Schumer, Whitehouse (UC), Leahy, Risch, Cornyn, Rubio, Schumer, Hatch (Note: Floor updates will be suspended until 9:00 a.m. Wednesday)

Executive Session (Sessions Nomination)

Senator Schumer: (9:32 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Sen. Warren's speech.
    • "If the average American heard someone read a letter from Coretta Scott King that said what it said, they would not be offended. They would say, that's someone's opinion. That's all. It seems to me we could use rule XIX almost every day on the floor of the Senate. This is selective enforcement and another example of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle escalating the partisanship and further decreasing comity in the Senate."

 

Senator Whitehouse: (9:33 p.m.)

  • Unanimous consent –
    • I ask unanimous consent that the complete letter from which Sen. Warren read be made a part of the Congressional Record to confirm that she has in fact read from it.
    • (Sen. Risch objects)

 

Senator Leahy: (9:35 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Sen. Warren's speech.
    • "This is fascinating. I would say to my colleagues, I've served here longer than any member of this body. Been here 42 years. I've been here when Democrats were in the majority and when the Republicans were in the majority, with Democratic presidents and Republican presidents. I never, ever saw a time when a member of the Senate who asked to put into the record a letter, especially by a civil rights icon, and somebody objected. It's always been done. I've had letters that people have asked to put in that are contrary to the position I might take. Of course I would not object. They're allowed to do that. I've seen letters from members on both sides of the aisle have debated back and forth, and the other side would put in letters that were contrary to their opponent's positions, and of course nobody objected. Don't let the Senate turn into something it's never been before."

 

Senator Risch: (9:37 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Sen. Warren's speech.
    • "I'm the one that entered the objection. Let me say to my good friend who just spoke, I agree with him 100 percent that we should get back to what made the Senate great. We have rules around here, and the rules are very clear, that you don't impugn another senator. Now, you can't do that in your words and you can't do it with writings. You can't hold up a writing that impugns another senator and say, well, this is what somebody else said. I'm not saying it. But that's okay. It is not okay. It is a violation of the rules, and we should get back to what made this Senate great, and that is staying within the rules, staying within civility, and not impugning another senator whether it is through words or whether it's through writings."

 

Senator Cornyn: (9:42 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Sen. Warren's speech.
    • "I just want the record to be abundantly clear. The language that resulted in the vote that we had invoking rule XIX was related to a quotation from Sen. Ted Kennedy that called the nominee a disgrace to the Justice Department and he should withdraw his nomination and resign his position. That was the quote. Our colleagues want to try to make this all about Coretta Scott King and it is not. I think the complete context should be part of the record."

 

Senator Rubio: (9:46 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Sen. Warren's speech.
    • "And I want everybody to understand at the end of the night, this is not a partisan issue. It really is not. I can tell you this with full confidence, if one of my colleagues on this side of the aisle had done that, I would like to think that I would have been one of the people objecting, and here's why. Turn on the news and watch these parliaments around the world where people throw chairs at each other and punches and ask yourself how does that make you feel about those countries? It doesn't give you a lot of confidence about those countries. I'm not arguing that we're anywhere near that here tonight, but we're flirting with it. We're flirting with it in this body and we are flirting with it in this country. We have become a society incapable of having debates anymore. In this country, if you watch the big policy debates that are going on in America, no one ever stops to say I think you're wrong, I understand your point of view, I get it, you have some valid points, but let me tell you why I think my view is better. I don't hear that anymore. Here's what I hear almost automatically, and let me be fair, from both sides of these debates. Immediately, immediately, as soon as you offer an idea, the other side jumps and says the reason why you say that is because you say you don't care about poor people, because you only care about rich people, because you're this, that, or the other."

 

Senator Schumer: (9:54 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Sen. Warren's speech.
    • "I don't want to prolong this much more. I would just in light of what my friend from Florida said, reread what I said earlier. If average Americans heard someone read a letter from Coretta Scott King that said what it said, they would not be offended. They would say that's someone's opinion. That's all. It seems to me we could use rule XIX almost every day on the floor of the Senate, as my colleague from Maine so poignantly and piquantly exhibited a few minutes ago. This selective enforcement is another example of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle escalating the partisanship and further decreasing the comity of the Senate, which I treasure as well. This was unnecessary."

 

Senator Hatch: (9:55 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Sen. Warren's speech.
    • "Everything doesn't have to lead to a gut fight on the floor, but that's where we're going, and frankly, there is an awful lot of politics being played here, sometimes on both sides. Look, I happen to like the distinguished senator from Massachusetts. I think she is an intelligent, lovely woman in many ways, but I've got to tell you, I listened to her for quite a while, and she didn't have a good thing to say about a fellow senator here. And I frankly don't think that's right. If we don't respect each other, we're going down a very steep path to oblivion. I would hope that both sides would take stock of these debates. We can differ. We understand that the Democrats are not happy with the current president. We're happy with him. We can differ on that. And we can fight over various issues and so forth. But to attack a fellow senator without reservation seems to me the wrong thing to do. It may not have risen to the level of a violation of the rules, but I think it comes close."