Thursday, Apr. 12, 2018

Monday, April 16 -

  • The Senate will convene at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the House message accompanying S. 140, the tribal labor sovereignty bill.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on cloture on the motion to concur in the House Amendment, with an amendment, to S. 140, the tribal labor sovereignty bill.
  • Note: on Thursday, April 12, cloture was filed on the motion to concur in the House Amendment, with an amendment, to S. 140, the tribal labor sovereignty bill.


Senator McConnell: (5:22 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Rebecca Jennings to be United States District Court Judge for the Western District of Kentucky.
    • "Today the senate completed its work on the personnel business for this week the way we started, by confirming a talented nominee to be a federal district judge in Kentucky. President Trump nominated Rebecca Jennings to be the first woman to serve as U.S. district judge for the Western District of Kentucky. Widely recognized for her outstanding legal talents and judgment, Ms. Jennings has earned the support of Kentucky's legal community. In fact, dozens of her peers wrote she has a first-rate analytical mind and suburb judgment. She is principled, thoughtful and hard working. These qualities are exactly what I believe we need on the federal district courts."


Senator Moran: (5:25 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of John Broomes to be United States District Court Judge for the District of Kansas.
    • "I rise to express my pleasure to my colleagues and to Mr. Broomes, my pleasure in his willingness to be considered for this position, to be nominated by the president and now to be confirmed by the United States Senate, and to my colleagues for seeing his qualifications, experience and capabilities and making that confirmation happen just a few moments ago. He is a highly qualified individual. He is a well-respected attorney, and he has the intellect and legal and legal mind and legal experience to be and to receive this lifetime appointment as a federal judge. I take these lifetime appointments very seriously and I want to make certain that as a Kansas senator, as a United States senator, I'm doing my part to put highly qualified and soundly principled judges in place to serve Kansas and the country."


Senator Sullivan: (5:29 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to the Alaskan of the Week.
    • "Mr. President, every week I've been coming down to the floor to talk about my great state and a person in my state who has made a difference in their community, in the state, sometimes throughout the entire country. I call this person our Alaskan of the Week, and it's actually one of the best things I get to do each week here in the United States Senate. There's a lot to brag about with regard to Alaska. And, frankly, while I love my job here, I wish I were home right now. My wife's there. And though the temperatures are still only in the single digits in some places, particularly up north in Alaska, springtime, what we call breakup in Alaska, has hit much of our state. Now, I'll admit it, breakup is not always pretty, and the state gets a lot of snow."

Cantwell, Merkley

Executive Session (Wheeler Nomination)

Apr 12 2018

Senator Cantwell: (3:25 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the E.P.A.
    • "But the biggest problem here was the proposal hit consumers, as I said with billions of dollars in added costs, adding to multiple costs that we didn't need to see. Bailing out old coal plants wasn't just bad policy, it was a breathtaking raid on the consumer pocketbook. The regional grid manager found that the secretary's proposal would nearly double the cost of wholesale energy in the nation's largest electricity market. Fortunately the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission unanimously rejected this proposal. But if Mr. Wheeler comes to E.P.A. as the number two, what other proposals like this are they going to propose or try to fight or even though the science within the own agencies say they are wrongheaded. How much time will we have to waste exposing these bad ideas?"


Senator Merkley: (3:33 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the E.P.A.
    • "In Federalist Paper #76 Alexander Hamilton wrote it was the job of the president to stop unfit characters. To make sure unfit characters do not have roles of power and influence within our government. The nominee who is before us, Andrew wheeler, for the number-two job at the Environmental Protection Agency, raises a series of questions and concerns related to whether or not he is fit for office. He's a man whose entire career working for the fossil fuel industry stands in direct opposition to the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency."

Collins, Cassidy

Executive Session (Wheeler Nomination)

Apr 12 2018

Senator Collins: (2:37 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the opioid epidemic.
    • "Mr. President, last year in the state of Maine, 418 people died from overdoses, a record number, and an 11% increase compared to the year before. Just this past weekend, there were nine overdoses in one night alone largely as the result of fentanyl-laced heroin. Fortunately, first responders were able to save those individuals. It's clear that we need to take all of the above approach to tackling this crisis. This means more support for education and prevention, treatment for recovery services, and law enforcement efforts. No single focus will be sufficient to combat the crisis. Mr. President, the first bipartisan bill that I've introduced with Senators Hassan, Capito, Baldwin, and Warren is the Safe Disposal of Unused Medications Act."


Senator Cassidy: (2:52 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Lance Corporal Taylor Conrad, USMC.
    • "Mr. President, today I want to honor the life and sacrifice of one soldier in particular, U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Taylor Conrad, who was 24 years old and was from central Louisiana. Our military men and women deserve recognition. They sacrifice time away from family and friends, put themselves in harm's way to advance our country's interests. Every day they risk their lives to secure our safety. In the case of Taylor Conrad, along with three of his fellow Marines, he tragically lost his life last week when their helicopter crashed in a training mission in California. A central high school grad washings he exemplified the quality of a good marine -- tough, compassionate and wanted to help others."
  • Spoke on Democrat obstructionism.
    • "One example of this is that the nominee for the Federal Railroad Commission was held up months after he had been approved unanimously by the committee of jurisdiction for his appointment in the federal government. As a resulted there are multiple fatal crashes in the railroad system of which Republicans were on a trip when one of them occurred that may have been prevented had there been leadership in that railroad commission. Now, we have a sense that there can be a consequence of this kind of unremitting whatever trump proposes we're going to oppose no matter just because it's Trump. But then we see the consequences when folks die in railroad accidents."

Markey, Van Hollen, Leahy

Executive Session (Wheeler Nomination)

Apr 12 2018

Senator Markey: (1:42 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the E.P.A.
    • "Mr. President, Scott Pruitt is the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He is charged with running the agency and ensuring its mission. There are serious questions about Mr. Pruitt's leadership, but we'll get to that later. Today the Senate is preparing to vote on the nominee to be the second-highest ranking official at the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler. And as the number two at the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler deserves the kind of scrutiny that reflects a position one step away from being the administrator. Andrew Wheeler has spent years protecting the coal industry."


Senator Van Hollen: (2:04 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the E.P.A.
    • "In Scott Pruitt who doesn't recognize the vital and unique role the E.P.A. plays in protecting the Chesapeake Bay. And we know that because if you look at the budget that Scott Pruitt and President Trump submitted to the Congress, they zeroed out fun zeroed out funding, a big goose egg for the federal E.P.A. Chesapeake Bay Program. That's would they did in year one. Then when Senator Cardin and I and others said this is a real important effort. It's had bipartisan support in the congress. It has bipartisan support among the governors of all the Chesapeake bay state."


Senator Leahy: (2:19 p.m.)

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "A democratically controlled legislature, a Republican governor, and a rural state with a strong gun-owning tradition and very few gun laws, worked together to debate and forge and enact meaningful commonsense gun laws. Yesterday Governor Scott, a Republican, signed into law three bills that expand background checks, raise the age to purchase guns to 21, create extreme risk protection orders, and ban bump stocks and high-capacity magazines. Vermont did that. Other states were also acting. It makes me wonder why congress can't do its job and follow the example. In Vermont, this was a debate about what the people of the state could do to keep their communities, schools, and citizens safe."


Executive Session (Wheeler Nomination)

Apr 12 2018

Senator Udall: (12:48 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the E.P.A.
    • "Mr. Wheeler is out of step with the values and principles of American taxpayers. I know many Republicans who support environmental protection, and we have had many decades of bipartisan support for public health, for environmental protection, clean air, clean water, folks don't want their kids to have toxic chemicals in their blood or in their bodies. So there's a lot of support by Republicans in this area. And it has been a bipartisan issue. I call on my Republican friends to press the pause button on Andrew Wheeler's nomination to be deputy administrator of the E.P.A. Let us join together and demand that the president withdraw this nomination and nominate someone who supports the basic mission of the E.P.A."

Whitehouse, Barrasso, Inhofe

Executive Session (Wheeler Nomination)

Apr 12 2018

Senator Whitehouse: (11:53 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the E.P.A.
    • "This is a selection that continues the Trump Administration's essentially complete subservience to the fossil fuel industry in the entire environmental arena. I have described Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry, and Ryan Zinke over at interior as the three stooges of the fossil fuel industry and I reiterate that today. Scott Pruitt in addition to being one of those stooges also has some of the most extraordinary displays of self-serving political acts, unethical and self-serving political acts of anybody I've ever seen. I can only imagine - only imagine what the floor would look like if an Obama appointee had engaged in those kind of behaviors. We would have had Republicans in all those seats shouting, jumping up and down infuriated by that misconduct."


Senator Barrasso: (12:06 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the E.P.A.
    • "Andrew Wheeler I am supporting to serve as the deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. During a previous administration, the Environmental Protection Agency issued burdensome regulations that harm American workers and American communities. Since President Trump took office 15 months ago, the E.P.A. has rolled back many of these punishing regulations, including the so-called clean power plan and the waters of the United States or the WOTUS rule. Under President Trump and E.P.A. Administrator Scott Pruitt, this agency is now working for commonsense environmental policies, policies that don't harm the American economy and don't punish American families."


Senator Inhofe: (12:10 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the E.P.A.
    • "You know, it's awfully hard to find anyone who knows him well who will say anything bad about him. I guess the only thing you could criticize him for is he worked for me for 14 years. I will tell you that during that time frame, I don't remember over a 14-year period anyone ever accusing him of being unfair and being negative in any way at all. But a couple of things were said that I think I need to correct the record. I need to be the one to correct it because I'm the guy he worked for for a long period of time, in both my personal office in the capacity as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee."

Schumer, Carper, Cornyn

Executive Session (Wheeler Nomination)

Apr 12 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:48 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
    • ". But in a long history of our country, our grand, wonderful country, god's noble experiments as the founding fathers called it and it still is today that's never been what the justice department stood for. It's an independent federal agency tasked with following the law wherever it leads free of considerations of politics or power. Mr. Rosenstein is acting in line with that long and great tradition, and it's no reason, none at all, for the president to fire him. Now, my friends on the other side of the aisle know just as well as we do that firing Mr. Rosenstein or Mr. Mueller would precipitate a constitutional crisis. Our constitutional order is built upon a bedrock faith in the rule of law, of equality under the law. No person, not even the president, can subvert that principle for his or her political interests or needs."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "According to trend tabs, in the first quarter - no. According to just capital, rather, 60% of the money in the Republican tax break went to shareholders who tend to be the wealthiest. Only 6% went to workers. So much for all the talk that when the money was given to the companies, it would also be given to workers. It hasn't happened. Why? Because instead of investing, corporate profits and things that benefit the long-term health of the economy and workers, higher wages, equipment, new research, new hires, corporations spend the money on buybacks."


Senator Carper: (11:02 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the E.P.A.
    • "Leaders build bridges, not walls. Leaders focus on doing what is right, not what is easy or expedient, what is right. Leaders treat other people the way they want to be treated. They actually embody the golden rule. Leaders focus on excellence in everything they do. If it isn't perfect, they say, let's make it better. Let's work with other people to make it better. And leaders know they are convinced they are right and others realize they are right, leaders don't give up. As I stand before you today, I knew 13, 14 months ago what kind of steward Scott Pruitt would be with respect to protecting our air, our water, our public health."


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

  • Spoke on the F.B.I.
    • "The writer says that Director Comey was the F.B.I. director overseeing the investigations into Hillary Clinton's e-mail server. He and his team decided that she had not done anything that warranted criminal charges. And he, Director Comey, knew that Republicans would blast him as a coward who was trying to curry favor with the likely future president. So he decided to go public with the explanation for not charging Clinton and to criticize her harshly, he doubled down and had an investigation 11 days before the election, even as other justice officials urged him not to. Department policy dictates that investigators aren't supposed to talk publicly about why they are not bringing charges, they especially don't do so when it could affect the outcome of the election."


Opening Remarks

Apr 12 2018

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

  • Spoke on the pending nominations.
    • "Even with eight years as the assistant secretary of labor for administration and management and four years as a Senate-confirmed member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, this dedicated public servant saw his confirmation process play out in a manner that's become all too familiar. Months of waiting on the Senate calendar. Months of obstruction by our Democratic colleagues. Months of needless vacancy in this critical agency position. After this morning's vote, Mr. Pizzella can finally get to work, but the same story of obstruction applies to the next nomination on the slate as well. Andrew Wheeler, he is ready and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, to clock in as the deputy administrator of the E.P.A."
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "Now, on another matter, I've been speaking all week about the stark difference between the Obama Administration's economic policy and the pro-growth agenda this Congress and president have been putting in place. Our eight years our Democratic friends' so-called economic recovery hardly made it past our nation's biggest and richest cities. Democratic policies largely failed the millions of working Americans who live in our small towns and suburbs, smaller cities, and rural areas. Not so with this Republican Congress and this Republican president. Already our inclusive opportunity agenda is bringing new energy, new optimism, and new growth to all of those forgotten parts of our country."
  • Spoke on hemp production.
    • "During the recent state work period, I stood with Kentucky's Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles to announce my intention to introduce new legislation on this subject. So today we're introducing the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. It will build on the success of recent pilot programs and take a big step toward growth and more innovation. As I traveled across Kentucky, I've spoken with farmers, manufacturers, and small business owners. Time and again, they shared with me their enthusiasm for hemp's potential to reenergize agricultural communities and provide a new spark to the U.S. economy."