Tuesday, Jul. 24, 2018

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 6147, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • At 2:30 p.m., the Senate will VOTE in relation to Moran Amendment #3433, and then Udall Amendment #3414 in relation to H.R. 6147, the minibus appropriations bill, in the order listed.
  • Note: the following amendment is pending to H.R. 6147, the minibus appropriations bill: Shelby Amendment #3399.
  • Note: the following amendments are pending to Shelby Amendment #3399 to H.R. 6147, the minibus appropriations bill: Murkowski Amendment #3400, Moran Amendment #3433, and Udall Amendment #3414.

Flake, Perdue, Coons, Whitehouse

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 24 2018

Senator Flake: (7:06 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Russian election meddling.
    • "Mr. President, last week the senator from Delaware, Senator Coons, and I introduced a resolution commending the Department of Justice for its investigation in the 2016 presidential election and maintaining that the Russian Federation should be held accountable for its actions. This simple resolution simply expressing support for our intelligence community and showing them that we are behind them and that we agree with them, we have trust in them, and that we reject the words of a dictator, Vladimir Putin, who denies that - that they interfered at all."

 

Senator Perdue: (7:07 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Russian election meddling.
    • "Reserving the right to object. We need to focus on funding the federal government and confirming this president's nominees. Right now we have just 23 working days the way the Senate operates between now and the end of the fiscal year, 23, Mr. President. Meanwhile we have 329 nominees. These are presidential nominees waiting for this body to confirm them. We need to stay on track. This resolution is nor more than - no more than political theater. This resolution was previously objected to by Senator Cornyn just last week. It will continue to be objected to again because it is unnecessary."

 

Senator Coons: (7:11 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Russian election meddling.
    • "Mr. President, I just want to offer my response to the very disappointing renewed objection that Senator Flake and I have attempted to move through this body twice. Last week Senator Flake and I came to speak clearly in support of our intelligence community and state that Russia's attacks on our democracy will not be tolerated and we will take action in a firm, bipartisan, and swift way. Some have said this is a simple or symbolic message, and I'll say there are powerful symbols that motivate our nation, like our flag, that although symbolic are substantive in their consequences."

 

Senator Whitehouse: (7:16 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "One obstacle to action on the threat that we face from climate change, however, is the manufactured doubt that so often surrounds this issue. We find this manufactured doubt a fossil fuel industry product, just as oil and gas are fossil fuel industry products flowing even from the editorial page of one of our nation's leading publications, "The Wall Street Journal." Whenever the issue is harmful industrial pollutants, "The Wall Street Journal's" editorial page has a long record of misleading its readers, denying the legitimate science, and even ignoring its own news reporting. All for the polluting industries."

Menendez, Murkowski, Durbin

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 24 2018

Senator Menendez: (5:38 p.m.)

  • Spoke on healthcare reform.
    • "Now, I know my Republican colleagues have no desire to remind voters how they spent the past year, but the American people aren't going to forget it. They aren't going to forget how many times Republicans spent in a year pushing policies that would have left 32,000,000 people uninsured. Vote after vote after vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They aren't going to forget how Republicans tried to defund Planned Parenthood and deny millions of lower income women access to basic care."

 

Senator Murkowski: (5:48 p.m)

  • Unanimous Consent –
    • That Schatz Amendment #3407 and Kennedy Amendment #3430 in relation to H.R. 6147, the minibus appropriations bill, be called up en bloc.
    • Further, following the remarks of Senators Baldwin, Durbin, Schatz, and Kennedy, the Senate VOTE in relation to the Schatz and Kennedy Amendments in relation to H.R. 6147, the minibus appropriations bill, in the order listed.  
    • (Without Objection)

 

Senator Baldwin: (5:50 p.m.)

  • Spoke on healthcare reform.
    • "Together we fought the repeal plans to cut and cap Medicaid, putting care at risk for everyone who depends on it, from a loved one who depends on Medicaid for nursing care to a disabled child who relies on Medicaid funding at school. And together we fought repeal plans that would increase the number of uninsured Americans. But even defeating the legislation - legislative efforts that would have made things worse for our families didn't end the threat to the American people. President Trump has been trying to do what congressional Republicans couldn't. He has been sabotaging our health care system by undermining the guaranteed health protections and access to affordable care."

Grassley, Kennedy, Murphy, Murray

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 24 2018

Senator Grassley: (4:45 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "And I also want to add some additional context that the minority leader left out. He spoke on the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately he didn't come to the floor to talk about the judge's excellent qualifications, the judge's well-regarded temperament or the judge's judicial philosophy. He didn't come to the floor to announce that he would finally extend the courtesy of a meeting to the judge, which is customary in this body. He came to speak about what he thinks will satisfy left-wing outside groups. He demands that I sign a letter that would put the American taxpayers on the hook for a Democratic fishing expedition, and I'm not going to do that."

 

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

  • Spoke on the National Flood Insurance Program.
    • "We find ourselves in the United States Congress once again only days away from causing a lapse in the National Flood Insurance Program. Now the majority of members of the United States Senate and of the United States House of Representatives understand the importance of extending this program, but sadly, some don't. You can lead some people to water but you can't make them think. Without congressional action, ordinary Americans - the people who get up every day and go to work and obey the law and pay their taxes and try to do the right things by their kids -- are going to suffer."
  • Spoke on the nomination of John Fleming to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce.
    • "After Dr. Fleming finished at Ole Miss and finished med school, he enlisted in the United States Navy. He served there in the Medical Corps. During his time in the House of Representatives, Dr. Fleming was a champion of our economy. He was a champion for families and he was a champion for our veterans. He's a skilled physician. He's an experienced entrepreneur. And he's a good guy."

 

Senator Murphy: (5:13 p.m.)

  • Spoke on healthcare reform.
    • "This is President Trump shortly after his election, just before his swearing in. He said, we're going to have insurance for everybody. People covered under the law can expect to have great health care, much less expensive, and much better. Now, that's a clear promise that the president made. Everybody's going to have insurance, it's going to be less expensive, and it's going to be better. More insurance, less expensive, better quality. The vote that took place a year ago Saturday would have done exactly the opposite. It would have kicked 30 million people off of insurance. It would have driven up costs for millions of Americans, especially those people with preexisting conditions, and coverage would have been much worse, not much better, in part because people with preexisting conditions wouldn't be able to access care."

 

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

  • Spoke on healthcare reform.
    • "A year ago, as he said, President Trump tried to make good on his campaign promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act and jeopardize the health of millions of people. Congress tried to jam this through Congress that would have gutted Medicaid and scrapped protections for people with preexisting conditions which would put families back at the mercy of big insurance companies. But people across the country stood up, they spoke out, and they made it absolutely clear they did not want president trump to take away their health care or give power back to those insurance companies."

Leahy, Klobuchar, Wyden, Coons

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 24 2018

Senator Leahy: (4:08 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "I know all of us do not want a democracy attacked by a foreign aggression. But more is needed, certainly needed before the November 2018 elections. I might say even afterward. States need post-election audit systems. They have to be able to verify the accuracy of the final vote tally. They have to be able to upgrade election-related computer systems if our Department of Homeland Security identifies vulnerabilities. I believe the state and local election officials should undergo cyber security training. They should start using established cybersecurity best practices. These efforts are all essential to the security of our elections. My amendment would enable them to go forward."

 

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

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "I also see the senator from Delaware here and the senator from Oregon, and I also appreciate the work that we've seen on the other side of the aisle on so many of these issues regarding elections and Russia, including the presiding officer's support for moving forward on a number of these things. So our next elections are right around the corner. In fact, this coming Saturday marks 100 days from the 2018 elections. And as we prepare for the midterm elections, two things are clear - one, we must hold Russia accountable for the attacks against our democracy in 2016. This isn't meddling. This isn't just sending a few little tweets. No, no. This was an actual cyber attack on our democracy, and we have to call it what it was. Secondly, we must do more to deter Russia and safeguard our democracy against future attacks."

 

Senator Wyden: (4:26 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "And I want to begin, Mr. President, by saying the ink is barely dry on the indictment of the Russian hackers who tried to undermine our democracy, and the president of the United States is trying to deny that it actually happened. Just put your arms around that one for a moment, colleagues. The indictment of the Russian hackers is just days old. The president's own intelligence officials are telling him that an attack on you are a democracy -- on our democracy is a near certainty, and he has just not been willing to step up and prevent it. In fact, he continues to refuse to accept the basic facts of the attack - the Russians perpetrated in 2016."

 

Senator Coons: (4:39 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "And as you may have heard from some who oppose this in the appropriations committee when we took it up and debated it, they asked a few simple questions I will try to address quickly. Isn't elections - aren't elections a state and local responsibility? Why should the federal government be providing funding for states and localities to secure their elections? That's true. Elections are overwhelmingly run at the state and local level, and the costs of securing and modernizing our voting machines and our voting systems will be overwhelmingly borne at the state and local level. Second, this $380 million, it was just made available, and I don't think it's even gone out yet. Have they used it well? Have they used it properly? And, third, why is this something we need to do now?"

Hatch, Thune, Durbin

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 24 2018

Senator Hatch: (3:25 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "I rise to speak on the latest efforts to derail the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. I'd like to focus today on a few areas where attacks have come up. Judge Kavanaugh's critics faced with an exceptionally baseball-loving, car-pool driving nominee to try or stop his confirmation. Let me focus today on a few areas where their attacks have come up short. It seems that some folks can't mention Judge Kavanaugh without suggesting in the same breath that his confirmation would be the death knell of Special Counsel Mueller's investigation. It is - it's worth taking a closer look to set the record straight."
  • Spoke in tribute to the Mormon settlement of Utah.
    • "Along the way, the Mormon pioneers erected bridges, built ferries, and cleared trails to assist those who would follow their path. They established communities, planted crops, and expanded trade posts that provided the crucial supplies necessary to survive expeditions onward. They learned how to irrigate and make the desert blossom as a rose. And irrigation principles have been followed all over the world. They set up trail markers and charted maps that guided thousands of settlers westward. The United States certainly has a debt of gratitude to those pioneers for their contributions to our nation's settlement of the West."

 

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

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Mr. President, as the testimony of his clerks and many others makes clear, Judge Kavanaugh understands the role of a judge. He understands that his job is to interpret the law, not make the law, to rule based on the plain text of the statute and not on his personal opinions or political beliefs. In a 2017 speech at Notre Dame Law School, Judge Kavanaugh said, and I quote, I believe very deeply in those visions of the rule of law as the law of rules and of the judge as umpire. But that I mean a neutral, impartial judiciary that decides cases based on settled principles without regard to policy preferences or political allegiances or which party is in on which side - or which party is on which side in a particular case, end quote. Mr. President, I'll say it again. That is the kind of judge that we want on the Supreme Court."

 

Senator Durbin: (3:56 p.m.)

  • Spoke on President Trump's foreign policy.
    • "To recap, he insulted our best allies of 70 years, then turned around and lobbied for Russia at a recent G-7 meeting and again bullied our key allies at a summit on NATO. He then met privately with Russian President Putin and then held a press conference with him in which President Trump blamed America and defended Putin's words over the expertise of his own government intelligence agencies. Keep in mind, he also inexplicably met privately with President Putin at the G-20 summit in Hamburg last year, an event which he initially denied. Why all these private meetings between President Trump and President Putin? Why wouldn't he let his secretary of state sit in the room?"

Merkley, Lankford, Coons, Cornyn, Blunt, McCaskill

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 24 2018

Senator Merkley: (11:30 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "As ranking member of the Agriculture Subcommittee, I rise today to discuss the agriculture appropriations bill. This is a good bill that was drafted in a bipartisan manner and passed out of committee unanimously. A big thanks to Chairman Hoeven for his hard work on the bill as well as to members of his team who worked very closely with members of my team throughout this process and considered requests and concerns from senators on both sides of the aisle. In his budget request, President Trump proposed more than a 25% cut to USDA's funding. He also zeroed out a number of important programs including programs that benefit rural America, along with research programs and domestic and international nutrition programs."

 

Senator Lankford: (11:40 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "It's been months in process, many oversight hearings, a lot of debate, a lot of amendments to be able to go back and forth, and a tremendous amount of input from members all over this body but it's finally actually on this floor. It's been nearly seven years since the financial services and general government appropriations bill has been considered on the Senate floor. On November of 2011, the Senate began consideration of a combined appropriations package for energy and water, financial services, state and foreign operations. And fortunately the floor consideration of that bill was halted shortly after it began and members were not able to offer amendments or have their voices heard. "

 

Senator Coons: (11:48 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "It appropriates $26.88 billion, a small increase over the omnibus bill enacted earlier this year. I would like to take this opportunity on how this will impact Delawareans and others across the country. It has $250 million for the community institutional fund which supports development in some of America's poorest communities. The president's budget looked to cut it down, the House FSGG bill restored some of that funding. I'm proud this bipartisan Senate bill restores all of the funding for this effective and vital program. This bill also rejects the transfer of two vital antidrug abuse programs, the high intensity drug traffic being area program and drug-free communities from the drug control policy to the Justice Department."

 

 

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

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "And we have heard this from both people who share his judicial philosophy and those who do not share his judicial philosophy. A broad mutual respect for his intellect and his integrity. We have heard about his mentorship of law clerks, both men and women, liberal and conservative, and received testimonies as I say from across the ideological spectrum. Last week, a group of 84 students from Harvard Law School where Judge Kavanaugh taught sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. They have a variety of perspectives, as you might imagine, on judicial philosophy and a wide range of political views, but they all agreed that Judge Kavanaugh is a rigorous thinker, a devoted teacher, and a gracious person."
  • Spoke on CFIUS.
    • "The House and Senate conferees announced an agreement on the National Defense Authorization Act, the NDAA, as we call it, and I'm glad to hear in the final version that it included legislation I sponsored called FIRRMA, the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act. The senior senator from California, Mrs. Feinstein, was my bipartisan cosponsor. I'd like to thank Senator Crapo, chairman of the banking committee, who ushered this legislation through that committee, passed unanimously, and Senator Inhofe for leading the conference here on the Senate side, and from seeing that this important piece of legislation was included."

 

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

  • Spoke on the recent tragedy on Table Rock Lake in Missouri.
    • "Mr. President, I'm here today to remember the 17 victims who lost their lives last week in the tragic boat accident on Table Rock Lake in Missouri. I lived at Branson at one time. Our home in Missouri is in Springfield now. It's a community that I represented in the Congress for 14 years before the chance to represent them in the Senate, and of course the community has responded, but one of the reasons that the community has responded in the way that it has is the truly tragic loss of life. There were 31 people on the boat that was overwhelmed by the water. Those 31 people, 17 died. Of the 17 that died, nine of the victims were members of the Coleman family from Indianapolis, Indiana."

 

Senator McCaskill: (12:22 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the recent tragedy on Table Rock Lake in Missouri.
    • "Sad that it would take a tragedy like this to get this thing moving, but I believe by the end of the day I'm at least optimistic at this point. I don't know what my colleague Senator Blunt has learned, but I've learned that it appears that these nominees will be approved by the end of the day. This - and there were incredibly difficult weather conditions. But there's inherent dangers in these amphibious vehicles, and we know this. How do we know this? Because it's been investigated before. We've had 40 deaths associated with the duck boats since 1999, yet there has been little done to address the inherent dangers of these amphibious vehicles."

Collins, Reed, Hoeven

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 24 2018

Senator Collins: (10:51 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "Again, we're going in the order that the Maritime Administration tells us these ships will meet the end of their useful life. It would be great to be able to replace all of the ships at the same time, but we simply can't afford to do that, and that's where prioritizing the ships as the agency recommends. Replacing these ships is, however, important to providing training capacity for all six of the state maritime academies, including the one that I am very proud of, the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine. It will ensure that the cadets receive the training hours that they need to graduate on time and to join the work force. "

 

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

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "Her leadership, her commitment to fairness and to ensuring that all of our colleagues had the opportunity to help make investments in their states is remarkable and deeply, deeply appreciated. -- deeply, deeply appreciated. We looked at all of these suggestions and recommendations. We received guidance from Chairman Shelby and Vice Chairman Leahy, and I appreciate their creative and constructive role, appeared we were able to produce legislation which I am remarkably proud of and, again, thank the chairman for her great work."

 

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

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "We've worked hard to invest taxpayer dollars responsibly, funding programs that provide direct benefits to our farmers, our ranchers and rural communities, supporting programs that provide direct health and safety benefits again to every single American every single day. Ag supports more than 16 million jobs nationwide and forms the backbone of our rural communities. Our agricultural producers are the best in the world at what they do. We have to work hard to give them a level playing field because they produce food, fuel, and fiber for this country but also for countries around the world. We really do feed the world. And so we need access to those markets to do so. This is, of course, in part the result of smart investment in America's ag research infrastructure."

Schumer, Shelby, Leahy

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 24 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:17 a.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Capitol Police Officer Jacob Chesnut and Detective John Gibson.
    • "Madam President, first, 20 years ago today, in the late afternoon, shots rang out in this building. A mentally ill individual armed with a gun was coming through security when he shot Capitol Police Officer Jacob Chestnut. He then approached the Capitol office of Tom Delay and engaged Detective John Gibson. They exchanged gunfire. Detective Gibson, Officer Chestnut lost their lives in the line of duty protecting this building's occupants and visitors."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "As a partisan political lawyer during the Clinton and Bush eras, Brett Kavanaugh has a paper trail a mile long. No doubt, the White House and Leader Mcconnell were aware of this history when his nomination was made. The length of Judge Kavanaugh's record, however, is no reason to shirk our responsibility as senators to review it. Yet, the distinguished chairman of the Judiciary Committee has already suggested there is no reason to review Judge Kavanaugh's full record before proceeding with his nomination. Leader Mcconnell threatened to play political hardball if Democrats insisted on object staining judge Kavanaugh's full record."
  • Spoke on President Trump's foreign policy.
    • "He's the president. Second, the tweets suggest a pattern in President Trump's foreign policy in which the president uses heated rhetoric with foreign capitals to inflame tensions so that later on the president can pretend to ride in and save the day with a more measured tone. It's sort of like a kabuki play that screws up our foreign policy. We saw this play out in North Korea. President Trump repeatedly insulted Kim Jong-un on Twitter, only to declare world peace once the two of them had met."

 

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

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "Madam President, we have not debated an interior appropriations bill on the floor of the United States Senate in nearly ten years. The financial services appropriations bill has not seen floor action in several years either. Why, Madam President? Because year after year party-line votes in committees represented the end of the line in the legislative process. Yet here we are today debating both of these appropriations bills and more on the Senate floor. So what changed, Madam President? What changed was the mind-set of appropriators on both sides of the aisle who embraced a willingness to sacrifice partisan riders and priorities outside the committee's jurisdiction for the good of the process."

 

Senator Leahy: (10:39 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "And I worry that the House is proceeding on a different path. They pass bipartisan bills filled with poison pill riders that cannot and will not pass the Senate. Madam President, funding the government is one of our most basic constitutional responsibilities. You go across this country, you find the American people expect us to work together. They expect us to reach across the aisle, to reach agreement on these bills. The programs funded in these bills make a real difference in the American people's lives, and they shouldn't be held hostage to unrelated partisan policy fights. So when we get to conference on these bills, the house will reverse course to do their work in bipartisan fashion for the benefit of all Americans, not just Republicans, not just Democrats but all Americans."

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Jul 24 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 6147, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • The Senate will recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. to accommodate the weekly policy lunches.
  • Note: the following amendment is pending to H.R. 6147, the minibus appropriations bill: Shelby Amendment #3399.
  • Note: the following amendment is pending to Shelby Amendment #3399 to H.R. 6147, the minibus appropriations bill: Murkowski Amendment #3400.

 

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

  • Spoke in tribute to Capitol Police Officer Jacob Chesnut and Detective John Gibson.
    • "Two men who embodied the values that keep this building and our nation standing safe and sound. Today we honor detective Gibson and officer chestnut. We renew our condolences to their families. We recognize the depth of our gratitude for them, and for everyone who puts on the uniform and steps into harm's way every single day. "
  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "Let's keep up that productive and cooperative spirit so we can achieve the goal we all share completing a regular appropriations process and avoiding another omnibus. The measures before us encompass agriculture, interior, and the environment, transportation and housing, and financial services and general government. They would deliver real resources to help American communities face real challenges. Challenges like clearing the backlog of infrastructure needs that are holding back rural America and fighting the opioid epidemic that threatens families and communities. Among the many, many things this legislation would accomplish it meets these two challenges head-on. It delivers nearly half a billion dollars in loans and grant funding for rural broadband."
  • Spoke on American manufacturing.
    • "Well, talking about reviving American manufacturing is nothing new in this town. In his 2013 state of the union, President Obama insisted, quote, our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing. Every few years it seems our Democratic friends over in the House would hold yet another press conference to talk about getting manufacturing moving. So rhetoric was not in short supply during the Obama era. What was harder to come by were actual results. On President Obama's watch, our net our country lost more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs during the Obama era. Year after year democratic policies led to insufficient, sluggish, and even - and uneven economic growth that left much of the country behind."