Schumer, Whitehouse, Warren, Flake

Executive Session (Brennan Nomination)

Senator Schumer: (10:28 a.m.)

  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • "Well, Madam President, later today, the Senate will vote on the confirmation of Michael Brennan to the seventh circuit. Over the objection of one of his home state senators, Senator Baldwin, who has not returned a blue slip on his nomination. It's an abject breach of senatorial courtesy that both parties have long respected. In fact, the seat Mr. Brennan will fill on the seventh circuit has been held open for six years by the senior senator from Wisconsin, Senator Johnson, via the same process, the blue slip. When Barack Obama was president, when Patrick Leahy was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, we Democrats obeyed the blue slip, and it led that seat to be vacant for six years."
  • Spoke on North Korea.
    • "Early this morning, the three American hostages who were being held in North Korea were returned home. It was great to see them come home, be back in America, back with their families. It's a wonderful thing. But exultation of the president and others of the greatness of North Korea doing this evades me. We can't be fooled into giving the North Korean regime credit for turning Americans that never should have been detained in the first place. American citizens are not diplomatic bargaining chips. So while we celebrate the return of the three Americans for the sake of their freedom and their families, we should not feel like we need to give Kim Jong-un anything in return."
  • The Iran deal.
    • "We don't want a nuclear Iran, one of the reasons I opposed the deal, but there's no report from anybody, including our own intelligence, that Iran's violating that part of the deal. But in the meantime, Iran's doing some very bad things. They're not a country that we should admire or respect in any way, the leadership anyway. They are dealing - trying to develop an ICBM. They are creating havoc with the Houthis in Yemen. And worst of all in my opinion, the greatest immediate danger, the Iranian revolutionary guards are in Syria, right near Israel's border and hundred fs not thousands of rock -- hundreds, if not thousands of rockets, deadly rockets that Iran gives to Hezbollah, a militant terrorist organization, they placed in Yemen. That's the greatest danger to Israel."
  • Spoke on prescription drugs.
    • "Finally, on prescription drugs. Tomorrow the president will give a speech on another important topic in American health care. The high cost of prescription drug prices. He's right to give that speech. Americans suffer from the highest prescription drug costs in the developed world. On average Americans pay over $850 a year on prescription drugs compared to an average of $400 across 19 other industrialized nations."


Senator Whitehouse: (10:53 a.m.)

  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • "People don't necessarily know what a blue slip is, but there has been a tradition with respect to United States attorneys, local United States district judges, United States marshals, and the seats on the United States circuit courts of appeal that are by tradition associated with a particular state. With respect to all of those nominations, there has been a tradition that they require the approval of the home state senators. And the mechanism for that approval is called a blue slip, and there actually is a blue slip. And the tradition in the Senate Judiciary Committee that was very rigorously enforced most recently by Chairman Leahy when he was chairman is that a nominee for one of those offices does not get a hearing and cannot proceed without the blue slip of the home state senators."


Senator Warren: (11:10 a.m.)

  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • "Mr. President, we're facing an unprecedented attack on our courts. This week, once again, Senator McConnell has scheduled confirmation votes on a slate of extremist judicial court nominees, nominees who have demonstrated that they are not committed to the principle of equal justice under law. In this administration, senate Republicans have been working at break-neck speed to jam our courts with pro-corporate, narrow-minded elitists who will tilt the scales of justice in favor of the rich and powerful and against everyone else, and they are willing to bend and break and change every rule in the book to do it."


Senator Flake: (11:24 a.m.)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "I think median age of two and a half or so. I'm sorry, I think 6 years old median age. But it's not their fault that they were brought here this way. But they are for all intents and purposes American, everything without the papers. Many of them graduated from college now and face an uncertain future in the job market. Many of them are in school looking to continue that education. Many of them have served in our military. We've got to do right by them and do what's good for the country as well. And I think this legislation would do that. Unfortunately, some of the colleagues here have repeatedly chosen to block the measure."