to ensure that we don't have another generation that suffers the same fate as the previous generations have, in fact, had to live with, which is this addiction that is given to them at a very young age."

Wrap Up (The Senate Stands Adjourned)

Wrap Up

Apr 30 2015 06:13 PM

Monday, May 4 –

  • The Senate will convene at 3:00 PM.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the veto message to accompany S.J. Res. 8, the NLRB ambush elections resolution of disapproval.
  • At 5:30 PM, the Senate will conduct a roll call veto override VOTE on S.J. Res. 8.