Thursday, Jul. 19, 2018

Monday, July 23 -

  • The Senate will next convene for legislative business at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Calendar #1000, Robert L. Wilkie, of North Carolina, to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs, with the time until 5:30 p.m. equally divided in the usual form.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #1000, Robert L. Wilkie, of North Carolina, to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
  • Following disposition of the Wilkie nomination, the Senate will resume legislative session to resume consideration of H.R. 6147, the minibus appropriations bill.

 

Senator Cardin: (3:14 p.m.)

  • Spoke on healthcare reform.
    • "Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, we have found more and more Americans have not only been able to get health insurance, but they've been able to get quality health insurance that covers their essential health benefits and provides them protection against discriminatory insurance company practices. We are clearly moving to where health care is a right, not a privilege. I say that fully aware that president trump's policies have reversed some of this progress and he's trying to reverse even more of this progress. The president's policies have sabotaged the individual marketplace. As a result, we see significant premium increases caused by action taken by the Trump administration."

 

Senator Portman: (4:18 p.m.)

  • Spoke on preventing sex trafficking.
    • "We drafted the legislation because after looking at this for several years, realized that there was a rise in trafficking going on, trafficking of girls underage, trafficking of women, sometimes boys underage, and that this was increasing primarily because of the internet, kind of dark side of the internet. We hear a lot about what's going on on the internet these days in terms of meddling on our elections, the positives of the internet and there's also a darker side. We realized this is going on online increasingly and a ruthlessly efficient way to basically sell people online. We looked at it and found out that there is a federal law put in place with good intentions I believe back a couple of decades ago to try to ensure freedom of the internet which of course all of us support but it provided an effective immunity to these websites even if they were selling people online knowingly."
  • Spoke on the opioid epidemic.
    • "Our committee has reported it out. We need to get it to the floor and get it voted on. If we do so, by the way, it will be signed because the administration has already issued a statement of administrative - administration policy on it, which supports the legislation. It was actually a recommendation of the president's commission on opioids. It's part of the solution. Is it the whole solution? No. But it is a critical part right now to try to stop some of this new poison, this fentanyl from coming into our communities, the number-one killer."

 

Senator Sullivan: (5:11 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to the Alaskan of the Week.
    • "Now, there are people - I had a couple of people come up, hey, senator, when are you giving your speech on the Alaskan of the Week? I said later. Okay. We're going to keep an eye on it because people have a lot of interest in the great state of Alaska. Now, the Alaskan of the Week, as many of my colleagues know, is somebody who we like to highlight who has just done great stuff for the state, community, town, state, maybe country, sometimes it's someone famous, but, Mr. President, oftentimes it's someone who's been working really hard for much of their life and doesn't get a lot of recognition, just doing it, the heroes of the community."

Peters, Ernst, Casey, Tillis

Executive Session (Bounds Nomination)

Jul 19 2018

Senator Peters: (1:14 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Startup Week.
    • "I've met with business founders who design and produce high-end jeans and other deny I am products and grow and deliver farm-fresh products. This Monday I visited Ferries Wheel, a new co-working space in Flint, Michigan, a community of hardworking Michiganders who are focused on their future. The people of Flint are committed to building a stronger, healthier, more prosperous community, and they are committed to doing it together. You can see this in their schools, in their churches, and nonprofits, and you can see this in their start-ups and small businesses. One of the best parts about starting a business in Flint is 100,000 ideas, a nonprofit staffed by university students committed to helping entrepreneurs start their companies."

 

Senator Ernst: (1:18 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the abolition of I.C.E.
    • "Unfortunately, a resolution that would have shown this body's unanimous support for these courageous individuals was blocked. While the border patrol has the important mission of maintaining security at our borders, I.C.E. agents have the critical mission of enforcing immigration laws inside the United States. These two work hand in hand. Our nation cannot have border security without enforcing our laws inside communities, and we cannot have secure communities without enforcing our laws at our borders. But the critical mission of I.C.E. goes far beyond just immigration enforcement."

 

Senator Casey: (1:24 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent meeting between President Trump and President Putin.
    • "Thank you, Mr. President. I rise today to discuss what is on so many Americans' minds today and the last couple of days - President Trump's recent trip to Europe, his meeting with Vladimir Putin, and his comments about Russia's interference in our elections. So many Pennsylvanians, and I'm sure this is true in so many other states, have called and written our offices this week in complete disbelief, asking, quote, what's next and where do we go from here. These are good questions. They're critically important questions."

 

Senator Tillis: (1:36 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "But how about this? Why doesn't Congress act to provide long-term certainty through an act of Congress to make absolutely certain that children who cross the borders with their families can be kept with their families while we're trying to determine in a court whether or not that family has a legitimate claim to asylum. It sounds fairly simple. In fact, it is pretty simple. I met with Senators Feinstein and Senator Durbin and Senator Cruz. We sat down and we discussed a way to actually get this into law. We all agreed that it needs to be very narrowly focused. The problem with immigration around here and the immigration subject is it grows really big and really complex really quickly. And what happens with big and complex on Capitol Hill is nothing gets done. So the bill that we proposed is very simple."

Menendez, Grassley, Cruz, Wyden

Executive Session (Bounds Nomination)

Jul 19 2018

Senator Menendez: (12:14 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent meeting between President Trump and President Putin.
    • "It doesn't work. That's how sanctions begin to crumble at the end of the day. But I welcome the response that we should be having new sanctions. Now as it relates to this resolution, it's outrageous, outrageous that the white house would not instantaneously and firmly dismiss a proposition that Russian prosecutors would come question a former United States ambassador. Again and again we have seen President Trump take Vladimir Putin's word. And it's unconscionable that this Whitehouse would give anything, anything other than a full-throated defense of America's Foreign Service like ambassador Mike Mcfaul, who served our country with honor and distinction."

 

Senator Grassley: (12:25 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Ryan Bounds to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.
    • "Mr. Bounds once served as a law clerk to that ninth circuit judge. Mr. Bounds is highly qualified to serve on the ninth circuit. A native of Oregon, he attended Stanford University and Yale Law School. His dedicated - he dedicated his career to public service, serving in government for the past 14 years. The last eight years were as assistant U.S. attorney in Oregon. I've listened to my colleagues on the other side voice their opposition to Mr. Bounds. Interestingly, none of them cite anything Mr. Bounds has done in his legal career as a reason for opposing his nomination."
  • Spoke in tribute to former Iowa Governor Bob Ray.
    • "Now, Madam President, I would like to address my colleagues in the United States Senate on the death - life and death of governor Bob Ray, a wonderful governor for the state of Iowa over a long period of time and honor him this way. I want to pay tribute to my good friend and an exceptional Iowan whose life and legacy will be remembered in my home state for generations to come as the people of Iowa mourn the loss of our 38th governor, I would like to share a few ways how Robert D. Ray made Iowa a better place to grow."
  • Spoke in tribute to Eugene Sukup.
    • "Madam President, on my last remarks today, I want to recognize a friend, an agricultural innovator, an inventor with I think about 80 patents. His name is Eugene Sukup. If you travel around the Midwest, you will see their grain operations on a lot of family farms, and if you go to Haiti as a result of the - as a result of the catastrophe down there a few years ago, you will see how smaller buildings that we would call a green storage facility in Iowa, a smaller one, serve as homes for homeless people that result - or that resulted from that catastrophe. "

 

Senator Cruz: (12:54 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Cuba.
    • "My father, born and raised in Cuba, fought in the revolution, mistakenly believing that the principles of freedom were what the revolution was all about. He fought against Batista, a cruel dictator, and he was imprisoned and tortured by Batista's thugs. And then my aunt, his younger sister, Myethesona, who was there after the revolution succeeded, who discovered along with the rest of the world that Fidel Castro was a communist who saw the torture, the murder. My aunt fought in the counterrevolution against Fidel Castro, and she too, like her brother, was imprisoned and tortured, except this time by Castro's thugs. Both my father and my aunt were kids. They were kids who believed they were fighting for freedom."

 

Senator Wyden: (1:05 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Ryan Bounds to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.
    • "First, Mr. Bounds flagrantly misrepresented his background to our bipartisan Oregon Judicial Selection Committee. This is the committee that was tasked with vetting his nomination, a process that I have worked on with Republicans for literally two decades. And I was pleased to work with our former colleague, Senator Smith on this. I worked with the late Mark Hatfield on this. Now I have the pleasure to work with Senator Merkley and the bipartisan efforts that we have had produce this selection process, and Mr. Bounds misrepresented, in my view really lied as he covered up disturbing, intolerant writings from his past. Among many hateful matters he wrote about, he defended homophobic vandals who damaged a gay pride monument."

Cornyn, McConnell (UC), Schumer

Executive Session (Bounds Nomination)

Jul 19 2018

Senator Cornyn: (11:58 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent meeting between President Trump and President Putin.
    • "Mr. President, reserving the right to object, let me first thank the senator from Arizona and the senator from Delaware for expressing all of our concern about Russian interference in the 2016 election. It's absolutely clear they did, and the president has said as much on a number of occasions. Now, I agree in Helsinki he was less than clear about that, but he came back and said that he'd misspoke and reaffirmed his earlier position that, yes, the Russia government had attempted to interfere in the election, although nobody disputes the fact that they were successful in changing a single vote or affecting the outcome."

 

Senator McConnell: (12:07 p.m)

  • Unanimous Consent –
    • Notwithstanding Rule XXII, all post-cloture time on Executive Calendar #903, Ryan Wesley Bounds, of Oregon, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit expire at 1:45 p.m. today.
    • Following disposition of the Bounds nomination, the Senate will then VOTE on the Schumer resolution that is at the desk.
    • Further, the Senate will immediately VOTE on the Schumer resolution at the desk.
    • (Without Objection)

 

Senator Schumer: (12:08 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent meeting between President Trump and President Putin.
    • "And I'd say one more point. From what I am told, one of the major objections from the other side was the including of contemporaneous notes, that congress wished that contemporaneous notes in that secret meeting for two hours be made available. That is key. What are they hiding? What are they afraid of? Don't the American people have a right to know what went on in that meeting, particularly when president Putin gets up and talks about some agreements that it seems not even our high-ranking officials in the state, defense, intelligence departments know about? This is amazing."

Paul, Coons, Flake

Executive Session (Bounds Nomination)

Jul 19 2018

Senator Paul: (11:23 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent meeting between President Trump and President Putin.
    • "But simply bringing the hatred of the president to the Senate floor in order to say, we're done with diplomats. We're going to add more sanctions and more sanctions. You know what? I would rather that we still have open channels of discussion with the Russians. Kennedy, at the height of the Cold War, had a direct line to Khrushchev, and it may have prevented the end of the World. Should we be so crazy about partisanship that we now say, we don't want to talk to the Russians. We're not going to have relations with the Russians. We should stand firm and say, stay the hell out of our elections, but we should not stick our head in the ground and say we're not going to talk to them."

 

Senator Coons: (11:46 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent meeting between President Trump and President Putin.
    • "I come to the floor today with my colleague, Senator Flake of Arizona, to send a strong and clear and importantly a bipartisan message to the American people, which is that we stand with the men and women of the Department of Justice, the men and women of the U.S. intelligence community. We sport the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in our elections and we must act, and act unequivocally to hold Russia accountable for its actions. Mr. President, just three days after the U.S. intelligence community issued a detailed and staggering find that led to an indictment against 12 Russian military intelligence officers for interfering in our 2016 election, President Trump stood shoulder to shoulder with President Putin and failed to challenge Putin's claim that his government played no role in the effort to undermine our democracy."

 

Senator Flake: (11:50 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent meeting between President Trump and President Putin.
    • "The Senate needs to speak here. Mr. President, in his dystopian novel "1984" George Orwell wrote a party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their most essential, most final essential command. Unquote. Well, we saw earlier this week in Helsinki what was truly an Orwellian moment. What we saw earlier this week in Helsinki is what happens when you wage war on objective reality for nearly two solid years, calling real things fake and fake things real. As if conditioning others to embrace the same confusion. Ultimately you're rendered unable to tell the difference between the two and are at critical times seemingly rendered incapable of thinking clearly."

 

Schumer, Cotton, Durbin, Sanders

Executive Session (Bounds Nomination)

Jul 19 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:30 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent meeting between President Trump and President Putin.
    • "Madam President, in the three days since the president returned from his humiliating display of obsequiousness in Helsinki, he's offered numerous explanations for his behavior. First, he said the media was too focused on the negative and that his summit with Putin was a great success. Then admitting there was in fact a problem, he attempted to walk back some of his comments but even couldn't commit to that, ad-libbing that other people could also be responsible for interfering in the 2016 elections. A mere 24 hours later, the president was back to claiming that it wasn't his fault. The media was biased. Then astoundingly, the president hadn't learned his lesson because astoundingly when he asked yesterday whether Russia was still attacking our election system, the president replied no."
  • Spoke on healthcare reform.
    • "The Trump administration canceled the federal program that helped low-income customers afford insurance and expanded the availability of junk insurance plans that sucker Americans in with low premiums but then hardly cover anything, and people are saying when they have these plans, why did I even buy insurance. But they were duped. Now, worse yet, the administration has directed the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of protections for Americans with preexisting medical conditions. Turning its back on the most popular and humane advancement in our health care system over the decade."

 

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

  • Spoke on the abolition of I.C.E.
    • "And the senator senior of Massachusetts says we should replace I.C.E. With something that reflects our values, which I suppose means that the 20,000 men and women of I.C.E. Don't measure up to the professor's definition of our values. But I have to ask, isn't the rule of law one of those values? Because I.C.E.'s job is simply to enforce the law and to protect our citizens from crime. In the last year alone, I.C.E. Arrested more than 125,000 illegal aliens with criminal records. Those illegal aliens were responsible for more than 80,000 D.U.I.'s, 76,000 dangerous drug offenses, 48,000 assaults, 11,000 weapon offenses, 5,000 sexual assaults, 2,000 kidnappings, and 1,800 homicides. Yes, that's right. "

 

Senator Durbin: (11:15 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the abolition of I.C.E.
    • "And within the department of homeland security, there are men and women who are conscientiously trying to keep America safe. I commend them as well. I believe they are doing their job as they understand it and they are risking their lives many times to achieve it. To not only stop the illegal flow of drugs into our country but to deter crime, to ferret out criminals where possible and they risk their lives to achieve that goal. I have not joined in the call for the abolition of I.C.E., but I will not join in a call for the adoration of I.C.E. because of one specific issue. The zero tolerance of the Trump administration resulted in our agents, the Department of Homeland Security, forcibly separating children from their parents."

 

Senator Sanders: (11:23 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent meeting between President Trump and President Putin.
    • "Senator John McCain is right when he said it was, and I quote, one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump's naivety, egotism, false equivalence and symphony for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake. End quote. That's not Bernie Sanders talking. That is former Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain. On Tuesday after a strong international backlash, Trump in a bizarre statement claimed that he misspoke and of course blamed the media for reporting what he said."

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Jul 19 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 #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 McConnell: (10:07 a.m.)

  • Spoke on this week's judicial nominations.
    • "This week we've been focused on confirming more of the president's qualified nominees after his confirmation yesterday Andrew Oldham of Texas will now bring his impressive credentials and years of distinguished public service to his new role. Today we are considering Ryan Wesley Bounds to serve on the Ninth Circuit. Each has been selected by the president and his team for their credentials and commitment to the rule of law. Each has been thoroughly examined by our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee. Ryan bounds is no exception. He's earned degrees from Stanford and Yale. He clerked for the Ninth Circuit judge he's been nominated to succeed."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "They don't seem to care whether it's honest or not. They don't seem to care whether it's accurate or now. The latest controversy is to make hay out of comments Judge Kavanaugh said about the long expired independent counsel statute. But once again there's no there there whatsoever. Here, Madam President, are the facts. Judge Kavanaugh's apparent concerns about the independent counsel law appear in line with mainstream views that have been widely held on both sides of the political aisle. Views that were, in fact, strongly held by many of my Democratic colleagues at least until there was an opportunity to try to make political hay."
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "To put it more simply, American employers are doing better so American workers are doing better so American families are doing better so American businesses are doing better. This is how a vibrant, growing economy works. This is what happens in Washington, D.C., swallows up less of the American people's money in taxes. When it imposes fewer heavy-handed regulation that's make it harder to do business and get the bureaucracy's foot off the brake of the economy. This is possibly the best economic moment for jobs and opportunities that Americans have seen in recent memory."