Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2018

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #903, Ryan Wesley Bounds, of Oregon, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.
  • Note: all time during recess, adjournment, morning business, and leader remarks will count post-cloture on the Bounds nomination.

 

Senator Moran: (5:42 p.m.)

  • Spoke on NATO.
    • "I brought up Russia's destabilizing support for separatists in Ukraine and its illegal seizure of Crimea after Ukraine's democratically sought a president with closer ties with the west. Supporting and admitting they share intelligence with the tax bill undermines the democratic government in Afghanistan and undermines our nation's military as we continue to fight the tax bill alongside the Afghan national security forces. In each circumstance of those conversation, Russian officials, including the foreign minister, continue to outright deny any responsibility."

 

Senator Coons: (6:17 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Nelson Mandela.
    • "Political activism and resistance, he led a revolution by shepherding his people from racial division, hate, and subjugation to freedom, tolerance and democracy. One of the most striking aspects of his leadership as the first president as a truly free nonracial, nonsexist South Africa was his enormous capacity for forgiveness and his ability to open his heart to those who were once his brutal oppressors. 20 years after he was released from a lifetime in prison, Nelson Mandela invited to dinner at his own home one of his former jailers, a man with whom he'd become close friends."

Whitehouse, King, Lankford

Executive Session (Bounds Nomination)

Jul 18 2018

Senator Whitehouse: (4:41 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "The northeast is also expected to see higher than global average sea level rise, putting our ports, fishing docks, and coastal infrastructure all at risk. Fishermen have noticed they are keenly aware of the myriad of ways climate change is altering the waters. Generations of their families have fished these waters, and they see the difference. As fishermen in Rhode Island have told me, Sheldon, things are getting weird out there. Sheldon, it's not my grandfather's ocean. They share anecdotes of catching increasing numbers of tropical fish early in the summer season and seeing fish that rarely frequented Rhode Island waters until recent years. As new fish move in and traditional fish move out, fishermen are left with more questions and answers."

 

Senator King: (4:54 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "First I want to commend senator Whitehouse, the senator from Rhode Island, for his long-standing commitment to the issue of climate change, the well-worn poster, time to wake up. The work that he has done over the years to force us to pay attention to this issue. I am, as he indicated, going to talk about what's going on in the gulf of Maine, but I want to broaden the discussion just for a few moments to talk about the issue of climate change as a broader question before us. This isn't some environmental dream, it's not something that was invented by someone."

 

Senator Lankford: (5:16 p.m.)

  • Spoke on election security.
    • "Later that summer in August of 2016, the F.B.I. issued a nationwide, what they call, flash alert to every state dealing with a threat from a, quote-unquote, bad actor. The Oklahoma State Cyber Command director received that warning, as did everyone else, but at that time the F.B.I. didn't share any details because no one in my state was given security clearance to be able to have that kind of classified conversation with the F.B.I. It wasn't until September 22 of 2017, a year and a legal alien bit later, that D.H.S. actually notified my state and our state election authorities that we hadn't just been targeted by a bad actor; we had been targeted by the Russians."

Nelson, Blunt, Toomey

Executive Session (Bounds Nomination)

Jul 18 2018

Senator Nelson: (3:48 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tariffs.
    • "Now I came here to talk about trade, and here's another example of extremes. Is the United States taken advantage of by other countries? You bet, and especially China. And we've been letting them get away with it for years. But you don't all of a sudden try to correct that situation by suddenly saying I'm going to impose a tariff, as the president has, on imported steel and aluminum, 25% on steel, 10% on aluminum. Because what happens, the people that use those products in the manufacturing, whatever their business is, that's going to cost - cause the cost of those goods to go up. The consumers are going to be the one that's hurt."

 

Senator Blunt: (4:04 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to the Homestead Grays.
    • "There were great teams in that league. The Homestead Grays had won the Negro League World Series in 1943, which was 75 years ago, and they had a great exhibit here in town of that team and about that team and about the history of that league. The museum, which was founded in 1990, is located in Kansas City, Missouri. It's dedicated to highlighting and preserving that important part of our history, of our sports history, the history of African American baseball. Bob Kendrick runs that museum, and it's a museum I'd encourage all of my colleagues to visit."
  • Spoke on the opioid epidemic.
    • "We do feel like in our committee and in the congress that it's unlikely that the best way to deal with this in one place is necessarily the best way to deal with it in other places. My state, Missouri, received $10 million last year. We'll receive $28 million this year if this grant funding is approved. And other states will be proportionately, they'll go up exactly as we did. Now what do we do in Missouri to use that money in our state to see what you can do to deal with this epidemic? 1,700 people received evidence-based medical treatment for opioid use disorder. 1,700 people in the last few months received that. More than 4,300 kits of nalaxone, which is what you take when you've overdosed."

 

Senator Toomey: (4:23 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "The direct savings for, according to the tax foundation, for a Pennsylvania family with an income in the $50,000 to $70,000 range, it will be about $1,400 in savings. And in addition to the direct savings from the lower federal tax bill, because of the savings that Pennsylvania utilities have on their federal tax bill, they're required to pass that on to their customers, and that's exactly what they're doing. There is so far a combined $320 million in annual savings to Pennsylvania consumers in the form of lower utility bills as a result of our tax reform. So there's no question, tremendous direct personal individual benefits across the board. But related to that is the fact that the economy is just taking off. The economy has been on fire. This year it's been tremendous."

Merkley, Daines, Hirono, Durbin, Cruz

Executive Session (Bounds Nomination)

Jul 18 2018

Senator Merkley: (3:22 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the abolition of I.C.E.
    • "When that agency better known as I. C. E. is deeply mired in the scandal of separating children from their parents. It is I. C. E. that partnered with border control and health and human services in this diabolical situation. It's I. C. E. that holds the parents in detention camps. It's I. C. E. that has failed to arrange for the knowledge within the system of which parents go with which children. It's I. C. E. that often has prevented lawyers from having access for the individuals to have access to counsel, to be able to even phone their children, to charge them for using the phone."

 

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

  • Spoke on the abolition of I.C.E.
    • "In fact, just last year, I. C. E. seized nearly 50 tons of narcotics, nearly a million pounds of heroin, fentanyl, and other deadly drugs that criminals and cartels are smuggling into our country. At a time when America is suffering from a drug epidemic, how many more lives will be lost if I. C. E. agents were not protecting our borders?"

 

Senator Hirono: (3:27 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the abolition of I.C.E.
    • "Mr. President, this resolution being offered by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle is a partisan political stunt to distract the American people from the crisis created by Donald Trump's zero tolerance policy. Almost 3,000 children are ripped from the arms of their parents and traumatized by the president's cruelty. Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee had a closed door briefing with officials from the Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Service, and Department of Homeland Security. The American people deserve to hear from these officials in public and under oath. All these officials provided at this briefing not under oath was more obstruction and obfuscation."

 

Senator Durbin: (3:28 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the abolition of I.C.E.
    • "The United States needs security at its borders. There's no question about that, whoever the president may be. The second thing that we agree on is that no one - no one that is dangerous should be allowed to come into this country and anybody who is undocumented and dangerous should be removed. 68 senators agreed on comprehensive immigration reform. Our immigration laws are a mess, an absolute mess. That's why we continue to debate the topic. 68 of us came to the floor here and voted for a bipartisan measure five years ago to fix the whole system. It passed the Senate, died in the House."

 

Senator Cruz: (3:36 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the abolition of I.C.E.
    • "Mr. President, this is not a reasonable position in a public policy debate upon which reasonable minds might differ. There are many of those in the immigration world. This is not one of them. This is a radical and reckless position, and yet this resolution - by the way, this resolution says not a word about the issue of family separation. We have heard some of the speeches from my Democratic colleagues focused on family separation. I can tell you, every member of this body, Democrat and Republican, agrees that families should not be separated and, indeed, I've introduced legislation to prohibit family separation to ensure that children stay with their parents. The best place for a kid is with his or her mom or dad. But to do so in a way that also respects the rule of law, that doesn't return to the failed policy of catch and release."

Cruz, Leahy

Executive Session (Oldham Nomination)

Jul 18 2018

Senator Cruz: (12:13 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Andrew Oldham to be U.S. Circuit Court Judge for the Fifth Circuit.
    • "Andy will be the fifth judge we have confirmed to the circuit court. Andy will be the third Texan and the fifth fifth circuit judge in the last year and a half, and that, I think, is one of the greatest legacy of President Trump and this Republican Senate are the principled constitutionalists who we are confirming to the federal court, judges who will be faithful to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, who will stand steadfastly to protect our fundamental liberties, to protect the right to keep and bear arms, to protect the tenth amendment, the fundamental liberties of the people against federal power. This is why the American people elected this majority and it's a legacy that will benefit Texans and Americans for generations to come."

 

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

  • Spoke on the recent meeting between President Trump and President Putin.
    • "Instead of forcefully condemning Russia's attack on our democracy or condemning its role in annexing Crimea or poisoning individuals with chemical weapons on the soil of one of our closest allies or Russia's downing of a passenger airline with nearly 300 innocent civilians on board or undermining democracies around the world, our president offered only praise for the authoritarian President Putin. He then repeated his conspiracy theories about the F.B.I. He called the Russia investigation a witch hunt by the F.B.I. He denigrated our law enforcement institutions while standing behind the flag that they have worked so hard to protect all Republicans and Democrats alike."

Cornyn, Hatch, Barrasso, Cardin

Executive Session (Oldham Nomination)

Jul 18 2018

Senator Cornyn: (12:01 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Now, these aren't just documents that he himself has generated. In fact, I suspect that the overwhelming majority of them he would have nothing to do with creating. He wouldn't be the author. He wouldn't be making policy recommendations. He would basically be navigating all of the documents that go across the president's desk to make sure they've been reviewed by the appropriate person and they'd been checked for accuracy. So the idea that every single piece of paper that went across President George W. Bush's desk should somehow be relevant and we should delay the confirmation until we've all had a chance to read it is ridiculous."

 

Senator Hatch: (12:13 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "He was confirmed on the D.C. Circuit Court in 2006 following years of Democratic obstruction. He has worked closely on that court for a decade. His record never ceases to impress. A nominee with - should receive bipartisan support. Over the years I have seen the deterioration of the judicial process. When Justice Kennedy announced his retirement, I knew Democrats would again play politics with the Supreme Court. It's what they've done for more than three decades, and it's a matter of great concern to me. Faced with an imminently qualified nominee, Democrats are casting about looking for something, really anything to stop Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation."

 

Senator Barrasso: (12:53 p.m.)

  • Spoke on NATO.
    • "President Trump pointed out how strange it seems. I think it's - it seems strange to other members of NATO and it seems strange to people all across the country. No one who understands the facts can say that President Trump is wrong. President Trump is right. His tough talk to NATO was on point. Even the Obama administration knew. The rest of NATO knows it. Even Germany knows it. When one country allows another aggressive opportunistic country like Russia to have that kind of influence over its security, I believe it's asking for trouble. Germany seems to be betting that increasing its economic ties to the Kremlin will have no effect on the political manipulations that Russia wants to play on Europe. I think it's a sucker's bet."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "But I understand there are surveys of lawyers who appear before judges in court, people who have won cases, people who have lost cases, but they've put up their ideas of what they thought about the judge afterwards and across the board they call him an excellent judge. They say that he, quote, had as a history of excellent legal argument and analysis. You want somebody that can think intellectually, think clearly, come up with a legal argument and analysis to make the assessment, to apply the law as written. One lawyer actually said, quote, it's daunting and humbling to be in front of that brainpower."

 

Senator Cardin: (1:15 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent meeting between President Trump and President Putin.
    • "They tried it in Montenegro. Russia financed operations of a coup to try to prevent the parliamentary elections from having a government that would ratify the NATO. The people in Montenegro stood up and said no. They fought it and they won. And now Montenegro is a NATO ally. So we can - can't give this space to Mr. Putin. Mr. Putin not just in the United States but in Europe interfered in elections. But what happened in 2016 in America? Madam President, this is a fact. This is not subject to debate. We know that Russia directed by Mr. Putin interfered in our elections. That's been confirmed by our intelligence community."

Murray, Cortez Masto, Tillis, Tester

Executive Session (Oldham Nomination)

Jul 18 2018

Senator Murray: (11:18 a.m.)

  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • "Now he failed to jam a bill through Congress here to make those things happen, so now he's done everything he can to attack patients' health care from the oval office, and his biggest attack yet is Judge Kavanaugh, an extremely conservative nominee vetted by those same right-wing special interests who President Trump is so determined to keep happy. A judge who those special interests picked because they know he will help them undermine Affordable Care Act from the Supreme Court bench. I believed President Trump when he said he was determined to undermine patients' health care in order to satisfy right-wing special interests, health care coverage especially for people with preexisting conditions is on the line with this nomination, and we cannot afford not to take this threat seriously."

 

Senator Cortez Masto: (11:35 a.m.)

  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • "Don't the American people and their elected officials deserve a say in whether he should be allowed to fill that seat? This debate is not just about one unqualified judge and his racist ideas. It's about the duty of the legislative branch to serve as a check and balance on the president. Over the course of the Trump administration so far, we've seen an unprecedented attempt to undermine the blue-slip process and pack the courts with judges favored by corporations and special interests. I urge my colleagues to take a stand against president trump's attacks on our legal system. Protect the integrity of the blue-slip process and vote against Ryan Bounds' nomination. The power and independence of the legislature is at stake."

 

Senator Tillis: (11:38 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Pastor Andrew Brunson.
    • "It also happens to be a meal that a lot of people in the Middle East like. But that was a charge that suggested he was involved in a coup attempt or conspiring with terrorists. Having a light on in a church. By the way in a room that doesn't have a window that was supposedly observed by one of these secret witnesses who are in prison saying, well, clearly if there was a light on in this church, nothing good could have happened because it was in the middle of the night. Maybe somebody just left a light switch on. I'm still trying to figure out how they actually saw it because I've been in that room and there is not a single window."

 

Senator Tester: (11:45 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tariffs.
    • "This trade war is eliminating access to foreign markets, foreign markets that have taken generations to develop, and putting family farmer, ranch operations in a financial pinch, such a severe financial pinch that we haven't seen anything like it since the 1980's when we saw mass exodus off the land due to bad ag prices. The retaliatory prices against farmers and ranchers is harming Montana's number one industry, agriculture. Montana's game producers produce about $2 billion worth of wheat and barley and oilseeds and pulse crops every year."

 

Schumer, Jones, Alexander, Gardner

Executive Session (Oldham Nomination)

Jul 18 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:22 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent meeting between President Trump and President Putin.
    • "The president read a scripted clarification yesterday like he was in a hostage situation. All you had to do was look at his face. He couldn't even fully commit to it adding off the cuff that other people could also be responsible for election interference in 2016. That's hardly a walk-back. And it was concerning only one particular comment. The president did not address his lavish praise for Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Is he going to walk that back? He blamed both countries, the U.S. and Russia, for the sour relations between us. Is he going to walk that back?"

 

Senator Jones: (10:38 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tariffs.
    • "We hope to introduce that proposal as early as next week after consulting with our ought motive manufacturers and working with our colleagues to grow bipartisan support for this legislation. I realize that folks affected by these proposed tariffs are looking for a silver bullet to stop them dead in their tracks. Right now, the only silver bullet in this case is for the president to change his mind and recognize how many jobs are at risk because of these proposed tariffs. Until that happens, we're going to fight to protect what our states and our workers have earned."

 

Senator Alexander: (10:43 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tariffs.
    • "I've come to the floor to discuss bipartisan legislation that he and I, as he said, plan to introduce as soon as next week to encourage the Trump administration to reconsider the dangerous steps that it's taking to impose tariffs on imported automobiles and automotive parts. I use the word "dangerous" Mr. President, because nothing has done more during the last 40 years to raise family incomes in Tennessee than the arrival of the auto industry. And nothing could do more damage to those family incomes than the proposed tariffs on imported automobiles and automotive parts combined with the tariffs on imported steel and aluminum that the administration has already imposed."

 

Senator Gardner: (10:57 a.m.)

  • Spoke on a new V.A. hospital.
    • "And some significant hurdles, trials, tribulations along the way. I want to commend my colleague, though, for the work they did in funding this project. The Rocky Mountain Regional V.A. medical center will be the crown jewel of the V.A. system. It wasn't easy to get here. A lot of people had to do a lot of work to make it happen, including the veterans, the leadership organizations in Colorado, our colleagues across the aisle, Congressman Coffman, Senator Bennet, the entire congressional delegation for a number of years, Senator Salazar, Senator Udall, Senator Allard who have all done incredible work to make this weekend a possibility."

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Jul 18 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #892, Andrew S. Oldham, of Texas, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit, post-cloture, with the time until 2:00 p.m. equally divided.
  • At 2:00 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #892, Andrew S. Oldham, of Texas, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit.
  • Note: on Thursday, July 12, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #903, Ryan Wesley Bounds, of Oregon, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.

 

Senator McConnell: (10:09 a.m.)

  • Spoke on this week's nominations.
    • "We've confirmed two assistant secretaries for the Department of Education, Scott Stump and James Blew and we confirmed Randal Quarles and now we will consider nominees for the Fifth Circuit and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals. First is Andrew Oldham of Texas, the president's choice for the Fifth Circuit. Mr. Oldham has served the community in his years of public service. Mr. Oldham has degrees from the University of Virginia, Cambridge, and Harvard Law. He clerked on the D.C. Circuit Court and on the Supreme Court. He carries the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association, unanimously well qualified."
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "They were tired of so-called -- of the so-called recovery that focused overwhelmingly on big, wealthy metropolitan areas. They had seen enough of tax hikes and top-down regulations that held their communities back. They turned to Republicans to create a pro-growth agenda. Job creators and entrepreneurs have been able to rise together. 18 months later, the results could not be clearer. Today more people say it's a good time to find a job than at almost any point since the turn of the millennium. U.S. manufacturers are more confident than ever about the future of their businesses."