McConnell, Schumer

Opening Remarks

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m. 
  • Following any leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes.
  • Note: on Tuesday cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #52, Richard Lighthizer, of Maine, to be United States Trade Representative, with the rank of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary. 

 

Senator McConnell: (9:33 a.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute of the Bluegrass Chapter Honor Flight.
    • "Today is it's my privilege to welcome a distinguished group of Kentuckians to our nation's capital. Because of the incredible work of the honor flight program, over 80 World War II, Korea, and Vietnam veterans from across my home state will travel to Washington. Here, they will see the memorials built to honor their service. The Bluegrass Chapter Honor Flight has brought hundreds of veterans, most of them Kentuckians to Washington, for this purpose. Despite the significant logistical and financial planning that goes into these trips, honor flight works to make sure that veterans have the opportunity to travel at no cost to themselves."
  • Spoke on health care reform.
    • "Now on another matter, I'm glad to see many of our Democratic friends here with us today. Yesterday they sent me a letter indicating they want to participate as we work on legislation that can bring relief from Obamacare. In that letter, they acknowledged the need to improve and reform the health care system. After eight years of defending this will failing law and its higher costs, reduced choices and dropped coverage, I'm glad to hear that Senate Democrats are finally willing to concede that the status quo is simply unsustainable. I appreciate their willingness to acknowledge that Obamacare hasn't lived up to its promises. That certainly is a reality that Senate Republicans entirely agree with. It's why we're working to keep our commitment to the American people to move beyond the failures of Obamacare. If our friends on the other side of the aisle want to join us in replacing Obamacare with commonsense reforms, I welcome their input. It's disappointing that it's taken our democratic colleagues this long to come around but I look forward to hearing robust debate on the Senate floor as we pursue smart healthcare solutions."
  • Spoke on the firing of F.B.I Director James Comey.
    • "Whatever one thinks that the manner in which director James Comey handled the investigation into Secretary Clinton's unauthorized use of a private server and her mishandling of classified information, it is clear what our Democratic colleagues thought of it both at that time and consistently thereafter. Last year the current Democratic leader said it appeared to be an appalling act, one that he said goes against the tradition of prosecutors at every level of government. And the prior Democratic leader, when I asked if James Comey should resign given his conduct of the legislation, he replied of course. Yes. It's also clear what our Democratic colleagues think of the man who evaluated Mr. Comey's professional conduct and concluded that the bureau needed a change in leadership. The Democratic leader just a few weeks ago praised Mr. Rosenstein for his independence and said he had developed a reputation for integrity this is what we have now, Mr. President. Our Democratic colleagues complaining about the removal of an F.B.I director whom they themselves repeatedly and sharply criticized. That removal being done by a man, Rod Rosenstein, who they repeatedly and effusively praised. Mr. Rosenstein recommended Mr. Comey's removal for many of the reasons they consistently complained about."

 

Senator Schumer: (9:42 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the firing of F.B.I Director James Comey.
    • "Yesterday the president fired the director of the F.B.I, Jim Comey, who is leading an active investigation into the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia. The president provided no reasoning for the firing other than he had the recommendation of his attorney general who has already had to recuse himself from the Russia investigation for being too close to the president and his deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. Mr. President, there is little reason to think that Mr. Rosenstein's letter is the true reason that President Trump fired Director Comey. Why? Because if the administration truly had objections to the way Director Comey handled the Clinton investigation, they would have had them the minute the president got into office. But he didn't fire Director Comey then. The question is, why did it happen last night? We know Director Comey was leading an investigation in whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. A serious offense. Were those investigations getting too close to home for the president? The dismissal of Director Comey establishes a very troubling pattern. This administration has now removed several law enforcement officials in a position to conduct independent investigations of the president and his administration, from acting Attorney General Sally Yates, to Preet Baharara and now Jim Comey. What should happen now? What must happen now is that Mr. Rosenstein appoints a special prosecutor to oversee this investigation."