Tuesday, Jun. 5, 2018

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #625, Annmarie Carney Axon, of Alabama, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama.
  • At 11:00 a.m., the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #625, Annmarie Carney Axon, of Alabama, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama.


Senator Whitehouse: (5:51 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "He said it is already happening now. Well, 30 years have passed since then. 30 years of added science. 30 years of new science. 30 years of updated reports, and 30 years of mounting evidence of how right Hansen was. Yet here we still are in congress, still willfully ignoring the unprecedented changes to the climate and the oceans, changes that threaten our planet and its rich array of plant and animal life, changes that put at risk homes, farms, forests, and coasts, changes that affect our very human health and well-being. These are not computer model projections of the distant future, but changes we are seeing right before our very eyes now."


Senator Brown: (6:19 p.m.)

  • Spoke on CFIUS.
    • "The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, so-called CFIUS, screens foreign investments for national security threats and blocks those that undermine our national security. It's countries like China have adopted new tactics and new techniques to acquire our critical knowledge and know-how, the laws that give CFIUS its authority haven't been able to keep up with technology. Hence the reason that Senator Cornyn and Senator Feinstein and Senator Van Hollen and Crapo and I have worked on this. I want to thank them for introducing legislation last fall to expand CFIUS' authority to keep up with these new tactics."

Durbin, Kennedy, Stabenow, Peters

Executive Session (Axon Nomination)

Jun 05 2018

Senator Durbin: (4:29 p.m.)

  • Spoke on immigration.
    • "It's an indication we won't even reach 50,000. But there's something going on as well when it comes to those who seek asylum or refuge in this country that is equal horrifying and objectionable. The Trump administration has decided to discourage those who would come to our borders looking for safety by telling mothers who bring their infants and children that those children will be taken away from them by the government of the United States when they arrive at our border. It's hard to imagine but that is the stated policy of the Trump administration. It is a cruel policy. It is not a policy consistent with American values."


Senator Kennedy: (4:47 p.m.)

  • Spoke on banking and gun rights.
    • "Citigroup's new policy will tell businesses what kind of firearms they can stock, what kind of accessories those small businesses can stock in their stores, and who they can sell them to. I thought this was America, Mr. President. Now, this new policy has already taken effect all across Citigroup and it has impacted hundreds of small businesses, institutional clients, and even their credit card partners. Not to be outdone, two weeks later Bank of America joined in. On April 10, Bank of America announced that it will no longer loan money to businesses that, in its opinion, are deplorable because those businesses manufacture legal semiautomatic rifles."


Senator Stabenow: (5:02 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Dennis Williams.
    • "And with more than 430,000 members, up 60,000 members since 2011. It's no surprise anyone who's worked with Dennis knows just how dedicated he is to his members and the communities where they live and where they work. Just ask the people of Flint. During the water crisis which, by the way, continues on. The U.A.W. Members from all over the country were some of the first ones that were there to help. They collected bottled water and distributed it in their own vehicles going door to door to help, even traveling to Washington, D.C. to demand action from Congress."


Senator Peters: (5:12 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Dennis Williams.
    • "It is tied to the growth of thriving manufacturing sector and the birth of the American middle class. Dennis Williams, U.A.W. president since 2014, is a strong contributor to this history. His leadership reflects a deep commitment to American workers and a clear eye toward the future. Since the union's formation in 1935, U.A.W. members have stood together to ensure their hard work is met with fair wages, safe workplaces, and reasonable hours. For over 80 years, the voice of the U.A.W. has amplified the voice of the American people. Dennis Williams is the champion of keeping this voice strong in the 21st century."

Leahy, Thune

Executive Session (Axon Nomination)

Jun 05 2018

Senator Leahy: (3:15 p.m.)

  • Spoke on immigration.
    • "But today an extraordinary breach of our most basic values, the trump administration is now virtually employing these very tactics. Children were separated from their parents during the previous administration. I vocally and forcefully opposed it then, as I believe and I'm still convinced that there are alternatives that are far more humane and effective than tearing apart families. But the family separation we're seeing today is so v.ly difference, both in purpose and scope than what occurred during the Obama administration. There's no comparison. Separation is no longer limited to narrow circumstances where it's arguably in the best interest of the child. "


Senator Thune: (3:24 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "When the republican-led Senate passed tax reform in December, there were estimates that this historic legislation would create nearly one million jobs for the American people. Well, Mr. President, the economy has already created more than a million jobs since tax reform was passed and 3.6 million jobs since president trump was elected. The Republican pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda is working. Mr. President, government cannot create prosperity. It can't create the jobs and opportunities that Americans need for a secure economic future. Only businesses can do that. But government can create the conditions for economic prosperity."
  • Spoke on the accomplishments of the Republican Congress.
    • "And of course we've confirmed a number of highly qualified judges to fill vacancies in our judicial system. Mr. President, Republicans are working to honor the trust that the American people placed in us. We're fighting to make life better for hardworking Americans. We've accomplished a lot so far in this congress, but we know there is a lot more work to be done. And, Mr. President, we are up to the challenge."


Executive Session (Rodriguez Nomination)

Jun 05 2018

Senator Smith: (12:08 p.m.)

  • Delivered her maiden speech to the Senate.
    • "Because I represent the great state of Minnesota, I thought I would do the right thing and start out by proper introducing myself. I came right out of business school with my husband, a beat up orange car and a ton of student loans. Most people who have never been to Minnesota remember us for our weather but we have a thriving business community with a number of fortune 500 companies and I got my start working for one of them, General Mills. The winters are every bit as cold as you heard but Archie and I fell in love with Minnesota anyway. Before long we put down roots. We had - we have two sons, Sam and mason. Instead of just building a career, suddenly we were building a life."

Schumer, Cornyn

Executive Session (Wier Nomination)

Jun 05 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:22 a.m.)

  • Spoke on President Trump's recent comments.
    • "The president himself tweeted yesterday that he had the absolute right to pardon himself and that the appointment of a special counsel was unconstitutional, despite the fact that he regularly called for a special counsel to look into Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. The two-facedness, the hypocrisy of saying Hillary should have it but now it's unconstitutional that it applies to him, how can the American people tolerate that kind of thinking in a president? This morning, again, President Trump faulted Attorney General Sessions for recusing himself from the probe instead of helping to end it."
  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • "On another matter, this week, the Senate is processing a number of judges. Some of these judges are noncontroversial. As I have said in the past, Democrats are committed to working with the majority to process these noncontroversial nominees, but there are several highly controversial nominees after this slate that bear attention. Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination of David Porter for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Despite the fact that Senator Casey has not returned a blue slip on Mr. Porter who was nominated by the White House over the home state senator's repeated objections."
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "Now that Republicans are in charge, their policies are almost the reverse. Instead of focusing on the middle class, Republicans have elected to turn over the keys to big corporations and the super wealthy, their benefactors. Instead of trying to bring down the costs of everyday items, Republican policies have driven up the costs of things like health care and gasoline by sabotaging our current health care system, President Trump and Republicans have caused insurance rates to increase by double digits across several states."


Senator Cornyn: (10:33 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "Consumer confidence is at a 17-year high. People are feeling optimistic and hopeful about the future. And nearly three million jobs have been created since President Trump took office, including 304,000 in the manufacturing sector, 337,000 in construction, and 223,000 in May alone. What I hear time and time again when I go back to Texas is employers saying, we're having a hard time finding the workers we need because there's so much demand for workers, for labor, that now employers are going to compete for the workforce they need in order to perform the jobs that they have. Now, as a result of the growing economy."
  • Spoke on judicial confirmations.
    • "They provide the guidance in the most difficult cases where the circuit courts are divided. This now means that one in eight appeals court judges has been appointed by President Trump and confirmed by the United States Senate. These are people who will serve not just four years, not just six years, not just eight years, but perhaps 20 years or 30 years or longer. Lifetime tenure. Of course these circuit courts will hear appeals from district court finding precedent for those lower courts in a wide range of issues."


Opening Remarks

Jun 05 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #542, Robert Earl Wier, of Kentucky, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
  • At 11:00 a.m., the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #542, Robert Earl Wier, of Kentucky, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
  • The Senate will recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. to accommodate the weekly policy lunches.
  • Note: on Thursday, May 24, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #587, Fernando Rodriguez, of Texas, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas.
  • Note: on Thursday, May 24, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #625, Annmarie Carney Axon, of Alabama, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama.


Senator McConnell: (10:03 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the pending judicial nominations.
    • "Yesterday the Senate advanced the nomination of Robert Wier to serve on the Eastern District Court of Kentucky by a vote of 90-1. This was a needless delay, but I look forward to confirming this well-qualified nominee next this morning. Next the Senate will turn to Fernando Rodriguez Jr., President Trump's nominee to serve as a judge for the Southern District of Texas. He is a graduate of Yale and the University of Texas. He earned recognition for his tireless efforts to combat human trafficking."
  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "On another matter the Senate took another step forward on behalf of our national defense. After years of harmful spending caps undermining the combat readiness of our armed services we brokered a two year spending agreement that included the largest increase in defense funding in 15 years. It laid out a road map on the promises we make to our war fighters. Now it's time to take the next step and authorize the programs that are most needed. That's why the Senate will soon be turning to the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act."
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "It's all thanks to the ingenuity of American workers and job creators with an assist from Republican policies. Just this year more than one million new jobs have been created. More than three million new jobs since January of 2017. The unemployment rate has sunk to 3.8%. It hadn't been that low in 18 years. And in a big shift from the deeply uneven Obama era, communities all across America are getting in on the action."
  • Spoke on the opioid epidemic.
    • "This crisis that's shattering families and communities is not an isolated medical issue. There's a reason why experts describe many of these fatalities as, quote, deaths of despair. It is in part a symptom of declining opportunity and communities literally falling apart. Recent studies suggest that opioid use increased the most in precisely, precisely the communities where unemployment rates had fallen the most, particularly in the manufacturing sector."