EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 96
(Senate - June 19, 2014)

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[Pages S3843-S3845]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                           EXECUTIVE SESSION

                                 ______
                                 

NOMINATION OF GUSTAVO VELASQUEZ AGUILAR TO BE AN ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF 
                     HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

                                 ______
                                 

 NOMINATION OF BRIAN A. NICHOLS, A CAREER MEMBER OF THE SENIOR FOREIGN 
 SERVICE, CLASS OF MINISTER-COUNSELOR, TO BE AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY 
AND PLENIPOTENTIARY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO THE REPUBLIC OF 
                                  PERU

                                 ______
                                 

 NOMINATION OF J. MARK McWATTERS TO BE A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL CREDIT 
                       UNION ADMINISTRATION BOARD

                                 ______
                                 

NOMINATION OF CHRISTINE E. WORMUTH TO BE UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR 
                                 POLICY

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations, 
which the clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read the nominations of Gustavo Velasquez Aguilar, of 
the District of Columbia, to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and 
Urban Development; Brian A. Nichols, of Rhode Island, a Career Member 
of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be 
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of 
America to the Republic of Peru; J. Mark McWatters, of Texas, to be a 
Member of the National Credit Union Administration Board; and Christine 
E. Wormuth, of Virginia, to be Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.


                       Vote on Aguilar Nomination

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is, Will the Senate advise and 
consent to the nomination of Gustavo Velasquez Aguilar, of the District 
of Columbia, to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban 
Development?
  Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from West Virginia (Mr. 
Rockefeller) and the Senator from Hawaii (Mr. Schatz) are necessarily 
absent.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from North Carolina (Mr. Burr), the Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. 
Coburn), the Senator from Mississippi (Mr. Cochran), the Senator from 
Nebraska (Mr. Johanns), the Senator from Kansas (Mr. Moran), and the 
Senator from South Dakota (Mr. Thune).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Donnelly). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 54, nays 38, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 201 Ex.]

                                YEAS--54

     Baldwin
     Begich
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Booker
     Boxer
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Coons
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Hagan
     Harkin
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Heller
     Hirono
     Johnson (SD)
     Kaine
     King
     Klobuchar
     Landrieu
     Leahy
     Levin
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCaskill
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Pryor
     Reed
     Reid
     Sanders
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Walsh
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                                NAYS--38

     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Chambliss
     Coats
     Collins
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Enzi
     Fischer
     Flake
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson (WI)
     Kirk
     Lee
     McCain
     McConnell
     Murkowski
     Paul
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rubio
     Scott
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Toomey
     Vitter
     Wicker

                             NOT VOTING--8

     Burr
     Coburn
     Cochran
     Johanns
     Moran
     Rockefeller
     Schatz
     Thune
  The nomination was confirmed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.


         Unanimous Consent Request--Calendar No. 428, H.R. 4660

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that postcloture 
time on the motion to proceed be considered expired; that the Senate 
proceed to vote on adoption of the motion to proceed; that if the 
motion is agreed to, Senator Mikulski or her designee be recognized to 
offer substitute amendment No. 3244, which consists of the text of S. 
2437, Calendar No. 411, division A; the text of S. 2438, Calendar No. 
412, as division B; and the text of S. 2389, Calendar No. 390, as 
division C; provided further that for the consideration of division B, 
H.R. 4745, Calendar No. 430, and for the consideration of division C, 
H.R. 4800, as reported by the House Committee on Appropriations, be 
deemed House-passed text in H.R. 4660 for purposes of rule XVI; 
further, that the substitute amendment offered by Senator Mikulski or 
her designee be considered a committee amendment for the purposes of 
paragraph 1 of rule XVI; further, all amendments or motions to commit 
be subject to a 60-vote threshold.
  Mr. President, before the Presiding Officer calls for approval of 
this consent, let me say a few words so everyone understands all of the 
procedural stuff.

[[Page S3844]]

  It is a fairly simple matter. We have waited all week to get a simple 
agreement to move forward on appropriations bills the way we have 
always done. If it had been just one appropriations bill we wouldn't 
need consent. We put three of them together, and that was the right 
thing to do. But it seems to me we spent all week doing, so much of the 
time, nothing. Sadly, I am sorry this is the norm around here. For 
every single matter, even wildly popular matters such as an 
appropriations bill, it requires the full play of the cloture rule to 
advance. This has been so even though on Tuesday, when cloture was 
invoked on proceeding, 95 Senators voted to get on the bill, only 3 
voted against it.
  Senators on both sides said they want to have amendments, and we 
should have amendment votes. I am willing to have amendment votes on 
this and other things. Let's talk about this today.
  I want to have votes on the conditions that Senator McConnell has so 
frequently stated, a 60-vote threshold. The idea of a 60-vote threshold 
will not come as a surprise to anyone in this Chamber, I don't think, 
because I wish to take a minute outlining direct quotes from my friend 
the Republican leader.
  No. 1: Now, look, we know that on controversial matters in the 
Senate, it has for quite some time required 60 votes.
  No. 2: Requiring 60 votes, particularly on matters of importance, is 
not at all unusual. It is the way the Senate operates.
  No. 3: Matters of this level of controversy require 60 votes, so I 
will ask my friend [referring to me] if he would modify his consent 
request to set the threshold for this vote at 60.
  Again he said: For him to suggest that a matter of this magnitude in 
a body of 60 votes for almost everything is going to be done with 51 
votes makes no sense at all.
  And he said: So it is not at all unusual that the President's 
proposal of this consequence would have to achieve 60 votes. That is 
the way virtually all business is done in the Senate, certainly not 
extraordinarily unusual.
  Finally he said, quite recently: Mr. President, I can only quote my 
good friend [again referring to me] who repeatedly has said--most 
recently that in the Senate, as has been the case, we need 60 votes. It 
requires 60 votes, certainly on measures that are controversial.
  So let's make this pretty simple. We are going to have the ability to 
offer germane amendments, and we will follow the McConnell rule and 
will have 60 votes on them. It seems fair.
  That is my consent request, and I would ask that it be approved.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to the request?
  The Republican leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Reserving the right to object, what I think I hear the 
majority leader saying is that any amendment offered by any Republican 
is controversial and thus must require 60 votes.
  It was my hope we could get forward on this appropriations bill with 
a full and open amendment process and a reasonable number of amendments 
from both sides.
  The only restrictions on amendments to this bill are those in the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, which create a requirement that the 
amendments deal with an appropriations matter or, if legislative in 
nature, have a defense of germaneness to one of the underlying House 
appropriations bills.
  Chairman Mikulski has been determined to try to get us back to 
regular order in considering appropriations bills.
  In 2011, just a couple of years ago, we considered this same 
appropriations package--the very one we are considering now under the 
regular order--and all Senators, Democrat and Republican, were treated 
fairly--just 3 years ago.
  Today's Senate is a totally different place. The majority leader has 
blocked all but nine rollcall votes on Republican amendments since July 
of last year. That is about a year ago.
  By contrast, during that same period, House Democrats got 153 
amendments, rollcall votes, over that same period of time. That is in 
the House where you would think it would be hard for the minority to 
get amendments.
  In fact, one Member of Congress, Sheila Jackson Lee from Houston, has 
had 15 amendments herself. Sheila Jackson Lee has had more votes over 
the past year than Senate Republicans. In fact, the House seems to have 
turned into the Senate and the Senate seems to have turned into the 
House.
  The gag rule, as was pointed out by Senator Alexander and others this 
morning in an appropriations meeting, seems to now apply to committee 
meetings as well. So not only do we not get votes on the floor, we 
don't get votes in committee either.
  They cancelled the scheduled markup on the Energy and Water bill, I 
assume out of concern that some Republican amendment might, my 
goodness, actually pass with Democratic support. So we are being shut 
out of amendments in committee as well as on the floor.
  When do we start legislating again? What has happened to the Senate?
  Therefore, I would ask unanimous consent that the proposed agreement 
by the majority leader be modified so that all amendments be considered 
under the regular order, Chairman Mikulski and Ranking Member Shelby, 
and move this bill across the floor in a bipartisan manner exactly as 
we did it on the very same bill back in 2011.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Does the majority leader so modify his 
request?
  Mr. REID. Reserving the right to object, my friend the Republican 
leader is obviously not in contact with what is going on around here. 
This doesn't apply to Republican amendments, it applies to Republican 
or Democratic amendments--as all of his requests, which are in the 
record and I read.
  A reasonable number of amendments he wants. Fine. That is what we 
want too. We want to have a reasonable number of amendments on this 
bill and move it forward. It is important we get this done.

  I have served in the House of Representatives--not without going into 
a lot of detail here, as the Presiding Officer has served in the House 
of Representatives. The rules there are totally different. Of course, 
there are a lot of votes because every vote is predetermined in the 
House, with rare exception, because the Rules Committee sets the 
boundaries of what happens. So over in the House the majority never 
loses.
  Here the Senate is the way it is. We are willing to do votes as the 
Republican leader has stated time and time again we should do it. I 
disagree, but as he has said, this is the way the Senate operates now. 
I wish it didn't, but it does and that is the way we should proceed.
  I am willing to move forward on this bill. We should have a 60-vote 
threshold, and I think that would be the appropriate thing to do.
  Therefore, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Is there objection to the original request?
  Mr. McCONNELL. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. REID. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum 
call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The 
Republican leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. My friend the majority leader always reminds me he 
gets the last word, and I am sure he will have something to say 
further, but let me briefly say that during this same period, going 
back to last July, Senate Democrats have only had seven rollcall votes. 
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, in the minority in the House, has had 
15 rollcall votes over the last year.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. REID. The House is different than the Senate. There is no 
question about that. We could have on this bill a lot more than seven 
votes, so we should do that.
  Would the Chair state the business that is before this body?


                       Vote on Nichols Nomination

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is, 
Will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination of Brian A. 
Nichols, of

[[Page S3845]]

Rhode Island, a career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of 
Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 
of the United States of America to the Republic of Peru?
  The nomination was confirmed.


                      Vote on McWatters Nomination

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is, 
Will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination of J. Mark 
McWatters, of Texas, to be a Member of the National Credit Union 
Administration Board for a term expiring August 2, 2019?
  The nomination was confirmed.


                       Vote on Wormuth Nomination

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is, 
Will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination of Christine E. 
Wormuth, of Virginia, to be Under Secretary of Defense for Policy?
  The nomination was confirmed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the motions to 
reconsider are considered made and laid upon the table, and the 
President will be immediately notified of the Senate's action.


                            Vote Explanation

  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, today, due to tornados and severe storms in 
South Dakota, which resulted in significant damage to homes and 
businesses in my State, I was traveling back to South Dakota to survey 
the damage and meet with local leaders coordinating response efforts 
during the scheduled vote. Had I been present for today's vote on the 
confirmation of Executive Calendar No. 770, Gustavo Velasquez Aguilar, 
of the District of Columbia, to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing 
and Urban Devopment, I would have voted nay.

                          ____________________