Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2018

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 9:15 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #605, Patrick Pizzella, of Virginia, to be Deputy Secretary of Labor.
  • At 9:30 a.m., the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #605, Patrick Pizzella, of Virginia, to be Deputy Secretary of Labor.
  • Note: on Friday, March 23, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #666, Andrew Wheeler, of Virginia, to be Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Note: on Friday, March 23, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #540, John W. Broomes, of Kansas, to be United States District Judge for the District of Kansas.
  • Note: on Friday, March 23, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #541, Rebecca Grady Jennings, of Kentucky, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Kentucky.


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

  • Spoke on the nomination of Patrick Pizzella to be Deputy Secretary of Labor.
    • "With this nomination, President Trump is once again breaking his promise to put workers first. Mr. Pizzella has a record that is time and again at odds with the goals of the very department he would help lead as deputy secretary. His track record is one of not merely failing workers, but of failing to enforce laws to protect the health and safety of workers seeking to diminish workers' rights and protections and undermining the unions that represent and fight for them. In fact, his record includes working with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff on behalf of causes counter to the mission."


Senator Gardner: (5:06 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the opioid crisis.
    • "Over the past couple of years a great deal of attention has been paid to prescription drug addiction, to prescription drug overdoses. My home state of Colorado we have an average that exceeds the national average when it comes to prescription addiction and overdoses. We're losing a person in Colorado to drug overdose every 36 hours. Far too many people. In our rural communities, it's not just the wealthy who are immune or the poor who are immune or the poor who are affected and the wealthy who are affected. It's everyone. The wealthy, poor, low income, high income. The opioid crisis, prescription drug addiction has affected every nook and cranny of our communities. That attention that has been paid to the addiction crisis in this country has resulted in some of the greatest bipartisan achievements congress has had over the past several years."


Senator Portman: (6:08 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Ohio first responders.
    • "They wake up every day, put on their uniform carry out their duties with an unwavering commitment in a pledge to protect those around them. This morning we had our weekly Buckeye Coffee. We had people from all over Ohio there. Sure enough, it was the E.M.S. Chiefs Association. They're helping with regard to traffic accidents or gunshot wounds and so on. But one of the new challenges that they face, which is taking an enormous amount of their time and effort, is the opioid crisis. So these first responders now in your community I bet you if you go to your firehouse and ask them are responding more to overdose runs than fires. This is one example where they are on the front lines dealing with these issues, using NARCAN to be able to save lives."
  • Spoke on preventing sex trafficking.
    • "It was very emotional. We had a lot of survivors, victims of sex trafficking who were there. One of them was standing next to the president and when he signed the bill, he asked whether she wanted to say anything an fighting back tears, Yvonne Ambrose said, well, I want to tell you about my daughter. She told the president about her 16-year-old daughter who was trafficked on, a website that has most of the commercial sex traffic."

Blunt, Toomey, Thune

Executive Session (Pizzella Nomination)

Apr 11 2018

Senator Blunt: (2:04 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the economy.
    • "While I was there, I had the opportunity to talk to small business owners, employees, people seeing their paycheck for the first time that reflected what we had done with the tax bill, but also I heard in both in my hometown of Springfield, Missouri, but around my state, a level of optimism that was really encouraging. One of the people I talked to was on the national board of manufacturers, and in a recent poll of the manufacturers that look - their competence level is the highest than it has been since they have been polling about what they saw about the future. Where you and I live, Mr. President, in an economy that makes things and grows things, we always do better. We are a productive part of the country."


Senator Toomey: (4:08 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "While I was there, the C.E.O. announced a $100 million investment right there in Reading, Burkes County, Pennsylvania, to upgrade their capabilities and their capacity to produce these soft magnetics. To be more precise, they are buying an entire new hot rolling steel mill in Reading, Pennsylvania, $100 million investment in a new mill that will allow them to expand their output and meet increasing demand for this really fascinating product that they make. One of the things that the leadership of carpenter technology made abundantly clear in their press release and in their public statements was that they were able to purchase this mill and make this $100 million investment in their company now because of the tax reform that we passed."


Senator Thune: (4:22 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "And so clearly the issue that we have in terms of the debt picture in the long term is not about revenue. It is about spending, which is growing dramatically over that next decade, particularly in what we refer to as mandatory spending or entitlement programs, which crisis out, I would argue, Mr. President, for reforms in entitlement programs. But to say that somehow tax reform is contributing to that is a far cry from the truth, and I think the Congressional Budget Office numbers bear that out. And again I would that are in terms of what they suggest we were going to see in growth as a result of the changes that we made in the tax code, I believe that it's going to be dramatically understated."

Barrasso, Brown, Capito

Executive Session (Pizzella Nomination)

Apr 11 2018

Senator Barrasso: (1:20 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
    • "We all heard about Mike Pompeo's impressive qualifications for the job. First in his class at West Point, Harvard Law School, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. President, he's got the intelligence, he's got the integrity, and he's got the experience to serve as America's secretary of state. As a former member of congress, he certainly understands how policy decisions get made and the key importance of congressional oversight. As head of the C.I.A. he clearly understands the crucial role that the intelligence community plays in preserving America's national security. As a soldier, as a soldier he understands the consequences of decisions that get made in Washington, D.C. Now, I've traveled with Mike Pompeo to meet with world leaders, national security conferences. He knows the issue, he knows the people, and he is the right person for this job."


Senator Brown: (1:44 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the Fair Housing Act.
    • "Many of these exclusionary practices were carried out by private entities and local governments. But as Richard Rosstein reminds us in his book "The Color of Law" and I recommend everybody listening that they read that book, as Richard Rossstein reminds us in his book "The Color of Law" federal policies also played a role, a significant role in reinforcing segregation. From 1934 through 1962, three years, three decades, 98% of all F.H.A. mortgages went to white homeowners. 98% in a country that in those days was about 10% African American. 98% of mortgage went to homeowners. The Fair Housing Act made this despicable discrimination illegal. It required that federal housing and urban development grants be administered in a way that, quote, would administer, it would affirmatively further fair housing."


Senator Capito: (2:00 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the E.P.A.
    • "His wealth of knowledge of working on environmental policy in the public and private sector are just incredible, I think. The knowledge and experience will be a tremendous asset to the agency and to the American people. He understands as a - watching policy being made and helping policy being made, and then transitioning to the private sector and how that policy influences the private sector as well. He's had an active hand in environmental energy and infrastructure policy on both the achievements, the debates, probably some of the failures that we've had as well as the nominations of numerous presidential nominees. Andrew will start with a head start here. He'll hit the ground running and that's what we need at the E.P.A."

Lankford, Sullivan, Peters

Executive Session (Ring Nomination)

Apr 11 2018

Senator Lankford: (11:46 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tariffs.
    • "Does it have to be equal with every country that they buy as much from us that we buy from them? Suddenly this has become a brand-new dialogue again. I would like to bring a couple of real-world moments beginning with a history lesson to say that trade and international trade has been important to us even before we were a country. We were gathering supplies from all over the world to do our basic production. We're still doing that today. For some reason I run into people that they think this whole S chain that's an international supply chain is something new in this generation. I tell them, you should look at your history and see that the United States has always had an international supply chain."


Senator Sullivan: (12:03 p.m.)

  • Spoke on China.
    • "The majority whip, my good friend and my good friend from Oklahoma both were talking about issues dealing with China and trade and strategy. And that's positive. And so is the administration. If you look at the national security strategy of the Trump Administration, they are starting to focus on this issue. Front and center. The return of great power rivalries with China as the leading, pacing threat, challenge, but also an opportunity for this great nation of ours. When you look at the history of our country, particularly post World War II, the United States set up the international system, the international trading system, security system. We've been leading that. "


Senator Peters: (12:14 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of John Ring to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board.
    • "In fact, he is the third labor attorney President Trump has nominated to the committee with zero - let me say that again -- zero track record of representing workers. He has only represented clients on the corporate and management side of labor issues. During Mr. Ring's tenure at one of the country's largest firms, he has advised corporations on how to undermine worker protections. He has also posted blogs opposing commonsense reforms to modernize union election procedures, saying it was one of the big - some of the biggest salts on employer rights in recent history."

Cotton, Durbin, Cornyn

Executive Session (Ring Nomination)

Apr 11 2018

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

  • Spoke in tribute to the Third Infantry Regiment.
    • "The Third Infantry is one of the nation's - is the nation's oldest active duty infantry unit and yet the reverence we feel for them goes beyond their mere length of service and to what they represent - into what they represent: The dignity of freedom. The Third Infantry reactivated on orders of the secretary of the army. The ceremony was held just a few steps from here on the east plaza of the Capitol. Then the Old Guard immediately conducted another ceremony to present the flag of liberation to the president pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House. That flag had flown over this very capitol on Pearl Harbor Day in 1941. Then U.S. forces raised that flag over Rome and Berlin and Tokyo after we had defeated the Axis Powers."


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

  • Spoke on the situation in Venezuela.
    • "Venezuela - of course on the north end of the South American continent - is a constant source of concern in the United States and the region. And I wanted to see for myself what was happening. No doubt many are aware that Venezuela has been suffering devastating economic and democratic backsliding. But what I found was a country that is on the edge of collapse. Facing overlapping economic, humanitarian, and political crises. On the economic side, Venezuela has so many positive things. It's rich in natural beauty, oil, minerals, human talent, but it's seen its economy run into the ground by mindless price controls, multiple exchange rates, and gross mismanagement."


Senator Cornyn: (11:30 a.m.)

  • Spoke on China.
    • "There are important protections in place like the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States that does look at some of those investments to make sure our national security interests aren't compromised, but by and large, China has open access to the U.S. and the U.S. market. China is the United States' largest merchandised trading partner and the third largest export market for U.S. goods abroad. Although the legitimate flow of goods and services between the United States and China has increased over the years and is in many respects a positive thing, statistics alone do not capture the whole story, hence the preface that I gave about the economist's view of what's changed in China. Unfortunately, why Chinese companies enjoy largely open access to the U.S. market in an economy that's receptive to foreign investment, U.S. companies are not afforded reciprocity in this regard."
  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • "He's only one part of a much larger and often untold story. As of earlier this month, 40 Article III judges that are federal life tenure judges have been confirmed under President Trump's tenure, 30. That's been in large part to the commitment of the Senate under our majority leader's leadership, making sure that this was a priority to confirm judges that have been passed out of the Judiciary Committee here on the floor of the senate and to maximize our floor time in order to get that - get that priority accomplished."
  • Spoke on preventing sex trafficking.
    • "Finally, Mr. President, for the skeptics who like to say that nothing good ever gets done here in Washington, I'd like to mention one other item, and that is the real positive consequences of a bill we just passed and that's being signed into law by the president today, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act called FOSTA. The effort to pass it was led by our colleague, the junior senator from Ohio, Senator Portman, and I and others were honored to serve as original cosponsors of this legislation in the Senate."

McConnell, Schumer

Opening Remarks

Apr 11 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:30 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #728, John F. Ring, of the District of Columbia, to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board.
  • At 12:20 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #728, John F. Ring, of the District of Columbia, to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board.
  • Note: on Friday, March 23, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #605, John Patrick Pizzella, of Vriginia, to be Deputy Secretary of Labor.
  • Note: on Friday, March 23, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #666, Andrew Wheeler, of Virginia, to be Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Note: on Friday, March 23, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #540, John W. Broomes, of Kansas, to be United States District Judge for the District of Kansas.
  • Note: on Friday, March 23, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #541, Rebecca Grady Jennings, of Kentucky, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Kentucky.


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

  • Spoke in tribute to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
    • "This morning Speaker Ryan announced to his colleagues that he'll be departing the House at the conclusion of the 115th Congress. Two and a half years ago Paul Ryan was drafted by his colleagues to lead the House through a new era. Like a true leader, Paul stepped up to the plate. He answered his colleagues' call with exactly the earnest, selfless and focused poach that has defined his entire career in Congress. The results have been beyond impressive capping off a remarkable 20-year career in Congress, Paul's speakership has yielded one significant accomplishment after another for his conference."
  • Spoke on the pending nominations.
    • "Now, on another matter yesterday the Senate confirmed the first of six nominees slated this week. Claria Horn Boom to serve the eastern and western districts of Kentucky. She was confirmed 96-1. Just one senator in opposition. This is the kind of uncontroversial nomination the senate could typically dispatch by voice vote. Oh, but not these days. Over and over again we've had to file cloture and exhaust floor time on amply qualified nominees who then soar through their confirmation votes by lopsided margins."
  • Spoke on the majority's legislative agenda.
    • "According to one estimate, 73% of all the employment gains in the country between 2010 and 2016 went to metro areas with more than one million residents. Practically everywhere else Americans either treaded water or started sinking. This president and this Republican Congress were sent here to put this right and because the American people gave us a chance to do so, they now have leaders in Washington who focus on cutting taxes instead of raising them. Rolling back over regulation instead of piling on more suffocating rules, and looking out for the best interests of all workers and job creators, not just those in our biggest, wealthiest cities. The early results from our inclusive opportunity agenda are clear. After years of stagnation, we're beginning to see signs that rural America turned a corner in 2017."


Senator Schumer: (10:42 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "The middle class and rural America particularly is left behind in this bill. We could have done a tax bill where the benefits went to the middle class, not just some, 10%, 20%, but all. So this bill is - it's a bit of a fake. Small benefits for the middle class along with harm to their health care. The things put in this bill will raise many people's premiums far more than their tax - than their small tax break. So let's be honest about this. This bill was done for the rich and the wealthy and the powerful."
  • Spoke in tribute to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
    • "Speaker Ryan is a good man. He's always true to his word. Even though we disagreed on most issues, in the areas where we could work together, I found him to be smart, thoughtful, and straightforward. I found him to have a great deal of integrity. We didn't agree, but he had deep beliefs, and he was not like some on his side of the aisle who say it's my way or no way. He was willing to meet you, to try and get something done."
  • Spoke on Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
    • "Now, on the issues of yesterday and last night, for months, Mr. President, I've heard my Republican colleagues argue that there is no need to pass legislation to protect Special Counsel Mueller and the Russian probe from President Trump because they have been assured by anonymous White House officials that it wouldn't happen. President Trump, in his own words Monday night, made it plain as day that he may be considering firing the special counsel and/or the deputy attorney general, which would be equally egregious. The White House spokeswoman from the podium said that President Trump believes he has the authority to fire the special counsel all by himself."