Washington, D.C.– Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the significant legislation and nominations the Senate has recently advanced. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:
As I mentioned earlier, negotiations continue making progress. As Speaker McCarthy says, he expects the House will vote next week if an agreement is reached and the Senate would begin consideration after that. Members should be aware and be able to return to the Senate within a 24 hour period to fulfill our responsibilities to avoid default.
But I also want to take a moment to talk about some of the work the Senate has made progress on recently in the last work period.
Over this work period, the Senate confirmed seven district court judges and three new circuit court judges: Bradley Garcia, Anthony Johnstone, and Nancy Abudu, confirmed earlier this afternoon to serve a lifetime appointment on the Eleventh Circuit, which represents Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.
Ms. Abudu’s appointment to the bench is barrier-breaking: she’ll be the first Black woman to preside on the Eleventh Circuit, and her circuit is home to nearly eight million Black Americans. We have a duty to ensure that federal judges are individuals of the highest caliber – and that includes appointing judges from a wide variety of personal and professional backgrounds. Ms. Abudu meets that higher standard and she will serve admirably on the bench. With the confirmation of Ms. Abudu, the Senate has now confirmed 129 judges under President Biden. One hundred twenty nine.
Elsewhere, the Senate passed the bipartisan Fire Grants and Safety Act, so firefighters can better afford life-saving equipment and personnel, particularly in smaller, more rural, and more suburban areas, where the equipment is harder to find and harder to afford.
Senators also reintroduced the SAFE Banking Act, to enable cannabis businesses to access critical banking infrastructure. Just last week, the Banking committee held its first hearing on this legislation. And I will also work to make sure we include critical criminal justice provisions to SAFE Banking.
Last week, the Commerce Committee moved on the bipartisan Railway Safety Act out of committee. I will work with Senators on both sides, including Senators Brown and Vance, two lead sponsors, as well as Senators Casey and Fetterman, also sponsors, to bring the Rail Safety Act to the floor for a vote soon.
I will likewise work with my colleagues on efforts to make prescription drugs more affordable, including insulin. Last week the HELP Committee advanced significant drug reforms, and it is my hope that this process will continue to move forward in a bipartisan manner and will enable us to lower the cost of prescription drugs, particularly insulin.
This work period I joined with colleagues and Committee Chairs to announce the next steps in the Senate’s efforts to outcompete the Chinese government and preserve America’s global leadership in the 21st century. Last week, the Commerce Committee marked up bipartisan legislation on the U.S. semiconductor supply chains, and this week, the Appropriations Committee held a bipartisan hearing on investments to outcompete the Chinese Government. The Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee also marked up several bills on security and competitiveness. Our committees will continue working on various efforts on this issue during the next work period. Outcompeting the Chinese government will be one of the great challenges of our generation and we must be clear eyed and act accordingly.
So, this has been a busy stretch for the Senate on a number of different fronts: more judges, progress with Fire Grants, SAFE Banking, Rail Safety, competing with the Chinese government, prescription drug reform, and a whole host of other important issues.