Tuesday, Jul. 10, 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 #639, Brian Allen Benczkowski, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Attorney General, post-cloture.
  • At 12:00 p.m., the Senate will proceed to legislative session and the chair will lay before the Senate the House message accompanying H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill. The majority leader or his designee will then offer a compound motion to go to conference with respect to H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill, and the Senate will immediately VOTE on the compound motion.
  • If the compound motion is agreed to, Senators Cassidy and Corker will be recognized to offer motions to instruct conferees with respect to the House message accompanying H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill. The Senate will then VOTE on the motions in the order listed.
  • At 2:00 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #639, Brian Allen Benczkowski, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Attorney General.
  • Note: on Thursday, June 28, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #686, Paul C. Ney, of Tennessee, to be Counsel of the Department of Defense.

 

Senator Whitehouse: (6:36 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brian Benczkowski to be an Assistant Attorney General.
    • "The so-called Mueller investigation, though it has expanded beyond Bob Mueller into several other parts of the Department of Justice. How would this fast one work exactly? Well, we'll be voting tomorrow to install a Trump ally and nominee, a longtime political operative with ties to a Russian bank and to the recused Attorney General Jeff Sessions into one of the most powerful posts at the Department of Justice, a position that just so happens to have significant supervisory control over Special Counsel Mueller's investigation and the Southern District of New York criminal investigation into Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen. What could possibly go wrong?"

Reed, Durbin, Grassley, Inhofe

Executive Session (Benczkowski Nomination)

Jul 10 2018

Senator Reed: (4:13 p.m.)

  • Spoke on NATO.
    • "The motion to instruct provides important guidance at this critical juncture before the NATO summit in Brussels and the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki. The motion instructs the Senate conferees on the national defense authorization for fiscal year 2019 to ensure the final conference report on the NDAA reaffirms the ironclad U.S. commitment under Article 5 to the collective defense of the alliance. It reaffirms the United States commitment to NATO as a community of shared value, including liberty, human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The motion also calls for the United States to pursue an integrated approach to strengthen European defense as part of a long-term strategy that uses all elements of U.S. national power to deter Russian aggression."

 

Senator Durbin: (4:24 p.m.)

  • Spoke on NATO.
    • "In fact, I'm increasingly convinced that President Trump is so enamored by validation seeking autocrats and offended by our traditional allies, expressing disagreements that he's incapable of distinguishing friends from enemies. This is truly problematic and dangerous. Now our allies are just cause to worry that President Trump will give away concessions to Vladimir Putin just as he did with the North Korean dictator. Against all reason and international norms, Trump is considering recognizing Russia's illegal occupation of Crimea because, sadly, President Trump has no sense of history and little knowledge of Vladimir Putin's true agenda."

 

Senator Grassley: (4:38 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Last evening I joined many of my Senate colleagues at the White House as the president introduced Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve as the associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most widely respected judges in the country. I heard the president last night refer to him as a judge - as a judge's judge. He is an outstanding choice to serve as justice of the Supreme Court. Justice Kavanaugh - or Judge Kavanaugh is a former law clerk of the justice that he has been nominated to replace, and that is Justice Kennedy. And I talked about Justice Kennedy's service on the Supreme Court and to the people of this country in my speech yesterday. Judge Kavanaugh earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University."

 

Senator Inhofe: (4:54 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "I've already visited with ranking member, Senator Reed, Chairman Thornberry, Ranking Member Smith, and we have a commitment to finish this conference report by the end of July. It is very ambitious. It's something we're going to be able to do. The second vote we're going to be on is to instruct the conferees in terms of - the conferees in terms of the CFIUS issue. Personally having been recently to China and the South China Seas, I'm seeing what they're doing right now in North Africa and in Djibouti. We have a different China than we've had before."

Menendez, Schumer, Murphy

Executive Session (Benczkowski Nomination)

Jul 10 2018

Senator Menendez: (3:45 p.m.)

  • Spoke on NATO.
    • "Yet to this day President Trump continues to take Putin at his word. Many of us find ourselves questioning the president's true goals. And it is no surprise that the leaders in Europe are questioning the commitment of the United States to the post-World War II international order. In the absence of U.S. presidential leadership, I want to make clear to our allies abroad as well as our adversaries in the Kremlin as to where members in the United States Senate stand. We stand for the rule of law and an international order based on democratic values many we stand for security alliances among democracies based against mutual defense against our enemies."

 

Senator Schumer: (3:58 p.m.)

  • Spoke on NATO.
    • "Now, Mr. President, president trump is on his way to attend the annual summit of nato leaders in Brussels. The president should use the occasion to build up the transatlantic alliance rather than tearing it down. Since its founding nearly 70 years ago, nato has become the most powerful and successful security partnership ever created. The first half of the 20th century is marked by unprecedented human suffering, depression, war, genocide. After World War II, in the face soviet aggression and expansion, nato showed the world a different way. Working together with other international institutions, nato established the political and economic rules of the road that have promoted our national security and our mutual prosperity"

 

Senator Murphy: (4:03 p.m.)

  • Spoke on NATO.
    • "I give Secretary Pompeo credit because his answer was brutally honest. He said that he certainly could foresee a series of trade-offs with the Russians by which they would be allowed to join the G-7, rejoin the G-7 without withdrawing their forces from Eastern Ukraine or Crimea. That is a stunning reversal of prior U.S. policy, the idea that we would trade away Ukraine for some set of concessions from Russia on another area of national security, maybe in the Middle East. But it is unsurprising. It is unsurprising because as Donald Trump has made clear over and over again, his primary objective is to become friends with Vladimir Putin."

Thune, Peters, Sasse

Executive Session (Benczkowski Nomination)

Jul 10 2018

Senator Thune: (3:06 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia whom we lost in 2016 had this to say about the proper role of a judge. He said, and I quote, if you're going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you're not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you're probably doing something wrong. End quote. Or as current Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch has said more than once, and again I quote, Mr. President, a judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge. End quote. Mr. President, last night the president nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice. This is another outstanding pick from President Trump."

 

Senator Peters: (3:19 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Tom Stevenson.
    • "Mr. President, today I'd like to recognize a very special Michigander. It is my pleasure to welcome Tom Stevenson of Greenville, Michigan, and his family to Washington, D.C. And to have them here in the Senate gallery right now. Tom is joined by his parents Holly and Mark as well as his younger sister Sarah. Mr. President, today Tom is fulfilling his wish to be a U.S. Senator for a day with the assistance of the Make-a-Wish Foundation. It is truly an honor to partner with Make-a-Wish to grant Tom's wish."

 

Senator Sasse: (3:27 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "435 of the 535 people we work with in the Congress are always within 23 months and 29 days of being sent back home by the "We the People" who are actually in charge of policymaking in America. But the court is different. No one back home can fire a Supreme Court justice. They have lifetime tenure. We should reflect more often on why our founders decided to give members of the judiciary lifetime tenure. That's why we don't want those judges with their lifetime tenure to be writing laws or making policy. If a judge wants to make policy, he or she should take off their black robe of impartiality and they should run for office. It's a legitimate thing to do. All of us in this body have done it. We think it's a way to love our neighbor and to serve our community. But in our system of we the people the voters get to decide who gets to make policy. Judges have black robes and they have lifetime tenure. They are not policymakers."

Murphy, Durbin, Jones, Murray, McConnell (UC)

Executive Session (Bennett Nomination)

Jul 10 2018

Senator Murphy: (11:20 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "And so the Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society have been in the business of trying to take away protections with preexisting conditions from the beginning of this fight. When you outsource the selection of the Supreme Court justice to those groups, you know what you are going to get. You are going to get a justice who is going to vote to unwind these protections, and you don't have to do that kind of super investigating because the president already effectively told you he was going to appoint somebody who would remedy the fatal sin of John Roberts, which was to uphold at least an essential tenet of the Affordable Care Act."
       

 

Senator Durbin: (11:33 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Most Americans put to the test couldn't name the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. They know it's a big court, an important court, the highest court in the land, but they don't know who's there until we get into this kind of a debate. And as we do, people tend to learn a lot more about the justices and what their core beliefs are. When it comes to Judge Brett Kavanaugh who now sits on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, he has a lengthy record. 12 years of opinions as a judge, not to mention all the years before that when he was active politically in Washington, D.C. And Senator Murphy of Connecticut is correct to note his approach to the law, his approach to the constitution does not give us great hope in preserving the protections on health insurance that are part of the Affordable Care Act."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Brian Benczkowski to be an Assistant Attorney General.
    • "And between November and January, the swearing in, he served on that transition committee trying to smooth the way for the new administration to take over the Department of Justice. At the end when the president was sworn in, President Trump was sworn in, Mr. Benczkowski left the transition committee and went back to his private practice here in Washington for a well-known firm. But before he returned to that firm, he sent a letter to the president saying, I hope that you'll consider me to appoint me as a U.S. attorney somewhere in the United States."

 

 

Senator Jones: (12:18 p.m.)

  • Spoke on civil rights cold cases.
    • "But that requires having access to the files. It is not an easy task getting access to these kind of files. By ensuring public access, however, to the files and records relating to these cases, we can expand the universe of people who can help these victims receive the justice that they've long since been denied. If we're going to find the truth, it has to start with transparency. That's why today I am introducing the civil rights cold case records collection act of 2018, which will require the assembly, collection, and public disclosure of government cold case records about unsolved criminal rights - civil rights cases."

 

Senator Murray: (12:27 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "We know exactly where this nominee will fall on specific issues, no matter what vague answers he chooses to deliver throughout this process. We know this because President Trump told us openly, publicly, and repeatedly. More than any president I have seen, he has been explicit about what he expects from his nominee. He has laid out specific tests and promised to only pick nominees from a prescreened list of people who would absolutely meet them. Mr. President, here's what he has said. And here's how we know exactly what this nominee would do. President Trump has said he wants a nominee who is fully committed to overturning Roe v. Wade, criminalizing abortions, and rolling back women's ability to access contraception and other basic health care."

 

Senator McConnell: (12:35 p.m)

  • Unanimous Consent –
    • That at 5:00 p.m. today the Senate resume legislative session and VOTE on the pending compound motion to insist on its amendment, agree to the request of the House for conference, and to authorize the chair to appoint conferees with respect to the House message accompanying H.R. 5515, the NDAA.
    • Further, if the compound motion is agreed to, Senators Cornyn and Reed each be recognized to offer motions to instruct conferees, with the Senate then VOTING on the motions I the order listed.   
    • (Without Objection)

Schumer, Hatch, Cornyn

Executive Session (Bennett Nomination)

Jul 10 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:23 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "In selecting Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump did exactly what he said he would do on the campaign trail - nominate someone who will overturn women's reproductive rights and strike down health care protections for millions of Americans. Including those with preexisting conditions. He's put at risk civil rights, labor rights, environmental rights, LGBTQ rights. How do we know? Because President Trump repeatedly promised to nominate justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade and who will undermine our health care laws. This didn't come out of a clear blue. President Trump promised it. Here's what he said. He would only pick, quote, pro-life judges who would, quote, automatically reverse Roe v. Wade. President Trump actually went so far as to say that women should be punished for their health care choices."

 

Senator Hatch: (10:37 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "At only 39 years of age he knew more about the law than most lawyers who practiced a lifetime. I think anybody who is fair would acknowledge that. Brett was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit in 2006 following years of obstruction by Senate Democrats. I was pleased and proud to support Brett's nomination to the D.C. Circuit, and I followed his work on that court the last dozen years with great interest. He spent a dozen years on that court, the second greatest court in our country without criticism, by the way, or at least I should say without fair criticism. He's been a true intellectual leader, offering landmark opinions on the separation of powers, administrative laws, national security."

 

Senator Cornyn: (11:01 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "And let's not forget that in order to obtain that important position, the Senate already confirmed him once in 2006 by a vote of 57-36. We all know this is President Trump's second nomination to the Supreme Court after that of Justice Neil Gorsuch just last year. Justice Gorsuch in his first term on the court has already demonstrated the power of his pen, the clarity of his thought, and the force of his legal reasoning, and I'm sure that Justice Scalia would be proud of his successor's impartiality and his rigor and his self-discipline. But based on his distinguished record, I think Judge Kavanaugh will display many of the same attributes that Justice Gorsuch has displayed on the Supreme Court. In coming weeks, we will hear a lot about Judge Kavanaugh's interesting life story, about his long career as a dedicated public servant, his service to his community, and, yes, his strong Catholic faith."

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Jul 10 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 #836, Mark Jeremy Bennett, of Hawaii, to be United States Circuit Court Judge for the Ninth Circuit, post-cloture.
  • The Senate will recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. to accommodate the weekly policy lunches.
  • At 2:15 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #836, Mark Jeremy Bennett, of Hawaii, to be United States Circuit Court Judge for the Ninth Circuit.
  • Note: all time during adjournment, leader remarks, morning business, and recess will count post-cloture on the Bennett nomination.
  • Note: on Thursday, June 28, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #639, Brian Allen Benczkowski, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Attorney General.
  • Note: on Thursday, June 28, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #686, Paul C. Ney, of Tennessee, to be Counsel of the Department of Defense.

 

Senator McConnell: (10:04 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "By all accounts, Judge Kavanaugh is precisely that kind of judge. His resume, to put it simply, is topnotch. A bachelor's degree from Yale with honors. A law degree also from Yale where he was a member of the law review, a lecturing position at Harvard Law School to which he was appointed, by the way, by then-dean and now Justice Elena Kagan. After graduating, he quickly built a reputation as a star law clerk, including on the Supreme Court for Justice Kennedy. As an energetic and talented public servant and as one of the preeminent legal minds of his generation. In 2006 the Senate confirmed him to the D.C. Circuit."