Portman, Whitehouse, Smith, Bennet, Wyden

Executive Session (Rettig Nomination)

Senator Portman: (5:00 p.m.)

  • Spoke on opioid legislation.
    • "Because of the dangerous hurricanes that are approaching our coast, it looks like the vote we had expected tomorrow and the debate we expected tomorrow on the opioid package may be postponed based on what I just heard from the majority leader. But the next several days, the senate is expected to take up comprehensive legislation that comes from four or five different committees in congress to fight the addiction crisis, to help our communities combat some of the deadliest aspects of the crisis nationally. And this help is urgently needed. Let's start with talking about how congress got here. First, just a couple of years ago we passed two bills in this congress that were historic and making a difference. One is called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act or CARA."


Senator Whitehouse: (5:16 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "Here's the same chart for solar power. Utility-scale solar costs have dropped 86% over that same time period. In some scenarios, rights Lazard, the full life cycle costs of building and operating renewables-based projects have dropped below the operating costs alone of conventional generation technologies such as coal or nuclear. And when you look at the drop in solar costs compared to other resources, you see how dramatic the change has been. This is from the world economic forum. The renewable energy industry in America has grown to 3.3 million jobs, more than all fossil fuel jobs."


Senator Smith: (5:25 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "Climate change is a dire threat to our environment and to our children's future. And yet if we rise to the challenge of responding to climate change, it will offer us major economic opportunity. The clean energy transition is already creating jobs, reducing the costs of generating electricity, clearing the air, and improving our health. The old idea that responding to climate change comes at the expense of the American economy is outdated and inaccurate. The clean energy economy is the economy of the 21st century. We see this every day in Minnesota, which is a national leader in the clean energy transition. The climate is rapidly changing, and these changes are caused by human activities that release greenhouse gases."


Senator Bennet: (5:36 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "The numbers do tell us that the economy is strong and getting stronger, and that's a good thing. But they also tell us that the economy has been strengthening since it 2010 after President Obama acted to save us from another great depression and when some members of Congress wouldn't lift a finger to help him. And during President Obama's term, even as the economic data showed, more and more investment and more growth, the other side talked down the recovery because even though it was good for America, it didn't help them win elections. As a candidate, this was Donald Trump's specialty."


Senator Wyden: (5:46 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Charles Rettig to be Commissioner of Internal Revenue.
    • "And let's be clear, this is not a typical I.R.S. commissioner debate. Over the last several months, the Trump administration has weaponized the tax code to punish its political adversaries and benefit shadowy, far-right groups that seek to buy American elections. Two months ago, just hours after Maria Buttina was outed as an alleged Russian spy who sought to influence our elections, the Trump administration announced a new rule opening the floodgate to more dark money and foreign money in American politics. Dark money groups used to be required to disclose their donors to the I.R.S. With this new Trump rule, they won't be required to disclose at all."