Thursday, May. 17, 2018

Monday, May 21 -

  • The Senate will convene at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #608, Dana Baiocco, of Ohio, to be a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the pending cloture motions will ripen.
  • Note: on Thursday, May 17, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #608, Dana Baiocco, of Ohio, to be a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Note: on Thursday May 17, cloture was filed on the motion to concur in the House Amendment to S. 2372.
  • Note: on Thursday, May 17, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #670, Jelena McWilliams, of Ohio, to be Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
  • Note: on Thursday, May 17, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #672, Jelena McWilliams, of Ohio, to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
  • Note: on Thursday, Mary 17, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #618, James Randolph Evans, of Georgia, to be Ambassador to Luxembourg.
  • Note: the filing deadline for first-degree amendments to the House message accompanying S. 2372 will be 5:00 p.m.


Senator Donnelly: (4:06 p.m.)

  • Spoke on National Police Week.
    • "They are on the front lines battling the devastating opioid epidemic that has plagued our state. Our police are the ones who work with our communities and local leaders to help stem violence and to help fight crime in our neighborhoods. They are the ones putting themselves in harm's way every single day. These officers are heroes to their families they're even more. They're moms and dads, sisters and brothers, wives and husbands. And their families pray that they come home safely at the end of every shift. Sadly, as we know, that doesn't happen every time. When we lose an officer, that loss is felt deeply, particularly by their family and those who know him and love him. It is a grief that is also shared throughout the entire law enforcement community and throughout our state."


Senator Moran: (4:21 p.m.)

  • Spoke on VA Choice.
    • "The solution to the problem exhibited in other places across the country that included fake, false waiting lists in which the V.A. had determined a list that was not really real but demonstrated that veterans who thought - who had no idea they had an appointment to see someone at the V.A. had an appointment to camouflage the slowness of the Department of Veterans' Affairs resulted in a unanimous decision by the United States Senate to create a program called choice. Choice creates the opportunity for a veteran, under certain circumstances, to access health care at their home in their home community at the veteran's discretion. This program, in my view, has the significant potential ability to alter those veterans to be cared for. "


Senator Portman: (4:36 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the opioid epidemic.
    • "I will say that as I talk to police officers here from Ohio this week, one issue came up again and again that doesn't get the attention that it deserves. And that is the influx of synthetic opioids, like fentanyl and the effect it's having on our law enforcement community. And our first responders in general and for that matter all of our citizens. What they told me was, you know, this is the issue that's creating so much crime in our communities. This is the issue that's filling our courtrooms and our jails. One police officer I met with this week is a corrections officer in a jail in one of our urban areas in Ohio and I asked him, just give me an estimate, what percent of the inmates in this jail are there because of the drug crisis and specifically the opioid issue?"

Cotton, Cornyn, Leahy, Flake

Executive Session (Haspel Nomination)

May 17 2018

Senator Cotton: (1:54 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Gina Haspel to be C.I.A. Director.
    • "If confirmed, she would also be the first woman to lead the agency. And given her many accomplishments, her diligence and dedication and her fierce love of country, I'm astonished and disappointed at the controversy over the nomination of this great American. After all, Ms. Haspel is a career professional whose record of achievement speaks for itself. She joined the agency in 1985, working as a case officer for several years in both Africa and Europe. Over time she rose up the ranks serving first as chief of staff and then as a deputy director of the directorate of operations. She served as chief of station, the officer responsible for overseeing all of the C.I.A.'s work in a foreign country, four different times. Having served under six presidents from both parties, Ms. Haspel has never been a partisan."


Senator Cornyn: (2:07 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Gina Haspel to be C.I.A. Director.
    • "Last week during her confirmation hearing, she said repeatedly what those of us who supported her for weeks already knew. She believes that U.S. government actions must be held to a strict moral standard. If confirmed, she would not obey an order she believed to be unlawful, and in her new role she pledged not to restart the interrogation programs inside the C.I.A. Of course that could not happen without consultation and approval of Congress because the standards have literally changed since the immediate post-9/11 era. Based on her testimony, her record of service and exemplary character, it is clear that the only real option for the Intelligence Committee was to report her out favorably."
  • Unanimous Consent –
    • That notwithstanding Rule XXII, the Senate VOTE on cloture on Executive Calendar #847, Gina Haspel, of Kentucky, to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
    • If cloture is invoked on the Haspel nomination, all post-cloture time be considered expired and the Senate VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #847, Gina Haspel, of Kentucky, to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
    • (Without Objection)


Senator Leahy: (2:12 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Gina Haspel to be C.I.A. Director.
    • "Mr. President, you know, the senate has often been called the world's greatest deliberative body. We can thoroughly and respectfully debate weighty matters regardless of the pressures imposed by any given moment. And what I've seen during my time here is that at its best the Senate can be and actually should be the conscience of the nation. So as we move to vote on the nomination of Gina Haspel, with very little debate and gaping holes in her record, I fear the Senate's failing to fulfill its basic duty to provide advice and informed consent to her nomination. Remember, we're supposed to advise and consent. And worst yet, we're failing in our duty to serve as the nation's conscience."


Senator Flake: (2:51 p.m.)

  • Spoke on China.
    • "Make no mistake, Mr. President, what we are witnessing here is a nascent trade war. Tariffs leading to ill-advised concessions, haphazard concessions and so on. Meanwhile is abouts suffer from increased uncertainty our national security is threatened and international allies find themselves dealing with an American foreign policy characterized only by chaos and unpredictability. Punitive measures work only when consistently executed. How is any other nation meant to take threats of U.S. Sanctions seriously when we enforce them some of the time and toss them aside other times when we feel like it? What does such unpredictability say to our allies about our ability to lead on global issues and our real estate liability as partner in the future?"

Burr, Cruz, Brown, Wyden

Executive Session (Haspel Nomination)

May 17 2018

Senator Burr: (12:16 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Gina Haspel to be C.I.A. Director.
    • "Ms. Haspel has been asked to lead one of our nation's most treasured assets, an agency that works in the shadows. It requires a leader with unwavering integrity who will ensure the organization operates lawfully, ethically, and morally. Gina was born in Kentucky. She was the oldest of five children. Her father was an Air Force lifer, let's say. She traveled from place to place. She told her dad one day that she wanted to go to west point, only to hear her dad very gently remind her that west point did not invite women. That did not dilute her sense of service. After graduating from the University of Kentucky, Gina went on to work as a contractor with the Tenth Special Forces Group. It was at Fort Devin she learned about the C.I.A. A place where she could serve her country along with other women, doing clandestine work around the world."


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

  • Spoke on the moving of the American embassy to Jerusalem.
    • "Almost exactly 70 years ago, Israel's founding father, David Ben-Gurion, brought together people in the Jewish People's Council at a Tel Aviv museum to declare the founding of the state of Israel. 11 minutes later, President Harry S. Truman courageously recognized the state of Israel, over the objection of many of his advisors and the State Department. And the fates of our two countries have been intertwined ever since. Until this week when the U.S. embassy was finally, finally, finally moved to Jerusalem, recognizing that it is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the undivided capital of Israel, I was proud to have traveled to Jerusalem along with my fellow senators for the official opening of the new embassy."


Senator Brown: (1:03 p.m.)

  • Spoke on National Police Week.
    • "Mr. President, I mentioned, and the families for an important reason. The families whether it's families of soldiers or Marines, families of deputy sheriffs, families of police officers, families of police chiefs, families of F.B.I. Agents, they share the anxiety and the fears - the anxiety and concerns for their loved ones that are so important and we always honor them too. This year, Mr. President, we'll add the names of 360 officers to the national law enforcement memorial, including the names of ten Ohioans of we lost six of those Ohioans years or decades ago."


Senator Wyden: (1:11 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Gina Haspel to be C.I.A. Director.
    • "Now, with respect to other issues, it's important to note that the agency again under the direction of Ms. Haspel has also conducted an unprecedented influence campaign to promote her confirmation. This, too, is wrong. The C.I.A., like every government agency, works for the American people. It's not supposed to use its enormous power to serve the personal interests of whoever is running it. Classification rules are there for national security. They're not there for the political security of an individual. They're there to protect the dedicated women and men who undertake dangerous missions under cover. They're not there to shield a nominee for a senate-confirmed job from scrutiny. I and a number of my colleagues have looked at the classified information about Ms. Haspel and concluded it can be released to the public without compromising sources and methods."


Motion to Proceed to the Paul Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 36)

May 17 2018

Senator Warren: (11:03 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Gina Haspel to be C.I.A. Director.
    • "Ms. Haspel's support for torture and her willingness to destroy evidence of the C.I.A.'s use of torture. For years apologists for the C.I.A.'s program have tried to re-describe this inhumane practice to make it seem less appalling to the American people. They have even renamed it. Torture has been rebranded as enhanced interrogation. There is no way to hide the basic facts. The techniques used by the C.I.A. were torture, waterboarding, so that the person had the repeated sensation of drowning. Confining people to small boxes for hours on end. Depriving people of sleep for days. Forcing people to hold painful stress positions."
  • Spoke on National Police Week.
    • "Mr. President, I rise today to honor the lives of six Massachusetts police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty."


Senator Inhofe: (11:27 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the budget.
    • "I know the intentions are good. We voted on the same thing for the last five years. I can tell you right now what the vote's going to be because it's been the same vote for the last five years."

Schumer, Gillibrand, Graham, Merkley

Motion to Proceed to the Paul Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 36)

May 17 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:32 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "Before I get into the substance of my remarks, I always listen diligently to my friend from Kentucky. There is a number that's missing in his charts. It's called 1.5 trillion. The reason we don't like government spending is because, he thinks, a lot of it's wasteful, okay. But the reason ultimately is also because there is a huge deficit. Our side scratches at the heads - at our heads, not only with our friend from Kentucky but of everyone on the other side who rails about too much government spending and creation of the deficit when they created the deepest hole they could have with the tax break that could have been paid for by closing loopholes."
  • Spoke on net neutrality.
    • "Yesterday was a good day for the future of the internet. Democrats forced the Senate to take an important step closer to restoring net neutrality. Another step closer to ensuring that large internet service providers don't get to hold all the cards. Another step closer to protecting equality of access to the internet. In doing so, Senate Democrats stood with the 86% of Americans who oppose the repeal of net neutrality. I'm proud to say that senator Markey's congressional review act resolution passed yesterday afternoon with the votes of every single Democrat, as well as three of our Republican colleagues."
  • Spoke on the Mueller investigation.
    • "There is nothing, nothing more serious to the integrity of a democracy than the guarantee of free and fair elections. Founding fathers warned about foreign interference. When I used to read that clause in high school, I said what do they mean? That's not going to happen. Well, they are a lot smarter than we are, as always. They knew this danger, and here it is 2018 and we see how real it was. It's what's the core of the special counsel's investigation. The investigation has already yielded multiple indictments and guilty pleas."


Senator Gillibrand: (10:44 a.m.)

  • Spoke on sexual harassment in Congress.
    • "The bill that would fix the way we de sexual harassment discrimination here in congress. The current system is broken. It makes no sense that a staffer who is sexually harassed or discriminated against has to possibly wait months for mediation, for counseling, for cooling off before he or she is able to even file a claim. This bill would also make sure that when a member of copping is sexually harassed or discriminated against someone on their staff, the taxpayers are not left holding the bag. That is what the bill does. There is no reasonable excuse for anyone to stand in the way. Our constituents do not deserve to have their hard-earned dollars paying for these settlements."


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

  • Spoke on the budget.
    • "I am tired of symbolism at the expense of our fighting men and women. I will engage in entitlement reform. Senator Paul had an entitlement reform bill for Medicare - I joined with him - Social Security. Let's do something like Simpson-Bowles. Let's go ahead and find way to deal with entitlement reform and deal with the discretionary budget not in a haphazard guessing kind of way. Count me in for wanting to balance the budget. But you got to go where the money is at. You got to do what Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill did. We got to do things for Medicare like the Gang of Six, Simpson-Bowles. What I will not symbolically lend my vote to is an approach to balancing the budget that doesn't give you a clue about how much money we're going to spend on the military for the next decade."


Senator Merkley: (10:58 a.m.)

  • Spoke on sexual harassment in Congress.
    • "It's been 100 days since the house acted on a significant and substantive reform of the process here in congress on how we address sexual harassment. There's been plenty of stories about how unacceptable the current system is. Now, in spite of how far women's rights and equality have come in America, too many women continue to face inequality, discrimination, and harmed day in and day O and our congressional workplace is not immune to that. The world is changing and the world is changing quickly and movements like the "me too" campaign are finally giving women a voice they need to stand up and say, no more."


Opening Remarks

May 17 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, Senator Paul or his designee will be recognized to make a motion to proceed to S. Con. Res. 36, the Paul budget resolution.
  • There will be 90 minutes of debate on the motion, with 45 minutes controlled by Senator Paul or his designee and 45 minutes controlled by the minority leader or his designee.
  • Following the use or yielding back of that time, the Senate will VOTE in relation to the motion to proceed to S. Con. Res. 36, the Paul budget resolution.
  • Note: on Thursday, May 17, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #847, Gina Haspel, of Kentucky, to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.


Senator McConnell: (9:34 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Gina Haspel to be C.I.A. Director.
    • "Throughout the process, she demonstrated candor, integrity, and a forthright approach to the committee's questions. She displayed the talent and expertise that make her uniquely qualified to face America's biggest national security challenges, whether in the area of counterterrorism or renewed international competition among great powers. Out of the spotlight, whether at Langley or deployed abroad, Miss Haspel has quietly earned the respect and admiration of those who matter most. That's the men and women of the C.I.A. and distinguished current and former intelligence community leaders. The safety and security of the American people depend on capable intelligence, leadership. Gina Haspel is the right woman at the right time. Senators on both sides of the aisle agree."
  • Spoke on the Republican economic agenda.
    • "For eight years Democrats pushed a one-size-fits-all agenda that heaped outsize benefits on the largest cities and left the rest of the country struggling to catch up. Now, main street businesses across America feel the wind is at their backs so they're expanding their operations, buying more equipment, and hiring new workers. For too long taxpayers grappled with an outdated federal tax code that seemed to keep more of their hard earned income every year. Now thanks to Republican tax reform, working families are seeing paychecks grow, special bonuses hit their bank accounts, and will send thousands of dollars less to the I.R.S. next year."
  • Spoke in tribute to Brendan Dunn.
    • "Brendan has been my trusted advisor on issues including tax policy, bank and trade and pensions so I'm just glad his last few months in office could be so calm and laid back. All he had to do was play the leading role in crafting generational tax reform and help steer it across the finish line. Oh, and then came Dodd-Frank reform for good measure. So this Maryland native holds degrees from Holy Cross, Fordham, Georgetown, and Notre Dame but you wouldn't know that this unassuming leader and reliable source of comic relief holds a J.D. and P.h.D. in political philosophy unless you needed to."