Thursday, Apr. 26, 2018

Monday, May 7 -

  • The Senate will next meet for legislative business at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #673, Kurt D. Engelhardt, of Louisiana, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the pending cloture motions will ripen.
  • Note: on Thursday, April 26, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #673, Kurt D. Engelhardt, of Louisiana, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit.
  • Note: on Thursday, April 26, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #609, Michael B. Brennan, of Wisconsin, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit.
  • Note: on Thursday, April 26, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #729, Joel M. Carson, of New Mexico, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit.
  • Note: on Thursday, April 26, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #777, John B. Nalbandian, of Kentucky, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit.
  • Note: on Thursday, April 26, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #780, Michael Y. Scudder, of Illinois, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit.
  • Note: on Thursday, April 26, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #781, Amy J. St. Eve, of Illinois, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit.

 

Senator Sullivan: (3:59 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to the Alaskan of the Week.
    • "I like to come down to the floor and talk about someone in my state who has done an amazing job for the community, the state, or even the country. We call this person our Alaskan of the week. I know the pages, it's the favorite time of the senate because they get to learn all about what's going on in Alaska. A lot of people watching or watching on TV have found a lot of interest in this because we -- like every state here, I certainly think I come from the best state in the country. It's beautiful right now. I really want to invite everybody in the gallery, watching on TV to come up to Alaska and visit. It will be the trip of a lifetime, I promise."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
    • "As many of us said on the floor, Mike Pompeo is extremely well well qualified to be the secretary of state. He is a congressman who focused on foreign affairs, the current director of the C.I.A., an army officer, graduated number one in his class from west point, Harvard law review editor when he went to Harvard law school, and I particularly want to commend my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who did the right thing and voted for Mr. Pompeo. "

 

Senator Portman: (4:11 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
    • "When Hillary Clinton came up for a vote, not everybody agreed with her on the policies, but they agreed they were qualified, as Mike Pompeo is, and they agreed that a president should have the ability to have his or her person in that job, particularly as secretary of state. So the vote was 94 senators in favor. I'm glad that the senate chose to confirm him, but I do wish we had more of a bipartisan support for it because I think it's important to show around the world that we do indeed have momentum behind this nominee and his ability to lead our country in the area of soft power diplomacy around the world."
  • Spoke on the opioid epidemic.
    • "Mr. President, I come to the floor today to talk about an issue that has gripped my state and every state represented in this chamber, and that's the opioid epidemic. This is prescription drugs and heroin and fentanyl and carfentanyl. It is something that we talked with on the floor more in the past couple of years than we have at any time really in the history of this body and we passed good legislation, but, boy, there's so much more to do. Sadly, this crisis continues to unfold and at least in my state and I believe in most states in this country it has gotten worse, not better. "

 

Senator Cardin: (4:58 p.m.)

  • Spoke on anti-Semitism.
    • "Mr. President, I rise today to discuss the recent rise of anti-Semitism and racism in our communities. As members of Congress, we have an enormous responsibility to take strong action and stand up against entitlements before it takes root in the next generation. It is incumbent upon all people to ensure that adequate tools are in place to counter the resurgence of fear and hatemongering, whether directed at old targets or new that led to the holocaust and other atrocities. America must maintain its leadership abroad, especially when it comes to the issue of human rights and religious freedom."

Cornyn, Merkley, Boozman, Corker

Executive Session (Grenell Nomination)

Apr 26 2018

Senator Cornyn: (1:03 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
    • "It's clear that their no vote is primarily a way to lash out at President Trump, because anybody President Trump chooses, they instinctively and reflexively oppose. It was disappointing, but in today's environment it's not all that surprising. Their obstruction was not only a sad break from the tradition that I mentioned a moment ago, but a sorry continuation of the hyper-partisanship that they have been engaging in with so many of the president's cabinet nominees since he took office. Mike Pompeo not long ago was one of the exceptions. 14 Democrats and one independent supported his confirmation as C.I.A. director. Yet now one year later, after an unblemished record of service as C.I.A. director, only three are voicing their support for him."

 

Senator Merkley: (1:15 p.m.)

  • Spoke on dark money in politics.
    • "One of the organization's founders once said about solidifying power for the biggest corporations and wealthiest Americans, and I quote, I don't want everybody to vote. Our leverage in the elections, quite candidly, goes up as the voting populace goes down. And that's this intense support to engage in voter suppression. If you are a red-blooded American, you believe in the vision of voter empowerment, not voter suppression. So it says a lot about what this organization is all about. Not we the people. Not voter empowerment. But rigging this nation and this process for the powerful and the privileged. The papers, reports, and journals that come from the heritage foundation work to muddy the water on established science."

 

Senator Boozman: (1:34 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the opioid crisis.
    • "This funding will be used to provide additional resources for law enforcement, continue important grant programs that help state and local governments offset the cost of opioid abuse, and also support research into opioid addiction and alternative treatments. We must ensure we are all doing all we can do to supplement state and local efforts to combat the spread of opioid abuse. Unfortunately this is currently not happening. The Department of Justice is hurting our community's efforts to get a handle on the crisis by withholding critical funds. The burn jag grant program was created more than a decade ago and local law enforcement agencies purchased essential equipment and support drug treatment and enforcement activities."

 

Senator Corker: (1:43 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Richard Grenell to be Ambassador to Germany.
    • "Mr. Grenell has a deep background in diplomacy and strategic communications, he received his master's degree in public administration from Harvard University at the J.F.K. School of Government. He spent eight years as spokesman - spokesman to the United Nations mission in New York and worked for every U.N. ambassador appointed by President George W. Bush. The German chancellor is scheduled to arrive tomorrow for a one-day working trip to meet with President Trump. Her visit comes at a time of heightened importance with a number of critical items on the agenda including transatlantic trade, the Iran nuclear deal, and I think it is important to vote on this ambassadorship today."

Menendez, Ernst, Burr, Blunt, Corker

Executive Session (Pompeo Nomination)

Apr 26 2018

Senator Menendez: (10:57 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Richard Grenell to be Ambassador to Germany.
    • "It would be my hope and desire that such an important ally as Germany the president would have put forward a serious, credible, experience diplomat who would strengthen our relationship with Germany. Instead President Trump nominated Mr. Grenell. In a few moments I will read things that Mr. Grenell has tweeted in the past and that he continues to tweet even as his nomination has been pending before this body. I do not savor having to read these tweets because, frankly, I don't think they are suitable to have to say on the floor of the Senate, but since the majority and the president have prioritized this nominee and the vote will occur a little later, the American people deserve to know exactly who the Trump administration wants to represent the United States to our great friend and ally Germany."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
    • "I do want to say, though, in listening to the remarks of some of my colleagues this week, I was struck by how easily some characterized legitimate concerns about a nominee as a purely partisan act, and I was struck by suggestions that somehow Democrats have obstructed this nomination. Democrats on the foreign relations committee agreed to every request of the chairman in the process of considering this nomination. We held hearings on the date the chairman requested. We held the business meeting to vote on the nomination on the date the chairman requested. We sent the nomination to the floor. Yesterday we had an opportunity to debate the nomination here on the Senate floor. Today we will vote. That's not obstruction."

 

Senator Ernst: (11:37 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
    • "Mr. President, I rise today in support of the president's nomination of Director Mike Pompeo to serve as secretary of state. Director Pompeo has a very long record of public service that has prepared him for this very, very important position. Let's start at the beginning. Director Pompeo was top of his class at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and he served honorably in the United States Army. He's also a graduate of Harvard Law School. In Congress, Director Pompeo was a leader on issues of national security and foreign relations, and then finally and most recently as director of the C.I.A., Director Pompeo has been a successful leader in the world's best intelligence profession to work and resolve some of our nation's most sensitive and difficult problems."

 

Senator Burr: (11:44 a.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to a member of his staff.
    • "He held a master's degree in strategic intelligence, mechanical engineering, and was close to completing his third master's degree. Matt had one of those jobs like many who serve on my committee that you just can't talk about very much. But that silence did not accurately reflect the value he brought to the Intelligence Committee. He filled a critical role. He was the majority staff member responsible for conducting oversight over the nation's overhead architecture. In layman's terms, he knew satellites. Matt knew a lot about satellites. He knew about what they were capable of and what they weren't capable of."

 

Senator Blunt: (11:52 a.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to a member of Senator Burr's staff.
    • "He loved his country, he loved his work. He understood the importance of protecting and advancing and defending who we are. The chairman just pointed out his real dedication to his son, and often Matt would come over to my office for just sort of a top-line indication of what we were going to be doing when we got to the Intel committee, and since you really can't talk about that until you get to the Intel committee, the sure way to get a good conversation going was just to say tell me about that son of yours."

 

Senator Corker: (11:59 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
    • "Us passing him out today will allow Director Pompeo, secretary of state Pompeo to be a participant in a meeting that needs to take place. I want to thank him for his cooperation and certainly his point of view. Let me offer a different point of view, though, as it relates to this nominee. I think he's one of the most outstanding nominees we could have for this position. I did not know him well when the process began. I knew he had done a very good job as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. But I have to tell you, through the process of him going through the confirmation hearings and the conversations we've had, the meetings we've had, I think he's going to be exemplary."

Roberts, Warren, Peters

Executive Session (Pompeo Nomination)

Apr 26 2018

Senator Roberts: (10:30 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
    • "The point that I'd like to make is that as we go into the very important topics that we have to discuss on an international basis, we need Mike Pompeo, and we need him now. As our nation's most senior diplomat, Mike, I know, will be forthright, he will be forceful and thoughtful, and yes, he will be diplomatic. He will give the president and the Congress very candid counsel. He is a man of his word. I say all this and think that I at least have the credentials to know Mike and to know who he is and what he is about because I have - I have known him for more than a decade, first as a friend and a business leader, and then a congressional colleague, most recently as the leader of our intelligence community."
  • Spoke on the appropriations process.
    • "How long, how long, how long have we been since we have done appropriation bills and voted on amendments on appropriation bills? And the leadership has apparently decided to recommend that we actually return to being a Senate, voting on these amendments. Many senators, as I said earlier, do not even know what it is like to serve in a functioning Senate. They hardly know what it is like to operate under regular order where bills are referred to committee, amended, brought to the floor, debated, amended, and then passed when appropriation bills were on time."

 

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

  • Spoke on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
    • "In 2014, then-Congressman Pompeo praised the interrogators who used torture as, quote, patriots and, quote, heroes, but when seeking confirmation to become C.I.A. director, Mr. Pompeo suddenly said he would, quote, always comply with the law prohibiting torture. When asked if he would comply with a request from the president to use torture, he said he couldn't, quote, imagine being asked to do so. Never mind that as a candidate, Donald Trump boasted about his desire to bring back waterboarding and, quote, a hell of a lot worse, and in his later written answers, Mr. Pompeo suggested that he could support bringing back waterboarding and orator tour techniques if he thought they were necessary."

 

Senator Peters: (10:53 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
    • "I voted against confirming Mike Pompeo to be the director of the central intelligence agency because he lacked the experience and the qualifications for the position. His time at the C.I.A. has done nothing to assure me that he now has the capabilities to lead the secretary of state. -- The State Department. As a member of the House of Representatives Mike Pompeo made repeated discriminatory remarks about Muslim Americans. He has argued that the Muslim-American leaders have a special obligation to denounce terrorist attacks and he has falsely claimed that they have failed to do that. I'm proud to represent a dynamic Muslim and Arab-American community in Michigan. I have seen that these patriotic communities are often the first - they are the first to denounce senseless acts of violence that perverts the Islamic faith."

Hatch, Schumer, Cardin

Executive Session (Pompeo Nomination)

Apr 26 2018

Senator Hatch: (9:43 a.m.)

  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • "Mr. President, there's no excuse for the delays in the confirmation process except sheer partisanship. It amounts to an ongoing partial government shutdown, and it definitely hurts the American people. Such obstruction is not worthy of the United States Senate, and the resulting judicial vacancies do great harm to the judicial system. These are not my words, Mr. President, but the words of the senator from Vermont, Senator Leahy, when he chaired the Judiciary Committee in 2014. Judicial vacancies today are 60% higher than when he expressed those concerns back then. Vacancies are 52% higher than what he said was a, quote, disaster for our nation's overburdened courts. Unquote. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts labeled some judicial vacancies as judicial emergencies because of their duration and impact on caseloads."

 

Senator Schumer: (10:08 a.m.)

  • Spoke on President Trump and Russia.
    • "One of the things the president said this morning was that, quote, he's decided not to be involved in the Russia probe but may change his mind. That is why it is so good this morning, Madam President, that the Judiciary Committee is marking up legislation, bipartisan legislation, that would protect Special Counsel Mueller from political interference. From the very beginning, Special Counsel Mueller's investigation has been about following the facts and how a foreign hostile power interfered with our free elections, the well-spring of our domestic. That investigation must be allowed to proceed safe from the heavy hand of the president."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Ronny Jackson to be Secretary of the V.A.
    • "We just received word that the president's nomination to be the next secretary of the V.A. has withdrawn his nomination. The allegations swirling around the nomination of Dr. Jackson were troubling, raised lots of questions. But the real blame here falls on the administration for once again being sloppy and careless in the vetting process. Dr. Jackson didn't go through a careful vet, where some of these things might have been discovered beforehand and he wouldn't have had to go through the process that he went through."
  • Spoke on healthcare reform.
    • "Despite that legislative failure, president trump, his administration, and congressional Republicans have committed several other acts of sabotage, raising premiums and hurting health care, all it seems to me for political vendetta. For a long time the president refused to guarantee that the administration will honor the cost-sharing program which reduces premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for low-income Americans. He eventually canceled payments for that program causing major uncertainty and confusion in the markets."
  • Spoke on the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.
    • "Finally, Mr. President, I'd like to add a word about an event taking place today in Montgomery, Alabama. Today in Montgomery, the national memorial for peace and justice dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people's victims of lynching and African Americans victimized by white supremacy will open up its doors. I read about the new memorial in the newspaper. It was touching. It was moving. So many innocent people lynched for no reason."

 

Senator Cardin: (10:23 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
    • "When I look at Mr. Pompeo's record with regard to the nuclear agreement with Iran as just one example, during that discussion as to whether we said that the solution rests with 2,000 sorties to destroy the Iran nuclear capacity. That's not diplomacy. That's not leading with diplomacy. And now he is espousing that if necessary, we should pull out of the agreement, pull out of the agreement if we can't change it, even though Iran is in compliance with the agreement. That's not diplomacy, and that's certainly not working with our European allies. We heard president macron yesterday assert that it's critically important that that agreement move forward if Iran is in compliance."

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Apr 26 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 #788, Mike Pompeo, of Kansas, to be Secretary of State, with the time until 12:00 p.m. equally divided.
  • At 12:00 p.m. tomorrow there will be four minutes of debate equally divided and then the Senate will VOTE on cloture on Executive Calendar #788, Mike Pompeo, of Kansas, to be Secretary of State.
  • If cloture is invoked, all time will be considered expired and the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #788, Mike Pompeo, of Kansas, to be Secretary of State.
  • Following disposition of the Pompeo nomination, the Senate will resume consideration of the Grenell nomination with the time until 1:45 p.m. equally divided in the usual form and at 1:45 p.m. the Senate will VOTE on cloture on Executive Calendar #619, Richard Grenell, of California, to be Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • If cloture is invoked on the Grenell nomination, the Senate will immediately VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #619, Richard Grenell, of California, to be Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany.

 

Senator McConnell: (9:33 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
    • "We'll consider an outstanding nominee. Fortunately we have the votes. And later today we'll confirm Mike Pompeo as our nation's 70th secretary of state. We've been discussing Director Pompeo's abundant qualifications all week. In a little over the year the Senate has had two opportunities to assess his considerable 
      qualifications. Last January a bipartisan supermajority of us saw fit to confirm him as C.I.A. director, and his performance in that role, exemplary by all accounts, has given us even more compelling cause to confirm him as our chief diplomat. He's earned the trust and the confidence of the commander in chief by providing top-notch counsel on critical issues and helping lead ongoing efforts to lay the groundwork for negotiations aimed at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula."
  • Spoke on Democrat obstructionism.
    • "During the last six presidencies during the first two years, 24 cloture votes. Add up President Carter's first two years, President Reagan's first two years, and so on through Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama, 24 total cloture votes on nominees. And for President Trump, 88 and counting. Just 15 months into his term. By the end of the day it will be 90. 90 cloture votes on nominees. This is partisan obstruction elevated to an art form."
  • Spoke on Senate rules and procedure.
    • "That's why I support Senator Lankford's efforts to enact the very same rules change that a large bipartisan majority agreed to back in 2013 when the Democrats were in the majority here in the Senate. It would empower the Senate to process nominations more quickly while preserving ample opportunity for debate. It is precisely the rules change that my friend, the Democratic leader, supported back in 2013. I joined in that bipartisan effort along with a number of my fellow Republicans."