Thursday, May. 10, 2018

Monday, May 14 -

  • The Senate will next meet for legislative business at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #780, Michael Y. Scudder, of Illinois, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #780, Michael Y. Scudder, of Illinois, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit and then Executive Calendar #781, Amy J. St. Eve, of Illinois, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit in the order listed.
  • Following disposition of the St. Eve nomination, the Senate will resume consideration of Executive Calendar #729, Joel M. Carson, of New Mexico, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit.

 

Senator Rubio: (3:05 p.m.)

  • Spoke on China.
    • "For, in fact, that is not how it has played out. For the better part of 30 years now, China has been allowed to systematically violate all of the rules of fair play and trade and commerce. Under the guise of saying eventually they are going to come around and behave. Not only has it not worked, it has allowed them to accelerate their economic growth to the detriment of American workers, American industry, and economies all over the world. Today China's three years into a plan called made in China 2025, and what made in China means, what it's all about is China intends to be the dominant power and dominate ten key sectors of the future economy. They outline what all ten of those are. Now, if that dominance was the result of being more innovative or spending more money on research or just being better, then we would have little to explain about."

 

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

  • Spoke on gas prices.
    • "I served in the Vietnam War, naval flight officer and moved from California to Delaware. I drove my car to a gas station right in the middle of the gas war. I actually benefited from the gas war in 1969 in Texas when I was driving from Pensacola, Florida, to San Diego Naval Station. But I filled up my Volkswagen for less than $2 during the gas war in some old town in Texas. Fast forward to 1973, 1974. We were having a different kind of war with OPEC. And they were putting the squeeze on us and much of the rest of the world by reducing the amount of oil that they're bringing out of the ground and driving up prices. And then we had an oil blockade and things really got interesting for a while."

 

Senator Portman: (4:35 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Gina Haspel to be C.I.A. Director.
    • "She would be the second in the history of the agency that came up through the ranks. I also went down to what's called the skiv, which is a place you can look at classified information. And this week I had an opportunity to review her background, not just what's available publicly but also what's in a classified form. Suffice it to say I was very impressed. So I spent my time looking at her record, looking at her background, talking to her personally, talking to other people in the intelligence community that understand the impact she would have on the men and women in this agency. I can tell you that I truly believe that she is not only qualified but she may be the most qualified person you could think of to run this agency, and she'll be good for the agency."

Cornyn, Nelson, Heller, McConnell (UC)

Executive Session (Carson Nomination)

May 10 2018

Senator Cornyn: (1:12 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Gina Haspel to be C.I.A. Director.
    • "In the most obscure and unknown to the rest of us spots around the world to have to come and answer questions about her career much of which happens to be classified information. And, of course, we had an open session and then a classified hearing where she and we on the committee could protect the sources and methods and alliances we have around the world that help us collect intelligence for our policymakers and help keep our country safe. But as expected, she faced intense rounds of questioning, as I said, both in open session and behind closed doors and I believe did so with patience, courtesy and poise. She articulated her view on a number of topics, of course."

 

Senator Nelson: (1:23 p.m.)

  • Spoke on health care.
    • "Under current law, critical protections in Medicaid allow those who rely on program for their health care, they can get up to three months of retroactive coverage after they apply for Medicaid after the time that they have enrolled in the program. To put that another way, a person who has had health care problems and that is eligible under Medicaid, once they apply, under current law there's a lookback period of three months that those health care expenses that they incurred would be reimbursed to their health care providers - the doctors, the nurses, whatever the service is - and paid by Medicaid because they have been deemed to be eligible."

 

Senator Heller: (1:35 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Yucca Mountain.
    • "Because of my current work as Nevada's senior senator and my bipartisan work with the former senate majority leader, Yucca Mountain remains dead - and I repeat, it's as simple as that. But despite Yucca's clear and unquestionable death long ago, some of our friends on the other side of the Capitol continue to waste their time attempting to bring back life to this ill-conceived and fiscally irresponsible plan. Their efforts keep alive a long-standing fight over states' rights, and distracts us from the real task at hand which is finding a viable, long-term nuclear west storage solution that meets the needs of all Americans."

 

Senator McConnell: (1:45 p.m)

  • Unanimous Consent –
    • That the cloture motions with respect to the Scudder and St. Eve nominations be withdrawn, and the Senate VOTE on confirmation Executive Calendar #780, Michael Y. Scudder, of Illinois, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit and then Executive Calendar #781, Amy J. St. Eve, of Illinois, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit. in the order listed at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 14. 
    • Further, notwithstanding Rule XXII, the Senate VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #729, Joel M. Carson, of New Mexico, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit, at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15. 
    • Finally, if cloture is invoked on the Nalbandian nomination, the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #777, John B. Nalbandian, of Kentucky, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit following disposition of the Carson nomination.
    • (Without Objection)

Tillis, Lankford

Executive Session (Brennan Nomination)

May 10 2018

Senator Tillis: (11:43 a.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Pastor Andrew Brunson.
    • "He's been in prison for 580 days. I went to Turkey about six weeks ago to visit Pastor Brunson in prison because I heard about being in prison for a year and a half and for much of that time in a cell designed for eight people and had 21 people in it, he was indicted. I heard that he was afraid that the American people was going to read that 62-page bogus indictment with some of the flimsyiest charges that you can imagine. About two months ago he got indicted. He said to his wife and friends that he was afraid the American people would read that indictment and turn their back on him."

 

Senator Lankford: (11:50 a.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Pastor Andrew Brunson.
    • "And literally under Dr. Brunson's feet, Turkey shifted from where they were to we don't recognize them anymore as a NATO ally. In October of 2016, Dr. Brunson was called by the police department there, assuming it was an immigration issue. He and his wife went because they had gone multiple times to the police department to be able to renew their visa and keep up to date. They had a great relationship with the local police department and all the authorities because they had been there for two decades and had developed great friendships. So they went to check in. But this time instead of just checking in again for an immigration issue, they took them into custody, without any charges and held them for a year with no charges."

Schumer, Whitehouse, Warren, Flake

Executive Session (Brennan Nomination)

May 10 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:28 a.m.)

  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • "Well, Madam President, later today, the Senate will vote on the confirmation of Michael Brennan to the seventh circuit. Over the objection of one of his home state senators, Senator Baldwin, who has not returned a blue slip on his nomination. It's an abject breach of senatorial courtesy that both parties have long respected. In fact, the seat Mr. Brennan will fill on the seventh circuit has been held open for six years by the senior senator from Wisconsin, Senator Johnson, via the same process, the blue slip. When Barack Obama was president, when Patrick Leahy was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, we Democrats obeyed the blue slip, and it led that seat to be vacant for six years."
  • Spoke on North Korea.
    • "Early this morning, the three American hostages who were being held in North Korea were returned home. It was great to see them come home, be back in America, back with their families. It's a wonderful thing. But exultation of the president and others of the greatness of North Korea doing this evades me. We can't be fooled into giving the North Korean regime credit for turning Americans that never should have been detained in the first place. American citizens are not diplomatic bargaining chips. So while we celebrate the return of the three Americans for the sake of their freedom and their families, we should not feel like we need to give Kim Jong-un anything in return."
  • The Iran deal.
    • "We don't want a nuclear Iran, one of the reasons I opposed the deal, but there's no report from anybody, including our own intelligence, that Iran's violating that part of the deal. But in the meantime, Iran's doing some very bad things. They're not a country that we should admire or respect in any way, the leadership anyway. They are dealing - trying to develop an ICBM. They are creating havoc with the Houthis in Yemen. And worst of all in my opinion, the greatest immediate danger, the Iranian revolutionary guards are in Syria, right near Israel's border and hundred fs not thousands of rock -- hundreds, if not thousands of rockets, deadly rockets that Iran gives to Hezbollah, a militant terrorist organization, they placed in Yemen. That's the greatest danger to Israel."
  • Spoke on prescription drugs.
    • "Finally, on prescription drugs. Tomorrow the president will give a speech on another important topic in American health care. The high cost of prescription drug prices. He's right to give that speech. Americans suffer from the highest prescription drug costs in the developed world. On average Americans pay over $850 a year on prescription drugs compared to an average of $400 across 19 other industrialized nations."

 

Senator Whitehouse: (10:53 a.m.)

  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • "People don't necessarily know what a blue slip is, but there has been a tradition with respect to United States attorneys, local United States district judges, United States marshals, and the seats on the United States circuit courts of appeal that are by tradition associated with a particular state. With respect to all of those nominations, there has been a tradition that they require the approval of the home state senators. And the mechanism for that approval is called a blue slip, and there actually is a blue slip. And the tradition in the Senate Judiciary Committee that was very rigorously enforced most recently by Chairman Leahy when he was chairman is that a nominee for one of those offices does not get a hearing and cannot proceed without the blue slip of the home state senators."

 

Senator Warren: (11:10 a.m.)

  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • "Mr. President, we're facing an unprecedented attack on our courts. This week, once again, Senator McConnell has scheduled confirmation votes on a slate of extremist judicial court nominees, nominees who have demonstrated that they are not committed to the principle of equal justice under law. In this administration, senate Republicans have been working at break-neck speed to jam our courts with pro-corporate, narrow-minded elitists who will tilt the scales of justice in favor of the rich and powerful and against everyone else, and they are willing to bend and break and change every rule in the book to do it."

 

Senator Flake: (11:24 a.m.)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "I think median age of two and a half or so. I'm sorry, I think 6 years old median age. But it's not their fault that they were brought here this way. But they are for all intents and purposes American, everything without the papers. Many of them graduated from college now and face an uncertain future in the job market. Many of them are in school looking to continue that education. Many of them have served in our military. We've got to do right by them and do what's good for the country as well. And I think this legislation would do that. Unfortunately, some of the colleagues here have repeatedly chosen to block the measure."

McConnell

Opening Remarks

May 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 #609, Michael B. Brennan, of Wisconsin, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit.
  • At 12:00 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #609, Michael B. Brennan, of Wisconsin, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit.
  • Following disposition of the Brennan nomination, the Senate will VOTE on cloture on Executive Calendar #729, Joel M. Carson, of New Mexico, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit.
  • At 1:45 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on cloture on Executive Calendar #777, John B. Nalbandian, of Kentucky, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit.
  • If cloture is invoked on the Carson and Nalbandian nominations, the debate time will run concurrently.
  • Note: on Thursday, April 26, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #780, Michael Y. Scudder, of Illinois, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit.
  • Note: on Thursday, April 26, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #781, Amy J. St. Eve, of Illinois, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit.

 

Senator McConnell: (10:05 a.m.)

  • Spoke on North Korea.
    • "Madam President, let me begin this morning with gratitude to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Overnight he completed a sensitive diplomatic mission and returned home from North Korea with three freed American prisoners. The families of these three men and the entire country are so grateful. This episode offers just one more example of the complex, relentless foreign policy challenges that confront our country."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Gina Haspel to be C.I.A. Director.
    • "Yesterday our colleagues on the Intelligence Committee heard from Gina Haspel, President Trump's selection to head the Central Intelligence Agency. She showcased the poise and judgment of a 33-year career with the agency. Our testimony confirmed what her gold standard resume and her support from seasoned security leaders had already told us. Gina Haspel has the experience, talent and unique skill set to excel in this important job at this important moment. Since 1985 she served the nation in clandestine operations around the globe."
  • Spoke on the pending judicial nominations.
    • "On another matter, today the Senate continues our work to -- yesterday we confirmed Kurt Engelhardt to the fifth circuit by a significant margins. The nominee before us, Michael Brennan, is similarly qualified. His nomination carries bipartisan support from the people who know him best, including the endorsement of 30 peers in Wisconsin. In the words of one such colleague, Mr. Brennan possesses the mind, heart, and soul of a great jurist."
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "After years of Democratic policies that made life harder for job creators, the United States of America is officially open for business once again. Surveys show that since President Trump and this Republican Congress were elected, the percentage of small and independent employers feeling confident about expanding their businesses has nearly tripled. The amount that employers spend on wages, salaries and benefits for American workers grew more in 2017 than in any calendar year of the Obama administration. And the number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits is the lowest since 1973."