Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2018

Monday, September 24 -

  • The Senate will next convene for legislative business at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will proceed to the en bloc consideration of Executive Calendar #849, Jackie Wolcott, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the International Atomic Energy Agency and Executive Calendar #850, Jackie Wolcott, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Vienna Office of the United Nations, with 10 minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form.
  • Following the use or yielding back of that time, the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #849, Jackie Wolcott, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the International Atomic Energy Agency and then Executive Calendar #850, Jackie Wolcott, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Vienna Office of the United Nations.
  • Note, on Tuesday September 18, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #938, Peter A. Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for the remainder of the term expiring October 26, 2019.
  • Note, on Tuesday September 18, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #941, Peter A. Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a term of seven years from October 27, 2019.

Ernst, Donnelly, Cornyn

Morning Business

Sep 18 2018

Senator Ernst: (4:32 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the appropriations process.
    • "How did we get to this point? You might be asking yourself that. After all, we've worked across the aisle in an open and collaborative way and found a path forward to fund our national defense and the vital Departments of Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education. We recently passed a similar bill related to Energy and Water, the Legislative Branch, Military Construction and Veterans' Affairs. But as we've seen, a continuing resolution was attached to this legislation for the rest of the government, including our vital Department of Homeland Security."


Senator Donnelly: (4:43 p.m.)

  • Spoke on suicide prevention.
    • "The Senate will be introducing a resolution very soon recognizing suicide as a serious public health problem and expressing support for designation of September as National Suicide Prevention Month. Every year we lose nearly 45,000 Americans to suicide. It's the tenth leading cause of death in this country and second leading cause for those age 15 to 34. Think about that for a moment. 45,000 lives every year, 123 lives every day, one life every 12 minutes. The American foundation for suicide prevention champions the message be the voice, stop suicide. Whether we're senators or family or friends or coworkers or even strangers, we can all play a role in helping to prevent suicide."


Senator Cornyn: (5:03 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "And as I said, she didn't do anything with the allegation for almost two months. What is clear is that this allegation has been handled, or I should say egregiously mishandled up until now, but that's no excuse for us to continue to do the same. We need to return this process to its ordinary rules and procedures. We will take these accusations with the seriousness that they deserve, and that's in a way that's fair both to the alleged victim and the judge himself. So far fairness, because of our friends on the other side's fondness for gotcha moments and Kabuki Theater throughout the confirmation process that fairness has mostly been lost."
  • Spoke on opioid legislation.
    • "Thanks to chairman Alexander, chairman of the help committee, and as a result of his hard work and the contributions of 70 senators and five standing committees, we were able to come up with a package that had overwhelming support. I believe it was 99-1 if I'm not mistaken. The house has already passed its version of this legislation, so it was important that we do the same and get the bill to the president soon. And I'm happy to report that now we've done that."

Thune, Whitehouse, Jones, Sullivan, Barrasso

Morning Business

Sep 18 2018

Senator Thune: (2:34 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Democrat obstructionism.
    • "And he is far from alone, Mr. President. During and after disasters like a hurricane, Americans use products such as portable generators, ladders, power tools in greater quantity and frequency than during other times. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a mission to ensure that such products sold on store shelves or over the internet are safe. When there are safety issues, the commission is are charged with taking action, but nominations for this critical agency have also been blocked in the Senate. The same is true for the country's leading highway safety regulator. For months Democrats have blocked the nomination of Heidi King to be the administrator of the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration."
  • Spoke on opioid legislation.
    • "In 2016, we passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act which authorized a variety of grants to states to boost their efforts to reduce opioid deaths and help individuals overcome opioid addiction. That year we passed the 21st Century Cures Act which provided state grants over two years to combat the opioid epidemic. In March of this year, congress passed an appropriation bill that provided $4.7 billion to address the opioid crisis. And today we voted on an appropriations bill that will provide another $3.8 billion to fight this epidemic."
  • Republican economic policy.
    • "Mr. President, these are all facts. These are indisputable facts and they are the results of policies that are put in place with an eye toward growing this economy at a faster rate, creating better paying jobs and higher wages for people in our economy. Since President Trump took office, Republicans have focused on fixing those things that have been holding the economy back."


Senator Whitehouse: (2:45 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "When Pruitt's endless string of scandals finally proved too much, even for this epically swampy administration, President Trump then made a coal industry lobbyist the acting E.P.A. administrator. The fundamentally rotten bargain at the heart of today's Trump politics is that his party is essentially bank rolled by the fossil fuel industry. This is why you see Republicans seeking to freeze voluntary fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for cars. If consumers pay more at the pump to fill up, fine. What matters is that the oil companies get to keep pumping."


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

  • Spoke on historically black colleges.
    • "And with all due respect to my colleagues, we don't just have the most HBCU's. I believe we have the best. Tuskegeeee University is the only HBCU with the college of medicine and the school produces over 57% of African American veterinarians in the world. It also has just hired its first female president Dr. Lilly McNair. Alabama University is the only 1890 land grant university offering four Ph.D. Programs. They're also the leading producer of African Americans with Ph.D.'s in physics."


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

  • Spoke in tribute to the Alaskan of the Week.
    • "Mr. President, it's Tuesday. Normally I come down here on Thursday. I think it's Tuesday, yes. It's Tuesday. I come down here to the senate floor on Thursdays and do what is the favorite part of the week for me. I do something, our series called the Alaskan of the Week. So we're going to talk about the Alaskan of the Week this week, which is a great opportunity for me to talk about somebody in the great state of Alaska who's done something good for their community, their town, their state, maybe their country, and get to brag a little bit about what I think makes my state the best state in the country. It's the people, it's the community. It's people who are doing wonderful things and an inspiration."


Senator Barrasso: (4:25 p.m.)

  • Spoke on WRDA.
    • "The name of the consensus bill is America's Water Infrastructure Act. The chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee had worked closely with Ranking Member Carper, with Infrastructure Subcommittee Chairman Inhofe, Subcommittee Ranking Member Cardin to reach this deal with the House. This is by far the most significant infrastructure bill this congress - of this Congress, and it is the most significant water infrastructure bill in decades. It's bipartisan and it helps all 50 states. The legislation does three big things. It grows the economy, it cuts Washington red tape, and it keeps communities safe."

Murray, Moran, Shaheen, Lee, Shelby, Leahy

Conference Report Accompanying the DoD/HHS minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Sep 18 2018

Senator Murray: (11:10 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the appropriations process.
    • "I am very proud we were able to negotiate and pass our bill through the committees and on the senate floor of congress, something that has not been done here in the senate side for over a decade. And that we were able to work together to get this conference report done. And I believe this was possible because we rejected partisanship and poison pill riders and worked together to make families and patients and students and workers and our middle class. Our bill builds on the strong work we've done to increase access to child care and early learning. It includes targeted funding to address the opioid epidemic, especially in underserved areas, significant new resources to address the truly alarming issue of maternal mortality."


Senator Moran: (11:22 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the appropriations process.
    • "And by the administration I mean cabinet secretaries and bureau chiefs, agency heads. The power of the purse string is an important tool for Congress under Article 1 of the United States Constitution to direct how taxpayer dollars are spent in the United States. And so it's a cause of mine to see that the appropriations process works so we could establish those priorities but also so we could have input into any administration's intentions to establish rules and regulations, develop new policies. The power of the purse string exhibited - should be exhibited by C87ongress in a way that allows us to behalf of the citizens of this country to have input into what goes on in any administration."


Senator Shaheen: (11:35 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the appropriations process.
    • "They've joined us on the floor. But, you know, if you have any doubts about why what's in the C. J. S. bill is so important and why we're taking it up, all you have to do is turn on the TV or have watched the television coverage over the last four days of Hurricane Florence as it's hit the Carolina coast. It has caused devastation, it caused deadly flooding. I know that we all empathize and support the people of the Carolinas with what they are dealing with with Hurricane Florence. But we've been able to predict the course of that hurricane because of the national weather service hurricane forecasters. They knew about Florence's track and they didn't do it alone."


Senator Lee: (11:44 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the appropriations process.
    • "Republicans in this Congress have undertaken such efforts on behalf of certain priorities. In particular, the tax relief and spending increases that are poised to yield the budget deficit of nearly $1 trillion this year. But no such legislative progress has been achieved advancing the right to life nor the plight of those denied it. For the second straight year of unified Republican governance, unified pro-life governance, Congress' annual spending bills will include no new reforms protecting unborn children or getting federal taxpayers out of the abortion business."


Senator Shelby: (11:52 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the appropriations process.
    • "Thanks to the work of my colleague on the Appropriations Committee and many others, especially Senator Leahy, we've hung together as the presiding officer knows, to make the Appropriations Committee work again. It hasn't worked for regular order, toward regular order in years and years. But today we passed this minibus dealing with defense and H.H.S. Mr. President, that would be 74.9% of all appropriations money in these five bills, the three we passed, the two we hope to pass in a few minutes."


Senator Leahy: (11:55 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the appropriations process.
    • "Mr. President, the senator from Alabama and I have been friends for decades. Our wives have been friends, as the presiding officer knows. We have different political philosophies. We joined together wanting to make the Senate work the way it should work, the way it used to work. It would have done that in these appropriations bills. It means that the senator from Alabama has had to decline some things in this bill that he might have liked otherwise. But I've had to do the same. And that's why we're here today."

Durbin, Nelson, Schumer, Blunt

Conference Report Accompanying the DoD/HHS minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Sep 18 2018

Senator Durbin: (10:13 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "It refers to the hearings for the approval of the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Let me read to you a summary of what occurred. After Anita Hill alleged that Judge Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her, the full Senate on October 8, 1991, agreed by by unanimous vote, unanimous consent, to delay a vote on Thomas' nomination to the Supreme Court until October 15. Madam President, let me underline that. The full Senate agreed by unanimous consent to delay the vote after the allegations surfaced. Three days later, beginning on October 11, the Senate Judiciary Committee held public hearings over the course of three days enabling Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill, and other witnesses to testify in an open setting."


Senator Nelson: (10:40 a.m.)

  • Spoke on WRDA.
    • "The smell is pungent. It's irritating. And I'm here to urge our colleagues to support the Water Resources Development Act, what we refer to as the WRDA bill, because it contains authorization for an important reservoir project that could help alleviate some of the discharges. When discharges come out of the big lake, Lake Okeechobee, already combined with local runoff and discharges of nutrient-laden water into the waters and Lakes of Florida, but particularly the Caloosahatchee on the west coast and St. Lucie on the east coast, then all of that nutrient-laden water is like throwing fertilizer into water, and since algae is already in the water and you throw fertilizer to it, the algae is going to grow."


Senator Schumer: (10:47 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "The minority has always been able to request a number of witnesses to provide context and expert opinion to the committee. In this case it certainly makes sense for one witness to be Mr. Mark Judge who was named in "The Washington Post" as present during the event in question. How could we want to get the truth and not have Mr. Judge come to the hearing? And be asked questions? And if the majority won't call him as a witness as they should, if they're really interested in getting the whole truth, the minority must be able to do so. The minority always has had a right to call witnesses. But the bigger issue is that the committee must be able to call more than two witnesses in total we must not repeat the mistake of the Anita Hill hearings."
  • Spoke on the investigation of President Donald Trump.
    • "On its face, just on its face alone, the action by President Trump is an abuse of power and a direct slap in the face of rule of law. And even more troubling because President Trump regularly abuses power but even more troubling law enforcement officials have informed congress that some of the disclosures will put at risk the most sensitive sources and methods of our nation's law enforcement and intelligence professionals. There are thousands of Americans risking their lives as informants in our intelligence services. If they can be exposed on the whim of a president for political purposes, what does that say to them?"


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

  • Spoke on the appropriations process.
    • "That's 50% of all the discretionary spending. And then another 12% or so with the Labor-H bill. 62% of all the spending the government will do, that we've got a choice in, that's not the mandatory spending, happens in this bill, the bill that the Senate is voting on today. There's lots of push and pull in this bill. In fact, Mr. President, our committee got 6,164 requests from senators during the committee negotiations about things they cared for in this bill. There were 31 amendments that were offered on the debate on the bill on the floor. Today's bill reflects the priorities I think of both sides of the capitol and both sides of the aisle."

McConnell- Correction

Opening Remarks- Correction

Sep 18 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the conference report accompanying H.R. 6157, the DoD/Labor-HHS minibus appropriations bill.
  • The Senate will recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. to accommodate the weekly policy lunches.
  • Note: on Monday, September 17, cloture was filed on conference report accompanying H.R. 6157, the DoD/Labor-HHS minibus appropriations bill.


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

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "They sat on this information for nearly seven weeks, seven weeks, until they leaked it to the press on the eve of the scheduled committee vote. But as my colleague, the senior senator from Texas, said yesterday, the blatant malpractice demonstrated by our colleagues across the aisle will not stop the Senate from moving forward in a responsible manner. As I said yesterday, I have full confidence in Chairman Grassley to lead the committee through the sensitive and highly irregular situation in which the Democrats' tactics have left all of us, all of us, Judge Kavanaugh, Dr. Ford, and the entire Senate."
  • Spoke on opioid legislation.
    • "We sent a message to the families who have watched our nation's drug overdose fatalities double in the last decade alone. To those in recovery who struggle to access the housing and work opportunities they need to get back on their feet, to the governors, mayors, and local communities who have seen communities from rural towns and inner cities literally hollowed out and threatened by this epidemic. To the police, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders whom our nation has asked to confront this crisis, often without all the specialized training and resources they need."
  • Spoke on the appropriations process.
    • "It's the second minibus conference report we have taken up in what has already been an important year for regular appropriations. Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Shelby and Senator Leahy, all 12 spending bills were favorably reported from the appropriations committee by the end of June, the fastest pace in 30 years. And for the first time in 15 years, the Senate passed our Labor, H.H.S., Education bill before the beginning of the fiscal year. These milestones may sound like inside baseball, but what they signify is a Senate that is getting its appropriations process back on track, a Senate that is attending to vital priorities for our country."
  • Unanimous Consent –
    • That notwithstanding Rule XXII, the Senate VOTE on cloture on the conference report accompanying H.R. 6157, the DoD/Labor-HHS minibus appropriations bill at 12:00 p.m. today.
    • Further, that if cloture is invoked all time be considered yielded back and the Senate VOTE on adoption of the conference report accompanying H.R. 6157, the DoD/Labor-HHS minibus appropriations bill.
    • (Without objection)