Tuesday, July 29, 2014

8:51 p.m. The Senate adjourned until 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, July 30th. At 10:45 a.m. there will be a vote on the motion to invoke cloture on S. 2568. If cloture is not invoked there will be a vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 2648.

During wrap-up the following legislation was passed without objection:

  • S. 2577 Requiring the Secretary of State to Offer Rewards Totalling Up to $5 Million for Information on the Kidnapping and Murder of Naftali  Franco, a Dual US-Israeli Citizen
  • H. Con. Res. 103 – Use of Capitol Grounds for DC Special Olympics  Law Enforcement Torch Run
  • H. Con. Res. 106 – Use of Emancipation Hall in the Visitor’s Center
  • S. Res. 527 -Congratulating Member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity
  • S. Res. 528 – Commemorating the 125th Anniversary of North Dakota’s Statehood
  • S. Res. 521 – Designating July 26th, 2014 as U.S. Intelligence  Professionals Day
  • H.R. 4028 – To Amend the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998

S. 2685  had its first reading (To Inform Authorities of Federal Government to Require Production of Certain Business Records)


8:05 p.m. Senator Grassley spoke on the misstreatment of David Chung by the DEA and freedom of speech.

7:47 p.m. Senator Carper spoke on the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill and immigration.

7:31 p.m. Senator Merkely spoke on medicare and Senators Flake and Heller spoke on the Patriot Act.

7:19 p.m. S. Res. 526 (Israel’s Right to Defend Itself Against Hamas) passed without objection. Senator Reid the spoke on the resolution.

7:17 p.m. H. Con. Res. 108 (Concurrent Resolution Providing for the Correction of the Enrollment of H.R. 5021) was passed without objection.

6:59 p.m. The Senate did not agree to the following amendments:

  • Lee #3584 (Transportation Empowerment Act, S. 1702) by a vote of 28-69
  • Toomey #3585 (exemptions for damaged roads /bridges) by a vote of 47-50

6:05 p.m. The Senate adopted the following amendments to The Highway and Transportation Funding Act:

  • Wyden-Hatch #3582 (Finance Comm. Bill, sub) by a vote of 71-26
  • Carper-Corker-Boxer #3583 (date change & exception of pension smoothing provisions) by a vote of 66-31

5:16 p.m. The following Senators spoke on The Highway and Transportation Funding Act: Boxer, Murphy, Carper, King, Flake, and Wyden.

5:15 p.m. Senator Mikulski proposed a unanimous consent  agreement to consideration of H.R. 4486, MilCon/VA Approps.  Senator Shelby offered a counter unanimous consent agreement.  Neither was agreed to.

4:30 p.m. At 3:20 Senate began consideration of H.R. 5021, The Highway and Transportation Act.  The following Senators offered Amendments and spoke on the underlying bill:

Wyden/Hatch Amend #3582 – the text of the Finance Committee reported Highway bill
Carper/Corker Amend # 3583 – date change exception of pension smoothing provisions
Toomey Amend #3585 – exemptions for damaged road and bridge reconstruction
Lee Amend #3584 – text of Transportation Empowerment Act (S. 1702).
Senator Boxer spoke in opposition of the Lee Amend #3834.

3:15 p.m. By a vote of 97-0, the  Senate confirmed the nomination of McDonald to be Secy of VA.  Confirmed on voice votes: Andre to be Ambassador of Mauritania; Hoza to be Ambassador of Cameroon and Polaschik to be Ambassador of Algeria.

12: 35 p.m.  The Senate recessed for weekly caucus luncheons until 2:15. A vote on McDonald (Secy of VA) will occur at 2:45.

12:30 p.m.. The Senate turned to the nomination of Robert McDonald as VA Secretary.  Senator Sanders, Brown, Isakson, Vitter and Moran spoke in favor of his nomination.

11:42 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Senators spoke about the USA Freedom Act, which relates to the question of what information should be gathered about Americans, and how it should be collected.  Senators Leahy, Lee and Franken spoke.

11:45 a.m. Senator Leahy spoke about the question of when and how the U.S. government should gather information about its citizens in the context of a proposed renewal of FISA.

11:28 a.m. Senator Durbin spoke about immigration, the Central American young people at the border and the emergency appropriations measure.

11:09 a.m. Senator Mikulski also spoke about her plan to bring up the VA-MilCon approps bill for a third reading, meaning not subject to amendments, sometime this week.  She touched on the McDonald nomination and the VA bill as well.

10:25 – 11:45 A series of Senators spoke about Iron Dome.  The speakers included: Senator Graham, Senator Ayotte, Senator Thune, Senator Cruz, Senator Mikulski and Senator Durbin.

10:14 a.m. Senator McConnell spoke about the Veterans bill, the nominee for the Veterans Administration, Robert McDonald and began a series of speeches about Iron Dome, a plan to defend Israel.

10:00 a.m. Senator Reid opened the Senate and made a motion to proceed to S 2648, an Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill through September 30, 2014. with provisions for the border.  Then he spoke about the Veterans bill.

The Senate convened at 10:00am and is in a period of morning business until 12:00noon.

At 12:00pm, begin consideration of the nomination of Robert Alan McDonald, to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs, until 12:30, when the Senate is expected to recess for the weekly party luncheons, until 2:15pm.  When the Senate returns at 2:15pm, debate will continue on the McDonald nomination until 2:45pm, when a roll call vote on the nomination is expected.

Following this vote, proceed to expected voice votes on confirmation of the following nominations:

  1. Larry Andre to be Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
  2. Michael Hoza to be Ambassador to the Republic of Cameroon.
  3. Joan Polaschik, to be Ambassador to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.


Following the votes, will resume Legislative Session and proceed to the consideration of H.R.5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act; with votes expected Tuesday evening.

The following amendments will be the only amendments in order to the bill:

    • Wyden-Hatch amendment #3582, the text of which is the Finance Committee-reported bill.
    • Carper-Corker-Boxer amendment #3583, which includes a date change and Finance Committee-reported financing bill, with the exception of pension smoothing provisions)
    • Lee amendment #3584, the text of which is the Transportation Empowerment Act (S. 1702)
    • Toomey amendment #3585, relative to exemptions for damaged road and bridge reconstruction.
  • There will be one hour for debate on each of the above amendment.  Further, there will be one hour for debate on H.R. 5021.
  • Upon the use or yielding back of time, the Senate will proceed to vote in relation to the above amendments, in the order listed, with no second-degree amendments or motions to commit being in order prior to the votes.
  • Each amendment will be subject to an affirmative 60-vote threshold.
  • Upon disposition of the above amendments, the Senate will proceed to a roll call vote on passage of H.R. 5021, as amended, if amended.  Subject to an affirmative 60-vote threshold.