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tv   Senate Democrats on Leadership Elections  CSPAN  November 14, 2018 7:23pm-7:44pm EST

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between proponents and opponents until 12:15 p.m. and the senate vote in relation to the motion at that time. finally, following the disposition of the motion the senate proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the bowman nomination with all postcloture time on the nomination expiring at 1:45 p.m. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until -- without objection. mr. sullivan: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. >> the senate, passed two year coast guard programs and policy bill. also senator flake tried to bring up a bill to protect special counsel mueller. majority leader mcconnell objected. tomorrow they finish up the nomination of michelle bowman to serve on the federal reserve
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board of governors. when the senate comes back into session, we will have live coverage here on c-span 2. >> the midterm election of 2018 changed the balance of power in congress, with democrats taking control of the house and republicans holding the majority in the senate. members now prepare for the new congress in january. new congress, new leaders, watch the process unfold on c-span. tonight arizona republican senator jeff flake delivers the keynote address at the 74th annual radio and television congressional correspondents dinner. watch live coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. eastern on c-span 2. >> senate democrats and republicans today elected their leaders for the new congress in january. up next, we will hear from senate minority leader chuck schumer and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell.
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[inaudible conversations] >> okay. well, i'm joined by my leadership team -- our leadership team and dick durbin and mark warner also part of it. here's dick durbin and mark warner will be here shortly. first i want to thank all of my colleagues for the support they have shown me, the confidence they have shown me, but we're
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really a team. we have worked together as a team for the last two years, and we'll continue to do that. i love every member of my caucus. i truly do. they're all great people, different views, different backgrounds, but everyone works hard to see other people's points of view and that's why we have been able to come together because of the unity. the unity in our caucus has been our strength and it will continue stronger than ever in the 116th congress. when we stood here two years ago, we faced a daunting electoral map, the worst in decades. and we faced difficult questions about how best to serve the people with such an unconventional president in the white house. two years later, let's take stock. thanks to the unity of our caucus, we beat back republican efforts to repeal healthcare, 30 million people have healthcare because of this caucus.
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and the republican assault on the healthcare system continues. they continue to pursue their destructive lawsuit to eliminate protections for preexisting conditions. costs are made higher and higher. coverage gets diminished every day because of republican sabotage. prescription drugs are out of reach for too many. and the g.o.p. are still out for social security, medicare and medicaid. republicans jammed through a biassed tax bill that rewarded the wealthy and the powerful special interests, but we democrats were unified in opposition. we made it clear day after day after day that the republicans were the party that stands for the rich, and for the wealthy special interests, and we were the party on the side of middle class americans and those struggling to get there. republicans predicted the tax bill would save their party,
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lead to enormous victories in the midterms. turns out, they were afraid to even talk about it. in almost all of their campaigns, they didn't mention it. that's because it was so unpopular. i believe there's a change. for 30 years the powerful wealthy few who have dictated tax policy on the republican side, cut the taxes of the rich and that's a great thing for america, that's over. i think our message, our focus has put a knife through the heart of that argument. you won't see the republicans doing that very much anymore. what it did do, what they did do was explode the deficit. as a result, people saw it as selfish, narrowly focused, dangerous and irresponsible. and so with the senate map widely tilted in republicans favor, we're at worse -- only one seat worse off than we were when we stood here two years
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ago, and if bill nelson wins, which i believe he has a very good chance of doing, we'll be even. when all the votes are counted in florida, we could be just where we started at the beginning of the 115th congress, with 48 members, even facing the worst map that we have ever had. we were defending 10 seats that donald trump won. much to the surprise of the prognosticators who thought we would lose a whole bunch of seats, we didn't. but that's the past. where do senate democrats go from here? we're going to be relentlessly focused on the issues that matter to the people. first and foremost, lower healthcare costs, provide better, stronger coverage, from prescription drugs to premiums. we democrats are going to continue to press our republican colleagues for better, more comprehensive healthcare, rather than send costs skyward and help the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry.
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we democrats believe in a real infrastructure bill, with real direct and robust federal investments that will rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges, expand high speed internet access in rural areas, and put millions -- 10 million americans to work, in good-paying jobs, including fields like clean energy along the way. and we need to clean up washington in a real way. rather than paying lip service to the idea of draining the swamp, which is all republicans have done, they've paid lip service and made it worse, led by president trump, making it worse, we are going to fight hard to clean the swamp. the trump administration is the most ethically challenged in history, from the president to his cabinet and congressional republicans have backed up that swamp all the way. we're going to fight for real reforms to loosen the grip of special interests in washington
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and to let everybody vote. everybody. not stand in the way of people voting, which is a despicable thing for people to do. it is against the well spring of our democracy. we hope our colleagues in the house will have success in passing bills like this. we will be relentless here in the senate, in pressuring senator mcconnell and republicans in the senate to put them on the floor, or pay the consequences. the american people voted for democrats last week, on the strength of our ideas. senate democrats are committed to fighting to make those ideas a reality in this up coming congress. >> with respect to florida, sir, i know yesterday you appeared with mr. nelson, can you share with us some of the conversations you had with him? what are his thoughts on this? >> well, bill nelson is strong as could be. he believes i believe he's won a
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majority of the votes. as long as they are counted, he will continue being senator from florida. president trump and governor scott have just lied. they've said there's fraud when their own republican officials in florida have said there's no fraud. they are trying to shut down the election because they're afraid of the consequences if they don't, in other words, a nelson victory. that's what bill believes. that's what i believe. >> do you feel the deadline should be moved out -- >> every vote should be counted. those deadlines you have to remember were passed after the presidential election of 2000 because of the need to report to the electoral college. we in the senate don't have an electoral college. and every vote ought to count. it is unconstitutional to say every vote should count in rural counties because they can count quickly, but every vote shouldn't count in the more urban and populated counties because it takes them longer to count the vote. >> do you think we could see a partial government shutdown in december? and what might be the big hang
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ups during -- >> the republicans are in charge, and if the government shuts down, it is on their back. now, we want a couple of things. we want to make sure that the acting attorney general does not interfere with the mueller investigation, and we believe our republican colleagues will join us, you will see on the floor later today a bipartisan unanimous consent statement -- unanimous consent request to prevent the acting attorney general, whitaker from interfering. and we believe if president trump stays out of the appropriations process, we can have a good bipartisan agreement, and the government can move smoothly forward. democrats and republicans have agreed on 70% of the budget in a way where each side gave but the government was funded and many of our priorities, veterans, education, infrastructure, opioid, were funded in a robust way. and as long as trump doesn't interfere, we can move the government forward.
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>> are democrats willing to give more than -- [inaudible] -- >> the democrats and republicans came to the 1.6 billion dollars agreement. it is tough security. it is sensors. it is drones. it is roads. it is help at the border in a far more effective way than the wall. we believe democrats and republicans should stick with their agreement and not let president trump interfere. every time he interferes it gets boxed up. >> we enter the time period where a number members of your caucus are considering whether they want to run for president. how does that affect the dynamics in your caucus and your leadership strategy? >> the bottom line is that our caucus is unified. people have reelections coming up. people may want to run for higher office. it's never stood in the way of our unity. every time we have needed unity, every one of the people in this caucus, whether they're running for reelection, running for
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higher office have stood with us. and that will continue. i'm confident. thank you, everybody. [inaudible conversations] a live look at the 74th
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annual radio and television congressional correspondents dinner set to begin any moment now. arizona senator jeff flake will be the keynote speaker tonight. and as we wait for that dinner to begin, we'll hear now from senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. he talked to his republican leadership about the election of the republican leaders following the 2018 midterm election. [inaudible conversation] >> well, hello everyone.
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we just had our leadership elections and i have behind me our new leadership team for next congress. and we're excited about maintaining our majority and growing our majority. we're confident we're going to have 53 republican senators to set the agenda next year, to continue obviously with our top priority, which is the confirmation of lifetime appointments to the judiciary, and, you know, we have divided government often in this country. we've had divided government more often than not, since world war ii. so i will be talking to speaker pelosi and house democrats about what we can do together. there are a lot of things that we do together already that i know are not terribly newsworthy to most of you, but we think it is important for the country, and we'll be looking for ways now that we have divided government again to make some progress for the country. so let me turn it over to our new majority whip john thune.
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>> thank you, leader. it's a great honor to be able to have the opportunity to continue to serve our conference in this position. i look forward to working with our leadership team to address the important issues that the american people want to see us take on. and i will say that as the leader mentioned, we have had divided government in the past, and obviously republicans can work very well. we've demonstrated that i think in the last couple of years, and in fact, we're going to have a bill on the floor that's going to pass -- a big piece of legislation that will pass with a big bipartisan majority. so we look forward to taking on the issues that are important to the american people, and we hope that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle will work with us as well. and i would say with respect to the democrats here in the senate and in the house, that we hope that they will decide that they want to play a constructive role and put up a record of legislative accomplishments rather than spending all their
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time launching investigations, and i hope that that will be the spirit that we see out of the house of representatives, because i foe certainly here in -- because i know certainly here in the united states senate, among our conference and our leadership, we look forward anxiously to working in a constructive and bipartisan way to address the issues that the american people expect us to take on. >> the new chairman of the republican conference and committed to continue to work in a bipartisan way. there's lots that can be done in a bipartisan way, and we have been doing that, water infrastructure bill passed 99 to 1 recently signed by the president. bills on so patients could know the cheapest cost of drugs. that passed in a bipartisan way. in a divided government there is still a lot that can be done and will be done. i want to introduce you to the new vice chairman of the republican conference joni
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ernst. >> thank you very much, john. thank you everybody. it is a great honor for me to join this tremendous leadership team as the republican conference vice chair. i'm looking forward to the opportunity to share our wonderful overwhelming message of prosperity here in the united states, not only with the members of this body but also with our fantastic constituents back home. it is an honor to joining this leadership team, looking forward to working with all of you in the future. thank you very much. >> it's a real opportunity to follow the doctor as the policy chair. i think two points to make. one is that republican policies particularly on the economy are producing great results. and two i expect in the coming year that the senate is the most likely place to talk about those policies, to try to link those policies with what's happening in the country. i look forward to that.
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>> i'm grateful that my colleagues would place such trust in me as their next chairman and i look toward to serving all of them. i also look forward to bringing an indiana voice to the leadership table so we can build on the successes of the last two years. >> grassley is shy, but he's our new president pro [laughter] [applause] >> he didn't want to say anything. i don't understand. [laughter] >> i will take a couple questions. >> the bill to change the sexual harassment rule -- [inaudible] -- are you committed to getting it done? >> yeah, we are. i was talking to senator klobuchar at length last night. she has taken the point on it. i don't know if you want to add anything on it. but we're working on getting that done before the end of the year. yeah? >> -- a partial government
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shutdown in december -- >> [inaudible]. >> in the past you said that you don't think legislation to protect the special counsel is necessary, given what's happened over the past week, has your view changed? >> no. i mean, there's been no indication as you can imagine, i've talked to the president fairly often, no indication that the mueller investigation will not be allowed to finish, and it should be allowed to finish. we know how the president feels about the mueller investigation, but he's never said he wants to shut it down. i've never heard anybody down there say they want to shut it down. i think it is in no danger. so i don't think any legislation is necessary. >> have you committed to bringing criminal justice reform to the floor in the lame duck and what other items are on the lame duck agenda? >> on criminal justice, what i've said to the the proponents is that we will -- first we need a kind of final agreement. there's been a lot of discussion, but we need an actual proposal. then we would take a whip count,
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see where we stand, and then weigh it at that point against the other things that absolutely have to be accomplished. one of which is how we're going to fund the government. the other is a farm bill. and so we don't have a whole lot of time left, but the first step is to finalize what proponents are actually for. there have been a lot of different versions floating around. and then we'll whip it, see where the vote count is, and then see how it stacks up against our other priorities going into here to the end of the session. >> [inaudible]. >> i hope so. yeah. that's -- you know, one thing that almost everybody seems to be interested in, you know what the sticking point is, how do you pay for it? i think i can pretty safely say republicans are not interested in doing a 900 billion dollars stimulus, which we did at the beginning of the obama era. in other words, went out and borrowed 900 billion dollars. we're not interested in doing
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that. so the question is, how are you going to pay for it? that always becomes very challenging because there's no sort of easy way to pay for infrastructure without impacting an awful lot of americans. thanks a lot.


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