Durbin, Cantwell, Murkowski, Grassley, Inhofe

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Senator Durbin: (3:47 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "You recall statements that he made about the construction of a wall on the southern border of the United States. He called it big glorious, 2,000 mile wall and he promised us the Mexicans would pay for it. Over and over he promised us they would pay for it. That wasn't the only recognition made during the campaign so it came as no surprise when President Trump was elected immigration was an issue in his administration. It is ironic in a way that this nation of immigrants called America would have such struggles these days with the issue of immigration. Many of us can trace our origins to recent immigrants. In my own case, my mother who was an immigrant to this country, and here her son turned out to have a full-time government job as a United States senator."
  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "Since I'm the ranking Democrat or vice chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I know how hard it is to take a bill of this complexity and size and work out a political compromise. But the national defense authorization act achieved that and did it with many extraordinary efforts when it came to defense and foreign policy. No compromise is perfect, but I am troubled and disappointed by several particular provisions in the bill, and I wanted to speak to them on the floor before the bill comes up for consideration later this week. This last January, Secretary of Defense Mattis, whom I respect greatly and voted for, argued that we are seeing, quote, the long-term strategic competition, especially against Russia and China."


Senator Cantwell: (4:17 p.m.)

  • Spoke on skills training.
    • "Every student in the united States should have the opportunity to learn about the internet, about algorithms and about applications. In Washington we're making progress in this area because 13% of our high schools offer coding classes but still more needs to be done. According to a great organization code.org, 90% of parents in the United States want their children to study or understand computer science. However, only 40% of their children are taught anything about computer programming. Computer jobs are the number one source of new jobs in the country. Currently, there are more than 500,000 computer job openings in the United States. And this is a skills gap that we have to close if we want to continue to develop these new products and services."


Senator Murkowski: (4:26 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Lieutenant General Michael Shields, USA.
    • "And I wanted to thank Mike on behalf of my Senate colleagues and the people of Alaska for his outstanding service as he retired from active duty. Mike received his commission through the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps at Norwich University in 1983 and like so many of Alaska's best and finest citizens, we've just kind of adopted him. He came to Alaska to serve. He came to love our state, and we just loved him right back. I first came to know Mike as Colonel Shields when he was commanding the 172nd Striker Brigade Combat Team known as the Arctic Wolves at Fort Wainwright and he led the brigade during the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom."


Senator Grassley: (4:38 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
    • "So, as I've done several times here in recent days, I'm here to correct the record. So let me start by reiterating that the confirmation process for Judge Kavanaugh will be the most transparent in history. That's from the availability of all the documents that are out there for our colleagues to study about this nominee. Senators already have access to the most important part of Judge Kavanaugh's record, his more than 300 opinions written during his 12 years on the D.C. Circuit. In addition to the hundreds more opinions he joined and the more than 6,000 pages submitted in connection with his Senate Judiciary questionnaire, moreover the national - the Senate will receive more pages of executive branch documents than the senate received for any Supreme Court nominee ever."


Senator Inhofe: (4:55 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "You know, I don't mean this in a partisan way, but we had eight years of the Obama administration, and I think that one thing that I have always appreciated about previously Senator Obama, then-President Obama, is that he is a real sincere, in the heart liberal. And quite often the priorities of those individuals are not the same as they are as some of us particularly in national defense. So we are really hurting. At the end of the Obama administration, in 2016, only 33% of our brigade combat teams were ready at sufficient levels to be deployed. Only a quarter of our aviation brigades were ready. And just 40% of the Marines' F-18s were flyable. The Marines use the F-18, only 40% because the first thing somebody does when he's cutting down the expense of a strong military is do away with the maintenance."