Monday, Mar. 19, 2018

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.
  • Subsequently, Senator Sanders or his designee will be recognized to offer a motion to discharge S.J. Res. 54, directing the removal of U.S. Armed Forces from Yemen, with four hours of debate equally divided between the opponents and proponents of the resolution.
  • Following the use or yielding back of that time, the Senate will VOTE in relation to the motion to discharge S.J. Res 54.  
  • The Senate will recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. to accommodate the weekly policy lunches.


Senator Portman: (6:29 p.m.)

  • Spoke on preventing sex trafficking.
    • "Some of the information I'll provide tonight will be setting the reasons - the basis for doing this legislation and then between now and Wednesday we'll have the opportunity to hear more about the specifics of it, what's happening online and how the United States Senate can step in and provide the legislation to remediate what is an obvious problem to anybody who looks at this issue. Human trafficking is such an egregious crime. We all, I hope, agree with that. It is also a very lucrative crime. $150 billion a year is the estimate. That's probably second only to the drug trade in terms of the amount of money involved. And think about this. This is selling human beings."


Senator Merkley: (6:49 p.m.)

  • Spoke on war powers.
    • "When our Founding Fathers wrote our Constitution, they designated the president, the commander in chief. But they gave Congress, the House and the Senate the sole power to declare war. Article 1, Section 8 states unequivocally that the Congress shall have the power to declare war. It is only Congress that can take our nation from peace to war. If one has any doubt about that, consider the words of James Madison himself, the father of our Constitution. Quote, in no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature and not to the executive department."

Grassley, Nelson, Wyden

Motion to Proceed to the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (H.R. 1865)

Mar 19 2018

Senator Grassley: (5:10 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the EB-5 Regional Center Program.
    • "These developers now take almost all the foreign investment from this program, and for the last few years, they've actively prevented this body from enacting any reforms and needed reforms. For those not aware, I'm talking about the EB-5 Regional Center Program. For years I've been fighting to reform this corrupt, scandal-clad program, and fighting it in a bipartisan way. I've been fighting to protect our national security to ensure foreign investment is going to the most deserving areas and to make sure that America's citizenship isn't sold at rock-bottom prices in order to feed the addiction of New York interest to cheap money."


Senator Nelson: (5:24 p.m.)

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "But we need to do more, and I am so grateful to the resilience of these students, the power of their voice, and the strength of their activism moving lawmakers in Washington and the state capitals all across this country. The students, the parents, the teachers, all of them we have asked what do you want? They say, obviously, we want commonsense things. We can start with universal background checks in the purchase of a weapon. That would then allow universally if you have a background check, you couldn't go to a gun show where there is not a federally licensed dealer and acquire a weapon without having a background check. "


Senator Wyden: (5:31 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Kevin McAleenan to be Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
    • "Mr. McAleenan is a longtime public servant, and he has been aware that the finance committee has put in many hours over the last few years to guarantee that this agency has tough, new tools to fight trade cheats and protect our workers. It is vital that those tools be put to good use because their trade-related mission -- defending American jobs from trade rip-offs - has too often gotten short shrift."

Cornyn, Murphy, Tester

Motion to Proceed to the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (H.R. 1865)

Mar 19 2018

Senator Cornyn: (3:29 p.m.)

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "This bill is to fix the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which if it had been working the way it was designed to would have caught the shooter at Southerland springs, thus perhaps saving the lives of 26 people who lost their lives in that little Baptist church outside of San Antonio and 20 more who were shot and will suffer those wounds the rest of their lives. But today the news brought us the fact that apparently there had been a recommendation that Nicholas Cruz, the shooter in Parkland, Florida, that mental health professionals commit him for involuntary treatment."
  • Spoke on preventing sex trafficking.
    • "I'm proud to be one of the original cosponsors of this legislation and work on it with my colleagues to get it to this point today. It was introduced last summer after a two-year inquiry by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations which culminated in a report. The report found not only that sex trafficking has run rampant in certain online spaces but also that websites have tried to cover it up. Well, no longer. Last fall the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved SESTA and the House passed it last month, and this week is our turn. Senator Portman, the junior senator from Ohio, has been this bill's greatest champion since its inception."
  • Spoke on war powers.
    • "This, of course, is a proxy in many ways between Iran that's intervened in a civil war in Yemen and not only to allow the Saudis the means to defend themselves against incursions and attacks by the Houthi Iranian-backed rebels but also to facilitate our relationship with the Saudis is important in terms of anti-ISIS and anti-Al Qaeda effort with cells of those organizations located in Yemen, too. Our support, of course, is already narrowly circumscribed, our support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen."


Senator Murphy: (4:49 p.m.)

  • Spoke on gun control.
    • "There has been, over the course of the last year, a mass shooting on average every single day. Most of them aren't covered in the newspaper, but there is an incident in which four more people are shot on average more than once per day in this country. Of course, it is now more than five years since the devastating tragedy in my state where 20 first graders lost their life. This is personal, deeply personal to all of us here in this chamber. It became very personal to me last week when my six-year-old came home from school to tell me about his active shooter drill. He's six. He's in kindergarten."


Senator Tester: (4:59 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank relief.
    • "Madam President, I rise today to reflect on - on the landmark legislation that this body passed with overwhelming bipartisan support last week. It isn't every day that folks in Congress can work together in a bipartisan way to get something done that will benefit main streets across rural America. But last week that's exactly what we did, and I'm very proud of that effort. And there is a big thank you to the chairman of the Banking Committee, Chairman Crapo and his ability to listen, his commonsense perspective, his patience. It would not have happened without those qualities that Chairman Crapo exhibited."


Opening Remarks

Mar 19 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to the motion to proceed to H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #598, Kevin K. McAleenan, of Hawaii, to be Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  • Following disposition of the McAleenan nomination, the Senate will VOTE on cloture on motion to proceed to H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.
  • Note: on Wednesday, March 14, cloture was filed on the motion to proceed to H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.


Senator McConnell: (3:06 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the upcoming legislative agenda.
    • "This week we'll take up an omnibus that builds on the bipartisan funding agreement we reached back in February. It will provide our armed forces with stable funding they need to meet emerging challenges. Among other important matters, it will also strengthen our fight against the scourge of opioid addiction, an issue the president has declared a public health emergency and is continuing to address today up in New Hampshire. First, we have several concrete opportunities to make America safer and more secure. First, we'll vote on the confirmation of Kevin McAleenan, the president's nominee for the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "The good news about tax reform keeps piling up. U.S. consumer confidence hits 14-year high. That's right, tax reform is contributing to a dynamic, growing economy, and Americans are taking notice. In fact, according to the "Wall Street Journal", optimism improved markedly for households in the bottom one-third of the income distribution. The next time that my friends across the aisle say it is just helping the big guys, it is a political talking point."