From the Congressional Record Online through GPO
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will
resume executive session.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, for months the American people have been
gripped by the sideshow surrounding President Trump. It seems like
every day another shoe drops on the Russia investigation, another White
House staffer is fired, and President Trump tweets something that
upends the government and causes our allies to move even further away
Despite all of this commotion, all of the drama, and all of the
disorganization, there is one thing that Trump and the Republicans in
Congress have carried out since day one with complete precision. They
have carried out a comprehensive all-out assault on American workers.
Day by day, week by week, month by month, President Trump and
congressional Republicans have acted to undermine the safety and
economic security of hardworking Americans.
Just observe what they have done. On December 8, President Trump
nominated Andrew Puzder, who was then CEO of fast food giants Hardee's
and Carl's Jr., to lead the Department of Labor. That is right. His
first major announcement affecting workers was to nominate a man who
made his fortune on the backs of hard-working Americans to the top
position in government charged with protecting American workers.
On February 1, just days after he was inaugurated, President Trump
delayed a rule protecting workers from workplace exposure to a lethal
cancer-causing substance called beryllium. On February 3, President
Trump stood with big bank CEOs to announce an Executive order to make
it easier for investment advisers to cheat hard-working Americans out
of $17 billion a year in retirement savings. On March 1, the Trump
administration delayed the rule protecting workers from lethal cancer-
causing beryllium a second time. On March 6, congressional Republicans
followed the directive of big business lobbyists and voted to make it
easier for government contractors to steal wages from their employees.
On March 16, President Trump released his budget blueprint, proposing
to slash funding for the Labor Department, whose job is to stand for
American workers, by 21 percent. On March 22, congressional Republicans
voted to make it easier for employers to hide injuries and deaths that
their workers suffer on the job. On March 24, the Trump administration
delayed a rule that required mine operators to conduct safety
inspections and tell miners about any hazardous conditions they
discovered before the workers go into the mines. On March 30,
congressional Republicans voted to block cities from offering
retirement accounts to more than 2 million employees who don't have
access to a retirement account at work. On April 4, President Trump
delayed the rule preventing investment advisers from cheating hard-
working Americans out of their retirement savings. This 60-day delay
alone cost Americans an estimated $3.7 billion. On April 6, the Trump
administration delayed a rule protecting construction workers from
deadly silica poisonings. On May 3, Republicans in Congress voted to
keep State governments from offering retirement accounts to employees
who don't have access to accounts at work, yanking access away from 15
million Americans. On May 23, President Trump called for massive budget
cuts to the Department of Labor, including the complete elimination of
workers' safety training programs, programs for older workers, and
funding for workers with disabilities. And on June 23, President Trump
proposed exempting the construction and shipbuilding industries from
the rule to protect workers from lethal cancer-causing beryllium, a
move that could prove fatal to workers in these industries.
That is a pretty despicable record--despicable but consistent.
Workers get slammed over and over. Today, Senator McConnell has brought
us down to the floor to sock it to American workers one more time
before he sends us home for summer recess. Today, we are voting on the
nomination of Marvin Kaplan to serve on the National Labor Relations
Pause here for just a second. The NLRB is probably the most important
independent Federal agency that you have never heard of. They are
responsible for protecting the legal rights of workers to come together
and bargain with their bosses for higher wages and better working
Starting a union is not easy. Large employers fight union organizing
campaigns tooth and nail. They hire armies of union-busting lawyers to
run smear campaigns against the unions or to delay or kill organizing
That is why the NLRB is so very important--to serve as a referee that
ensures employers play by the rules and workers get a chance to
exercise their legal rights. It is the NLRB's job to stand up for
workers--workers like the nearly 4,000 workers at the Nissan plant in
Canton, MS, who, beginning tomorrow, will vote on whether to elect a
union to represent them. That is what the NLRB has traditionally done--
stood up for workers. Just last week, they filed a complaint against
Nissan, alleging that the corporation has violated the law by running a
union-busting drive, warning workers that they would lose wages and
benefits if they took the step of joining a union.
It is also the NLRB's job to do the routine but important work of
overseeing the elections. Just last month, the NLRB conducted a secret
ballot election at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, MA, where
nearly 300 service workers elected to be represented by SEIU 1199.
With a Republican Congress and President determined to deliver the
knockout blow to the middle class, hard-working Americans need an NLRB
that is on their side. President Trump's nominee to the NLRB, Marvin
Kaplan, has no experience practicing labor law, but we actually know
where he stands on protecting workers.
As a Republican House staffer, here is what he has done. He spent
years actively working to strip workers of their right to organize
under the law. He spent years working to overturn rulings by the NLRB
that would protect workers' rights. He worked on the legislation to
delay union elections by at least 35 days, giving employers and their
armies of lawyers and lobbyists more time to fight off organizing
efforts. He worked on legislation to make some workers ineligible to
join unions at their workplaces. He even fought efforts to ensure that
Americans get paid the overtime they deserve.
So after 8 months, the Republicans are about to go on vacation, but
not before they jam the NLRB with a new anti-worker nominee. The
biggest problem in Washington is that this place works great for giant
employers and for giant corporations with armies of lawyers and
lobbyists. But workers and their families just get ignored. President
Trump doesn't seem to have any problem turning his back on millions of
hard-working people, but that is not what we are here for.
I will be voting against Marvin Kaplan, and I urge my colleagues to
do the same.
I yield the floor.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for
the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Under the previous order, all postcloture time is expired.
The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the Kaplan
Mr. TILLIS. 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 senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the
Senator from North Carolina (Mr. Burr) and the Senator from Arizona
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lee). Are there any other Senators in the
Chamber desiring to vote?
The result was announced--yeas 50, nays 48, as follows:
[Rollcall Vote No. 184 Ex.]
The nomination was confirmed.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the motion to
reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the President
will be immediately notified of the Senate's action.