Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018

Tomorrow -

  • 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 #994, Lynn A. Johnson, of Colorado, to be an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • Note: on Tuesday, August 21, cloture was filed on Shelby Amendment #3695 to H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • Note: on Tuesday, August 21, cloture was filed on H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #994, Lynn A. Johnson, of Colorado, to be an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #910, Richard Clarida, of Connecticut, to be Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #911, Richard Clarida, of Connecticut, to be a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #783, Joseph H. Hunt, of Maryland, to be an Assistant Attorney General.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #720, Isabel Marie Keenan Patelunas, of Pennsylvania, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #633, Terry Fitzgerald Moorer, of Alabama, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Alabama.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #635, R. Stan Baker, of Georgia, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Georgia.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #636, Charles Barnes Goodwin, of Oklahoma, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Oklahoma.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #674, Barry W. Ashe, of Louisiana, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #676, James R. Sweeney II, of Indiana, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Indiana.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #692, Susan Paradise Baxter, of Pennsylvania, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #693, Marilyn Jean Horan, of Pennsylvania, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #731, William F. Jung, of Florida, to be United States District Judge for the Middle District of Florida.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #779, Dominic Lanza, of Arizona, to be United States District Judge for the District of Arizona.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #782, Charles J. Williams of Iowa, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Iowa.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #838, Robert R. Summerhays, of Louisiana, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana.
  • Note: on Wednesday, August 22, cloture was filed on Executive Calendar #893, Alan D. Albright, of Texas, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Texas.

 

Senator Casey: (6:09 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "In other words, if you're not on the list of 25 chosen by those groups, or at least certainly ratified by those groups, you cannot be nominated to the Supreme Court. But tonight I'm here to talk about a different set of questions. One is more specific and one is broader. Both are important. I'll deal with the broader question at some length, but I'll raise the more specific question first. And that's the question of a particular aspect of the judge's record."

Grassley, Gardner, Lankford, Warren, Whitehouse

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Aug 22 2018

Senator Grassley: (4:45 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the murder of Mollie Tibbetts.
    • "There, Mollie spent her summers taking classes and working at a day camp with the Grenell Regional Medical Center where she men toward children. It's no surprise that when Mollie went missing then, over 200 people showed up for a vigil in her honor. While we mourn the loss of Mollie Tibbetts, it is the duty of this senator and every other senator to act to prevent further tragedies like this one from devastating family and an entire community. We now know that Mollie was murdered by a 24-year-old undocumented immigrant who's been in the United States illegally for four to seven years."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Now, if I can, madam president, I want to continue to speak, but on another subject. Over the last - past day several of my colleagues issued statements calling for Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing to be delayed. A lot of these colleagues have written me personal letters calling for Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing to be delayed. Some of them have written me very personal letters about cover-ups or hiding or handling documents in ways that they perceive to be different from what other committee chairmen have done."

 

Senator Gardner: (5:10 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "As our force evolves and changes, cyber-command will be a vital stakeholder in our defense. There is the administration's concept of a free and open Indo-Pacific by fully funding our facilities in the U.S. pacific commands with partner nations. I'm pleased the bill includes funds to support activities with the Pacific island nations. These nations are at risk of falling under more and more clines influence and it is important for the United States to have an active leadership role. Countering China's rise represents a great challenge for U.S. national security, but it is a challenge we must rise to meet."

 

Senator Lankford: (5:34 p.m.)

  • Spoke on election interference.
    • "These same nation states are also pursuing independent hackers, not necessarily working for their government at all, just individual hackers that are willing to be hired out to be able to do whatever these nation states want them to do or to be able to hack in and get information and then sell that information to a nation state that might be interested in it. Election security is not a partisan issue. It is a democracy issue and we should take the security of our next election seriously just like we take the security of our infrastructure seriously, our banking system seriously, our power and electrical grid, our water, those are areas that need to be secured."

 

Senator Warren: (5:42 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "Mr. President, I want to thank Senator Whitehouse for his unwavering commitment to elevating the urgent need for all of us to take action on climate change. Since 2012, Senator Whitehouse has given over 200 speeches on climate change. Faithfully, passionately, intellectually warning us of what is to come if we don't get our act together. So thank you, Senator Whitehouse. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you in the fight to save this Earth. This is on us, on all of us. The facts are in. The science is irrefutable. Climate change is real. It's real and it's happening every single day all around us. It's not made up. It's not a Chinese hoax. It is the most existential threat our word has ever known and we're not doing enough to stop it."

 

Senator Whitehouse: (5:49 p.m.)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "That's the Economics 101 answer. The problem is that fossil fuel behemoths are desperate to duck the costs of their pollution. They want to protect this massive market failure. Why do you suppose they are the biggest special interest political force in the world? To do that work? Lack over in the house where just recently - look over in the House where just recently an army of fossil fuel lobbyists and front groups pushed through an industry-scripted resolution declaring falsely that pricing carbon would be bad for the American economy. All but eight House Republicans voted the way the industry instructed."

Tillis, Wyden, Portman, Brown

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Aug 22 2018

Senator Tillis: (2:38 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Andrew Brunson.
    • "I'm talking about a Presbyterian minister from North Carolina who has been in Turkey for the better part of two years - he's been in Turkey for the better part of 20 years, and he was a missionary that entire time. He created a church in Ishmir and has lived there peacefully and lawfully for two decades. In October of 2016, after the coup attempt, an illegal coup attempt and the people responsible for it should actually have to answer to the Turkish justice system, swept Pastor Brunson and thousands of other people into the Turkish justice system and he's been in prison since 2016. He was in prison for nearly 19 months before he was ever charged with anything, and in fact he lost 50 pounds over the course of about a year."

 

Senator Wyden: (2:57 p.m.)

  • Spoke on healthcare reform.
    • "And there is no clearer example of the administration trying to take the country back on health care than its efforts to give a green light to junk health insurance. Junk health insurance represents all of the unsavory insurance industry tricks and abuses that the affordable care act sought to eliminate. Junk plans exist literally and figuratively so companies can prey on people, so if you have diabetes and prey on the less fortunate. They certainly don't exist to cover the health care that Americans actually need because that's where they always fall short. Mr. President, the centerpiece of the affordable care act was an ironclad loophole-free guarantee that no American would ever face discrimination over a preexisting condition."

 

Senator Portman: (2:57 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "The Supreme Court is going to be faced with a lot of tough issue, and this needs to be a serious consideration. I'm pleased that we are taking it seriously. And some have said boy, this is going too fast. I will just tell you the amount of time between when he was nominated and when his hearing will be which I think is scheduled now for the week of September 4, that is more time than elapsed during the previous few Supreme Court nominations. So Justice Kagan, Justice Sotomayor, Justice Neil Gorsuch I talked a moment ago, so there has been adequate time relative to other confirmations."

 

Senator Brown: (4:35 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the First Amendment.
    • "It's shameful that journalists have to defend their First Amendment rights, our First Amendment rights, our nation's first amendment rights just so -- just so they can do their jobs. As these community papers show us, nothing could be further from the truth. That's why I want to highlight yet another story by an Ohio paper informing the public reported by a journalist serving her community. "City Beat" in Cincinnati describes itself as having been, quote, a voice in greater Cincinnati for a quarter of a century, publishing a print edition weekly, producing regular content throughout the week online, to try to help keep you informed of what's happening in your city."

Leahy, Daines, Alexander, Durbin

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Aug 22 2018

Senator Leahy: (1:56 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "If what they are saying is true and what he is pleading guilty to is confident, President Trump - in violation of federal law in order to keep the affairs hidden for the American people at a most critical time, days before the election. And further, last night the lawyer for Mr. Cohen claimed that his client also has information relevant to whether president trump had advance knowledge that even - and even supported the hacking of democratic electronic files. We know he gave a speech at one time said that they should hack. That crime which you know was committed at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin serves as a basis for special down Mueller's investigation. Yesterday, within minutes of Mr. Cohen entering his guilty plea, a jury found another person guilty of bank charges."

 

Senator Daines: (2:05 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "In particular, we are providing additional funding for new cyber units within the National Guard that will be available to the states under title 32 authority. I worked with my colleagues here in the senate to secure these additional funds because I believe the National Guard will play an increasingly important role in defending our nation against government-backed cyberattacks from nations like China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. These nations target critical civilian networks like schools, hospitals, private businesses where the military's authority is limited. Only the National Guard has the unique ability to provide assistance on request by a state's governor."

 

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

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "Mr. President, boy scouts shouldn't get a merit badge for telling the truth, and United States senators shouldn't get an award for passing appropriations bills. That's what we're expected to do. That's what we're here for. That's our most basic responsibility. But I think it is worth noticing, especially since the distinguished vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee is still on the floor, that this is the largest number of appropriations bills passed before August since the year 2000. We have already done that, the seven bills. And if we're successful this week, as I expect we will be, in passing the third package of appropriations bills, we will have passed in the Senate annual appropriations bills that account for nearly 90% of the discretionary federal government spending."

 

Senator Durbin: (2:24 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "PHRMA is hard to beat. PHRMA is hard to beat. And when we talk about the increasing cost of Medicare and the cost of health care across America, blue cross blue shield tells me it is the driver that's the increase in health care costs. Blue Cross Blue Shield in Illinois told me that they spend more money on prescription drugs each year than they spend on inpatient hospital care. Think about that. More money than inpatient hospital care. And so if we're going to do something about it we ought to do the basics. And the basics would be disclosing to the American people how much these drugs cost. Well, you haven't heard the last of me when it comes to this amendment."

Cruz, Reed, Nelson, Heinrich

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Aug 22 2018

Senator Cruz: (12:44 p.m.)

  • Spoke on Hurricane Harvey.
    • "Madam President, I rise today to recognize the first anniversary of Hurricane Harvey's destruction along the Texas gulf coast. This Saturday marks one year since the most destructive storm in Texas history made landfall. Hurricane Harvey is now considered the second most costly hurricane in U.S. history. Second only to Hurricane Katrina. But, more importantly, more tragically, hurricane Harvey took many, many precious lives."

 

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

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "This organization, the CFPB with their service members' office, has all the authority it needs and the obligation to protect the men and women who protect us. So their website says that it has helped return hundreds of millions of dollars in the pockets of service members affected by harmful practice. The CFPB through the office of service member affairs has returned hundreds of millions of dollars to men and women in uniform who were being victimized by unscrupulous operators and we're going to stop that? We're going to walk away from success?"

 

Senator Nelson: (1:06 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "And before we update it in law, we need to get the consumer finance protection bureau to act and to protect the consumer. The law says that creditors, and I quote, may not impose an interest rate higher than 36%, and it says that specifically on service members. There's no ambiguity there. So the CFPB ought to enforce that law until we update it with this new one. And then when you have to force the member of the military to have to be concerned and harassed and take away from his duties and to file a complaint with the CFPB, it just ignores the law and what is there to protect the very people that we want to protect."

 

Senator Heinrich: (1:18 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Before they broke the rules requiring 60 votes ensured both parties would have a real seat at the table and that mainstream nominees would be nominated and confirmed with the advice and consent of the Senate. Now we have been told that we must accept the resulting new normal of a politicized and completely partisan selection process to fill any new vacancy on the court. Well, I for one refuse to legitimize this broken process. Under these broken rules, the minority party even in as closely divided a senate as we currently have today has effectively zero ability to say wait, to say hold up, to say there is something about this nominee that is too extreme or too disqualifying for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. That is not democratic."

Burr, Murkowski, Donnelly, Wicker

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Aug 22 2018

Senator Burr: (12:06 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "There's one change that I'm offering today, and that's the ability for LWCF to be reviewed every three years for all future congresses, if they believe it is warranted, and it does so by including a joint resolution of disapproval every three years in perpetuity. Meaning an individual from this body can come to the floor, and with the appropriate votes for disapproval, can eliminate the automatic reauthorization. This is a permanent authorization of LWCF, but every three years the Senate as a body can vote to disapprove the automatic reauthorization and, in fact, they would essentially bring an end to the program. Now, the provision gives congress a chance to take another look at the program every couple of years, which seems to be in line with what a number of my colleagues currently want, given the short period options that I've been offered in the past few years."

 

Senator Murkowski: (12:23 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "And the provisions, the language that he has utilized in this proposed bill is language that we had included for the most part in our bill, with the addition of what he has suggested with the opportunity every three years to revisit this. So it takes the good core of a bill that has already passed, kind of stood the test of fire, if you will, there. But I think it is important to note that with that energy bill, that LWCF piece was part of a negotiated package that did include other components. I think we would still like to see those other components moving through. I'm certainly committed to working to advance them and have told the senator from North Carolina that that is my intention."

 

Senator Donnelly: (12:27 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "In some communities and states like my home state of Indiana with a long history of commercial and industrial manufacturing the potential for exposure to hazardous contamination is a reality that must be constantly monitored and carefully managed. For that reason, I'd like to talk about why our work on this appropriations bill that would fund agencies including the Departments of Labor as well as Health and Human Services, is so important. Last week the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, also known as ATSDR, held a community meeting in east Chicago, Indiana, to discuss the ongoing impacts of lead exposure in particular neighborhoods built over an old United States Steel lead smelter."

 

Senator Wicker: (12:34 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Yesterday the distinguished minority leader of the United States Senate came to the floor and suggested Republicans and Judge Kavanaugh are hiding something. This raises the question, Madam President, how much can you hide about a distinguished judge who's been issuing opinions for 12 straight years on the circuit court of appeals? How much can you hide about that person's legal philosophy? Now, in the past my friend Senator Schumer has asserted the best way to evaluate judicial nominees was to review their judicial record. Perhaps he should follow that advice this year, 2018, in our approach to Judge Kavanaugh."

Leahy, Murphy, Boozman

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Aug 22 2018

Senator Leahy: (11:27 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Supreme Court vacancy.
    • "We're now less than two weeks away from judge Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing before the senate judiciary committee. Two weeks away and the committee has received only 6% of its total white house records according to the national archives. This is virtually unprecedented. 6% of his records and not a single one of the records we've received has been provided by the national archives. That's because the archives will not complete its review of the limited number of records requested by chairman Grassley until October, a month after the majority leader intends to hold a final vote on judge Kavanaugh. Actually, every single record that we have received in the judiciary committee to date was hand-selected by a political lawyer representing President George W. Bush."

 

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

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "What we now know is that the targeting of civilians inside Yemen is getting worse, not better. The new information that I spoke of is something I think that is on the minds of many of my colleagues, information that last week the Saudi-U.S. Coalition hit a school bus in northern Yemen intentionally. The Saudis' initial reaction was that it was a legitimate military target. There's no way a school bus is a legitimate military target. That school bus was carrying dozens of children, dozens of children that are now dead because of a 500-pound bomb made in the United States and sold to the coalition. And over the course of this year, the targeting inside Yemen has gotten more catastrophic and more catastrophic."

 

Senator Boozman: (12:00 p.m.)

  • Spoke on tribute to Purple Heart recipients.
    • "I've also been working on new ways to honor and acknowledge the men and women who put themselves in harm's way in defense of our nation. In July, Senator Schatz and I introduced the Purple Heart and disabled veterans equal access act of 2018 to expand commissary eligibility to purple heart recipients and other deserving groups of veterans. I'm pleased that the recently passed national defense authorization act included this language that opens access to Purple Heart recipients. Additionally, last year congress passed the forever G.I. Bill. At the beginning of August, several provisions took effect, including the eligibility for post-9/11 Purple Heart recipients to receive full education for up to - benefits for up to three years. An estimated 1.8 million purple hearts have been awarded in our nation's history. It is symbolic of the price or men and women serve in uniform are willing to pay and the debt of gratitude we owe them for their selfless service."

Schumer, Collins, Cornyn

The minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 6157)

Aug 22 2018

Senator Schumer: (10:50 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Supreme Court Vacancy.
    • "I know that chairman Grassley and leader Mcconnell hold all the cards in terms of scheduling hearings, but the plain facts of the case should compel them to the same conclusion I have reached, the judiciary committee should postpone judge Kavanaugh's hearings. At this moment in our nation's history the senate should not confirm a man to the bench who believes that presidents are virtually beyond accountability, even in criminal cases. A man who believes that presidents are virtually above the law and only congress can check a president's power. Over the past year, despite numerous abuses of presidential authority, despite numerous encroachments on the separation of powers, despite numerous attacks on the rule of law, this Republican congress has done almost nothing, nothing, to check this president."
  • Spoke on Michael Cohen's recent plea deal.
    • "Already there have been four guilty pleas or verdicts, dozens of indictments. The idea of calling special counsel Mueller's investigation a witch hunt was already absurd and laughable, becomes even more so today. Second, the president should not even consider pardoning, - consider pardoning Mr. Manafort or Cohen at any point in the future. To do so would be the most flaying ant abuse of party power and a clear obstruction of justice. The Rosenstein Mueller investigation must be permitted to complete its work and the president must resist the impulse to interfere with pardons, or anything other that prevents the work of the justice department from going forward."

 

Senator Collins: (11:01 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "The bill will provide a $60 million increase for the national institute for diabetes and digestive kidney disorders at N.I.H. As the N.I.H.'s lead agency for diabetes research, this continued investment is critical to preventing diabetes, improving the lives of more than 30 million Americans, including 12 million seniors already living with the disease, as well as providing the foundation to ultimately discover a cure for type one diabetes. This bill provides $3.7 billion in the fight against the opioid epidemic that is gripping our country. Sadly, in my state of Maine, the crisis has actually worsened with drug-related overdoses claiming the lives of 407 people in Maine last year, according to the new statistics from the centers for disease prevention and control."

 

Senator Cornyn: (11:18 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "The army chose Austin because it wanted to be close to a hub of innovation which Austin certainly is these days. It has roughly 6,500 high-tech companies nestled among who is affection Natalie referred to as the silicon hills. We have the Silicon Valley and we have the silicon hills. There are major academic institutions nearby like Texas State, St. Andrews and Texas A&M with thousands of students graduating each year in stem fields, science, technology, engineering and math. It's also worth noting Austin has become a hub for start-up culture and is ground zero when it comes to youthful talent, technological ingenuity and ideas that are changing industries of what are normal - institutions of what are normal ways of doing things in the past. What sometimes people refer to as disruption, certainly we've seen that but Austin, let's not forget, is also a military city."

McConnell

Opening Remarks

Aug 22 2018

Today -

  • The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m.
  • Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • The Senate will recess from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Note: the following amendment is pending to H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill: Shelby Amendment #3695.
  • Note: the following amendment is pending to Shelby Amendment #3695 to H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill: McConnell Amendment #3699.
  • Note: on Tuesday, August 21, cloture was filed on Shelby Amendment #3695 to H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill.
  • Note: on Tuesday, August 21, cloture was filed on H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations bill.

 

Senator McConnell: (10:03 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Republican economic policy.
    • "As Senator Capito explained in a recent op-ed, this shows that Republican policies are helping the entire state write a new chapter. Senator Capito said that in Wheeling, West Virginia, a company is creating a new line of products thanks to the new flexibility brought about by tax reform. In Wellsburg, they are buying new machinery. And in Jane Lou, Cause Enterprises is hiring up to 30 new workers. It is really amazing when you think that only one of West Virginia's senators voted for the tax policies that made this necessary. In recent months, promising economic numbers are only the beginning. Tax reform will also help strengthen our economic foundation for the long term."
  • Spoke on the minibus appropriations bill.
    • "Just under $100 million to integrate ex-offenders back into productive society. These are just a few of the important items that our appropriation for labor, health and human services, and education will fund. It will invest in college affordability through Pell grants, federal study work programs and programs aimed at low-income and first generation students. It contains a $2 billion funding increase for the National Institutes of Health paving the way for new medical breakthroughs."