Monday, Jan. 29, 2018

Tomorrow -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive Calendar #622, David Ryan Stras, of Minnesota, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit.
  • The Senate will recess from 12:30 p.m to 2:15 p.m to accommodate the weekly policy lunches.
  • At 2:15 p.m, the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #622, David Ryan Stras, of Minnesota, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit.
  • Note: all time during recess, adjournment, morning business, and leader remarks will count post-cloture on the Stras nomination.


Senator Lee: (6:48 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "These children feel, Mr. President, until they cannot. That possibility alone, the mere possibility should be chilling to us, and that possibility alone should have us rushing to ban abortion at 20 weeks. So I would implore my colleagues who didn't vote for this to reconsider, and the next time they have an opportunity to support it, to vote yes on the pain-capable unborn child protection act, a vote for this bill is a vote to protect some of the most vulnerable members of the human family. And yes, we are talking about members of the human family. The life form that we're talking about is not a puppy, is not some other form of animal. This is a human being that we're talking about. "


Senator Hassan: (6:55 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "The Trump Administration issued interim final rules, allowing employers to deny women access to the birth control coverage that they need. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle have confirmed trump administration officials and judges to the bench who are vehemently opposed to a woman's right to make her own reproductive health decisions. And Republicans have been relentless in their attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, which is an essential source of care for women in New Hampshire and provides key services like birth control and cancer screenings."


Senator Moran: (7:01 p.m)

  • Spoke in tribute to Mary Kay Thatcher.
    • "We are often helped by those who have lots of knowledge and in the coming days Mary Kay Thatcher will be retiring from the American Farm Bureau where she's recognized as one of the most knowledgeable experts on farm policy. On conservation, on crop insurance, ag data, and so many other issues this affect farmers and ranchers in rural America. Mary Kay represents the best of Washington, D.C. She's smart, she's passionate, and she's authentic. Again, we often need help from those who have expertise to help us make the right decisions, and she is absolutely one of those people. And a great thing about Mary Kay that every is she hasn't - Mary Kay thatcher is she hasn't forgotten where she's come from."


Senator Lankford: (7:19 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "In 1973 when Roe v. Wade passed, the Supreme Court at that time determined children that were viable - and that's the definition they left out there -- children that were viable, there's a governmental interest in being able to engage with those children. Viability in 1973 is very different than what it is now, decades later. 1973 viable was a much older child. Now we know a lot more. A lot more children survive. Children born at 22 weeks gestation have between a 50% to 60% chance of survival now. That was not so in 1973. The rest of the world has caught up to this technology, and their government has acknowledged this issue of a child that has ten fingers and ten toes and a beating heart, they suck their thumb in the womb, they yawn, they stretch, they move, that is a child."


Senator Casey: (7:39 p.m)

  • Spoke on community health centers.
    • "The first is the issue of community health centers which, of course, is a major issue for states across the country. Millions and millions of Americans get their health care through community health centers. I'll mention it more than once, but 800,000 of them are in the state of Pennsylvania. And as we come closer to working out bipartisan agreements on a whole range of issues that are ahead of us literally in the next two to three weeks, I hope that there will be a strong consensus to provide a funding plan and funding certainty to community health centers across the country."
  • Spoke in tribute to Deputy Marshall Christopher Hill.
    • "I know the hour is late - for the Senate and people working here, but I wanted to end the night tonight with a message about a law enforcement official in Pennsylvania whose funeral, memorial service I attended just on Friday. This individual was a Deputy Marshall. His name is Christopher David Hill. He lost his life on January 18. He was living at the time in York, Pennsylvania. He was killed in the line of duty in Harrisburg, not far from New York, while attempting to apprehend a fugitive. I commend Deputy Marshall Hill for his service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and his service to our nation."

Wicker, Fischer, Feinstein, Graham, Schumer

Motion to Proceed to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S.2311)

Jan 29 2018

Senator Wicker: (5:08 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Science is on our side in supporting this legislation. Public opinion is on our side in supporting this legislation. 60% of women, 64% of independents, 56% of Democrats support ending late-term abortions, which is what we're trying to do. Medical practice is on our side in this legislation. And world opinion and world practice is on our side. Let me simply reiterate that we are - we in America are among a grim group of seven countries that permit abortions after 20 weeks."


Senator Fischer: (5:09 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "Over my time in public service, I have been committed to supporting commonsense pro-life measures that offer empathy for women and for unborn children. Too often women experience despair and pain and judgment from others during an unplanned pregnancy. We should offer compassion for these expectant mothers, and they need to know that we will continue to support them in the challenging years ahead. We should also be willing to protect the most innocent among us, the unborn who can feel pain and have the chance at viability. I rise today to discuss the legislation that the senate will consider shortly, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act. This is a reasonable bill that has the support of 47 senators. "


Senator Feinstein: (5:15 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "From 2010 to 2016, states adopted 334 restrictions on women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care. These include laws that require mandatory waiting periods which have no medical basis, force doctors to give patients inaccurate medical information, restrict access to contraceptives and in just one year the Trump Administration has attempted to restrict women's access to birth control, attempted to defund Planned Parenthood, supported legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its protections for women's health, and created new government offices to undermine women's health care, and nominated judges who openly oppose women's privacy rights under Roe v. Wade."


Senator Graham: (5:23 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "What do we know about unborn children at that stage of development? We know for a doctor to operate on the unborn child they provide anesthesia because it hurts the child and no doctor wants to hurt the child in an effort to save the child's life. Listen to what I said. Medical practice dictates that if you're going to operate on a 20-week-old unborn child, you provide anesthesia because science tells us that the baby can feel pain. Can you only imagine the pain you feel from an abortion? There's a reason there's only seven countries in the world that allow this. The question for America is do we want to stay in this club or do we want to get out? I want out. 20 states have aversion to this bill and more taking up as I speak."


Senator Schumer: (5:38 p.m)

  • Spoke on the nomination of David Stras to be United States Circuit Court Judge for the Eighth Circuit.
    • "It's my understanding that the new senator from Minnesota, Senator Smith, intends to vote against his nomination. If Judge Stras is confirmed, it will mark the first time since 1982 that a circuit court nominee was confirmed without both home state senators returning blue slips in support of a hearing. Democrat and Republican chairs have stuck to the blue slip rule, despite the tensions in this body. So this is a major step back, another way that the majority is slowly gnawing away at the way this body works and making it more and more and more like the House of Representatives."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "Of course, the reality of the Republican tax bill is much different than the image painted by the leader's cherry picked examples. One of the real examples of the tax bill is the massive giveaways to the most powerful and they got the majority of the breaks. Individuals, some got increases, some stayed the same, and some will get a little bit. But companies have announced multimillion dollar stock buyback programs which benefit wealthy shareholders. According to Morgan Stanley, 83 are% of analysts said that they would use that money for buybacks and mergers."
  • Spoke on the upcoming legislative agenda.
    • "Many are waiting in line still to get treatment. We waited too long that address failing pension plans which are the safety net for so many teamsters, carpenters, miners, people approaching retirement. We waited too long to give the dreamers the peace of mind that they won't be deported by the only country they know. We need to address these issues soon. No more delay. We hope our moderate senators will find a bill on DACA and border security that will pass."
  • Spoke on the F.B.I investigation.
    • "Today we learned that deputy director of the F.B.I. Andrew McCabe will be stepping down immediately. He has been attacked by the White House relentlessly. And as soon as this evening, the House will vote to release the contents of a secret memo prepared by the Republican majority on the House Intelligence Committee that insinuates the F.B.I and D.O.J's investigation into Russia's interference in our elections as politically biased. According to the ranking member of the committee, Representative Schiff, this memo is full of innuendo, glaring omissions. It presents evidence without context and jumps to unfounded conclusions."

Daines, Sasse, Grassley, Blunt

Motion to Proceed to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S.2311)

Jan 29 2018

Senator Daines: (4:37 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "They later became parents of a beautiful little girl who is today an amazing young woman. As an American citizen, I believe in our founding prince - principle that all men and women are endowed by their creator, with a capital C, among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As a person of faith, I believe in those who are people of faith, we are called to help the most vulnerable in our society. As a United States senator, it is my honor to support this legislation, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act."


Senator Sasse: (4:47 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "I want to associate myself with the comments of the senator from Montana who preceded me. A huge part of why the millennials are becoming more pro-life than the two generations ordinarily than they are is because they're seeing these sonogram images and it's changing them year by year and month by month. I've been on the floor for about 45 minutes today and I've heard a whole bunch of claims about polling and facts on the floor today that just aren't true. A. Not here to argue this case and argue about how we should vote on this legislation because of polls. I'm here because we should all love babies. That's why we should be doing this. "


Senator Grassley: (4:55 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "There's also the history of an Iowa boy, Micah Pickering who is living proof that we need to do more to protect unborn babies at this stage of development. Micah and his parents visited me in Washington last September. They tell me that when Micah was born at 20 weeks post fertilization, he received intensive care, including a medication to minimize his pain and discomfort. Babies like Micah born in the fifth month of pregnancy are capable of feeling such pain. "
  • Spoke on the nomination of David Stras to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit.
    • "Over the next couple days, the Senate will vote on whether to invoke cloture and then confirm the nomination of Justice David Stras to serve on the eighth circuit. Justice Stras is eminently qualified and exceptionally bright. He has received praise and support from the legal profession and across the political spectrum. Justice Stras is the grandson of a holocaust survivor. He graduated number one in his class from Kansas Law School in 1999, serving then as a law clerk to two federal circuit judges and to a justice on the United States Supreme Court."


Senator Blunt: (5:03 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "As I've listened to the debate today, the debate about 20 weeks, it sounds to me like the opponents of the bill, it wouldn't matter if it was 30 weeks. Or 21 weeks or - there is no week you can pass here. The other bill that we should vote on that the House has passed is the born alive bill. There are people in the country today who actually oppose the born alive bill. When a baby in an abortion process is born alive, my understanding is you can't step in and take the life of that living child, but you can all step back from the table where that baby is in front of you and let the baby die. So obviously there's a point here when we are not going to be able to talk to each other in a way that apparently persuades anybody."

Hirono, Shaheen, Blumenthal, Cassidy

Motion to Proceed to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S.2311)

Jan 29 2018

Senator Hirono: (4:01 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "At that point there was nothing Dr. Moyata could do to prevent labor and because abortion is legal after 20 weeks in Hawaii, Dr. Moyata was able to provide life-saving abortion care for her patient and prevent her from developing a massive infection. Dr. Moyata put it plainly in her note, quote, restrictions on abortion care and danger - care endanger the lives of my patients. End quote. Restrictions on abortion care endanger the lives of my patients. And that is exactly what this bill will do. It will endanger the lives of millions of women in this country who do not - who do not make the decision to have an abortion after 20 weeks lightly."


Senator Shaheen: (4:12 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "It's also insulting and condescending to all women. We're not children who need guidance from an adult. We can consult those we choose to consult, and we can make our own decisions. To impose this requirement in this crude manner is something right out of the hand maid's tale. Then if the rape victim is a minor, she's allowed access to an abortion only if she can provide proof that she reported the crime to law enforcement. Again, this is completely out of touch with the real world. Only a small percentage of sexual assaults and rapes are reported to police. Nearly 80% of rape and sexual assault victims know their offender."


Senator Blumenthal: (4:19 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "All of them men, except one, who are essentially trying to tell the women of America what to do with their own body, when to have children or not. And that is fundamentally unconstitutional. It flies in the face of Roe v. Wade and all of its progeny. It is a restriction that has been struck down when adopted at the state level in at least two courts. And the others that have adopted similar proposals will be struck down, in my view, as well. The consensus of the medical community and the legal community and ordinary citizens, particularly women, is that women have reproductive rights that would be violated dramatically and directly by this proposal."


Senator Cassidy: (4:30 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "Now, those of us who are pro-life and pro-choice, but society has agreed at some point that protection is allowed. Again, I'm pro-life. I think the protection should be when the child is conceived, but right now the law is divided. If a pregnant woman and her child is killed by a reckless driver, there's two counts of manslaughter filed against the driver. On the other hand, let's be clear, a woman has the right to terminate that pregnancy at another point in the pregnancy. On the other hand, partial birth abortion says that child's life cannot be terminated when she is coming through the birth canal."

McConnell, Whitehouse, Murray, Warren

Motion to Proceed to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S.2311)

Jan 29 2018

Senator McConnell: (3:22 p.m)

  • Spoke on the recent tragedy in Benton, Kentucky.
    • "Mr. President, the community of Benton, Kentucky, is continuing to pick up the pieces after last week's harrowing shooting. I want to once again thank our law enforcement and first responders for their heroism. I'd also like to recognize Marshall County Judge Kevin Neil for his leadership when his community needed it the most."
  • Spoke on the upcoming legislative agenda.
    • "A great deal of work remains before the senate in the coming days. Bipartisan discussions continue on a variety of important issues, including immigration, border security, disaster relief, health care, and funding for our armed forces. With our February 8 deadline fast approaching, it is vital that we continue these talks. Last week we had the framework for immigration legislation. As I noted, it builds upon the four pillars of reform that the president consistently put forth and indicates what is necessary for him to sign a bill into law. As discussions continue in the senate on the subject of immigration, members on both sides of the aisle should look to this framework as they work toward an agreement."
  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "That includes, unfortunately, the United States, along with China and North Korea. It is long past time that we heed science and commonsense morality and remove ourselves from this very undistinguished list. Some refer to this legislation as Micah's law after a little boy born premature at 22 weeks. Today he is a healthy 5-year-old boy. He shows what can happen when we give life a chance. This afternoon, every one of us will go on record on this issue. On the commonsense side of this issue are 63% of Americans."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "Already hundreds of businesses have announced significant bonuses, pay increases, new jobs, and expanded benefits. Just last week, we learned that verse logistics, which is based in Walton, Kentucky, and employs nearly 1,600, has distributed bonuses to full-time employees. The company's C.E.O told workers, quote, I want to be sure you and your families share in the benefits of your accomplishments, and, and the new tax reform legislation. When I hear my democratic colleague denigrate tax reform bonuses as, quote, crumbs, I think about workers like these. I think about the first worker who came to her boss with tears in her eyes when she received word of her bonus. It was Christmas."


Senator Whitehouse: (3:33 p.m)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "It also extends to his schedule where he tries to keep the American people in the dark. Unlike Ruckelshaus and previous E.P.A administrators, Pruitt won't even disclose whom he is meeting or when he is traveling. As Governor Kean notes, our only idea of the folks he is meeting comes from the freedom of information act. Once the E.P.A. Finally releases the first few months of Pruitt's calendars in response to a FOIA request, that's when we learned that he was meeting with scores of industry fat cats and almost no environmental groups. As for his travels, we only find out about them after the fact, which of course prevents the press from covering Pruitt, saying when he jets off to Morocco to lobby for American natural gas producers."


Senator Murray: (3:45 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "But, Mr. President, instead of addressing the serious and pressing challenges that people are facing, Republican leaders today are debating whether to trust women to make their own health care choices. That's right. While this country is waiting for us to come together and solve problems, Republicans are wasting precious time with a politically motivated partisan bill that is engineered to drive us apart and hurt women. I come here today to oppose in the strongest terms the extreme ideological abortion ban that Republican leaders have brought to the floor today. It goes against the Constitution, against medical experts, and against the rights of women across the country. However, I don't merely oppose this partisan bill, I oppose the very fact Republicans are once again taking this bill, which they know is a nonstarter, here to the floor."


Senator Warren: (3:51 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "In 1973 the Supreme Court stepped up. 45 years after Roe v. Wade, abortions are safer than getting your tonsils out. A lot of women are had a live today - a lot of women are alive today because of Roe. Nearly 70% of Americans agree, Roe v. Wade is worth support something. And I wish I were here today to acknowledge the impact of Roe. Instead, I'm here to defend it from attack. Last week president trump marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by calling for a ban on a rare category of abortions, ones that take place after 20 weeks of pregnancy. So today the Senate is voting on a bill to do exactly that."

Ernst, Tillis, Cornyn

Motion to Proceed to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S.2311)

Jan 29 2018

Senator Enrst: (2:37 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "At five months, babies have grown nails on their fingers and on their toes, hair has just begun to grow on their heads, and an ultrasound can tell an expectant mother and father whether their baby is a boy or a girl. These babies can detect light, hear sounds, they can swallow, and even experience taste as their taste buds grow and develop. These unborn babies in all ways are babies. There is also significant scientific evidence that at five months of development these babies can feel pain. By five months, babies begin to respond to painful stimulus with distinctive pain response behaviors that are exhibited by older babies."


Senator Tillis: (2:59 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "I think this is balanced policy and something I hope my colleagues will support and ultimately send to the president's desk. I worked on - I was speaker of the house in North Carolina for four years, and we worked on commonsense changes to protecting the lives of the unborn that also got the support of the majority of North Carolinians. This is just another example where we at the federal law can enact a law that I think helps us demonstrate that the life of the unborn is a precious life, and we as members of the U.S Senate and the U.S Congress are tasked with making sure we protect all lives in America."


Senator Cornyn: (3:13 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "Mr. President, last week marked the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but many of us were not celebrating. Because last week gave us another opportunity to consider the real damage caused by the Supreme Court decision which even liberal scholars have now said is flawed. The type of damage it's done to the social fabric of our nation over the last four and a half decades. During that period of time, more than 50 million unborn children in America have been denied the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 50 million. In other parts of the world unborn children have been killed by the sheer fact they happen to be a girl instead of a boy, or because they have disabilities like Down's Syndrome."


Motion to Proceed to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S. 2311)

Jan 29 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 2:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 2311, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
  • At 5:30 p.m, the pending cloture motions will ripen in the order filed.
  • Note: on Wednesday, January 24, cloture was filed on the motion to proceed to S. 2311, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
  • Note: on Wednesday, January 24, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #622, David Ryan Stas, of Minnesota, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit.


Senator Wyden: (2:27 p.m)

  • Spoke on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
    • "It criminalizes health care services that ought to stay between women and their doctors, health care services that are often necessitated by potentially life-threatening complications. I just for the life of me don't see the wisdom of a lawmaker or a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C, or a state capital telling a woman how severe the danger to her life has to become before she is legally allowed to make this variably gut-wrenching decision to choose an abortion. This issue has been settled law in America for 45 years. The debate should be over, but here it is again along with these other policies that I've just described are part of the Trump Administration's health care discrimination agenda, which is particularly punitive against women."