Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly spoke on the floor of the Senate today calling for his colleagues to do their job on delayed nominations that would strengthen the economy and our national security. Donnelly continued his push for the Senate to consider Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, as well as Mark McWatters who has been nominated to the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank and Adam Szubin who is the nominee for Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes.
Donnelly said in part during his speech, “Here in one of the world’s greatest deliberative bodies where we have debated war and peace, civil rights, the right of women to vote, we are now engaged in a debate about whether or not the Senate should carry out one of its most basic constitutional responsibilities. Even more troubling than the refusal of some Senators to even consider a Supreme Court nominee is that this is one in a series of failures over the past year. It’s not an isolated incident. It’s a pattern. “I have said it before, and I will say it again. Most Americans believe Congress can do something to help move our country forward. At the very least, we should do no harm.”
Regarding Mr. McWatters’ nomination, Donnelly said in part, “At time when American companies are struggling to compete in an economy that is often rigged by other countries manipulating their currency, intellectual property theft, insurmountable regulatory barriers, there are a few members of this body who are intent on obstructing this important economic tool by refusing to consider Mr. McWatters’ nomination in order to advance an extreme ideological agenda.” In order to approve certain financing, the Ex-Im Bank requires a quorum of at least three Senate-approved board members. Until McWatters, a Republican, is confirmed, there are only two, and as a result economic activity and job creation are being stifled. The Export-Import Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States that helps American companies, including small businesses, compete in the global economy.
Regarding Mr. Szubin’s nomination, Donnelly said in part, “He has helped shape and enforce U.S. sanctions against our adversaries for nearly decade under both Republican administrations and Democratic administrations. He is recognized as a leading expert on terrorism financing and is widely considered one of our nation’s best tools in taking the financial footing out from under terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaida and countering adversaries like Iran, North Korea, and increasingly Russia.” Szubin’s job is critical to combating financing for groups like al Qaida and ISIS and enforcing sanctions against foreign countries including North Korea and Iran, along with other actors posing a threat to U.S. national security or foreign policy. Today marks one year since Mr. Szubin was nominated for this crucial position.
Today’s speech follows Donnelly repeatedly saying part of Senators’ jobs includes considering, debating, and voting on nominees to the Supreme Court. Last month, Donnelly spoke on the Senate floor, and called on the Senate to do its job when it comes to filling the Supreme Court vacancy. He again talked about the Senate’s duty after meeting with Judge Merrick Garland, who has been nominated for the Supreme Court.
Following Donnelly’s speech, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) made a motion for the Senate to hold a vote on the Szubin nomination. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) objected and the Brown motion was denied.
To watch Senator Donnelly’s speech click here.