McConnell, Schumer

Opening Remarks

Today –

  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business until 5:00 p.m.
  • At 5:00 p.m., the Senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of Executive Calendar #2, Rex W. Tillerson, of Texas, to be secretary of state, with 30 minutes of debate equally divided.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on the motion to invoke cloture on the Tillerson nomination.

 

Senator McConnell: (3:03 p.m.)

  • Spoke on coal regulations.
    • "I'm pleased the president has already begun to take steps to provide relief from several different regulations imposed by the former administration, regulations that for too long have stifled growth and held our country back. And together we can do more, including right here in Congress through the Congressional Review Act, or CRA, process. One of the first regulations we are working to address is to the so-called stream buffer rule, a harmful regulation put into place by the Obama administration at the 11th hour. One analysis estimates it could threaten one-third of the coal mining jobs - one-third. That's why so many across coal country have called for relief from this harmful attack."
  • Spoke on executive nominations.
    • "The Senate will continue working to put into place President Trump's Cabinet and tonight we will have a cloture vote on the nominee for secretary of state. This nominee is well-qualified, he's been a leader at one of America's largest employers, and he has the type of international work experience that will serve him well as our next secretary of state. We're looking forward to advancing his nomination tonight. Remember, it's in everybody's best interest to confirm each of the president's well-qualified nominees in a timely manner so they can begin the very important work before them, on matters of national security, the economy, health care, and so many others."
  • Spoke on the Supreme Court vacancy.
    • "My friend from New York said it was hard for him to imagine a nominee from President Trump who Senate Democrats could support. We don't even have one yet. I hope we can all skip past that and get down to our serious work. The election is behind us. The president has been working to make his decision on a nominee and we expect him to announce that decision tomorrow. The Senate should respect the result of the election and treat this newly elected president's nominee in the same way that nominees of other newly elected presidents have been treated, and that is with careful consideration followed by an up-or-down vote. We had two nominations in the first term of President Clinton. Ginsburg and Breyer both got up-or-down votes, there was no filibuster. We had two nominations in the first term of President Obama, Sotomayor and Kagan - no filibuster, up-or-down vote, first-term president. We have every right to expect the same courtesy from today's minority when we receive this nomination tomorrow."

 

Senator Schumer: (3:13 p.m.)

  • Spoke on President Trump's executive order on immigration.
    • "Our country has a grand and proud tradition of welcoming families like these with open arms. America is at her best when she is a safe harbor in a world of stormy seas. So I urge my Republican colleagues to help us overturn this wrongheaded, counterproductive, dangerous, and un-American executive order. So many of you know it's wrong. I understand party loyalty. I do. But what this order does is go against the grain that there are higher values at stake. Eleven of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have expressed reservations already. I urge them and others to back up the words with action. Let's repeal the order, and then sit down and thoughtfully and carefully construct a better way to keep our country safe from terrorism. President Obama toughened up vetting. If there is more vetting that has to be done, we'll be happy to look at it and work with you on it, but not something like this. So at 5:15 today, I'll be asking unanimous consent to call for a vote on a bill offered by my friend from California, Sen. Feinstein, the ranking Democrat - I'm hoping we get Republicans - the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, to overturn the order, and I hope our Republican colleagues will join us."
  • Spoke on the National Security Council.
    • "On Friday the president reshuffled the National Security Council to remove permanent postings for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of the National Intelligence Agency and install a permanent seat for the White House political advisor, Steve Bannon. It's a disturbing and profound departure from past administrations. On the most sensitive matters of national security the president should be relying on the informed counsel of members of the military and intelligence agencies, not political advisors who made their careers promoting a white nationalist web site. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the president's primary military advisor and his voice, along with that of the director of national intelligence, and they are the only independent and apolitical voices. President Trump's move to strip them of their seats is baffling. It endangers our national security and is contrary to the spirit and intent of the National Security Act."