March 12, 2015 - Issue: Vol. 161, No. 42 — Daily Edition114th Congress (2015 - 2016) - 1st Session
EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 42
(Senate - March 12, 2015)
Text available as:
Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.
[Pages S1471-S1474] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] EXECUTIVE SESSION ______ NOMINATION OF CHRISTOPHER A. HART TO BE CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD ______ NOMINATION OF THO DINH-ZARR TO BE A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD 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 legislative clerk read the nominations of Christopher A. Hart, of Colorado, to be Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board for a term of two years; and Tho Dinh-Zarr, of Texas, to be a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board for the remainder of the term expiring December 31, 2018. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 30 minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form. Who yields time? Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum, and I ask unanimous consent that the time be divided equally. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk will call the roll. The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I want to speak on a number of issues. I rise in support of the nominations of Christopher Hart to be chairman and Bella Dinh-Zarr to be a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board. The National Transportation Safety Board helps keep all of us safe. When a terrible crash happens, we watch on television or read about the crash and wonder what happened. But it is the National Transportation Safety Board that steps in. During those first moments, they get in, preserve evidence, sift through the debris, and then figure out what went wrong. They play a difficult role. They must put aside all differences between jurisdictions, politics, and partisanship to get the job done. In the last month alone, the board has launched investigations into a ship collision in Texas, a plane veering off the runway in New York, two terrible and fatal train crashes in New York and California, and a tragic incident in DC where smoke filled one of the Metro tunnels and resulted in a passenger dying. They are also helping with an oil train derailment in West Virginia and one in Illinois that sparked fires and an evacuation. Their work plays a critical role in guiding our decisions about safety and their recommendations have influenced safety improvements. They have played a role in everything from drunk driving and seatbelt laws to the amount of rest that pilots and truck drivers should get, and they are also helping to shape the safety requirements of travel in the future. In October of last year, a test flight for commercial space flight ended in tragedy when an experimental spacecraft broke apart in midflight over the desert in California. The National Transportation Safety Board stepped in to investigate the tragic accident. They are still conducting the investigation, and the results are going to help us better address the future safety of commercial space flight to and from the edge of space, which is what that spacecraft was designed to do. This is why it is so critical that we select people with technical knowledge and human compassion to put the pieces of these tragedies back together. We have two great nominees. Christopher Hart is a dedicated public servant with an extensive career in transportation safety. He has served as Vice Chairman of the NTSB for 5 years; and since April 2014, he has served as the Acting Chairman of that agency. Like Mr. Hart, Dr. Bella Dinh-Zarr has a distinguished career in transportation safety. She currently serves as the director of the FIA Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting safe and sustainable transportation. Previously, Dr. Dinh-Zarr worked in various safety capacities with the Make Roads Safe campaign, the American Automobile Association, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They are both good leaders, and I ask the Senate to join me in supporting their nominations. Takata Airbags Mr. President, I wish to provide the Senate with an update on what every Senator has had their attention called to--the Takata airbag recall. We have seen five deaths. We have seen a spate of serious injuries related to these defective airbags. One of the deaths occurred in my home State of Florida. Through my position of working with Chairman John Thune of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, I have been pushing Takata and the automakers to speed up fixes for these defective airbags. People are driving around with a lethal bomb in their steering wheel. If it is defective and it goes off, they are filled with shrapnel. That has killed five people. It is documented in this country that it has killed five people. Nobody ought to be driving, therefore, a car for months when, in fact, they have a known defect that can seriously kill them. Well, it is just not acceptable, and the progress has been painfully slow. We received a letter from NHTSA noting that only 2 million of the vehicles recently recalled--2 million of 17 million--are all that have been repaired as of the end of last year. That letter notes that Takata has continued to stonewall NHTSA's request for documents related to the defect. It is now being fined $14,000 a day until they start cooperating fully. They have also failed to produce a number of critical documents that the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has requested as part of its investigation into this mess. Earlier today, Senator Thune and I sent a letter to Takata again requesting that they turn over these documents to the committee as soon as possible so that we can complete our investigation into how this mess happened and, very importantly, how we can get people's cars fixed so they are not driving around with this bomb about to explode in their steering wheel. Safety can't wait. Bob Levinson Mr. President, sadly, this week is the eighth year that Bob Levinson, a retired FBI agent who disappeared on a tourist island in Iran called Kish Island, has not been seen or heard from. He has a wife and seven children. A couple of years ago, the family received a video. A few months after that, they received a photo. In these extensive discussions with Iran over matters of war and peace as to whether Iran is going to be willing to step down and not have a nuclear weapon, one of the discussion items also is not only the three known Americans in captivity in Iran but Bob Levinson, who has been missing for 8 years. Only the Iranian Government can produce the evidence of what has happened to Bob and where he is, and we continue that vigil. I yield the floor. Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, later today, the Senate will vote on two nominees who are critical to ensuring the safety of our Nation's transportation network: Christopher Hart, to be Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, also known as the NTSB, and Bella Dinh-Zarr to be a member of the Board. Mr. Hart has a distinguished career in aviation safety and has served with distinction as acting chair in recent months. Dr. Dinh-Zarr has a distinguished career in auto safety and will bring an important perspective and background to the board. Right now, the NTSB only has three members, with one--Mr. Hart-- serving as Acting Chairman. Today's vote will add another member and ensure Mr. Hart is Chairman in an official capacity. It is imperative that we have a strong, long-term team at the helm. As a member of the Commerce Committee, I know there is much important work ahead for the agency. The NTSB is charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States as well as [[Page S1472]] significant accidents in the other modes of transportation--railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline--and issuing safety recommendations to agencies and others in the transportation industry aimed at preventing future accidents. It is not a regulatory or oversight agency; rather, it has a unique task--investigating safety issues and accidents and then making recommendations on how we can save lives. It is independent, and this ensures that agencies that regulate and oversee safety aren't investigating themselves when and if there are potential lapses in their oversight. The NTSB's work is critical--and it has been very busy recently-- especially in my region. Last month, we saw a horrific collision at a railway crossing just outside of New York City on our commuter railroad, Metro-North. The tragic incident killed six, including a resident of Danbury, CT. The NTSB is investigating that crash, and its finding will help us so we don't have to witness similar disasters again. Having a full board helps this important work move forward. This recent investigation comes after the NTSB dedicated tremendous resources and hours into investigating other horrific incidents on Metro-North in 2013 and 2014. At one point, all of the NTSB's rail investigators worked on that one investigation, which resulted in a substantial report last November. The NTSB's conclusions in that report have been a guidepost for reform. At the same time, the NTSB has been busy investigating other major incidents such as rail-grade crossings elsewhere in our country, like in southern California, derailments of trains carrying crude oil, like in West Virginia, plane crashes, major highway disasters, and significant transit incidents. The NTSB is also evaluating other issues, such as the safety of passenger vehicle tires, distracted driving, substance abuse in the transportation sector, and ensuring procedural compliance by transportation providers. It is a long and extensive list of projects. We need these nominees in their posts immediately so they can keep these investigations moving forward and bolster the NTSB's critical work. And I note that here in Congress, we need to do our part as well to advance the NTSB's efforts and findings, which include ensuring railroads install positive train control, or PTC, which was first urged by NTSB after a rail collision in 1969 in Darien; requiring advanced technology like cameras in trains; requiring railroads to have redundant signal protection, which, had it been in place, would have saved the life of one of my constituents; requiring better fatigue management in all modes of transportation; improving the crashworthiness of passenger rail cars; and ensuring labor has a voice in safety investigations, among many key reforms. Thankfully, we have before us today two supremely qualified nominees who will help us advance these key initiatives and make our transportation network safer, more secure, and more reliable. Again, I urge my colleagues to support them. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip. Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 10 minutes. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Human Trafficking Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, all week we have been on an important piece of legislation on the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. Just to remind everybody, this is a bill to treat child prostitutes not as criminals but as the victims they are--obviously, beneath the age of consent--and to recognize that the criminal organizations that traffic in human flesh for sale, economic, sex, and other reasons, are a real problem in our society. So much of what happens in this trade is really nothing more or nothing less than modern-day slavery--something we thought was relegated to the history books and didn't exist in the United States of America, the freest country in the world. We got here through a rather strange set of circumstances, because the legislation that I introduced was broadly bipartisan--which is a novelty these days. We had 10 Democratic cosponsors of the legislation. Then, when we had a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee--Chairman Grassley kindly called up that bill in February--we had a unanimous vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee. All Republicans and all Democrats voted for it. Then we had another unusual development. Majority Leader McConnell was left wondering: Am I going to have to go through procedural steps to get the bill to the floor? The minority, our Democratic friends, said, I think, fairly: This is not a controversial piece of legislation. We are going to agree to get on the legislation. But then something very strange happened. All of a sudden, some of our Democratic friends, including the Democratic leader, said: We are going to filibuster this legislation. You can imagine my surprise after that bipartisan record of cooperation leading up to that point. I was even more surprised when the stated reason for that was a provision in the bill, which was as plain as the nose on your face, and it actually was a provision of the law that was voted on unanimously by all of our Democratic friends late last year. So it is a provision that has been the law of the land for 39 years, which they reaffirmed with their vote just late last year. This is what one of the 200 groups--law enforcement and victims groups--had to say about this discovery this week of this appropriations provision known as the Hyde amendment. It said: ``Senate Democrats are choosing a phantom problem over real victims.'' So I wish to take a minute to think about who is actually paying the price for the political games that are going on in the Senate. Who is bearing the consequences? Is it going to be the Republican Party or the Democratic Party in the next election? That seems to be the rage in Washington, DC. People want to talk about the politics. But here we have children, typically between the age of 12 and 14, mainly girls, who are trafficked for sex and who have nowhere to turn. Our bill gives them an opportunity to begin to heal by penalizing the very people who demand this sex trade, taking that money and diverting it into services for the victims. Reflecting on what has happened this week and thinking that surely we can all get together on something as bipartisan as combatting human sex trafficking for children, surely we can finally come together, all join hands together and support this important legislation, I had to reflect: Why in the world would they ever want to come to the Senate if they are not going to try to help make the lives of these victims of human trafficking just a little better? I mean, we are all used to the hardball of elections and politics. We get it. We are all volunteers. We are grownup men and women. But these children shouldn't have to pay the price for the political games that are going on in the Senate. And it is not only this legislation. I think it really speaks to: Why in the world would anybody want to serve in a body where all we are doing is filling space and throwing obstacles to the passage of bipartisan legislation that is going to help some of the vulnerable people in our society? If this is our legacy, I just have to say: Shame on us. Shame on those who would put partisan political games and phantom problems ahead of the welfare of these child victims of human trafficking. Is this the legacy that any Member of the Senate, Republican or Democratic, would want to be known by? Yes, they served in the Senate, the greatest deliberative body in the world. But do you know what they are remembered for? For stopping help for child victims of human trafficking. That is their legacy. Does anyone want that? I don't think so. Why in the world would we squander a perfectly good opportunity to do everything we can? This isn't a panacea. This isn't going to all of a sudden wipe out the issue of human trafficking in America, but it is a small first step to dedicate $30 million in a crime victims compensation fund--paid for by the very people who purchased these services and who are convicted and pay fines. This is a first step to take that $30 million and to divert it to help the victims of this sordid crime to begin to heal. [[Page S1473]] So I ask our colleagues to reconsider, to reflect on why they are here--just to play partisan games, or are they actually here to do some good? Is this what they want to be known by? Is this how you want to be remembered by your children and grandchildren? Is this how you want to be remembered in our history books? And why in the world would you come to the Senate only to squander the opportunity to do something good for the most vulnerable people in our country by blocking this legislation over a provision of law which has been the law of the land for 39 years and which all of our Democratic friends have repeatedly voted for time and time again, as recently as late last year in the Omnibus appropriations bill? This is a phantom problem, and they are choosing a phantom problem over real victims. It is beyond belief and I think deeply depressing. But there is an opportunity for our colleagues to rise above this partisanship they have displayed and to do the right thing. One would think the 10 people who have been cosponsors of the legislation would be for advancing this legislation, as well as all the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republicans and Democrats alike. One would think that since they have already voted for this provision, they would do so again and let us consider it, along with an open amendment process. In the end, this isn't hurting us or other Senators. This isn't just poisoning the well here in Washington, DC, making it harder and harder for us to get things done; this isn't just poisoning our reputation in the eyes of the people we represent around the country who look to Washington and see nothing but dysfunction; it is squandering an opportunity to help vulnerable children who are the victims of this sordid sex trafficking. I hope my colleagues will reconsider and allow us to proceed. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader. unanimous consent request--S. 178 Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act will go a long way to fight the scourge of modern-day human slavery. It was introduced back in January by a Republican, Senator Cornyn, and a Democrat, Senator Klobuchar. As is done with all legislation, it was posted on the Internet for everyone to read. Not long after, 14 female senators on the Democrat side joined their female counterparts on the Republican side to call for a Judiciary Committee hearing on the matter. Chairman Grassley is committed to fighting human trafficking. So not only did he hold the hearing they requested, he promptly scheduled a markup on legislation to combat modern human slavery, including the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. That markup was conducted in an open and transparent way. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act was debated and amended in committee. For example, the senior senator from Connecticut offered an amendment to this bipartisan bill on behalf of himself and the junior senator from Illinois. That amendment was approved. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act was reported unanimously to the floor. Every single Democrat on the Judiciary Committee voted for it. Every single one. Soon after, the junior Senator from North Dakota called on me to take up this bill, which I was happy to do. The Democratic Majority did not bring this bill to the floor in the last Congress, and I was determined to try to do something about the terrible problem of human trafficking. Just a few days ago, every single Democrat consented to the Senate taking up this bipartisan bill. The Democrat Leader even committed to work to clear any problems that would arise on his side of the aisle, although he said he doubted that any would. Well, no sooner had these words been uttered, then our Democrat colleagues began complaining about a provision that was sitting on page four of the bill. This provision was in there when this bipartisan bill was introduced. It was in there when the committee held a hearing on it. It was in there when the committee marked it up--at which point every single Democrat voted for it. And it was in there when every Democrat in the Senate agreed to proceed to it on the floor. But now they are complaining about it and even threatening to filibuster this critical human rights bill over it. Now, I understand threatening to filibuster a bill that you oppose. But our colleagues are threatening to filibuster a bipartisan bill that they have co-sponsored, voted for, or in some cases, done both. We have been reasonable throughout this process. Consistent with that approach, I suggest we resolve this bizarre issue the way the Senate has traditionally done. I will be proposing a consent agreement where our friends on the other side of the aisle will get to offer a motion to strike a provision that so many Democrats voted to support in the past. As part of my offer, I would further propose that such an amendment be the first amendment in order, and that it be decided as a simple up-or-down vote. That is as fair as one can be. An up-or-down vote at a simple majority threshold. Not only is that the regular order way to resolve this issue, it is also the way that leading antitrafficking groups have said we should resolve this issue. For example, an official from the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women said, ``Senate Democrats are choosing a phantom problem over real victims.'' She said Senate Democrats should offer an amendment to strip out the provision if they don't like it. And then she said, ``Win or lose and move on.'' I think that is good advice, Mr. President. That is precisely what I am going to suggest. And I hope my Democratic colleagues will take ``yes'' for an answer. Mr. President, the Senator from Texas, who has been a leader on this issue and is the craftsman of this bill--as has Senator Grassley, the chairman of the committee--has laid out how we got to where we are. It is sort of a mind-boggling, twisted path that makes almost no sense even to the casual observer. The dilemma seems to be that our Democratic friends, having read and signed off on this bill all along the way, have suddenly discovered a piece of it they do not like. Well, of course, the way to eliminate a piece you don't like would be to vote on it. So I am going to offer a unanimous consent agreement that would give our friends on the other side an opportunity for an up-or-down, simple majority vote on the provision they have recently discovered, after reading the bill for 2 months, that they find offensive. I will give them an opportunity with a simple majority vote to strike the provision which they find objectionable and which Senator Cornyn has pointed out has been part of the law for 39 years. In that regard, I ask unanimous consent that when the Senate resumes consideration of S. 178, that it be in order for Senator Leahy or his designee to offer an amendment to strike the limitations language; that there be up to 1 hour of debate on the amendment equally divided between the managers or their designees; and that following the use or yielding back of the time, the Senate vote on the amendment; further, that following disposition of this amendment, the managers or their designees be allowed to offer amendments in an alternating fashion. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Hoeven). Is there objection? Mr. REID. Reserving the right to object. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader. Mr. REID. Mr. President, my friend the senior Senator from Texas could write a book on how the Senate has been dysfunctional. That chapter, which would become a huge part of what he would be writing about, would be on what has happened in the last 6 years. Talk about dysfunction. The Republicans have basically filibustered everything, and I mean everything--everything. The decision was made after Obama was elected that they weren't going to support anything, and to your credit, I say to the Presiding Officer and all Republicans, you stuck with it. You supported nothing Obama wanted to get done. So let's not talk about the dysfunction of the Senate because the book on that has been written by the Republican minority for the last 6 years. Mr. President, the legislation dealing with human trafficking is going to pass this Congress, but it is going to pass this Congress without abortion language in it. [[Page S1474]] There has been a lot of talk in the last couple of days about how to handle this issue, and the way to handle the issue is very simple: Just take it out of the bill. It could be done with a consent agreement in the matter of a second or two. So that is what we proposed, and we have been proposing it for the last several days. Take the abortion language out of this bill. If my Republican colleagues want to get something done, just take the abortion politics out of this bill. Unfortunately, for those who want to see this trafficking bill pass, Republicans are ignoring the obvious path forward while setting a new low standard on all bipartisan business that is conducted in the Senate. By saying that Democrats should always assume their Republican partners are just not being forthright, I guess it is our fault because time and time again, whether it is on the funding of Homeland Security or whether it is trying to solve a problem we have in the Middle East, there is always something that comes out of nowhere--something so unusual, so unbelievable that we would have 47 Senators sign a letter directed to the Ayatollah. Never in the 200 years of this body has there been this level of interference in negotiations by the President until just a few days ago. The bottom line is this: Democratic Senators have been working in good faith on this critical legislation for years. Assuming their Republican partners were being forthright when they provided a list of changes that did not include the addition of the Hyde language, Republicans are now saying that trusting them was a mistake. There is a clear path forward to passing this trafficking bill, which is the goal shared, I hope, by Democrats and Republicans. Republicans should work with us to remove the unrelated abortion language that has no business being in this bill. Democrats are open to any number of ways to improve the language in this bill, but it is so simple: Just take it out. Take the abortion language out. Today, Senator Leahy, a senior Member of this body, submitted text that omits the abortion language. One way forward would be for the Senate to adopt, not simply vote on, this text. Voting to reject the change Democrats are seeking, as Senator McConnell says he wants to do today, is not a viable path forward since it does not address Democrats' concern that abortion language has no place in a bill designed to protect victims of human trafficking. This trafficking bill could pass quickly if the abortion language were removed, as I said. We hope Republicans will do the right thing in the interest of passing this bill and will work with us to remove the completely unrelated abortion language that has no business being in this bill. I, therefore, object. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard. The majority leader. Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I want to make sure everybody understands what has been objected to. The provision that was in the bill has been in there for 2 months. Everybody had a chance to read it. It came out of committee unanimously. No one objected to proceeding to it on the floor. I just offered the minority an opportunity for a simple up-or-down vote to strike the provision they recently discovered, and they have objected to it. Senator Cornyn, Senator Grassley, and a number of others of you have worked very hard on this extremely important legislation. I brought it to the floor the other day, open for amendment, but we have not been able to offer any amendments because the minority doesn't want to have an open amendment process and is insisting on trying to kill this important bill because of a provision they claim somehow they missed. After its being in there for 2 months, they now suddenly find it offensive. So where we are is we are still on the bill, and we are going to pass this bill, I assure you. I want to assure Senators Cornyn, Grassley, and all the people out in America who have been clamoring for this bill--and I might ask Senator Cornyn, how many groups are there that are supporting this measure? The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas. Mr. CORNYN. If I could respond, Mr. President, there are about 200 different law enforcement and victims' rights organizations, including the one from the chart I mentioned earlier, the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women. This is one of those rare subjects where people have genuinely come together in revulsion to this terrible crime but also in an attempt to do something meaningful to address it. Mr. McCONNELL. So what I want to say to those groups is that we are going to stay on this bill until we pass it. I have offered the minority an opportunity to have an up-or-down vote to take out the provision they have suddenly discovered is offensive to them even after having it in the bill for 2 months. Even the most casual observer would have to conclude that the minority is going to great lengths to prevent the Senate from even doing business on things that are overwhelmingly supported. But I will say this to everybody out there who cares about this bill: We are going to stay on it until we finish it. I yield the floor. Vote on Hart Nomination The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination of Christopher A. Hart, of Colorado, to be Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board for a term of two years? Mr. INHOFE. 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 bill clerk called the roll. Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator from Florida (Mr. Rubio). Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from California (Mrs. Boxer) and the Senator from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) are necessarily absent. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote? The result was announced--yeas 97, nays 0, as follows: [Rollcall Vote No. 70 Ex.] YEAS--97 Alexander Ayotte Baldwin Barrasso Bennet Blumenthal Blunt Booker Boozman Brown Burr Cantwell Capito Cardin Carper Casey Cassidy Coats Cochran Collins Coons Corker Cornyn Cotton Crapo Cruz Daines Donnelly Durbin Enzi Ernst Feinstein Fischer Flake Franken Gardner Gillibrand Graham Grassley Hatch Heinrich Heitkamp Heller Hirono Hoeven Inhofe Isakson Johnson Kaine King Kirk Klobuchar Lankford Leahy Lee Manchin Markey McCain McCaskill McConnell Menendez Merkley Mikulski Moran Murkowski Murphy Murray Nelson Paul Perdue Peters Portman Reed Reid Risch Roberts Rounds Sasse Schatz Schumer Scott Sessions Shaheen Shelby Stabenow Sullivan Tester Thune Tillis Toomey Udall Vitter Warner Warren Whitehouse Wicker Wyden NOT VOTING--3 Boxer Rubio Sanders The nomination was confirmed. Vote on Dinh-Zarr Nomination The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination of Tho Dinh-Zarr, of Texas, to be a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board for the remainder of the term expiring December 31, 2018? 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 actions. ____________________