Thursday, Mar. 15, 2018

Monday, March 19 -

  • The Senate will next meet for legislative business at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #598, Kevin K. McAleenan, of Hawaii, to be Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  • Following disposition of the McAleenan nomination, the Senate will VOTE on cloture on motion to proceed to H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.
  • Note: on Wednesday, March 14, cloture was filed on the motion to proceed to H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.


Senator Hatch: (2:44 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "Mr. President, I rise in support of economic growth, regulatory relief, and consumer protection act which passed the senate yesterday. This bipartisan bill protects and boosts the U.S. economy. I commend Chairman Crapo, members of the Banking Committee, and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their hard work in getting this particular bill - proposal across the finish line. Making the rules simpler and fairer for small and mid-sized financial institutions is a commonsense idea that has garnered broad, bipartisan support. That's because, done right, it helps hardworking Americans who aspire to invent things, start businesses and manufacture goods and services exactly the kind of entrepreneurship and growth that America needs more of."


Senator Roberts: (2:50 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Gregg Dowd to be Chief Agricultural Negotiator at USTR.
    • "I want to speak today on the confirmation of Mr. Gregg Dowd, who is the president's nominee for the chief agricultural negotiator at the office of the United States trade representative. Here in the senate, we often say -- or I hope we often say that we're only as good as our staff. And I have been blessed with the very best. Gregg is one example of why that is true. Gregg served as the senior professional staff on the senate agriculture committee for me during my time as ranking member in 2011 through 2013. We like to say in Kansas that congressional staff are bucket toters. During those few years we toted a lot of buckets together."

Fischer, Cornyn, Warren, Blunt

Motion to Proceed to the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (H.R. 1865)

Mar 15 2018

Senator Fischer: (1:09 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to a fallen soldier.
    • "On May 18, 2006, while on patrol in Baghdad, Sergeant Allen's humvee was struck by an improvised explosive device killing him and three other service members. Sergeant Allen's memorial service was held at the Kay park chapel in Belleview. Over 500 people attended the standing room-only ceremony to pay their respect, including over 200 patriot riders who lined up with American flags. Calvin was laid to rest on May 30, 2006, in Arlington national cemetery, the day after Memorial Day."


Senator Cornyn: (1:46 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Rex Tillerson.
    • "I respect both of these men immensely but want to talk about Secretary Tillerson's public service. I know it was quite a transition, but he provided able leadership to the Department of State during a period of transition from one presidency to the next and a period of diplomatic turbulence. He worked hard to strengthen and in some cases repair our global alliances. I've known Secretary Tillerson for a long time. He is a man of character who has led the Boy Scouts, which continues to be one of his abiding passions, developing young men as persons of character. And I respect that. At the same time he advanced his own career as the head of one of the largest businesses in the world, at the pinnacle of success as we count success."
  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "I'm here again to talk about the fix NICS bill, a bill I introduced with the junior senator from Connecticut. Just as a refresher, fix NICS is about fixing the broken background check that's used when somebody purchases a firearm, but in the case of my constituents in Sutherland springs, because of the failures of the federal government, notably in this case the U.S. Air Force, to upload felony convictions and convictions for domestic violence into the background check system, no derogatory information was reported, and ultimately the individual there in the - the gunman in Sutherland springs took the life of 26 innocent people and shot 20 more. "


Senator Warren: (1:55 p.m.)

  • Spoke on RFK's presidential race.
    • "In 1968, in his speech at the University of Kansas, he spoke eloquently about the differences between them. And here is what he said: Our gross domestic product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts nay palm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman's rifle and spec's knife and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet, the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play."


Senator Blunt: (2:14 p.m.)

  • Spoke on preventing sex trafficking.
    • "We have a bill that passed the House, all we have to do is pass that bill and send it right to the president or make some changes that Senator Portman and others may want to suggest -- send the bill back to the house where hopefully it can be dealt with in the same overwhelming way they passed it the first time and get this bill on the president's desk and do just exactly what Congresswoman Wagner said this bill will do. It's time for us to do everything we can to end this. We'd be foolish to think that one piece of legislation ends this, but working with law enforcement, looking at trafficking, looking at locations like at intersection of major highways where it is easy to pass people along to someone else, not only are they disoriented, but your actual contact with that person doesn't last very long before you give them to somebody else or sell them to somebody else who can use them in a terrible way."
  • Spoke on medical research funding.
    • "I think everybody should work on this. We know a lot about these topics. I think our debate is a good debate, but it is not nearly as good of a debate unless every senator had a chance to debate on it. There's a wide variety of programs here that need to be funded and I want to spend a few minutes talking about some of the priorities that we're looking at that need to be part of this bill and create a sense that this is really a process that matters."

Reed, Klobuchar, Brown

Motion to Proceed to the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (H.R. 1865)

Mar 15 2018

Senator Reed: (12:22 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Liberian refugees.
    • "This horrific conflict ended with the departure from power of former President Taylor who is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence by the Special Court of Sierra Leone for war crimes. Liberia had fewer than 200 licensed doctors to contend with the Ebola outbreak. Throughout this suck assess of conflict and tragedy, Liberians who sought refuge in the United States have had the option to remain here lawfully under T.P.S. or D.E.D. while conditions remained unstable in Liberia. But this is not amnesty. In order to participate, these Liberians are required to pass periodic background investigations, pay hundreds of dollars in fees, and stay out of trouble with the law."


Senator Klobuchar: (12:37 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Liberian refugees.
    • "Some of them had health care experience in Liberia before they came to Minnesota. So they are a thriving community who has integrated well into our state, into Rhode Island. And we are a state that unemployment rate is somewhere around 3% and even lower in some of the areas where this community is working. And it would literally be a big jolt to our economy, and not to mention immoral if they were suddenly deported and lost the legal status that they have had literally for decades. So unlike some of the other things we talk about with people that maybe just came here - and I've worked so hard on the dreamers to get them a path to citizenship - this is a pretty unique situation, and so we hope the administration will be practical about that."
  • Spoke on military spouses.
    • "That makes moving a lot easier. Unfortunately, this convenience does not apply to a service member spouse unless they were living together at the same residence before they got married. So in other words, if you were not living with your service member before you got married, you have to establish residency every single time your family gets moving orders from the military. From filing taxes or registering to vote, a military family then has double the paperwork and stress each time they move. This is a loophole that must be fixed. Why would we make it harder for the spouses of those who are making a sacrifice by having their loved one serve overseas and not make it easier for them to vote and to pay their taxes and to basically be the citizen that they deserve to be?"
  • Spoke on Russian election interference.
    • "That is why Senator Lankford and I have led a bill to take the amount of money which is just 3% of one aircraft carrier to invest it in our states, to let them on a decentralized basis, their own decisions about the kind of equipment they want, to be able to upgrade it, because 40 of our states have not upgraded their equipment in ten years. Ten of our states do not even have backup paper ballots. So what would happen if they were hacked, as they got so close the last time? Well, there would be no way to prove what actually happened. You would have to vote again. That is why we have Democrats and Republicans supporting this effort."


Senator Brown: (12:55 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur.
    • "I rise today to honor my colleague and my long-time close friend Marcy Kaptur. Marcy Kaptur serves on the other side of the building. She has dedicated her life to serving the people of Toledo and northern Ohio. This Sunday, she will officially become - she will make history, she will officially become the longest serving woman in the history of the United States congress in either house. On Sunday, she will have served in the House of Representatives for 35 years, two months, 18 days, breaking a record that was set in 1960 by, I believe, a Massachusetts congresswoman. Three and a half decades, she has been principled, she has been passionate about her family, her community, our country, and she has advocated for Ohioans she serves like nobody else."

Kaine, Nelson, Murkowski, Alexander

Motion to Proceed to the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (H.R. 1865)

Mar 15 2018

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

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "First, I accept the ruling, holding, and principal announced by the Supreme Court that the Second Amendment conveys an individual right to bear arms and conveys that right to the American public. There was, and there remains, some controversy over the ruling. Some have argued that the text of the amendment only discusses the right to bear arms in the context of participating in a militia, which in 1787 was a necessary strategy for defending the nation during a time when we had no standing army. For years many scholars supported that notion and argued that the other amendments were different in that way. But in Heller, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment, like all the other amendments, conveys an individual right."


Senator Nelson: (11:34 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the first St. Patrick's Day parade.
    • "Appropriately said and launched today since St. Patrick's Day is this Saturday. That the first St. Patrick's Day was not in Boston in 1737, nor was the first St. Patrick's Day parade in New York in 1762. But as discovered in the Spanish archives in Seville by Dr. Francis, the first St. Patrick's day was celebrated by an Irish priest Richard Arthur, better known as Ricardo Arturo in St. Augustine in 1600. To be followed by the first St. Patrick's day parade in the new world in St. Augustine in 1601. Needless to say, this is not going to make our friends in Boston and New York happy to hear that they were eclipsed by well over a century, a century and a half. "


Senator Murkowski: (11:37 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the Iditarod.
    • "When you want to talk about wind chill out there, it is real. It is extreme. This 46th annual running of the Iditarod hasn't been that challenging in terms of the cold, in terms of what they've seen in the past but there's always some bump, always something that causes the race to be a little bit different. This year the mushers had a scheduled check point on Eagle Island. This is a place where they take a mandatory eight-hour break. The game changer in the race this year was snow conditions. Because of the ceiling, planes could not drop food for the mushers."
  • Spoke in tribute to a member of her staff.
    • "He moved from Ohio to Alaska in 1976 to work as a reporter at the Juneau Empire in our capital. A few years ago later he became press secretary for then-Governor Jay Hammond. He to do followed that with a stint at the Department of Environmental Conservation and then he returned to reporting for a few more years. Chuck first came to the Senate in 1991. He was convinced by my father, Frank Murkowski, who was senator at the time, to move to Washington, D.C., to be his press secretary. And so he did. He made the move. Now 27 years later chuck is still part of the family here. "


Senator Alexander: (11:51 a.m.)

  • Spoke on health care.
    • "Can you imagine anything more frightening than approaching next year knowing that you might not be able to afford health insurance for your family and you're thinking, well, look, I'm doing everything I'm supposed to. The government has not gotten me on any kind of subsidy to buy health insurance. I'm out here working. I'm paying my taxes. Maybe I got a little tax cut that the Republicans put through last year, but the thing that's really a problem for me is my health insurance. If I'm making $60,000, $70,000, $80,000 a year, I cannot afford $15,000, $20,000 a year."

Schumer, Portman, Peters, Perdue

Motion to Proceed to the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (H.R. 1865)

Mar 15 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:24 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "The stock simply goes up because they have decreased the number of shares. It's a scam in a certain sense. Helping corporate C.E.O.'s, helping shareholders, 80% of the shares are held by the top 10%, so it doesn't really help average Americans, and that's including 401(k)'s. It doesn't hurt the worker. All the claims we've heard from our Republican friends. Pass this tax bill and the workers will benefit. Well, now we see who is really benefiting, just unfortunately as we predicted. It's the corporate C.E.O.'s and the wealthiest of Americans. Just recently, a total amount of share buybacks surpassed $220 billion this year."
  • Spoke on Russia.
    • "Prime Minister Putin, he's a bully. I grew up in Brooklyn. You have to stand up to them or they will keep taking advantage of you. That's how they work. Let's compare Prime Minister May's action. Prime Minister May was quick and decisive about countering Russia's aggression, President Putin can hardly seem to utter a peep of criticism of President Putin. A man who is trying to undermine the United States' power and the United States' very democracy, the beauty of America. It was on full display this week when instead of personally defending our ally Britain, president trump didn't say a word about the attack, directing everything through aides or statements."


Senator Portman: (10:41 a.m.)

  • Spoke on preventing sex trafficking.
    • "The speech earlier by majority leader Mitch McConnell laid this out they well, I thought. He talked about the fact that there's been an eight-fold increase in the most recent data for missing and exploited children between 2010 and 2015, an eight-fold increase in the incidence of trafficking. He also talked about the fact that this is growing because of this growth of the internet that the internet and specifically one website has caused this increase that congress has the ability to address through a change in a federal law that can be targeted and focused and make a huge difference in the lives of those who would be trafficked and undergo the intense trauma that results from. I'm very pleased that we're taking up this legislation."


Senator Peters: (10:54 a.m.)

  • Spoke on agriculture.
    • "But access to these resources can be especially challenging for new farm operations that are just getting started, including small farms that make up 82% of Michigan's agricultural producers. Small farms that are just starting out are facing tough economic conditions, sometimes struggle to have access to affordable credit. These businesses rely upon important services provided by the farm service agency which works with lenders to guarantee and deliver small-dollar loans to the small farms that need it most. Farm service agency loans and guarantees can help farmers cover urgent operating costs like feed, seed, fertilizer, to get them through the season."


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

  • Spoke on economic growth.
    • "He was right. His instincts were exactly right on. So what do we focus on? The president had us focus on regulations, energy, and taxes, and I'm happy to tell you that this body collectively agreed and we got those things done. We reversed 860-some rules and regulations last year. We unleashed our energy potential as the presiding officer knows very well. And late last year, we passed an earth-shattering, historic tax cut and tax bill that will unleash our potential and make us competitive with the rest of the world. Why was all that necessary? Well, Mr. President, we had gone through an experiment where big government and more regulation, more control was the call of the day, and we saw the result of that."


Opening Remarks

Mar 15 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.
  • Note: on Wednesday, March 14, cloture was filed on the motion to proceed to H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.


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

  • Spoke in tribute to Senator John McCain.
    • "45 years ago yesterday our friend and colleague John McCain was released after more than five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. The Hanoi Hilton was a site of unspeakable brutality, but it was also a crucible of character where a brave patriot was tested and grew into a generational leader. Here in the senate, we're not only grateful that John McCain was welcomed home, we are especially grateful that he answered yet another call to serve, bringing that leadership to this body for more than 30 years."
  • Spoke on Larry Kudlow.
    • "Now, Mr. President, on another matter, yesterday the president named Larry Kudlow as the next head of the Economic Council. Larry is well known as a happy warrior for pro-growth economics and widely respected for his expertise in fiscal policy. The country will be lucky to have Larry serving in this role. I look forward to continued engagement with the white house team. It will now benefit from his insight."
  • Spoke on the pending Senate business.
    • "Mr. President, I'm a strong defender of the First Amendment as you'll find. I was here in Congress in 1996. I voted for the telecommunications act that included this provision. So did the vast majority of my colleagues. Let me assure you not one of us intended to create a special protection for platforms that knowingly allow sex traffickers to exploit children. The legislation we'll consider would ensure that institutions that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking can be held accountable for their actions. There's a reason why 67 senators have joined Senator Portman in support of legislation to accomplish this. There's a reason why the white house is strongly supportive. America's children should not be sold online or anywhere else. "
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "On one final matter, few subjects are closer to the hearts of parents than their children's education. That's why Republicans made sure the historic tax reform we passed last year included a provision championed by senator Cruz and others that will help parents choose an education for their children that makes sense for their family. A recent article in "The Courier-Journal" in Louisville, Kentucky, shared the story of one family whose second grade son struggled with an undiagnosed learn disability."