Continued Work on Nominees and Disaster Supplemental Funding in Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the need for disaster assistance as well as the need to confirm more of the president’s well-qualified nominees:

“This week the Senate will continue to promptly and reasonably consider a number of well-qualified nominees for important positions. Several weeks ago, we put an end to two years of unprecedented, systematic partisan obstruction that had kept abundantly qualified nominees on the sidelines for no substantive reason. The Senate took a modest but important step to turn back toward the institutional traditions that had shaped our work in nominations throughout history. We put in place a reform to speed up the post-cloture floor time that we spend debating lower-level nominations -- or, in many cases, I should say, supposedly debating them.

“Since then, we’ve been able to fill several important roles in the executive branch, along with vacant seats on the federal bench, at a more reasonable pace. In many cases, these unobjectionable candidates have received the overwhelming bipartisan support they deserve -- 90-8, 90-8, 95-3. And over the next few days, four more will receive consideration and votes here on the floor. We’ll begin by processing the first of two more well-qualified nominees to our nation’s district courts -- Michael J. Truncale, of Texas, to serve as U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas.

“Mr. Truncale is a graduate of Lamar University, the University of North Texas, and the Southern Methodist University School of Law. Over more than three decades of private practice, he has amassed a distinguished record in both litigation and appellate law. In addition to his practice, Mr. Truncale has served on the Board of Regents for the Texas State University System, and the Texas Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board in the Texas Comptroller’s office. His nomination has earned a well-qualified rating from the American Bar Association, and has now twice been favorably reported by our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee.

“So I hope each of my colleagues will join me and add Mr. Truncale’s nomination to the growing list of uncontroversial nominees passed in an orderly, bipartisan fashion. Following consideration of the Truncale nomination, we’ll vote on Kenneth Lee’s nomination to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Wendy Vitter’s nomination to serve as U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Then, we’ll consider the nomination of Brian Bulatao of Texas to serve as Under Secretary of State for Management. This is effectively the COO job at the Department of State, responsible for such critical things as embassy security. His nomination was first submitted to the Senate in June of 2018. Nearly a year ago.

“And following these four individuals, the Senate will also consider this week the nomination of Jeffrey Rosen to serve as our next Deputy Attorney General. Mr. Rosen is a graduate of Northwestern University and Harvard Law School. He built a strong record in private practice as a litigator before entering public service in 2003. Prior to his current position as Deputy Secretary of Transportation, he has served as general counsel at the Department of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget, and as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. The American people deserve that their Department of Justice be fully staffed, fully operational, and fully committed to upholding our nation’s laws. So I hope that each of my colleagues will review this impressive nominee and then vote to confirm him this week.

“And of course, as we continue our efforts in the personnel business, work is also ongoing to reach an agreement for providing supplemental relief funding to communities hit hard by natural disasters. Last year’s deadly hurricane season that swept away thousands of homes across the Southeast and left hundreds of thousands more without power. The recent spate of tornadoes that killed 23 and injured dozens more in Alabama and Georgia. And the devastating floods that created more than a billion dollars in damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure across the midwest this spring.

“Bipartisan efforts are ongoing to provide aid to cover those in need -- from our territories to those who suffered through West Coast wildfires and East Coast hurricanes. Disaster assistance should not be a partisan issue – it’s been over half a year since many of these disasters hit. Our country is in need. So I am grateful to Chairman Shelby and our colleagues on the Appropriations Committee for continuing to push toward a bipartisan solution that addresses these most urgent needs. I would urge Democrats and Republicans, in the House as well as the Senate, to identify our common ground and produce an outcome for the American people.”