Thursday, May. 24, 2018

Monday, June 4 -

  • The Senate will next convene for legislative business at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #542, Robert Earl Wier, of Kentucky, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the pending cloture motions will ripen.
  • Note: on Thursday, May 24, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #542, Robert Earl Wier, of Kentucky, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
  • Note: on Thursday, May 24, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #587, Fernando Rodriguez, of Texas, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas.
  • Note: on Thursday, May 24, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #625, Annmarie Carney Axon, of Alabama, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama.


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

  • Spoke on Public Service Recognition Week.
    • "But on the same day the senate passed the resolution honoring our public servants, congress received a letter from the administration looking to use federal employees to solve our budget problems. With cuts to retirement and freezes in pay. Is this really in the best interest of our public servants? Is this really the best messaged to attract and retain the best and the brightest to work across agencies that keep our government running? That's why today I want to continue the long-stand something tradition of honoring exemplary federal employees, tradition that was begun by my friend, Senator Ted Kaufman from Delaware."


Senator Markey: (4:07 p.m.)

  • Spoke on gas prices.
    • "As we head into Memorial Day Weekend and the summer driving season, gas prices are up nearly 25% since President Trump took office. That means American consumers are paying $350 more per year to fill up than under President Trump. And here's why. Number one, President Trump's incoherent foreign policy has been exacerbating the geopolitical risk premium on oil prices and driving them up. And President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran deal is further roiling oil markets. Because of these actions that increase risks around the world, gas prices could keep going up even more this summer. I call this the Trump oil risk tax."

McCaskill, Portman, Sullivan

Morning Business

May 24 2018

Senator McCaskill: (2:26 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to a member of his staff.
    • "Back in November - excuse me, September of 2008, a young man came to work in my office as an intern, and now almost ten years later he is an essential part of my life. I'm not sure that people understand what the beating heart of a senate office is, but everything revolves around the schedule. So this young man, Lorenzo Dalbert, who came to work for me in 2008, worked his way up from intern to staff assistant, which means us answer the phones, then he became a legislative correspondent, then he ran the systems analysis and all the computer stuff in my office, and then eventually his talent was so obvious, I said, please come sit outside my office and make everything work right."


Senator Portman: (2:29 p.m.)

  • Spoke on recent congressional achievements.
    • "Mr. President, I want to start by congratulating Senator Klobuchar who was on the floor earlier to talk about the Congressional Accountability Act and also Senator Blunt for their hard work to enact legislation that will make this place work better and it's a rare display of bipartisanship coming together to improve our processes with regard to sexual harassment and other issues. So I thank them for that. Earlier this week, a number of us talked about the veterans' bill which passed this chamber. Another sign of bipartisanship, passed with a big vote. This will help our veterans in Ohio to be able to get the care they need where they want it."
  • Spoke on the opioid crisis.
    • "Which is when heroin became readily available and was less expensive actually than prescription drugs and many people turned to heroin. That heroin led to a lot more overdoses and other issues, including diseases associated with the use of needles, Hepatitis C and others. And now there's a new wave. And the new wave sadly is even more deadly than the first two. And that's what's called synthetic opioids or synthetic heroin, the one that you probably heard of is called fentanyl."


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

  • Spoke on the V.A. Mission Act.
    • "Mr. President, a lot of our colleagues have been coming to the floor today and yesterday talking about two things actually very connected, the V.A. Mission bill that we just passed, that's going to significantly transform how we treat our veterans, how we make sure our vets are getting the care that they earn and that they deserve and, appropriately as that bill just passed the Senate and is heading to the president's desk, we are also talking about Memorial Day and the Memorial Day weekend that is fast approaching, a very important, sacred time for our country and certainly my state, the great state of Alaska. What I'd like to do, Mr. President, is talk a little bit about the bill and reflect a little bit more on the importance of memorial day as we move forward into this weekend."

Fischer, Durbin, Grassley, Menendez, Blunt, Klobuchar

Executive Session (Evans Nomination)

May 24 2018

Senator Fischer: (1:09 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to a member of her staff.
    • "She started out in the senate where so many do, answering phones and greeting constituents. That's hard work, but Vaughan always did it with a smile on her face. It didn't take long for her to take on more responsibility, first as a deputy scheduler and later as a scheduler for nearly four years. Throughout that time, Vaughan always did her job with a special blend of diligence and humor. She's earned a reputation in the senate as a top scheduler and the life of any party."


Senator Durbin: (1:17 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the situation in Venezuela.
    • "We know that the Maduro Regime was using food among their starving people to manipulate votes. They had, unfortunately, no credible election monitors before or during the vote. And of course they rushed the election to get the result they were looking for. I recently joined with Senator Menendez in New Jersey. We said quite simply that Maduro should have the courage to have an open election, a democratic process. The great hero of Venezuela, as we arrived and noticed at the airport was Hugo Chavez. Hugo Chavez won his first election in a democratic manner."


Senator Grassley: (1:27 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the Mueller investigation.
    • "As you will see there in the law, nowhere in that language do its protections require a subpoena nor do they require the approval of an agent's chain of command or congressional affairs staff approval. Moreover, federal appropriations law also forbids the use of taxpayers' dollars to pay the salary of any individual who interferes with or attempts to interfere with a federal employee's right to communicate directly with Congress. The government accountability office recently found that an Obama housing and urban development congressional affairs official did interfere that way in 2013, so paying that salary violated the restrictions congress had placed on the money."


Senator Menendez: (1:37 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of James Evans to be Ambassador to Luxembourg.
    • "In March of 2005, Georgia passed a controversial new law requiring voters to show a vote I.D. In order to cast a vote. Despite the fact that both federal and state judges prohibited the law from going into effect, the election board made a decision in 2006 to send a letter to 200,000 voters with the false impression that the law would be in effect for the upcoming election. Appropriately, this action caused an uproar and multiple voices accused the board of defying the injunction in a deliberate attempt to mislead voters and impossibly suppress minority turnout. The board subsequently mailed out a clarification letter, but the damage had already been done. During his confirmation process, Mr. Evans unfortunately presented conflicting accounts of his involvement in this effort to suppress voter turnout."


Senator Blunt: (1:40 p.m.)

  • Spoke on sexual harassment in Congress.
    • "I would like to turn to my colleague, senator klobuchar, who we have worked together on this bill. We are pleased to be able to bring it to the senate floor today. We're pleased that all of our colleagues had time to see it. It went through the process on both sides without objection, and now has been voted on by the senate. "


Senator Klobuchar: (1:41 p.m.)

  • Spoke on sexual harassment in Congress.
    • "That's what we came together to do, and I especially want to thank our colleagues that have worked on this with us, Senator Gillibrand and Murray, McCaskill, Harris. Our working group on rules including senator blunt and Feinstein, Cortez Masto, Capito, Fischer, Senator McConnell and Senator Schumer who worked on this. Senator Enzi and Kennedy would say if you can agree on things 80% of the time, that's a good day, and this is a good day for changing the rules so that the deck is not stacked against victims who should be in a safe workplace."

Warren, Cornyn, Donnelly, Brown

Executive Session (McWilliams Nominations)

May 24 2018

Senator Warren: (11:01 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brian Montgomery to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
    • "One month after leaving the F.H.A., Mr. Montgomery founded and became vice chairman of a new company called Collingwood Group, known in the housing 
      finance industry as a specialist in helping firms navigate F.H.A.-related penalties and lawsuits. Hey, who better to navigate the rules at the F.H.A. than the guy who just used to be in charge of the F.H.A. One of their clients was Wells Fargo. They were in trouble for defrauding F.H.A., and in 2016, paid H.U.D. a $1.2 billion fine. That's billion with a B. Wells Fargo admitted that from 2001 to 2008 it had lied to the F.H.A. about whether certain loans were eligible for F.H.A. insurance. Mr. Montgomery was in charge of the F.H.A. From 2006 to 2008 and let that fraud happen."
  • Spoke on the nominations of Jelena McWilliams to be chair and a member of the FDIC.
    • "Donald Trump's Wall Street mercenaries have taken aim at a lot of post-crisis rules, and everything we know about Ms. McWilliams suggests that she will support those efforts. Here's what's on the agenda. First, there's the Volcker rule which prohibits banks from gambling with grandma's checking account. Banks are looking to scrap this rule even though they are raking in, literally, record profits, but the FDIC has to agree before there are any changes. As soon as Ms. McWilliams is confirmed, bingo. Sorry, grandma."


Senator Cornyn: (11:17 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Memorial Day.
    • "This weekend we honor those who have fought on the front lines of battle and made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the United States of America. These men and women represent America at its best, a nation that is restless and unwavering in combating tyranny and defending human rights and liberty across the globe, a nation that is unafraid to call evil by its name and then work to eradicate it through force, if necessary, even at great cost to ourselves and our people. Today in advance of the holiday weekend I want to say thank you to the 200,000 military men and women stationed in my state, the state of Texas, and to the 1.7 million veterans who call Texas home."


Senator Donnelly: (11:25 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Memorial Day.
    • "As we approach Memorial Day, this is a time to honor our fallen soldiers and to reflect on the enormous sacrifice that the men and women have made for us. I rise today to recognize the service and ultimate sacrifice of four Hoosier service members who gave their lives defending our country in the last year. The sacrifice of Ryan Larry, Jonathan Hunter, Mark Bonner and Clayton Cullen will not be forgotten."


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

  • Spoke on Dodd-Frank.
    • "The lobbyists going in and out out of Senator McConnell, Leader McConnell's office, the lobbyists going to the White House looks like a retreat for Wall Street executives. This body just falls all over itself. We always have to help Wall Street. 80% of the tax cut bill was passed last year, 80% of that bill over the next seven or eight years will go to the richest 1% of the country, as if they need the help, Mr. President. That giveaway to the big banks that the president is going to sign tomorrow, this comes on the heels of a $1.5 trillion - how much is $1 billion? A billion is 1,000 million. A tax cut for millionaires, more likely billionaires, that control one political party in this body."
  • Spoke on the nominations of Jelena McWilliams to be chair and a member of the FDIC.
    • "She hasn't lived in Ohio very long. I know she's moved back. She's been nominated to be the chair of of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. She's never supported the need for strong rules. And her nomination hearing she acknowledge the rule that the -- what are we going to do, blame the economy gag in the toilet, blame the fact that millions of Americans lost jobs, millions of Americans had their homes foreclosed on, billions and billions and billions of dollars were lost from seniors' retirement accounts. We're going to blame on them?"

Schumer, Wicker, Lee

Executive Session (McWilliams Nominations)

May 24 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:19 a.m.)

  • Spoke on North Korea.
    • "First, on the very recent news that President Trump has canceled the planned summit with Kim Jong-un of North Korea. The fear many of us had was that the summit between president trump and Kim Jong-un would be a great show that produced nothing enduring. If a summit is to be reconstituted, the United States must show strength and achieve a concrete, verifiable, enduring elimination of Kim Jong-un's nuclear capabilities."
  • Spoke on the Mueller investigation.
    • "There will be two briefings. One, for house Republican partisan who has relentlessly harassed the Justice Department to reveal sources and methods to him for the sole purpose of interfering with and denigrating the special counsel's investigation. And after several requests, the Department of Justice will also brief a bipartisan gang of eight on the same information separately later in the day. While we believe no briefing should occur, it's a good thing that the gang of eight will be briefed. The overwhelming fact remains that a separate meeting with a known partisan whose only intent is to undermine the Mueller investigation makes no sense and should be called off."
  • Spoke on Ebola.
    • "Just last week a new case of the Ebola virus was confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and at least two dozen people have already died from this most recent outbreak. Let's not forget how vociferously my friends on the other side of the aisle criticized President Obama for how he handled the Ebola outbreak in 2014."
  • Spoke on Memorial Day.
    • "Finally, Mr. President, on a solemn note. Before the Memorial Day Weekend, I want to express my deep and abiding gratitude to the men and women in the armed services who gave their last full measure of devotion in defense of our nation and our freedom."


Senator Wicker: (10:31 a.m.)

  • Spoke on broadband.
    • "If we want to get broadband deployment right in this country, if we want to close the digital divide, particularly in rural America and that great heartland of America, we need for the F.C.C. to be working with an accurate map, and right now they are not working with an accurate map. The agency needs to know which areas are in the most desperate need for consistent wireless service, and the F.C.C.'s current map does not even come close to doing this. I certainly was not alone in my surprise when I saw the coverage shown on the map released by the F.C.C. in late February. It portrayed my home state of Mississippi as basically a wireless hot spot with only 2% of my state not covered with reliable 4g L.T.E. connection."


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

  • Spoke on funding for Planned Parenthood.
    • "After all, it does not deny that Planned Parenthood or any co-located clinics anything. It doesn't deny anything to them. It simply offers them a choice. And given Planned Parenthood's protestations that abortions are just a tiny fraction of what Planned Parenthood does, the choice should be easy enough. If despite their billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies and private donations, planned parenthood and its accomplice organizations can't afford two local facilities, one for abortion and one for non-abortion care and counseling, they will just have to choose which clinic to keep open. They will have to decide or perhaps just publicly admit what business it is that they're really in. Health care or abortion. Life or death. Of course we already know the answer."


Opening Remarks

May 24 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #670, Jelena McWilliams, of Ohio, to be Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Executive Calendar #672, Jelena McWilliams, of Ohio, to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
  • At 12:00 p.m., the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #670, Jelena McWilliams, of Ohio, to be Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and then Executive Calendar #672, Jelena McWilliams, of Ohio, to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
  • Following disposition of the McWilliams nominations, the Senate will VOTE on cloture on Executive Calendar #618, James Randolph Evans, of Georgia, to be Ambassador to Luxembourg.
  • If cloture is invoked on the Evans nomination, at 1:45 p.m. the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #618, James Randolph Evans, of Georgia, to be Ambassador to Luxembourg.


Senator McConnell: (9:37 a.m.)

  • Spoke on recent congressional accomplishments.
    • "We passed the V.A. Mission Act by a wide bipartisan margin. Having already passed the House, this truly landmark bill will now head to the White House where the president will soon sign it into law. It will bring more options and greater flexibility to veterans who spent years driving long distances to the nearest V.A. care facility only to face long lines and waiting lists when they got there. It will bring more peace of mind for veterans of all eras and their families who faced uncertainty and limitations as their needs for care have evolved. This legislation continues, expands, and improve this the successful Veterans Choice program that has already helped millions of veterans nationwide including more than 23,000 Kentuckians last year alone."
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "And creating tens of thousands of new jobs openings. And to fill some of these job openings, the company is partnering with community colleges, high schools, and other workforce training programs. This all comes on the heels of the company's other recent investments, like a new 93,000 square foot facility in Lansing, Michigan, and a new 80,000 square foot facility in Folly, Alabama. What's making all this possible? According to united technologies, the competitive tax system resulting from U.S. tax reform is encouraging global companies such as United Technologies to make long-term investments and innovation in America."