Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018

Cassidy, Paul, Graham

Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment, with a further amendment, to the vehicle for the CR (H.R. 1892)

Feb 08 2018

Senator Cassidy: (5:11 p.m)

  • Spoke on disaster assistance loans.
    • "You can imagine what their family home looked like. 56 of Louisiana, 64 parishes have federal disaster declarations. The August storm alone caused an estimated $10 billion in damage to private property which apart from hurricanes, made it the most expensive U.S disaster in the last 100 years. The most devastating thing was how little time people had to react. The storm was missing key cyclone characteristics so the national hurricane center had no expectation of how devastating the storm would be. And the first parishes hit by the flooding had no time to evacuate or prepare. Many families that were impacted by the great floods of 2016 in Louisiana lived outside of what are called special hazard zones and were not required and did not carry flood insurance."

 

Senator Paul: (5:53 p.m)

  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • "You know what I've said? Instead of just plunking $90 billion down or actually printing it over at the federal reserve, or borrowing it, instead of just doing that, why don't we take the $90 billion from somewhere in the budget that it shouldn't be. People come to me all the time and want something from government. I say if you want something from government, tell me where to take it from because I'm not going to borrow any more. We should take it from some other place in the budget. Where do you get the $90 billion from? I've had some suggestions. You know how many votes I get? About 10 or 15 people will vote with me. I say let's not send it to Pakistan this year."

 

Senator Graham: (7:20 p.m)

  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • "The Navy is about 60% of the FA-18's in the Navy aren't able to fly. We've lost more people in training accidents than we've lost on the battlefield. If you ask every military commander, they will tell you that sequestration has done a lot of damage when it comes to our military readiness. So this $160 billion infusion of cash is much needed. And when you talk about deficits, here's what I can tell you. We're spending G.D.P-wise at the lowest level on defense really since World War II when you look at G.D.P spending on defense. It's been above close to 5% G.D.P. We're in the three and a half range. When I hear Senator Paul say we've doubled the defense budget, compared to G.D.P spending in defense, we're on the low end."

Portman, Lee, Cassidy

Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment, with a further amendment, to the vehicle for the CR (H.R. 1892)

Feb 08 2018

Senator Portman: (3:55 p.m)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "This is in this tax legislation. More than three million people not having tax liability anymore. Part of it is because of the lower rates we talked about. Again, the proof is in the paycheck on that one. But part of it is also because in this legislation, we double the standard deduction but also double the child credit and make it more refund able than it already is. So that's happening. It's working. And that goal is already being achieved not by this congress but by the people we represent, the American people and families across this great country. So we're happy to see that. The second part of this is that a more competitive business code is benefiting workers very directly."
  • Spoke on the opioid crisis.
    • "It's considered to be 50 times more powerful than heroin. It's cheap. It's easily accessible, and it can be spread to other drugs which is increasingly happening. We're told by law enforcement it's being used now with cocaine, even some cases marijuana. Certainly it's being packaged into pills that makes it look like a prescription drug when it's really fentanyl laced. This stuff can be just deadly. This week I had some people come into the office talking to me about it, and I asked them whether they thought we were turning the tide and their answer was no because of the fentanyl, because of this new drug that is inexpensive, that's synthetic that's coming into our country, believe it or not, from overseas primarily and through the U.S mail system."

 

Senator Lee: (4:49 p.m)

  • Spoke in tribute to Lucas Warren.
    • "You see, Mr. President, yesterday the Gerber Baby Food Company selected little Lucas as its Gerber spokes-baby for the year of 2018. Lucas' winning photograph, sent in by his parents Jason and Courtney, was selected from more than 140,000 entries. Even at a glance, it's not at all hard to see why. But, Mr. President, this picture deserves much more than just a mere glance. I don't just mean because of the bow tie. You see, Lucas Warren was born with Downs Syndrome, which is to say Jason and Courtney Warren are among those Americans blessed to know, to love, and to be loved by someone with Downs Syndrome."

 

Senator Cassidy: (5:11 p.m)

  • Spoke on disaster assistance loans.
    • "You can imagine what their family home looked like. 56 of Louisiana, 64 parishes have federal disaster declarations. The August storm alone caused an estimated $10 billion in damage to private property which apart from hurricanes, made it the most expensive U.S disaster in the last 100 years. The most devastating thing was how little time people had to react. The storm was missing key cyclone characteristics so the national hurricane center had no expectation of how devastating the storm would be. And the first parishes hit by the flooding had no time to evacuate or prepare. Many families that were impacted by the great floods of 2016 in Louisiana lived outside of what are called special hazard zones and were not required and did not carry flood insurance."

Sullivan, Daines

Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment, with a further amendment, to the vehicle for the CR (H.R. 1892)

Feb 08 2018

Senator Sullivan: (2:41 p.m)

  • Spoke in tribute to the Alaskan of the Week.
    • "Now, many in the military know it's not easy to serve but what's often forgotten is that service and the sacrifice of service, particularly military service, often hits the families the hardest. And when that service results in the loss of life, the ultimate sacrifice, it's devastating for the families and friends and loved ones all across communities, all across Alaska, really all across the country. When one of our own loses their life in the fight for freedom, we all grieve. We all grieve. So, Mr. President, today I want to introduce a very special Alaskan, Kirk Alkier, who has devoted countless hours to make sure that those we have lost in battle will never be forgotten and that the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice receive a fitting tribute to their sacrifice."

 

Senator Daines: (3:33 p.m)

  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • "Washington, D.C has a spending problem. Controlling government spending is a big challenge, but it's one that we have to rise to to meet. We must rise to the occasion, not retreat to trillion-dollar deficits. Now, funding our national defense is a fundamental requirement laid out in our constitution. The men and women of our military, including our veterans, absolutely crucial. Funding for our community health centers, something I have been fighting hard for, important for our states. And, in fact, earlier today, I supported a reasonable proposal to address both of these concerns without going rogue on spending. The question is at what point is congress going to look in the mirror and see that the real long-term certainty, the long-term sustainability of these programs that we all support is directly tied to fiscal responsibility?"

Leahy, Cornyn, Peters

Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment, with a further amendment, to the vehicle for the CR (H.R. 1892)

Feb 08 2018

Senator Leahy: (1:50 p.m)

  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • "My staff, especially, of the appropriations committee has been very much involved. What we see our defense caps increase $80 billion in fiscal year 2018, $85 billion in 2019. Nondefense caps are increased by $63 billion above the caps in fiscal year 2018, and $68 billion above the caps in fiscal year 2019. Those are numbers. Let's look at a couple of things it means. This bipartisan deal that we've worked out - and I stress that it is bipartisan - advance our priorities. It guarantees we can make real investments and address the opioid crisis. We can all give speeches about the opioid crisis. Speeches don't solve the problems. Actually putting money in there does."

 

Senator Cornyn: (1:58 p.m)

  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • "This agreement ensures that our armed forces will have the resources they need. My colleague and friend, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and Senator McCain said it best. They said this budget agreement is indispensable for our national security. Without it, our military would not be able to defend our nation. Period. Hard stop. Let me repeat that. This budget agreement is indispensable for our national security. Without it, our military would not be able to defend our nation. I think of all the demands made on the taxpayer dollar that is sent here to Washington, D.C., and many of them have a lot of merit, some more than others, but I have to say that if you were going to ask me to prioritize how do we appropriate money here in Washington, D.C, national security would be job number one."

 

Senator Peters: (2:16 p.m)

  • Spoke on Russia sanctions.
    • "Yesterday Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Russia already is trying to impact the 2018 U.S election and that it will be difficult for the United States to preempt it. It is clear that we have not done enough to deter Russia from interfering in our democracy, but the Trump Administration is choosing not to put in place sanctions on Putin's cronies that over 99% of the members of Congress supported. I'm a member of the Armed Services Committee, and earlier this week we received a briefing from Secretary of Defense Mattis on the recently completed national defense strategy. That strategy identifies that Russia is seeking to discredit and subvert democratic processes all across the world and to shatter the NATO alliance."

Flake, Durbin, Rounds

Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment, with a further amendment, to the vehicle for the CR (H.R. 1892)

Feb 08 2018

Senator Flake: (1:06 p.m)

  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • " I wrote further in my journal at that time, all these shenanigans led one Republican colleague to lean over to me on the House floor and muse, you know, Jeff, sometimes the toughest thing about being a member of Congress is remembering everything you're supposed to be outraged about. And I agreed. But here we are today, and it is clear what we should be outraged about. A $300 billion spending hike, a return to trillion-dollar deficits and an apparent end to any attempt to rein in federal spending. Our fiscal responsibility is more than a political talking point to trot out when the other guys are in charge. The rules and principles do not change with the legislative session. It should not take hundreds of billions of dollars in government spending to prompt bipartisanship or to secure a budget agreement."

 

Senator Durbin: (1:29 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "It has been over a year and a half since we had a meaningful debate on the floor but next week we will. It will be about DACA. This program will end by President Trump's prohibition. At that point 1,000 young people each day, on average, will lose their protection for deportation and their legal right to work in America. They will walk off the job because we failed to act unless we get it together. I'm sorry that this bill that includes so many good things doesn't include that solution, but we are poised to do it anyway, and I look forward to that debate next week."

 

Senator Rounds: (1:37 p.m)

  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • "Most importantly, Mr. President, is that this bipartisan agreement removes the arbitrary spending caps that have hampered our armed forces. For the first time in years we prioritize our national security by adequately funding the military. Of all the positive aspects of this agreement that will benefit the people of my home state of South Dakota and American families across the country, the addition of $165 billion of defense funding over the next two years is crucial. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have been deeply concerned about the underfunding of our military."

Hatch, Whitehouse, Sullivan, Casey, Wicker

Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment, with a further amendment, to the vehicle for the CR (H.R. 1892)

Feb 08 2018

Senator Hatch: (12:12 p.m)

  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • "Indeed, this legislation once passed and signed into law will be the combination of years of work put in by members of the Finance Committee on both sides of the aisle. I want to take some time to say a few words about some of the bipartisan victories take will be achieved through this legislation. I should warn you, though, Mr. President, this will take a few minutes because there are quite a few provisions to discuss. For starters let's just talk about health care. Among the more prominent victories in this bill is an extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program for an additional four years."

 

Senator Whitehouse: (12:23 p.m)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "These three industry groups have been instrumental in blocking climate action, using lobbying, dark money election spending, and threats of dark money election spending. Today I want to take a look at the biggest and swampiest of the three, the so-called U.S Chamber of Commerce. First let's clear up common misperceptions about the chamber. It is not a government agency and it bears almost no relation to your hometown chamber of commerce. Instead of representing the interests of small businesses, the chamber represents the interests of giant corporations, international corporations and the ultra-rich."

 

Senator Sullivan: (12:39 p.m)

  • Spoke on Coast Guard funding.
    • "Mr. President, today I rise with my colleagues, Senator Wicker from Mississippi, Senator Casey from the great state of Pennsylvania, to talk about legislation that's of vital importance, I believe, to every state in the country. Certainly mine, the great state of Alaska. But most importantly, Mr. President, it is vitally important legislation to the men and women who serve in the United States Coast Guard. And I'm going to talk about them for a minute, but in addition to the legislation we're talking about here, it's also vitally important to our maritime and fishing communities as well. So very important legislation. Which legislation am I talking about? Senate bill 1129, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017."

 

Senator Casey: (12:51 p.m)

  • Spoke on Coast Guard funding.
    • "Currently, vessels - vessel owners and operators are forced to comply with a patchwork of overly burdensome and confusing federal and state regulations for vessel ballast water and incidental discharges. This act, the CVIDA Act would establish uniform national standards and requirements governing ballast water discharges and other discharges that occur during normal operation of vessels. CVIDA would provide the maritime industry with a consistent, uniform regulatory structure while ensuring there are environmental protections in place to protect our nation's ports and waterways."

 

Senator Wicker: (12:56 p.m)

  • Spoke on Coast Guard funding.
    • "Then the coast guard would be part of the enforcement. E.P.A has readily said we're not able to be in the enforcement business in the waters of the United States. So they're going to help with the science according to this new proposal. And the Coast Guard is going to help with the enforcement. Who's for this? 300 businesses, labor unions, ports, terminal operators. They're all in it together and they all say this would work. This is not an example of one side getting up some numbers on a partisan basis and deciding to try to run over the others. As a matter of fact, this is such a bipartisan idea, Mr. President, that we have over 60 senators in favor of this proposal."

Vote Results (Cloture)

Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill (H.R. 695)

Feb 08 2018

Not invoked, 55-44:

Cloture on the motion to concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 695, the defense appropriations bill.

The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Schumer, Young, Markey, Cardin

Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill (H.R. 695)

Feb 08 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:58 a.m)

  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • "As I said yesterday, it doesn't include everything that Democrats want nor everything that Republicans want. But it's a good deal for the American people, and it's a strong signal that we can break the gridlock that has overwhelmed this body and work together for the good of the country. Let me run through a few of the benefits that this agreement would provide. Our military has suffered from the uncertainty of endless short-term spending bills. This budget deal puts that to an end. It gives the military a significant boost in support and allows the Pentagon to make long-term decisions about its budget. It's the right thing to do, and I want to credit two people. First, my dear friend, Senator McCain."

 

Senator Young: (11:14 a.m)

  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • "I would like to take a moment to address the continuing resolution we'll vote on today. The Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act and the Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act. Both are important to Hoosiers. I'm glad question see them become law after six years of working in a bipartisan way to get them across the finish line. Let me tell you why these for measures are so important to Hoosiers and really to all Americans. The social impact partnerships to pay for results act empowers our public and private sectors to implement evidence-based social and public health interventions, to address some of our nation's most pressing social challenges."

 

Senator Markey: (11:23 a.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "We are talking about immigrants whose parents brought them here when they were young to give them a better chance than they had in their home countries. We are talking about young immigrants who when they were children had no choice in the decision to come to the United States. These dreamers know no other home than the United States, and many of them have spent their lives in limbo identifying as Americans but lacking legal status and under the constant threat of being sent back to countries that are completely foreign to them. In 2012, president Obama took steps to protect some of these dreamers from deportation through an executive order. He established the program known as DACA or deferred action for childhood arrivals program."

 

Senator Cardin: (11:31 a.m)

  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • "The community health centers, Children's Health Insurance Program, ten-year extension, rural health care. There's a lot of good things in this bipartisan agreement to advance health care, and I'm pleased about it. But I just want to remind my colleagues that if we are successful in getting that enacted into law, we've still got to make sure that it is implemented in the manner in which we intended. And I give as an example the prudent layperson standard on emergency medical treatment. I was involved in that process in the 1990's. And the reason this came to our attention is that insurance programs in the 1990's was such that it was not unusual for an insurance company to deny payment for emergency services."

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Feb 08 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:30 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the House message to accompany H.R. 695, the defense appropriations bill, with the time until the cloture vote equally divided between the two leaders or their designees.
  • Note: on Wednesday, February 7, cloture was filed on the motion to concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment, with a further amendment, to H.R. 1892, the vehicle for the CR.

 

Senator McConnell: (10:32 a.m)

  • Spoke on defense spending.
    • "If we act now, we can start rebuilding our military and provide our troops the training and equipment they need to defend the homeland and protect the American people. The crisis in our military is acute. Just this week headlines revealed that two-thirds of the Navy's FA-18 aircraft are not prepared to fly. The fleet which must secure sea lines of communication across the globe and patrol the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea has shrunk to the smallest ship count in nearly three decades. We've become too reliant on special operations forces and radically drawn down our conventional force structure. This has not been lost on China or Russia. They're improving their conventional forces and intimidating their neighbors."
  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • "This agreement provides for new grants, prevention programs, and law enforcement initiatives to bolster existing national and state efforts. The legislation secures relief for families who are still struggling to rebuild in the wake of last year's spade of natural disasters. This provision was only made possible by tireless work from several of my colleagues. Thanks to the leadership of Senator Cornyn and Senator Rubio who led on behalf of Florida and spoke up for the people of Puerto Rico, help will soon be on the way. And the agreement also provides for new investment in our nation's infrastructure, a shared bipartisan priority."