Thursday, Jul. 26, 2018

Monday, July 30 -

  • The Senate will convene at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #1006, Britt Cagle Grant, of Georgia, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the pending cloture motions will ripen.
  • Note: the filing deadline for first degree amendments to the measures with pending cloture motions will be 4:00 p.m.
  • Note: on Thursday, July 26th, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #1006, Britt Cagle Grant, of Georgia, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit.
  • Note: on Thursday, July 26th, cloture was filed on Shelby Amendment #3399 to H.R. 6147, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • Note: on Thursday, July 26th, cloture was filed on H.R. 6147, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • Note: on Thursday, July 26th, cloture was filed on the motion to concur in the House amendment to S. 1182, the vehicle for the NFIP reauthorization bill.
  • Note: on Thursday, July 26th, cloture was filed on the conference report to accompany H.R. 5515, the NDAA.

 

Senator Warren: (3:28 p.m.)

  • Spoke on federal government employees.
    • "His latest assault, in the form of three executive orders, undermines collective bargaining rights that have protected federal workers' voices in their workplaces since the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. Passed this Senate by 87-1. These orders disrupt the bargaining process that federal workers have used for decades, and they interfere with the ability of unions to represent their members. For example, one of President Trump's executive orders severely cut down on the time that unions can spend helping their workers navigate the process for filing a workplace sexual harassment claim or getting whistle-blower protections in order to report fraud and corruption in the government."

Lee, Kennedy, Hirono

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 26 2018

Senator Lee: (2:21 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the NFIP.
    • "It's fiscally unsustainable because it is, by its nature, structurally unsound. And, yet, here we are again for the seventh straight time in just six years considering so-called straight reauthorization - straight. Yes, that's the word that Washington uses. That's what Washington describes. It's the word that Washington uses when Republicans and Democrats, after burning the mid-day oil for two and a half a week for a few months, decide together that a dysfunctional program $20 billion in debt is, in fact, perfect. And so we're planning to rubber stamp a continuation of its dysfunctional status quo."

 

Senator Kennedy: (2:32 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the NFIP.
    • "And through the president, nobody, nobody in this chamber has more respect for the junior senator of Utah than I do. He's whip smart. He's honest. He's a good guy. We almost always vote together. I have some problems that I'd like to point out to the chamber that I see with respect to the senator's request for unanimous consent. Number one, it is a fact, Mr. President, that 98.5% of all the homes insured by the National Flood Insurance Program are not owned by a bunch of rich people. 98.5% of those homes are located in counties with a median household income below $100,000."

 

Senator Hirono: (2:42 p.m.)

  • Spoke on health care reform.
    • "I wasn't scheduled to speak that evening. I had already spoken many times previously about the importance of health care. As the debate wore on, much of it focused on health care in the abstract. I felt compelled to talk about the immediacy of health care because of what I was experiencing. Two months earlier I had been diagnosed with kidney cancer during a routine examination. It's a moment everyone dreads, but it's also a moment nearly every family in this country has experienced at some point. But even as I reckoned with what came next, two surgeries and now ongoing immunotherapy, I knew I was fortunate. I had health insurance that allowed me to focus on my treatment rather than worrying about whether I could afford the care that would save my life."

Manchin, Rubio, Cardin

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 26 2018

Senator Manchin: (12:58 p.m.)

  • Spoke on healthcare reform.
    • "Madam President, I rise again to read letters from West Virginians about the fears and concerns they have about lawsuits being led by the 20 U.S. attorneys general including West Virginia's own attorney general that threatens to one again allow insurance companies to deny coverage to West Virginians with preexisting conditions. 800,000 West Virginians including 90,600 children have a preexisting condition. Let me go over things that qualify as preexisting conditions and that health insurance can rate you on. Organ transplant, anxiety, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, especially help circumstance anemia, depression, lupus, obsessive compulsive disorder, diabetes, kidney disease, sleep apnea, obesity, multiple sclerosis, bulimia, asthma, tuberculosis."

 

Senator Rubio: (1:08 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the Florida cigar industry.
    • "Every time that one of these things was changed, you'd have to redo the labels, redo the packaging, redo - everything would have to be completely redone which is simply cost prohibitive because these blends change constantly, especially as you bring new markets. Now, I've offered an amendment to the minibus that's before us that would exempt premium hand rolled cigars from the F.D.A. regulation, not just so the industry can survive but so it can thrive and also to free up the F.D.A. to go after what they intended to go after, what everybody thought this was about which is common tobacco products like cigarettes and some of the other things that we are aware of."

 

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

  • Spoke on the free press.
    • "Too often reporters are harassed, jailed, and even killed simply because of the nature of their work which often exposes cronyism and corruption. From this floor I stood in solidarity with the Reuters reporter who was detained in Burma. I stood in solidarity with the Ethiopian journalists and bloggers routinely arrested for criticizing the Ethiopian government and exposing human rights abuses in that country. I talked frequently about China, a country that engages in routine censorship and online blocking, harassment, and detention of journalists and visa delays and denials for journalists."

King, Durbin, Burr, Tillis

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 26 2018

Senator King: (12:15 p.m.)

  • Spoke on health care reform.
    • "There can be debate about exactly how many, but the reality is, and it's perfectly logical, if you have health insurance, you are more likely to be treated, you are more likely to be treated early and you are more likely to survive, particularly with regard to diseases like cancer where early detection and treatment is the best defense against this dread disease. I just don't understand why we cannot face the reality that health insurance or health coverage or access to health care is a fundamental right. It's a fundamental part of being a human. And the idea of rationing health care by wealth just doesn't make sense, particularly in a country committed, as we are, to equality and equal justice under law. "

 

Senator Durbin: (12:29 p.m.)

  • Spoke on prescription drugs.
    • "You know what I'm talking about? When they mumble as fast as they can at the end if you take this, you may die. Don't take it if you're allergic to. All those ads, all those names of all those drugs. It took about 20 times for me to watch the Xarelto to get to the point I could spell it. Why do the pharmaceutical companies spend so much money on television on advertising? What is this about? You can't buy most of these drugs over the counter. You need a doctor. Here's why they do it. They believe if they keep suggesting to you that this is a drug that might help you, that when you go to the doctor, you'll ask. Doctor, should I be taking Xarelto?"

 

Senator Burr: (12:38 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to C.D. Spangler.
    • "He did this by advocating for a return to the emphasis on teaching the basics, higher salaries for teachers, programs for training high school principals for for a very challenging job. The second act in the energies and personal contributions he made to it are what made Dick the remarkable man he was. During his time as president of the University of North Carolina system, a position he held for over a decade, Dick was laser focused on keeping North Carolina's public university system affordable and low cost for all seeking post-secondary education."

 

Senator Tillis: (12:46 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to C.D. Spangler.
    • "Oftentimes I would go there on a Monday before I'd go to the airport to come up here. Every Monday for about 30 years ago he had lunge for all of his employees. And he would be there. He would serve them lunch and they would spend time together, and I had the opportunity to do that hon a few occasions. And there were a couple of special times after we met in the conference room and he's coaching me on how I should present myself or issues that were important for education and any number of things. He was truly a mentor. He said, would you like to see my shop? Now, this office out on Moorehead Street, it is an unassuming office, just as humble as the off-the-rack suits that this man wore all of his life, or the old beat-up station wagon that he would drive to the office."

Murkowski, Cornyn, Young- Correction

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 26 2018

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

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "And so when - when you speak about the merits of the program, I find nothing that I can - can disagree with in terms of the benefits that we see. Why I rise to express my - my objection to advancing the amendment is that the effort that you have raised is to permanently seek to authorize this program. This program is currently authorized, and as you have appropriately pointed out, it is authorized through September 30 of this year. The measure that you bring before us would be to permanently authorize. It is in its very nature authorizing on an appropriations here - appropriations bill."

 

Senator Cornyn: (11:58 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "Yesterday the chair of the president's Economic Council of Advisors brought a number of charts and a welcomed message, and that is the American economy is very strong and many of the predictions made during the course of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act debate have proven to be true. The - the positive comments. The negative comments have been proven false in terms of what the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would do to restart this great economic engine known as the American economy. Back home in Texas we issued our monthly employment report, and it includes good news, which I would also like to share. First, Texas created 27,000 new jobs in June. That's a whole lot of people moving up, pursuing new opportunities and moving into our state from places where they don't have those opportunities."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "We have been voting on well-qualified nominees to fill the federal bench and we've been confirming them at a record pace. These are people who will, by definition, serve for a lifetime. That's what federal judges do in our country. They have life tenure. They're not subject to election. They get Independence that goes along with it and a unique job in our system of government of calling balls and strikes, applying the law to the facts of an individual case. And it's an incredibly important role to play. But sadly, we've heard during the discussion about Judge Kavanaugh that we will take up here soon, it increasingly appears that some of our democratic colleagues aren't particularly interested in the qualifications of the nominee."

 

Senator Young: (12:13 p.m.)

  • Spoke on skills training.
    • "So here are just a few reasons why investing in C.T.E. is so critical to our country. By 2020, 30% of job openings -- 30% - will require some college or a two-year degree. In the next ten years, 3 million workers will be required for the nation's infrastructure needs. High school students who take C.T.E. classes have higher graduation rates, we know, and they are more likely to find employment or attain higher education. Postsecondary C.T.E. programs are also a proven cost-effective means to obtain a credential or other form of degree. So it's worth noting that this reauthorization of our nation's career and technical education law includes important components from legislation introduced by our Senate C.T.E. Caucus."

Flake, Leahy, Tester, Gardner, Burr

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 26 2018

Senator Flake: (11:02 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "Four pounds of crickets are required to produce one pound of powder. A pound of cricket powder produced by all things bugs which boasts, quote, the most affordable wholesale price sells for about $35 a pound. By comparison, the average retail price for a hundred percent ground beef is about $3.80 a pound. The U.S. has more than 2.5 billion pounds of beef, pork, poultry and Turkey being stockpiled. This is a record level. Clearly a new source of protein is not needed and in this case likely not wanted. In fact, the C.E.O. of one of these cricket cuisine companies said yesterday, quote, realistically, as much as we wish people would behave differently, Americans won't buy significant amounts of insect protein."

 

Senator Leahy: (11:08 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "If we do nothing, we leave our elections vulnerable to the aggressive foreign adversary fully intent on destabilizing our country. To many of the senators in the chamber, it's a simple choice. It's a solemn responsibility. Today the senate should vote on my amendment to provide $250 million in grants for the states to help secure their election systems. We have to send a clear message to Russia and other foreign adversaries that tampering in our elections will not be tolerated. Simply giving a speech about it is not enough. We should vote on this. In we had missile attacks or air attacks or others against any of our state, we would respond immediately."

 

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

  • Spoke on tariffs.
    • "That is why I am so frustrated with the recent comments made by National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro. Mr. Navarro last week characterized the tariff uncertainty as nothing more than a rounding error. Mr. Navarro is in an important position. He is a trade advisor and strategist for the president of the United States. And he believes the tariffs that are harming Montana producers equate to nothing more than a rounding error. The statement is inaccurate, it's insulting, and it is dismissive of rural America. If Mr. Navarro truly believes that his comments are true, he has a lot to learn about what's going on across this country."

 

Senator Gardner: (11:32 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "So the Land and Water Conservation Fund expires September 30. We need to not only reauthorize the program but to permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. But yet it's still not the right time to debate it. It's not the right issue, it's not the right bill, it's not the right moment. I hope that we can find a way to do exactly what we need to do for our great outdoors, for our economy, for our environment, to continue the incredible work of this crown jewel of conservation programs. And that's why I've authored a bill with a number of of my colleagues around the country including Senator Burr, a champion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund."

 

Senator Burr: (11:35 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "Mr. President, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, you may remember last month when I tried to get a vote on its reauthorization, I had just come from a press conference marking 100 days until it expires. We've been here before. I'm sort of shocked sometimes on how hardhead he had we are in the institutions. This program has now reached a point where it's 66 days away from expiration. In the 115th Congress we actually let it expire, and the reason congress passed legislation to reauthorize it was the pressure of the American people."

Casey, Enzi, Coons, Schumer

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)

Jul 26 2018

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

  • Spoke on job training.
    • "We were able to work together in a bipartisan manner to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and make important updates that will support high quality programs, foster innovation and improve access for all students. And I'm very proud to be joined by Senator Enzi who worked for years on this issue. I'll say more about Senator Enzi in a moment. But Perkins C.T. Effort, C.T.E. standing for career and technical education is critical to creating jobs and growing wages and assuring workers of the tools to outcompete anyone in the world. This will empower states and local districts to create programs that provide better outcome for all students, educators, and our economy."
  • Spoke on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    • "The passage of what we know as the A.D.A. helped to bring into focus a picture that started to develop really 150 years ago with the ratification of the 14th Amendment. That great amendment guaranteed equal protection under the law for all. The passage of the Americans with disabilities act confirmed that people with disabilities are included in that guarantee of the 14th Amendment."

 

Senator Enzi: (10:28 a.m.)

  • Spoke on job training.
    • "Their recognition of the importance of this work was key to getting past an impasse that only a few months ago looked unlikely to break. Senator Casey and I have had a lot of hours working together to come up with a bill that would make a difference to people who want to work with their hands, to people who want to work with computers. I have a favorite book that talks about from cowboys to coal miners, the people who get their hands dirty every day to provide what you need. This is a segment of the economy that we really need, and I know that if you need an electrician or you need a plumber, you want them right away and you want them trained."

 

Senator Coons: (10:28 a.m.)

  • Spoke on job training.
    • "Both of these terrific senators were gracious in including it in this bill. This is a bill that is going to make possible programs all over this country that smooths and clears the pathway towards meaningful employment for young Americans. I wish more people knew about this kind of work, this kind of effort that these two senators have made to move forward the sort of bipartisan, responsible solutions to the real problems facing Americans that we need, and I just want to take one moment and thank them both for their tireless work to achieve this good result today."

 

Senator Schumer: (10:38 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Now, Madam President, both parties used to agree that the thorough review of the Supreme Court's nominee's record was essential to fulfilling the constitutional advise and consent obligations on senators. When Elena Kagan was nominated eight years ago, even though Democrats were in the majority and Republicans were in the minority, Chairman Leahy joined with Republicans to request all of Elena Kagan's records from her time in the White House. Now the shoe is on the other foot, we're in the minority, they are in the majority. But rather than applying the previous bipartisan standard, the Republican majority is refusing to join with Democrats in requesting Brett Kavanaugh's complete record."

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Jul 26 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 6147, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • 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.

 

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

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Here's how the junior senator from New Jersey characterized this nomination with the senior senator from Massachusetts right beside him and here's what he said, Mr. President. We're walking through the valley of the shadow of death. You're either complicit in the evil, you're either contributing to the wrong, or you're fighting against it. This, Mr. President, from a member of the Judiciary Committee. He hasn't even met with Judge Kavanaugh, hasn't heard a word of testimony, and he's citing scripture? Scripture? To proclaim that this nominee is pure evil of biblical proportions? He's claiming that the senators and the American people who have an open mind on this nomination are complicit, complicit in the evil?"
  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "Tax hikes, burdensome regulations, their policies cut against the rhetoric. And the outcome was disappointing. That was then. This is now. When Vice President Pence lands in West Virginia today, he will be able to share a different story. He'll be able to say that thanks in part to regulatory relief and generational tax reform, the number of Americans saying now is a good time, good time to find a quality job hit a 17-year high just two months ago. He will be able to say West Virginia's unemployment rate has been lower every month since this unified Republican government than it was any month, any month of the Obama presidency."
  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "We're considering four important funding measures that will account for about an eighth of discretionary spending. This bill will keep resources flowing to a long list of key government functions. We're talking about everything from food safety inspections to anti-drug enforcement to child nutrition to the forest service. It tends to a number of specific policy programs we have in common like rebuilding America's infrastructure and to fight against opioid abuse."