Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018

Monday, February 5 -

  • The Senate will convene at 3:00 p.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each.
  • At 5:00 p.m, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and begin consideration of Executive Calendar #570, Andrei Iancu, of California, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, with thirty minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form.
  • At 5:30 p.m, the Senate will VOTE on confirmation of Executive Calendar #570, Andrei Iancu, of California, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.


Senator Blumenthal: (3:52 p.m)

  • Spoke on the recent F.B.I investigations.
    • "But the immediate threat is even more dire. Yesterday was a new low for the House Intelligence Committee. The House Republicans, in an act of partisan gutter politics, voted to release a four-page misleading and deceptive characterization of warrants submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. This partisan gutter politics brings us to a dark day of character assassination, much like the McCarthy days, when members of this chamber were counted in history as to whether they stood up and spoke out against this kind of smear campaign."

Boozman, Portman, Cornyn, Whitehouse

Morning Business

Jan 30 2018

Senator Boozman: (2:44 p.m)

  • Spoke on infrastructure investment.
    • "Having the support of the administration provides us tremendous opportunity to revamp the way we prioritize and fund our nation's infrastructure. As a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, I understand the importance of infrastructure investment. Since I came to Congress, I have been a constant advocate for increased investment, particularly for our nation's water resources. Last congress I supported the passage of the water infrastructure improvement for the nation act as well as the comprehensive highway bill, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act."
  • Unanimous Consent –
    • That the Senate proceed to legislative session and be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each.
    • (Without Objection)


Senator Portman: (3:05 p.m)

  • Spoke on the opioid epidemic.
    • "Opioids affect every American regardless of age, area code, class, or color. Every state represented here in this body has experienced this. Broken families, communities devastated, higher crime rates, friends lost, and of course lives taken through opioid overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control recently reported that more than 63,000 - 63,600 Americans died in 2016 from drug overdoses. That's the last year for which they have statistics but we all believe it was worse in 2017. But with 63,600 Americans dying of overdoses, that means on average more than 174 Americans died every single day."


Senator Cornyn: (3:26 p.m)

  • Spoke on tonight's State of the Union Address.
    • "That first year was marked by a steady stream of impressive accomplishments working together with Congress. These successes are easily missed when the decibel level here in Washington remains so high. The good news all too often gets drowned out by the noise. The truth, though, is that the president's policy decisions have been spot on, particularly when it comes to our nation's economy. First and foremost, last year he signed comprehensive tax reform into law. This was something we haven't been able to do since 1986. Our reforms lowered rates across the board for every tax bracket, doubled the child tax credit, and incentivized U.S businesses to create jobs here at home rather than overseas."


Senator Whitehouse: (3:45 p.m)

  • Spoke on the recent F.B.I investigations.
    • "And the Department of Justice in general. We have seen it even with presidential tweets seeking to discredit folks who might be witnesses before a grand jury, which would with the right state of mind actually amount to obstruction of justice itself. The first thing I want to say is that the senate is entitled to a full and truthful explanation of why Deputy Director McCabe of the F.B.I left. We do not know the reason behind his sudden, abrupt departure, but we do know that Sally Yates was fired. We do know that Jim Comey was fired. We do know that Bob Mueller was only not fired because white house counsel threw himself in front of that decision by President Trump and said, if you do that, I'm out."

Tester, Toomey, Shelby, Thune

Executive Session (Stras Nomination)

Jan 30 2018

Senator Tester: (12:02 p.m)

  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • "I rise today on this 30th day of January to call out this body, the body of the United States Senate, for its dereliction of duty. Enough is enough. We need a long-term budget bill for all of America, for my home state of Montana, because that is what they expect because it is our job. It has been 122 days since Congress has failed to pass a budget. What makes this even more egregious is the fact that we haven't done anything but continuing resolution after continuing resolution after continuing resolution. There is no certainty in that. And even if we pass a long-term budget deal, it isn't even that long term to the end of this fiscal year which is when it needs to be done by."


Senator Toomey: (12:06 p.m)

  • Spoke in tribute to Deputy Marshal Christopher Hill.
    • "But I feel it's important to address and it is to recognize, acknowledge, and honor the heroic life and legacy and sacrifice of one of Pennsylvania's finest deputy U.S marshals, Christopher Hill. On January 18 of this year, Deputy Hill was shot and killed while he was apprehending a fugitive in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Christopher hill lived in York, Pennsylvania. He was only 45 years old. He was a husband. He had two young children. And he had dedicated his life to serving and protecting first his country and later his community. He was an 11-year veteran of the marshal service."
  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "It's manufacturing in Pennsylvania, in America. As a direct result of the tax reform that we passed, their tax burden has been diminished and that has in turn allowed them to speed up the hiring of five or six new workers. Five or six people that didn't have a job - don't have a job today but they're going to have a job soon because Sussex Wire is hiring and they're right now out looking for the folks that are going to expand their workforce, expand the ability of this terrific company to do even more. The tax reform is also accelerating their ability to purchase new equipment."


Senator Shelby: (12:16 p.m)

  • Spoke in tribute to a member of his staff.
    • "After swiftly climbing the ladder in my office, bill became my staff director and general counsel when I chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee. And later the senate banking committee, where he was a general counsel and staff director. He also served as my staff director when I was ranking member of the senate appropriations committee when the Democrats were in control. As a former flight, naval flight officer, bill always brought a high level of respect and discipline to the workplace. Without hesitation, he was able to spearhead tasks and get things done."


Senator Thune: (12:23 p.m)

  • Spoke on tax reform.
    • "Mr. President, stories like this are why we made business tax reform a key part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Obviously a huge priority was immediately lowering Americans' tax bills, which is why we lowered rates across the board, nearly doubled the standard deduction, and doubled the child tax credit. But our other priority was creating the kind of economy in which Americans can thrive for the long term, an economy that would create good jobs, higher wages, and more opportunities. So how do we go about doing that? Well, the only way for individual Americans to thrive is for American businesses and the American economy to thrive."

Nelson, Rubio, Flake, Leahy

Executive Session (Stras Nomination)

Jan 30 2018

Senator Nelson: (11:05 a.m)

  • Spoke on the situation in Puerto Rico.
    • "We're trying to add to that the additional financial assistance that is needed in Puerto Rico. So I hope our colleagues in the Senate will understand the urgency of this matter. We can't keep pushing this off down into the future. The need to act is now. Mr. President, I just want to say in addition, in Florida, people are struggling. We should not negligent what is happening on the mainland. It's true in Texas. It's true in California. It's true in Florida. It's true in the islands. The storms destroyed homes and damaged apartments all around Florida, but we haven't seen any real attempt to address the housing needs of hurricane victims in the state."


Senator Rubio: (11:18 a.m)

  • Spoke on the situation in Florida.
    • "What we don't recognize is that underneath all of that is the long-term damage done a small business that went two weeks without any sort of income and so they closed. It is the impact we see in the Florida Keys where we have a lot of people that used their retirement savings to buy a small property they rent out in the Florida keys - very common; you buy a small townhouse, you rent it out in the winter to people that stay there and then you use it in the summer for your family. Guess what? This winter you're probably not getting a lot of visitors. There's all the debris from the canal that's sitting there. The canal, the waterway that takes them out has a refrigerator floating in it, has all kinds of debris. There's all kinds of debris from previous storms."


Senator Flake: (11:36 a.m)

  • Spoke on DACA.
    • "Now, other things being debated like changes to legal immigration levels truly need their own debate. Now, some appear to have seized on this as an opportunity to push forward an agenda aimed at limiting the future flow of legal immigration. Before this idea gains any steam, we have to fully discuss and debate its potentially enormous impact on our economy. It's easy for some to see unemployed Americans and point to immigrants as a scapegoat, to suggest that every immigrant who passes through our borders represents a job being pried from the hands of an American, an American citizen is far-fetched at best."


Senator Leahy: (11:43 a.m)

  • Spoke on government funding legislation.
    • "Well, the idea that Democrats are holding up defense spending doesn't pass the laugh test. The Republicans are in charge of getting appropriations bills at levels - last July, that was seven months ago, I called for bipartisan budget negotiations like we've always done in the past. And as the vice chairman of appropriations, I put forward a proposal that would increase defense spending by $54 billion and would increase nondefense spending by an equal amount, $54 billion. Basically what we did when Senator Murray and then-Congressman Ryan worked out the budget agreement, we did that years ago."

Flake, Schumer, Gardner

Executive Session (Stras Nomination)

Jan 30 2018

Senator Flake: (10:30 a.m)

  • Spoke in tribute to Elder Von Keech.
    • "His career was devoted to defending religious liberty for all religious institutions. His insight was particularly salient during this ever-changing world. As his daughter Stephanie said, he wanted to defend and support all churches and all religious beliefs and all people's right to believe and act in a way that they feel is right. That was a big part of his work. Mr. President, I consider it a privilege to have worked alongside Elder Keech over the past several years. I was able to witness firsthand the love he had for his wife, the pride he had in his children, and the devotion he had for the gospel of Jesus Christ."
  • Spoke in tribute to a member of his staff.
    • "Ed was invaluable to my staff during last year's tax reform debate. "The Washington Post" honored his contributions to Congress saying, quote, quietly and intelligently Mr. Lerenzen provided reliable fiscal information especially when facts and figures were the last thing wishful thinkers in Washington or the government wanted to face. The committee for a responsible federal budget where Ed served as senior advisor said, quote, he was a brilliant budget mind. His guidance and expertise is a void that cannot be filled, unquote."


Senator Schumer: (10:38 a.m)

  • Spoke on tonight's State of the Union Address.
    • "The president will be eager to defend the accomplishments of his nascent administration and take credit for a healthy American economy, pointing to low employment, job growth, and a soaring stock market. But the truth is these trends were present before Donald Trump took office. President Trump was handed an already healthy economy by his predecessor. Like many things in his life, he inherited the healthy economy. Here are two words we won't hear President Trump say tonight about the economy - thanks, Obama - because much of the growth in 2017 was created by President Obama's policies and by many measures the growth under President Obama was better than under President Trump."


Senator Gardner: (11:00 a.m)

  • Spoke in tribute to Deputy Heath Gumm.
    • "He grew up in a family of first responders. His father is a retired west metro fire protection engineer. His teachers and classmates that knew heath as a student in Denver at high school were not shocked to learn he had decided to become a law enforcement officer. As reported by "The Denver Post," Heath's ninth grade English teacher said by all accounts, he lived his life as a grown man as he did as a kid. He was a good guy. That didn't change. That only got more accentuated as he grew up. He lifted his friends. He made his friends the best version of themselves, and he did that to them as well. And Heath's cousin remembered him as the kind of man you wanted out there protecting our streets. He was kind, fair, funny, and friendly to everyone."


Opening Remarks

Jan 30 2018

Today -

  • 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 for 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 McConnell: (10:04 a.m)

  • Spoke on tonight's State of the Union Address.
    • "We'll vote to confirm another excellent judge later today and the president rose to the occasion of a Supreme Court vacancy by filling it with an experienced jurist in Justice Gorsuch. On all of these fronts from America's pocketbooks to the ongoing fight begins ISIL there is more good news than I can begin to recite. I look forward to the State of the union tonight and hearing from our president. On behalf of all the Americans we represent, men and women from coast to coast, who are seeing the economy turn around and their country grow stronger before their eyes, I'm glad there will be so much to applaud."