Tuesday, Apr. 17, 2018

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of S. J. Res. 57, the auto lending CRA, with the time until 12:00 p.m. equally divided between the managers or their designees.
  • At 12:00 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on adoption of S. J. Res. 57, the auto lending CRA.
  • Following disposition of S. J. Res. 57, the Senate will VOTE on cloture on the motion to concur in the House Amendment, with a further amendment, to S. 140, the vehicle for the Coast Guard reauthorization bill.
  • Under a previous order, at 1:00 p.m. the Senate will resume consideration of Executive Calendar #376, Carlos G. Muniz, of Florida, to be General Counsel of the Department of Education with one hour of debate remaining equally divided between Senator Gillibrand or her designee and Senator Alexander or his designee on the nomination. 
  • Following the use or yielding back of that time, the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #376, Carlos G. Muniz, of Florida, to be General Counsel of the Department of Education.
  • Note: on Monday, April 16, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #609, James Bridenstine, of Oklahoma, to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

 

Senator Thune: (6:19 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Coast Guard reauthorization.
    • "Finally, it provides needed regulatory certainty for recreational and commercial vessel operators while ensuring strong environmental protections for our nation's waterways. Mr. President, we're going to have an opportunity to vote on this tomorrow. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the men and women of the coast guard and to support this bipartisan legislation that has been negotiated for weeks, months, and years to bring us to where we are today, working to accommodate the concerns of individual senators on both sides of the aisle but finding a balanced Bill that should attract broad bipartisan support."

Schatz, Heller, Portman, Klobuchar

The Auto Lending CRA Resolution of Disapproval (S. J. Res. 57)

Apr 17 2018

Senator Schatz: (5:34 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the auto lending rule.
    • "I'm they're give some brief remarks about what we're on right now, which is a Congressional Review Act vehicle to reconsider agency guidance. Now, there's nothing that sounds more arcane and wonky than that. The issue at hand has to do with disparate treatment of people when they go into a - borrow to get a car that there's plenty of evidence that black and Brown people are taken advantage of and treated more poorly in the credit context than white people. And so the CFPB went to collect data and to require that people were treated fairly. And so I'll be voting against this C. R. A. vehicle, by I actually think there's a bigger, broader, more concerning issue. And I'm going to be trying to work with the parliamentarian's office and with the leadership of both parties to address it because although it's arcane, it's very worrisome for the Senate itself. "

 

Senator Heller: (5:43 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "More  bonuses, pay raises, enhanced benefits as a direct result of tax reform. Let me share a few of those in my home state. About 11,000 Nevadans got a raise. Roughly 13,000 Nevadans received special bonuses of up to $2,000. Up to 25,000 Nevadans May benefit from college tuition assistance. Increased pension funding, expanded maternal and paternal its employees a $500 bonus and raised its starting wages. McDonald's, which has around 9,000 employees in my state, is expanding its education benefits program, tripling the amount of money that eligible workers can receive to help cover the costs of college tuition."

 

Senator Portman: (5:53 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "Although what's happening already this year is that the paychecks are changing. Why? Because the I. R. S. is saying that the employees are going to get more money in their paycheck because the employers are going to withhold less as we go into the year 2018 because the tax proposals are in effect as to the beginning of this year. So even though this is the last time that we are going to have to file under the old code, already people are seeing some of the benefits of tax reform. When I go around Ohio, I talk to people. They say Rob, my paycheck has already changed. That's because 90% of Americans are now being told they will have less withholding taken out of their paychecks, again because of the lower tax rate, doubling the child tax credit, doubling the standard deduction."

 

Senator Klobuchar: (6:03 p.m.)

  • Spoke on children on the floor.
    • "Senator Duckworth has made history in many ways, but she is the first sitting U. S. senator to give birth while in office. Some have pointed out that it is remarkable that it took so long to have a senator that gave birth while in office, and I think it does speak to the fact that while we're a growing number of women in Congress, there is still not that many and it is changing. We currently have 23 women senators, which is an all-time record, more than at any time in history and we're seeing record levels of women run for office. It is inevitable that in the future more women will have kids during their time in the Senate."

Thune, Toomey, Perdue

The Auto Lending CRA Resolution of Disapproval (S. J. Res. 57)

Apr 17 2018

Senator Thune: (3:34 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "Next year Americans will be filling out their taxes under the new tax system that was created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. And that means that they will be paying less in taxes and keeping more of their hard-earned money. Mr. President, if anything became clear during the last election cycle it was that the psyche economy was not working well for American families. In CNN exit polling, 62% of Americans rated the economy as poor and that wasn't surprising. The Obama Administration was tough for American workers. Job creation was sluggish. Wages were stagnant. And economic growth lagged far behind the pace of other recoveries. Opportunities for workers were few and far between."

 

Senator Toomey: (3:44 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the auto lending rule.
    • "Well, indirect auto loans are actually very good for consumers for a variety of reasons. Number one, it's very convenient. You don't have to shop around to a bunch of banks as well as a bunch of car dealers. You get one-stop shopping and you have both. Secondly, there tends to be more competition for the consumers' loan. I mean, how many banks are you going to be able to realistically go out and visit when you are attempting to line up your financing? But the car dealer can routinely canvas all the available lending options and make sure the consumer gets the best possible deal. Finally, as a routine matter of practice, dealers have always been able to discount the loan as one of the negotiating provisions in a multipart transaction."

 

Senator Perdue: (3:57 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "It bodes well for the future of what we've just done. C.E.O. confidence is at a high. Profits have been unlocked and are available now for capital investment back in this country. And, yes, we already see public corporations making public statements in their quarterly earnings reviews about this capital investment plan that they're laying out. We see investment increases being announced every month from public companies in America today. There's no question that businesses are beginning to bring those profits home and investing in our economy. Over 4 million Americans have received bonus in addition and wage increases. Over 500 businesses have taken positive action, be it by giving out bonuses, raising wages, increasing 401(k) matches or increasing their overall investment in their company."
  • Unanimous Consent –
    • That the Senate stand in recess until 5:30 p.m. today.
    • (Without Objection)

Crapo, Moran, Brown

The Auto Lending CRA Resolution of Disapproval (S. J. Res. 57)

Apr 17 2018

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

  • Spoke on the auto lending rule.
    • "It is important that Congress disapprove this guidance because it was an attempt by the CFPB to make substantive policy changes through guidance rather than through the rule-making process governed by the administrative procedures act. It was also an attempt to regulate auto dealers who were explicitly exempted from the CFPB supervision and regulation under the endanger Dodd-Frank act. According to an internal CFPB memo, the CFPB rejected developing a rule using its statutory authority because, quote, the potentially unfair, deceptive, or abusive actions are ostensibly those of dealers over whom we have no regulatory authority. As "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board noticed, that didn't stop former CFPB chief Richard Cordray who used the back door of auto financing to regulate dealers. Make no mistake, the CFPB's decision to use guidance instead of a rule was intentional. "

 

Senator Moran: (2:59 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the auto lending rule.
    • "As we tried to correct the problem, when Dodd-Frank was passed, it got way beyond those culpable for creating the financial circumstances and began to penalize those who had nothing to do with it. One of the creatures of the passage of Dodd-Frank was the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and one of the aspects of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was for them to regulate auto loans. Mr. President, I think the chairman, the senator from Idaho, did a great job of explaining this resolution, but we have the authority today to reject the decision that was made by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and I hope that my colleagues will join me in doing so."

 

Senator Brown: (3:12 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the auto lending rule.
    • "This is my second day in a row of being on the opposite side of my friend Senator Moran and Senator Crapo too for that matter, but you have to do what you have to do. Over the last year and a half as we have seen time after time after time, Mr. President, Republicans in this Congress have made it pretty clear to the American people whose side they are on. They used the Congressional Review Act, something that most people at home don't know about, something that most of us didn't know about until we've seen at the white house she executive retreats every weekend for Wall Street executives. They used the Congressional Review Act more than any other Congress in history to give handouts to big corporations at the expense of ordinary Americans."

Cornyn, Gillibrand, Young

Executive Session (Muniz Nomination)

Apr 17 2018

Senator Cornyn: (12:11 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent missile strike in Syria.
    • "Mr. President, I come to the floor to offer some remarks on the decision of the president of the United States to order precision missile strikes on three facilities in Syria last Friday night. This action demonstrates American leadership in the face of gross human rights violations. And as we all recall President Obama's redline, which was not enforced, which, indeed, is a provocation in and of itself. I'm glad this president has seen fit now, not just once but on two occasions, to punish the Syrian regime for such gross human rights violations. These actions are consistent with our values and the legal authorities provided to the president under the Constitution."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "And that's because today is the last time Americans will file taxes under the old broken tax code that we overhauled last year in the tax cuts and jobs act. Our friend representative Kevin Brady in the house wrote yesterday, now we can finally say goodbye and good riddance to that outdated monstrosity of a tax code that took so much of Americans' money and sent so men American jobs overseas and kept our economy so slow, many workers didn't see a pay raise for decades. It's been estimated that after tax income in Texas will increase by close to $2,600 because of the changes we enacted into law and which were signed by the president."
  • Unanimous Consent –
    • Notwithstanding Rule XXII if applicable, at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 18, the Senate resume consideration of Executive Calendar #376, Carlos G. Muniz, of Florida, to be General Counsel of the Department of Education with one hour of debate remaining equally divided between Senator Gillibrand or her designee and Senator Alexander or his designee on the nomination. 
    • Following the use or yielding back of time, the Senate VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #376, Carlos G. Muniz, of Florida, to be General Counsel of the Department of Education
    • Finally, that the Senate now proceed to legislative session for a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each.
    • (Without Objection)

 

Senator Gillibrand: (12:11 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Carlos Muniz to be General Counsel of the Department of Education.
    • "This is an enormous responsibility but it is also an urgent one. Thousands of men and women have survived sexual assault on college campuses and they are demanding that the Education Department at their universities take these crimes seriously. But over the last year, we've heard over and over again the secretary - that Secretary Devos has let these survivors down. Instead of working to uphold and even strengthen Title IX, she's used her position to weaken Title IX. So we should not be arming her with more staff who are determined to carry out that plan. But that is what Mr. Muniz would do if confirmed."

 

Senator Young: (12:26 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "Since we passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act just last December, success stories have poured into my office from Indiana businesses that are paying their workers more and from constituents who are earning more. Tax reforms provided needed relief across Indiana and across the entire country. To date we found scores of companies in my home state of Indiana who have invested in their employee, invested in capital improvements, or lowered energy rates for consumers. It ranged in size from large companies like Walmart and AT&T to smaller Indiana businesses, like family express which has 70 convenience stores across the state and now is building ten more and increasing its starting wage."

Stabenow, Barrasso, Durbin, Flake

Executive Session (Muniz Nomination)

Apr 17 2018

Senator Stabenow: (11:16 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the Great Lakes.
    • "In fact, one out of five jobs in Michigan is in some ways tied to the water. So this is really about who we are. It's in our D.N.A. in Michigan when we talk about the Great Lakes. And in terms of the country, it's important for all of us to care about the great Lakes because 95% - 95% of the surface fresh water in the United States is in the Great Lakes. 20% of the world's fresh water, but 95% of our fresh water in the United States is surrounding the Great Lakes. So we are always, through our Great Lakes traffic force and our working together, all of the senators and the House around the great Lakes have a special responsibility to step up and protect them. But we all should care because of the incredible natural resources that they provide."

 

Senator Barrasso: (11:32 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "When I voted, all of the things we worked on for tax relief, tax reform, tax deductions, for me it was just two words, taxes needed to be lower and simpler. Now what we're seeing is simpler and lower taxes. Now, it's a big change people are going to notice and they are noticing it now in their paychecks and they will really notice it next April 15 when they file their taxes. Americans are seeing the benefits today. The law wasn't just tax reform and simplification, it was an immediate big tax cut as well. Meaning, hardworking Americans are seeing it in their paychecks. The average increase in paychecks is #%. That is a staggering wage growth. According to the bureau of economic analysis, American workers brought home almost $200 billion more in February than they did in December."

 

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

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "So far in 2018, large corporations have announced over $235 billion in stock buybacks far outpacing the rate of companies announcing one-time bonuses for their workers. Not only that, but more than a hundred thousand employees at large corporations have actually been terminated. You couldn't get further from tax relief for working families if you tried. It gets worse. The congressional budget office reported last week that the Republican tax plan will actually cost another $300 billion beyond the $1.5 trillion estimate. Our children and grandchildren will pay off the cost of this tax cut for the wealthiest people in America and the largest corporations."
  • Spoke on the Great Lakes.
    • "The lake is the primary source of drinking water for more than ten million people, not just in Illinois but in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, many other states. Together the Great Lakes support a multibillion dollar fishing industry. Dozens of local economies and thousands of small businesses. However, the Coast Guard reauthorization bill which could come before the Senate as early as tomorrow will do irreversible damage to the Great Lakes."

 

Senator Flake: (12:04 p.m.)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Likewise, border communities like in my home state of Arizona, have waited long enough for increased security along our southern border. As I said in Congress, we in congress have too often confused action with results and been too comfortable with ignoring problems that are just actually tough to solve. We may not be able to deliver a permanent solution to these problems at this time, but we now have an opportunity to offer at least some action on them. There are many people whose lives and well-being depend on our ability to deliver meaningful results."

Schumer, Warren

Executive Session (Muniz Nomination)

Apr 17 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:25 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tribal labor sovereignty.
    • "For a number of years, Democrats and Republicans on the Indian Affairs Committee have pushed legislation that would alleviate these problems. On our side of the aisle, Senators Udall and Tester, Smith, Baldwin, Heinrich, Heitkamp, Cantwell, Murray, have worked very hard on bills that deal with these very, very significant issues in Indian country. But, Madam President, none of these bills have reached the floor. The leader has refused to put bills that would dramatically help Indian country on the floor. And when finally a tribal bill is brought forward by the majority leader, it was closed to amendments and debate. Senator Udall, our ranking member, wished to have amendments. Senator Hoeven, the chairman of Indian Affairs, told me he wanted amendments."
  • Spoke on President Trump and Russia.
    • "Yesterday, it was reported that President Trump overruled a decision of his administration to implement new sanctions against Russia for its support of the brutal Assad regime in Syria in the wake of a chemical weapons attack that was devastating. Our hearts go out when we see pictures like this. It was only the latest action in a long pattern of behavior in which President Trump opted to treat Russia and President Putin with kid gloves. It took a very long time for President Trump to even utter a negative word about Mr. Putin and his administration has time and time again delayed the implementation of sanctions. Reports in the press said that president trump was unhappy with his administration's decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats after British citizens were victim of a Russian-linked attack."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "The only way that could have been true was if corporations had decided to invest a substantial amount of their newfound profits in workers. That's what Republicans, after all, argued would happen. We Democrats warned that if you gave the big corporations the lion's share of the tax cuts, corporations would do what they always do when they have higher profits and extra cash. Distribute it among themselves. Have a nice little party. Unfortunately, the evidence is mounting that our predictions, as much as we wish they hadn't come true, were prescient."

 

Senator Warren: (11:05 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the auto industry rule.
    • "Or they could stop using the dealer reserves that facilitated these discriminatory practices and just pay dealers a flat fee per loan instead. After issuing the guidance, the CFPB found that some were not following the guidance. It entered into settlements with fifth third and the financing arms of both Honda and Toyota. These settlements returned millions of dollars to people who had been charged more for car loans simply based on the color of their skin. But a lot of auto dealers and auto lenders don't like the CFPB's guidance, which brings us to today when the senate is about to vote on reversing this guidance and prohibiting the CFPB from ever issuing similar guidance again. This is part of the broader Republican attack on the efforts to fight economic discrimination."

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Apr 17 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session for the consideration of Executive Calendar #376, Carlos G. Muniz, of Florida, to be General Counsel of the Department of Education, with ten hours of debate equally divided in the usual form.
  • Following the use or yielding back of time, the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #376, Carlos G. Muniz, of Florida, to be General Counsel of the Department of Education.
  • The Senate will recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. to accommodate the weekly policy lunches.
  • Note: on Monday, April 16, cloture was filed on the motion to concur in the House Amendment, with a further amendment, to S. 140, the tribal labor sovereignty bill.
  • Note: on Monday, April 16, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #609, James Bridenstine, of Oklahoma, to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

 

Senator McConnell: (10:03 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Coast Guard reauthorization.
    • "Yesterday afternoon I filed cloture on S. 1129, the Coast Guard Authorization Act, a comprehensive package that equips an adaptable force to meet a variety of important missions. I hope my colleagues will join me in ensuring its swift consideration and passage this week."
  • Spoke on the auto industry rule.
    • "Now, the Dodd-Frank act of 2010 got a lot of things wrong, but one thing Dodd-Frank got right was protecting auto dealers from meddling by the CFPB. Our Democratic colleagues are usually fans of federal regulations. I guess even they had a hunch that left unchecked the federal bureaucracy would find way to put the brakes on this key industry. And how right they were. In 2013, federal regulators concocted a loophole. They bypassed standard review and public comment periods for federal regulations and instead issued guidance that would regulate auto dealers' ability to negotiate loan terms with their customers."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "Today is the very last time the American families will have to file under the unfair, outdated tax code that Congress and the president got rid of a few months ago. Out with the old and in with the new. Republicans' historic overhaul of - overhaul cut taxes for families and small businesses. We doubled the standard deduction, expanded the child care credit and lowered rates as well. And we accomplished all of this while preserving the key middle-class provisions like the mortgage interest deduction. The upshot of all this is simple -- major tax relief for middle-class families and a big shot in the family for the U.S. economy, which will lead to more and higher-paying homegrown American jobs."