Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

Monday, February 26 -

  • The Senate will next meet for legislative business at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, Senator Peters will be recognized to offer President Washington's Farewell Address.
  • Following the address, the Senate will resume consideration of Executive Calendar #623, Elizabeth Branch, of Georgia, to be United States Circuit Judge for the 11th Circuit.
  • At 5:30 p.m, the Senate will VOTE on cloture on Executive Calendar #623, Elizabeth Branch, of Georgia, to be United States Circuit Judge for the 11th Circuit.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #623, Elizabeth Branch, of Georgia, to be United States Circuit Judge for the 11th Circuit.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #153, Russell Vought, of Virginia, to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #437, A. Marvin Quattlebaum, of South Carolina, to be United States District Judge for the District of South Carolina.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #438, Karen Gren Scholer, of Texas, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #439, Tilman Eugene Self III, of Georgia, to be United States District Judge for the Middle District of Georgia.
  • Note: on Thursday, February 15, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #536, Terry A. Doughty, of Louisiana, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana.


Senator McConnell: (4:52 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Everyone, my friend, the Democratic leader, the assistant Democratic leader, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, everyone agrees that I held up my end of the bargain. Back in December I stated that if a bill withstood a chance of becoming law or ready in January, I would bring it to the floor. No such proposal was produced. Then in January when Democrats shut down the government over this issue, I offered to dedicate this week, this week that we've been in, to an immigration debate and a fair amendment process. I just did that. But the same Democrats failed to produce a solution and instead spent the better part of the week objecting to any votes in the senate. I thought we may be able to resolve this."


Senator Alexander: (5:14 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Mr. President, today the Senate voted on immigration. Immigration is a passionate issue. It affects the lives of people. It affects the American creed which involves the rule of law, which involves the fact that we're a nation of immigrants. It goes to the heart of our country and we have very strong opinions about it. All of us know that. Of course, Mr. President, that's the reason why we have a United States Senate. This is not an issue that the Shreveport City Council or the national city council can solve. We can't - we can't solve the problem of our nation's borders. We can't solve the problem in our communities of what to do about people who were brought here as children illegally through no fault of their own. That's our job. That's the job of the president of the United States. It's the job of the United States Senate. It's the job of the United States Congress."
  • Spoke on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
    • "The workers demanded recognition of their union, increased pay, and safer working conditions. The mayor threatened to replace the striking workers unless they returned to work. Throughout February and early March, negotiations continued, and on March 28, 1968, reverend martin Luther king Jr. Led a March that ended with rioting, arrest, and the death of 16-year-old Larry Payne. They vowed to March again, focusing on the principles of nonviolence. Dr. King addressed a rally of 10,000 African American workers and residents and union members at the mason temple."


Senator Carper: (5:28 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "He asked who is our neighbor? He told the parable about the Good Samaritan. Oftentimes he mentions Matthew 25 which deals with the least of these. When I was hungry, he fed me, when I was naked, did you clothe me? When I was in prison did you visit me? When I was a stranger in your land, did you welcome me? I think there is a moral imperative here in a case where young people, people brought here very young from another country by their parents who have grown up here, educated here, working here, all kinds of jobs, jobs that need to be filled, to say that by our actions today come, I think, sometime in March, maybe March 5 a lot of them are going to be basically, face the prospect of being rounded up and sent back to where they were born."

Vote Results (Cloture)

Durbin (for Coons) Amendment #1955 in relation to the vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 15 2018

Not invoked, 52-47:

Cloture on Durbin (for Coons) Amendment #1955 in relation to H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.

The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Cruz, Coons

The vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 15 2018

Senator Cruz: (2:17 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Five years ago in 2013, this body again debated amnesty. The so-called Gang of Eight failed to secure the board but once again made the same promise for amnesty for those here illegally with a promise, never to come, to secure the border. The senate ultimately passed the gang of eight. As it was being voted on, senate Democrats bragged on television that they had north of 70 votes. That now was the time to pass amnesty. The American people said that amnesty is not what we want. It's inconsistent with the rule of law, and we saw senators at the last minute jumping ship. It passed with 68 have votes -- 68 votes and went nowhere in the House of Representatives."


Senator Coons: (2:29 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "I was honored when my good friend, senator John McCain, reached out to me two weeks ago to suggest that we introduce behalf legislation here in the senate that would attempt to solve two of our most pressing immigration issues and keep our country and congress moving forward. The bill we've introduced and which the senate will soon proceed to vote on doesn't solve every immigration we face and it doesn't try to. What our bill does is focus on the issue we can agree on. It's an attempt to break through the messy political debates and substantive disagreements here and find compromise."

Grassley, Gardner, Cotton, Ernst, McConnell (UC), Cornyn

The vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 15 2018

Senator Grassley: (12:54 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "There's simply no way to say it but to say it, that this proposal that fails to meet the  mark will result in massive amnesty and it will result in a surge of illegal immigration, even encouraging illegal crossing of our borders, and it has absolutely no chance of becoming law because we've been reminded of what the president said he would sign and he has said that this bill that we're talking about now would not be signed by the president of the United States, it would be vetoed. In my mind, the Department of Homeland Security when they commented on this bill has this one point right."


Senator Gardner: (1:04 p.m)

  • Spoke in tribute to Deputy Micah Flick.
    • "Unfortunately, I have come to this chamber far too many times just this year to honor a fallen Colorado law enforcement officer, repeat the words for the third time of Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman who wrote that American law enforcement is the loyal and brave sheep dog, always standing watch for the wolf that lurks in the dark. We owe so much to Micah and his brothers and sisters in blue that protect our communities each and every day. I know that all of our families together sleep better at night knowing these heroes are out protecting every single one of us. Thank you, Micah, for answering the call."


Senator Cotton: (1:42 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "On the other hand, it mitigates the negative consequences of that decision, which we all know will happen, first, to control the increased incentives for illegal immigration. It provides the money and closes the loopholes necessary to secure our southern border. And second, to prevent that newly legalized class of citizens from sponsoring the very parents who created this problem in the fairs place and their siblings and ultimately their grandparents and their aunts and their uncles and their nieces and their nephews, it ends the practice of chain migration and says American citizens can always sponsor their spouses and minor kids"


Senator Ernst: (1:52 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Our bill recognizes that spending money on the border without giving law enforcement strong authorities is like buying a boat without an engine. We need both to keep our borders and our communities secure. Third, our bill recognizes that you cannot view immigration in a silo. It is a bulky issue that represents many legal, economic, and security concerns. Many of these issues are deeply -- deeply interconnected. Addressing DACA and addressing the border without addressing some of the other issues plaguing our system is a half solution. We must have the president's four principles to make this work. Finally, this is the president's plan."


Senator McConnell: (1:59 p.m)

  • Unanimous Consent –
    • That notwithstanding Rule XXII, the cloture motions filed during yesterday's session of the Senate ripen at 2:30 p.m today. 
    • (Without Objection)


Senator Cornyn: (2:00 p.m)

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "But suffice it to say that he telegraphed on social media, according to reports, his intention to do what he ultimately did. And we here in Congress, the policy-makers, need to come up with tools available to law enforcement and for the social media platforms to be able to monitor these sort of terroristic threats much in the same way that we monitor social media for Al Qaeda and ISIS and other terrorists abroad who try to recruit people here in the United States to kill our fellow citizens in place. So we need to not only think about and pray for the families and teachers and support staff affected by this terrible act, I think we need to conduct hearings and talk to the experts and find out what kind of tools might be available to us."

Nelson, Rubio, Wyden, Menendez

The vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 15 2018

Senator Nelson: (12:00 p.m)

  • Spoke on the recent shooting in Florida.
    • "So let's don't hide from it. Let's have a conversation about this right now, not just about mental illness and that's part of it, not just about protection at our schools and that's part of it. Let's get to the root cause. Let's come together and help end this violence. Let's talk about that 19-year-old carrying an ar-15. Let's do what needs to be done and let's get these assault weapons off our streets. Let's accomplish something on background checks. My state passed a constitutional amendment, Florida, 1998. Background checks have to be done in the purchase of a gun. It's never been implemented totally and it's never been enforced. A simple background check."


Senator Rubio: (12:09 p.m)

  • Spoke on the recent shooting in Florida.
    • "By the way, because of that premeditation and planning is one of the reasons why these laws that have been proposed wouldn't have prevented them. Because when someone is planning and premeditating an attack, they will figure out a way to evade those laws or quite frankly to comply with them in order to get around it. That may be an argument for new laws of a different kind but it's what makes it hard though not impossible. The second thing they have in common is that almost all of these attacks were preceded by clear signs of what was to come. A cursory review this morning of just a handful of the recent cases points that out."


Senator Wyden: (12:28 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "And a number of them just say point blank we'd like to serve America. We believe in America. That's all - they want to serve in the military. They want to do police work. They want to be first responders. And in fact to earn their DACA status, they had to come forward, give their information to our government, and then submit to a background check. Now they're living under this cloud of uncertainty because the president on his own stamped an expiration date on the DACA program. So what I want to do for a few minutes is talk about these terrific young people, these special young people, the dreamers and what they contribute to our country."


Senator Menendez: (12:45 p.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "It is truly a terrifying prospect that dreamers face, the prospect that at any moment after they fall out of status, they could be snatched up by president trump's deportation forces, torn away from their families and sent to countries they consider foreign lands. Well, I refuse to be complicit in that nightmare. I refuse to be complicit in the deportation of innocent children. I refuse to be complicit in those studying and working and studying in my home state of New Jersey. It is only out of compassion for them and commitment to them that I'm prepared to vote for the bipartisan deal reached last night, the Rounds-King version."

Schumer, Lankford, Stabenow

The vehicle for the immigration bill (H.R. 2579)

Feb 15 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:20 a.m)

  • Spoke on the recent shooting in Florida.
    • "It was the 18th school shooting this year, Mr. President. And we're only halfway through February. Again yesterday, the scourge of gun violence visited an American school, a place where our kids should be able to learn free from the shadow of violence and mayhem. Again, we all watched the scenes of children running for their lives. Again, a twisted soul got hold of an assault rifle and unleashed carnage on the innocent."
  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Mr. President, the current debate on the fate of the dreamers. Senators from both parties have engaged in negotiations for months to find a solution that would allow the dreamers to stay in the United States, as well as provide border security. On several occasions, those discussions have yielded results. Including last night when a bipartisan group of moderate senators reached a breakthrough agreement. The spotlight now turns to the rest of the Senate and especially to President Trump who throughout these negotiations has not been constructive."


Senator Lankford: (10:33 a.m)

  • Spoke on the recent shooting in Florida.
    • "I will continue to pray and engage and help in every way we can through this process. I know some of the schools in my state have taken active steps to lock down access to provide greater and greater security. There is no explanation for a student who was a former student at the school and return to the school with a gun. We will continue and engage and work with schools to provide security and help provide financial resources and be able to help provide advice and counsel and to be able to do what can be done. We will pray along with families who struggle deeply and walk with them through incredible, unexplainable grief."
  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "All week this floor has sat mostly empty. For months there has been preparation to put immigration bills on the floor, but as of earlier this week there was only one bill actually proposed to be put out there, and that was the president's bill to say here is a middle ground position. After months of negotiations and White House meetings with everybody, both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate, the white house said, here's a middle ground and the White House has moved a tremendous amount in this and dropped a tremendous number of issues."


Senator Stabenow: (11:40 a.m)

  • Spoke on Alzheimer's disease.
    • "The cost of providing health care and long-term care affected by - for people affected by Alzheimer's is growing. In fact, $1 out of $5 goes to Alzheimer's disease. It is estimated that for the first time last year that the United States spent $25 -- one-quarter of a million and if there is no cure it could surpass $1.1 trillion. Of course much higher than the dollar cost is the human cost. As anyone who has lived with the disease can tell you or anyone who has had a family member. And this really is the ultimate family disease. Alzheimer's and related dementia are thieves. They steal everything, memories, personalities, even lives. No price tag could ever be put on the suffering it causes patients and families and the strain it places on caregivers."


Opening Remarks

Feb 15 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.
  • Note: on Wednesday, February 14, cloture was filed on Durbin (for Coons) Amendment #1955, to H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.
  • Note: on Wednesday, February 14, cloture was filed on McConnell (for Toomey) Amendment #1948, to H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.
  • Note: on Wednesday, February 14, cloture was filed on Schumer Amendment #1958, as modified, to H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.
  • Note: on Wednesday, February 14, cloture was filed on Grassley Amendment #1959, to H.R. 2579, the vehicle for the immigration bill.


Senator McConnell: (10:07 a.m)

  • Spoke on the recent shooting in Florida.
    • "I want to begin this morning by sharing a shock and sorrow that all of us in this body felt as we learned of yesterday's shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. To say that such brutal, pointless violence is unconscionable is an understatement. School should be places where children can learn, faculty and staff can work without fear of violence."
  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "At this point we should be wrapping up a lively week of debate, amendments, and numerous votes. That's not what happened. Instead we're here on Thursday morning and have yet to vote on a single amendment. Not one amendment all week on what was offered, an open debate. Remember our Democratic friends wanted this debate. Actually shut down the federal government for 300 million Americans unnecessarily to guarantee we could have this debate and at this particular time, this week. They spent months insisting DACA is a top priority for them and telling their constituents they'd do everything they could to resolve it. But when the rubber meets the road, they have yet to bring forward a single proposal that gives us a realistic chance to make law."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "If that couple decides to purchase a home, their mortgage interest will be eligible for deduction. Contrary to what many predicted, the historic tax cuts didn't jeopardize middle-class deduction. We preserved it. When that couple starts a family, they'll benefit from the fact that we double the child tax credit, thanks to the fine work of Senator Heller and others throughout the committee process. At its new level, that credit will save a two-child household $4,000 every year. $4,000 to help them with back-to-school costs."