CLOTURE MOTION; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 163
(Senate - October 16, 2019)

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[Pages S5814-S5815]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]





                             CLOTURE MOTION

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before 
the Senate the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will state.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

        We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination 
     of Rachel P. Kovner, of New York, to be United States 
     District Judge for the Eastern District of New York.
          Mitch McConnell, John Boozman, John Cornyn, Mike Crapo, 
           Pat Roberts, Mike Rounds, Thom Tillis, Roger F. Wicker, 
           Cindy Hyde-Smith, Kevin Cramer, John Hoeven, Rob 
           Portman, Dan Sullivan, Chuck Grassley, Richard Burr, 
           John Thune, Roy Blunt.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
nomination of Rachel P. Kovner, of New York, to be United States 
District Judge for the Eastern District of New York, shall be brought 
to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
   Mr. THUNE. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Tennessee (Mr. Alexander), the Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. 
Inhofe), the Senator from Georgia (Mr. Isakson), and the Senator from 
Wisconsin (Mr. Johnson).
   Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Tennessee (Mr. 
Alexander) would have voted ``yea'' and the Senator from Wisconsin (Mr. 
Johnson) would have voted ``yea.''
   Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Colorado (Mr. Bennet), 
the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. Booker), the Senator from California 
(Ms. Harris), the Senator from Hawaii (Ms. Hirono), the Senator from 
Minnesota (Ms. Klobuchar), the Senator from Vermont (Mr. Sanders), the 
Senator from Michigan (Ms. Stabenow), and the Senator from 
Massachusetts (Ms. Warren) are necessarily absent.
   The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
   The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 85, nays 3, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 318 Ex.]

                                YEAS--85

      Baldwin
     Barrasso
     Blackburn
     Blumenthal
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Braun
     Brown
     Burr
     Cantwell
     Capito
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Cassidy
     Collins
     Coons
     Cornyn
     Cortez Masto
     Cotton
     Cramer
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Daines
     Duckworth
     Durbin
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Feinstein
     Fischer
     Gardner
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hassan
     Hawley
     Hoeven
     Hyde-Smith
     Jones
     Kaine
     Kennedy
     King
     Lankford
     Leahy
     Lee
     Manchin
     Markey
     McConnell
     McSally
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Paul
     Perdue
     Peters
     Portman
     Reed
     Risch
     Roberts
     Romney
     Rosen
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)
     Shaheen
     Shelby
     Sinema
     Smith
     Sullivan
     Tester
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Udall
     Van Hollen
     Warner
     Whitehouse
     Wicker
     Young

                                 NAYS--3

      Gillibrand
     Heinrich
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--12

      Alexander
     Bennet
     Booker
     Harris
     Hirono
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Klobuchar
     Sanders
     Stabenow
     Warren
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 85, the nays are 3.
  The motion is agreed to.
  The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for 5 
minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                                Pensions

  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I just came from a rally--a meeting--with 
more or less 100 middle-class workers from Wisconsin, West Virginia, my 
State of Ohio, and all over the country. There were teamsters and 
mineworkers dressed in camo shirts. There were also bakery and 
confectionery workers, carpenters, and electricians. They were here 
because many of them--maybe all of them--are about to lose 50 percent 
of their pensions. They are about to lose their pensions because 10 
years ago, in the end days of the Bush administration, which was when 
our economy plummeted and people were losing jobs--800,000 jobs a month 
in the last months of the Bush administration--and when companies were 
going out of business, a lot of the employers of these workers went out 
of business. When you put on top of that the Wall Street greed, you can 
see why these pensions are in jeopardy.
  Too often in this town, the White House, frankly, and my Senate 
colleagues don't understand what collective bargaining is about. 
Collective bargaining is negotiating at the bargaining table the giving 
up of wages today so as to put money aside and have pensions and 
healthcare in the future. That is what these workers did, these 
teamsters and these confection workers and these ironworkers. That is 
what they did, but they are paying a price. There is nothing they did 
to cause this, but they are paying a price.
  Now, parenthetically, this body fell all over itself to bail out Wall 
Street and to help the big auto companies, and look how they are paying 
back their workers. This body, the President--all of them are fine with 
bailing out the big guys. Yet the President has been absent, and the 
Senate Republican leadership has been absent. The exception is that 
Senator Portman has been working with me, as has Senator Hoeven and 
others, but the leadership has been absent with regard to trying to fix 
this pension issue.
  You love your country, and you fight for the people who make it work. 
You fight for the dignity of work, which means honoring and respecting 
work. We have to do better.


                   Unanimous Consent Request--S. 2254

  Mr. President, as in legislative session, I ask unanimous consent 
that the Committee on Finance be discharged from further consideration 
of S. 2254, the Butch Lewis Act; that the Senate proceed to its 
immediate consideration; that the bill be considered read a third time 
and passed; and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and 
laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there an objection?
  The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, in reserving the right to object, I have 
some sympathy for the motion that Senator Brown made because he just 
came from a meeting with people who are very interested in getting this 
multiemployer pension issue straightened out.
  It was 3 or 4 years ago that I spoke to a big delegation of people 
who were mostly from the Central States Teamsters, and they were very 
much lobbying for a solution to this problem. They treated me like a 
hero because at that time we were probably in the middle of a 
Government Accountability Office investigation of the mismanagement of 
these funds. We thought we were going to get a GAO report that would 
show the mismanagement, reap the benefits of that mismanagement, and 
recoup a lot of funds. Quite frankly, that Government Accountability 
Office study of about 2 years didn't prove what I thought and what the 
Central States Teamsters people thought was wrong. We still think the 
mismanagement was there, but if you don't have an authority like the 
Government Accountability Office to justify that, it doesn't give you 
much of a leg to follow up on.
  Now we have the Butch Lewis Act for which Senator Brown is asking 
unanimous consent. We also have other proposals that the Senate 
Committee on Finance, which I chair, has been working on--and not only 
under my chairmanship. The biggest part of this work was probably done 
when Senator Hatch was still the chairman of the committee.
  I also want to give people the reasons I have asked to reserve the 
right to object.
  The Butch Lewis Act doesn't provide long-term solvency to the Central 
States' plan or to other critical and declining multiemployer pension 
plans. It is a costly and incomplete attempt to fix the multiemployer 
system.
  According to the Congressional Budget Office, many plans that would 
be eligible for loans under this legislation couldn't pay these loans 
back, and most of the plans taking the loans

[[Page S5815]]

would become insolvent even if they were able to pay back the loans. 
The bill acknowledges this failing by providing for direct Federal 
assistance for plans that go insolvent even after they receive loans.
  Most critically, the Butch Lewis Act makes no reforms to the system 
in order to secure its long-term solvency. That is not the way we ought 
to be working to help retirees.
  In getting back to the work of the Committee on Finance, since last 
year, both under Senator Hatch's leadership and mine, the committee has 
been working on a bipartisan basis to address the issues facing the 
multiemployer system. I emphasize the necessity of bipartisanship in 
the U.S. Senate. When you have a division of 53 to 47 and you have to 
have 60 votes to get something done in this body, bipartisanship is 
very, very important.
  The committee is nearing its completion of a comprehensive proposal 
that will include financial assistance to the critical and declining 
multiemployer pension plans and provide long-term solvency to these 
plans and to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. That proposal 
will include financial relief for plans like Central States' and for 
the coal miners.
  The Butch Lewis Act is so costly and does nothing to fix the flaws in 
the system that has brought about this bill. In relationship to the 
Government Accountability Office, I spoke to some of those flaws that I 
initiated a few years ago. There is really nothing in the proposal on 
which Senator Brown is asking for a UC that addresses the mismanagement 
of the trustees. Our comprehensive plan includes reforms to address 
trustee requirements and plan operations. In other words, the people in 
the private sector who are managing this ought to have some 
responsibility of making sure they are doing it in a fiscally sound way 
and are carrying out the rights of the trustees.
  So I object to this request.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I thank Senator Grassley, and we will be 
working together on this.
  I just want to point out that there was, of course, some 
mismanagement. As does the Senator, I want to fix some of the 
structural issues, but time is of the essence. I understand this is not 
happening today, but time is of the essence with regard to these 
pensions, especially for the mineworkers. Those for the teamsters are 
next and for the others in the Central States. As Chairman Grassley 
knows, it will get worse and worse and worse if we don't get this done 
this year.
  I do want to emphasize, while there of course is some mismanagement 
of funds here, the preponderance of the problem is that a bunch of 
mining companies, construction companies, and transportation companies 
went out of business with the Bush recession in 2007, 2008, and 2009, 
taking away the companies paying into these funds.
  The other part of it was Wall Street greed, generally what happened 
to the stock market.
  That is the preponderance of the problem, but I concur with Senator 
Grassley that we can work on a lot of this together. Senator Portman 
and I especially have a responsibility to get this done, to make it 
happen.
  I thank the chairman.
  I yield the floor.

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