Blumenthal, Cornyn, Jones, Nelson, Thune

Executive Session (Baiocco Nomination)

Senator Blumenthal: (11:09 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Dana Baiocco to be a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    • "And so that agency is already resource starved. It is already depleted in terms of the support that it needs in Congress, and already it needs zealous and relentless advocacy. The individuals who are members of that board should be dedicated to that mission and to the safety and well-being of consumers above all. That's their mission. And so today when we consider the nomination of Dana Baiocco, we should keep in mind that no matter how able and skilled and experienced a litigator she is, the question is whether she will devote those skills, ability, and experience to the mission of this agency. Unfortunately, every sign that she has given indicate that her goal will be contrary to the agency's mission."

 

Senator Cornyn: (11:22 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "So what we're beginning to see is the slumbering giant of the American economy wake up and grow. People have confidence again, optimism in the future, which is a good thing. Unemployment fell to 3.9% recently, which is the lowest in 17 years. And 14 states hit record low employment, unemployment as well. As I said, consumer confidence is high. As a matter of fact, it's at an 18-year high. And the tax reform package we passed last December has been the biggest single game changer, although I want to talk about regulations here in a minute. But the tax reform package got America back in the game. It made us more competitive globally as a place where people who want to invest money and create a business or grow their business, it's attractive finally."
  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • "One of the most significant things that the Trump Administration has done is nominate and see the Senate confirm a record number of judges. Judges who, by the way, are committed to faithfully interpreting the Constitution and not legislate from the bench because of their personal preferences. If you want to pursue a personal agenda or political agenda, you ought to run for Congress, not seek the federal bench because we expect and demand something different out of judges, which is faithful adherence to the law, not imposing their personal policy preferences, and that's what President Trump has prioritized in his nominees and the nominees we've confirmed."
  • Spoke on the V.A. Mission Act.
    • "Frequently the spouse of that wounded warrior has to quit his or her job and come care for their loved one, and it's really an important aspect of the continuum of care for them to get back on their feet. We're going to provide greater access to caregiver assistance so that spouses and family members can do exactly that, and it's the right thing for us to do. Our V.A. Mission bill also authorizes access to walk-in clinics, it removes bureaucratic red-tape. In this new technological age, it makes no sense to have restrictions on the ability for people to get access to care through telemedicine when and where appropriate."

 

Senator Jones: (11:40 a.m.)

  • Spoke on rural healthcare.
    • "These persistent gaps in health care inevitably lead to poor health outcomes. As a result, life expectancy for rural Alabamaians is approximately six months lower than those who reside in urban areas, and three and a half years lower than people living in the rest of the country. In some parts of my state the outlook is even worse. In Wilcox County, for example, life expectancy is nine years lower than the national average. That is unacceptable, Mr. President. The county of your birth or where you choose to live should not dictate the quality of your life much less your life expectancy."

 

Senator Nelson: (11:49 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Dana Baiocco to be a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    • "And so a small modification, if those had been in place last summer, it's very likely that some of those Floridians who lost their lives would still be with us. And that brings me to Mrs. Baiocco's nomination. Now, she certainly has a distinguished legal career. She's been a partner of a major law firm. And I congratulate her on that. But when she was in front of our Commerce Committee, when she was asked would she support a mandatory standard requiring that generators have mechanisms that limit carbon monoxide emissions or other devices that switch the generators off when the carbon monoxide level rises to dangerous levels, her response was that we should defer to a voluntary industry standard."

 

Senator Thune: (12:03 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Dana Baiocco to be a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    • "To date, Mr. President, I have not heard a single argument against Mr. Baiocco's abilities, notwithstanding her extensive qualifications to be a commissioner at the CPSC, however, some colleagues on the other side have voiced concern about her nomination on the grounds that her career representing business clients in the consumer product and liability space may impact her impartiality when considering issues before the commission. A few have raised issues about her impartiality because of her spouse's career as a litigator at the law firm of White and Williams. Mr. President, to my colleagues who harbor such concerns, I would note that the senate routinely confirms nominees who are lawyers with private practice backgrounds and we expect such office holders to advocate for the public interest just as zealously as they would for their clients."