Merkley, Lankford, Coons, Cornyn, Blunt, McCaskill

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Senator Merkley: (11:30 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "As ranking member of the Agriculture Subcommittee, I rise today to discuss the agriculture appropriations bill. This is a good bill that was drafted in a bipartisan manner and passed out of committee unanimously. A big thanks to Chairman Hoeven for his hard work on the bill as well as to members of his team who worked very closely with members of my team throughout this process and considered requests and concerns from senators on both sides of the aisle. In his budget request, President Trump proposed more than a 25% cut to USDA's funding. He also zeroed out a number of important programs including programs that benefit rural America, along with research programs and domestic and international nutrition programs."


Senator Lankford: (11:40 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "It's been months in process, many oversight hearings, a lot of debate, a lot of amendments to be able to go back and forth, and a tremendous amount of input from members all over this body but it's finally actually on this floor. It's been nearly seven years since the financial services and general government appropriations bill has been considered on the Senate floor. On November of 2011, the Senate began consideration of a combined appropriations package for energy and water, financial services, state and foreign operations. And fortunately the floor consideration of that bill was halted shortly after it began and members were not able to offer amendments or have their voices heard. "


Senator Coons: (11:48 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "It appropriates $26.88 billion, a small increase over the omnibus bill enacted earlier this year. I would like to take this opportunity on how this will impact Delawareans and others across the country. It has $250 million for the community institutional fund which supports development in some of America's poorest communities. The president's budget looked to cut it down, the House FSGG bill restored some of that funding. I'm proud this bipartisan Senate bill restores all of the funding for this effective and vital program. This bill also rejects the transfer of two vital antidrug abuse programs, the high intensity drug traffic being area program and drug-free communities from the drug control policy to the Justice Department."



Senator Cornyn: (12:01 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "And we have heard this from both people who share his judicial philosophy and those who do not share his judicial philosophy. A broad mutual respect for his intellect and his integrity. We have heard about his mentorship of law clerks, both men and women, liberal and conservative, and received testimonies as I say from across the ideological spectrum. Last week, a group of 84 students from Harvard Law School where Judge Kavanaugh taught sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. They have a variety of perspectives, as you might imagine, on judicial philosophy and a wide range of political views, but they all agreed that Judge Kavanaugh is a rigorous thinker, a devoted teacher, and a gracious person."
  • Spoke on CFIUS.
    • "The House and Senate conferees announced an agreement on the National Defense Authorization Act, the NDAA, as we call it, and I'm glad to hear in the final version that it included legislation I sponsored called FIRRMA, the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act. The senior senator from California, Mrs. Feinstein, was my bipartisan cosponsor. I'd like to thank Senator Crapo, chairman of the banking committee, who ushered this legislation through that committee, passed unanimously, and Senator Inhofe for leading the conference here on the Senate side, and from seeing that this important piece of legislation was included."


Senator Blunt: (12:14 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent tragedy on Table Rock Lake in Missouri.
    • "Mr. President, I'm here today to remember the 17 victims who lost their lives last week in the tragic boat accident on Table Rock Lake in Missouri. I lived at Branson at one time. Our home in Missouri is in Springfield now. It's a community that I represented in the Congress for 14 years before the chance to represent them in the Senate, and of course the community has responded, but one of the reasons that the community has responded in the way that it has is the truly tragic loss of life. There were 31 people on the boat that was overwhelmed by the water. Those 31 people, 17 died. Of the 17 that died, nine of the victims were members of the Coleman family from Indianapolis, Indiana."


Senator McCaskill: (12:22 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent tragedy on Table Rock Lake in Missouri.
    • "Sad that it would take a tragedy like this to get this thing moving, but I believe by the end of the day I'm at least optimistic at this point. I don't know what my colleague Senator Blunt has learned, but I've learned that it appears that these nominees will be approved by the end of the day. This - and there were incredibly difficult weather conditions. But there's inherent dangers in these amphibious vehicles, and we know this. How do we know this? Because it's been investigated before. We've had 40 deaths associated with the duck boats since 1999, yet there has been little done to address the inherent dangers of these amphibious vehicles."