McConnell, Reid

Opening Remarks

Today –

  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 1314, the legislative vehicle for the Trade Promotion Authority bill.
  • Note: At approximately 5:00 PM, all post-cloture time on Hatch Substitute Amendment #1221 will expire.

 

Senator McConnell: (9:32 AM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "This bill represents an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to stand together for the middle class. So I hope our friends across the aisle will allow us to seize this opportunity and I'm optimistic. We all know that trade is important for American workers and American jobs. And we all know that by passing this legislation, we can show we're serious about advancing new opportunities for bigger American paybacks - paychecks, better American jobs, and a stronger American economy. Now, we want to process as many amendments as we can. The Republican and Democratic bill managers, Senator Hatch and Senator Wyden, have done a great job managing this bill in a bipartisan spirit thus far. My hope is that with some cooperation across the aisle we can vote on some amendments today and complete our work on this trade legislation today."
  • Spoke on the PATRIOT Act.
    • "This is just as cynical as the letter from the attorney general and the director of national intelligence that assured us they would let us know about any problems after the current program was replaced with a nonexistent system. Boy, that's reassuring. This is beyond troubling. We should not establish an alternate system that contains a glaring hole in its ability to function; namely, the complete absence of any requirement for data retention. Now, I've begun the legislative process to advance a 60-day extension of section 215 and the other two authorities that will expire soon. This extension will allow for the Intelligence Committee to continue its efforts to produce a compromise bill we can send to the House that does not destroy an important counterterrorism tool that's needed to protect American lives."

 

Senator Reid: (9:45 AM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "I'm happy that multinational corporations are doing well, but my first goal is not them. It's people who work for a living, middle-class Americans who work so hard, first of all, to find a job. Once they find a job, they do everything they can to hang on to that job. And the trade bill is another example of how we have ignored in this Congress working men and women of this country. I so admire our ranking member of the Banking Committee, Senator Brown, of Ohio. He's done a remarkably good job of pointing out what is wrong with the trade bill. It passed, and I understand this. I accept this. The vast majority of Democrats opposed it, but there are some who didn't. And I respect them and I respect their judgment. I'm not here to criticize them. I'm here to criticize the underlying legislation which on everything else we haven't done here in this Republican-led Senate has done nothing to help the middle class."
  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "We have 64,000 bridges in America that are structurally deficient. 50% of our highways, roads are deficient. And we do nothing. Likely what will happen here in the next day or two is that we will extend the highway authorization for 60 days. It should be pretty easy to do because we've done it 32 other times. Since Republicans came to town and started flexing their muscles, we found a situation where they are unwilling to help middle-class Americans. Think about that. 64,000 bridges that are structurally deficient. Now does this really matter? Talk to people in Minnesota. One of the bridges that collapsed, 13 people died."
  • Spoke on the PATRIOT Act.
    • "I repeat, the bill passed by a four-to-one margin in the House of Representatives. My friend, the Republican leader, talks continually about bipartisanship. We got one, a piece of legislation for one of the rare times out of the House, here's bipartisan efforts made and it worked. They passed this bill. And we should do the same before we leave here rather than, again, extending a program that there's efforts made to extend a program that's already been declared by the Second Circuit Court of appeals of the United States, already declared a illegal. How can we extend an illegal act? But that's what some of the talk is from the other side of the aisle. I think that's unfortunate and I think that we should make sure that before we leave here we do what our intelligence community suggests to us and in very strong words, that we simply move forward on the legislation that has a name that certainly maybe says it all, and that is the United States freedom -- U.S.A. Freedom."