Tuesday, Jun. 19, 2018

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • At 10:00 a.m., the Senate will VOTE in relation to Crapo Amendment #2943 as modified, and then Baldwin Amendment #2985 in relation to H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • Note: the following amendment is pending to H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill: Shelby Amendment #2910.
  • Note: the following amendments are pending to Shelby Amendment #2910 to H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill: Alexander Amendment #2911, Crapo Amendment #2943, as modified, and Baldwin Amendment #2985.


Senator Whitehouse: (5:59 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "The fossil fuel industry was looking for a way to stop climate legislation. It got citizens united. Fossil fuel interests asked those justices for anticipated and immediately seized on the political opportunity citizens united provided them. Citizens United instantly changed the game in Congress for big political interests like the fossil fuel industry. Before that fateful day, congress had held regular bipartisan hearings and even votes on legislation to limit the carbon emissions causing climate change, but citizens united allowed the fossil fuel industry to strike at this bipartisan progress, and it struck hard."


Senator Bennet: (6:21 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "When migrants with children crossed the border unlawfully, the government has broad discretion about whether to charge the violation as a criminal offense or a civil offense. And every American administration, every American administration including the Trump administration until six weeks ago dealt with it as a civil matter and avoided the trauma of family separation by charging them for illegal entry and deporting them. During the first 15 months of when administration until Attorney General Sessions started this zero tolerance policy, the Trump administration, not the Obama administration, did this with nearly 100,000 immigrants who were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border."

Booker, Crapo, Menendez, Whitehouse

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 5895)

Jun 19 2018

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

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "And at this very moment, many of these children are being warehoused, some of them put behind what amounts to cages, some of them being covered in thin tin foil-like blankets that we see handed out to marathon runners. I know that these children are experiencing great fear, great trauma, wondering where their parents are, wondering what will happen to them, confused, feeling isolated, alone. They're wondering if they did something wrong. They're wondering what they did to deserve this. But more than this, we know that these children are enduring psychological damage, literally having a physical effect on their brains."


Senator Crapo: (4:52 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bills.
    • "It's becoming recognized as one of the more important parts of the energy solution in the United States and our amendment does a very simple thing. It creates a pilot project at the Idaho National Laboratory to begin perfecting and implementing the process of processing spent naval fuel into fuel that can be utilized in our new advanced reactors. Currently when naval fuel from our reactors in our Navy ships is spent, it still has about 80% of its value or its energy in it. And the new advanced reactors need about a 20% level. So we can literally get about four times as much fuel out of a spent naval fuel rod for new, advanced reactors as is in the rod itself once it's ready for processing."


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

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "He said that if the administration began separating kids from their parents, they could deter migrants from traveling to our southern border. And we have since heard Attorney General Jeff Sessions double down on the theme of deterrence. He said, quote, if people don't want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them. If you bring children, you'll be prosecuted. To those who spout this perverse notion of deterrence, I ask this question. How do you deter a mother trying to protect her child from the brutality of fortitude."


Senator Whitehouse: (5:09 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "I want to explain this in as simple terms as possible because I think this is a complete slam dunk, win-win amendment. A next generation of nuclear power capability is being developed and a great deal of the design of that next generation nuclear capability is being done here in the United States. Now, for a variety of reasons, those American designs are now moving to approval and construction in other countries, particularly including China. So I don't think it's a good idea for us to be designing new technologies but have them deployed in other country so we're trying to address some of the hiccups that prevent this from going forward in the United States."

Daines, Murphy, Kaine, Cardin

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 5895)

Jun 19 2018

Senator Daines: (2:55 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "The legislative branch bill has advanced from the Committee on Appropriations provides $7.9 billion for Congress and its support agencies, that's $90 million above the fiscal 2018 enacted level. This bill provides just over $1 billion for senate-only items which is an increase of $7 million from last year. $1.4 billion and $3.3 for joint Senate and House items which meets the allocation for fiscal year 2019. We've made thoughtful decisions about how to prioritize investments for this fiscal year. Resources are allocated responsibly to maintain existing services and to allow for critical investments in numerous needed areas."


Senator Murphy: (3:21 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "I'm here on the floor to join senator Daines in recommending the appropriations bill to our colleagues. I note his history lesson, ten years since we passed a legislative branch appropriation bill on the floor of the Senate. But during none of those ten years was Senator Daines chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch. So things are changing here and it has been a real pleasure and honor to work with Senator Daines on this bill which we bring to the floor in a bipartisan manner. "


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

  • Spoke on the NDAA.
    • "Yesterday we passed the defense authorizing act. I want to highlight a couple of the items as a member of the Armed Services Committee that I worked on and am proud of but I think also illustrates how we can work in a bipartisan fashion. The three items were heavily bipartisan, and they also give some illustration of the breadth of the defense authorizing act, this tact that we pass - this act that we pass every year which is hundreds of billions of dollars and helps the melt and has - military and has so many different provisions to help defend the nation and protect those who serve it. After I say a word about our chairman, Senator McCain, talk about military families, shipbuilding, and talk about smart power."


Senator Cardin: (3:51 p.m.)

  • Spoke on World Refugee Day.
    • "The impact, of course, is immediate to the individuals that are displaced, but it's also an impact on the region and as far away as we have seen distances people will go to seek safety, a major impact on the continent in Europe. So, Mr. President, I'm going to be introducing a resolution for the United States Senate to go on record recognizing World Refugee Day. It will reaffirm the United States government's commitment to uphold international leadership. Our strong support for humanitarian assistance, particularly in helping hoes country's living conditions. I just saw the press accounts of the Rohingya population living in tent cities during monsoon season."

Carper, Alexander

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 5895)

Jun 19 2018

Senator Carper: (2:15 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "The Senate is getting ready to address soon, probably if not this month, then next, the water resources development legislation that Senator Barrasso, our chairman on the Environment and Public Works Committee and I have worked on. It's been reported unanimously out of the Environment and Public Works Committee. That bill called America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 makes investments in updating and expanding water infrastructure systems throughout this country. Along with reauthorizing the ongoing work of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, our legislation addresses a wide variety of priorities."


Senator Alexander: (2:21 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "In some cases the corps of engineers has completed projects under the budget. The corps had excess nonfederal funds paid by the project sponsor. His amendment which I'm happy to cosponsor requires the corps to provide a list of all those projects that have been completed and have that excess nonfederal funds that have been not been returned to the project sponsor put on that list. It also requires the corps to provide a final accounting for each project, and the status of the corps' plan to return the excess nonfederal funds. It does not increase federal spending."
  • Unanimous Consent –
    • That there be ten minutes of debate and following the use or yielding back of that time the Senate VOTE in relation to Gardner Amendment #2914 and Carper Amendment #2920 in relation to H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill.
    • (Without Objection)

Feinstein, Cornyn, Coons

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 5895)

Jun 19 2018

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

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "Believe it or not, Mr. President, it's been 21 years since Congress passed all 12 appropriation bills by October 1. Since then, we have just staggered through a series of continuing resolutions and omnibuses. So I'd like to thank my colleagues on the appropriation committee for supporting this bill during markup where we saw a vote of 30-1. I hope that we will be able to maintain that spirit of bipartisanship on the floor, and I urge my colleagues to refrain from offering poison pill amendments that would derail our progress. I believe this is a fair bill, it contains trade-offs and hard choices. I certainly don't agree with everything in it, particularly the nuclear weapons portion, but I support passage of the bill by the Senate."


Senator Cornyn: (12:02 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "Just like under the Obama administration back in 2014, we've seen a surge of unaccompanied children and families coming across our southern border during this spring and summer months. That at the time was called by the president, President Obama, a humanitarian crisis, and it truly was and is. Between October 1 of last year and May 31 of this year, the number of families apprehended at the southwest border rose 58% compared to the same period a year earlier. Many of these individuals hail from Central America. Some have presented themselves lawfully at ports of entry, but others have tried to enter illegally in more remote, unpopulated areas."


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

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "There are a lot of great things to like about the programs funded in this energy and water appropriations bill that is about to be before us, especially the work funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Our bipartisan resolution reinforces that message by acknowledging that the United States has long been a leader in innovation in large part because of a critical role played by federal funding for both basic and applied research. We've made investments for decades that have led to incredible breakthroughs instrumental to our current prosperity, economy, and jobs. The Department of Energy national labs, the 17 labs across 11 states, have been at the forefront through that process since their founding."
  • Spoke on pancreatic cancer.
    • "More than 500 Americans who came from all 50 states and all across capitol hill right now, meeting with offices in the House and Senate, folks who have lost loved ones, family member, relatives, neighbors, to one of the deadliest cancers, pancreatic cancer. They're here to urge we invest more in medical research because this is a cancer that has affected families all over our country and without greater investment and research, we cannot bend the trajectory of this dread disease."

Schatz, Gardner, Thune, Corker

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 5895)

Jun 19 2018

Senator Schatz: (10:52 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "The increased funding for our V.A. will go where it will do the most goods for our veterans and their families, that includes $400 million to combat the opioid epidemic, which is $18 million above the budget request, $365 million above the budget request for the caregivers' program, nearly $500 billion above the omnibus for mental health services, an additional $87 million to increase staffing to process veterans disability appeals, and an additional $30 million to help deliver telehealth services to remote and rural areas. We have extra for V.A. medical care above the advanced appropriations in the omnibus."


Senator Gardner: (11:13 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the forest fires in Colorado.
    • "It started burning now. It's about 35,000 acres of land have been gobbled up by this wildfire. There also are a number of other fires across Colorado. The Borough fire, Buffalo Mountain fire, a fire between Redvale and Montrose, Colorado. I come to the floor to bring attention to some of the actions that we have taken, though, that have helped with fighting these fires, some of the policies that we need to put in place that could do a better job giving more tools to fight these fires, and what we could do to help make firefighters do their jobs in a better, safer way. So if you look at what we did this past year, the past year, just a couple of months ago, we passed a bill that fixed the fire-borrowing crisis that had consumed our wildfire-fighting budget each and every year."


Senator Thune: (11:33 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "And small business optimism has hit its second-highest level ever. A recent survey from the National Association of Manufacturers reported that 97% of manufacturers plan to increase hiring as a result of tax reform, 86% report that they plan to increase investments, which I means new jobs and opportunities for workers. That's a lot of numbers, but they all boil down to one thing, Mr. President, and that is life is getting better for American families. Yesterday the "Wall Street Journal" reported, and I quote, economic confidence among lower-income Americans is taking a recent leap, the latest benefits that the economic expansion are reaching a broader swath of workers. End quote."


Senator Corker: (11:41 a.m.)

  • Spoke on tariffs.
    • "In some cases appearing to take place over personal picks that the president may have against an individual or another company. That's not the way the United States - that's not the way the United States has led the world. And we have a responsibility as a Congress over these matters. Section 232 of the Trade Act has never been used like it's being used today where we, in essence, are claiming under the guise of national security, tariffs being put in place against our neighbors and against our allies. I don't think there's a person in this body that believes that the national security waiver being utilized in the manner it is being utilized is even appropriate."

Schumer, Shelby, Leahy, Boozman

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 5895)

Jun 19 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:16 a.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "No law, no law requires the separation of families at the border. That's just not true. Now, at the Republican convention, President Trump said about the problems of the nation that, quote, I alone can fix it. In the case of family separation, it's actually true - Mr. President, you alone can fix it. The president alone can fix this with a flick of the pen. Mr. President, you should fix it, but if you don't want to change this cruel policy, at least admit that it is your decision. Blaming others falsely is cheap, easy, and dishonest. A cheap way out. Unbecoming of any president."
  • Spoke on China.
    • "Allowing the sale of Z.T.E. technology in the United States could allow China to spy on every American's private information, on American businesses, and even on our military. It's a security risk, and why is President Trump, in a simple call with President Xi, just letting it continue? Fines don't matter at all to this giant company. They will still pose the same security risk before and after they pay a fine. So when the Trump administration reached a sweetheart deal with Z.T.E. to go easy on them, folks here in Congress from both parties were shaking their heads in disbelief. China's the single-most significant threat to American jobs and American intellectual property, the lifeblood of our economy. Z.T.E. represents that threat."
  • Spoke on healthcare reform.
    • "That's why more than 95% of the health care groups that filed comments about this proposed rule opposed it. No single group that represents physicians, patients, hospitals, or nurses is supported, not one - is supportive, not one. You can always find people who can make a fast buck putting together a health care plan that does very little for people as they collect money from them. Our responsibility is to not allow that. In this congress, we had done that. President Trump's undoing it. The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress should work with Democrats in a bipartisan way to make health care more affordable."


Senator Shelby: (10:26 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "Madam President, I'm pleased to report here today that the Senate Appropriations Committee has charted a different course in the months since the 2018 omnibus became law. In April of this year, I began working with Vice-Chairman Leahy and our colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to put into motion an aggressive schedule to mark up all 12 appropriation bills before the July 4 recess here. Thus far, the committee has passed seven of these bills. This week, the committee will mark up three additional bills, and the final week of June we will consider the remaining two. At the moment, we're right on schedule."


Senator Leahy: (10:36 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "The appropriations bills that make up the minibus before us contain funding for important programs that make a real       difference in people's lives, certainly in the lives of every senators' state around here, and in Vermont, across the nation, and we should not derail this spending because of unrelated policy riders. If we do this, if both sides of the aisle can show restraint, we will have taken a very important step in getting this process back on track and putting the Senate back to what it should be. Let's talk about the military construction and veterans' affairs bill. It dedicates considerable resources to the support and care of our veterans, including $2 billion to address the maintenance backlog at our V. A. Hospitals and clinics."


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

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "The subcommittee took into account the requested preferences of all members both sides of the aisle and balanced it with the administration's budget submission. Within this framework we have created a thoughtful and responsible path for both departments and our related agencies. A lot of time and energy has gone into putting this legislation together, and I would like to thank senator Schatz and his staff for working so hard for addressing the needs of our service members and veterans."


Opening Remarks

Jun 19 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • The Senate will recess from 12:30 p.m. until 2:15 p.m. to accommodate the weekly policy lunches.
  • Note: the following amendment is pending to H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill: Shelby Amendment #2910.
  • Note: the following amendment is pending to Shelby Amendment #2910 to H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill: Alexander Amendment #2911.


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

  • Spoke on the appropriations process.
    • "One of our top goals for the senate this year was to recover a regular appropriations process. It's been a long time since the system worked as intended. The spending agreement we passed in March achieved several critical objectives. It broke the limits on funding our armed forces, delivered the largest year on year increases for our troops in more than a decade. It provided record levels of veterans funding with increased oversight and modernization. It secured major resources for infrastructure improvements, it took steps to prevent school violence, it scaled up research, treatment, and prevention funding to fight opioid addiction."
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "In addition to immediate tax relief for middle-class families and small businesses, we sought to improve our long-term foundation by making America a more attractive place to start a business, expand a business, and invest for the future. That's why tax reform allowed full and immediate expense -- expensing of capital developments and made corporate rates more competitive. Businesses large and small are taking notice. A few weeks ago the "Wall Street Journal" said that U.S. companies are ramping up on their businesses at the fastest pace in year."