Alexander, Cornyn, Murray, Merkley

Executive Session (Muniz Nomination)

Senator Alexander: (2:13 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Carlos Muniz to be General Counsel of the Department of Education.
    • "I came to the floor last week to ask for this vote because I believe Mr. Muniz has been subjected to unreasonable delays. For example, Mr. Muniz was nominated by the president on June 6 of last year, 315 days ago. He's been pending on the floor since we reported him out of health, education, labor and pensions committee on October 18, 2017, 181 days ago. In other words, he's been waiting six months following his approval by the relevant committee for the senate to consider this nomination. So it's time to confirm him. Time to give Secretary Devos, an attorney and a general counsel."


Senator Cornyn: (2:17 p.m.)

  • Spoke on in tribute to former First Lady Barbara Bush.
    • "My wife, sandy and I have wonderful memories of Mrs. Bush flying around the state of Texas with us during my campaign for attorney general, that the former first lady of the United States was so willing to embark on this long day of campaigning speaks to her generosity and her devotion to causes she believed in. With her we always felt like we were flying in first class. Many kind things have already been said about the first lady's sharp wit and her sense of humor, her efforts to improve child literacy and her faith and loyalty to family and friends and all of those are true."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
    • "The junior senator from Virginia added that Pompeo has a keen understanding of the C.I.A.'s role and was knowledgeable about our nation's cyber threats. Those seem like pretty nice compliments and pretty accurate assessments to me. But now some Democrats are saying they oppose Pompeo's nomination for the State Department and on what ground? Is the C.I.A. any less important a job than the State Department? To be for Director Pompeo as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and against him for secretary of state seems to be unreconcilable. Some have attempted to justify their opposition saying he is somehow anti-diplomacy but that claim is frankly false."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "The good news is that the worst is behind us. As the majority leader wrote recently, there's a silver lining. Simply put, it's out with the old and in with the new. Yesterday was the last time American families will have to file under the unfair, convoluted and outdated tax code that Congress and the president got rid of a few months ago. Unfortunately, none of our Democratic colleagues supported the tax cuts and jobs act, none. All of them voted in lockstep no. That's right, every single Democrat in the House and every single Democrat in the Senate voted to block tax cuts for working families."


Senator Murray: (2:32 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Carlos Muniz to be General Counsel of the Department of Education.
    • "And it's absolutely critical that every student, no matter what age, is learning in a safe environment, free from discrimination, harassment, and violence. This should be at the core of our nation, that everyone has the trite a high-quality education no matter where they live or how they learn or how much money their parents make. Mr. President, as general counsel to the Department of Education, Mr. Muniz would be responsible for providing legal advice and assistance to Secretary Devos, and her first year in office has shown how much she needs it. Secretary Devos continues to push her extreme privatization agenda even though millions of students and parents and the teachers have stood up and rejected it."
  • Spoke on the nomination of James Bridenstine to be NASA Administrator.
    • "Since he was nominated to the -- to be administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, I have been expressing very strong and very serious concerns, and I wanted to come to the floor today to once again call on my colleagues to reject this nomination and to call on President Trump to send us a nominee that is worthy of the great legacy and incredible potential of our civil space program. My deep concerns with Representative Bridenstine fall into two categories. First of all, his fitness for leadership of an agency that is steeped in science, given his clear lack of understanding of basic scientific issues. And, secondly, his ability to lead an inclusive and forward-looking agency given his history of hateful, demeaning, and divisive comments and positions."


Senator Merkley: (2:42 p.m.)

  • Spoke on single-payer healthcare.
    • "Fortunately we have just such an option. It's called Medicare. It's time tested. It's well vetted. It's admired and desired by our seniors. And today Chris Murphy and I are introducing the Choose Medicare Act which creates a Medicare option for all. Putting consumers and businesses in the driver's seat on the pathway to universal health care. With the Choose Medicare Act, we affirm that here in America, health care is not a privilege for the wealthy and well connected. It is a right and a fundamental value to have health care for all. I'm pleased that we have been joined in introducing this today with nine of our additional colleagues as original cosponsors. Senators Baldwin and Senator Blumenthal and Senator Booker, Senator Harris and Senator Heinrich, Senator Shaheen and Senator Schatz, Senator Gillibrand and Senator Udall."