Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2018

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 12:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and begin consideration of Executive Calendar #867, Lisa Porter, of Virginia, to be a Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, with the time until 12:40 p.m. equally divided in the usual form.
  • Following the use or yielding back of that time, the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #867, Lisa Porter, of Virginia, to be a Deputy Under Secretary of Defense.

Hassan, Whitehouse

Executive Session (McMahon Nomination)

Sep 26 2018

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

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Mr. President, over the past weeks we have been reminded yet again why it is so hard for survivors of sexual assault to come forward. For far too long, women who bravely shared their stories of sexual assault have been attacked, diminished and marginalized. And I'm sad to say, that includes by some of my fellow senators. In some respects we have seen remarkable progress since the #MeToo movement began roughly one year ago. More women have felt empowered and supported to speak out and our society has begun to grapple with the horrific and widespread prevalence of sexual assault, especially in the workplace."

 

Senator Whitehouse: (5:51 p.m.)

  • Spoke on environmental legislation.
    • "And so I want to thank him as well. I'd also like to thank Senator Murkowski. She joins Senator Sullivan and being from Alaska and Alaska has a terrific problem with the issue that we're addressing. And the issue at hand is marine plastic debris. The plastic waste with which we are filling the ocean. In Rhode Island we do beach cleanups and people go up and down the beach and pick up the plastic trash that's washed ashore. We do those with trash bags. In Alaska they do those with front end loaders, dumpsters, barges because Alaska faces the Pacific."

Gardner, Merkley

Executive Session (McMahon Nomination)

Sep 26 2018

Senator Gardner: (2:55 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
    • "Thank you, Senator Daines and thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity to be here to talk about the importance of the LWCF. The press conference that Senator Burr referred to marking 150 days until the expiration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, we've since come to the floor offering unanimous consent agreements. We've introduced legislation, fought for amendments to make sure we extend not just temporarily, not just for a year or two, but to make sure that we fight for the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund."

 

Senator Merkley: (3:06 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to a member of his staff.
    • "There were three of us over the course of the summer. It was my job to come in early, run the envelopes through the cutter, take out the sheets of information, the letters, and stack them into one of four stacks for the different correspondence. Well, that now sounds like such a simple task compared to that that Jody has guided with more than 200 interns and more than 5,000, almost 6,000 unique letters being drafted to respond. So thank you so much. Jody, you will be dearly missed by everybody here in Washington, D.C. that has had the pleasure to know you, to work alongside with you, to partner with you over nearly a decade."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "It would be for the F.B.I. to investigate. Not a criminal investigation, but a background investigation. That was accorded to Anita Hill in 1991, a reopening of the background investigation to get the facts. How is it that a Senate that could support and a president who could support the proper role of the F.B.I. in 1991 will not stand up today for fairness for women who are coming forward? Why is it that the nominee steeped in the law who has said he wants a fair hearing, wants a fair hearing, why does the nominee not demand an F.B.I. investigation so it is fair to him and fair to these three women? Dr. Ford coming forward and Deborah Ramirez coming forward and Ms. Swetnick coming forward. They are being treated very poorly by this institution."

Hyde-Smith, Daines, Burr

Executive Session (McMahon Nomination)

Sep 26 2018

Senator Hyde-Smith: (2:36 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "This is the first time for me to address this body. You listen and learn before delivering a maiden speech but there's precedent during matters of great importance and critical times for the future of our country to make remarks prior to a maiden speech. I'll reserve my maiden speech for a future date but today I am compelled by duty to our country and the people of Mississippi to speak in strong and unyielding support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The Constitution entrusts the Senate with the duty to provide the president advice and consent for a lifetime appointment on the United States Supreme Court. It is a serious responsibility but the process has evolved into a purely political effort by those who want to keep Judge Kavanaugh off the court by destroying his reputation and his character."

 

Senator Daines: (2:41 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
    • "Without any action from Congress, a program that's widely supported, provides more access to public lands, conserves our important landscapes, and I think this is probably Senator Burr's favorite comment about LWCF, it costs the taxpayers nothing. I bet you'll hear that from him in a moment and will expire. The many benefits provided, the most important one to Montanans is making public lands accessible. In fact, I brought down a few maps of Montana to show you some of the challenges we have. This map shows all the public lands in our state. So anything that's colored is a public land. That's Forest Service, BLM, national parks, wildlife refuges and state trust land. As you can see, there's a lot of public land in Montana. Our public lands help drive a $7 billion outdoor economy, creates tens of thousands of jobs and supplies about $300 million in state and local tax revenues."

 

Senator Burr: (2:46 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
    • "The state of New Jersey, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the nature conservancy have worked together to restore wetlands which now includes engineered structures as well as natural structures like marshes and wetlands and dunes. This has withstood several major storms including Hurricanes Sandy and Irene. The wetlands was positioned in such a way that it was able to absorb enough of the impact and water to protect many of the surrounding communities. In 2016, a study by the nature conservancy, in partnership with the risk modeler for the insurance industry, showed that the marsh wetlands saved over $ 50 million in property damages during the Hurricane Sandy alone and reduced annual property losses by nearly 20% in Ocean City, New Jersey."

Schumer, Heller, Flake

Executive Session (Heller Nomination)

Sep 26 2018

Senator Schumer: (12:49 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "There are now multiple credible, serious and corroborated allegations against Judge Kavanaugh made under the penalty of perjury. The new affidavit by Mrs. Swetnick calls for a detailed investigation done by our F.B.I. professionals as do the allegations made by other women. But currently there is only a single hearing tomorrow, with no witnesses other than Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh before a scheduled committee vote and a potential final Senate floor vote soon thereafter. That is not right. There is no need for such a rush. These women deserve to be heard in a fair way, and their claims must be properly investigated. Republicans need to immediately suspend the proceedings related to Judge Kavanaugh's nomination, and the president must order the F.B.I. To reopen the background check investigation."

 

Senator Heller: (1:05 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting.
    • "It has been nearly a year since a madman's actions devastated Vegas. 58 innocent people lost their lives. Over 800 people were injured and many of them continue to face a long road to physical and emotional recovery. Know that you're not alone on that road. We support you and we're praying for you. Our community is still grieving and it will never be the same, but hatred and fear will never win, that's because one man's horrific actions exposed humanity. Las Vegas showed what it means to be Vegas strong and I had the honor of experiencing it firsthand in the eyes and voices of those who survived and those who are eager to help others."

 

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

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "But we need to. And I admit it feels strange to have to do that, but we in this political culture and in this city and in this building, even in this chamber we seem to sometimes forget that before this woman and this man are anything else, they are human beings. We sometimes seem intent on stripping people of their humanity so that we might more easily degrade or defame them or put them through the grinder that our politics requires. We've seen - we seem sometimes even to enjoy it. For the past two weeks we've certainly seen that happen to both of these human beings for whatever reason because we think we are right and they are wrong, because we think our ideological struggle is more important than their humanity?"

Gillibrand, Cornyn, Casey

Executive Session (Feldman Nomination)

Sep 26 2018

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

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Mr. President, I rise to speak about Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, and I urge my colleagues to actually listen to Dr. Blasey Ford and treat her with the respect that she deserves. She deserves better than the setup she's walking into tomorrow. I want to take a step back for a second and look at the big picture of what's actually going on with this nomination. We have a nominee for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land who has been accused credibly of sexual assault. Dr. Blasey Ford reluctantly came forward out of civic duty and said that Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her in high school. She is now facing death threats for her courage, and her worst fears of how she would be treated by this body have come to fruition."

 

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

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Mr. President, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am looking forward to a hearing that we will have tomorrow at 10:00 in the morning at the request of Dr. Ford to give all of us an opportunity to provide a fair - and a fair chance to her for her to have her say. It's important that we do this because during the last ten days it's felt like a series of small earthquakes, actions taken and blunders committed by our Democratic colleagues has destabilized the normal timeline. This stems from the fact that the allegations made by Dr. Ford were made to the ranking member and kept by her from other members of the committee as well as the background investigators who normally when allegations come up like this are protective of the confidentiality and anonymity of the accuser and accused until they can be properly vetted."

 

Senator Casey: (12:26 p.m.)

  • Spoke on special counsel protection legislation.
    • "Since this weekend, there have been reports that the president may fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein from his position at the Department of Justice. This would be a gross abuse of power, a line that we cannot allow to be crossed without consequence. Mr. Rosenstein has a long career in public service and law enforcement. He initially joined the Department of Justice nearly 30 years ago through the Attorney General's Honors Program and rose through the ranks, serving as a trial attorney, as principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Tax Division, and as a United States attorney in Maryland for over a decade, a critically important job in our justice system."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "We're told that tomorrow there will be testimony both from the judge and Dr. Ford, but I think the evidence that's on the record so far and then new evidence that's - new allegations, I should say, that are just breaking news at this hour, continue to reinforce my belief - and this was my belief a week ago, it was my belief a number of days ago and it is still my belief today - that this set of questions, these allegations warrant an F.B.I. investigation. This with a not be a new endeavor for the F.B.I. They do this routinely for nominees from the Supreme Court all the way down. They, of course, did an investigation for the purposes of this confirmation as to the judge's background."

Murray, Schumer, Blumenthal

Executive Session (Feldman Nomination)

Sep 26 2018

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

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Mr. President, I come up to the floor today to join my colleagues in lifting up the voices of women across the country who right now are being ignored, swept aside, and attacked. And in calling on our Republican colleagues to join us and do everything we can to make sure women are heard, listened to, and respected, as we debate and deliberate over Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. Mr. President, recently I was back home in Washington state to talk to my constituents about the Supreme Court nomination, and I met a woman named Caitlin who bravely told me and others about her experience of being sexually assaulted. She shared her story. Had gone to a concert and she was sexually assaulted that night. But it was how she explained what happened after that I want to share today."

 

Senator Schumer: (10:21 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Chairman Grassley and several of his colleagues on the other side have already proposed a final committee vote on Friday. They've prepared the vote before the hearing occurs. Isn't that prejudgment. And they are acting when they proposed the vote before the hearing as if the conclusion was foreordained and the hearing is just a nuisance to plow through. Most galling of all, Republican leadership and the White House have blocked the F.B.I. from reopening an independent background check investigation into Judge Kavanaugh, a standard procedure for federal nominees when new allegations arise. This isn't a new thing that Democrats are pulling out of the hat."

 

Senator Blumenthal: (10:41 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the release of documents related to 9/11.
    • "Mr. President, shortly, I will move for unanimous consent to pass Senate Resolution 610 urging the release of information regarding the September 11 terrorist attack upon the United States. It is a bipartisan resolution, and I want to thank the cosponsors who have joined me in this historic effort, Senators Cornyn, Schumer, Gillibrand, Murphy, Menendez, Grassley, Markey, Booker, Rubio, and Sanders. At a time of very deep division in our country and in this body, all of us are still able to come together to help the survivors and families of the horrific September 11 terrorist attacks as they seek justice and fairness to deter additional and ongoing state sponsorship of terrorism."

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Sep 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 #941, Peter A. Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a term of seven years from October 27, 2019.
  • At 1:45 p.m., all post-cloture time on the Feldman nomination will expire and the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #941, Peter A. Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a term of seven years from October 27, 2019.

 

Senator McConnell: (9:41 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "So much for Dr. Ford's request for confidentiality, I guess. So what lessons can we draw from all this, Mr. President? If you write to Senate Democrats in complete confidence about an extremely sensitive matter, you will soon wind up a household name. And if you're a public servant whose confirmation the far left happens to oppose because they dislike the fact that you will interpret the law and the Constitution according to what they mean, rather than what the far left wishes they would mean, they will not hesitate to weaponize uncorroborated allegations and drag your name and your family right through the mud. That's what these guys will do to you."
  • Spoke in tribute to a member of his staff.
    • "In fact, while I told my staff I was waiting for a quiet day to offer a fulsome tribute to Tom's service here on the floor, I have to admit I was really just hoping one of my colleagues would convince him to stick around so I wouldn't have to. Of course, for Tom, with his incredibly important portfolio and his diligence and dedication, there was really no such thing as a quiet day. Long after the lights went off here on the Senate floor, Tom was reviewing intelligence, conducting classified meetings, and making sure my colleagues and I were equipped to make serious decisions about our nation's security and footing in the international system. It was impossible to walk away from a meeting with Tom and not grasp the serious real-world consequences of our work."