McConnell, Reid

Opening Remarks

Today –

  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business until 10:00 AM, with senators permitted to speak for 10 minutes each.
  • At 10:00 AM, the Senate proceed to the consideration of H.R. 1295 (shell for S. 1267, preferences) and H.R. 644 (shell for S. 1269, customs), with the time until noon equally divided.
  • At noon, the Senate will VOTE on passage of:


1.1.H.R. 1295, as amended (60 affirmative vote threshold); and

2.2.H.R. 644, as amended (60 affirmative vote threshold).

  • Following the noon votes, the time until 2:00 PM will be equally divided.
  • At 2:00 PM, the Senate will VOTE on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 1314, the legislative vehicle for the Trade Promotion Authority legislation, upon reconsideration.
  • Note: If cloture is invoked on H.R. 1314, the 30 hours of post-cloture consideration will be deemed expired at 10:00 P.M. on Thursday night.


Senator Mcconnell: (9:32 AM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "Under our plan, the Senate will avoid the poison pills that have been floated in favor of the very type of bipartisan approach we have been advocating all along. It follows the regular order. It allows senators to express themselves without endangering more American trade jobs for the people we represent. So this is good news. It's good news for bipartisanship, it's good news for a new Congress that's getting back to work. And it's good news for America's middle class. The people we represent deserve the kind of good jobs we could secure by knocking down unfair trade barriers. One estimate shows that trade agreements with Europe and the pacific could support as many as 1.4 million additional jobs here in our country. In Kentucky, they could support more than 18,000 additional jobs. But we can't get there without first passing the kind of legislation we'll vote to open debate on this afternoon. It's the only way to enact clear standards and guidelines our trade negotiators need to move forward and that Congress needs to appropriately assert its authority in this area."
  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "We warned that providing a supposed health coverage without actually giving someone access to health care is really just a hollow promise. You can promise coverage, but it doesn't mean anything if there's nobody there to care for the people who are covered. The same could be said of warnings regarding the impact of Obamacare's deep Medicare cuts. And the impact of that on hospitals. I wish the people, the politicians who ran ObamaCare through over the objections of the American people had heeded these warnings. We made all these warnings six years ago. So this is just one more reminder why ObamaCare is bad for Kentucky, why it's bad for the middle class and why it's bad for our country, but here's the good news. The new Congress just passed a balanced budget this week with legislative tools that will allow us to begin to address ObamaCare's broken promises."


Senator Reid: (9:42 AM)

  • Spoke on the NSA.
    • "The House yesterday, as I've indicated, voted in favor of reform overwhelmingly, but Republicans in the Senate want to move forward without making any changes, I don't think so. The Republican leader isolated his desire for a clean extension of illegal spying programs. For example, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives, Mr. Goodlatte, said yesterday if the House gets an extension of FISA, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, it will go nowhere, it is dead, according to the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Republicans and Democrats have vowed to filibuster a clean extension if the Republican leader brings one to the floor. That's what's going to happen here in the Senate. I've heard extended statements by the junior senator from Kentucky who says that. There are others who feel the same way. Even if my friend plows forward in face of what the bipartisan opposition is to this matter, it will take a week at least to secure the vote, and maybe that isn't even possible. We have a chance to take bipartisan action that protects American civil liberties. It would be irresponsible for us to squander this opportunity."
  • Spoke on Amtrak.
    • "There are members of the Republican Senate who have for years denigrated, belittled and harmed the Amtrak system. I've watched this and it's really unfair. They've attacked Amtrak every year, every appropriation process. Many on the far right regularly try to punch the nation's train system right in the gut. They've made it a punching bag. And yesterday the House of Representatives approved a bill that underfunds Amtrak by another $250 million. A day after that tragic accident, they say we're going to help Amtrak by cutting spending another $250 million. The nation's train system can be efficient and it can be productive. It can be a point of national pride. But too often, the neglect of Amtrak has left America's train system a disappointing embarrassment. Amtrak is a vital part of our nation's economy, and everyone should understand that. It helps, I repeat, millions and millions of people get to where they need to go."
  • Spoke on ObamaCare.
    • "Number one, there's 17 million people that now have health insurance that didn't. Using his own numbers, he said one out of every five people go to the emergency room in Kentucky had insurance, private insurance. Well, four-fifths of them had no insurance. They have it now. Rather than cut health insurance funding in the Republican budget, they should not be doing that. The reason there's long waiting lines is because the Republicans aren't helping us fund Medicare and Medicaid in the appropriate fashion. The late-senator Ted Kennedy once said, "An essential part of our Progressive vision is an America where no citizen of any age fears the cost of health care." We're not there yet. But since the affordable care act became law, that vision has become more of a reality every day."