Governors are sent by Him to punish the evildoers and praise the virtuous (1 Peter 2:14).

Congressional Record2017/8/2Senate | House | Extensions

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[Pages S4717-S4718]
From the Congressional Record Online through GPO

                           EXECUTIVE SESSION


                     EXECUTIVE CALENDAR--Continued

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 from us.

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 Board.

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 conditions.

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 efforts.

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 nomination?

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 (Mr. McCain).

The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lee). Are there any other Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote? [[Page S4718]]

The result was announced--yeas 50, nays 48, as follows: [Rollcall Vote No. 184 Ex.] YEAS--50 Alexander Barrasso Blunt Boozman Capito Cassidy Cochran Collins Corker Cornyn Cotton Crapo Cruz Daines Enzi Ernst Fischer Flake Gardner Graham Grassley Hatch Heller Hoeven Inhofe Isakson Johnson Kennedy Lankford Lee McConnell Moran Murkowski Paul Perdue Portman Risch Roberts Rounds Rubio Sasse Scott Shelby Strange Sullivan Thune Tillis Toomey Wicker Young NAYS--48 Baldwin Bennet Blumenthal Booker Brown Cantwell Cardin Carper Casey Coons Cortez Masto Donnelly Duckworth Durbin Feinstein Franken Gillibrand Harris Hassan Heinrich Heitkamp Hirono Kaine King Klobuchar Leahy Manchin Markey McCaskill Menendez Merkley Murphy Murray Nelson Peters Reed Sanders Schatz Schumer Shaheen Stabenow Tester Udall Van Hollen Warner Warren Whitehouse Wyden NOT VOTING--2 Burr McCain

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. ____________________

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