McConnell, Reid

Opening Remarks

Today –

  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business, with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each.
  • At 5:30 PM, the Senate will VOTE on passage of S. Con. Res. 16, the Stating the Policy of the United States Regarding the Release of United States Citizens in Iran.


Tuesday, May 12 –

  • At 2:30 PM, the Senate will VOTE on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 1314, the legislative vehicle for the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act.


Senator McConnell: (3:03 PM)

  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "Later this afternoon, we'll take up another Iran-related measure that I hope will pass with similar bipartisan enthusiasm. The junior senator from Idaho's resolution is simple - it calls on the administration to use the tools it has in pursuit of what should be a bipartisan goal, securing the release of American citizens being held as hostages by the regime in Iran. One of those Americans, Saeed Abedini has reportedly been held prisoner for what would be the supposed crime of attempting to build and operate an orphanage. The supposed crime of building and operating an orphanage. Beaten, denied access to medical care and locked away in solitary confinement. That's apparently how the Iranian regime deals with those who dare to show love and compassion to others. No Americans should find this acceptable. Just as no Americans should find it acceptable to unjustly imprison a reporter or a grandson coming to see his grandmother. I think we would all agree that at the very least the American government should not be rewarding Iran for its disgraceful human rights abuses."
  • Spoke on trade.
    • "One standout achievement was the Finance Committee's overwhelming passage of bipartisan trade legislation 20-6. It's incredibly important for American workers that we pass this bill. Without it, foreign countries will continue to be able to discriminate against American products and American produce while we have some of the lowest duties in the world. We need strong and fair trade legislation that expands Congress' oversight over the administration and sets clear rules and standards for its trade negotiators. That's the bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act in a nutshell, and yet some talk about preventing the Senate from even debating the bill. I would tell you, I think that would be a big mistake. The bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act reported by the finance committee is already a strong bill and we'll have an amendment process on the floor that will allow members the opportunity to advance their priorities. Voting to proceed to the bill is a vote that says this is worthy of debate, worthy of debate."


Senator Reid: (3:08 PM)

  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "The majority leader knows that the authorization for the federal highway program expires this month. Not next month. This month. He knows that the highway trust fund runs out of money a few weeks later. Why then are Republicans making no serious effort to pass a long-term reauthorization of the federal highway program? I can easily answer this question. They do not know how to pay for America's next jobs bill. So with no as the answer, they again do nothing. Another short-term extension. This is one of many, one of many. I think the last I remember, the last my staff brought me up to date, I think it's been 12 or 15 times it's been extended for short periods of time. This is not good. It is such bad news for every state, every state, because the directors of the Department of Transportation can't do anything long term. The only way you could have a good program for construction, you have to be able to look ahead."
  • Spoke on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
    • "I can't understand why we just don't wait until the House sends us that bill and we turn around immediately and give it back to the president as passed by the House of Representatives. The president will sign it. He realizes that the program has to be changed. You cannot reauthorize a program that's illegal. So I would hope that we could move forward on what the House has done. To his credit, Senator Leahy is not saying we have to do my bill. He's saying if we don't do my bill, that is Senator Leahy's bill, pass the House bill. That would be good. This is the only bipartisan, bicameral solution we have today that will end the illegal bulk collection program and reform and reauthorize key provisions of FISA. Otherwise - I'm not the only one. I'm told walking over here that the junior senator from Kentucky is not going to let extension of FISA take place. So why don't we just go ahead and get it done now? That is, when the House sends us their bill, say we're going to pass that, send it to the White House for signature. I hope the majority leader will reassess his priorities and instead choose to protect Americans' civil liberties."