Wednesday, Jun. 20, 2018

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 9:45 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of 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 amendment is pending to Shelby Amendment #2910 to H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill: Alexander Amendment #2911.
  • Note: on Wednesday, June 20, cloture was filed on Shelby Amendment #2910 to H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • Note: on Wednesday, June 20, cloture was filed on H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill.

 

Senator Merkley: (8:10 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "That's been the attitude of America. And she says the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door. Well, that golden door, Lady Liberty's torch lighting the path has been desecrated by President Trump because he's got a new inscription, a new message he wanted to send, and that message, he called it a deterrent. That if you are fleeing oppression abroad and you wash up here on the shores of the United States of America, we're going to put you in handcuffs."

Sanders, Bennet, Blumenthal, Hassan, Harris

Morning Business

Jun 20 2018

Senator Sanders: (7:32 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "But opposition to this policy is widespread. Let me quote from a recent op-ed that Laura Bush, our former first lady, the wife of a conservative Republican, wrote. This is what she said - quote, our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the interment catches for U.S. Citizens and non-citizens of Japanese descent during World War World War II, now considered to be one of the most shameful episodes of American history."

 

Senator Bennet: (7:38 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "And the American people could not stand the idea that this country would do what it did to these kids in their name, could not stand the idea that the whole world would see the separation of children from their parents on the southern border of the United States of America perpetrated by our own government. And finally, probably for the first time ever, this president relented to the values that the American people share, whether they are conservatives, liberals, or something in between that. And that's the reason to say I'm glad we're moving in that direction. And maybe another good thing will come out of this, which is that the people who stood up, who work for this administration, and defended this terrible, inhumane policy in the name of the law and in the name of religion, the bible, might think harder the next time they do that."

 

Senator Blumenthal: (7:44 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "But we know enough right now to have the most serious and significant concerns about the president's executive order. Every great nation, even the greatest nation in the history of the world, like the United States of America, has moments of extraordinary shame. Times when it loses its moral compass and simply takes the wrong direction. We can remember a number of them in our own nation's history, and one of them was the internment of Japanese children thrown into World War II era detention camps and imprisoned in effect with their parents. Almost every lawyer in the United States of America and most citizens know the name Korematsu."

 

Senator Hassan: (7:53 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "The fact that our government has engaged in this type of physical and psychological damage to children is morally reprehensible. These actions have been unacceptable and completely unnecessary. Let's be clear. The president created this crisis. And over the past days and weeks, the president and his administration made false claim after false claim saying that there was nothing they could do to reverse the president's own actions. The fact that the president bowed to pressure and signed an executive order today cannot undo the trauma that's already been inflicted."

 

Senator Harris: (7:57 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "The American public knows the truth. Let's speak truth. Here in the United States Senate, let's speak truth as leaders and acknowledge the lifelong consequences of the separation that we visited upon these children from their parents. The Medical Association of America, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have weighed in on this topic, and what they have said is that a general matter. It is generally true, and specifically in these cases will cause lifelong trauma. They have indicated that there is empirical evidence of the fact that it is likely to cause significant harm to the brain structure of these children and will affect these children's long and short-term health."

Murray, Durbin, Markey, Wyden, Kaine

Morning Business

Jun 20 2018

Senator Murray: (6:52 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "When I heard that, my heart stopped, like every mom, like every human being, I just wanted to reach out and comfort that child. And I could only think how his mother felt because I assure you whether she was in that room, a room 100 miles away or a room 3,000 miles away, like every mom, she heard her cry too and her heart was broken. And while today we saw President Trump change his story about whether he did in fact have the ability to make it stop, there's a lot of questions that remain, questions that I actually and others have been asking the Trump administration for weeks that have gone unanswered, like exactly how these parents are being informed about their children's safety. Where are they? Where are they being located? When will they be reunited?"

 

Senator Durbin: (6:58 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "That is the reality of this Trump policy. And he's been unapologetic. From where he's standing with the inspiration of Stephen Miller, his advisor and expert on immigration, getting tough is the only answer, the deterrent, putting pressure on Congress to pass the law this president demands, this ridiculous $25 billion wall that he wants to build on our border with Mexico. So what has happened? People have spoken out, and I want to thank those Republicans who had the courage to stand up and speak out. 49 Democratic senators joined Senator Feinstein in making it clear that we were prepared, if necessary, to pass legislation to solve this problem."

 

Senator Markey: (7:12 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "In other words, zero tolerance is an anti-immigrant dragnet, the shocking effects of which we have been witnessing these past few days as children have literally been ripped from their parents' arms and separated from them as their mothers and fathers are taken into custody. These horrific images were finally enough, even for President Trump. This afternoon he signed an executive order. He says it addresses the family separation crisis. It does no such thing. The executive order that the president signed doesn't end the zero tolerance policy of prosecuting anyone and everyone who crosses the border."

 

Senator Wyden: (7:18 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "Ship loads of Jews fleeing prosecution and they were turned away from America. Let me be clear about what happened. The rallying cry for those who wished to keep people like my Jewish parents out of this country, those who denied Jewish refugees safety in their moment of desperation, the rallying cry was America first. What happened to those families who turned to the beacon of America for safety and opportunity? Many were forced back to Europe and many of them ultimately ended up in the concentration camps. People don't embark on the harrowing journey to America much less kids by their side unless they are fleeing serious danger and deprivation."

 

Senator Kaine: (7:25 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "An administration that so cavalierly separated them from their parents out of a mistaken belief that the American public wouldn't care about it could hardly be trusted to reunite these families with speed and compassion. We have to stay on the task to ensure that they do. Much has been said about the trauma inflicted upon these children taken from their parents. I want to say how traumatic it is for a parent to have a child taken away without any idea when or if a child will be returned."

Moran, Brown, Klobuchar, Hirono

Morning Business

Jun 20 2018

Senator Moran: (5:29 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "Our duty is to fund the federal government in a responsible way that will wisely utilize every taxpayer dollar which requires an ability to prioritize federal spending. When we return to regular order we can in - better influence bureau chiefs, agency heads, and others because we can influence the decisions they make because of the power of the purse string. On the appropriation bills we're debating this week, I want to call attention to MilCon-V.A. appropriations bill, and the great work that Senator Boozman and Senator Schatz have achieved as chairman and ranking member of the subcommittee. I'm very familiar with their staff and I compliment them on their work."

 

Senator Brown: (5:58 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "When I first heard that audio clip, I think all of us remember the first time we heard it, when we first heard that audio clip of children screaming and crying for their parents, I almost couldn't listen to it. As an American, as a human being, a as grandfather and father, it was revolting. It should be hard to listen to. We should recoil at those terrible sounds. The second it is not heard, the second we shrug our shoulders and do nothing at the sound of little children wailing, that's the second we lose our humanity. It is hard for us to listen to -- fits a hard for us to listen to, if it makes us uncomfortable, that's nothing, that's nothing compared to what it must mean and what if must feel like and what those parents are going through."
  • Spoke on V.A. overpayment.
    • "Overpayment and debt affect veterans every day. James retired two years ago but he noticed that the army was continuing to pay him both active duty salary and retirement benefits. He caught the mistake. James caught the mistake. He did the honorable thing. He notified the V.A. They were overpaying him. But the V.A. continued to overpay him and then they charged him twice to recoup the overpayments and they garnished his benefits. The staff in my office work with the V.A. to resolve James' issues but this should have never happened in the first place. It is fixed now. He had to go through that."

 

Senator Klobuchar: (6:40 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "According to the Department of Homeland Security, 2,042 children are separated separate their children between May 5 and June 9. 9 pace of these separations was increasing with nearly 70 children being taken from their parents up until today and being kept in facilities that are increasingly overcrowded. The American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics having expressed their opposition. They said that this type of family separation does irreparable harm to children. The president of the American academy of pediatrics, who traveled to the border, called it a form of child abuse. It is not just the medical groups. A bipartisan group of 75 former U.S. Attorneys called on the administration to end its policy."

 

Senator Hirono: (6:44 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "Mr. President, like so many people across the country, I have been deeply affected by what's happening on our southern border. Children are being ripped away from their parents, placed into mass detention, deprived of adequate legal counsel and isolated from everyone they've ever known. Millions of people are rising up as sorrow and horror over what's happening and with good reason. The president of the United States and this administration are playing games with the lives of these innocent children. And when confronted, they hide behind excuses that they're just following the law. This is just another lie from a president and an administration that have institutionalized lying to justify their unconscionable policies."

Cornyn, Barrasso, Blumenthal, Carper

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 5895)

Jun 20 2018

Senator Cornyn: (3:19 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "Mr. President, we've been all focused on the U.S.-Mexico border where the prospect of children being separated if their parents has shocked and horrified many of us, and we've been working to try to come up with a solution to this problem. That includes President Trump who yesterday called on Congress to preserve family unity while calling for zero tolerance policy when it comes to our immigration laws. I would like to provide a little context as to how we got here and offer a proposed solution. Just like under the Obama administration in 2014 when we saw tens of thousands of unaccompanied children coming across the border into my state of Texas from Central America through Mexico, I remember at the time President Obama called that a humanitarian crisis, and indeed it was."

 

Senator Barrasso: (3:50 p.m.)

  • Spoke on North Korea.
    • "Last week, President Trump took what I believe is a historic first step in making America and the whole world more safe, more stable, and more secure. His efforts to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program has already, I believe, produced tangible results. North Korea is dismantling a test facility. It is also committed to recovering and sending home the remains of Americans killed during the Korean war. Now the Trump administration is taking the next steps. The state department is hard at work at follow-up discussions. Secretary of State Pompeo says he may return personally to North Korea before very long. When we heard from president trump about his trip to Singapore last week, he was upbeat about the talks."

 

Senator Blumenthal: (3:57 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "The trump administration has capped refugee resettlement at 45,000 this fiscal year, the lowest in American history. Even with this cap, the estimate is that the United States will resettle only about 20,000 refugees this year. Each of these statistics, each of those numbers represents an individual human life transformed by coming to this country, given new light and life. I hope the administration will commit to resettling at least 75,000 refugees in fiscal year 2019. Again, as I close, Mr. President, I want to emphasize the importance of this day, the historic significance of our turning a point and taking advantage of an opportunity to do right and to do better than we have."

 

Senator Carper: (4:12 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to the G.I. Bill.
    • "It's probably good news, the Old Testament, New Testament for us to keep in mind. I want to thank again my colleague from Connecticut for his words. My colleague from Connecticut, by the way, is a - he spent time in uniform, his sons have spent times in uniform. I think one or two may still be serving. I was fortunate enough coming back from Southeast Asia at the end of the Vietnam War, having been a naval flight officer for a number of years, to be eligible for the G.I. Bill. The G.I. Bill that I was eligible for was a bill that provided me $250 a month to help pay for my tuition, my expenses at the University of Delaware where I was in the business school, trying to earn an M.B.A., which I ultimately did."

Gillibrand, Grassley, Blunt, Boozman

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 5895)

Jun 20 2018

Senator Gillibrand: (2:08 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "Mr. President, I rise to speak about the humanitarian crisis that is at our southern border right now. We are living through a moment in history when we are literally sending babies and sod letters into - and toddlers into detention camps. Think about that, Mr. President. Think about what I just said. Our federal government is sending babies and toddlers to detention camps. It's immoral. It's wrong. The A.P. broke a story last night that left me speechless. And I want the details of this horror recorded and documented in the official Senate record so that Americans years from now will look back on us, they will see how wrong we were. So I will read this article from the associated press called, quote, youngest migrants held in, quote, tender-age shelters."

 

Senator Grassley: (2:20 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "They could no longer, with a straight face, then argue tax cuts were really tax increases. Instead, they want hardworking Americans to believe that an extra $50 a week in their paycheck or a $1,000 bonus is what they call crumbs. With all due respect to my colleagues who believe this is true, you don't have a dog-gone clue what it is like in the real work for people who work or have to work for a living. That $1,000 bonus means a lot for a father or mother whose children need new school clothes or has a car that needs some repairs or simply wants to take the family for a vacation."

 

Senator Blunt: (2:33 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "You know, I said a number of times, Mr. President, on the floor as we debated the tax bill, there are two ways to increase people's take-home pay. One is to take less money out of the check that they already get. And nine out of ten Americans that paid income taxes last year found that one has happened for them. And two is to be sure that we have better jobs to start with. To have the economy where people are competing to get workers and competing to keep workers. As businesses try to attract new employees, they are setting new, higher minimum entry-level skills and minimum job compensation than they have had before. The national federation of independent business found that 35% of all small business owners reported increases in their labor compensation."

 

Senator Boozman: (2:44 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "As a result of the savings they're seeing from the tax reform bill, 75% of small- and independent business owners believe that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will have a positive impact on their businesses. Which is leading them to make plans to invest in hiring and increasing employees' compensation. I could go on and on islanding the good - highlighting the good news relating to the overhaul of our tax code but instead I want to spend a few minutes talking about what I've heard from small business owners and employees, beneficiaries of this historic reform on a recent visit that I made to Arkansas in the south and southwest regions."

Hatch, Corker, Casey

Motion to Discharge the rescissions package (H.R. 3)

Jun 20 2018

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

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "But as one journalist recently put it and are noted, tax reform has poured, quote, jet fuel, unquote on a growing economy. According to the most recent reports in June, the total number of workers receiving unemployment benefits is running at the lowest levels in 44 years. And that is just in terms of numbers of people drawing unemployment benefits, not even taking into account the massive population growth since December 1973. For the first time since recordkeeping began in 2000, the number of available positions exceeded the number of job seekers, according to the information from the department of labor. And this is just the initial boost. I tend to think that positive economic outcomes are most often created by hard work and good policy like our tax reform package."

 

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

  • Spoke on tariffs.
    • "The administration by citing 232, a national security issue is taxing goods coming in to America from Canada, from Europe, our allies on a national security basis. Today I wrote a letter to Secretary Ross, our secretary of commerce, because it's my understanding and he actually today, I guess, in a hearing with the finance committee said there were 22,506 requests from companies here in the United States asking for exclusions, exclusions on them being taxed for goods that come in to support their companies. Now, I will just say to my friends here, on what basis do we think these exclusions might be granted. I mean, we've already had an abuse of authority in using 232."

 

Senator Casey: (12:12 p.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "But until we know that, we have to continue to urge the president to do the right thing. Earlier this week the department of homeland security released data showing that between May 5 and June 9, just a little more than a month, 2,342 children were taken from their parents at the border. That's about 70 children per day taken from their parents. I've received thousands of e-mails and letters and phone calls from concerned Pennsylvanians who are demanding an immediate end to the policy. I never imagined that I would have to stand here today, nor should anyone, to talk about a scenario where the United States government is separating children from their parents at the border. That just seems incomprehensible that that would ever happen, but it has."

Nelson, Lee, Leahy- Correction

Motion to Discharge the rescissions package (H.R. 3)

Jun 20 2018

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

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • " And one of its components, the Office of Refugee Resettlement of which these children separated from their families are handled by that office, despite all of that, the deputy secretary of the department of H.H.S. refused to allow me to enter this facility and said that it was his policy, it was the department's policy that you have to fill out a form, which we had, but you have to wait two weeks before they would allow me to enter the facility, of which the question is why do they not want the senator from Florida to get into this detention facility where there are children that have been separated from their parents?"

 

Senator Lee: (11:24 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the rescissions package.
    • "With interest rates set to increase, the payments on the debt will also likely double over the next ten years as a percentage of total economic output. Consider for a moment the fact that we're paying a little more than $300 billion a year to service our debt. It's not that much more than we were paying a couple of decades ago when our national debt was roughly one-fifth, one-sixth of its current size. The only reason that our debt service payments are as low as they are today is because our interest rates are at all-time risk lows. Our treasury yield rates are artificially, historically, aberrationally severely low. The situation gets a lot worse if our artificially, historically low interest rates increase or start to return to their historical averages at a pace quicker than has been projected, as is easily possible."

 

Senator Leahy: (11:34 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the rescissions package.
    • "Well, guess what happened? We passed it out of the committee unanimously. I don't recall that happening in nearly a decade. If we go forward with this rescission package, it's going to derail the process. The rescission bill undermines the bipartisan budget deal that Republicans and Democrats struck just four months ago. To say, okay, we all agreed on this four months ago. But, gosh, that's four months ago. We've got to have something to break that agreement. Because we if go forward with this package, another will follow, and another and another and another, even further undermining the agreement. And, Madam President, I remind everybody, if they haven't gotten around to read the Constitution, it does grant Congress the power of the purse, not the executive branch."

Schumer

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 5895)

Jun 20 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:04 a.m.)

  • Spoke on U.S. immigration policy.
    • "The associated press recently reported that the Trump administration has been sending babies and young children to what they call tender-age facilities. It is unconscionable - unconscionable - that the government of the United States is warehousing babies and toddlers alone in an institutional setting. The crisis was willfully and purposefully created by this president through his zero tolerance policy at the border. It can and should be ended by the same mechanism. With a simple flick of the pen -- a simple flick of the pen -- the president can end this policy. If the president wants to borrow my pen, he can have it. But he can do it quickly and easily if he wants to. It's on his back."

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Jun 20 2018

Today -

  • 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 McConnell: (9:47 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the appropriations process.
    • "As I discussed on the floor yesterday, returning to regular order the appropriations process is at the forefront of the senate's agenda. Actually, the bipartisan work of the Appropriations Committee led by Chairman Shelby, Ranking Member Leahy, and the subcommittee chairman is actually becoming a reality. Their efforts have already produced legislation for the full Senate to consider, beginning this week with the combined measures for the legislative branch for energy and water and for military construction and the Veterans' Administration."
  • Spoke on the recessions package.
    • "Now, on another matter, speaking of government spending, we'll soon have an opportunity to save some of the money taxpayers entrust to us, thanks to the hard work of members including Senator Lee and Chairman Enzi, we will soon turn to a House-passed bill that acts on request to rescind nearly $15 billion in previously appropriated money that has gone unspent. This modest belt tightening would in no way infringe on the bipartisan spending deal that senators on both sides agreed to earlier this year. This savings package is 100% unrelated to that agreement. Let me say that again. This savings package is 100% unrelated to the bipartisan agreement we reached earlier this year. It is totally separate."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "Already families are reaping the fruits of the new business tax code that gives American employers more ability to increase pay and create jobs. Six months in, these tax cuts have already led employers to issue tax reform bonuses, raises, and new benefits to four million workers and counting. That's welcome relief for middle-class families, but what about the long term? Republicans know that enduring prosperity means thriving businesses competing to hire American workers, so we designed tax reform to flip the Obama-era script and make America a more attractive place to invest, expand, and create jobs."