McConnell, Reid

Opening Remarks

Today –

  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business until 5:00 PM, with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each.
  • At 4:00 PM, there is a filing deadline for all first-degree amendments to both H.R. 2146, the legislative vehicle for the Trade Promotion Authority bill, and H.R. 1295, the preferences and Trade Adjustment Assistance bill.
  • At 5:30 PM, the Senate will conduct up to two confirmation VOTES on:
  • Executive Calendar #156, Peter V. Neffenger, to be an assistant secretary of Homeland Security; and
  • Executive Calendar #124, Daniel R. Elliott III, to be a member of the Surface Transportation Board.
  • Note: Cloture has been filed on both H.R. 2146 and H.R. 1295.

 

Senator McConnell: (3:02 PM)

  • Spoke on the Neffenger nomination.
    • "We'll vote to bring long overdue leadership to an agency in urgent need of reform and culture change and that's the T.S.A. I wish the White House hadn't waited six months to send us a nominee to lead this troubled agency. But now that the administration finally has, we're glad to see it's a highly qualified candidate like Peter V. Neffenger. It's never easy to ensure a Senate review process that's appropriately thorough yet necessarily expeditious in the face of so many months of White House delay but that's just what Chairman Thune and Chairman Johnson achieved with the nominee before us. I thank them both for their good work."
  • Spoke on trade.
    • "Now I know how important it is particularly for my friends on the other side of the aisle to get both T.P.A. and T.A.A., Trade Adjustment Assistance. That linkage has been acknowledged from the beginning of this process. It's why I set in motion a process last week - filing cloture on the vehicles for both T.P.A. and T.A.A. - so that we get one done followed immediately by the other. One will be done, followed immediately by the other. That will put both pieces of legislation on the president's desk before the July 1 state work period. I don't want anyone to think that we're getting T.P.A. done this week with a promise to get T.A.A. done at some other time. The process this week is very, very clear. We will vote on T.P.A. and then we will vote on T.A.A. So here is how that will look. Tomorrow we'll begin the process of approving T.P.A. The next day we'll begin the process of approving T.A.A. along with the AGOA and preferences measure. And before the week is out, I intend to go to conference on the customs bill. This is a bill with broad bipartisan support. Members of both sides want to get it done. And we are going to formally begin the process to complete our work on the customs bill."

 

Senator Reid: (3:07 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "Unless the Republican leader acts in just five days, for example, we'll see the consequences of another manufactured crisis. On June 30, the charter for the export-import bank is set to expire. This is serious business. This institution creates jobs for providing loans and loan guarantees to foreign customers to purchase American exports. This year alone the export-import bank supports 165,000 American jobs. 165,000 jobs that allowed American workers to earn a living. These jobs cost taxpayers zero - nothing. In fact, this bank saves the American taxpayer money. In the last ten years the bank has returned more than $7 billion to the U.S. Treasury."
  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "The Senate also faces another looming deadline manufactured by the Republican leadership. At the end of July, the Republican funding for the federal highway program will expire. In five days we lose the import bank. In just a few weeks we lose the highway program. Our nation's roads, bridges, highways and transit systems are in desperate need of repair. 64,000 bridges are in a state of being structurally deficient. This isn't 6,400. It's 64,000 bridges. And 50% of our roads are dangerously in need of repair. Still, Republicans in Congress have refused to work with Democrats to make adequate long-term investment in our country's surface transportation programs."