The Senate Will Convene At 10:00 AM Today
Senate Session - February 2, 2010
Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 09:59:59 AM

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    IN NEXT. ON THE AGENDA TODAY THE NOMINATION OF PATRICIA SMITH AS LABOR…

    IN NEXT. ON THE AGENDA TODAY THE NOMINATION OF PATRICIA SMITH AS LABOR DEPARTMENT SOLICITOR. THE THIRD RANKING POST IN THAT AGENCY. A FINAL VOTE HAS NOT BEEN SCHEDULED BUT COULD BE TODAY. ANOTHER NOMINEE MARTHA JOHNSON COMES UP FOR SENATE CONSIDERATION THIS WEEK TO FILL THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION'S TOP SPOT. THE HOUSE IS WORKING ON NINE BILLS TODAY. THEY COME IN AT 12:30 AND 2:00 PM FOR LEGISLATIVE WORK. ONE BILL WOULD EXTEND THE PILOT PROGRAM FOR VOLUNTEER GROUPS TO OBTAIN CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND CHECKS. ALSO THIS WEEK THE HOUSE TAKES UP CYBERSECURITY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AND INCREASING THE NATIONAL DEBT LIMIT. AND ALL ACROSS CAPITOL HILL BUDGET HEARINGS CONTINUE. SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE HEARING FROM TREASURY SECRETARY GEITHNER RIGHT ABOUT NOW. THAT'S LIVE ON C-SPAN. AND DEFENSE BRIEFING -- DEFENSE BUDGET ON C-SPAN3 AT THIS HOUR. NOW THE U.S. SENATE HERE ON C-SPAN2. KWLOOIR KWLOOIR

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  • 10:01:03 AM

    THE CHAPLAIN

    PRAY. GRACIOUS LORD, WE ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR OWNERSHIP OF ALL THE EARTH AND…

    PRAY. GRACIOUS LORD, WE ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR OWNERSHIP OF ALL THE EARTH AND EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE IN IT. THANK YOU FOR THE EVIDENCES OF YOUR FAVOR IN THE PAST AND FOR YOUR HAND THAT HAS MADE AND PRESERVED US AS A NATION. MAY THE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES KEEP US CONSCIOUS OF OUR DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS. GUIDE OUR LAWMAKERS WITH YOUR SPIRIT. KEEP THEM FROM STUMBLING, AS THEY SEEK TO DO YOUR WILL. EMPOWER THEM IN THEIR WORK WITH A STRENGTH THAT IS NOT THEIR OWN, INFUSING THEM WITH SERENITY TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF AN AGITATED WORLD. LIGHT UP THE CANDLES OF THEIR HEARTS AND HELP THEM SHINE WITH YOUR PEACE AND GOODWILL. WE PRAY IN YOUR GREAT NAME. AMEN.

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  • 10:02:36 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PLEASE JOIN ME IN RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG. I PLEDGE…

    PLEASE JOIN ME IN RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG. I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.

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  • 10:02:55 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL READ A COMMUNICATION TO THE SENATE.

  • 10:02:59 AM

    THE CLERK

    WASHINGTON D.C., FEBRUARY 2, 2010. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF…

    WASHINGTON D.C., FEBRUARY 2, 2010. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, I HEREBY APPOINT THE HONORABLE AL FRANKEN, A SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF MINNESOTA, TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE CHAIR. SIGNED: ROBERT C. BYRD, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE.

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  • 10:03:20 AM

    MR. REID

    FOLLOWING REMARKS OF THE LEADERS THE SENATE WILL BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING…

    FOLLOWING REMARKS OF THE LEADERS THE SENATE WILL BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS FOR AN HOUR WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH. THE FIRST HALF-HOUR WILL BE CONTROLLED BY THE DEMOCRATS. THE SECOND BY THE REPUBLICANS. FOLLOWING MORNING BUSINESS, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO RESUME POST CLOTURE DEBATE ON THE TPHOPBGS OF -- NOMINATION OF PATRICIA SMITH TO BE SOLICITOR FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. THIS IS ANOTHER ONE OF THE ENDLESS DELAYS WE'VE HAD TO GO THROUGH HERE. WE'RE IN A POST CLOTURE, 30 HOURS OF DOING NOTHING. WE'VE HAD SO MANY 30 HOURS OF DOING NOTHING THAT IT'S HARD TO COMPREHEND THE WASTED TIME OF ALL THE STAFF, SENATORS' TIME COULD BE BETTER PUT TO USE, PEOPLE COULD BE DRAFTING LEGISLATION. ON AND ON WITH CONTEMPLATING WHAT COULD BE DONE BUT FOR THIS END HR-TS STALLING WE'VE SEEN -- ENDLESS STALLING WE'VE SEEN. THE SENATE WILL RECESS FOR THE WEEKLY CAUCUS MEETINGS. FOLLOWING THE SMITH NOMINATION THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO VOTE ON MARTHA JOHNSON ON THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION. IT'S DIFFICULT TO COMPREHEND BUT THAT HAS BEEN WITHOUT A LEADER BECAUSE OF WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE STALLS THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE. SO WE HAVE FILED CLOTURE ON THIS. WE'LL NOTIFY SENATORS WHEN THEY -- WHEN VOTES ARE SCHEDULED. WE ARE GOING TO FINISH -- I WOULD LIKE TO FINISH PATRICIA SMITH AT A REASONABLE HOUR TODAY. THAT'S IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING A SIMPLE MAJORITY FOR HER. AND THEN THERE IS A 60-VOTE MARGIN ON CLOTURE ON THE FUTURE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION. AND THEN THERE'S 30 HOURS AFTER THAT, MR. PRESIDENT. SO WE WILL, TOMORROW AS WE DID FOR THE REPUBLICANS WHEN THEY HAD THEIR RETREAT LAST WEDNESDAY, WE WERE NOT IN SESSION. WE DON'T WISH TO BE IN SESSION TOMORROW. WE HAVE THE PRESIDENT COMING TO OUR RETREAT AND A NUMBER OF OTHER SPECIAL GUESTS. BUT IF WE HAVE TO COME IN TOMORROW EITHER BEFORE OR AFTER THE RETREAT, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO THAT TO MEET THE BURDENS OF THIS ENDLESS STALLING THAT'S TAKING PLACE HERE IN THE SENATE. MR. PRESIDENT, WHEN A YOUNG NIGERIAN TERRORIST BOARDED AN AIRPLANE BOUND FOR AMERICA ON CHRISTMAS DAY THERE WAS NO PERMANENT BOSS AT THE T.S.A., THE AGENCY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR AIRPORTS. THIS AGENCY WAS CREATED AFTER 9/11 SPECIFICALLY TO KEEP AIR TRAVEL SAFE. WHEN HE TRIED TO BLOW UP THAT PLANE, THE TOP POSITIONS OF BOTH INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES WITHIN THE STATE DEPARTMENT AND THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WERE EMPTY. WHY? BECAUSE REPUBLICAN SENATORS REFUSE TO LET THIS BODY HOLD A VOTE ON THESE HIGHLY CAPABLE PEOPLE THE PRESIDENT HAS ASKED TO SERVE IN THESE ROLES. WE ALL KNOW REPUBLICANS HAVE DEDICATED THEMSELVES TO GRINDING GOVERNMENT TO A HALT. THEY DO SO OPENLY AND PROUDLY AND BOAST ABOUT THEIR AVERSION TO COMPROMISE. THAT'S WHY THEY HAVE TIME AND TIME AGAIN EXPLOITED THE RULES OF THE SENATE AND ABUSED THIS BODY'S PROCEDURAL TRADITIONS. IT'S WHY THEY'VE WASTED COUNTLESS HOURS AND SHATTERED REMARKABLE RECORDS FOR STUBBORNNESS. IT'S WHY WHEN WE'VE FACED QUESTIONS ON NATIONAL SECURITY WE'VE ANSWERED WITH POLITICS. REPUBLICANS HAVE REPEATEDLY ASKED FEARFUL FAMILIES TO PUT KEYNES ON -- PUT CONCERNS ON HOLD WHILE THEY SCORE POLITICAL POINTS BY PLAGUE PARTISAN GAMES. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS NOT A GAME. AN EMBARRASSINGLY HIGH NUMBER OF OFFICIALS REMAIN UNABLE TO GO TO WORK. FOR POLITICAL REASONS A HANDFUL OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS ARE STANDING BETWEEN THESE EXPERTS AND THEIR OFFICES. THAT MEANS THEY ARE ALSO STANDING BETWEEN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE'S SECURITY. TOO MANY OF THE PRESIDENT'S NOMINEES FOR CRITICAL NATIONAL SECURITY JOBS AWAIT THE SENATE CONFIRMATION. TODAY I WANT TO TALK ABOUT FOUR OF THOSE POSITIONS REPUBLICANS REFUSE TO FILL. ONE, THE UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR PERSONNEL AND READINESS WHICH IS THE NUMBER-THREE JOB AT THE PENTAGON. WE HAVE SECRETARY GATES, WE HAVE ONE OTHER INDIVIDUAL, AND THEN WE HAVE THIS UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WHO IS NOT FILLED. TWO, THIS -- THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INTELLIGENCE. WHEN SECRETARY CLINTON IS CALLED TO GO TO PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN OR ANYPLACE IN THE WORLD, HER ARM, THE INTELLIGENCE ARM OF THE SECURITY DEPARTMENT MUST BE ABLE TO GIVE HER INFORMATION ON WHAT'S GOING ON, WHAT HAS GONE ON AND WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE FUTURE. NOT WITH THIS STATE DEPARTMENT. THE REPUBLICANS WON'T LET THIS PERSON BE CHOSEN. THIRD, UNDER SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY, AGAIN FOR INTELLIGENCE. THIS PERSON IS HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY'S INTELLIGENCE ARM, JUST LIKE THERE'S NO ONE TODAY AT STATE DEPARTMENT, THERE'S NO ONE AT THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY DEALING WITH INTELLIGENCE. HARD TO COMPREHEND BUT THAT'S TRUE. FINALLY THE U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT, WHOSE JOB IS TO WORK WITH OTHER NATIONS TO KEEP OUR OWN PEOPLE SAFE FROM NUCLEAR, CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS. THE PRESIDENT HAS CHOSEN EXCEPTIONALLY QUALIFIED MEN AND WOMEN FOR THESE JOBS BUT WITHOUT A SENATE VOTE CONFIRMING THEM AS OUR CONSTITUTION REQUIRES, THEY CAN'T DO THOSE JOBS. LET'S TALK ABOUT THE PENTAGON. THE FIRST JOB I MENTIONED, THE NUMBER-THREE JOB AT THE PENTAGON, THE PRESIDENT'S NOMINATED GENERAL CLIFFORD STANLEY. FOR 33 YEARS DR. STANLEY, GENERAL STANLEY SERVED OUR COUNTRY IN THE MARINE CORPS IN THE COMMUNITIES WHERE HE AND HIS FAMILY HAVE LIVED. AFTER SERVING BRAVELY AS A MARINE INFANTRY OFFICER, HE WENT ON TO BECOME QUITE AN ACADEMIC, SERVED AS A WHITE HOUSE FELLOW. HE WAS HEAD OF THE NATION'S LARGEST NONPROFIT PRIVATE-SECTOR SCHOLARSHIP ORGANIZATION. HE WAS ASKED TO COME BACK. HE IS NOT A CONTROVERSIAL NOMINEE. THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE APPROVED HIM UNANIMOUSLY RIGHT HERE ON THE SENATE FLOOR. NO, NOT GENERAL STANLEY. HE WOULD NOT ONLY BE A PIVOTAL PART OF THE PENTAGON'S SENIOR LEADERSHIP, HE WOULD ALSO BE IN CHARGE OF MAKING SURE SERVICE MEMBERS ARE PREPARED FOR WAR. AT A TIME WE'RE WAGING TWO OF THEM AND AS WE PLAN TO SEND 30,000 MORE TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN, A SURGE I KNOW MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES SUPPORT. OUR MILITARY LEADERS HAVE TOLD ME THAT HIS ABSENCE IS HAVING A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE PENTAGON'S OPERATIONS. I RECEIVED PHONE CALLS, SENATOR REID, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO GET THIS PERSON APPROVED? I TELL THEM, I'M DOING MY BEST. NOW WE WASTED ALL WEEK ON TWO NOMINEES, ONE TO BE THE SOLICITOR FOR THE LABOR DEPARTMENT. THE OTHER TO BE HEAD OF THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION. IF PEOPLE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT GIVING OUR TROOPS THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO SUCCEED IN BATTLE AND AT HOME -- AND I'M CONFIDENT THE REPUBLICANS MUST THINK THAT -- WE SHOULD BE, AND THEY SHOULD BE JUST AS COMMITTED GIVING OUR MILITARY LEADERS WHO WILL GO TO WORK EVERY DAY TO MAKE SURE THAT HAPPENS. LET'S TALK ABOUT INTELLIGENCE. THESE AGENCIES THAT TRY TO FIND OUT WHAT THE ENEMY IS DOING. SECOND AND THIRD POSITION I MENTIONED EARLIER ARE THE TOP INTELLIGENCE ROLES AT THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND HOMELAND SECURITY, AS I MENTIONED. FOR THE STATE DEPARTMENT POSITION, PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS NOMINATED AMBASSADOR PHIL GOLDBERG. LIKE GENERAL STANLEY, AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG IS NOT A CONTROVERSIAL OR PARTISAN NOMINEE. IN FACT, MR. PRESIDENT, IT WAS PRESIDENT BUSH WHO TKPWAEUFR HIM THE TITLE -- GAVE HIM THE TITLE AMBASSADOR WHEN HE MADE HIM THE TOP DIPLOMAT IN BOLIVIA. I TRAVELED TO BOLIVIA, THE FIRST SENATE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION I CAN EVER REMEMBER GOING TO BOLIVIA. GOLDBERG WAS THERE. SO IMPRESSIVE. PWAPLS TKOR GOLDBERG -- AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG HAS LED NONPROLIFERATION EFFORTS IN KOSOVO AND NORTH KOREA. HE IS HEAD OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S INTELLIGENCE BRANCH, HE WOULD WORK WITH AMBASSADORS AROUND THE WORLD AND BE SECRETARY OF STATE'S TOP INTELLIGENCE ADVISOR. BUT HE'S GOING TO HAVE TO WAIT. THIS INTELLIGENCE ASPECT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE CAN WAIT. THE ASSISTANT LEADER, MY FRIEND, SENATOR DURBIN, WAS AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT TODAY LEARNING FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE ABOUT SOME OF THE ISSUES FACING OUR COUNTRY, MEETING WITH SECRETARY CLINTON. IT IS JUST A SHAME THAT AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG CAN'T GO TO WORK, BUT HE CAN'T. FOR THE HOMELAND SECURITY POSITION THE PRESIDENT NOMINATED KAREN WAGNER. SHE TOO IS HIGHLY QUALIFIED, HAVING HELD A NUMBER OF SENIOR POSITIONS IN THE HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE, THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND THE THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE PROGRAM. AS HOMELAND SECURITY TOP INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL WAGNER WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ENSURING THE DEPARTMENT'S PARTNERS AT THE STATE, LOCAL AND TRIBAL LEVELS AND IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR HAVE THE INFORMATION THEY NEED TO KEEP US SAFE FROM THE BAD FOLKS AROUND THE WORLD. AS FAR AS DISARMAMENT, THE FOURTH NOMINEE IS AMBASSADOR LAURA KENNEDY. PRESIDENT OBAMA, HE ASKED HER TO SERVE AS OUR NATION'S REPRESENTATIVE ON THE CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT. THIS GROUP IS RESPONSIBLE FOR NEGOTIATING MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL TK EUS DISARMAMENT AGREEMENTS SUCH AS THE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION, CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION, BIG, BIG ISSUES, MR. PRESIDENT. AMBASSADOR KENNEDY IS A MEMBER OF THE SENIORS FOREIGN SERVICE, HAS WORKED AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT, BUREAU OF EUROPEAN AND ASIAN AFFAIRS, UNITED NATIONS, THE NATIONAL WAR COLLEGE. AND AS PRESIDENT BUSH'S AMBASSADOR TO TURKMENISTAN. OF ALL THE COUNTRIES WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS, THE UNITED STATES, OUR GREAT COUNTRY, IS THE ONLY ONE THAT DOESN'T HAVE A REPRESENTATIVE AT THE CONFERENCE OF DISARMAMENTS AT THE NEGOTIATING TABLE. WHY? BECAUSE THE REPUBLICANS ARE STALLING EVERYTHING. THAT'S JUST UNACCEPTABLE. WE NEED TO CONFIRM HER. WE NEED TO CONFIRM HER A LONG TIME. IT'S NOT JUST THOSE CASES, MR. PRESIDENT. IT'S MANY, MANY OTHERS. IT'S CLEAR THESE POSITIONS ARE CRITICAL TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY THAT I JUST TALKED ABOUT AND EQUALLY EVIDENT THAT THESE NOMINEES ARE WELL QUALIFIED, NONPARTISAN PUBLIC SERVANTS. WHY ISN'T IT CLEAR -- I'M SORRY. WHAT ISN'T CLEAR, MR. PRESIDENT, IS WHY OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES REFUSE TO BRING THEM UP FOR A VOTE. SENATE REPUBLICANS ARE SIMPLY SO OPPOSED TO EVERYTHING, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, THAT THEY EVEN OPPOSE PUTTING PEOPLE IN SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT POSITIONS IN OUR GOVERNMENT. PEOPLE THAT WERE ORIGINALLY APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT BUSH TO POSITIONS OF HIGH STANDING. THESE ARE NOT ISOLATED CASES. THEY ARE PART OF AN ENDLESS AND RECKLESS PATTERN. AS WITH CANDIDATES FOR THE PRESIDENT'S CABINET, OTHER TOP ADMINISTRATION POST, NUMEROUS FEDERAL JUDGES, REPUBLICANS HAVE DECIDED THE PRESIDENT DOES NOT DESERVE TO HAVE HIS NOMINEES REVIEWED BY THE SENATE AS THE CONSTITUTION CLEARLY STATES. JUST IGNORE THEM IS WHAT THEY SAY. THIS OBSTRUCTION COULD NOT COME AT A MORE DANGEROUS TIME. I WAS COMING TO WORK AND I WAS IN AN ELEVATOR. I LOOKED AND THERE WAS AN EXTREMELY IMPRESSIVE WOMAN. IT WAS COLD AND SHE HAD A COAT. SHE HAD A UNIFORM ON. SHE SAID I'M DR. BENJAMIN, SURGEON GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES. I HEARD AND READ SO MUCH ABOUT THIS ALABAMA PHYSICIAN WHO DEDICATED HER LIFE TO TAKING CARE OF POOR PEOPLE. I WAS SO HAPPY TO MEET HER, AND THEN I REMEMBERED HOW LONG WE HAD TO WAIT TO GET HER CONFIRMED. NOW, THE OBSTRUCTION COULD NOT COME AT A MORE DANGEROUS TIME FOR WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE COUNTRY. REPUBLICANS BLOCKED A VOTE ON OUR SURGEON GENERAL, DR. BENJAMIN, EVEN AFTER THE PRESIDENT DECLARED H1N1 A NATIONAL EMERGENCY. THEY BLOCKED A VOTE ON THE TOP HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICIAL RESPONSIBLE FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. THAT WAS EVEN AS THE NATION BRACED FOR BOTH FLU PANDEMIC AND BIOTERROR THREATS. THE LIST SEEMS ENDLESS. WHILE OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS ARE FIGHTING IN IRAQ AND REBUILDING THAT NATION, LAST YEAR REPUBLICANS DELAYED THE CONFIRMATION OF AMERICA'S AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ. WHILE OUR TROOPS SERVE BRAVELY THE REPUBLICANS DELAYED THE THE CONFIRMATION OF GENERAL STANLEY McCHRYSTAL. THIS CLEARLY IS NOT THE WAY THE SENATE IS SUPPOSED TO WORK. IT'S NOT EVEN WAIT IT TYPICALLY WORKS. AS I POINTED OUT BEFORE, IT TOOK ONLY FOUR MONTHS FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA TO FACE AS MANY FILIBUSTERS OF HIS NOMINEES AS PRESIDENT BUSH FACED IN HIS ENTIRE FIRST FOUR YEARS. THIS REPUBLICAN CAUCUS OVER HERE PROUDLY SAYS, "WE BLOCKED AS MANY OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S NOMINEES IN FOUR MONTHS THAT YOU OVER HERE ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE TOOK FOUR YEARS TO BLOCK." DEMOCRATS HAVE NO INTEREST IN PLAYING THESE GAMES, AND THAT'S WHY WE DIDN'T DO WHAT THEY'RE DOING. NO OTHER -- NO OTHER MINORITY HAS EVER DONE ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE. THIS IS, THIS IS ONE OF A KIND. IT WOULD BE ONE THING IF REPUBLICANS WERE UNIFIED AND VOTED AGAINST THESE VITAL NOMINEES. IT WOULD BE ONE THING IF F. THEY REVIEWED THESE NOMINEES, DISPIEDED THEY WEREN'T FIT TO SERVE. BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT'S HAPPENING. INSTEAD, SIMPLY TO WASTE TIME REPUBLICANS ARE REFUSING TO LET THE SENATE VOTE AT ALL. WHEN THESE NOMINEES DO FINALLY COME BEFORE THIS BODY, YOU'D BE SURPRISED. MANY OF THEM PASS UNANIMOUSLY, AFTER THEY'VE STALLED THIS FOR DAYS AND DAYS. SHOULDN'T BE SURPRISED, BUT IT IS ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU FEEL UNEASY IN THE STOMACH THAT THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE CONCERNED WITH THE SCUTE OF OUR NATION ARE BEING -- WITH THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION ARE BEING STOPPED FROM BEING ABLE TO GO TO WORK BY VIRTUE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF "NO." THESE SENATORS ARE IGNORING THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO CONFIRM OR REJECT THE MEN AND WOMEN OR COMMANDER IN CHIEF HAS CHOSEN TO HELP LEAD THIS NATION SAFELY. THEY'RE ABDICATING THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO KEEP US SAFE. THEY'RE CERTAINLY NOT PUTTING COUNTRY SAFE, AS ADVERTISED. HERE'S THE BOTTOM LINE: , OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES ARE BASINGS THEIR JUDGMENT ON THE PARTY OF THE PERSON BEING NOMINATED. IT ENDANGERS OUR NATIONAL SECURITY. I HAVE NO DOUBT OUR FRIENDS REALIZE WHEN WE KEEP EMPTY A CRITICAL OFFICE IN THE PENTAGON, STATE DEPARTMENT, OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY WE'RE NOT KEEPING THE MEN PEOPLE SAFE. THEY NEW ENGLAND WHAT THEY'RE DOING AND THEY KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING ASK DANGEROUS. IF THEY DON'T, THEY CERTAINLY SHOULD. THAT MAKES THESE PARTISAN GAMES ALL THE MORE DISGRACEFUL.

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  • 10:19:24 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE…

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THERE WILL BE A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH -- FOR ONE HOUR WITH THE TIME EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES, WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO 10 MINUTES EACH, WITH THE MAJORITY CONTROLLING THE FIRST HALF AND THE REPUBLICANS CONTROLLING THE FINAL HALF.

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  • 10:19:50 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 10:19:51 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, LAST WEEK WITH THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS, PRESIDENT…

    MR. PRESIDENT, LAST WEEK WITH THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS, PRESIDENT OBAMA LAID OUT THE CHALLENGES FACING AMERICA. THERE ARE MANY. AND HE CALLED ON US TO RISE ABOVE PARTISANSHIP AND TO TRY TO FIND GOOD SOLUTIONS FOR AMERICA. I THINK MOST AMERICANS AGREE WITH THAT. OH, THERE ARE SOME YELLOW DOG DEMOCRATS, HARD-SHELL REPUBLICANS WHO SAY, "NEVER COMPROMISE, NEVER." BUT THEY DO REPRESENT THE MAJORITY OF AMERICA. THE MAJORITY OF AMERICAN PEOPLE COULD CARE LESS ABOUT DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. THEY WORRY ABOUT THIS NATION AND ITS FUTURE. THEY WORRY ABOUT THEIR FAMILIES, THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS, THEIR SCHOOLS, AND THEY WONDER WHY WE SQUABBLE SO MUCH HERE AND SPEND SO MUCH TIME TIED UP IN KNOTS OVER ARGUMENTS THAT DON'T MAKE ANY SENSE. I JUST HEARD THE MAJORITY LEADER DESCRIBE FOUR INDIVIDUALS, FOUR INDIVIDUALS WHO STEPPED UP WHEN THE PRESIDENT ASKED THEM TO AND SAID, WE WILL SERVE. AND YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS WHEN YOU SAY WE WILL SERVE? IT MEANS THAT THE F.B.I. THAT LOOKS THROUGH EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE, YOU FILL OUT LENGTHY QUESTIONNAIRES, YOU PREPARE YOURSELF TO GO BEFORE A COMMITTEE AND BE ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE, PERSONAL AND PUBLIC, YOU SUBMIT YOUR NAME TO THE PRESS TO LET THEM LOOK THROUGH AS WELL, AND THEN YOU BRING YOUR NAME OF COURSE TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE -- IN THIS CASE -- FOR FINAL SCRUTINY. IS IT ANY WONDER THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY, THANKS, BUT NO THANKS, I'M NOT INTERESTED IN DOING THAT. I LOVE MY COUNTRY, BUT YOU, YOU KNOW, I VALUE MY PRIVACY AND I DON'T WANT DOGE THROUGH THAT HASSLE. BUT SOME HAVE THE COURAGE TO STEP UP AND SAY, I'LL DO T IF MY COUNTRY NEEDS ME, I WILL CONTRIBUTE IN ANY WAY I CAN. LET ME GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF ONE OF THEM HERE. HIS NAME IS CLIFFORD STANLEY, 33-YEAR CAREER IN THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS. HE RETIRED IN 2002 WITH THE RANK OF MAJOR GENERAL. HE COMES FROM A FAMILY DEVOTED TO MILITARY SERVICE. HIS FATHER AND HIS BROTHER SERVED IN THE ARMY. HIS DAUGHTER IS AN OFFICER IN THE NAVY. HE HAS A NIECE IN THE AIR FORCE. DR. CLIFFORD STANLEY WAS THE FIRST -- THE FIRST -- AFRICAN-AMERICAN REGIMENTED OFFICER? THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS. THE PRESIDENT NOMINATED HIM IN OCTOBER TO SERVE AS UNDER SECRETARY FOR DEFENSE FOR PERSONNEL AND READINESS. THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE HELD A HEARING IN NOVEMBER AND REPORTED HIS NOMINATION TO THE FULL SENATE ON DECEMBER 2. HE CAME OUT OF THE COMMITTEE WITHOUT CONTROVERSY. IS IT ANY WONDER? 33 YEARS IN THE MARINE CORPS, THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN REGIMENTAL COMMANDER IN ITS HISTORY, A MAN WHO HAS SERVED HIS COUNTRY SO WELL AND RISKED HIS LIFE FOR THIS GREAT NATION, REPORTED BY THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE TO THE FULL SENATE FLOOR IN DECEMBER. WE'RE NOW IN FEBRUARY. THIS IS A CRITICAL POST THAT HE'S BEEN APPOINTED TO BY THE PRESIDENT. HE'S IN CHARGE OF BASICALLY MANAGING THE READINESS OF THE U.S. ARMED FORCES. DR. STANLEY WOULD HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO OVERSEE THE NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE. THAT'S 143,000 AMERICANS WHO ARE SERVING IN THAT CAPACITY. HE'S RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HEALTH OF THE MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM. THE BUDGET THAT THE PRESIDENT SUBMITTED YESTERDAY INCLUDES $30.9 BILLION FOR HEALTH CARE FOR THE MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY FAMILY WHO ARE COVERED BY TRICARE. THAT WOULD BE ONE OF DR. STAN LISZT RESPONSIBILITIES. FINALLY, HE HAS -- HE IS A SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR ON RETIREMENT, CAREER DEVELOPMENT, PAY AND BENEFITS. IT'S A CRITICALLY IMPORTANT ROLE FOR OUR MILITARY AND OUR FAMILIES THAT REALLY SUPPORT THESE MILITARY, AND DR. STANLEY IS CLEARLY QUALIFIED TO DO IT, HAS GONE THROUGH THE PROCESS OF SCRUTINY AND INVESTIGATION, AND YESTERDAY ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE WHEN THE MAJORITY LEADER ASKED FOR PERMISSION SO THAT HE COULD GO FORWARD AND SERVE OUR COUNTRY AGAIN IN THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA, SENATOR SHELBY, OBJECTED. I'D LIKE TO HEAR WHY. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS MAN THAT HE OBJECTS TO? IS THERE SOMETHING WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT DR. STANLEY? IS THERE SOMETHING HE KNOWS ABOUT HIS 33 YEARS OF SERVICE IN THE MARINE CORPS? I'LL BET THERE ISN'T. I'LL BET THERE'S ANOTHER REASON FOR IT. I DON'T KNOW IF WE'LL EVER KNOW THAT. THE FACT IS, HE WAS OBJECTED TO. BUT HE WASN'T THE ONLY ONE. LAURA DENY DIDLAWYER KENNEDY IS-- --LAURA KEN DID I. IT IS A WAY WE MEET WITH OTHER NATIONS TO TRY TO REDUCE THE ADVANCE OF NUCLEAR ARMS AND THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR WAR. HER NOMINATION IS BASED ON THE FACT THAT SHE'S AN EXPERIENCED DIPLOMAT WITH TALENT AND SKILLS THAT ARE DESPERATELY NEEDED IN THIS VERY INVOLVED, DIFFICULT, AND IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION. SHE HAS ALREADY SERVED WITH WITH DISTINCTION IN SEVERAL POSITION. SHE WAS AMBASSADOR TO TURKMENISTAN, DEPUTY COMMANDANT AT THE NATIONAL WAR COLLEGE. SHE WAS REPORTED OUT OF THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE TWO MONTHS AGO. WHAT IS HOLDING HER UP? YESTERDAY THE MAJORITY LEADER ASKED THAT LAURA KENNEDY, THE NOMINEE TO THE CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT BE APPROVED BY THE SENATE AND THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA, SENATOR SHELBY, SAID "I OBJECT." WELL, I THINK SENATOR SHELBY OWES IT TO ALL OF US TO COME AND TELL US WHY. WHAT IS IT THAT HE OBJECTS TO ABOUT LAURA KENNEDY? DOES HE FEEL SHE'S NOT QUALIFIED? IF HE DOES, LET'S HEAR WHY. AND THEN LET'S BRING IT TO A VOTE OF THE SENATE. ISN'T THAT ONLY FAIR? KAREN WAGNER, A NOMINEE FOR UNDER SECRETARY FOR INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYSIS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. DO WE NEED SOMEONE TO DEAL WITH INTELLIGENCE IN A TIME OF THE THREAT OF TERRORISM? DO WE NEED SOMEONE LIKE THAT AT THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY? WE NEED THEM YESTERDAY. WE DON'T NEED THEM TOMORROW. THE UNDER SECRETARY FOR INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYSIS IS CONSIDERED THE CHIEF INTELLIGENCE OFFICER AT THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. THE UNDER SECRETARY HAS TO BRING TOGETHER ALL THESE DIFFERENT AGENCIES AND BRARCHLS OF GOVERNMENT TO MAKE SURE -- AND BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT TO MAKE SURE THAT HE COORDINATE THEIR EFFORT. WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED LAST CHRISTMAS. THERE WASN'T ENOUGH DONE AND IT WASN'T DONE IN A TIMELY WAY TO DEAL WITH THIS MAN WHO THREATENED THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO WERE ON THAT AIRPLANE DESTINED FOR DETROIT. KAREN WAGNER IS HIGHLY QUALIFIED TO MEET THE MANNED THE DEMANDS OF THIS POSITION. SHE'S AN INSTRUCTOR AT THE INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ACADEMY. SHE RETIRED FROM THE HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE IN OCTOBER OF 2008 WHERE SHE SERVED AS BUDGET DIRECTOR AND CYBERSECURITY COORDINATOR. BEFORE THAT SHE SERVED AS ASSISTANT DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE. HER EXPERIENCE ALSO SERVES SERVES INCLUDING SERVE AS A WARFARE OFFICER? THE UNITED STATES ARMY. THAT'S A PRETTY STRONG RESUME, ISN'T IT? IT IS PERSON YOU'D WOULD NOT IN THIS THIS JOB IMMEDIATELY. WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD WE RISK AN TASHING ON THE UNITED STATES BY WITHHOLDING CRITICAL PERSONNEL AND CRITICAL LEADERSHIP WHEN IT COMES TO GATHERING INTELLIGENCE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY? YESTERDAY THE MAJORITY LEADER ASKED FOR THE CONSENT OF THE SENATE TO MOVE HER NOMINATION FORWARD. THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA, SENATOR SHELBY, OBJECTED. I WOULD LIKE TO ASK THE SENATOR, WHAT DOES HE KNOW ABOUT KAREN WAGNER THAT WOULD LEAD HIM TO OBJECT TO HER SERVING IN THE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND TRYING TO KEEP US SAFE? IF HE KNOWS SOMETHING, THE NEXT HALF-HOUR OF THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE IS AVAILABLE TO THE REPUBLICANS OR TO HIM. I INVITE HIM TO COME FORWARD AND SAY, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS NOMINEE? WHY ARE YOU HOLDING UP THIS NOMINEE? AND THEN THERE'S PHILLIP GOLDBERG, DEPUTY FOR INTELLIGENCE AND RESEARCH. THIS MAN HAS SERVED AS OUR AMBASSADOR TO BOL LIVE YARKS CHIEF OF MISSION IN COZ KOSOVO. HE IS A COORDINATOR OF THE U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION MONITORING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF RESOLUTIONS ON NORTH KOREA. AND HE WOULD BE HEAD OF THE BUREAU OF INTELLIGENCE AND RESEARCH AT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEPARTMENT OF STATE. A BIG PART OF THEIR RESPONSIBILITY IS TO MAKE SURE OUR FOREIGN PALS IS BASED -- FOREIGN POLICY IS BASED ON GOOD INTELLIGENCE GATHERED AROUND THE WORLD TO KEEP AMERICA SAFE AND SECURE. FOR OVER 60 YEARS THIS BRANCH OF OUR GOVERNMENT HAS LED THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S REVIEW OF SENSITIVE COUNTERINTELLIGENCE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES. IN 2004 THE SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE RESTLEELD THIS AGENCY WAS ONE OF THE -- REVEALED THAT THIS AGENCY WAS ONE OF THE FEUD DISSENTING VOICES EARLIER WHEN THE C.I.A. AND OTHER INTEL P GENERALS SHOPS OVERSTATED THE THREAT OF SADDAM HUSSEIN IN IRAQ. THIS AGENCY GOT IT RIGHT. ALTHOUGH ITS PRIMARY CUSTOMER IS THE STATE DEPARTMENT THIS AGENCY SERVES MANY OTHER BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT. THE CONFIRMATION OF PHILLIP GOLDBERG WOULD PROVIDE ESSENTIAL LEADERSHIP AND SO YESTERDAY THE MAJORITY LEADER CAME TO THE FLOOR AND FOR PHILLIP GOLDBERG TO SERVE AT THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE TO GATHER THIS INTELLIGENCE TO KEEP AMERICA SAFE, HE ASK CONSENT THAT WE MOVE TO HIS NOMINATION, A NOMINATION WITH NO CONTROVERSY, AND THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA, SENATOR SHELBY, OBJECTED. PLEASE, I ASK MY COLLEAGUES ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OF THE AISLE, COME TO THE FLOOR AND EXPLAIN TO US WHAT'S WRONG WITH PHILLIP GOLDBERG. WHAT DISQUALIFIES HIM FOR THIS POSITION IN THIS ADMINISTRATION? MAKE YOUR BEST CASE, IF YOU HAVE ONE, AGAINST HIM OR ANY OF THESE NOMINEES AND THEN OUT OF A SENSE OF FAIRNESS AND AT LEAST A SENSE OF GIVING THIS COUNTRY AND THIS PRESIDENT THE PEOPLE HE NEEDS ON THE TEAM NEEDS TO KEEP US SAFE, LET US COME TO A VOTE IMMEDIATELY ON THESE FOUR NOMINEES. I DON'T HOLD OUT A LOT OF HOPE THAT ANY REPUBLICAN WILL COME TO THE FLOOR WITH OBJECTIONS AGAINST ANY ONE OF THESE PEOPLE BECAUSE, YOU SEE, THESE OBJECTIONS ARE SOMETIMES BASED ON SOME GRUDGE, SOME PROJECT, SOMETHING ELSE. I DON'T ASSIGN THAT TO THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY HE OBJECTED. BUT IF HE HAS A SUBSTANTIVE OBJECTION TO ANY OR ALL OF THESE FOUR PEOPLE, HE SHOULD COME FORWARD AND TELL US. HE OWES IT TO THE SENATE. HE OWES IT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AND IN FAIRNESS, HE OWES IT TO THESE FOUR PEOPLE WHO SERVED OUR COUNTRY WELL AND WANT TO CONTINUE TO DO SO. THEY SHOULDN'T BE LIFT IN THIS LIMBO, IN THIS UNCERTAINTY. I MIGHT ALSO SAY, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT WHEN I LEAVE THE FLOOR I'LL BE HEADED TO THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE WHERE I'LL SERVE FOR A HEARING TO DISCUSS THE SUPREME COURT CASE THAT WAS DECIDED A FEW DAYS BACK THAT REALLY IS GOING TO MAKE A DRAMATIC DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS ARE WAGED IN AMERICA. FOR 100 YEARS, SINCE THE DAYS OF TEDDY ROOSEVELT, WE HAVE AGREED TO KEEP MAJOR BUSINESSES, BIG CORPORATIONS OUT OF OUR AMERICAN POLITICAL SCENE. OH, THEY GET INVOLVED; MAKE NO MISTAKE. WE SAW THAT ON THE HEALTH CARE REFORM. THE MAJOR FORCES FOR IT AND AGAINST IT IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR BOUGHT ADS. BUT WHEN IT COMES TO THE CANDIDATES, THE ACTUAL PEOPLE RUNNING FOR FEDERAL OFFICE, WE HAVE BASICALLY SAID NO CORPORATE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THESE CANDIDATES. INDIVIDUALS, YES, WHO WORK FOR THE CORPORATIONS. BUT NOT THE CORPORATIONS THEMSELVES THAT HAVE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THEY COULD CHANNEL AND FUNNEL IN TO CAMPAIGNS. THAT WAS THE LAW. THAT WAS THE STANDARD FOR 100 YEARS. THEN THIS SUPREME COURT TOOK UP THIS CASE, AND AS A RESULT OF THIS CASE IT'S ALL GOING TO CHANGE. WHEN I SAW THE FINAL DECISION, I NOTICED THAT CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS AND JUSTICE ALITO HAD JOINED WITH JUSTICE KENNEDY AND JUSTICE THOMAS AND JUSTICE SCALIA FOR THE FIVE-VOTE MAJORITY ON THE COURT. I COULDN'T HELP BUT REMEMBER NOT THAT THINK AGO WHEN -- THAT LONG AGO WHEN CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS APPEARED BEFORE THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE AND WAS ASKED WHAT IS YOUR ROLE GOING TO BE AS CHIEF JUSTICE? HE SAID I'M JUST THERE TO CALL THE BALLS AND THE STRIKES. I'M NOT THERE TO MAKE UP THE RULES OF THE GAME. THAT'S FOR SOMEBODY ELSE. I WANT TO TELL YOU SOMETHING. FOR 100 YEARS, IT WAS PRETTY CLEAR THAT WHEN MAJOR CORPORATIONS WANTED TO PARTICIPATE IN SUPPORTING DIRECTLY THE CANDIDACIES OF FEDERAL CANDIDATES, THE BALL WENT RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE AND IT WAS CLEARLY STRIKE AND WE SAID "YOU'RE OUT." BUT NOT THIS SUPREME COURT. NOT UNDER THIS CHIEF JUSTICE. THIS IS CLEAR JUDICIAL ACTIVISM. I CHALLENGE ANY OF MR. ROBERTS -- JUSTICE ROBERTS' SUPPORTERS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WHO PREACH TO US OVER AND OVER AGAIN ABOUT THEIR LOATHING FOR JUDICIAL ACTIVISM TO EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE WHEN THIS SUPREME COURT OVERTURNED THAT PROHIBITION AGAINST CORPORATIONS DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN CANDIDATES' CAMPAIGNS. MOST PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T BEEN IN THIS WORLD ARE PROBABLY SCRATCHING THEIR HEAD AND SAYING WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? YOU FOLKS SPEND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ANYWAY. WHAT'S A COUPLE MILLION MORE ON ONE SIDE OR THE OTHER GOING TO DO? I'LL TELL YOU WHAT IT WILL DO. WHAT IT BASICALLY MEANS IS THAT WHEN CORPORATION "X" COMES TO THE OFFICE OF A SENATOR AND SAYS WE'VE GOT AN IMPORTANT TAX MATTER COMING UP HERE, AND FOR OUR CORPORATION, WE WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WOULD VOTE AGAINST THIS NEW TAX ON OUR BUSINESS. WELL, NOW SENATORS CAN TAKE A LOOK AT IT AND SAY, WELL, I MAY VOTE FOR IT, I MAY VOTE AGAINST IT. I KNOW THAT PERHAPS THE OFFICERS OF THAT CORPORATION, MAYBE IT ITS EMPLOYEES MAY BE UPSET IF I VOTE FOR THE TAX. I HAVE TO MAKE UP MY MIND. BECAUSE OF THE SUPREME COURT DECISION CORPORATION X CAN SAY WE'D APPRECIATE IT IF YOU VOTE AGAINST THAT TAX AND YOU KNOW IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND THEY CAN LITERALLILY SPEND $1 MILLION TO DEFEAT YOU, THANKS TO THE ACTIVIST SUPREME COURT. HOW DO WE FIX THIS? THIS MORNING IN THE RULES COMMITTEE WE'LL TALK ABOUT DISCLOSURE, MAKING SURE THAT CORPORATIONS ARE WELL KNOWN WHEN THEE BUY THESE ADS SO AT LEAST THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW WHO'S PAYING FOR THEM, AND SOME OTHER ASPECTS TO REGULATE THE SUPREME COURT DECISION WITHIN THE BOUND OF WHAT THE SUPREME COURT SAID WE CAN DO. BUT I THINK IT GOES TO A LARGER QUESTION. SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES IN THE SENATE HAVE SAID ALL ALONG THAT WHAT I'M ABOUT TO DESCRIBE TO YOU IS TOO FAR IN THE FUTURE, NOT WITHIN OUR GRASP. BUT I THINK IT'S TIME FOR US TO SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY CONSIDER PUBLIC FINANCING IN CAMPAIGNS. I THINK WE OUGHT TO START DRAWING A BRIGHT LINE BETWEEN THOSE WHO WILL ACCEPT PUBLIC FINANCING AND LIMITED CONTRIBUTIONS FROM INDIVIDUALS AND THOSE WHO ARE RED DILL TO GO OUT INTO -- READY TO GO OUT INTO THIS WILD WEST OF CORPORATE POLITICS, SPECIAL INTEREST POLITICS, BIG-MONEY POLITICS. I INTRODUCED THIS BILL A FEW YEARS BACK, FAIR ELECTIONS NOW BILL. AS A MATTER OF FACT, THE CURRENT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, WHEN HE WAS THEN SENATOR OBAMA, WAS A COSPONSOR OF THIS LEGISLATION. AND WHAT WE'RE BASICALLY TRYING TO DO IS TO FOLLOW THE LEAD OF MAJOR STATES WHICH HAVE VOTED FOR CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM. WHEN STATES LIKE ARIZONA TOOK THIS ISSUE TO THE VOTERS OF THAT STATE AND SAID DO YOU WANT TO CLEAN UP ELECTIONS? DO YOU WANT TO HAVE FAIR ELECTIONS, PUBLIC FINANCED ELECTIONS? THE VOTERS SAID, YES, GET THE LOBBYISTS AND SPECIAL INTERESTS OUT OF THIS MESS. LET'S TRY TO MAKE THIS DIRECTLY CANDIDATES TO THE VOTERS AND TAKE THE SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS OUT. THIS BILL WOULD DO THAT. WHAT IT BASICALLY SAYS IS THAT TO QUALIFY FOR PUBLIC FINANCING, YOU GO OUT AND RAISE SMALL CONTRIBUTIONS, $100 MAXIMUM CONTRIBUTIONS AND PUT THOSE TOGETHER IN A SUFFICIENT AMOUNT TO SHOW THAT YOU ARE A VIABLE CANDIDATE, AND THEN YOU QUALIFY FOR PUBLIC FINANCING IN THE PRIMARY AND THEN AGAIN IN THE GENERAL BASED ON THE POPULATION OF YOUR STATE. WELL, YOU HAVE -- WILL YOU HAVE AS MUCH MONEY AS A BIG CORPORATION? NO. BUT HERE'S MY THEORY: IF A CANDIDATE GOES FOR PUBLIC FINANCING THEY WILL HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO GET OUT THEIR MESSAGE, INTRODUCE THEMSELVES TO THE VOTERS, MAKE THE ISSUE AND CLARIFY IF SOME MAJOR CORPORATION IS GOING TO COME IN AND TRY TO STEAM ROLL. THAT, I THINK, IS THE BEST WE CAN HOPE FOR, BUT IT MAY BE ALL WE NEED. MY STATE OF ILLINOIS, WITH ONE POSSIBLE EXCEPTION, IS NOTORIOUSLY SUSPECT OF BIG-MONEY CANDIDATES WHO COME IN TO SPEND MILLIONS TO GET ELECTED. THEY DON'T MAKE IT IN MY STATE. THEY WASTE A LOST PERSONAL WEALTH AND THEY DON'T WIN, WITH ONE POSSIBLE EXCEPTION. I THINK THERE IS A SKEPTICISM TO BIG MONEY, AND I THINK THIS PUBLIC FINANCING IS A WAY TO CLEAN UP OUR POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS. WE HAVE CANDIDATES IN THE CONSTITUENT BUSINESS RATHER THAN THE CAMPAIGN FINANCING BUSINESS. I CAN'T TELL YOU, IF YOU COULD SIT DOWN WITH MEMBERS OF THE SENATE AND SAY A FEW WORDS TO THEM, THEY'LL KNOW INSTANTLY WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. POWER HOUR, DIALING FOR DOLLARS, WEEKENDS ON THE ROAD. WE ALL KNOW WHAT IT'S ABOUT. IT'S ABOUT THE INCESSANT MONEY CHASE THAT'S NECESSARY TO RAISE MONEY TO FINANCE OUR CAMPAIGNS UNDER THE CURRENT SYSTEM. IT'S TIME AWAY FROM OUR STATES. IT'S TIME AWAY FROM OUR FAMILIES. IT'S TIME AWAY FROM MEETING JUST VOTERS WHO DON'T HAPPEN TO BE RICH, WHO DESERVE REPRESENTATION AND A VOICE IN THIS PROCESS. THAT'S UNFORTUNATE AND IT SHOULD CHANGE. AND SO WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO NOW IS TO BRING IN PUBLIC FINANCING WITH THIS FAIR ELECTIONS NOW. HOW DO WE PAY FOR IT? WE'D IMPOSE A TAX -- T-A-X -- ON CORPORATIONS DOING BUSINESS WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. IT WOULD BE ENOUGH TO FUND PUBLIC FINANCING OF ALL CAMPAIGNS IN THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE. I DON'T THINK THAT'S UNREASONABLE. WE'D ALSO PROVIDE DISCOUNTS ON TIME THAT CANDIDATES WOULD BUY ON TELEVISION AND RADIO SO THAT THEY WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY AS MUCH AS THE MOST EXPENSIVE TIME THAT IS SOLD. WHAT DO PEOPLE THINK OF THIS IDEA? WELL, IT TURNS OUT THAT IT'S ONE OF THE FEW THINGS THAT PEOPLE AGREE ON BIPARTISAN -- ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS. 69% OF DEMOCRATS, 72% OF REPUBLICANS, AND 60% OF INDEPENDENTS SUPPORT THIS PROPOSAL WHEN WE DESCRIBE IT TO THEM. IT'S SUPPORTED BY A LOT OF GOOD GOVERNMENT GROUPS, A LOT OF FORMER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, SOME BUSINESS LEADERS AND EVEN SOME LOBBYISTS. RECENTLY A LETTER WAS SENT TO THE UNITED STATES SENATE, JUST A GENERAL LETTER, FROM CORPORATIONS, MAJOR CORPORATIONS ACROSS AMERICA SAYING PLEASE LEAVE US ALONE. WE'RE SICK AND TIRED OF BEING ASKED TO FIND EXCUSES TO GIVE YOU MONEY. DO IT SOME OTHER WAY. CLEAN UP THIS MESS IN WASHINGTON. THE FAIR ELECTIONS NOW BILL THAT I'VE INTRODUCED WILL DO THAT. I ENCOURAGE MY COLLEAGUES TO TAKE A LOOK AT IT AND TO TRY TO IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE WE DIDN'T HAVE TO GO SCRAMBLING LOOKING FOR MONEY. IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE YOU WALK DOWN THE STREETS OF YOUR HOMETOWN AND WHEN YOU'RE IN AN ELECTION CYCLE PEOPLE DON'T RUSH TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET FOR FEAR THAT YOU'RE GOING TO ASK THEM FOR ANOTHER CHECK. THINK ABOUT WHAT LIFE WOULD BE LIKE IF WE WERE TALKING ABOUT SMALL CONTRIBUTIONS CREATING THE BASE OF GRASS ROOTS SUPPORT FOR CANDIDATES, BOTH CHALLENGERS AND INCUMBENTS. I THINK THAT'S THE REALITY OF OUR FUTURE IF WE HAVE THE COURAGE TO STEP UP AND DO IT. THIS DECISION BY THE SUPREME COURT SHOULD BE THE REASON -- SHOULD BE OUR CATALYST FOR MAKING THIS REFORM DECISION NOW. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO CONSIDER SKPORPSHIP OF FAIR E-- COSPONSORSHIP OF FAIR ELECTIONS NOW. WE HOPE THAT IT CAN BE MOVED IN THIS SESSION OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. MR. PRESIDENT, HOW MUCH TIME IS REMAINING IN MORNING TIME ON OUR SIDE?

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  • 10:40:09 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: 9 MINUTES, 45 SECONDS.

  • 10:40:12 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    GOING TO RESERVE THE BALANCE OF MY TIME AND YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST…

    GOING TO RESERVE THE BALANCE OF MY TIME AND YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:40:16 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL:…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 10:40:51 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 11:29:11 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW MEXICO.

  • 11:29:17 AM

    MR. UDALL

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BEING DISPENSED WITH.

  • 11:29:19 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:29:21 AM

    MR. UDALL

    ASK THAT I BE ALLOWED TO SPEAK FOR AS MUCH TIME AS I MAY CONSUME IN…

    ASK THAT I BE ALLOWED TO SPEAK FOR AS MUCH TIME AS I MAY CONSUME IN MORNING BUSINESS.

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  • 11:29:25 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR VEKED TO SPEAK O.A.S. IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 11:29:28 AM

    MR. UDALL

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, CHAIRMAN SCHUMER STARTED THIS…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, CHAIRMAN SCHUMER STARTED THIS MORNING HEARINGS IN THE RULES COMMITTEE ON THE SUPREME COURT DECISION, CITIZENS UNITED v. THE F.E.C. THIS SUPREME COURT DECISION COMPLETELY CHANGES THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE LANDSCAPE. 50 YEARS AGO WHEN MY FATHER, STEWART UDALL, AND MY UNCLE MO, WERE IN OFFICE, MONEY HAD MINIMAL IMAJT ON THE ELECTTORIAL AND POLITICAL SYSTEM. IT WAS ABOUT CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE AND THE MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS. RIGHT NOW IT'S JUST AS MUCH ABOUT THE BIGGEST CHECKBOOKS, IF NOT MORE SO, THAN IT IS ABOUT THE BEST IDEAS. UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE ABOUT TO SEE A LOT MORE BIG CHECKBOOKS IN THE ELECTION PROCESS. LAST MONTH'S SUPREME COURT DECISION IN CITIZENS NEWT UNITED v. F.E.C. WAS A VICTORY FOR THE SPECIAL INTERESTS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE AVERAGE AMERICAN. WE'VE SEEN FIRSTHAND THE IMPACT SPECIAL INTERESTS LIKE BIG OIL AND BIG BANKS AND HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES HAVE HAD ON THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. NOW, WITH THIS DECISION, ALREADY-POWER CORPORATIONS AND LABOR UNIONS, THIS MIGHT BE OFF-LIMITS, BUT I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY WE CAN'T GO AFTER THESE CORPORATIONS AND GO AFTER ALL OF THE POWERFUL INTERESTS THAT ARE TRYING TO DO THIS. MEMBERS OF BOTH CHAMBERS AND THE ADMINISTRATION ARE WORKING ON LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS THE CITIZENS UNITED DECISION. I COMMEND THEIR EFFORTS, BUT I BELIEVE THAT A COMPREHENSIVE OVERHAUL OF THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE SYSTEM IS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO RESTORE PUBLIC FAITH IN OUR ELECTIONS. WHAT WE'RE SEEING HERE TODAY IS LARGE SPECIAL INTERESTS SUP PLANTING THE VOICES OF EVERYDAY AMERICANS IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS. THE SUPREME COURT HAS SHOWN ITS WILLINGNESS TO RULE BROADLY AND IGNORE LONG-STANDING PRECEDENT WHEN IT IS REVIEWING THE CONSTUTIONALITY OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS. THE BEST LONG-TERM SOLUTION IS A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT THAT WILL PREVENT THE COURT FROM OVERTURNING SENSIBLE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REGULATIONS. I WOULD WELCOME THE OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN MY COLLEAGUES IN INTRODUCING SUCH AN AMENDMENT. WHILE I BELIEVE THAT A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT IS THE IDEAL SOLUTION, I ALSO THINK THAT COMPREHENSIVE REFORM LEGISLATION IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. AS A MEMBER IN THE HOUSE FOR TEN YEARS, I JOINED REPRESENTATIVE DAVE OBEY AS AN ORIGINAL COSPONSOR OF THE "LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE CLEAN CAMPAIGN ACT," A BILL THAT WILL FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE HOW HOUSE ELECTIONS ARE CONDUCTED. MR. OBEY REINTRODUCED THIS BILL IN THIS CONGRESS, AND I INTEND TO INTRODUCE A COMPANION BILL IN THE SENATE IN THE COMING WEEKS. THE ACT DOES NOT ATTEMPT TO FINE-TUNE THE EXISTING CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN FINANCE SYSTEM OR TWEAK AROUND THE EDGES. RATHER, IT MAKES FUNDAMENTAL WHOLESALE CHANGES TO FUND-RAISING BY CANDIDATES, REGULATIONS OF OUTSIDE GROUPS AND THE ROLE OF POLITICAL PARTIES. IT CONTAINS A FINDING THAT AMERICA'S FAITH IN THE ELECTION SYSTEM HAS BEEN FUNDAMENTALLY CORRUPTED BY BIG MONEY FROM OUTSIDE INTERESTS. IT ESTABLISHES A SYSTEM OF VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROVIDE PUBLIC FINANCING OF CAMPAIGNS FOR HOUSE CANDIDATES IN GENERAL ELECTIONS. IT PROVIDES MORE FUNDS THAT THE CURRENT SYSTEM FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF CHALLENGERS TO MOUNT THEIR CAMPAIGNS. AND IT EMPOWERS VOTERS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THEIR VOTE AFFECTS THE OUTCOME OF THE CURRENT ELECTION AND ALSO AFFECTS THE AMOUNT OF FUNDS DISTRIBUTED TO NOMINEES IN FUTURE ELECTIONS. IT BANS ALL INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES SO THAT ONLY THE CANDIDATE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OR HER MESSAGE. IT PROVIDES FOR EXPEDITED CONSIDERATION OF A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ALLOWING THESE CHANGES IF THE SUPREME COURT REJECTS THE PLAN. AND IT PROVIDES A PROCESS BY WHICH THIRD-PARTY CANDIDATES CAN ALSO PARTICIPATE IN THE SYSTEM. MONEY CAN HAVE A CORROSIVE EFFECT ON THE POLITICAL PROCESS. WE'VE SEEN EVIDENCE OF THAT IN CAMPAIGNS AT ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT. WE HAVE LONG NEEDED SUBSTANTIVE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM, AND IT'S MY HOPE THAT THE HIGH COURTS' DISAPPOINTING DECISION WILL PROVIDE THE PUSH WE NEED TO PUT ELECTIONS BACK IN THE HANDS OF AVERAGE AMERICANS AND NOT THE SPECIAL INTERESTS WHO CAN USE THEIR UNLIMITED BANK ACCOUNTS TO RAILROAD THE PROCESS TO THEIR PREFERRED CONCLUSION. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD BACK. I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:34:35 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 11:38:16 AM

    MR. HARKIN

    FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 11:38:19 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:38:22 AM

    MR. HARKIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, WE ARE NOW, IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN -- I CAN ASK THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, WE ARE NOW, IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN -- I CAN ASK THE PARLIAMENTARIAN WHAT IS THE BUSINESS BEFORE THE SENATE AT THIS TIME.

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  • 11:38:33 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE…

    OFFICER: MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE FOLLOWING NOMINATION, WHICH THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 11:38:45 AM

    THE CLERK

    NOMINATION, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. M. PATRICIA SMITH OF NEW YORK TO BE…

    NOMINATION, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. M. PATRICIA SMITH OF NEW YORK TO BE SOLICITOR FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR.

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  • 11:38:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM IOWA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:38:56 AM

    MR. HARKIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, THANK YOU. SO FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WHO ARE TUNED IN ON…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THANK YOU. SO FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WHO ARE TUNED IN ON C-SPAN IN THEIR OFFICES, WE'RE NOW IN WHAT WE CALL POSTCLOTURE ON THE NOMINATION OF PATRICIA SMITH TO SERVE AS SOLICITOR OF LABOR. THIS IS A NOMINEE THAT CAME BEFORE OUR COMMITTEE ALMOST A YEAR AGO, IN APRIL. IT'S BEEN HELD UP AND HELD UP AND HELD UP. AND YESTERDAY THE SENATE VOTED CLOTURE BECAUSE IT WAS BEING FILIBUSTERED -- YET AGAIN ANOTHER FILIBUSTER BY OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS. AND SO WE HAD A VOTE LAST NIGHT, AND THE CLOTURE WAS INVOKED BY 60 VOTES. AND SO NOW WE'RE IN THE PERIOD OF WHAT THEY CALL POSTCLOTURE OF 30 HOURS AFTER POSTCLOTURE. AND THEN WE WILL HAVE A FINAL VOTE UP OR DOWN ON PATRICIA SMITH TO BE THE SOLICITOR OF LABOR. AND IT'S OBVIOUS THAT IF SHE GOT 60 VOTES LAST NIGHT ON CLOTURE, IT'S OBVIOUS SHE CERTAINLY HAS MORE THAN 51 VOTES TO TAKE THE POSITION AS SOLICITOR OF LABOR. SO THAT'S WHERE WE ARE. WE'RE IN THIS 30 HOURS. AGAIN, IT RAISES A QUESTION IN MY MIND WHY ARE WE CHEWING UP 30 HOURS? WE KNOW THE VOTES ARE THERE. WE VOTED ON CLOTURE LAST NIGHT. AND YET, OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE ARE INSISTING THAT WE JUST CHEW UP TIME. FOR WHAT PURPOSE? WE'VE GOT THE LIGHTS GOING, THE HEAT'S ON, ALL OUR STAFFS ARE HERE, AND NO ONE ELSE IS ON THE FLOOR. SO WHY DO WE RUN THESE 30 HOURS AND WASTE TAXPAYERS' MONEY AND WASTE ALL THIS TIME WHEN WE KNOW WHAT THE VOTE'S GOING TO BE? WE'VE BEEN THROUGH ALL THIS. PATRICIA SMITH HAS HAD HER HEARINGS. I THOUGHT WE HAD A PRETTY GOOD DEBATE YESTERDAY. THE REPUBLICANS LAID OUT THEIR SIDE. WE LAID OUT OUR SIDE. WE HAD THE VOTE. AND NOW IT'S TIME TO MOVE AHEAD AND HAVE THE FINAL VOTE AND GET THIS PERSON TO WORK DOWN AT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. SO, AGAIN, I JUST SAY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WATCHING HERE, WE ARE AGAIN IN ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE FILIBUSTERS. WELL, WE STOPPED THE FILIBUSTER. NOW WE'RE IN THIS 30 HOURS AFTERWARDS, WHICH WE DON'T REALLY NEED. EVERYTHING THAT'S BEENICALLY BEEN SAID ABOUT PATRICIA SMITH -- THAT'S BASICALLY BEEN SAID ABOUT PATRICIA SMITH HAS BEEN SAID. SHE'S APPEARED BEFORE THE COMMITTEE, SHE'S ANSWERED QUESTIONS. THE RECORD IS THERE. THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO THAT'S GOING TO COME OUT. EVERYTHING IS THERE. AND ALL OF OUR SENATORS KNOW THAT. BUT THE RULES ARE THE RULES, AND THE REPUBLICANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO INVOKE THE RULES. AND SO EVIDENTLY THEY'VE INVOKED THE RULE TO CHEW UP 30 HOURS. WELL, IT'S JUST A SHAME THAT WE HAVE TO WASTE OUR TIME LIKE THIS. MR. PRESIDENT, AS LONG AS WE'RE CHEWING UP THE TIME AND REPUBLICANS ARE INSISTING THAT WE KEEP THE LIGHTS ON AND HEAT ON AND KEEP EVERYBODY AROUND FOR 30 HOURS, THEN I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE SOME MORE REMARKS ON BEHALF OF PATRICIA SMITH AND WHERE WE FIND OURSELVES. AS I SAID, I'M VERY GRATEFUL TO OUR COLLEAGUES FOR THE VOTE LAST NIGHT TO END DEBATE, TO INVOKE CLOTURE. WE'VE DEVOTED VERY AMPLE TIME TO OUR DELIBERATIONS ON PATRICIA SMITH. IT'S NOW TIME TO ACT. THERE'S NO QUESTION WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE RECORD AND THE FACTS, THE FACTS AND THE RECORD THAT PATRICIA SMITH IS ABUNDANTLY QUALIFIED TO SERVE AS SOLICITOR OF LABOR. SHE HAS AN IMPRESSIVE BACKGROUND IN LABOR LAW AND A DEMONSTRATED RECORD OF ACHIEVEMENT IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK. MORE IMPORTANTLY, SHE CLEARLY HAS A DEEP AND PASSIONATE RECORD FOR HELPING AMERICAN WORKERS. I CAN THINK OF NO BETTER QUALIFICATION FOR THIS POSITION. THERE'S ALSO NO QUESTION THAT COMMISSIONER SMITH -- AND I USE THE WORD COMMISSIONER SMITH BECAUSE SHE IS COMMISSIONER OF LABOR FOR THE STATE OF NEW YORK. THERE IS NO QUESTION COMMISSIONER SMITH HAS BEEN THROUGH A THOROUGH VETTING PROCESS. THE MATTER HAS BEEN BEFORE US SINCE LAST APRIL. SHE'S TESTIFIED IN COMMITTEE HEARING, ANSWERED MORE THAN 50 WRITTEN QUESTIONS AND MET WITH ANY SENATOR THAT WANTED TO MEET WITH HER. HER NOMINATION WAS DEBATED EXTENSIVELY IN OUR COMMITTEE, QUITE FRANKLY. IT'S NOW BEING DEBATED ON THE SENATE FLOOR, A STEP THAT IN PREVIOUS CONGRESSES WAS OFFERED FOR JUDGES WHO GET LIFETIME APPOINTMENTS, NOT FOR SOMEONE WHO IS GOING TO BE SOLICITOR OF LABOR AT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. IT IS TIME TO BRING DISCUSSIONS TO AN END AND LET COMMISSIONER SMITH START DOING HER JOB. I LISTENED VERY CAREFULLY TO THE ARGUMENTS RAISED BY MY COLLEAGUES YESTERDAY AGAINST COMMISSIONER SMITH'S NOMINATION. WHILE I THINK WE CAN SPEND QUITE AWHILE DEBATING ABOUT WHICH E-MAILS SHE WAS COPIED, WHICH STAFFERS SHOULD HAVE KEPT HER IN THE LOOP AND ALL THAT, I CAN'T HELP BUT CONCLUDE THAT THIS DEBATE FUNDAMENTALLY, FUNDAMENTALLY COMES DOWN TO A DISAGREEMENT ABOUT WHETHER THIS WAGE WATCH PROGRAM THAT WAS INSTITUTED BY THE NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AS A PILOT PROGRAM, WHETHER OR NOT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA OR NOT. IT KIND OF COMES DOWN TO THAT. I'LL HAVE MORE TO SAY ABOUT WHAT I THINK IT COMES DOWN TO IN A MINUTE. MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE -- AND I READ THE RECORD -- HAVE USED SOME PRETTY SCARY WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS PILOT PROGRAM. THEY CALLED IT -- QUOTE -- "ENTRAPMENT, SREUPBLG LAN ISM -- VIGILANTISM." THEY SAY IT DEPUTIZES ACTIVIST GROUPS TO INTRUDE ON SMALL BUSINESS. THEY SAY IT IS LIKE THE MINUTE MEN WHO TRY TO PATROL OUR BORDERS WITH GUNS. REQUEST THERE -- IF THERE IS EVEN ONE SCINTILLA OF EVIDENCE THAT IS WHAT THIS PROGRAM IS ABOUT, I WOULD BE ALARMED TOO. BUT IT'S NOT. AGAIN, LET'S LOOK AT THE DOCUMENTS. LET'S GET THE FACTS OUT. THE AGREEMENT THAT PARTICIPATING GROUPS SIGNED TO JOIN THIS WAGE WATCH, I THINK IS A GOOD DESCRIPTION OF WHAT WAGE WATCH VOLUNTEERS DID. AND HERE'S THE AGREEMENT THAT GROUPS WHO AGREED TO GET INVOLVED IN THAT AGREED TO. 1 -- CONDUCT OUTREACH TO THE PUBLIC ABOUT LABOR LAWS, HANDING OUT BROCHURES, ET CETERA. IN FORMAL AND INFORMAL SETTINGS, FOR EXAMPLE, AT ORGANIZED FESTIVALS, NEIGHBORHOOD OR GROUP MEET, OTHER ORGANIZED EVENTS. ... BUS AND SUBWAY STOPS, LIBRARIES, SUPERMARKETS OR SIMILAR LOCATIONS. REQUESTS "2, PROVIDES SEMINARS OR INFORMATIONAL SESSIONS TO THE PUBLIC. THIRD, SET UP AND STAFF TABLES AT EVENTS FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING INFORMATION TO THE PUBLIC AND ANSWERING QUESTIONS REGARDING THE LABOR LAW. NEXT, OBTAIN INFORMATION REGARDING POTENTIAL LABOR LAW VIOLATIONS FROM PARTIES FAMILIAR WITH THE VIOLATIONS. AND LAST, FILL OUT BASIC COMPLAINT FORMS REGARDING POTENTIAL LABOR LAW VIOLATIONS AND PASS THEM ON TO THE DEPARTMENT. NOTHING ILLEGAL, NOTHING UNETHICAL, INFORMATIONAL, AND CERTAINLY DON'T WE WANT PEERNLINGS ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO ARE AT THE LOWEST END OF THE ECONOMIC LADDER -- AND THIS IS WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE MORE THAN ANYTHING; THESE ARE PEOPLE THAT ARE WORKING AT MINIMUM-WAGE JOBS, BARELY MAYBE ABOVE MINIMUM WAGE; THEY'RE SORT OF THE WORKFORCE YOU GO BY BH YOU GO BY THE DOOR OF A RESTAURANT OR THEY ARE BEAK IN THE KITCHEN OR -- OR THEY'RE BACK IN THE KITCHEN OR THEY'RE PERHAPS IN A RETAIL INDUSTRY DOING HER THIRNTION THE JANITORS YOU DON'T SEE AT NIGHT WHO ARE CLEANING UP YOUR BUSINESS PLACES, A NUMBER OF PEOPLE LIKE THAT THAT JUST, AGAIN, THAT ARE AT MINIMUM WAGE, THEY PROBABLY DON'T BELONG TO ANY ORGANIZED LABOR UNION, AND MANY OF THEM HAVE LIMITED LANGUAGE SKILLS, AND THEY'RE JUST TRYING TO GET BY AND RAISE THEIR FAMILIES. AND SO WE ARE ETRYING TO GET INFORMATION TO THEM ABOUT WHAT THEIR RIGHTS ARE. MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES FEEL THAT THAT'S WRONG TO INFORM PEOPLE ABOUT WHAT THEIR RIGHTS ARE UNDER THE LAW? AND, SURELY, THEY DON'T WANT TO SAY THAT IF YOU FIND VIOLATIONS OF LAWS THAT HAVE TO DO WITH SAFETY OR EVEN HEALTH OR WAGES, THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE BEING SKIMMED ON THEIR MINIMUM WAGE AREN'T BEING PAID THE MINIMUM WAGE, WHO ARE WORKING OVERTIME AND NOT BEING PAID OVERTIME, ARE THEY SAYING NO ONE SHOULD REPORT THAT, THAT WE SHOULD JUST KEEP HANDS OFF? SURELY, THAT'S NOT WHAT MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES ARE SAYING, IS IT? WELL, AGAIN, THESE ARE NOT RADICAL ACTIONS THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. IT'S EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH DESIGNED TO EMPOWER WORKERS, PROTECT THEIR RIGHTS, GIVE THEM INFORMATION. EVERYTHING THAT'S ON THIS CHART CAN BE DONE BY ANY PRIVATE CITIZEN ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. NOW, STAFF ON THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IN THEIR E-MAILS THAT WE WE SAW, MEAF CALLED THIS AN ENFORCERS' -- MAY HAVE CALLED THIS AN ENFORCERS' PROGRAM WHEN THEY WERE BRAIN-STORING ABOUT THE PROJECT. BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT IT WAS. THEY WERE IN THE CONDUCTING INVESTIGATIONS. THEY HAD NO ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY. THEY COULDN'T DEMAND TO SEE A BUSINESS BOOKS OR ACCESS PRIVATE PROPERTY. AND COMMISSIONER SMITH THAT I HAD THIS VERY CLEAR IN HER OWN DESCRIPTIONS OF THE PROGRAM. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT E-MAILS AND STUFF. I SAW SOME OF THE CHARTS THAT WERE PUT UP BY MY FRIEND FROM WYOMING YESTERDAY. ALL THOSE WERE FROM PEOPLE OTHER THAN COMMISSIONER SMITH. BUT LET'S LOOK AND SEE WHAT SUBMISSIONCOMMISSIONER SMITH TODAY. ON JANUARY 15, 2009, LOOK AT HER WORDS, NOT SOMEBODY ELSE'S. HERE'S WHATHERE'S WHAT SAID. "THE WAGE WATCH GROUPS WILL CONDUCT ACTIVITIES WHICH PROMOTE LABOR LAW COMPLIANCE. ... INCLUDING HANDING OUT LEAFLETS ABOUT LABOR LAWS TO WORKERS AT COMMUNITY EVENTS OR SRP SUPERMARKETS; GIVING "KNOW YOUR RIGHTS TRAINING" TO WORKERS AT COMMUNITY EVENTS. TALKING TO WORKERS AT RESTAURANTS AND OTHER BUSINESSES OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE GROUPS AND INDIVIDUAL WHOSE PARTICIPATE AT WAGE WATCHERS WILL NOT BE AGENTS EMPLOYEES OR OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVES OF THE LABOR DEPARTMENT. ER IN NOT REPLACING STAVMENT. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO BE CONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS OF ANY KIND. THEIR ROLE IS LIMITED TO DOING OUTREACH AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION AND TO REPORTING ANY VIOLATIONS THEY ENCOUNTER TO THE DIVISION. NOW THAT'S FROM COMMISSIONER SMITH. BUT I DIDN'T SEE ANYBODY ON THE OTHER SIDE PUT UP THAT CHART YESTERDAY. AND CHARTS FROM OTHER PEOPLE. BUT NOT FROM THE COMMISSIONER SMITH. AGAIN, WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT, THESE WAGE WATCH PEOPLE, ALL THEY COULD DO WAS TALK TO PEOPLE WHO WERE WILLING TO TALK TO THEM, HAND OUT FLIERS. IS THIS VIJ L.A.N. TISM RUN AMOK? HARDLY. IT IS SIMPLY VOLUNTEERS WHO ARE WILLING TO TAKE TIME OUT OF THEIR DAY -- AND I REPEAT, VOLUNTEERS -- BECAUSE THEY CARE ABOUT LOW-WAGE WORKERS AND THEY WANT TO HELP THEM. I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW THIS HARMLESS, GENEROUS FORM OF OUTREACH COULD POSSIBLY BE OBJECTIONABLE. UNFORTUNATELY, MY COLLEAGUES ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE HAVE USED THIS PROGRAM TO TRY TO TARNISH COMMISSIONER SMITH'S IMPRESSIVE AND IMPECCABLE REPUTATION. THEY CLAIM SHE'S ANTIBUSINESS. THEY CLAIM SHE'S TRYING TO CLOSE COMPANIES AND PUT WORKERS OUT OF A JOB. WELL, THESE CHARGES ARE TOTALLY UNFOUNDED. THERE IS NO BASIS FOR THOSE CHARGES AT ALL, NOT A SCINTILLA OF EVIDENCE ABOUT THOSE CHARGES. IN FACT, THEY'RE EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT A RECORD AT THE NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF LABOR SHOWS. PATRICIA SMITH HAS DEDICATED LAST SEVERAL YEARS OF HER LIFE TO HELPING WORKERS FIND JOBS AND KEEP JOBS. SINCE TAKING OVER AS COMMISSIONER, SMITH AS SPEARHEADED A $4.25 MILLION INITIATIVE TO PREPARE NEW YORKERS FOR JOBS IN EMERGING AND GREEN TECHNOLOGIES. SHE'S REVAMPED THE STATE'S UNEMPLOYMENT RHEE TRAINING PROGRAMS TO ALLOW MORE WORKERS TO GET APPROVED FOR TRAINING DOLLARS AT THE SAME TIME THEY'RE COLLECTING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. SHE'S PROMOTED THE STATE'S SHARED TRAINING PROGRAM WHICH GIVES BUSINESSES AN ALTERNATIVE TO LAYOFFS AS THEY FACE A TEMPORARY DEKLAIN IN BUSINESS. INCREASE THE NUMBER OF BUSINESSES PARTICIPATING TO 1,620 IN 2009. THESE JUST A FEW OF HER MANY IMPRESSIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN THE AREA OF JOB TRAINING AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT. BUT WHERE COMMISSIONER SMITH REALLY GAINED HER REPUTATION AS ONE OF THE FINIST LABOR LAWYERS IN THE COUNTRY IS IN THE AREA OF ENFORCEMENT. SHE IS COMMITTED TO PROTECTING WORKERS' RIGHTS. IN 2008, THE NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF LABOR COLLECTED $24.6 MILLION IN BACK WAGES FOR 17,000 WORKERS ACROSS THE STATE. THIS WAS A 37% INCREASE IN COLLECTIONS FROM PREVIOUS YEARS AND SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED THE COMPLIANCE RATE AMONG EMPLOYERS. NOW, WOULD SOMEONE ON THE OTHER SIDE SAY SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE THAT? THAT WE SHOULD HAVE ALLOWED THESE PEOPLE TO BE CHEATED OUT OF $24.6 MILLION IN BACK WAGES, JUST SORT OF WASH OUR HANDS OF IT AND MOVE ON? THAT'S NOT ONLY UNFAIR TO THE WORKERS; IT IS UNFAIR TO THE THOUSANDS OF BUSINESSES IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK THAT COMPLY WITH THE LAW. THAT PAY FAIR WAGES, THAT PAY OVERTIME PAY. THERE'S MORE OF THEM THAN THE OTHERS. THE VAST MAJORITY OF BUSINESSES COMPLY WITH THE LAW. THERE'S ALWAYS A FEW TRYING TO SKIM IT, CUT CORNERS, FIGURE OUT THEY'LL NEVER BE CAUGHT. USUALLY, AS I SAID, IT AEFFECTS OUR LOWEST-WAGE WORKERS. IT IS UNFAIR TO THE LEGITIMATE BUSINESSES IN NEW YORK. THAT'S WHY SO MANY BUSINESS GROUPS SUPPORT PATRICIA SMITH. WE GOT LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION FROM BUSINESS GROUPS IN NEW YORK TALKING ABOUT HOW SHE LISTENS, HOW SHE WORKS WITH THEM, HOW FAIR SHE IS IN ENFORCING THE LAWS. SO WHEN SOMEONE OVER THERE SAYS, WELL, MAYBE SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN DOING THAT, IS THAT WHAT THEY'RE SAYING, THAT SHE SHOULDN'T BE THAT AGGRESSIVE IN GOING AFTER BACK WAGES? WELL, I DON'T THINK THE LEGITIMATE BUSINESSES WOULD SAY THAT THIS WAS UNFAIR. THEY WOULD SAY, YES, GO AFTER THOSE PEOPLE THAT ARE GIVING US A BAD NAME AND, QUITE FRANKLY, UNFAIRLY COMPETING AGAINST US. SO THOSE ARE IMPRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENTS. MAYBE THAT'S THE REASON SOME OF OUR COLLEAGUES ARE AFRAID OF HER BEING SOLICITOR. THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT SHE WILL BE A SOLICITOR WHO WILL ENFORCE THE LAW. BUT SHE'LL DO IT FAIRLY AND REASONABLY. BUT ALSO MAKE SURE THERE ARE REAL PENALTIES FOR TAKING MONEY OUST WORKERS' POCKETS OR PUTTING WORKERS' LIVES AT RISK. AND I GUESS THAT REALLY IS WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO. DO WE WANT A SOLICIT THEIRS WILLING TO GO THE EXTRA MILE, TRY NEW APPROACHES, TRY NEW IDEAS IF IT'LL HELP PROTECT WORKERS' RIGHTS? WELL, I BELIEVE WE DO. THAT'S WHAT WE NEED IN THESE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMINGS. I'VE LOOKED AT THIS WAGE WATCH PILOT PROGRAM. QUITE FRANKLY, I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE RESULTS -- SINCE IT WAS A PILOT PROGRAM THAT'S NOW BEING ASSESSED -- BUT, QUITE FRANKLY, I WOULD BE AN ENERGETIC SUPPORTER OF THAT KIND OF AN APPROACH. FOR PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY WHO SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE, LIVE IN THE SAME NEIGHBORHOOD, GOES TO THE SAME CHURCHES, WHOSE FAMILIES INTERCONNECT, BUT WHO ARE ON THE LOWEST RUNGS OF THE ECONOMIC LADDER -- I WOULD BE IN FAVOR OF GIVING THEM INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT THEIR RIGHTS ARE WHEN THEY GO TO WORK EVERY DAY. ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO WORK OVERTIME AND HOW MUCH THEY SHOULD BE PAID FOR OVERTIME AND WHAT THE MINIMUM WAGE IS AND HOW THEY SHOULD BE PAID THE MINIMUM WAGE. YES, AND ALSO WHAT SAFETY IS. I MEAN, ARE THEY WORK AROUND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND THEY'RE NOT BEING ADEQUATELY PROTECTED? IS THEIR HEALTH BEING ENDANGERED? THEY OUGHT TO KNOW THOSE THINGS. AND SO MANY PEOPLE DON'T. AGAIN, AS I SAID YESTERDAY, WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WORKING ON WALL STREET ON HEDGE FUNDS. WE ARE ENOT TALKING ABOUT C.P.A.'S AND ACCOUNTANTS AND LAWYERS AND INVESTMENT BANKERS. WE'RE INTO THE TALKING ABOUT 0 -- WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT SENATORS AND OUR STAFFS AND PEOPLE LIKE THAT THAT HAVE ALL THIS KNOWLEDGE. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE THAT DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT THEIR RIGHTS ARE. THEY'RE JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE. THEY'RE HAPPY TO HAVE A MINIMUM-WAGE JOB. THEY'RE HAPPY TO KEEP THEIR FAMILIES TOGETHER AND HOPE AND DREAM THAT THEIR KIDS WILL HAVE A BETTER LIFE THAN WHAT THEY'VE HAD. SO, AGAIN, THIS WAGE WATCH, TO ME, I HOPE -- I DON'T KNOW -- I HOPE THAT IT PROVED OUT THAT IT WAS SUCCESSFUL. QUITE FRANKLY, I THINK THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE SHOULD EMULATE EMULATE. MY COLLEAGUES ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE SEEM TO WANT TO DENIGRATE IT, SAY THIS IS VIGILANTISM AND MINUTEMEN. SOMEONE DPAIRD TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH. BUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAM, PEOPLE CAN'T GO INTO PEOPLE'S HOMES. WELL, NONE OF THESE PEOPLE THAT WERE ON THE WAGE WATCH COULD GO INTO A PRIVATE BUSINESS, UNLESS THEY WERE ALLOWED TO. THEY COULDN'T ASK FOR BOOKS TO SEE WHAT THE LEDGERS ARE LIKE OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. THEY COULD GO INTO A STORE THAT WAS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. THEY COULD GO INTO A WAL-MART OR SUPERMARKET OR PLACES LIKE THAT WHERE THE GENERAL PUBLIC COULD GO. THEY COULDN'T GO INTO A PRIVATE BUSINESS WHERE THEY WERE -- PEOPLE WERE WORKING IF THE GENERAL PUBLIC WASN'T ALLOWED TO GO IN THERE. SO, AGAIN, ALL THE KIND OF COMPARE SON, THE -- THE COMPARISON, THE VIGITANTISM FROM THE OTHER SIDE, THESE ARE WORDS THAT ARE INTENDED TO PUT FEAR INTO PEOPLE. LET'S BE FRANK ABOUT IT, FEAR. FEAR. MAKE THEM AFRAID. WELL, IF THEY COULD JUST SHOW AN EXAMPLE OF THAT, MAYBE WE COULD LOOK AT IT. THERE ARE EXAMPLES OF IT ANYWHERE. WELL, MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE ALSO RAISED QUESTIONS ABOUT CERTAIN MISREPRESENTATIONS. THEY SAY THAT COMMISSIONER SMITH GAVE TO THE COMMITTEE. I WILL NEVER MINIMIZE THAT. I THINK WHEN PEOPLE TESTIFY BEFORE COMMITTEES, THEY SHOULD DO SO HONESTLY AND OPENLY. BUT I ALSO KNOW THAT HUMAN BEINGS MAKE MISTAKES. I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MANY TIMES I'VE BEEN AT A COMMITTEE HEARING WHEN I HEARD A QUESTION AND THE PERSON THAT WAS BEING QUESTIONED HEARD IT DIFFERENTLY THAN I HEARD IT. WE DON'T ALWAYS HEAR THINGS THE SAME. AND SO WHAT YOU DO IS YOU'RE ABLE TO CORRECT THE RECORD. AND GUESS WHAT? WE DO THEAFER DAY HERE, DON'T WE? I'M STANDING HERE SPEAK. THE REPORTER IS TAKE IT DOWN. HE'S DOING A GREAT JOB, AIM A SURE OF THAT. BUT GUESS WHAT? SOMETIMES MISTAKES ARE MADE. I MAY SAY A WORD. THE REPORTER, HE SAYS, THAT GUY HARKIN, HE SPEAKS WITH THAT IOWA LINGO AND I DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT MIDWEST LINGO OF HIS. AND SO THEY PUT IT DOWN. AND SO THAT'S WHY WE HAVE A RECORD. AND OUR STAFFS GO BACK TO THE RECORD. I GO TO THE RECORD. AND WE "CORRECT THE RECORD." WE ALL DO THAT EVERY DARE AROUND HERE SIMPLY BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE HUMAN AND PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES. WHEN WE HAVE A HEARING IN FRONT OF A COMMITTEE AND SOMEONE ASKS A QUESTION, THE WITNESS ANSWERS IT, AND WE FIND OUT THAT THE ANSWER QUITE WASN'T CORRECT, WE GO BACK TO THE WITNESS AND SAY, WHAT'S THIS ALL ABOUT? HERE WAS A QUESTION, HERE WAS YOUR ANSWER, BUT WE HAVE DIFFERENT INFORMATION. WELL, THE WITNESS IS ABLE TO LOOK AT THAT AND CORRECT THE RECORD AND THAT'S WHAT PATRICIA SMITH DID. OBVIOUSLY SHE HEARD THE QUESTION ONE WAY.IFFERENT WAY. BUT SHE CORRECTED THE RECORD. AND, AGAIN, KEEP IN MIND NO ONE ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE IS ALLEGING THAT SHE DID THIS TO COVER UP AN ILLEGAL ACTIVITY OR TO COVER UP SOMETHING NEFARIOUS OR TO COVER UP SOMETHING THAT WAS UNETHICAL. NO, THERE WAS NO ALLEGATIONS OF THAT ON THAT SIDE BECAUSE IT'S SIMPLY NOT TRUE. SHE MADE A SIMPLE MISTAKE, SHE CORRECTED IT. THERE WERE TWO TIMES WHEN THAT HAPPENED AND ONE WAS SIMPLY BECAUSE AT THAT POINT IN TIME SHE DIDN'T HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION SHE SHOULD HAVE IT HAD AND WHEN SHE WENT BACK TO HER STAFF IN NEW YORK, SHE FOUND OUT A DIFFERENT -- A DIFFERENT THING AND CORRECTED THE RECORD AT THAT POINT. AS I SAID, WE DO THAT ALL THE TIME AROUND HERE AND WE DON'T THINK ANYTHING ABOUT IT. THE REPUBLICANS DO IT. THE DEMOCRATS DO IT. WE CORRECT THE RECORD ALL THE TIME. SIMPLY BECAUSE HUMAN BEINGS ARE HUMAN BEINGS AND PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES. NOW, THERE'S BEEN A LOT MADE ON THE IDEA OF WHETHER THIS IDEA CAME FROM WITHIN HER STAFF OR CAME FROM THE OUTSIDE. WELL, AGAIN, THAT WAS ONE OF THE DEBATES ABOUT THIS. SHE HAD TESTIFIED IN THE HEARING THAT THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT CAME UP FROM WITHIN HER DEPARTMENT. WELL, UNBEKNOWNST TO HER, SOME OF HER STAFF LOWER DOWN TALKED TO OUTSIDE GROUPS AND DISCUSSED THE WAGE HOUR, WAGE WATCH PROGRAM AND PRESENTED IT TO COMMISSIONER SMITH. WELL, MY RESPONSE ON THAT IS, WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? SO WHAT? SO WHAT IF SOME OUTSIDE GROUPS WERE INVOLVED IN THIS. AGAIN, WAS IT ILLEGAL? 'TWAS UNETHICAL? WAS IT UNDERHANDED? NO. PERFECTLY LEGAL. SO I DARE SAY ALL OF US SENATORS MEET WITH OUTSIDE GROUPS ALL THE TIME. THEY COME IN AND SEE US. TALK ABOUT PROGRAMS. TALK ABOUT HOW WE SHOULD BE DOING THINGS. THAT'S ONE OF OUR FUNCTION HERE IS TO LISTEN TO OUTSIDE PEOPLE AND GET BETTER IDEAS. THIS WOULD BE A SORRY PLACE IF ALL WE DID WAS TALK TO ONE ANOTHER. IT'S A GOOD THING WE'RE TALKING TO PEOPLE ON THE OUTSIDE. SO WHETHER THE PROGRAM WAS SUGGESTED BY ONE OF OUR -- ONE OF HER STAFF OR BY AN OUTSIDE GROUP, I SAY SO WHAT -- SO WHAT? SHE HAPPENED TO THINK IT CAME FROM WITHIN HER DEPARTMENT. AND LATER FOUND OUT THAT PEOPLE IN HER DEPARTMENT TALKED TO PEOPLE ON THE OUTSIDE. OKAY. SO SHE CORRECTED THE RECORD. SO WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? THEN THERE WAS THE QUESTION ABOUT EXPANDING THE PROGRAM. WELL, I WOULD SAY, HONESTLY, COMMISSIONER -- DID COMMISSIONER SMITH WANT TO EXPAND THE PROGRAM? SURE. AS LONG AS IT PROVED TO BE SUCCESSFUL, THAT WHAT A PILOT PROGRAM'S FOR. OBVIOUSLY SHE THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO PUT THE PILOT PROGRAM IN. THE WHOLE POINT OF THE PILOT PROGRAM IS TO EXPAND IT IF IT'S SUCCESSFUL. NOW, AGAIN, IT HAD TO DO WITH CONVERSATIONS -- THERE WAS A QUESTION ABOUT HAD SHE HAD CONVERSATIONS ABOUT EXPANDING THE PROGRAM. AND THEREON WAS ANOTHER -- THEREIN WAS ANOTHER LITTLE PROBLEM. THEY THOUGHT DID SHE HAVE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT AUTHORIZING AND EXPANDING THE PROGRAM? AND SHE HAD NOT HAD ANY AUTHORIZED ANY EXPANSIONS OF THE PROGRAM WHATSOEVER. BUT, OF COURSE, YOU TALK ABOUT, WELL, IF IT'S SUCCESSFUL, SURE I'D LIKE TO EXPAND IT. IN FACT, I WOULD POINT OUT TO THIS DAY SHE HAS NEVER AUTHORIZED AN EXPANSION OF THE PROGRAM. WHY? BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE ALL THE DATA AND HAVEN'T THOROUGHLY EVALUATED THE SUCCESS OF THIS PRIVATE PROGRAM. I THINK THAT'S WHAT A RESPONSIBLE LEADER DOES. LASTLY, THERE'S SOME ALLEGATION THAT THE WAGE WATCH PROGRAM WAS USED BY UNIONS AS AN ORGANIZING TOOL. WELL, AGAIN, IS ANYONE ON THIS SIDE ALLEGING THAT THAT IS ILLEGAL? UNETHICAL? NEFARIOUS IN SOME WAY? UNDERHANDED? I DON'T HEAR SOME ALLEGATIONS. BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT SO. QUITE FRANKLY, I DON'T THINK THERE WOULD BE ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. BUT, COMMISSIONER SMITH TOOK ALL THE APPROPRIATE STEPS TO ENSURE THAT UNIONS SEPARATED THEIR ORGANIZING ACTIVITIES FROM VOLUNTEER WITH WAGE WATCH. AS FAR AS I KNOW, AND I HAVE SEEN NO EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY THAT HER INSTRUCTIONS, THAT THEY WERE FOLLOWED. I HAVE SEEN NO EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY. SO I HOPE THAT OUR DEBATE AND WHAT I HAD BEEN ABLE TO SAY AND PUT IN THE RECORD WILL PUT TO REST ANY CONCERNS THAT COLLEAGUES MAY HAVE ABOUT MS. SMITH'S HONESTY AND HER INTEGRITY. HER HONESTY AND HER INTEGRITY. -- ARE UNASSAILABLE. IS SHE INFALLIBLE? IS SHE INFALLIBLE? NEVER MAKES A MISTAKE? WELL, I -- I DON'T KNOW OF ANY LIVING HUMAN BEINGS THAT CAN SAY THAT. BUT DOES SHE RECOGNIZE IT AND DOES SHE CORRECT IT? ABSOLUTELY. JUST AS WE ALL DO. WELL, I -- AGAIN -- AGAIN, HONESTY AND INTEGRITY, UNASSAILABLE. AND HER PERFORMANCE AS COMMISSIONER OF LABOR IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK. AND, AGAIN, I ALWAYS POINT OUT THAT THIS PILOT PROJECT WAS A A $6,000 PILOT PROJECT. SHE WAS IN CHARGE OF RUNNING AN AGENCY WITH AN $11 BILLION, THAT'S SPELLED WITH A "B," "B," $11 BILLION BUDGET. 4,000 EMPLOYEES ACROSS THE STATE OF NEW YORK. THIS WAS A $6,000 PILOT PROJECT. YOU'VE GOT TO KIND OF KEEP THAT IN PERSPECTIVE AS TO HOW HIGH IT WAS ON HER -- ON HER VIEWING SCREEN. WELL, QUITE FRANKLY, I THINK THIS WHOLE DELAY FROM LAST APRIL WOULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IF MORE OF MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE HAD TAKEN TIME TO SIT DOWN WITH COMMISSIONER SMITH, TALKED WITH HER, AND HEAR HER SIDE OF THE STORY. I ALSO THINK IT WOULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IF THEY READ ALL THE LETTERS OF SUPPORT FROM BUSINESS GROUPS IN NEW YORK. FROM THE ATTORNEYS -- THE DISTRICT ATTORNEYS IN NEW YORK REPRESENTING ALL DIFFERENT POLITICAL PARTIES AND IDEOLOGIES. ALL THESE ATTORNEYS SAYING SHE DOES A GREAT JOB. AND IF THEY JUST LOOKED AT HER RECORD. WELL, I DID. I LOOKED AT HER RECORD. I'VE SPOKEN WITH HER. I'VE READ THE TRANSCRIPTS. I LOOK -- AT THE BACKGROUND OF ALL OF THIS. I CAN SAY WITH UTMOST CONFIDENCE, NEVER DID SHE HAVE ANY INTENTION OF MISLEADING THE COMMITTEE. WHY? THIS WAS A PERFECTLY LEGAL, ABOVE THE BOARD PROJECT. WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO MISLEAD ANYBODY ABOUT? -- ABOUT IT? SHE HAS EVERY INTENTION OF DEDICATING HER LIFE TO BE THE BEST, MOST EFFECTIVE SOLICITOR OF LABOR THAT SHE CAN POSSIBLY BE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, OUR NATION IS VERY FORTUNATE TO HAVE PUBLIC SERVICE OF THIS CALIBER. I MEAN, YOU KNOW, YOU LOOK AT, THIS YOU KNOW, I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT PATRICIA SMITH, WITH HER LEGAL SKILLS, HER MANAGERIAL SKILLS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR COULD BE MAKING A LOT OF MONEY. I HAVE NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT. BUT SHE HAS CHOSEN A DIFFERENT CAREER PATH -- TO BE A PUBLIC SERVANT. A PUBLIC SERVANT. TO DEDICATE HER LIFE TO HELPING PEOPLE FOR WHOM THERE ISN'T A LOT OF GOVERNMENT HELP. AND NO ONE'S STICKING UP FOR THEM. PEOPLE AT THE BOTTOM END OF THE LADDER. AND, TO ME, THIS IS ONE OF THE HIGHEST CAUTION I THINK THAT ANYONE CAN DO IN OUR -- CALLINGS THAT I THINK THAT ANYONE CAN DO IN OUR SOCIETY TO BE A PUBLIC SERVANT. I THINK OUR NATION IS VERY FORTUNATE TO HAVE THIS KIND OF PERSON IN PATRICIA SMITH FOR THIS CRITICAL POSITION. I LOOK FORWARD TO HER SWIFT CONFIDENTIAL. I WOULD HOPE THAT WE WOULDN'T HAVE TO DRAG OUT 30 HOURS, BUT IT SEEMS LIKE THE REPUBLICANS ARE INTENT ON WASTING TIME. THERE'S NOTHING HAPPENING HERE. ANYBODY CAN SEE THAT. ANYBODY WATCHING ON C-SPAN CAN SEE NOTHING'S HAPPENING HERE, AND WE JUST WASTE TIME. WE COULD HAVE THE VOTE NOW. WE COULD HAVE THE VOTE IN 20 MINUTES. NOTHING WOULD CHANGE. BUT WE HAVE THE 30 HOURS AND I GUESS WE HAVE TO WASTE IT. BUT I WANTED TO TAKE THIS TIME, AGAIN, TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ONE MORE TIME ON PATRICIA SMITH. HER INTEGRITY, HER HONESTY, HER EXEMPLARY BACKGROUND AND THE FACT THAT SHE IS GOING TO BE AN OUTSTANDING SOLICITOR FOR DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THAT, I -- I HAVE SOME INSTRUCTIONS HERE. MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE 11 UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUESTS FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET DURING TODAY'S SESSION OF THE SENATE. THEY HAVE THE APPROVAL AND MAJORITY AND MINORITY LEADERS. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THESE REQUESTS BE AGREED TO AND THAT THE REQUESTS BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD.

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  • 12:10:27 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    AND, MR. PRESIDENT, I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 12:10:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 12:10:55 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 02:15:38 PM

    >>

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 02:25:02 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 02:25:27 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 02:39:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:39:42 PM

    MRS. GILLIBRAND

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE IN SUPPORT OF THE NOMINATION OF PATRICIA SMITH FOR…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE IN SUPPORT OF THE NOMINATION OF PATRICIA SMITH FOR SOLICITOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. COMMISSIONER SMITH IS A DYNAMIC AND EFFECTIVE LEADER WITH OVER 30 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN LABOR LAW, AND I'M VERY PROUD TO SUPPORT HER NOMINATION. SHE HAS EXHIBITED EXCEPTIONAL LEADERSHIP DURING HER TENURE AS NEW YORK'S LABOR COMMISSIONER. IN THIS CAPACITY, SHE MANAGED 3,700 EMPLOYEES IN 80 OFFICES AND OVERSAW AN ANNUAL BUDGET OF OF $11 BILLION. IN RESPONSE TO THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE, MRS. SMITH EXECUTED CRITICAL PROGRAMS TO REDUCE THE IMPACT OF LAYOFFS AND ALSO IMPLEMENTED CAREER TRAINING TO ASSIST INDIVIDUALS IN ENTERING HIGH-DEMAND FIELDS. ADDITIONALLY, SHE HAS ENHANCED LABOR LAW ENFORCEMENT IN ORDER TO SAFEGUARD WORKERS AND REWARD RESPONSIBLE EMPLOYERS. COMMISSIONER SMITH FULLY EMBODIES THE INTEGRITY AND THE DILIGENCE THAT THIS POSITION DEMANDS AND HAS A WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE, MAKING HER WELL QUALIFIED TO ENFORCE QUILT ISSUES SUCH AS WORKPLACE SAFETY AND HEALTH, FAIR WAGES, EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY, VETERANS' PROTECTION, AND RETIREMENT AND HEALTH BENEFITS. PRIOR TO HER TERM AS LABOR COMMISSIONER, SHE SERVED AS CHIEF OF THE LABOR BUREAU IN THE NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE FOR EIGHT YEARS. IN THAT CAPACITY, SHE ESTABLISHED A METHOD OF LABOR LAW ENFORCEMENT THAT OTHER ATTORNEY GENERALS AND ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES HAVE USED AS A MODEL. SHE WAS AN INNOVATIVE LEADER HERE, INCREASING EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE BUREAU BY DEVELOPING ETHICS STANDARDS, TARGETING ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS, AND ON A INDUSTRYWIDE BASIS AND STRATEGICALLY FOCUSING ON WORKERS. COMMISSIONER SMITH'S NOMINATION, WHICH HAS BEEN PENDING SINCE APRIL, WAS REPORTED WITH THE UNANIMOUS SUPPORT OF ALL COMMITTEE DEMOCRATS. ADDITIONALLY, SHE HAS THE ENTHUSIASTIC SUPPORT OF LABOR GROUPS, WOMEN'S GROUPS, AND WORKER ADVOCATES. A NUMBER OF PROMINENT BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS HAVE ALSO ENDORSED COMMISSIONER SMITH, INCLUDING THE BUSINESS COUNCIL OF NEW YORK, THE MANUFACTURING ASSOCIATION OF CENTRAL NEW YORK, THE PARTNERSHIP FOR NEW YORK, THE LONG ISLAND FORUM FOR TECHNOLOGY, AND THE PLATTSBURGH NORTH COUNTRY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. COMMISSIONER SMITH HAS ENDURED A RIGOROUS VETTING PROCESS AND HAS MADE HERSELF AVAILABLE TO ANSWER OVER 50 QUESTIONS FROM OUR FRIENDS FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE AND MET WITH ALL INTERESTED SENATORS. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO MOVE QUICKLY TO CONFIRM PATRICIA SMITH FOR SOLICITOR FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 02:43:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 02:44:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA.

  • 02:44:52 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE VACATED.

  • 02:44:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:44:57 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    MADAM PRESIDENT, WE'RE APPROACHING A ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE FATAL…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, WE'RE APPROACHING A ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE FATAL CRASH OF CONTINENTAL CONNECTION FLIGHT 3407 IN BUFFALO, NEW YORK, AND TODAY THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD IS ACTUALLY HOLDING A PUBLIC MEETING TO CONSIDER THE FINAL REPORT THAT THEY ARE MAKING ON THAT CRASH. I THINK ALMOST EVERYONE HAS HEARD THE TRAGIC STORY OF THAT CRASH LAST FEBRUARY 12. TWO PILOTS, TWO FLIGHT ATTENDANTS, 45 PASSENGERS ON THAT AIRPLANE, AND ONE PERSON ON THE GROUND ALL LOST THEIR LIVES. THIS FLIGHT WAS OPERATED BY COLGAN. THE PLANE WAS A BOMBARDIIER 8-200. OPERATED BY A CAP PAIN AND COPILOT -- CAP PAIN AND COPILOT -- CAPTAIN AND COBY COBY COPILOT. THEY REVEALED THEIR INEXPERIENCE IN THE COCKPIT I LISTENED TO. INEXPERIENCE IN THE VOICE RECORDINGS. THE CAPTAIN HAD FAILED A NUMBER OF TESTS IN HIS CAREER AS A PILOT. AND THE NTSB IS NOW CONSIDERING 45 FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS IN A PUBLIC MEETING AS I SPEAK. THIS MORNING, THE NTSB MEMBERS SAID THIS, THE PLANE AND THE FLIGHT CREW WERE PROPERLY CERTIFIED. THE PLANE WAS IN GOOD CONDITION BEFORE TAKEOFF. THEY ALSO SAID THAT THE ICE BUILDUP THAT NIGHT FLYING INTO BUFFALO WAS TYPICAL AND DID NOT AFFECT THE ABILITY OF THE FLIGHT CREW TO FLY THE AIRPLANE. SO WHILE WE ARE WAITING FOR THE FINAL CONCLUSIONS OF THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD, THE MEMBERS OF THAT BOARD SPOKE ABOUT CREW TRAINING, PILOT FATIGUE, AND PILOT ERROR AS REASONS FOR THE CRASH. AND THESE ARE THE ISSUES THAT I'VE BEEN HOLDING SOME HEARINGS ON IN THIS PAST YEAR. THE NTSB IS GOING TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE F.A.A. WE ALREADY KNOW THAT WHEN THEY MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS, THE APPROPRIATE AGENCIES DON'T ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, PILOT FATIGUE HAS CONTINUALLY BEEN ON THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTAION SAFETY BOARD'S MOST-WANTED LIST -- THAT IS, MOST-WANTED LIST OF SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR 19 YEARS. LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN. FOR 19 STRAIGHT YEARS, THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTAION SAFETY BOARD HAD SAID -- QUOTE -- "PILOT FATIGUE" IS ON THE MOST-WANTED SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS, AND YET NO ONE'S BEEN LISTENING. NO ONE SEEMED TO RING THE BELL ON THOSE ISSUES. I'VE HELD SEVEN HEARINGS ON SAFETY IN THE AVIATION SUBCOMMITTEE THAT I CHAIR IN THIS CONGRESS. WE'VE HEARD FROM THE F.A.A., THE NTSB, PILOTS, REGIONAL AIRLINES, MAJOR CARRIERS, SAFETY EXPERTS, AND WE'VE HEARD ESPECIALLY FROM THE FAMILIES WHO LOST THEIR LOVED ONES IN THAT FATAL CRASH, TRAGIC CRASH IN BUFFALO, NEW YORK. LET ME BE QUICK TO SAY THAT WE'VE HAD FORTUNATELY REASONABLY FEW AIRLINE CRASHES IN THIS COUNTRY IN RECENT YEARS. IT IS GENERALLY A VERY SAFE WAY TO TRAVEL. BUT THERE ISN'T ROOM FOR ERROR WITH RESPECT TO THESE AIRPLANE FLIGHTS, THE COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE FLIGHTS, AND I'M GOING TO BE HOLDING FOLLOW-UP HEARINGS WITH MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR ROCKEFELLER, AND OTHERS IN THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE WITH RESPECT TO THE NTSB RECOMMENDATIONS. WE ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE WHAT IS CALLED ONE LEVEL OF SAFETY, ONE LEVEL OF SAFETY -- QUOTES AROUND THAT. THE NTSB, SINCE THE MIDDLE OF THE 1990'S, SAID THERE IS ONE LEVEL OF SAFETY FOR COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE FLIGHTS IN THIS COUNTRY COUNTRY. THE BIG REGIONAL TRUNK CARRIERS -- EXCUSE ME, THE BIG MAJOR TRUNK CARRIERS THAT ARE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL AND THE REGIONAL CARRIERS SHALL HAVE ONE LEVEL OF SAFETY. BUT IT IS THE CASE THAT REGIONAL AIRLINES OFTEN EMPLOY PILOTS WITH MUCH, MUCH LESS EXPERIENCE, MUCH LOWER PAY, WHICH FORCES DIFFICULT CONDITIONS. IT IS THE CASE THAT IN MANY CASES, YOU GET ON A SMALL AIRPLANE FOR A REGIONAL FLIGHT AND YOU SEE A CREW WITH OBVIOUSLY MUCH LESS EXPERIENCE. AND THERE ARE QUESTIONS FROM TIME TO TIME RAISED ABOUT THE TRAINING, QUESTIONS RAISED IN THIS INVESTIGATION, AS A MATTER OF FACT. WE KNOW THERE ARE A LOT OF FACTORS THAT PLAY INTO THIS ONE LEVEL OF SAFETY, BUT I THINK MOST PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT ONE LEVEL OF SAFETY STANDARD REALLY AT THIS POINT DOESN'T QUITE MEASURE UP, AND THAT'S THE REASON I THINK WE WILL SEE SOME OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE NTSB AS A RESULT OF THIS CRASH. AT THE TIME OF THE CRASH OUTSIDE OF BUFFALO, NEW YORK, COLGAN AIR DID NOT HAVE A REMEDIAL TRAINING PROGRAM FOR PILOTS. THE CAPTAIN OF THE FLIGHT HAD FAILED NUMEROUS PERFORMANCE CHECKS OVER THE COURSE OF HIS CAREER AND WOULD HAVE MADE AN EXCELLENT CANDIDATE FOR REMEDIAL TRAINING. I KNOW THE F.A.A.'S BEEN WORKING ON THE INDUSTRY TO TRY TO GET THEM TO DO THIS FOR A LONG, LONG WHILE. IF THE TRAVELING PUBLIC EVER BEGINS TO HAVE VERY SIGNIFICANT CONCERNS ABOUT SAFETY ON A COMMERCIAL AIRLINE FLIGHT, IT'S GOING TO BE DEVASTATING TO THAT INDUSTRY. SO SAFETY MUST NOT JUST BE A PERCEPTION. SAFETY ON COMMERCIAL AIRLINES, WHETHER THEY BE THE MAJOR TRUNK CARRIERS OR THE REGIONAL YAIRLZ, HAS TO BE SOMETHING -- OR THE REGIONAL AIRLINES, HAS TO BE SOMETHING THAT EVERYBODY TAKES SERIOUSLY AND THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BELIEVE IS TAKEN SERIOUSLY. NOW, I WANT TO SHOW A CHART THAT SHOWS SOMETHING THAT JUST COMMON SENSE WILL TELL YOU JUST DOESN'T WORK. HERE'S A CHART THAT SHOWS WHERE COLGAN AIRLINE PILOTS WERE COMMUTING TO. YOU'LL SEE, THEY WERE COMMUTING FROM LaGUARDIA, WHICH WAS THEIR BASE OF OPERATIONS, AND SO ON THAT FATEFUL FLIGHT GOING INTO BUFFALO, NEW YORK, THE COPILOT FLEW ALL NIGHT LONG FROM HER HOME IN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, FLEW ALL NIGHT, I BELIEVE DEADHEADED ON A FEDEX PLANE, AS A MATTER OF FACT, STOPPED IN MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, CHANGED PLANES, GOT TO LAGUARDIA AIRPORT AND SO AFTER FLYING ALL NIGHT LONG IS NOW READY TO TAKE AN AIRPLANE ON ITS FLIGHT. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OR RECORD THAT HAVE COPILOT HAVING A HOTEL OR A CRASH PAD OR FINDING SOMEPLACE TO FIND A BED AND GO TO SLEEP. THAT'S THE COPILOT. THE PILOT, ON THE OTHER HAND, CAME FROM FLORIDA TO LAGUARDIA AIRPORT. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OUTSIDE OF BEING IN THE CREW LOUNGE AT THE AIRPORT THAT THE PILOT HAD A BED IN WHICH TO SLEEP OR HAD REST. AND SO YOU HAVE A PILOT AND A COPILOT THAT GET ON THAT AIRPLANE TO TAKE, IN THIS CASE THOSE 45 PASSENGERS ON THAT AIRPLANE TO ITS FLIGHT TO BUFFALO, NEW YORK. ON THAT FLIGHT, ICING BUILT UP ON THE WINGS AND THERE IS WHAT IS CALLED A STICK SHAKER ON THAT AIRPLANE AND THERE WAS A STICK SHAKER THAT EMPLOYED WHICH WOULD HAVE SAID TO THE PILOT, YOU MUST PUT THE NOSE DOWN IN ORDER TO GAIN SOME ADDITIONAL SPEED WITH THAT AIRPLANE. AND THE PILOT, IN FACT, DID NOT PUT THE NOSE DOWN, PULLED THE NOSE UP, AS I UNDERSTAND IT, WHICH IS APPARENTLY A TRAINING ISSUE AS WELL. SO YOU HAVE A PILOT AND A COPILOT TRAVELING ACROSS THE COUNTRY ALL NIGHT LONG JUST TO GET TO THE DUTY STATION AND THEN THINGS HAPPEN IN THE COCKPIT DURING THE TRANSCRIPT, THE COPILOT SAID THAT SHE HAD VERY LITTLE EXPERIENCE FLYING IN ICING. AND, LOOK, BOTH THE PILOT AND THE COPILOT LOST THEIR LIVES AND I -- I TAKE NO JOY IN RECITING WHAT HAPPENED IN THAT COCKPIT. THEIR LOSS OF LIFE WAS A TRAGEDY FOR THEIR FAMILIES AS WELL. MY POINT IS SIMPLY THIS. WHAT HAPPENED HERE -- AND, BY THE WAY, I BELIEVE THAT FOUR OUT OF THE MOST RECENT FIVE AIRLINE CRASHES IN OUR COUNTRY HAVE BEEN ON COMMUTER CARRIERS. THIS, IT SEEMS TO ME, RAISES A SERIES OF QUESTIONS THAT MUST BE ADDRESSED AND NOW I BELIEVE WILL BE ADDRESSED IN RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD OF, MUST BE ADDRESSED BY THE F.A.A. AND THESE DEAL WITH THE ISSUE OF FATIGUE, WHO IS FLYING THESE PLANES, ARE THEY GETTING PROPER REST. IT DEALS WITH THE ISSUE OF COMPETENCE. IS IT THE CASE THAT YOU GET ON A SMALL JET AND KNOW THAT THE COPILOT IS MAKING $18,000 A YEAR OR $20,000 A YEAR DOING TWO JOBS AND FLYING ACROSS THE COUNTRY AT NIGHT IN ORDER TO GET INTO AN AIRPLANE COCKPIT? DOES THAT GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE? WELL, THE FACT IS, ALL OF THESE ISSUES ARE NOW COMING TO THE FOREFRONT BECAUSE NOT JUST OF THIS CRASH BUT OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES AS WELL THAT REQUIRE THE F.A.A. TO TAKE A VERY HARD LOOK AT WHAT HAS HAPPENED. AT ONE OF MY HEARINGS, I SHOWED A "WALL STREET JOURNAL" ARTICLE IN WHICH MR. WYCHOR, AN 18-YEAR VETERAN PILOT DESCRIBING THE ROUTINE OF COMMUTER FLIGHTS WITH SHORT LAYOVER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. HE SAID -- QUOTE -- "TAKE A SHOWER, BRUSH YOUR TEETH, AND PRETEND YOU SLEPT." THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT IN THE COCKPIT OF AN AIRPLANE. "TAKE A SHOWER, BRUSH YOUR TEETH, AND PRETEND YOU SLEPT." A 737 PILOT FLYING TO DENVER -- THIS IS AN NBC NEWS QUOTE FROM THE PILOT. "I'VE BEEN DOING EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO STAY AWAKE. COFFEE, GUM, CANDY. BUT AS WE ENTERED ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL PHASES OF THE FLIGHT, I HAD BEEN UP FOR 20 STRAIGHT HOURS." IS THAT AN ISSUE? IT IS WITH ME. IT'S ONE THAT WE HAVE TO ADDRESS ADDRESS. AND I THINK ALL THOUGHTFUL PEOPLE IN THAT INDUSTRY -- AND I HAVE GREAT ADMIRATION FOR PEOPLE IN THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY. THEY DO A GREAT JOB IN THIS COUNTRY. BUT ALL THOUGHTFUL PEOPLE IN THAT INDUSTRY UNDERSTAND THAT WE HAVE TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES ISSUES OF FATIGUE AND TRAINING AND COMPENSATION. THAT'S JUST A FACT. AND ALL I WANTED TO DO TODAY WAS TO SAY THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTAION SAFETY BOARD I THINK DOES A GREAT JOB INVESTIGATING ACCIDENTS. THE FAMILY, THE FAMILY MEMBERS OF THE VICTIMS OF OF THAT FLIGHT THAT CRASHED IN BUFFALO, NEW YORK, HAVE BEEN EXTRAORDINARY. I MEAN, REALLY EXTRAORDINARY. THEY HAVE COME TO EVERY SINGLE HEARING THAT'S BEEN HOLD CAPITOL HILL. -- THAT'S BEEN HELD ON CAPITOL HILL. THEY HAVE BEEN WITNESSING ON BEHALL THEIR BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND WIVES AND CHILDREN SAYING I DON'T WANT CONGRESS, I DON'T WANT THE F.A.A. TO LET UP. WE WANT YOU TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES. THAT CRASH DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN. OUR LOVED ONES DID NOT HAVE TO DIE. THAT'S THEIR MESSAGE. AND SO I SAY TO THEM, YOU'RE DOING EXACTLY THE RIGHT THING. WHAT YOU ARE DOING, SHOWING UP HERE AT ALL OF THESE HEARINGS AND KEEPING THE PRESSURE ON THE CONGRESS AND, YES, ON THE F.A.A., WILL SAVE LIVES. YOU WON'T KNOW THEIR NAMES BUT YOU'RE SAVING LIVES, AND GOOD FOR YOU. NOW, MADAM PRESIDENT, I WANTED TO TALK JUST ABOUT ONE OTHER ISSUE TODAY IF I MIGHT IN A SEPARATE PART OF THE RECORD. MADAM PRESIDENT, THIS ISSUE OF CLOTURE MOTIONS, WHICH, YOU KNOW, SOUNDS LIKE A FOREIGN LANGUAGE TO A LOT OF PEOPLE. IF YOU'RE BACK HOME SOMEPLACE AND GETTING UP IN THE MORNING AND STRUGGLING TO GET TO WORK AND PUT IN A FULL DAY, TRY TO, YOU KNOW, MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO KIND OF RAISE YOUR FAMILY AND GET ALONG IN LIFE, YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT CLOTURE MOTIONS OR CLOTURE PETITIONS OR TWO-DAY RIPENING OR 30 HOURS POSTCLOTURE. ALL OF THAT LOOKS LIKE A FOREIGN LANGUAGE AND SOUNDS FOREIGN TO ALMOST EVERYBODY. THIS IS A -- A GRAPH OF CLOTURE MOTIONS IN CONGRESS. IN THE 1950'S, THERE WERE TWO LOW PURE PETITIONS FILED IN THE ENTIRE DECK -- CLOTURE PETITIONS FILED IN THE ENTIRE DECADE. TWO OF THEM. NOW, WHAT DOES CLOTURE MEAN? IF YOU DECIDE IN THIS BODY AND YOU ARE THE MOST JUNIOR MEMBER OF THIS BODY, YOU'RE THE LAST ONE ELECTED, YOU'RE NUMBER 100 SENIORITY AND YOU SIT RIGHT BACK BY THE CANDY DRAWER BEATS THAWS THE LAST -- DRAWER BECAUSE THAT'S THE LAST DESK -- I GUESS WE SHOULDN'T TALK ABOUT A CANDY DRAWER, I GUESS, BUT YOU SIT WAY BACK IN THE CORNER, YOU'RE NUMBER 100 IN THE SENATE. ONCE YOU'RE ON YOUR FEET AND RECOGNIZED BY THE PRESIDING OFFICER, NO ONE ELSE CAN TAKE THE FLOOR FROM YOU. NOT THE MAJORITY LEADER, NOT THE MOST SENIOR MEMBER OF THE SENATE, THE FLOOR IS YOURS, YOU CAN SPEAK UNTIL YOU ARE PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY MENTALLY EXHAUSTED. THAT'S JUST THE WAY THE RULES OF THE SENATE ARE. IT'S THE WAY THE SENATE WORKS. AND IT WAS DESCRIBED LONG AGO, I THINK IT WAS WASHINGTON OR ENGINEERJEFFERSON THAT DESCRIBED AS THE COFFEE THAT COOLS THE -- THE SAUCER THAT COOLS THE COFFEE. THE SENATE ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE EFFICIENT, ISN'T SUPPOSED TO WORK QUICKLY OR NECESSARILY EFFICIENTLY, IT'S JUST SUPPOSED TO SLOW THINGS DOWN, TAKE A BETTER LOOK AT IT AND TRY AND HAVE MORE EVALUATION, WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN FOR THE COUNTRY, DOES THIS MAKE SENSE FOR COUNTRY. THAT'S THE WAY THE SENATE WAS CREATED. IT'S VERY HARD TO GET THINGS DONE. BUT IT IS NEAR IMPOSSIBLE TO GET THINGS DONE THESE DAYS BECAUSE OF SOMETHING CALLED FILIBUSTERS AND CLOTURE PETITIONS. I JUST WANT TO PROVIDE SOME STATISTICS THAT I THINK IS REALLY INTERESTING. THIS COULD NOT HAPPEN AND WOULD NOT HAPPEN IN ANY CITY COUNCIL IN AMERICA. THERE'S NO CITY COUNCIL IN AMERICA WHERE THIS SORT OF THING COULD HAPPEN, NO MATTER WHAT THEIR RULES WERE, BECAUSE THEY'D BE LAUGHED OUT OF TOWN. YOU COULDN'T DO THIS. WE'VE GOT PEOPLE BLOCKING BILLS THAT THEY SUPPORT. CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT? GO ASK -- IF YOU WERE IN THE CITY COUNCIL AND YOUR BUSINESS WAS TO BLOCK THINGS THAT YOU SUPPORT AND YOUR NEIGHBORS SAID, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, ARE YOU NUTS? NO, I'M JUST BLOCKING THINGS I SUPPORT BECAUSE IT'S A -- IT HAS A -- A STRATEGY ATTACHED TO IT. WELL, WHAT'S THE STRATEGY, THEY WOULD SAY? SO HERE'S THE SITUATION. WE HAD IN 2009 AND 2010, IT'S PROJECTED WE'LL HAVE 146 CLOTURE MOTIONS TO SHUT OFF DEBATE. IN THIS CONGRESS. NOW, LET ME DESCRIBE WHAT WE'RE INVOLVED WITH NEXT. WE'RE ON ONE NOW, BY THE WAY. WE ARE -- WE ARE NOW IN WHAT IS CALLED 30 HOURS POSTCLOTURE. WE HAD A NOMINATION THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN APPROVED IN FIVE MINUTES AND THOSE THAT WANT TO VOTE AGAINST THE NOMINATION SHOULD VOTE "NO." BUT WE COULDN'T DO THAT. INSTEAD, THOSE WHO OPPOSE THIS NOMINATION FOR THE SOLICITOR FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR -- THIS IS A SOLICITOR FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR NOMINATION -- INSTEAD OF HAVING AN UP-OR-DOWN VOTE AND THOSE WHO DON'T LIKE THIS CANDIDATE, THIS NOMINEE SHOULD VOTE NO, THEY SAID, NO, YOU CAN'T EVEN HAVE A VOTE. YOU HAVE TO FILE A CLOTURE PETITION, WAIT FOR TWO DAYS AND THEN HAVE A VOTE AND SEE IF YOU GET 60 AND IF YOU GET 60, AFTER YOU GET THE 60, WE'RE GOING TO INSIST THAT YOU BLEED OFF 30 MORE HOURS BECAUSE THE RULES ALLOW US TO DO THAT. ONLY THEN CAN YOU HAVE A VOTE. SO THAT'S WHERE WE ARE NOW. WE HAD A CLOTURE VOTE. IT PREVAILED. AND NOW WE'RE WAITING FOR 30 HOURS TO ELAPSE SO THAT NOTHING CAN BE DONE DURING THE 30 HOURS. IT'S JUST STALLING. AND SO THEN THE 30 HOURS IS DONE, WE'LL VOTE ON THIS, AND THEN WE GO TO THE NEXT NOMINATION. SO THIS WEEK WE WILL DO TWO NOMINATIONS, BOTH OF WHICH SHOULD HAVE TAKEN FIVE MINUTES, IF PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL WORKED TOGETHER AND DECIDED, ALL RIGHT, HERE'S THE AGENDA. LET'S BRING UP THIS CANDIDATES FOR A VOTE. IF YOU LIKE THE CANDIDATE, VOTE "YES." IF YOU DON'T, VOTE "NO." SO THE NEXT ONE IS GOING TO BE MARTHA JOHNSON, G.S.A. ADMINISTRATOR. BY THE WAY, THIS ONE HAS BEEN OBJECTED TO, AND IT'S WAITED FOR SEVEN MONTHS. SO SEVEN MONTHS AGO THIS PRESIDENT NOMINATED MARTHA JOHNSON TO BE G.S.A. ADMINISTRATOR. NOW, APRIL 3, 2009, WAS HER NOMINATION. JUNE 8, THE NOMINATION PASSED THROUGH BOTH THE SENATE -- I SHOULD SAY, THROUGH THE SENATE HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE -- UNANIMOUSLY. SO THIS NOMINATION WAS VOTED ON UNANIMOUSLY AND APPROVED BY THE COMMITTEE. THAT WAS JUNE 8. SO NOW HERE IT IS FEBRUARY, THE YEAR FOLLOWING. WE NOW ARE GOING TO GET TO VOTE ON THIS NOMINATION THAT PASSED THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY, BUT NOT UNTIL WE'RE ABLE TO SHUT OFF A FILIBUSTER, AND THEN HAVE 30 HOURS POSTCLOTURE. IT IS THE MOST UNBELIEVABLE THING IN THE WORLD. NOW, IS THIS PERSON QUALIFIED? YEAH, ABSOLUTELY. SERVED AS THE HEAD OF G.S.A. DURING THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION, HAILED BY FORMER CURRENT G.S.A. EMPLOYEES AS THE GOLDEN ERA OF G.S.A. YOU KNOW, SHE WAS THE CHIEF OF STAFF BACK DURING THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION. SHE WOULD BE A VAST IMPROVEMENT, BY THE WAY, OVER THE PREVIOUS HEAD OF THE G.S.A. THE PREVIOUS HEAD OF THE G.S.A. -- AND I SPOKE ABOUT HER ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE -- LORETA DONE, APRIL 7, 2508, THE OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNCIL FOR THE UNITED STATES, ASKED THAT SHE BE DISCIPLINED TO THE FULL EXTENT FOR THE MOST PERNICIOUS OF POLITICAL ACTIVITY BY THE HATCH ACT. SHE SUBMITTED HER RESIGNATION BY REQUEST OF THE WHITE HOUSE. SHE HAD BEEN ACCUSED OF PROVIDING NO-BID CONTRACTS TO FRIENDS. SHE AND A DEPUTY IN KARL ROVE'S OFFICE AT THE WHITE HOUSE HAD JOINED IN A VIDEOCONFERENCE WITH 40 REGIONAL G.S.A. ADMINISTRATORS AFTER A POWERPOINT ON POLLING ABOUT THE 2006 ELECTIONS. SHE SIDE "HOW CAN WE HELP OUR CANDIDATES?" THIS IS A NONPOLITICAL OFFICE HEADING OUR G.S.A. IN THE COUNTRY. THIS PERSON GOT DRUMMED OUT OF THE OFFICE. BUT SHOULD HAVE -- SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN DRUMMED OUT OF OFFICE AND RESIGNED UNDER PRESSURE. SO NOW HERE'S SOMEONE WHO'S FULLY QUALIFIED. AND IT'S FINALLY SEVEN, EIGHT MONTHS LATER AND WE'RE GOING TO GET TO HAVE A VOTE BUT ONLY IF WE FILE A CLOTURE TO END A FILIBUSTER. THAT IS UNBELIEVABLE TO MEEVMENT LET ME GIVE SOME OTHER EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE. HERE'S A BILL THAT WAS FILIBUSTERED. CREDIT CARDHOLDERS' BILL OF RIGHTS. THERE WAS A FILIBUSTER 0 ON THAT BY THE OTHER SIDE, THE REPUBLICANS. THEY FILIBUSTER EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING. SO CREDIT CARDHOLDERS' BILL OF RIGHTS. SO THEY WENT THROUGH A FILIBUSTER. DELAYED, AND AFTER THE DELAY, IT PASSED 90-5. SO OBVIOUSLY WE HAD A BUNCH OF FOLKS HERE THAT SAID, I'M GOING TO LAY DOWN ON THE TRACK UNTIL IT'S INCONVENIENT FOR EVERYBODY. THEN I'LL GIPT AND VOTE FOR IT. WE HAVE PEOPLE BLOCKING THINGS THEY SUPPORT. YOU'D GET LOCKED OUT OF TOWN IF ANY TOWN IN THIS COUNTRY IF YOU TRIED THAT ON THE CITY COUNCIL. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS -- FILIBUSTERED. GO THROUGH THE MOTION OF FILING TWO DAYS, 30 HOURS. AND THEN IT PASSED 88-10. SO OBVIOUSLY WE HAD A BUNCH OF FOLKS ON THE OTHER SIDE THAT DECIDED, WE'RE GOING TO BLOCK SOMETHING WE SUPPORT. KIND OF A CURIOUS STRATEGY. ENERGY AND WATER APPROPRIATIONS -- THAT WAS MY -- THAT WAS MY BILL THAT I CHAIRED. FILIBUSTERED. CLOTURE. 80 PEOPLE VOTED "YES." FRAUD ENFORCEMENT AND RECOVERY ACT -- FILIBUSTERED IT, BY THE REPUBLICANS, AND THEN WHEN IT WAS FINALLY VOTED UPON, AFTER THEY'D DELAYED IT, 92 OF THEM VOTED "YES." AGAIN, PEOPLE BLOCKING THINGS THEY SUPPORT. ONLY IN THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS, I GUESS. UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION EXTENSION WAS THE SUBJECT OF A FILIBUSTER, AND THEN 98 PEOPLE VOTED "YES." PEOPLE BLOCKING THINGS THEY SUPPORT. WHAT A CURIOUS THING. I MEAN, WHAT DO YOU TELL YOUR CHILDREN? WHAT WAS YOUR ROLE, DAD OR MOM? WELL, MY ROLE WAS REALLY TO SLOW THINGS DOWN. I JUST WANTED TO SORT OF SPREAD GLUE AROUND THE UNITED STATES SENATE. NOT THAT WE DON'T THINK IT IS SLOW ENOUGH THE WAY IT IS. WE WANT TO SLOW IT DOWN EVEN FURTHER. THE FACT IS PEOPLE SEND MINIMUM OF GOOD WILL TO THIS CHAMBER -- AND I -- ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I'VE LEARNED IN MANY YEARS IN THIS CHAMBER IS THAT ALMOST EVERY DESK IS OCCUPIED BY SOMEBODY THAT HAS PRETTY UNIQUE AND INTERESTING AND SPECIAL SKILLS TO GET HERE. YOU KNOW, IN ALMOST EVERY CASE THERE ARE PEOPLE HERE WITH VERY SUBSTANTIAL SKILLS. BUT THEY'RE NOT SENT HERE WITH AN AGENDA. YOU KNOW WHAT -- YOU KNOW WHAT I'D LIKE YOU TO DO? I'D LIKE YOU TO BLOCK EVERYTHING AND THEN VOTE FOR IT IN THE END. THAT'S NOT A MESSAGE THAT COMES FROM ANY STATE THAT I AM A AWARE OF. THEY'RE SENT HERE TO DO GOOD THINGS FOR THIS COUNTRY. ALL OF US ARE. WE MIGHT HAVE A DISAGREEMENT ABOUT WHAT THAT MEANS AND HOW TO DO IT, BUT THERE SHOULDN'T BE ANY DISAGREEMENT ABOUT THESE KINDS OF THINGS. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DEEPEST RECESSION SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION, SEVEN OF THIS PRESIDENT'S HIGH-LEVEL NOMINEES FOR THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT ARE NOT YET CONFIRMED. SEVEN OF THEM. HOW DO YOU JUSTIFY THAT? DECIDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DEEPEST RECESSION SINCE THE 1930'S THAT YOU'RE GOING TO PREVENT THE U.S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT FROM HAVING A FULL COMPLEMENT OF PEOPLE THAT CAN THINK THROUGH AND WORK THROUGH TO TRY TO PUT THIS COUNTRY BACK ON TRACK, RESTART THE ECONOMIC ENGINE AND PUT PEOPLE BACK TO WORK AGAIN? HOW DO YOU JUSTIFY DECIDING THAT WE SHOULDN'T HAVE A FULL IMPLEMENT OF PEOPLE TO DO THAT? -- FULL COMPLEMENT OF PEOPLE TO DO THAT? WE HAD A FULLY QUALIFIED SURGEON GENERAL NOMINATED IN THIS COUNTRY, AND THAT SURGEON GENERAL NOMINEE WAS BLOCKED, EVEN AFTER THE H1N1 FLU HAD BEEN DECLARED A MAJOR HEALTH THREAT. THINK OF THAT -- BLOCKED EVEN AFTER IT HAD BECOME A MAJOR HEALTH THREAT. WE HAD AMBASSADOR OF IRAQ -- OBVIOUSLY AN IMPORTANT POSITION -- BLOCKED AT A TIME OF WAR, SCWHRUS WE MOST NEEDED TO RESOLVE SOME OF THOSE -- JUST AS WE MUST NEEDED TO RESOLVE SOME OF THOSE ISSUES. ONE SINGLE SENATOR ON THE OTHER SIDE HELD UP THE NOMINATION OF THE DEPUTY U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE FOR NINE MONTHS -- NINE MONTHS THAT WAS HELD UP -- TO TRY TO FORCE THAT U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE'S OFFICE TO FILE A COMPLAINT AGAINST CANADA ON SOME ISSUE. I DON'T HAVE THE FOGGIEST IDEA WHAT THAT ISSUE WAS, BUT I TELL YOU THIS. I WOULD NEVER AND HAVE NEVER HELD UP A NOMINATION FOR NINE MONTHS IN ORDER TO TRY TO FORCING THIS THAT YOU INSIST SHOULD HAPPEN. THAT'S NOT THE WAY THE NATIONAL IS POSED TO WORK. ONE SENATOR ON THE OTHER SIDE BLOCKED A HIGHLY QUALIFIED NOMINEE TO BE ASSISTANT UNDER SECRETARY FOR THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT, AND IT HAD TO DO WITH OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHAVEZ. WHICH LEFT US WITHOUT THE PERSON THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR COORDINATING OUR RESPONSE TO THE DIFFICULTY IN HONDURAS LAST YEAR. ONE SENATOR HELD UP THAT NOMINATION. ON AND ON AND ON. AND THE FACT IS -- AGAIN, AS I SAID, THIS IS CALLED THE GREAT DEBATING BODY. ER YOU KNOW, THE MOST EXCLUSIVE CLUB IN THE WORLD AND ALL OF THOSE DESCRIPTIONS. BUT THAT'S NOT THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO WORK. IT IS SUPPOSED TO WORK, AND WE HAVE SOME MODELS OF HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO WORK, IN A WAY THAT IN THE OLD DAYS -- WHEN I SAY "THE OLD DAYS" -- MANY DECADES ARC PEOPLE WOULD GET TOGETHER AND SAY, WHAT IS THE MAJOR CHALLENGE TO OUR COUNTRY? AND PEOPLE WOULD GET TOGETHER TO FIX WHAT'S WRONG. THAT'S THE WAY THE SENATE USED TO WORK. AND REGRETTABLY, THESE DAYS IT DOES NOT. AND AT A TIME WHEN OUR COUNTRY RESTS ON THE PRECIPICE OF A VERY SIGNIFICANT CLIFF -- I MEAN, WE ARE STILL NOT OUT OF THIS FINANCIAL CRISIS, THIS ECONOMIC CRISIS, ALTHOUGH I THINK THERE'S BEEN SOME STABILITY AND WE'VE HOPEFULLY FOUND SOME FOUNDATION -- AT A TIME WHEN WE MOST NEED COOPERATION, WE SEE ALMOST NONE, ALMOST NONE, AND, AGAIN, IT -- IT DOESN'T TAKE A SUBSTANTIAL DEBATING POINT TO MAKE THAT A CERTAINTY. JUST READ THE RECORD. JUST READ THE RECORD. 146 -- IT'S ESTIMATED 146 CLOTURE PETITIONS ARE FILED TO SHUT OFF FILIBUSTERS, AND ISSUE AFTER ISSUE AFTER ISSUE WE HAVE THE MINORITY IN THIS CHAMBER BLOCKING THINGS THAT THEY ULTIMATELY VOTE FOR. I MEAN, HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT? I WAS AGAINST IT BEFORE I WAS FOR IT? MADAM PRESIDENT, THIS COUNTRY DESERVES AND EXPECTS A WHOLE LOT BETTER. THIS COUNTRY IS GOING THROUGH TOUGH TIMES. WHILE I SPEAK HERE AND WHILE MY COLLEAGUES ARE OBJECTING TO PROCEEDING ON ANYTHING, WHILE WE'RE IN A 30-HOUR PERIOD WHERE NOTHING IS HAPPENING ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE -- NOTHING -- WHILE THAT'S GOING ON, A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE ARE OUT LOOKING FOR WORK RIGHT NOW, STOPPING BY BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS WITH THEIR RESUME THINKING, CAN I FIND A WAY -- CAN I PLEASE FIND WAY TO GET ON A PAYROLL AN GET A JOB TO HELP MY FAMILY? THERE'S A WHOLE LOT OF FOLKS THAT NEED A JOB, NEED SOME HOPE, NEED TO KEEP THEIR HOUSE, THAT ARE REALLY STRUGGLEING. THEY DESERVE A LOT BETTER FROM THIS CONGRESS. THE LAST THING THEY DESERVE IS FROM A CONGRESS THAT DECIDES THAT THEY ARE MISSION IS TO GET UMIN THE MORNING AND STOP THINGS FROM HAPPENING. THE MISSION FOR EVERY SENATOR OUGHT TO BE TO GET UP EVERY MORNING AND SEE HOW CAN WE WORK TOGETHER TO GET THE BEST POLICIES. THAT IS HAPPENING FAR TOO LESS TOO OFTEN IN THIS CHAMBER. WHEN I SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING AND WE'RE SIGNATURE HERE TODAY -- THIS IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THIS. WE'RE SIGNATURE HERE DOING NOTHING. WHY? IS IT BECAUSE THERE'S NOTHING TO DO? NO, IT'S BECAUSE THE OTHER SIDE INSISTS ON CLOTURE, INSISTS ON THE TWO DAYS, THEN INSISTS ON THE 30 HOURS AND SO WHAT THEY WILL HAVE DONE THIS WEEK IS INSIST THAT WE WILL ONLY BE ABLE TO CONFIRM TWO PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEES, ONE IS A SOLICITOR IN THE LABOR DEPARTMENT AND THE SECOND IS TO HEAD THE G.S.A. THAT'S WHAT WE'LL GET DONE THIS WEEK. THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE IN FIVE MINUTES. VOTE ON IT. YOU DON'T LIKE THE NOMINEE, VOTE "NO." YOU LIKE THE NOMINEE, VOTE "YES." DISPOSE OF THE NOMINATIONS. IN MY JUDGMENT, THIS SYSTEM IS BROKEN, AND IT CAN'T BE ONE PERSON OR 10 PEOPLE THAT FIXES IT. IT HAS TO BE 100 PEOPLE WITH REASONABLY GOOD WILL THAT WANT TO MAKE GOOD THINGS HAPPEN FOR THIS COUNTRY'S FUTURE. MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. I MAKE A POINT OF ORDER THAT A QUORUM IS NOT PRESENT.

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  • 03:13:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MADAM…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

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  • 03:18:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA.

  • 03:18:53 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:18:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:18:57 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    MADAM PRESIDENT, ON WEDNESDAY OF LAST WEEK THE PRESIDENT GAVE A STATE OF…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, ON WEDNESDAY OF LAST WEEK THE PRESIDENT GAVE A STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS AND TALKED ABOUT A LOT OF THE ISSUES. ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT HE MENTIONED THAT IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT TO ME IS ONE THAT I'VE WORKED ON FOR SOME LONG WHILE HERE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE, AND THAT IS CHANGING THE TAX CODE TO BEGIN CUTTING OUT AND GETTING RID OF THE TAX BREAK THAT IS OFFERED TO COMPANIES THAT SHUT THEIR AMERICAN FACTORIES AND MOVE THEIR JOBS OVERSEAS. IT IS STRANGE TO MOST PEOPLE TO HEAR, BUT WE ACTUALLY HAVE IN THE AMERICAN TAX CODE A REWARD FOR COMPANIES THAT WOULD SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT I SHOULD DO? WHAT I WANT TO DO IS I WANT TO SHUT DOWN MY AMERICAN FACTORY, I WANT TO FIRE MY AMERICAN WORKERS, I WANT TO MOVE THOSE JOBS TO CHINA AND HIRE SOMEBODY FOR 50 CENTS AN HOUR. AND, BY THE WAY, IF THEY DO THAT, THEY ACTUALLY GET A TAX BREAK IN THIS COUNTRY. THEY GET REWARDED BY THE AMERICAN TAX SYSTEM FOR MOVING AMERICAN JOBS TO OTHER COUNTRIES. THAT IS AN UNBELIEVABLY IGNORANT AND PERNICIOUS PART OF OUR TAX CODE AND NEEDS TO BE CHANGED. I'VE OFFERED AMENDMENT AFTER AMENDMENT HERE ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, AND THE PRESIDENT IN HIS STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS LAST WEEK INDICATED THAT HE FELT THAT WE NEEDED TO DO THIS AND DO IT SOON. I COULDN'T AGREE MORE. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT JOBS IN THIS CONGRESS A LOT, AND WE HAD SOME DISCUSSION TODAY ABOUT JOBS AGAIN. SENATOR DURBIN AND I HAVE WORKED TO PUT TOGETHER A JOBS PACKAGE THAT WOULD TRY TO STIMULATE AND INCENTIVIZE MORE JOBS, ESPECIALLY SMALL- AND MEDIUM-SIZE BUSINESSES TO BE ABLE TO HIRE PEOPLE AND HAVE THE INCENTIVE TO PUT PEOPLE ON PAYROLLS. WE'RE WORKING ON ALL OF THAT. SENATOR BAUCUS AND CERTAINLY SENATOR REID AND OTHERS HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH US TO PUT TOGETHER A JOBS INITIATIVE. AND EVEN AS WE TRY TO FIND A WAY TO CREATE MORE JOBS IN OUR COUNTRY, WE STILL HAVE THIS BACK DOOR APPROACH IN THE TAX CODE THAT REWARDS PEOPLE FOR MOVING JOBS OUTSIDE OF OUR COUNTRY. I MEAN, MOST OF US BELIEVE THAT WHAT WE WANT TO DO IS SEE MORE OF THOSE SIGNS THAT SAY "MADE IN THE U.S.A." MADE IN THE U.S.A. MEANS THERE IS A JOB SOMEPLACE HERE PARTICULARLY IN A FACTORY, THAT'S PRODUCING SOMETHING THAT IS PUTTING SOMEBODY TO WORK TO BE ABLE TO MAKE A LIVING. NO SOCIAL PROGRAM IS AS IMPORTANT AS A GOOD JOB THAT PAYS WELL. I HAVE BOTH WRITTEN A BOOK ABOUT THIS ISSUE OF JOBS AND MOVING JOBS OVERSEAS. I HAVE SPOKEN ON THE FLOOR SO MANY TIMES, PEOPLE HAVE EITHER NEARLY OR COMPLETELY GOTTEN TIRED OF IT. BUT THE STORIES ARE LEGEND OF WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN RECENT YEARS. I MEAN, ALL OF THE LITTLE THINGS THAT WE KNOW AND HAVE EXPECTED TO BE AMERICAN-MADE, ALMOST ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE GONE. RADIO FLYER, LITTLE RED WAGON. WE'VE ALL RIDDEN IN RADIO FLYER, LITTLE RED WAGON. IT WAS A 110-YEAR-OLD COMPANY IN THIS COUNTRY. THEY MADE THOSE WAGONS FOR KIDS IN AMERICA. MADE IN ILLINOIS. NOT ANYMORE. ALL THOSE RADIO FLYER LITTLE RED WAGONS ARE MADE IN CHINA. HUFFY BICYCLES, ALL THOSE PEOPLE IN OHIO LOST THEIR JOBS. THEY WERE ALL FIRED, AND ALL THOSE BICYCLES ARE NOW MADE IN CHINA. IN THE BOOK I WROTE, I TOLD THE STORY ABOUT THE LAST DAY AT WORK AT HUFFY BICYCLES IN OHIO, AND THOSE WORKERS, AS THEY LEFT THEIR PARKING LOT, THEY LEFT AN EMPTY PAIR OF SHOES IN THE SPACE WHERE THEIR CAR WAS PARKED. AND IT WAS A WAY FOR THEM TO SAY TO THAT COMPANY, THE HUFFY BICYCLE COMPANY, YOU CAN MOVE OUR JOBS IF YOU WANT, BUT YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY REPLACE US. THOSE SHOES IN AN EMPTY PARKING SPACE IN A BIG PARKING LOT IN OHIO WHEN ALL THOSE PEOPLE LOST THEIR JOBS WAS A SYMBOL OF WHAT'S WRONG. A COMPANY MADE SOMETHING CALLED ETCH-A-SKETCH. EVERY KID HAS USED ETCH-A-SKETCH. ETCH-A-SKETCH WAS ALSO MADE IN OHIO, BUT NOT ANYMORE. NOW MADE IN CHINA. AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. THOSE AMERICAN PRODUCTS THAT ARE GONE IN SEARCH OF 50-CENT LABOR AND HIGHER PROFITS. AND THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE THESE PRODUCTS, RADIO FLYER, LITTLE RED WAGONS OR HUFFY BICYCLES OR ETCH-A-SKETCH OR, YES, EVEN AIRPLANES, THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE THESE PRODUCTS ASK THE QUESTION: WHAT'S WRONG WITH MY WORK? AND THE ANSWER IS NOTHING'S WRONG WITH YOUR WORK. YOU JUST CAN'T COMPETE WITH SOMEBODY THAT MAKES 50 CENTS AN HOUR. AND THE SECOND QUESTION IS: SHOULD I HAVE TO COMPETE WITH SOMEBODY THAT MAKES 50 CENTS AN HOUR? AND THE ANSWER TO THAT IS NO, YOU SHOULDN'T. THIS COUNTRY NEEDS A VIBRANT MANUFACTURING BASE, AND IT NEEDS TO FIX THIS UNBELIEVABLE TAX PROVISION THAT SAYS YOU MOVE YOUR JOBS OVERSEAS, WE'LL GIVE YOU A TAX BREAK. IN ORDER TO RETAIN A MANUFACTURING BASE IN THIS COUNTRY, WE NEED TO REWARD THE PRODUCTION OF THINGS IN THIS COUNTRY. MADE IN THE U.S.A. SHOULD NOT BE A DISTANT MEMORY. MADE IN THE U.S.A. OUGHT TO BE SOMETHING APPLIED TO THINGS THAT WERE MADE HERE THAT WE'RE PROUD OF. THE SENATOR FROM WASHINGTON STATE IS HERE AND IS GOING TO SPEAK IN A MOMENT. I WON'T BE LONG. BUT IN EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE IN THIS AREA OF TRADE AND THE MOVEMENT OF JOBS, OTHER COUNTRIES TAKE ADVANTAGE OF US BECAUSE WE ALLOW THEM TO. FOR EXAMPLE, AIRPLANES. WASHINGTON STATE MAKES SOME GREAT AIRPLANES IN THE BOEING COMPANY MANUFACTURING PLANTS. A COUNTRY LIKE CHINA THAT HAS AN UNBELIEVABLE TRADE DEFICIT WITH US -- OVER $200 BILLION A YEAR -- SAYS TO US, IF YOU WANT TO BUILD AIRPLANES IN CHINA, OR IF YOU WANT CHINA, RATHER, TO BUY YOUR PLANES, YOU HAVE TO BUILD MOST OF IT IN CHINA. IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE TO ME. IF WE'RE BUYING ALL THOSE PRODUCTS FROM CHINA IN THIS COUNTRY WHEN WE HAVE SOMETHING THEY NEED, THEY OUGHT TO BUY AMERICAN PRODUCTS TO BE SHIPPED TO CHINA. NOT SAY TO US, YOU MUST MOVE YOUR PRODUCT TO BE PRODUCED IN CHINA. IT'S GOING ON ALL THE TIME, AND THIS COUNTRY DOESN'T HAVE THE BACKBONE OR THE NERVE OR THE WILL TO DEAL WITH IT. WE OUGHT TO SAY TO OTHER COUNTRIES IS WE'RE GOING TO HOLD UP A MIRROR, AND YOU TREAT US LIKE WE TREAT YOU. IF I MIGHT MAKE ONE ADDITIONAL COMMENT ON AUTOMOBILE TRADE. OUR AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY HAS BEEN IN A VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM. WE CAME CLOSE TO LOSING OUR AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY IN THIS COUNTRY, WHICH IS SO IMPORTANT FOR OUR MANUFACTURING CAPABILITY. THIS COUNTRY HAS A TRADE AGREEMENT WITH CHINA WITH WHOM WE HAVE A $200 BILLION-PLUS DEFICIT IN TRADE. WE HAVE A TRADE AGREEMENT WITH CHINA THAT SAYS TO THE CHINESE, WHO ARE, BY THE WAY, RAMPING UP A VERY LARGE AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY, AND YOU'LL SEE CHINESE CARS ON THE STREETS OF AMERICA VERY SOON, WE SAY TO CHINA, IF YOU SHIP CHINESE CARS TO THE UPLTS UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, YOU WILL HAVE A 2.5% TARIFF ATTACHED TO THOSE CARS. THE AGREEMENT ALSO SAYS IF WE SHIP AMERICAN CARS TO BE SOLD IN CHINA, THEY MAY IMPOSE A 25% TARIFF. WE HAVE AN AGREEMENT WITH THE CHINESE THAT SAYS WE'LL GIVE YOU A 10-1 ON TARIFFS. THAT IS A RECIPE FOR UNDERMINING AMERICAN STRENGTH. IT GOES ON ALL THE TIME. FRANKLY, I'M SICK AND TIRED OF IT. ONE PIECE OF IT IS SOMETHING THE PRESIDENT TALKED ABOUT LAST WEEK. THAT IS LET'S AT LEAST CUT OUT THIS UNBELIEVABLY IGNORANT AND PERNICIOUS PROVISION THAT SAYS YOU MOVE YOUR JOBS OVERSEAS AND WE'LL GIVE AWE BIG TAX REWARD. WE'LL CUT YOUR TAXES IF YOU JUST MOVE YOUR JOBS OVERSEAS. I SAY TO THE PRESIDENT, GOOD FOR YOU. HELP US SHUT THAT PROVISION DOWN. AND LET'S HAVE MADE IN AMERICA BE SOMETHING THAT WE SEE MORE AND MORE FREQUENTLY THESE DAYS. MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 03:26:37 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM WASHINGTON.

  • 03:26:39 PM

    MRS. MURRAY

    PRESIDENT, I THANK THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA FOR HIS PASSION ON THIS…

    PRESIDENT, I THANK THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA FOR HIS PASSION ON THIS ISSUE. I WOULD JUST ADD ONE OTHER ISSUE WITHIN THIS, IS THAT WE HAVE GOT TO BE TRAINING OUR WORKFORCE FOR THE COMING YEARS WITH THOSE SKILLS TO MAKE THOSE THINGS IN AMERICA, WHETHER IT'S AIRPLANES IN MY STATE OR CARS IN THE MIDWEST OR SOUTH OR WHETHER IT'S THE WIDGETS THAT HE TALKED ABOUT. WE'RE LOSING PEOPLE TODAY IN THIS COUNTRY THAT HAVE THOSE BASIC SKILLS -- WELDING, ELECTRICIANS, THOSE KINDS OF SKILLS THAT ARE BASIC TO THESE INDUSTRIES. AS WE MOVE INTO THIS COMING YEAR AND LOOK AT OUR BUDGET AND WE LOOK AT OUR EDUCATION POLICY AND WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE PRESIDENT'S EDUCATION POLICY ON THE COMMITTEE THAT I SIT ON, WE'VE GOT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE GOING DOWN INTO OUR MIDDLE SCHOOLS AND HIGH SCHOOLS AND REALLY MAKING SURE OUR KIDS HAVE CAREER PATHWAYS THAT HELP FILL THESE SKILLED MANUFACTURING JOBS THAT WE WANT TO HAVE HERE IN THIS COUNTRY. SO I THANK THE SENATOR FOR HIS WORDS. MADAM PRESIDENT, I AM HERE THIS AFTERNOON TO RISE AGAIN IN SUPPORT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S NOMINEE TO SERVE AS SOLICITOR OF LABOR, PATRICIA SMITH. I HAVE TO TELL EVERYONE, I AM VERY CONFIDENT THAT SHE IS THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THIS CRITICAL JOB. AND THE WORK THAT SHE'S GOING TO DO TO PROTECT OUR WORKERS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER BEFORE. YOU KNOW, AMERICAN WORKERS ARE REALLY FACING AN INCREDIBLE CHALLENGE TODAY. WE ALL KNOW THAT. THEY'RE STRUGGLING WITH RECORD UNEMPLOYMENT AND DEVASTATING ECONOMIC CRISIS. AND TODAY, MORE THAN EVER, THEY NEED AND THEY REALLY DESERVE STRONG LEADERS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WHO ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT PUBLIC SERVICE AND COMMITTED TO BEING THERE TO FIGHT FOR THEM. YOU KNOW, THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS THIS AGENCY THAT JUST SOUNDS LIKE AN AGENCY. JUST THE NAME SOUNDS BUREAUCRATIC. BUT IT REALLY IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE THAT AGENCY IS CHARGED WITH A VERY CRITICAL MISSION IN OUR NATION'S GOVERNMENT. THEIR ROLE IS TO FOSTER AND PROMOTE THE WELFARE OF AMERICA'S WORKERS BY IMPROVING THEIR WORKING CONDITIONS, BY ADVANCING THEIR OPPORTUNITIES FOR PROFITABLE KPHROEUPLT, BY PROTECT -- EMPLOYMENT AND STRENGTHENING FREE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. I BELIEVE THAT DURING THESE REALLY CHALLENGING ECONOMIC TIMES, IT'S ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL THAT THE DEPARTMENT HAS LEADERSHIP WITHIN THAT DEPARTMENT TO MAKE THOSE GOALS A REALITY. SO I WAS VERY PLEASED WHEN I HEARD PRESIDENT OBAMA NOMINATE SUCH A STRONG CANDIDATE FOR THE POSITION OF SOLICITOR OF LABOR. MS. PATRICIA SMITH, AS THE PRESIDING OFFICER KNOWS, IS COMMISSIONER OF THE NEW YORK STATE'S DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. SHE'S BEEN THERE SINCE 2007. SHE'S COCHAIR OF NEW YORK STATE'S ECONOMIC SECURITY SUBCABINET. AND SHE RECEIVES TODAY 3,700 EMPLOYEES WITH AN ANNUAL BUDGET OF $4 BILLION. FOR THE PREVIOUS 20 YEARS, TRICIA WORKED IN THE LABOR BUREAU OF THE NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE AND SERVED ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S TRANSITION REVIEW TEAM FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. MADAM PRESIDENT, I HAVE RECEIVED MANY LETTERS OF SUPPORT FOR PATRICIA HARRIS FROM PEOPLE WHO ADMIRE HER WORK, FROM PEOPLE SHE HAS WORKED WITH AND FROM WORKERS THAT SHE HAS HELPED. AND I WANTED TO TAKE JUST A COUPLE MINUTES THIS AFTERNOON TO READ SOME EXPERTS FROM THOSE LETTERS BECAUSE I REALLY BELIEVE THAT THEY DEMONSTRATE PATRICIA'S BROAD SUPPORT AND WHY SHE SHOULD BE CONFIRMED BY THE UNITED STATES SENATE. ONE LETTER I RECEIVED WAS A LETTER OF SUPPORT FROM THE C.E.O. OF THE PLATTSBURGH NEW YORK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WHO KNOWS TRICIA WELL. HE SAID "PATRICIA SMITH HAS BEEN AN OUTSTANDING PARTNER AS COMMISSIONER OF OF THE NEW YORK STATE LABOR DEPARTMENT AND WILL BE AN OUTSTANDING SOLICITOR FOR THE U.S. LABOR DEPARTMENT. WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE HER EARLIEST POSSIBLE CONFIRMATION BY THE SENATE. " I HEARD FROM THE UNITED STATES WOMEN'S CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, AND THEY WROTE SAID AND SAID AFTER LEARNING OF MS. SMITH'S EXPERTISE AND THE LAWS THAT SHE WORKED TO UPHOLD, I CAN CLEARLY SEE SHE IS SOMEONE WHO WILL WORK WITH CONVICTION TO ENFORCE THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. ADDITIONALLY I'M IMPRESSED WITH CREATING PROGRAMS THAT WILL KEEP JOBS. WE ESPECIALLY NEED THESE ATTRIBUTES IN THIS TIME OF ECONOMIC CHALLENGE." THAT'S FROM THE UNITED STATES WOMEN'S CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. I RECEIVED A GROUP OF LETTERS FROM SCHOLARS OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW AND LABOR RELATIONS FROM OVER 50 SCHOLARS OF HIGHLY RESPECTED INSTITUTIONS. INSTITUTIONS LIKE GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER, COLUMBIA LAW, THOMAS JEFFERSON SCHOOL OF LAW, YALE LAW, AND CORNELL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS. THEY WROTE TO ME AND URGED SPEEDY CONFIRMATION SAYING THAT TRICIA DEMONSTRATED THE HIGHEST INTEGRITY AND COMMITMENT TO ETHICAL STANDARDS. SHE IS EXPERIENCED, INTELLIGENT, THOUGHTFUL AND ENERGETIC. WE BELIEVE THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR NEEDS IN A SOLICITOR. AND ONCE CONFIRMED SHE WILL BE AMONG THE BEST SOLICITOR OF LABORS THAT THE DEPARTMENT HAS KNOWN. AND I WILL TELL MY COLLEAGUES THAT HER SUPPORT TRANSCENDS PARTY LINES. FORMER NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL DENNIS FAKLE HAD THIS TO SAY ABOUT HIS FORMER EMPLOYEE. PATRICIA SMITH HAS PROVEN HERSELF AS ONE OF THE FOREMOST EXPERTS IN THE NATION IN THE REALM OF LABOR LAW WHICH IS WHY PRESIDENT OBAMA SAW FIT TO NOMINATE HER. SHE WAS AN ASSET TO THE NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL HE'S A OFFICE AND I'M CONFIDENT THAT SHE WILL BE AN ASSET TO THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. SO TRICIA SMITH HAS BIPARTISAN. AND, MADAM PRESIDENT, AS CHAIR OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT AND WORK PLACE SAFETY, I KNOW THE CHALLENGES THAT AMERICA'S WORKERS ARE FACING TODAY AND I KNOW THAT THEY DESERVE A SOLICITOR OF LABOR, LIKE TRICIA, WHO'S GOING TO FIGHT EVERY SINGLE DAY TO PROTECT THEM. WHEN SHE IS CONFIRMED AS THE DEPARTMENT'S TOP LEGAL COUNSEL, SHE'S GOING TO HAVE THE PROFOUND RESPONSIBILITY OF ENFORCING MORE THAN 180 FEDERAL LAWS AND MANAGING MORE THAN 450 ATTORNEYS NATIONWIDE. SHE'S GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR DEFENDING THE DEPARTMENT IN LITIGATION AS WELL AS PROVIDING LEGAL ADVICE AND GUIDANCE ON NEARLY EVERY POLICY, LEGISLATIVE, REGULATORY, AND ENFORCEMENT INITIATIVE OF THE DEPARTMENT. BUT, MOST IMPORTANTLY, SHE'S GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF WORKERS WHEN THEY'RE NOT ABLE TO SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. MADAM PRESIDENT, TRICIA HAS A BIG JOB AHEAD OF HER. BUT WE NEED TO ACT NOW TO ALLOW HER TO GET STARTED. WE REALLY OWE IT TO OUR COUNTRY'S WORKERS TO HAVE A CONFIRMED SOLICITOR OF LABOR IN PLACE. I'VE HAD A NUMBER OF CONVERSATIONS WITH TRICIA MYSELF AND I AM CONFIDENT THAT SHE IS HIGHLY QUALIFIED AND SHE'S REALLY EAGER TO GET TO WORK. SO I WILL BE VOTING, HOPEFULLY LATER THIS AFTERNOON OR SOON THEREAFTER, TO CONFIRM PATRICIA SMITH, AND I COME TO THE FLOOR THIS AFTERNOON TO URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO DO SO AS WELL. THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:33:53 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MADAM…

    CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

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  • 03:34:15 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 03:49:10 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM DELAWARE.

  • 03:49:14 PM

    MR. KAUFMAN

    I ASK CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 03:49:17 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:49:20 PM

    MR. KAUFMAN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:49:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:49:26 PM

    MR. KAUFMAN

    SPEAK ONCE MORE ABOUT AMERICA'S GREAT FEDERAL EMPLOYEES. NEXT WEEK IN…

    SPEAK ONCE MORE ABOUT AMERICA'S GREAT FEDERAL EMPLOYEES. NEXT WEEK IN VANCOUVER, THE 21st OLYMPIC GAMES WILL BEGIN AMID GREAT FANFARE AND HIGH HOPES. EVERY FOUR YEARS, THE WORLD'S TOP ATHLETES OF SKIING, SKATING, HOCKEY, AND SEVERAL OTHER WINTER SPORTS COMPETE TO WIN MEDALS AND TO WIN HEARTS. OLYMPIC ATHLETES PUSH THEMSELVES TO THE LIMITS, NOT ONLY TO WIN PERSONAL OR TEAM GLORY, BUT ALSO TO REPRESENT THEIR NATIONS ON THE WORLD STAGE. A TICKET TO THE OLYMPICS IS PURCHASED WITH YEARS OF ARDUOUS TRAINING AND A COMMITMENT TO PERSONAL INTEGRITY AND ATHLETIC FAIRNESS. THE VALUES OF OLYMPIANS ARE THOSE OF PERSEVERANCE, INTEGRITY, TEAMWORK, AND NATIONAL SERVICE. THIS LIST OF VALUES SOUNDS SO FAMILIAR TO MANY AMERICANS, IT'S BECAUSE THEY ARE THE SAME VALUES THAT MOTIVATE THOSE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WHO SERVE OUR NATION IN CIVILIAN ROLES AND IN THE MILITARY BRANCHES. THIS WEEK, IN HONOR OF THE UPCOMING WINTER GAMES, I HAVE CHOSEN TO HIGHLIGHT THREE INCREDIBLE AMERICAN OLYMPIANS. THEY SHARE THESE VALUES AND ALL THREE OF THEM CHOOSE TO SERVE OUR NATION IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY AND ARE GREAT FEDERAL EMPLOYEES. JEREMY TILLA IS AN INFANTRY SERGEANT. ORIGINALLY FROM ANCHORAGE, ALASKA. JEREMY JOINED THE ARMY IN 1997. IN ADDITION TO SERVING IN THE INFANTRY, HE PARTICIPATES IN THE ARMY'S WORLD-CLASS ATHLETE PROGRAM. JEREMY IS ONE OF AMERICA'S BEST IN THE SPORT OF BIATHLON. IT IS A GRUELING RACE WHICH BEGINS WITH CROSS COUNTRY SKIING AND ENDS WITH PRECISION RIFLE SHOOTING. JEREMY IS A SEVEN-TIME NATIONAL CHAMPION AND HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM IN 2002 SALT LAKE GAMES AND THE 2006 GAMES IN TORINO. JEREMY WILL ONCE AGAIN BE COMPETING IN THE BY AT LINCOLN AT THIS YEAR -- IN THE BIATHLON AT THIS YEAR'S GAMES IN VANCOUVER. LAST YEAR AT THE WHISTLER WORLD CUP WHICH TOOK PLACE AT THE SAME VENUE, HE WON A BRONZE MEDAL. THE FIRST AMERICAN TO MEDAL IN BIATHLON IN 17 YEARS. JOINING JEREMY IN VANCOUVER WILL BE SERGEANT SHAUNA ROEBUCK OF THE ARMY NATIONAL GUARD. SHE IS ONE OF AMERICA'S CHAMPION BOBSLED DRIVERS. A NATIVE OF UTAH, SHAUNA ENLISTED IN 2000. ABOUT THAT TIME, SHE BEGAN TRAINING IN BOBSLED IN THE HOPES OF MAKING IT TO THE OLYMPICS IN SALT LAKE CITY JUST 40 MILES FROM HER HOMETOWN. WHILE SHE DIDN'T MAKE IT TO THOSE GAMES, SHAUNA MADE IT TO TORONTO FOUR YEARS LATER. THERE SHE WON THE SILVER MEDAL IN THE WOMEN'S BOBSLED. APPARENTLY THE TEAMWORK REQUIRED TO SUCCEED IN THE ARMY TO THE KIND NECESSARY TO SUCCEED IN OLYMPIC BOBSLEDDING, SHAUNA SAID RECENTLY -- "JUST LIKE ANY TEAM OR PLATOON, YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR WEAKEST PERSON. IT TAKES TWO PEOPLE TO PUSH A SLED IN A RACE. BOBSLED DRIVERS CANNOT DO THIS ALONE." THIS MONTH, SHAUNA WILL RETURN TO COMPETE WITH TEAM U.S.A. IN VANCOUVER. MADAM PRESIDENT, THE OLYMPICS ARE NOT THE ONLY GAMES TAKING PLACE IN VANCOUVER THIS SEASON. FOLLOWING THE OLYMPICS WILL BE THE 2010 PARAOLYMPIC EVERYONE WINTER GAMES. THERE THE WORLD'S BEST ATHLETES WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES WILL COMPETE IN SEVERAL WINTER SPORTS. AMONG THOSE VYING FOR A MEDAL IS RETIRED ARMY STAFF SERGEANT HEATH CALHOUN. HEATH GREW UP IN BRISTOL, TENNESSEE, AND JOINED THE ARMY IN 1999. IN DOING SO, HE FOLLOWED A FAMILY TRADITION. HIS GRANDFATHER FOUGHT IN WORLD WAR II AND HIS FATHER SERVED IN VIETNAM. HEATH TRAINED AT FORT BENNING, GEORGIA, AND WAS DEPLOYED TO IRAQ FOR THE 101st AIRBORNE DIVISION. WHILE ON PATROL IN IRAQ, HIS CONVOY WAS FIRED UPON WITH A ROCKET-PROPELLED GRENADE AND HEATH LOST BOTH HIS LEGS ABOVE THE KNEE. AFTER MUCH RECOVERY AT WALDER REED, HE WAS LOSING -- AT WALTER REED, HE WAS LOSING HOPE HE WOULD EVER WALK AGAIN, BUT WITH THE HELP OF THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT, HEATH BECAME AN ADVOCATE FOR OTHER SOLDIER AMPUTEES. DETERMINED TO REGAIN HIS MOBILITY, HEATH BEGAN TRAINING WITH SPECIAL PROSTHETIC LEGS AND COMPUTERIZED KNEES. SOON HE WAS ABLE NOT ONLY TO WALK, BUT ALSO TO RUN, GOLF, AND DRIVE AN UNMODIFIED CAR. IN 2008, HEATH BEGAN TRAINING FOR VANCOUVER PARAOLYMPIC GAMES IN THE SPORT OF ADAPTED SKIING. HE HAS BEEN TRAINING IN ASPEN, COLORADO, AND WON GOLD AT LAST YEAR'S SUPER G NATIONAL CHAMPIONS IN MEN'S SIT SKI. HE WILL BE HEADED TO VANCOUVER IN A FEW WEEKS TO COMPETE FOR MEDALS THERE AS WELL. MADAM PRESIDENT, ALL THREE OF THESE INSPIRATIONAL SOLDIERS ARE NOT ONLY ARMY STRONG, BUT THEY ARE OLYMPIC STRONG. THE VALUES THAT CALLED THEM TO THE ARMY, TEAMWORK, PERSEVERANCE, INTEGRITY, AND SERVICE, ARE THE SAME ONES THAT DRIVE THEM TO OLYMPIC GLORY. IT IS THE SAME SET OF VALUES THAT CALLS OTHER AMERICANS TO SERVE IN THE NAVY, MARINES, AIR FORCE, COAST GUARD, AND CIVILIAN CAREERS IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. WE HAVE SUCH TALENTED CITIZENS WHO ARE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND WHETHER THEY ARE NOBEL LAUREATES, OR ARMY SERGEANTS, WHETHER THEY WORK BEHIND A DESK OR A SPACE SUIT, THEY ALL SHARE THE COMMON BOND OF HAVING CHOSEN, LET ME REPEAT THAT, CHOSEN TO GIVE BACK TO THEIR COUNTRY WE ALL LOVE. THIS IS THE CASE WITH ALL THE GREAT FEDERAL EMPLOYEES I'VE HONORED FROM THIS DESK SO FAR, AND THOSE ARE THE STORIES I HAVE NOT YET SHARED AND WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SHARE DURING MY BRIEF TERM. SHAUNA ROEBUCK PUT IT BEST WHEN SHE SAID -- "I FEEL IT IS A GREAT HONOR TO BE ABLE TO REPRESENT MY COUNTRY AS A SOLDIER AND AS AN ATHLETE. ALL FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, MILITARY AND CIVILIAN, ATHLETES AND NONATHLETES ALIKE REPRESENT US WELL. MADAM PRESIDENT, I HOPE MY COLLEAGUES WILL JOIN ME IN SALUTING JEREMY TILLA, SHAUNA ROEBUCK AND HEATH CALHOUN AND OFFERING THEM AND THEIR FELLOW AMERICAN OLYMPIANS OUR SUPPORT IN THEIR PURSUIT OF VICTORY IN VANCOUVER. I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:55:37 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: YOU QUORUM CALL:

  • 03:55:55 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 04:10:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY.

  • 04:10:55 PM

    MR. LAUTENBERG

    YEAH. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT WE DISPENSE WITH THE…

    YEAH. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT WE DISPENSE WITH THE CALLING OF THE ROLL.

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  • 04:11:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    MR. PRESIDENT, NOT -- NOTWITHSTANDING RULE 22, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT…

    MR. PRESIDENT, NOT -- NOTWITHSTANDING RULE 22, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE CALENDAR --

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  • 04:11:07 PM

    MR. LAUTENBERG

    PRESIDENT, NOT -- NOTWITHSTANDING RULE 22, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT…

    PRESIDENT, NOT -- NOTWITHSTANDING RULE 22, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE CALENDAR -- MR.

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  • 04:11:32 PM

    MR. LAUTENBERG

    IT'S MYSTIFYING BUT IMPORTANT THAT WE RESPOND TO THE PUBLIC DISCOURSE AND…

    IT'S MYSTIFYING BUT IMPORTANT THAT WE RESPOND TO THE PUBLIC DISCOURSE AND CONCERN ABOUT WHAT IT IS THAT WE DO HERE TO ACCOMPLISH WHAT THE PUBLIC INTEREST IS. WE KNOW THAT FOR SOME TIME NOW, THAT THERE HAS BEEN OBSTRUCTIONISM TO MOVING AHEAD WITH THE PEOPLE'S BUSINESS, THAT THE PRICE OBTAINED FOR OBSTRUCTIONISM IS POLITICAL GAIN. BUT LIKE ANY OTHER TRANSACTION, WHEN YOU DO THAT, WHEN WE TAKE THE TIME AND THE ENERGY DEVOTED WARD TRYING TO MOVE AHEAD, INSTEAD OF MOVING AHEAD, THE PRICE THAT'S PAID FOR THIS IS THE AMERICAN PUBLIC. AND IT'S APPARENT THAT OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE HAVE DECIDED THAT THEY WOULD RATHER SACRIFICE THE PEOPLE'S NEED FOR ACTION ON CRITICAL ISSUES FOR THEIR PARTY'S POLITICAL GAIN. WE'VE SEEN DELAY, DIVERSION, PARLIAMENTARY GIMMICKS, WASTED TIME, THROW AWAY HUGE RESOURCES TO DISTORT AND DISTRACT US FROM ACCOMPLISHING BETTER LIVES FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES. REPUBLICANS HAVE USED STALLING TACTICS LIKE FILIBUSTER OVER A HUNDRED TIMES SINCE THE START OF THIS CONGRESS JUST ONE YEAR AGO. THE PROBLEM IS, MR. PRESIDENT, THE VICTIMS OF THESE DELAY AND DESTROY TACTICS ARE PEOPLE WHO NEED TO GET BACK TO WORK, HAVE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE, BETTER EDUCATION AND OTHER ESSENTIALS FOR DECENT LIVING. THE VICTIMS ARE ALSO WELL-QUALIFIED NOMINEES FOR HIGH GOVERNMENT POSITIONS WHO SEEK TO SERVE IN ORDER TO CARRY AMERICA FORWARD. NOMINEES TO FILL AN APPEALS COURT POSITION LIKE JUDGE JOSEPH GREENWAY FROM MY STATE OF NEW JERSEY. JOSEPH GREENWAY IS A WELL-QUALIFIED JUDGE WHO SERVED ON THE FEDERAL BENCH IN NEW JERSEY FOR OVER A DECADE. HE'S BEEN NOMINATED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR A SEAT ON THE THIRD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS. HE HAS -- BRINGS EXCEPTIONAL CREDENTIALS AND EXPERIENCE THAT ARE SECOND TO NONE. BUT IT HAS BEEN BLOCKED WITHOUT ANY CRITICISM OF HIS EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE OR MERIT. THIS WONDERFUL EXAMPLE OF AMERICA THAT'S BEST CAME FROM MODEST INCOME FAMILY, HAS GREAT ACKACADEMIC CREDENTIALS, EXCELLING AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL. BRINGS A RARE BLEPPED OF EXPERIENCE CLERKING FOR A FEDERAL JUDGE, SERVING AS AN ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY IN NEWARK IN 185 AND THEN WORKING IN PRIVATE PRACTICE. HE DISTINGUISHED HIMSELF PROSECUTING BANK FRAUD AND WHITE-COLLAR CRIMINALS BEFORE RISING THROUGH THE RANKS TO BECOME CHIEF OF THE NARCOTICS DIVISION. HE MOVED ON TO SERVE AS A UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE IN NEW JERSEY. IN THAT POSITION, BUILT UP A WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE, PRESIDING OVER MORE THAN 4,000 CASES IN HIS COURTROOM. HE RECEIVED NUMEROUS HONORS AND AWARDS RECOGNIZING HIS WORK. AMONG THEM, THE EARL WARREN LEGAL SCHOLAR, THURGOOD MARSHALL COLLEGE FUND, GARDEN STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, AWARD OF EXCELLENCE, THE LIST GOES ON, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDAL OF EXCELLENCE, CHAIRMAN EMERITUS OF THE COLUMBIA COLLEGE BLACK ALUMNI COUNCIL. JUDGE GREENAWAY SPENT HIS CAREER PROTECTING THE PEOPLE FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, AND DESPITE HIS CRITICAL BENCH RESPONSIBILITY, HE ALSO FOUND TIME TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY, TEACHES CRIMINAL TRIAL PRACTICE CLASSES AT CARDOZA LAW SCHOOL AND CLASSES ABOUT THE SUPREME COURT THERE AND AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. MR. PRESIDENT, JUDGE GREENAWAY WILL BE AN OUTSTANDING ADDITION TO THE BERTH AND THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, RATED HIM UNANIMOUSLY WELL-QUALIFIED FOR THIS THE POSITION. AND THAT'S WHY HE WAS PASSED UNANIMOUSLY OUT OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. NOT ONE REPUBLICAN ON THAT COMMITTEE DISSENTED. NOT ONE VOTE AGAINST HIM. YET JUDGE GREENAWAY HAS BEEN SIDE LINED FOR OVER FOUR MONTHS, WAITING FOR A VOTE ON THE SENATE FLOOR, DESPITE THE NEED TO FILL THAT POSITION. EVERY TIME WE TRY TO SCHEDULE A VOTE, THE REPUBLICANS HAVE OBJECTED. WELL, I WAS PLEASED, MR. PRESIDENT, TO NOTE THAT WE ARE -- THAT THERE HAS BEEN CONSENT TO GO TO A VOTE ON MONDAY EVENING, BUT THE WAIT HAS BEEN LONG. IT'S BEEN TORTUROUS. AND THERE IS NO -- CAN'T BE ANY UNDERSTANDING WHY, WITH ALL OF THE WONDERFUL ACCOLADES THAT JUDGE GREENAWAY HAS HAD FOR HIS WORK, HIS EXPERIENCE, HIS CLIMB TO THE POSITION THAT HE HAS BEEN -- WHAT CAN BE THE OBJECTIVE? I SAY, IF HE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE IN OUR COLLEAGUES' EYES, SPEAK UP, VOTE AGAINST HIM, SHOW THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHY THIS EDUCATED, BRILLIANT SCHOLAR -- LEGAL SCHOLAR IS NOT FIT TO SERVE. OBSTRUCTIONISM LAST YEAR LED TO THE LOWEST NUMBER OF JUDICIAL CONFIRMATIONS IN MORE THAN 50 YEARS, BUT IT IS TIME FOR THIS TO END, AND IT DOESN'T END WITH A VOTE ON JUDGE GREENAWAY. THERE ARE LOTS OF POSITIONS THAT HAVE YET TO BE FILLED, AND I WANT TO SAY TO THOSE WHO HEAR THIS OR UNDERSTAND OTHERWISE WHAT'S GOING ON, THIS MAN, PEOPLE LIKE HIM IN OUR COUNTRY DESERVE BETTER. WHEN THESE CONFIRMATIONS ARE BLOCKED, IT'S NOT JUST ONE NOMINEE THAT SUFFERS; THE WHOLE SYSTEM SUFFERS UNDER THE WEIGHT OF VACANCIES IN THE JUDICIARY. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SUFFER. LONGER WAITS FOR JUSTICE AND OVERBURDENED COURTS. THE THIRD CIRCUIT COURT HAS A VACANCY THAT NEEDED TO BE FILLED -- THAT NEEDS TO BE FILLED, AND IT'S TIME FOR OUR FRIENDS, THE REPUBLICAN SENATORS WHO I KNOW WHO LOVE THE COUNTRY -- BUT STOP OBSTRUCTING THINGS WHEN WE HAVE WELL-QUALIFIED NOMINEES AND ALLOW THE UNITED STATES SENATE TO CONFIRM THEM WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY. YOU KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, WHEN WE HAVE OBJECTIONS THAT ARE PURPOSEFUL, COME TO THE FLOOR, EXPLAIN WHY, AND EXPLAIN IT HONESTLY AND FRANKLY IN FRONT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, BUT TO HIDE BEHIND OBJECTIONS REMINDS ME OF WHAT WE USED TO CALL PEOPLE WHO REFUSED TO SERVE: "CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS." AND THAT SAYS SOMETHING IN THAT PHRASE. IT -- I HEARD IT RATHER OFTEN IN AMERICA WHEN I WAS IN UNIFORM AS A SOLDIER. "CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR" -- PEOPLE WHO OBJECTED BECAUSE THEY HAVE A CONSCIENCE. IF THAT'S THE CASE, THEN IF WE RELATE THIS TO THE CURRENT CONDITION HERE, THEN LET PEOPLE WHO WANT TO OBJECT COME UP AND EXPLAIN WHY EXACTLY IT IS THEY DON'T WANT TO VOTE. BUT, AGAIN, I'M PLEASED THAT OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES HAVE SEEN THAT THERE WAS NO LONGER ANY PURPOSE IN DELAY, AND WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 04:20:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY.

  • 04:20:33 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    JOIN MY COLLEAGUE FROM NEW JERSEY IN SPEAKING JUST A MINUTE ABOUT JUDGE…

    JOIN MY COLLEAGUE FROM NEW JERSEY IN SPEAKING JUST A MINUTE ABOUT JUDGE GREENAWAY. I HAD COME TO THE FLOOR IN HOPE AND EXPECTATION THAT WE COULD ACTUALLY GO TO HIS NOMINATION THIS AFTERNOON. I AM PLEASED THAT WE WILL GET A VOTE ON MONDAY. BUT EVEN STILL, THIS PROCESS HAS TAKEN MUCH TOO LONG. YOU KNOW, THIS IS A NOMINEE FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS THAT HAS ABOUT AS GOOD AS IT GETS IN TERMS OF BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. HE, AT THE AGE OF 40, BECAME A U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE. THEN HE PASSED BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT OF THIS CHAMBER -- REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ALIKE, UNANIMOUS IN THE SENATE. NOW HE PASSES OUT OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE BY, AGAIN, A UNANIMOUS AGREEMENT, AND YET HE'S BEEN HELD UP FOR MONTHS -- MONTHS -- ON THE SENATE FLOOR. WHY? SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU CAN? SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU CAN? THAT'S NOT ACCEPTABLE. THAT'S NOT ACCEPTABLE WHEN I HAVE HEARD MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE FOR YEARS TALK ABOUT AN UP-OR-DOWN VOTE. GIVE US AN YAP OR DOWN VOTE UP-OR-DOWN VOTE SON A NOMINEE, PARTICULARLY A NOMINEE WHO'S EMINENTLY QUALIFIED, WHO'S NONCONTROVERSIAL BY VIRGINIA -- BY VIRTUE OF THE FACT THAT HE HAS ACHIEVED THE ABILITY TO BE AGREED TO IN TERMS OF HIS NOMINATIONS BOTH PAST AND PRESENT WITH REGARD TO THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE WITHOUT QUALIFICATION, WITHOUT OBJECTION. SO IT'S CLEAR THAT UP TO THIS POINT THE OBSTRUCTION OF THIS NOMINEE IS NOT ABOUT WHAT'S RIGHT FOR THE NATION; IT'S NOT ABOUT ACTING IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF AN OVERBURDENED JUDICIAL SYSTEM, IT'S NOT ABOUT INSIDEOLOGY; IT'S NOT EVEN ABOUT JUDGE GREENAWAY. IT'S ABOUT POLITICS OF OBSTRUCTIONISM. THAT IS REALLY CONSEQUENTIAL TO THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND TO OUR CITIZENS WHO DEPEND ON THAT SYSTEM FOR THE ADMINISTRATION AND DELIVERY OF JUSTICE. THIS IS MORE THAN A NOMINEE. IT'S EVERYONE WHO IS WAITING FOR THEIR CASES ON APPEAL. I'LL POINT OUT TO MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE THAT HOPEFULLY WHEN WE GO TO MONDAY'S VOTE WILL UNDERSTAND THAT ON COUNTLESS OCCASIONS THEY ARGUED FOR AN UP-OR-DOWN VOTE, DEMANDING THAT A SIMPLE MAJORITY VOTE ON THE PRESIDENT'S NOMINEE IS ALL THAT IS NECESSARY. A POSITION DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED TO THEIR POSITION TODAY. I RECALL THEY WENT SO FAR AS TO PROCLAIM THAT FILIBUSTERS OF THE PRESIDENT'S NOMINATIONS, PARTICULARLY FOR THE COURT, ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL, AND THEY THREATEN WHAT HAD WE CALLED "THE NUCLEAR OPTION." I ASK AGAIN, WHICH IS IT? DO MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE BELIEVE IT'S RIGHT THAT FILIBUSTERING THE PRESIDENT'S NOMINEES ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL, OR IS THE QUESTION WHAT DO THEY BELIEVE WILL WORK FOR THEM IN ANY GIVEN MOMENT? SO, WE'RE LOOKING FOR THIS UP-AND-DOWN VOTE. YOU KNOW, I DON'T HEAR ARGUMENTS OF THE UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF FILIBUSTERS NOW, AND I SUBMIT TO MY FRIENDS FRIENDS, YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO -- I KNOW THERE WILL BE A UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST OFFERED HERE. I SUSPECT THAT IT WILL BE APPROVED. IF NOT, I'LL RETURN TO THE FLOOR AND HAVE MORE EXTENSIVE REMARKS ON THIS ISSUE. ITERSISSUE. IT'S TIME NOR THIS NOMINEE TO THE THIRD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS TO GET A VOTE UP-OR-DOWN. AND THIS IS AN EMINENTLY QUALIFIED NOMINEE. MY COLLEAGUE FROM NEW JERSEY, SENATOR LAUTENBERG, TALKED A LOT ABOUT HISTORY. THERE'S EVEN MORE. THIS IS A SUPERB NOMINEE. IF THIS NOMINEE CAN BE HELD UP FOR MONTHS, I CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHAT WE'RE IN FOR, MR. PRESIDENT, AS WE MOVE FORWARD. AND I -- AT LEAST TBH COMES TO NOMINEES -- AT LEAST WHEN IT COMES TO NOMINEES OF NEW JERSEY OR THE DISTRICT, I INTEND TO COME TO THE FLOOR EACH AND EVERY TIME. BUT I LOOK FORWARD TO SOME SUCCESS HERE, AT LEAST TODAY, IN BEING ABLE TO MAKE OUR SYSTEM OF JUSTICE ACTUALLY WORK FOR OUR CITIZENS. AND FOR THAT, WE NEED JUDGES AND JUSTICES IN PLACE. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 04:25:14 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM GEORGIA.

  • 04:25:16 PM

    MR. CHAMBLISS

    MR. PRESIDENT, WITH WE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS?

  • 04:25:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: NO, WE'RE NOT. WE'RE IN CLOTURE ON THE SMITH AMENDMENT.

  • 04:25:24 PM

    MR. CHAMBLISS

    WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 04:25:28 PM

    MR. CHAMBLISS

  • 04:33:03 PM

    MR. ENZI

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. SINCE WE'RE TECHNICALLY IN THE 30 HOURS OF…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. SINCE WE'RE TECHNICALLY IN THE 30 HOURS OF DEBATE THE ON THE NOMINATION OF PATRICIA SMITH TO BE THE SOLICITOR, I'LL RISE IN OPPOSITION TO THAT NOMINATION AS I DID YESTERDAY AND I'LL ELABORATE A LITTLE ON MY CONCERNS ABOUT THE PERSONAL PRIVACY VIOLATIONS IN THE PROGRAM SHE CREATED IN 2009, WHICH IS THE WAGE AND HOUR WATCH. THE WAGE AND HOUR WATCH PROGRAM RECRUITS AND TRAINS UNION ORGANIZERS AND PUBLIC INTEREST GROUPS TO GO INTO BUSINESSES WITH COMPLIANCE LITERATURE AND INTERVIEW EMPLOYEES TO DISCOVER VIOLATIONS OF WAGE AND HOUR LAW. THE STATE OF NEW YORK GIVES PARTICIPANTS MATERIALS TO DISSEMINATE AND OFFICIAL CARDS IDENTIFYING THEM AND THEIR GROUP AS BEING PART OF THE PROGRAM. WHEN THEY ENTER BUSINESSES AND SPEAK WITH EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES. AS PART OF THIS PROCESS, UNION AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS ARE DIRECTED TO GATHER PERSONAL TELEPHONE NUMBERS, VEHICLE LICENSE PLATES AND HOME ADDRESSES. I KNOW THIS IS SOMETHING THAT THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT WOULD BE VERY INTERESTED IN BECAUSE HE, OF COURSE, HAS ALWAYS HAD PRIVACY PIECES TO ANY LEGISLATION. AS PART OF THIS PROCESS UNION COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS ARE DIRECTED TO GATHER TELEPHONE NUMBERS, VEHICLE LICENSE PLATES AND HOME ADDRESSES STKWAOELZ TAILS ABOUT THE EMPLOYEES WORKING THERE. THESE ARE PEOPLE WITH ONE DAY'S TRAINING AND SPECIAL CARD FROM THE GOVERNMENT. LABOR ORGANIZERS AND COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS WERE ALLOWED TO USE THIS INFORMATION FOR THEIR OWN ORGANIZING ACTIVITIES. STATE IDENTIFICATION CARDS WERE PROVIDED TO INDIVIDUALS IN VARIOUS UNIONS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZING GROUPS TO INVESTIGATE BUSINESSES. BUT THE STATE CONDUCTED NO BACKGROUND CHECKS ON THOSE THEY TRAINED AND THAT THEY PROVIDED IDENTIFICATION CARDS TO. IS THIS THE KIND OF PROGRAM WE CAN EXPECT MS. SMITH TO FEDERALIZE IF SHE'S CONFIRMED AS SOLICITOR? NOW ANOTHER DEEP CONCERN TO ME IS HOW MS. SMITH DESCRIBED THE DECISION NOT TO CONDUCT ANY VETTING OR BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR WAGE AND HOUR PARTICIPANTS WHO COULD COLLECT THIS PERSONAL INFORMATION. WHEN MS. SMITH WAS QUESTIONED ABOUT THIS BY THE "HELP" COMMITTEE LAST YEAR SHE EXPLAINED THERE IS NO FORMAL VETTING PROCESS. THE DEPARTMENT DID CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITY OF BACKGROUND CHECKS ON THE GROUPS BUT REJECTED THE IDEA AS TO -- AFTER INQUIRING WHETHER NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH GROUPS ARE SUBJECTED TO BACKGROUND CHECKS. THE DEPARTMENT WAS INFORMED THAT THE GROUPS PARTICIPATING IN THIS MORE SENSITIVE CRIME PREVENTION PARTNERSHIP WERE NOT SUBJECT TO A CHECK. MS. SMITH EXPLAINS THAT THE LACK OF A BACKGROUND CHECK, BECAUSE THE PROGRAM IS MODELED AFTER THE NATIONAL SHERIFFS ASSOCIATION NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAM. HOWEVER, UNLIKE WAGE AND HOUR WATCH, NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH IS PURELY AN OBSERVE AND REPORT PROGRAM, CALLING THE POLICE ABOUT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY IN A PUBLIC AREA IS DIFFERENT THAN INVESTIGATING THE WAGES AND HOURS OF INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES AND RECORDING THEIR PERSONAL CONTACT INFORMATION AND INVESTIGATING OSHA VIOLATIONS. FOR ALL OF THESE REASONS, I HAVE GRAVE CONCERNS ABOUT MS. SMITH'S DECISION TO ALLOW THOSE WHO MAY HAVE CRIMINAL RECORDS OR WHO MAY BE LEGAL -- MAY NOT BE LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES TO BE TRAINED AND GATHER INFORMATION UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE NEW YORK STATE AUTHORITY. THESE INSTANCES REINFORCE THE SERIOUS RESERVATIONS I HOLD REGARDING MS. SMITH'S JUDGMENT, COMPETENCY AND ABILITY TO LEAD THE SOLICITOR'S OFFICE. AND I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO OPPOSE THE NOMINATION FOR THOSE REASONS. NOW, I WANT TO ALSO ELABORATE ON MY CONCERNS ABOUT HER AGENCY'S TREATMENT OF SMALL BUSINESS. MS. SMITH'S WAGE AND HOUR PROGRAM SPECIFICALLY TARGETS SMALL- AND MEDIUM SIZE BUSINESSES, INCLUDING, FOR EXAMPLE, SUPERMARKETS, LAUNDRY MATS, NAIL SALONS FOR INVESTIGATIONS BY UNION AND COMMUNITY GROUPS. FIVE TRADE ASSOCIATIONS REPRESENTING SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZE BUSINESSES WROTE TO MS. SMITH TO QUESTION HER AGENCY'S DECISION TO TARGET THEM AND LAUNCH HER PROGRAM WITHOUT ANY INPUT FROM THEM. TO QUOTE THEM, "THE IMAGE PAINTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF OF LABOR IN ITS JANUARY 26 RELEASE IS A POSSE OF ACTIVISTS DULY DEPUTIZED BY THE WEIGHTY IMPRIMATUR OF THE DEPARTMENT DEMANDING ACCESS TO ANY EMPLOYER IN THE STATE WHOM THEY HAVE CHOSEN EITHER AT RANDOM OR BY PREJUDICE." THAT'S PART OF WHAT THEY SAID. NOTABLY THE PROGRAM HAD BEEN LAUNCHED IN EXISTENCE FOR TWO MONTHS BEFORE SHE MET WITH THE TRADE ASSOCIATIONS. "THE NEW YORK POST" CHARACTERIZED THE PROGRAM AS -- QUOTE -- "VIGILANTE LABOR JUSTICE." TARGETING SMALL BUSINESS. IN DOCUMENTS PRODUCED TO THE COMMITTEE, WE ALSO FIND THAT THERE IS A CULTURE IN THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WHERE BUREAUCRATS OFTEN FEEL LITTLE RESPONSIBILITY FOR TREATING BUSINESSES FAIRLY. FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN A REPORTER MISQUOTED MS. SMITH'S DEPUTY AND PROTEGE, SHE RESPONDED IN AN PHA EUL -- QUOTE -- "I HAVE NEVER -- IN AN E-MAIL -- QUOTE -- "I HAVE NEVER SAID THAT ANY PART OF OUR JOB IS TO PROTECT THE EMPLOYERS AGAINST EMPLOYEES WHO ABUSE THEIR RIGHTS. I HAVE BEEN IN THIS FIELD FOR 15 YEARS AND I HAVE NEVER SAID ANYTHING LIKE THAT. EMPLOYERS HAVE ATTORNEYS WHO CAN PLAY THAT ROLE. ALL THE WORKERS HAVE IS US." SMALL BUSINESSES DON'T JUST RUN OUT AND HIRE ATTORNEYS, AND THEY'RE NOT USED TO HAVING PEOPLE AT RANDOM COME IN, FLASH CARDS AND TAKE A LOOK AT THEIR BUSINESS. IN ANNOUNCING THE WAGE AND HOUR PROGRAM, MS. SMITH STATED HER OPINION OF THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AS FOLLOWS: "AS THE ECONOMY CONTINUES TO REEL, BUSINESSES FIND ANY WAY THEY CAN TO CUT CORNERS. UNFORTUNATELY, THIS IS OFTEN AT THE EXPENSE OF THE WORKERS WHO KEEP THEM GOING. THE FUTURE IS NOW AND IT'S HERE. AND TODAY THE LABOR DEPARTMENT EXPANDS ITS FIELD OF BATTLE." END QUOTE. I FOUND THAT, WHETHER IT'S EMPLOYEES OR EMPLOYERS, THERE'S PROBABLY ABOUT 1% TO 1.5% THAT WILL DO THE WRONG THING, THE WRONG THING NO MATTER WHAT THE LAW IS. WE HAVE TO SET UP MECHANISMS TO MAKE SURE THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN AND PEOPLE ARE PROPERLY TREATED. BUT TO ASSUME THEY ARE ALL GOING TO CUT CORNERS AND HARM EMPLOYEES IS THE WRONG APPROACH. MORE EVER ACCORDING TO TO INTERNAL E-MAIL THE PROGRAM WAS DESIGNED -- QUOTE -- "FOR COMMUNITY ENFORCEMENT" AND CREATED BY ALLIED PUBLIC INTEREST GROUPS AND HER DEPUTY WITHOUT ANY CONSIDERATION OF SMALL BUSINESS. THERE ARE ALSO QUESTIONS WHETHER THE STATE HONORS ITS COMMITMENTS TO BUSINESS. MS. SMITH MET WITH THE TRADE ASSOCIATIONS CONCERNED WITH THE WAGE AND HOUR WATCH IN MARCH OF 2009 AND PERSONALLY COMMITTED TO BANNING THE PILOT PARTICIPANTS FROM PROMOTING THEIR INDIVIDUAL ORGANIZATION SIMULTANEOUSLY WITH WAGE AND HOUR WATCH ACTIVITIES. THE OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS RECEIVED FROM NEW YORK, HOWEVER, DO NOT SHOW THIS AGREEMENT WAS IMPLEMENTED AND IN FACT APPEARED TO SHOW THE DEPARTMENT ALLOWING THE GROUPS TO CONTINUE THESE ACTIVITIES. THESE INSTANCES, AGAIN, REINFORCE THE SERIOUS RESERVATIONS I HOLD REGARDING MS. SMITH'S JUDGMENT, COMPETENCY AND ABILITY TO LEAD THE SOLICITOR'S OFFICE. IT'S MORE REASONS WHY I OPPOSE HER NOMINATION. NOW, LEAVING ASIDE THE CLEAR INACCURACIES OF HER TESTIMONY TO THE U.S. SENATE, YOU RECALL I SPOKE EXTENSIVELY ON THAT YESTERDAY, WHERE SHE GAVE US TESTIMONY, THEN WE GAVE HER A CHANCE IN WRITTEN QUESTIONS TO CORRECT HER TESTIMONY. SHE DID NOT. SO, THERE ARE ALSO CONCERNS WITH COMMISSIONER SMITH'S ABILITY TO BE A FAIR ARBITRATOR AND ENFORCER OF OUR NATION'S LABOR LAWS. IN EVERY INSTANCE I'M AWARE OF COMMISSIONER SMITH HAS SHOWN HERSELF TO BE A TRUSTED ALLY OF ORGANIZED LABOR AND EVEN ALLOWS THEM TO PARTICIPATE HEAVILY IN THE FORMULATION OF HER AGENCY'S INITIATIVES. INDEED THE STATE OF NEW YORK'S OFFICIAL RECORDS SHOW THAT TWO OF THE PILOT GROUPS FOR WAGE AND HOUR WATCH, A SENIOR ORGANIZER AND A PUBLIC INTEREST ENTITY FINANCED IN PART BY UNIONS, WERE HEAVILY INVOLVED IN DEVELOPING ALL ASPECTS OF THE WAGE AND HOUR WATCH PROGRAM, INCLUDING PARTICIPANT ELIGIBILITY, PROGRAM DOCUMENTS, TRAINING, AND PRESS STRATEGIES. ONE OF THE UNION'S WRITTEN WORK PLANS STATED THEY WERE GOING TO USE WAGE AND HOUR WATCH IN -- QUOTE -- "ALL OF OUR ORGANIZING CAMPAIGNS." INCLUDING THOSE OUTSIDE THEIR DESIGNATED AREA. ALSO, A FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS UNION'S NEWSLETTER STATES PLANS TO SPECIFICALLY INVESTIGATE NONUNION GROCERIES AS PART OF THE WAGE AND HOUR WATCH. THE COCHAIRMAN OF THE STATE'S WAGE AND HOUR WATCH IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNION. SEVERAL PROGRAM EXPANSION APPLICANTS HAVE AS THEIR SOLE PURPOSE UNION ORGANIZING. STATE OFFICIALS ALSO PLAN TO ENSURE UPSTATE TRADE UNIONS WOULD BE ELIGIBLE. DOCUMENTS ALSO SHOW THE NEW YORK LABOR DEPARTMENT ALLOWS UNIONS TO PARTICIPATE IN WAGE AND HOUR LAW INVESTIGATIONS, INCLUDING INTERVIEWS OF WORKERS WITH POTENTIAL CLAIMS. MS. SMITH'S INTERACTION WITH SOME OF THE ORGANIZED LABOR ALLIED GROUPS GOES BACK TO WHEN SHE HEADED THE LABOR BUREAU FOR THE THEN-NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL ELLIOT SPITZER. RECORDS SHOW THESE GROUPS SHORE UP NEUTRALITY. STATES HAD OFFICIAL IDENTIFICATION CARDS THEY COULD USE IN ANY BUSINESS IN NEW YORK POSSIBLY ALLOWING THEM TO AVOID POLICIES TO GATHER INFORMATION ON EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES. UNIONS WERE ALLOWED TO CONTACT EMPLOYEES OR EMPLOYERS AT THEIR HOME OR AT THE BUSINESS AS PART OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZING. MS. SMITH TWICE ALSO ATTEMPTED TO ALTER A LONG-STANDING LEGAL POSITION TO RESTRICT CHARTER SCHOOLS FOR THE BENEFIT OF ORGANIZED LABORS. ONCE WHILE IN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, AND IN 2007 AND AGAIN WHEN SHE BECAME COMMISSIONER OF LABOR, IN BOTH INSTANCES SHE WAS REVERSED BY A COURT. COMMISSIONER SMITH ALSO MAINTAINS THE SENIOR EXECUTIVE FOR OUTREACH SOLELY TO ORGANIZED LABOR. CURRENTLY STAFFED BY SOMEONE WHO WORKED FOR 23 YEARS FOR THE AFL-CIO IN ORGANIZING AND WITH THE SEIU. NOTABLY, THERE IS NO SUCH EQUIVALENT ROLE FOR OUTREACH TO SMALL BUSINESS OR NONUNION EMPLOYEES. WHILE I APPRECIATE THAT ORGANIZED LABOR IS AN IMPORTANT STAKEHOLDER IN NEW YORK, THIS RECORD OF FAVORITISM, INCLUDING ALLOWING UNION ORGANIZERS TO PARTICIPATE IN STATE LABOR LAW ENFORCEMENT, STRIKES ME AS CLEARLY INAPPROPRIATE. INDEED, I CANNOT IMAGINE HOW MY COLLEAGUES WOULD REACT IF A REPUBLICAN NOMINEE AND A FUTURE ADMINISTRATION DEPUTIZED TRADE ASSOCIATIONS TO INVESTIGATE OR ENFORCE LAWS WITH REGARD TO UNIONS. AS YOU CAN TELL, I HAVE GRAVE CONCERNS ABOUT THIS NOMINEE BECAUSE OF THESE ACTIONS. BUT HAVING ALSO LEARNED THAT SHE MISLED THE SENATE AND THEN DIDN'T CORRECT THEM WHEN SHE GOT THE CHANCE, I CANNOT SUPPORT HER. AND I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO OPPOSE MS. SMITH. I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 04:44:53 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    QUORUM.

  • 04:45:15 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 04:58:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON -- OREGON.

  • 04:58:08 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:58:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:58:16 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    AFTER HOLDING 20 TOWN HALL MEETINGS IN MY HOME STATE OF OREGON, I CAN…

    AFTER HOLDING 20 TOWN HALL MEETINGS IN MY HOME STATE OF OREGON, I CAN CERTAINLY REPORT THAT PEOPLE ARE HUNGRY FOR GOOD ECONOMIC NEWS. PARTICULARLY NEWS ABOUT JOB CREATION, GROWING OUR ECONOMY. OUR PEOPLE WANT FRESH IDEAS THAT WORK AND, CLEARLY, THEY ARE SAYING AND SAYING PASSIONATELY, THAT IT'S TIME TO SET ASIDE GOVERNMENT THAT DOESN'T WORK FOR THEM. THAT IS WHY I'M PROUD TO COME TO THE FLOOR THIS AFTERNOON AND TALK ABOUT A POSITIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. A DEVELOPMENT THAT HAS FAR EXCEEDED THE PROJECTIONS AND THE HOPES OF THOSE WHO ADVOCATED FOR IT AND THAT IS THE -- THE BUILD AMERICA BONDS PROGRAM. BUILD AMERICA BONDS WORK AND IT WORKS TO PUT PEOPLE TO WORK AT GOOD PAYING, FAMILY WAGE JOBS. MR. PRESIDENT, WHEN I STARTED WORKING ON BUILD AMERICA BONDS ABOUT SIX YEARS AGO WITH A NUMBER OF COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, IT WAS BECAUSE I FELT THERE WAS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR SHORING UP OUR NATION'S CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE AND AT THE SAME TIME GETTING OUR ECONOMY BACK TO WORK. IT'S A FACT THAT INVESTING IN INFRASTRUCTURE, DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR, IS ONE OF THE BEST ECONOMIC MULTIPLIERS WE HAVE IN OUR COUNTRY AND IT'S A WAY TO JUMP-START ECONOMIC GROWTH. AS COMMUNITIES DEAL WITH THE RECESSION, I AND MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, WANTED TO GIVE OUR COMMUNITIES NEW TOOLS TO FINANCE ESSENTIAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS. WHAT BUILD AMERICA BONDS HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT IS NOT TAKING ANY OF THE TOOLS OUT OF THE TOOLBOX WE HAVE TODAY, BUT PUTTING SOME ADDITIONAL ONES IN THERE FOR OUR COMMUNITIES. BUILD AMERICA BONDS IS CERTAINLY NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR DIRECT FEDERAL SPENDING ON INFRASTRUCTURE, BUT I THINK ALL PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOOKED AT THIS SUBJECT UNDERSTAND THAT THE NEED IS SO GREAT FROM ROADS AND BRIDGES AND WATER SYSTEMS AND SCHOOLS THAT WE OUGHT TO BE LOOKING FOR ALL COST-EFFECTIVE, EFFICIENT WAYS TO FUND THIS ESSENTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE THAT DOES HAVE BIPARTISAN SUPPORT IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. NOW, TO REPORT, MR. PRESIDENT, WE THOUGHT THAT MAYBE GETTING THE BUILD AMERICA BONDS PROGRAM OFF THE GROUND WOULD RESULT IN SOMEWHERE IN THE VICINITY OF OF $5 BILLION TO $10 BILLION WORTH OF ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE. THE PROGRAM WAS AUTHORIZED AS PART OF THE STIMULUS LEGISLATION IT DIDN'T REALLY GET OFF THE GROUND UNTIL THE MIDDLE OF THE NEXT YEAR. AND I AND MY COLLEAGUES THOUGHT THAT PERHAPS THE $5 BILLION TO TO $10 BILLION OF BUILD AMERICA BONDS WERE AUTHORIZED, THAT WOULD ALLOW US TO MAKE THE CASE THAT WHEN THE PROGRAM EXPIRES AT THE END OF THIS YEAR, WE COULD CALL FOR ITS RENEWAL. MR. PRESIDENT, WHEN THE YEAR WRAPPED UP, THE FIGURES SHOWED THAT ALMOST $64 BILLION WORTH OF BUILD AMERICA BONDS HAD BEEN ISSUED. IN FACT, A NUMBER OF INDEPENDENT EXPERTS SAY THAT BUILD AMERICA BONDS ARE NOW THE HOTTEST, MOST ATTRACTIVE VEHICLE IN THE MUNICIPAL BOND MARKET. IN MY HOME STATE OF OREGON, IT'S BEEN PROVEN TIME AND TIME AGAIN THAT PRIVATE MONEY FOLLOWS PUBLIC INVESTMENT. PEOPLE GET BACK TO WORK BUILDING A BRIDGE, FOR EXAMPLE, AND ALL THE BUSINESSES NEAR THE CONSTRUCTION SITE GET MORE ACTIVITY FROM THE PEOPLE WHO NEED THEIR SERVICES. ONCE THE PROJECT IS FINISHED, PRIVATE INVESTMENT FOLLOWS THE PUBLIC INVESTMENT. THAT BRIDGE MAKES IT EASIER FOR FOLKS TO GET TO WORK OR TAKE THEIR KIDS TO SCHOOL AND COMMUNITIES GROW. SO AS I MENTIONED, THIS BILL HAS A LONG BIPARTISAN LINEAGE. THEN-SENATOR TALENT JOINED WITH ME ABOUT SIX YEARS AGO FOR THIS PROGRAM. THE PROGRAM WOULD HAVE CREATED A FEDERAL TAX CREDIT BONDING PROGRAM TO FUND INVESTMENT AND TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE. SINCE THEN, OUR COLLEAGUE, SENATOR THUNE, AND FOUR OTHERS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE HAVE JOINED US TO MAKE SURE THAT THE SENATE WAS ON RECORD AS SAYING WE CAN FIND SENSIBLE, COMMON SENSE, NONPARTISAN SOLUTIONS THAT ADDRESS THE BASIC NEEDS THAT THIS COUNTRY HAS TO A GREAT EXTENT OVERLOOKED. SO I HAVE MENTIONED TO DATE MORE THAN $60 BILLION WORTH OF THESE INNOVATIVE BONDS HAVE FUNDED HUNDREDS OF PROJECTS IN 39 STATES. FIXING OUR ROADS AND BRIDGES, REBUILDING OUR SCHOOLS, UPGRADING OUR UTILITIES. THESE ARE PROJECTS THAT HAVE BEEN FUNDED. I WOULD ADVISE MY GOOD FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE FROM DELAWARE, WE HAVE HAD A LOT OF DISCUSSION ABOUT EXACTLY WHAT WORKS IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND WHAT DOESN'T. NOW, ON TOP OF THIS $60 BILLION OF BUILD AMERICA BOND INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT, WE HAVE SEEN $80 BILLION OF DIRECT FEDERAL INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING THAT WAS INCLUDED IN THE RECOVERY ACT. SO YOU HAVE A ONE-TWO PUNCH NOW FOR THE FIRST TIME TO REALLY MOBILIZE ALL POSSIBLE RESOURCES TO FUND INFRASTRUCTURE. YOU HAVE A SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT IN WHAT IS CALLED DIRECT SPENDING. I PARTICULARLY APPRECIATE WHEN A NUMBER OF MY COLLEAGUES ON THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE HAVE DONE IN THIS AREA, PARTICULARLY SENATOR MURRAY WHO HAS CHAMPIONED OUR CAUSE IN THE PACIFIC -- CALLS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST WITH RESPECT TO INFRASTRUCTURE. SENATOR HARKIN, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PENSIONS AND LABOR COMMITTEE ALSO HAS DONE A GREAT JOB IN SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION. I WANT IT UNDERSTOOD THAT THOSE OF US WHO SUPPORT BUILD AMERICA BONDS SEE THE BONDS AS A COMPLIMENT TO THE OUTSTANDING WORK THAT A NUMBER OF MY COLLEAGUES WHO I MENTIONED ARE DOING. THIS IS NOT TO SUPPLANT THE KIND OF DIRECT SPENDING EFFORTS, BUT TO SHORE IT UP, TO OFFER ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE, PARTICULARLY ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE WHEN THE NEED IS SO GREAT. SO AS OUR PROPOSAL WAS DEVELOPED, WE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH CHAIRMAN BAUCUS AND SENATOR GRASSLEY, THE CHAIR AND THE RANKING MINORITY MEMBER, ON THE FINANCE COMMITTEE BECAUSE WE WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS EFFORT CONTINUED TO BE BIPARTISAN AT EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. AND I'M VERY GRATEFUL THAT CHAIRMAN BAUCUS AND SENATOR GRASSLEY IN EFFECT GAVE US A CHANCE TO JUMP-START THIS IDEA TO GET IT OFF THE GROUND. THE REALITY IS THAT I SUGGEST TO MY COLLEAGUE FROM DELAWARE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS NEVER BONDED IN THE TRANSPORTATION AREA. A LOT OF STATES AND COMMUNITIES WONDER IF THEY WOULD EVEN EXIST WITHOUT BONDS, BUT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAD NEVER BONDED IN THE TRANSPORTATION AREA, AND WE FELT, OUR BIPARTISAN COALITION, THAT A TAX CREDIT BOND COULD BE ESPECIALLY EFFECTIVE. BUT BECAUSE CHAIRMAN BAUCUS AND SENATOR GRASSLEY WERE WILLING TO BET ON OUR BIPARTISAN COALITION, OUR COALITION THAT SAID BUILD AMERICA BONDS ARE GOING TO BE AN EFFICIENT TOOL, WE SAW ALL THE PREDICTIONS FOR THE SUCCESS OF THIS PROGRAM EXCEEDED. THE REALITY OF BUILD AMERICA BONDS BLEW PAST THE PREDICTIONS LIKE A BULLET TRAIN. BUILD AMERICA BONDS HAVE SOLD LIKE HOT CAKES, GETTING DESPERATELY NEEDED FUNDING FLOWING INTO LOCAL COMMUNITIES, CREATING JOBS, AND HELPING TO STRENGTHEN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE. AND AS I HAVE SUGGESTED, ANYONE CONCERNED THAT IN SOME WAY THIS BOND PROGRAM WOULD DISPLACE CURRENT ASSISTANCE ON INFRASTRUCTURE OUGHT TO LOOK JUST AT THE NUMBERS THAT I HAVE CITED. UNDER THE RECOVERY ACT, THERE WAS $80 BILLION FOR DIRECT FEDERAL STRUCTURE SPENDING. IT WAS SPEND ON INFRASTRUCTURE OR WILL BE SPENT WITHIN THE NEXT YEAR, AND BUILD AMERICA BONDS WERE SOLD ON TOP OF THAT ASSISTANCE. NOW, HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF BUILD AMERICA BONDS QUICKLY PUTTING FOLKS TO WORK. IN OREGON'S DAYTON SCHOOL DISTRICT, THEY USED BUILD AMERICA BONDS TO EMPLOY UP TO 150 PEOPLE BUILDING AND REMODELING CLASSROOMS. BY USING BUILD AMERICA BONDS, THE DISTRICT SAVED AN ESTIMATED ESTIMATED $1.2 MILLION IN INTEREST COSTS. IT IS A SMALL SCHOOL DISTRICT, MR. PRESIDENT. THOSE KINDS OF SAVINGS MAKE A DIFFERENCE. COMMUNITIES IN WISCONSIN HAVE ALSO USED A BUILD AMERICA BOND ONE SMALL COMMUNITY USED THEM TO LOWER THEIR FINANCING COSTS BY 2.3%, ALLOWING IT TO TURN PLANS TO UPGRADE ROADS, SEWERS, AND BUILDINGS INTO REALITY. ONE OF THEIR LEADERS TOLD "BUSINESS WEEK" MAGAZINE THAT WITHOUT BUILD AMERICA BONDS, SOME PROJECTS MIGHT NOT BE DONE AND THERE WOULD BE LESS EMPLOYMENT. RECENTLY, A JOINT C.B.O. JOINT TAX COMMITTEE REPORT HIGHLIGHTED A NUMBER OF OTHER BENEFITS FROM BUILD AMERICA BONDS. C.B.O. AND THE JOINT TAX COMMITTEE FOUND THAT TAX CREDIT BONDS LIKE OUR BUILD AMERICA BONDS ARE MORE COST-EFFECTIVE THAN TAX-EXEMPT BONDS. THE REPORT ALSO CONCLUDES THAT BECAUSE THE BONDS ARE MORE ATTRACTIVE TO INVESTORS, THEY ARE MORE EFFICIENT AT RAISING CAPITAL. THIS SAVES MUNICIPALITIES TIME AND MONEY AND EFFORT THAT WOULD BE SPENT ON OTHER PRIORITIES. ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT THE FUNDS ARE RAISED EFFICIENTLY, WHAT I HEARD AGAIN AND AGAIN, AND I THINK THIS IS WHAT COLLEAGUES ARE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT WHEN IT COMES TO INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT, BUILD AMERICA BONDS GET THE JOB DONE QUICKLY. BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO ADHERE TO FEDERAL SPENDING GUIDELINES, ALL OF THE BOND FUNDS HAVE TO BE SPENT WITHIN TWO YEARS OF THE DATE THE BOND IS ISSUED. THIS MEANS THAT MONEY ISN'T JUST FLOWING INTO PROJECTS. IT'S BEING SPENT IN THE SHORT TERM, PAYING TO BUILD ROADS AND BRIDGES AND OTHER INFRASTRUCTURE AND PUTTING FOLKS BACK TO WORK QUICKLY. THAT'S THE KIND OF BANG FOR OUR BUCK THAT AMERICANS ARE HUNGRY FOR RIGHT NOW. THAT'S WHAT BUILD AMERICA BONDS DELIVER. NOW, BACK IN THE DAYS BEFORE BUILD AMERICA BONDS WERE ISSUED, THE MARKET FOR NORMAL MUNICIPAL BONDS WAS ALMOST FROZEN. IT WAS VERY HARD TO SELL MUNICIPAL BONDS. IT CERTAINLY DIDN'T MEAN THE NEED FOR FINANCING INFRASTRUCTURE WASN'T THERE. IT WAS JUST VERY HARD TO GET THEM THROUGH THE TRADITIONAL BOND MARKET. BUILD AMERICA BONDS HAVE CHANGED THAT. THE PRIVATE SECTOR, FOLKS WHO REPRESENT THE COUNTRY'S LARGEST BUSINESSES, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS, HAVE BEEN STRONG SUPPORTERS OF IT. MANY OF THE LABOR GROUPS, THE TRADES IN PARTICULAR, HAVE BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF IT BECAUSE, CLEARLY, BUSINESS AND WORKING FAMILIES NEED A WORKING INFRASTRUCTURE TO GIVE BUSINESSES THE SECURITY THEY NEED TO THINK LONG-TERM ABOUT THEIR FUTURE. BUT IT ISN'T JUST BUSINESSES THAT BUY BUILD AMERICA BONDS. NONPROFITS LIKE PENSION FUNDS HAVE ALSO FOUND BUILD AMERICA BONDS AND ATTRACTED INVESTMENT. ALTHOUGH NONPROFITS CAN'T BENEFIT FROM THE TAX CREDITS, BOND ISSUERS CAN PASS ON THE VALUE OF THE TAX CREDITS IN THE FORM OF A HIGHER INTEREST RATE FOR BUILD AMERICA BONDS THAN OTHER TYPE OF BONDS. BY CONTRAST, TRADITIONAL TAX-EXEMPT MUNICIPAL BONDS ARE NOT A GOOD INVESTMENT FOR PENSION FUNDS AND OTHER INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS THAT DON'T PAY TAXES. SO BUILD AMERICA BONDS ARE ESPECIALLY ATTRACTIVE AS A WAY FOR NONPROFITS TO INVEST IN AMERICAN INFRASTRUCTURE THAT TRADITIONAL TAX-EXEMPT BONDS DO NOT PROVIDE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT -- AND I AM NOT SURPRISED AND I THINK THE JUDGMENT I HAVE MADE WOULD BE SHARED BY COLLEAGUES ON OTHER SIDES OF THE AISLE BECAUSE A LOT OF THEM HAVE BEEN INVOLVED OVER THESE LAST SIX YEARS, WE ARE NOT SURPRISED THAT BUILD AMERICA BONDS ARE REINVENTING THE MUNICIPAL BOND MARKET. THEY HAVE BEEN A GOOD DEAL FOR OUR COMMUNITIES AND FOR ALL TYPES OF INVESTORS. THEY HAVE FREED UP FINANCING FOR BADLY NEEDED INFRASTRUCTURE CONSTRUCTION AND ENSURED LONG-TERM ECONOMIC GROWTH. IN SOME CASES, THESE BONDS, ACCORDING TO PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES ACROSS THIS COUNTRY, MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHETHER INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS ARE ACTUALLY GOING TO GET DONE OR NOT. IN OTHER CASES, THEY LOWER THE COST OF THE PROJECTS AND ALLOW COMMUNITIES TO REINVEST THOSE SAVINGS IN OTHER PROJECTS. BY ANY SCENARIO YOU LOOK AT WITH RESPECT TO THIS PROGRAM, THIS IS ONE THAT HELPS LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, LOCAL BUSINESSES, AND THE PEOPLE WHO RELY ON INFRASTRUCTURE FOR JOBS AND ECONOMIC SECURITY. MY VIEW IS, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT'S EXACTLY THE KIND OF SOLUTION FOLKS ARE ASKING FOR FROM THE CONGRESS AT THIS TIME. IT'S FINE TO SPECULATE ABOUT PROGRAMS THAT YOU LIKE TO HAVE CONSIDERED AND YOU WILL LOOK AT DOWN THE ROAD TO SEE IF THEY ACTUALLY PRODUCE. THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION NOW WANTS TO MAKE BUILD AMERICA BONDS PERMANENT BECAUSE THEY HAVE SEEN THE EXTRAORDINARY RESPONSE THAT OUR COUNTRY IS DEMONSTRATING ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY. BUILD AMERICA BONDS HAVE PRODUCED AND THEY HAVE PRODUCED EXACTLY WHAT WAS INTENDED -- A EMPLOYMENT INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT IN AN EFFICIENT FASHION. I WANT TO EXPRESS MY APPRECIATION TO CHAIRMAN BAUCUS. UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP, THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE ON WHICH I'M HONORED TO SERVE IS CURRENTLY LOOKING AT EXPANDING AND IMPROVING BUILD AMERICA BONDS IN THE UPCOMING JOBS BILL. I TOLD SECRETARY GEITHNER THIS MORNING THAT I HAD APPRECIATED HIS LEADERSHIP AND THE ADMINISTRATION'S LEADERSHIP ON THIS ISSUE. WE HAVE SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW TO PROCEED IN THE FUTURE. FOR EXAMPLE, WHETHER, AS I WOULD LIKE, BUILD AMERICA BONDS SHOULD BE DEVOTED TO NEW JOB CREATION AS OPPOSED TO ASSISTANCE FOR OPERATING EXPENSES AND OTHER AREAS. BUT THE BOTTOM LINE IS THOSE ARE THE KINDS OF ISSUES THAT DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS HERE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE CAN TAKE ON IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. WHAT WE KNOW IS WE HAVE GOT SOMETHING THAT IS WORKING, THAT IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THIS CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE AREA, AND THAT LITERALLY HAS SIX YEARS WORTH OF BIPARTISAN HISTORY WHERE DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS HAVE COME TOGETHER TO TEAM UP ON AN ISSUE THAT IS EXTRAORDINARILY IMPORTANT TO OUR NATION. IF WE KEEP WORKING TOGETHER ON GOOD IDEAS LIKE BUILD AMERICA BONDS, BY THE TIME THE CURRENT ECONOMIC STORM PASSES, OUR COUNTRY'S INFRASTRUCTURE WILL BE FINALLY READY TO SUPPORT A STRONG, HEALTHY ECONOMY THAT LIES AHEAD FOR OUR NATION. MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THAT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND I WOULD NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:15:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: MRS.

  • 05:15:51 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:26:15 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TO SPEAK ON TWO NOMINATIONS AND I COME…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TO SPEAK ON TWO NOMINATIONS AND I COME AS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE --

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  • 05:26:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATE IS IN A QUORUM CALL.

  • 05:26:25 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:26:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:26:30 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    YOU, VERY MUCH. KIM TO THE FLOOR AS IT IS -- I COME TO THE FLOOR AS THE…

    YOU, VERY MUCH. KIM TO THE FLOOR AS IT IS -- I COME TO THE FLOOR AS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE TO SPEAK ON THESE NOMINATIONS BECAUSE BOTH OF THESE NOMINEES HAVE BEEN BEFORE OUR COMMITTEE AND BOTH OF THESE NOMINEES HAVE BEEN UNANIMOUSLY PASSED OUT BY OUR COMMITTEE. THE FIRST IS THE TOP PERSON FOR INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYSIS AT THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. HIS NAME IS AMBASSADOR PHIL GOLDBERG, AND HE IS NOMINATED TO BE ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR INTELLIGENCE AND RESEARCH AT THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE. THESE NOMINATIONS ARE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF THIS NATION. THESE ARE THE TOP PEOPLE IN TWO DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS. THERE HAS BEEN AN TO THIS REQUEST FROM THE OTHER SIDE, THE REQUEST TO APPOINT THESE NOMINEES. THE MAJORITY LEADER OF THE SENATE HAS COME TO THE FLOOR TWICE TO IMPLORE, TO REQUEST, TO ASK THAT THESE TWO NOMINEES NOT APPROVED BECAUSE THESE ARE TOP PEOPLE FOR RESPECTIVE DEPARTMENTS. WE JUST HAD A NATIONAL THREAT HEARING, A WORLD THREAT HEARING IN THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE OPEN TO THE PRESS THIS AFTERNOON. I ASKED THE QUESTION, IS -- WHAT IS THE POSSIBILITY OF A -- AN ATTACK AGAINST THE HOMELAND IN THE NEXT THREE TO SIX MONTHS. IS IT HIGH? IS IT LOW? DIRECTOR BLAIR, DIRECTOR PANETTA PANETTA, DIRECTOR MULLER OF MUELLER OF THE FIB FIRKS THE HEAD OF THE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, THE HEAD OF THE I.N.R., THE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT, AMBASSADOR FINGER, EVERY ONE OF THEM SAID THE THREAT IS HIGH, AND YET WE DEPARTMENT GET CONFIRMED TWO TOP PEOPLE WHOSE JOB IS TO SEE THAT THE ANALYSIS OF THIS INTELLIGENCE IS CORRECT. LET ME SPEAK FOR A MOMENT ABOUT KAREN WAGNER. SHE'S HAD A DISTINGUISHED CAREER IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SERVICE THAT HAS PREPARED HER FOR UNDER SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY FOR INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYSIS. NOW, WE JUST HAD A CHRISTMAS EVE ATTACK ON THE HOMELAND. THIS IS THE TOP PERSON OF THAT DEPARTMENT TO DEAL WITH THE INTELLIGENCE RELATED TO EXACTLY THIS: PROTECTION OF THE HOMELAND HOMELAND. AND THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN IN OFFICE FOR A YEAR NOW AND WE CANNOT GET THIS NOMINEE CONFIRMED. NOW, YOU MIGHT THINK, WELL, IS THERE A PROBLEM WITH THE NOMINEE? AND THE ANSWER TO THAT IS NO. SHE'S CURRENTLY AN INSTRUCTOR IN INTELLIGENCE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT FOR THE INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ACADEMY. SHE RETIRED FROM THE HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE. PRIOR TO THAT, SHE SERVED AS ASSISTANT DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOR MANAGEMENT, AND THE FIRST CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER FOR THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE PROGRAM. SHE ASSUMED THIS POSITION AFTER SERVING AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY AFFAIRS. SHE HAS PREVIOUSLY SERVED ALSO AS THE SENIOR DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UNITED STATES EUROPEAN COMMAND AND THE NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION, AS WELL AS DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR ANALYSIS AND PRODUCTION AT THE DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE ADMINISTRATION. SHE WAS ALSO FORMERLY THE STAFF DIRECTOR OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON TECHNICAL AND TACTICAL INTELLIGENCE AT THE HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE AND A SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE AND ELECTRONIC WARFARE OFFICER IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY. NOW, WHERE AM I GOING? SHE HAS BEEN AN INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL ALL OF HER PROFESSIONAL LIFE. SHE IS SERIOUS, SHE IS CAPABLE, SHE IS A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE POSITION OF UNDER SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY. WE HELD A CONFIRMATION HEARING ON MS. WAGNER'S NOMINATION ON DECEMBER 1. NOW, GIVEN THE OVERLAPPING INTERESTS OF THE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE, SHE WENT TO -- THEN TO THE HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE. THERE WAS A HEARING THERE ON DECEMBER 3, AND SHE WAS PASSED OUT OF THAT COMMITTEE. THE FOGS WHICH SHE IS NOMINATED IS THE TOP INTELLIGENCE POSITION IN THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. THE MAIN RESPONSIBILITIES OF THIS OFFICE ARE TO ENSURE THAT INFORMATION RELATED TO HOMELAND SECURITY THREATS ARE COLLECTED, ANALYZED, AND DISSEMINATED TO HOMELAND SECURITY CUSTOMERS IN THE DEPARTMENT AT THE STATE, LOCAL, AND TRIBAL LEVELS. SO THIS IS AN IMPORTANT JOB. THERE IS NO ONE IN IT. WE HAVE JUST HAD AN ATTACK, AND THE CHANCES OF ANOTHER ATTACK IN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS ARE HIGH. AND SOMEBODY ON THE OTHER SIDE -- I SUSPECT FOR POLITICAL REASONS -- IS HOLDING HER UP. IT MAKES NO SENSE, IF YOU WANT TO PROTECT THIS NATION, TO HOLD UP THIS POSITION. I WOULD HOPE, WHOMEVER IT IS WOULD WHOM TO THE FLOOR AND EXPLAIN WHY THEY'RE HOLDING UP THIS NOMINEE, A WOMAN HAS A HAD A LIFETIME DEDICATED TO INTELLIGENCE, WHO WOULD BE THE TOP INTELLIGENCE PERSON IN THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, ONE PERSON HOLDING HER UP. PASSED OUT BY TWO COMMITTEES -- INTELLIGENCE AND HOMELAND SECURITY -- WITHOUT A NEGATIVE VOTE. WHY WOULD SOMEONE HOLD HER UP? FOR THEIR OWN AGENDA? IS IT APPROPRIATE TO HOLD HER UP FOR SOMEONE'S OWN PERSONAL AGENDA WHEN YOU HAVE THE TOP PERSON IN THAT DEPARTMENT RESPONSIBLE FOR INTELLIGENCE AT A TIME WHEN WE'VE JUST HAD AN ATTEMPTED ATTACK? I THINK NOT. THE UNDER SECRETARY OF THE 0 OFFICE LEADS EFFORTS TO COLLECT AND ANALYZE INTELLIGENCE, TO SEE THAT IT'S SHARED APPROPRIATELY, AND PROVIDED TO OTHER INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY AGENCIES. THE UNDER SECRETARY PROVIDES HOMELAND SECURITY INTELLIGENCE AND ADVICE TO THE SECRETARY AS WELL TO OTHER SENIOR OFFICIALS IN THE DEPARTMENT AND SERVES AS THE DEPARTMENT'S SENIOR INTERAGENCY INTELLIGENCE REPRESENTATIVE. SO THEY HAVE NO ONE RIGHT NOW. IT MAKES NO SENSE TO ME. IN SHORT, THIS INDIVIDUAL, THE UNDER SECRETARY FOR INTELLIGENCE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ENSURING THAT INTELLIGENCE RELATING TO A THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES IS ACTED UPON. AND THAT SPOT IS VACANT. FROM AN INTELLIGENCE POINT OF VIEW, THIS IS QUITE TERRIBLE. IT IS DELETERIOUS, IT IS NOT RIGHT FOR THIS BODY TO HOLD UP THIS NOMINEE. NOW, UNFORTUNATELY, THE OFFICE OF INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYSIS HAS EXPERIENCED NUMEROUS PROBLEMS IN ITS SHORT TENURE, AND LET ME NOTE SOME OF THEM. THE OFFICE'S ILL-DEFINED PLANNING, PROGRAMMING, AND BUDGETING PROCESSES. A GROSS OVERRELIANCE ON CONTRACTORS, TO THE POINT THAT 63% OF THE WORKFORCE WAS CONTRACTED OUT AS OF THIS SUMMER, AND THE LACK OF A STRATEGIC PLAN. THESE ARE THREE MAJOR PROBLEMS. THE UNDER SECRETARY NEEDS TO GET ON BOARDS. THE UNDER SECRETARY NEEDS TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS. ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS, THE OFFICE HAS PRODUCED AND DISSEMINATED FINISHED INTELLIGENCE THAT HAS BEEN BASED ON NONCREDIBLE OPEN-SOURCE MATERIALS OR FOCUSED INTELLIGENCE RESOURCES ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT-PROTECTED ACTIVITIES OF AMERICAN CITIZENS. SO WHAT'S MY BOTTOM LINE? THE OFFICE IS IN NEED OF STRONG LEADERSHIP FROM AN UNDER SECRETARY WITH AN EXTENSIVE BACKGROUND IN MANAGEMENT OF INTELLIGENCE. THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE IS CONFIDENT THAT MS. WAGNER IS SUCH A PERSON. SHE IS UP TO THE CHALLENGE. SHE TESTIFIED THAT, IF CONFIRMED, AMONG HER FIRST TASKS WILL BE TO REVIEW A DRAFT PLAN TO RESTRUCTURE AND REFINE THE OFFICE'S MISSION, WHICH WILL BE A GOOD FIRST INDICATION OF HOW MS. WAGNER WILL MANAGE THE 0 ORGANIZATION. WE SHOULD GET CRACKING. WE SHOULD GET IT DONE. WE SHOULD GET THIS SPHOT FILLED. AND SO -- WE SHOULD GET THIS SPOT FILLED. AND SO I WOULD RESPECTFULLY ASK THAT IF THERE IS SOMETHING THAT WE DO NOT KNOW THAT THE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE OF THIS BODY DOES NOT KNOW, THAT THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE OF THIS BODY DOES NOT KNOW, THAT THE PERSON HOLDING HER UP -- LET THE PERSON HOLDING HER UP COME TO THE FLOOR AND TELL US WHAT IT IS BECAUSE IT IS A SIGNIFICANT DEFICIT NOT TO HAVE THIS POSITION FILLED. NOW LET ME TURN TO THE NOMINATION OF AMBASSADOR PHILLIP GOLDBERG TO BE ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR INTELLIGENCE AND RESEARCH AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT. AGAIN, THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAD A HEARING. WE HAD UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG'S NOMINATION ON DECEMBER 10, THE SAME DAY WE REPORTED OUT MS. WAGNER'S NOMINATION. AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG'S DISTINGUISHED 20-YEAR CAREER IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE WHERE HE HAS SERVED AS THE CHARGE D'AFFAIRES AND DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION IN SANTIAGO, CHILE, THE CHIEF OF MISSION IN PRISTINA, AND ALSO IN BOGOTA, COLUMBIA, AND IN SOUTH AFRICA. HE IS A GRADUATE OF BOSTON UNIVERSITY AND HE WORKED FOR THE CITY OF NEW YORK. FROM 2006 TO 2008, HE SERVED AS AMBASSADOR TO BOLIVIA DURING A PERIOD OF HEIGHTENED TENSIONS BETWEEN OUR TWO COUNTRIES. IN MID-SEPTEMBER 2008, PRESIDENT MORALES ACCUSED AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG OF SUPPORTING OPPOSITION FORCES, DECLARING HIM PERSONA NONGRATA AND EXPELLED HIM FROM THE COUNTRY. THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CAREFULLY REVIEWED AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG'S CONDUCT IN BOLIVIA. WE HAVE FOUND THAT AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG ACTED APPROPRIATELY DURING HIS TENURE AND CARRIED OUT THE POLICIES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. IN FACT, AN INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT ON THE EMBASSY PUBLISHED IN SEPTEMBER OF 2008 GAVE AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG AND HIS DEPUTY HIGH MARKS, STATING -- AND I QUOTE -- "THE AMBASSADOR AND THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION -- THE D.C.M. -- PROVIDE CLEAR POLICY, LEADERSHIP, AND GUIDANCE. THEY GATHER, THEY INPUT, AND THE ADVICE FROM THEIR STAFF HAS FORGED AN EXCELLENT WORKING RELATIONSHIP AMONG ALL AGENCIES AND SECTIONS AT POST." END QUOTE. AFTER AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG'S EXPULSION FROM BOLAR LIVE YARKS THE STATE DEPARTMENT -- BOLIVIA, THE STATE DEPARTMENT STRONGLY DEFENDED THE AMBASSADOR BOTH IN THE PRESS ADS AS WELL AS IN INTERNAL MEMBERIA. THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE BELIEVES THAT AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG ACTED PROFESSIONALLY AND THERE IS BARES NO -- BEARS NO BLAME FOR THE EXPULSION. SINCE JUNE OF 2009, AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG HAS SERVED AS THE COORDINATOR FOR THE IMPLEMENT THAITION OF UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTION 1876 WHICH IMPOSED ECONOMIC AND COMMERCE SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA. IN THIS POSITION, HE HAS RELIED ON SENSITIVE INTELLIGENCE REPORTING TO BUILD A DIPLOMATIC CONSENSUS TO SEARCH NORTH KOREAN CARGO. AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG APPEARED BEFORE THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE FOR CONFIRMATION HEARING ON DECEMBER 1, 2009. GIVEN ITS JURISDICTION OVER THE STATE DEPARTMENT, THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE ALSO HELD A HEARING ON AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG'S NOMINATION ON NOVEMBER 19, 2009. THE VIEW -- THE UNANIMOUS VIEW, I BELIEVE -- IS THAT AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG IS AN EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONAL WHO IS VERY CAPABLE AND READY TO ASSUME HIS NEW DUTIES. THE POSITION OF ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR INTELLIGENCE AND RESEARCH IS A UNIQUE ONE IN THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY. THE BUREAU, WHICH WE REFER TO SIMPLY AS I.N.R., PRODUCES ALL- ALL-SOURCE INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS TO ADVISE THE SECRETARY OF STRAIGHT AND OTHER SENIOR POLICY OFFICIALS AND PRESENTS AN IMPORTANT VIEWPOINT IN THE INTERNAL DELIBERATIONS OF THE INTELLIGENCE ANALYTIC COMMUNITY. I.N.R. ANALYSTS ARE HIGHLY EXPERT IN THEIR FIELDS AND OFTEN IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF COORDINATED INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENTS BY CHALLENGING THE VIEWS OF OTHER AGENCIES AND, IF NECESSARY, DISSENTING FROM CONSENSUS JUDGMENTS IF THEY BELIEVE THEM TO BE INCORRECT OR UNSUBSTANTIATED. I FIRST CAME TO APPRECIATE I.N.R.'S INDEPENDENT-MINDED APPROACH IN 2002 WHEN ITS ANALYSTS DISSENTED FROM THE OFFICIAL JUDGMENT OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY REGARDING IRAQ'S WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. I.N.R. ANALYSTS EXPRESSED LESS CERTAINTY REGARDING THE CLAIM THAT IRAQ WAS RECONSTITUTING NUCLEAR WEAPONS, BELIEVING THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN'S PURSUIT OF ALUMINUM TUBING WAS NOT FOR NUCLEAR PURPOSES. HISTORY, OF COURSE, PROVED THE I.N.R. ANALYSTS TO BE CORRECT, AS IRAQ WAS NOT RECONSTITUTING A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM. BOTTOM LINE: AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG IS WELL-QUALIFIED, AND THE POSITION FOR WHICH HE HAS BEEN NOMINATED TO FILL IS AN IMPORTANT ONE WITHIN THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY. THERE'S BEEN NO REASON PUT FORWARD WHY HE SHOULD NOT BE CONFIRMED. TWO COMMITTEES HAVE HELD HEARINGS AND RECOMMENDED HIS CONFIRMATION UNANIMOUSLY, AS WITH BOTH OF THESE NOMINEES, AND YET THERE IS A HOLD ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE. AND AS CHAIRMAN OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, I BELIEVE IT PLACES OUR NATION AT A SECURITY DISADVANTAGE. AND I WOULD REALLY URGE THAT THAT CHANGE. I WOULD REALLY URGE THAT WHOMEVER HAS THE HOLD, IF THEY HAVE SOMETHING THAT IS CONSEQUENTIAL AGAINST EITHER ONE OF THESE NOMINEES, DO THE HONORABLE THING. COME TO THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE, EXPRESS YOUR OBJECTIONS, HAVE THE DEBATE AND DIALOGUE ON THE ABILITY, ON THE EXPERIENCE, ON THE DOINGS OF THESE TWO PEOPLE. THEY ARE SUPERBLY QUALIFIED. NEITHER ONE OF THESE IS JUST PLUCKED OUT OF SOME POLITICAL COMMUNITY AND THRUST INTO THESE POSITIONS. THEY HAVE BOTH BEEN DEDICATED PROFESSIONALS, AND THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WHY THIS HOLD IS SO DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND. MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT YOU TO KNOW -- I WANT THIS SENATE TO KNOW THAT THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE OF WHICH I'M PROUD TO CHAIR TAKES ITS RESPONSIBILITY TO VIEW THE PRESIDENT'S NOMINEES TO POSITIONS REQUIRING SENATE CONFIRMATION VERY SERIOUSLY. OUR PROCESS IS THOROUGH, AND IT IS BIPARTISAN. THE STAFF DOES AN INVESTIGATION. THE DOCUMENTS ARE REVIEWED. THE HERLING HEARING IS HELD. WRITTEN QUESTIONS ARE SENT. WRITTEN QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED. QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS ARE READ. THE COMMITTEE DISCUSSES IT, AND THE COMMITTEE VOTES. IN THIS CASE, FOUR COMMITTEES -- WELL, ACTUALLY THREE COMMITTEES HAVE REVIEWED THESE TWO NOMINEES AND FOUND THEM QUALIFIED FOR THEIR POSITIONS. AND YET THEY ARE HELD UP. SO, BOTTOM LINE: IF YOU CONSIDER THAT ON CHRISTMAS DAY WE HAD SOMEONE THAT TRIED TO EXPLODE A DEVICE, A NEW DEVICE WHICH WILL BE PERFECTED, WHICH WILL BE USED AGAIN, WHICH IS DIFFICULT TO FIND BY A MAG MAGNETOMETER IN AN AIRPORT -- WILL BE USED AGAIN, THAT THE INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS ASSESS WITH CONFIDENCE THAT WE FACE ANOTHER ATTACK, WE OUGHT TO GET THESE POSITIONS FILLED. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, UNLESS THERE IS SOME REASON WHY THESE TWO NOMINEES ARE FAULTY -- IF THEY'RE NOT QUALIFIED, IF THEY HAVE DONE SOMETHING WRONG -- THEN I SAY, COME TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE AND OPPOSE THEM OPENLY. BUT TIME IS AWAISTING, AND THESE POSITIONS HAVE TO BE -- BUT TIME IS AWASTING, AND THESE POSITIONS HAVE TO BE STAFFED. AND THIS COUNTRY NEEDS TO BE PROTECTED AND OUR INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONALS NEED TO BE IN PLACE. AND IN THESE TWO DEPARTMENTS, YOU HAVE TWO HIGH-LEVEL POSITIONS RELATING TO INTELLIGENCE THAT ARE NOT FILLED AND SHOULD BE FILLED, AND THESE NOMINEES ARE WAITING. SO I HOPE SOMEONE IS LISTENING. I HOPE SOMEHOW SOME WAY THIS WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. AND I VERY MUCH HOPE THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO CONFIRM BOTH OF THESE NOMINEES UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED BY THE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE, ONE; BY THE HOMELAND SECURITY, THE OTHER; AND BY THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, BOTH. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 05:46:08 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: MR.

  • 05:46:27 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:54:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM IOWA.

  • 05:54:27 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    I ASK FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 05:54:31 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, HERE WE ARE; IT'S ABOUT 5:55 P.M. WE'VE BEEN HERE ALL DAY…

    MR. PRESIDENT, HERE WE ARE; IT'S ABOUT 5:55 P.M. WE'VE BEEN HERE ALL DAY TODAY POSTCLOTURE ON PATRICIA SMITH. AGAIN, TO RECAP WHY WE'RE HERE -- I'M NOT CERTAIN WHY WE'RE HERE, BUT TO RECAP THE FACT THAT WE ARE HERE. PATRICIA SMITH WAS REPORTED OUT OF OUR COMMITTEE LAST YEAR, WAS HELD UP TO BE THE SHROR TOR OF -- SOLICITOR OF LABOR FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. FINALLY WE HAD TO FILE CLOTURE BECAUSE SHE WAS BEING FILIBUSTERED. THAT CLOTURE PETITION RIPENED LAST NIGHT, AND WE HAD A CLOTURE VOTE LAST NIGHT, AND 60 PEOPLE VOTED TO END DEBATE AND BRING HER UP FOR A VOTE. WELL, UNDER THE RULES OF THE SENATE, THERE ARE THEN 30 HOURS OF DEBATE. WE'VE BEEN HERE OVER 30 HOURS. AND WE ARE HERE ALL DAY TODAY, AND AS I UNDERSTAND IT, ONLY ONE PERSON SHOWED UP TODAY TO TALK AGAINST HER NOMINATION. THAT IS MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR ENZI, OF OUR COMMITTEE. I LOOKED AT HIS TRANSCRIPT; ABOUT WHAT WAS SAID YESTERDAY. NOTHING NEW CAME OUT TODAY. I KNOW MR. ENZI OPPOSES HER NOMINATION. THAT PO E NO -- THAT'S NO SECRET. THAT'S HIS RIGHT TO DO THAT. HERE WE ARE, 30 HOURS, ONLY ONE PERSON COME OVER TO SPEAK AGAINST HER? AGAIN, I JUST SAY THIS TO INFORM THE PUBLIC THAT HERE WE ARE, THE LIGHTS ARE ON, THE ELECTRICITY'S RUNNING, THE BILLS ARE GOING UP, AND WE'RE HERE FOR NO GOOD REASON WHATSOEVER. WE COULD HAVE VOTED ON THIS NOMINEE LAST NIGHT. WE COULD HAVE VOTED THIS MORNING AND MOVED ON TO OTHER BUSINESS. THERE IS OTHER BUSINESS BEFORE THE SENATE THAT NEEDS TO BE TENDED TO. BUT THE REPUBLICANS HAVE DECIDED UNDER THEIR LEADERSHIP TO SLOW EVERYTHING DOWN. NOW, I'VE HEARD IT SAID BY THE LEADERSHIP ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE THAT THE PUBLIC WANTS THEM TO STOP BAD LEGISLATION. THAT'S WHY THEY USE THE FILIBUSTER. THIS ISN'T LEGISLATION. THIS IS A PERSON TO BE THE SOLICITOR OF LABOR, AND OBVIOUSLY SHE HAS MORE THAN ENOUGH VOTES TO GET CONFIRMED. SHE'S EMINENTLY WELL QUALIFIED, HAS A BROAD SWATH OF SUPPORT. AGAIN, THEY CAN FILIBUSTER, BUT WE HAD THE VOTE ON THAT LAST NIGHT TO END THE FILIBUSTER. BUT, AGAIN, IT IS THEIR RIGHT, UNDER THE RULES -- I'M NOT DENYING THAT -- IT'S THEIR RIGHT TO DRAG IT OUT FOR 30 MORE HOURS. BUT TO WHAT END? FOR WHAT PURPOSE? HAS MORE INFORMATION COME OUT ABOUT MS. SMITH THAT MIGHT CHANGE SOMEBODY'S MIND ON HOW THEY'RE GOING TO VOTE WHETHER SHE SHOULD TAKE THIS POSITION OR NOT? NO. NOTHING MORE HAS COME OUT. NO NEW INFORMATION. SO HERE WE ARE WASTING TIME, SLOWING EVERYTHING DOWN. THE PUBLIC HAS TO KNOW THIS. PEOPLE OUT THERE ARE FRUSTRATED BECAUSE WE'RE NOT GETTING ANYTHING DONE. THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF HOW THE SENATE HAS BECOME DYSFUNCTIONAL. DYSFUNCTIONAL. HERE WE ARE FOR 30 HOURS DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO NO END WHATSOEVER. USUALLY 30 HOURS AFTER A CLOTURE VOTE HAS BEEN HAD IS USUALLY -- PEOPLE SAY, WELL, THERE'S NEW INFORMATION. WE'VE GOT TO BRING OUT SOMETHING NEW. WE CAN MAYBE CHANGE SOME VOTES. NOTHING NEW HAS COME OUT AND NOTHING NEW WILL COME OUT. SHE'S BEEN THOROUGHLY VETTED SINCE LAST APRIL, ALMOST A YEAR. SHE'S RESPONDED TO EVERY WRITTEN QUESTION. SHE'S RESPONDED TO ANY PERSONAL REQUEST TO MEET WITH HER. SO EVERYTHING'S OUT THERE IN THE OPEN. AND, YET, THE REPUBLICANS INSIST ON DRAGGING IT OUT FOR 30 HOURS. AGAIN, THE PUBLIC HAS THE RIGHT TO ASK WHY? AGAIN, TO WHAT END? TO WHAT END ARE WE DRAGGING OUT THE 30 HOURS? WELL, I GUESS THE END IS TO TRY TO KEEP US FROM DOING ANYTHING ELSE. WELL, AS PR EPL SAID IN HIS -- AS PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID IN HIS STATE OF THE UNION, SKWRUFRT SAYING "NO" IS NOT LEADERSHIP. JUST SAYING "NO" IS NOT LEADERSHIP. THAT'S ALL WE'RE HEARING FROM THE REPUBLICAN SIDE. NO TO EVERYTHING. AT LEAST LET'S VOTE. LET'S VOTE. WELL, IT'S VERY FRUSTRATING, VERY FRUSTRATING. NOW, I KNOW THEY CAN USE THE RULES, BUT YOU CAN ALSO ABUSE THE RULES. THE FILIBUSTER IS BEING ABUSED. IT USED TO BE USED ONLY FOR WEIGHTY MEASURES IN WHICH THERE WAS A TRUE DISAGREEMENT AND IN WHICH PERHAPS SOME COULD BE SWAYED ONE WAY OR THE OTHER THROUGH THE DEBATE AND ARGUMENTS THAT CAME FORWARD ON THE FLOOR. NOT FOR NOMINATIONS. NOT FOR NOMINATIONS. SO, EVERYTHING IS SLOWED DOWN. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, I ALSO JUST WANT TO SAY A FEW MORE WORDS ON BEHALF OF PATRICIA SMITH. AGAIN, WE HAVEN'T LEARNED ANYTHING NEW IN THE LAST 30 HOURS. I WANT TO MAKE SURE, THERE WAS ONE THING THAT MY COLLEAGUE AND MY FRIEND, SENATOR ENZI, SAID TODAY THAT I DID WANT TO RESPOND TO. AGAIN, IT WAS NOTHING NEW BUT IT WAS SAID AGAIN TODAY, ABOUT THIS WATCH, THIS WAGE WATCH THAT WAS INSTITUTED IN NEW YORK AS A PILOT PROGRAM, ABOUT HOW THEY WERE GOING TO INVESTIGATE AND GO INTO BUSINESSES AND ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF. WELL, AGAIN, I DON'T WANT TO REPEAT WHAT SOMEBODY LOWER DOWN HAS SAID. I WANT TO SEE WHAT DID MS. SMITH HERSELF SAY ABOUT IT. WHAT SHE SAID ABOUT IT WAS THAT -- HERE'S AN E-MAIL FROM COMMISSIONER SMITH, FROM HER, JANUARY 15 OF 2009 WHEN THEY WERE STARTING THIS PROGRAM UP. HERE -- HERE IS HERE EMAIL. NOT SOME STAFF PERSON, BUT MS. SMITH WHO IS THE SUBJECT OF OUR NOMINATION HERE. THE WATCH GROUPS CONDUCT ACTIVITIES WHICH PROMOTE LABOR LAW COMPLIANCE, INCLUDING HANDING OUT LEAFLETS ABOUT LABOR LAWS TO WORKERS AT COMMUNITY EVENTS OR SUPERMARKETS, GIVING KNOW YOUR RIGHTS TRAININGS TO WORKERS, TALKING TO WORKERS AT RESTAURANTS AND OTHER BUSINESSES OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AND TALKING WITH EMPLOYERS ABOUT LABOR LAW COMPLIANCE. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS WHO PARTICIPATE AS WAGE WATCHERS WILL NOT BE AGENTS, WILL NOT BE AGENTS, WILL NOT BE EMPLOYEES, WILL NOT BE OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVES OF THE LABOR DEPARTMENT. THEY ARE NOT REPLACING STAFF. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO BE CONDUCTING INVESTIGATIONS OF ANY KIND. THEIR ROLE IS LIMITED TO DOING OUTREACH AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION, AND TO REPORTING ANY VIOLATIONS THEY ENCOUNTER TO THE DIVISION. THAT'S REALLY THE WAY THE WATCH WAS SETUP TO BE. BUT, AGAIN, WE KEEP HEARING ALL THESE ACCUSATIONS, VIGILANTE AND ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF. THEY'RE NOT EMPOWERED IN ANY PLACE OF BUSINESS UNLESS THE EMPLOYER LET'S THEM OR UNLESS IT'S A PLACE OF BUSINESS WHERE THE GENERAL PUBLIC CAN GO, A RESTAURANT, A WAL-MART, WHATEVER, STORES WHEREVER THE PUBLIC CAN GO, THEY CAN GO. BUT THEY COULDN'T ENTER A BUSINESS THAT WAS NOT GENERALLY ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC. SO I JUST WANT AGAIN TO SET THAT RECORD STRAIGHT ONE MORE TIME. NOW, AGAIN, IF MS. SMITH WAS SO BAD, I WOULD DARE SAY YOU COULDN'T FIND A BUSINESS GROUP THAT WOULD SUPPORT HER. MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE HERE A WHOLE BUNCH OF LETTERS FROM BUSINESS GROUPS IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK WHERE SHE IS PRESENTLY THE LABOR COMMISSIONER. EX TO TELLING HER VIRTUES -- EX TOLLING HER VIRTUES AND HER ABILITY TO WORK WITH THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY. HERE'S THE BUSINESS COUNCIL OF NEW YORK STATE. I WON'T READ IT ALL. BUT IT SAYS AS THE PRESIDENT AN C.E.O. OF A BUSINESS STATEWIDE TRADE ORGANIZATION, I BELIEVE MS. SMITH IS SUPERBLY QUALIFIED TO BE THE SOLICITOR GENERAL AND URGE THE COMMITTEE'S IMMEDIATE DISPOSITION OF HER NOMINATION MUCH HE GOES ON TO SAY MS. SMITH'S TENURE LEADING THE LABOR BUREAU SHOWED HER TO BE THOROUGH, FAIR AND JUDICIOUS TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH NEW YORK'S LABOR LAW. AND THEN HE GOES ON FURTHER, WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE IS THAT UNDER MS. SMITH'S LEADERSHIP SHE MADE AN EXTRA EFFORT TO COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY TO ELICIT FEEDBACK, TO PROVIDE US WITH A HEADS UP AND BALANCE US WITH COMMENTS AS SHE FRAMED POLICY AND PRACTICE WITHIN HER DEPARTMENT. HER OUTREACH TO US AND COMMUNICATION WITH US WAS OPEN, HONEST, CANDID AND FREQUENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK CONSENT THAT THE LETTER FROM THE C.E.O. OF THE BUSINESS COUNCIL OF NEW YORK BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD AT THIS POINT. AND HERE'S A LETTER FROM THE PARTNERSHIP FOR NEW YORK CITY. AND, AGAIN, I WON'T READ IT ALL, BUT IT SAYS AS AN ADVOCATE FOR BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NEW YORK FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS, I'VE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTERACT WITH MANY PUBLIC OFFICIALS. MS. SMITH STANDS OUT AS ONE OF THE MS. DEDICATED AND EFFECTIVE OF OUR STATE COMMISSIONERS AND I CONSIDER HER TO BE AN EXCELLENT CHOICE FOR THE POST THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS SELECTED HER FOR. KATHERINE S. WILD, PRESIDENT AN C.E.O. OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR NEW YORK CITY. I ASK THAT THAT RECORD BE -- BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD.

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  • 06:04:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:04:49 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:05:18 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    LETTER FROM THE PLATTSBURG NORTH COUNTRY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. THEY SAID…

    LETTER FROM THE PLATTSBURG NORTH COUNTRY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. THEY SAID SINCE SHE ASSUMED LEADERSHIP OF THE NEW YORK STATE LABOR DEPARTMENT IN 2007, WE HAVE ENJOYED NOT ONLY ATTENTION AND ENGAGEMENT FROM PATRICIA SMITH, BUT A GENUINE WORKING PARTNERSHIP. HE GOES ON TO SAY, I COULD CITE ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES, BUT THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS: PATRICIA SMITH HAS BEEN AN OUTSTANDING PARTNER AS COMMISSIONER OF THE NEW YORK STATE LABOR DEPARTMENT AND WILL BE AN OUTSTANDING SOLICITOR FOR THE U.S. LABOR DEPARTMENT. WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE HER EARLIEST POSSIBLE CONFIRMATION BY THE SENATE. SIGNED BY GARY F. DOUGLAS, C.E.O. OF THE PLATTSBURG NORTH COUNTRY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. I ASK THAT THAT BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD.

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  • 06:06:06 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    THIS IS FROM THE LONG ISLAND FORM FOR TECHNOLOGY. IT SAYS WITH A STRONG…

    THIS IS FROM THE LONG ISLAND FORM FOR TECHNOLOGY. IT SAYS WITH A STRONG RECORD OF ACHIEVEMENT IN LEADERSHIP, PATRICIA SMITH HAS BEEN AN OUTSTANDING COMMISSIONER OF THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. WITH HER VISION AND ENERGY, WE BELIEVE SHE'LL MAKE AN OUTSTANDING ADDITION TO THE NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF LABOR TEAM. SIGNED BY C. KENNETH MORALLY, PRESIDENT OF THE LONG ISLAND FORUM FOR TECHNOLOGY. I ASK CONSENT THAT THAT BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD.

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  • 06:06:38 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    FROM THE U.S. WOMEN'S CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. AFTER LEARNING OF MS. SMITH'S…

    FROM THE U.S. WOMEN'S CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. AFTER LEARNING OF MS. SMITH'S QUALIFICATIONS, EXPERTISE AND THE LAW SHE HAS WORKED TO UPHOLD. I CAN SEE THAT SHE IS SOMEONE WHO WILL WORK WITH CONVICTION TO ENFORCE THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. ADDITIONALLY I'M IMPRESSED WITH HER OUT OF THE BOX THINKING IN CREATING PROGRAMS THAT WILL KEEP JOBS. WE ESPECIALLY NEED THESE ATTRIBUTES IN THIS TIME OF ECONOMIC CHALLENGE. PLEASE ACCEPT MS. PATRICIA SMITH'S NOMINATION AND CONFIRM MS. SMITH AS SOLICITOR GENERAL AT THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR SIGNED BY MARGARET DORFMAN, THE NEW YORK WOMEN'S CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

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  • 06:07:27 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    IS IMMINENTLY WELL QUALIFIED AND WELL VETTED AND WE NEED A SOLICITOR OF…

    IS IMMINENTLY WELL QUALIFIED AND WELL VETTED AND WE NEED A SOLICITOR OF LABOR AT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. THIS NOMINATION HAS BEEN HANGING HERE SINCE LAST APRIL. SINCE LAST APRIL. IT'S TIME TO MOVE ON. BUT, AGAIN, THE REPUBLICANS ARE EXERCISING THEIR RIGHT. ALTHOUGH I THINK THERE'S AN ABUSE OF THAT RIGHT TO DRAG IT OUT FOR 30 MORE HOURS, KEEP THE SENATE IN SESSION FOR NO PURPOSE WHATSOEVER OTHER THAN JUST TO SLOW THINGS DOWN IN THIS CHAMBER. TO ME THAT'S -- THAT'S NOT A GOOD ENOUGH EXCUSE. WHATSOEVER. WHEN ONLY ONE PERSON CAME HERE TODAY TO SPEAK AGAINST HER AND THAT PERSON SPOKE AGAINST HER YESTERDAY. I READ THE TRANSCRIPT. NOTHING NEW. SAME STUF SO I WOULD HOPE THAT WE COULD COLLAPSE THIS TIME FRAME AND VOTE ON IT. BUT EVIDENTLY THE REPUBLICANS ARE INTENT ON STRETCHING THIS OUT TO THE MAXIMUM 30 HOURS. AS I SAID, MAYBE THEY'RE RIGHT. BUT I THINK IT'S AN ABUSE OF THAT RIGHT. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. TOY IN THE THE ABSENCE OF A -- I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 06:08:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL:

  • 06:08:51 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 06:37:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 06:37:09 PM

    MR. SPECTER

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE QUORUM CALL BE TERMINATED.

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  • 06:37:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 06:37:17 PM

    MR. SPECTER

    HAVE SOUGHT RECOGNITION TO EXPRESS MY VIEWS ON THE ISSUE OF SANCTIONS…

    HAVE SOUGHT RECOGNITION TO EXPRESS MY VIEWS ON THE ISSUE OF SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN. THE SENATE ON THE UNANIMOUS CONSENT CALENDAR LAST THURSDAY PASSED LEGISLATION CALLING FOR ANGSZ AGAINST IRAN, AND -- SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN, AND THIS IS THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY THAT I HAD TO ADDRESS THE SUBJECT AND I WISH TO DO SO NOW. THE THREAT POSED BY IRAN, ARMED WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS, IS OBVIOUS AND VERY SERIOUS. IT IS A THREAT WHICH APPLIES FOR THE REGION, FOR THE WORLD. THAT IT IS A VITAL NATIONAL SECURITY INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES THAT IRAN NOT BE ARMED WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS. IT IS OF OBVIOUSLY GREAT IMPORTANCE TO ISRAEL THAT IRAN NOT HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN LIGHT OF THE HISTORY, THE FACT THAT THE IRANIAN PRESIDENT HAS CALLED FOR BLASTING ISRAEL OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH. I HAVE PREPARED A COMPREHENSIVE STATEMENT OF MY VIEWS ON THIS SUBJECT IN ANTICIPATION OF THE MATTER COMING TO THE FLOOR, AND I ASK CONSENT THAT THEY BE REPRINTED IN FULL AT THE CONCLUSION OF THESE -- THIS SUMMARY AS IF READ IN FULL.

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  • 06:38:56 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. I HAVE BEEN RELUCTANT TO CALL FOR…

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. I HAVE BEEN RELUCTANT TO CALL FOR SANCTIONS BECAUSE I AM A FIRM BELIEVER IN DIPLOMACY AND HAVE UNDERTAKEN A NUMBER OF STEPS TO TRY TO ENCOURAGE A PARLIAMENTARY EXCHANGE BETWEEN EYEIRANIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS AND MEMBERS OF CONGRESS. AND I'VE BEEN WORKING ON THAT FOR THE BETTER PART OF A DECADE. AND THE EXTENSIVE WRITTEN STATEMENT SUMMARIZES IN SOME DETAIL THOSE EFFORTS. BUT I HAVE MET WITH THE LAST THREE IRANIAN AMBASSADORS TO THE UNITED NATIONS. I'VE FOUND THEM ALL TO BE HIGHLY INTELLIGENT, TO BE ARTICULATE, TO BE CORDIAL AND TO BE INTERESTED IN A DIALOGUE AND IN CONVERSATIONS. AND I BELIEVE IF THEIR VIEWS WERE REFLECTED BY THE EYE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT, IT WOULD BE A VERY DIFFERENT PICTURE THAN IT IS AT THE PRESENT TIME. AND ONE YEAR I GOT PERMISSION FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT TO HAVE THE IRANIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. COME TO WASHINGTON, AND IN MY HIDEAWAY -- SO-CALLED HIDEAWAY OFFICE A FEW FEET AWAY FROM THE FLOOR HAD DINNER WITH MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND THE IRANIAN AMBASSADOR TO TALK ABOUT THESE ISSUES. AT ONE TIME THERE WAS A MEETING SET BETWEEN IRANIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS AND MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN GENEVA AND IT WAS CANCELED BY THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT, AND MY DETAILED STATEMENT SPECIFIES THE EFFORTS THAT I'VE MADE OVER THAT PERIOD OF TIME. BUT I THINK WE'VE COME TO A POINT NOW WHERE WE HAVE TO GET, CANDIDLY, TOUGH AND WE HAVE TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS. PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID THAT HE WOULD GIVE IRAN UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR, REFERRING TO THE YEAR 2009, TO COME TO THE TABLE, AND THERE WERE SOME INDICATIONS THAT IRAN WOULD DO SO. PRIME MINISTER -- BRITISH PRIME MINISTER GORDON SMITH, GORDON BROWN HAS MADE A SIMILAR STATEMENT, AND IN A SENSE, THEY HAVE DRAWN A LINE IN THE SAND. AND MY OWN PERSONAL ASSESSMENT IS THAT WE ARE APPROACHING THE POINT OF CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER THAT IRAN POSES AS A THREAT TO THE REGION, ESPECIALLY TO ISRAEL, TO THE NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES AND TO THE WORLD. SO I THINK IT IS TIME THAT FIRM ACTION BE TAKEN. WE HAVE SEEN IT EVOLVE THAT GRADUALLY RUSSIA HAS MOVED TO JOIN THE UNITED STATES, GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, GERMANY AND OTHER NATIONS IN MOVING TOWARD -- TOWARD SANCTIONS. CHINA, REGRETTABLY, HAS -- HAS NOT DONE SO, AND COMMENTS BY SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON JUST LAST WEEK ARE IMPORTANT ON THIS -- ON THIS SUBJECT. THE SECRETARY OF STATE SAID THAT CHINA WILL BE UNDER A LOT OF PRESSURE TO RECOGNIZE THE DESTABILIZING EFFECT THAT A NUCLEAR-ARMED IRAN WOULD HAVE IN THE PERSIAN GULF FROM WHICH THEY RECEIVE A SIGNIFICANT PERCENTAGE OF THEIR OIL. SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON FURTHER REMARKED THAT A NUCLEAR-ARMED IRAN WOULD RISK SETTING OFF AN ARMS RACE IN THE PERSIAN GULF AND THAT IT COULD PROVOKE A MILITARY STRIKE FROM ISRAEL WHICH SHE SAID SHE WOULD REGARD AS A NUCLEAR IRAN AS AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT. WELL, IT HAS LONG BEEN ARTICULATED THAT THE MILITARY OPTION IS ON THE TABLE, AND ISRAEL HAS DEMONSTRATED ITS RESOLUTENESS, A SMALL NATION SURROUNDED BY -- VASTLY OUTNUMBERED BY THE ARAB POPULATION, STILL TECHNICALLY AT WAR WITH THE ARAB COUNTRIES, PEACE TREATIES ONLY WITH EGYPT AND JORDAN. ISRAEL DEMONSTRATES ITS CAPABILITY AND WILLINGNESS TO TAKE OUT THE IRAQ REACTOR IN 1981 AND MORE RECENTLY THE SYRIAN -- SYRIAN INSTALLATION WHICH IS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN WORKING ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS. AND SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON IS BLUNT IN THE GRAVE THREAT POSED BY THE RELATIONSHIP THAT -- SITUATION WHICH ISRAEL IS CONCERNED ABOUT WITH IRAN BECOMING A NUCLEAR FORCE. SO I THINK THE TIME HAS COME TO ACT. IN THE COURSE OF MY STATEMENT, I HAVE GONE INTO SOME DETAIL AS TO THE SANCTIONS AND HOW EFFECTIVE THEY COULD BE. BUT I THINK THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT IF CHINA JOINED THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA AND GREAT BRITAIN AND FRANCE AND GERMANY AND OTHER NATIONS, INDIA, IN IMPOSING REALLY TIGHT SANCTIONS, FINANCIAL SANCTIONS ON THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, ON TRADE TRADE, ON SUPPLYING GASOLINE, ON SUPPLYING IRANIAN NEEDS THAT WE COULD -- THE WORLD COULD MAKE ITS POINT. AND I THINK IRAN WOULD HAVE TO CAPITULATE. AND HOW MUCH BETTER IT IS TO USE ECONOMIC SANCTIONS THAN TO TAKE THE MILITARY OPTION OFF THE TABLE. I DO BELIEVE THAT IF THE UNITED NATIONS, WITH CHINA'S CONCURRENCE, HAD SHOWED ITS DETERMINATION TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS THAT IT WOULD HAVE A A -- A -- HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BRING COMPLIANCE BY IRAN. RUSSIA HAS MADE A PROPOSAL THAT RUSSIA WOULD ENRICH IRAN'S URANIUM. IF IRAN IS REALLY SINCERE THAT IRAN DOES NOT WANT ENRICHED URANIUM FOR MILITARY PURPOSES FOR A BOMB, BUT ONLY WANTS THEM FOR CIVILIAN PURPOSES, WELL, TAKE UP RUSSIA'S OFFER TO HAVE THE URANIUM ENRICHED BY RUSSIA. AT ONE POINT IRAN APPEARED TO BE WILLING TO DO THAT. THEN THEY REVOKED THE INDICATION OF WILLINGNESS. THAT IS STILL A POSSIBILITY. I'VE HAD OCCASION TO VISIT VIENNA ON TWO OCCASIONS. I MET WITH THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY AND MUHAMMAD EL BARDI TO DISCUSS THE ACTIVITIES THAT HE HAS UNDERTAKEN. VERY ABLE, SKILLED INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMAT, RECENTLY LEFT THAT POSITION WHICH HE HELD FOR YEARS. BUT, MR. EL-BARDI WAS VERY PESSIMISTIC AS TO WHAT IRAN WAS PREPARED TO DO, RESISTED EFFORTS TO HAVE THE KIND OF INSPECTIONS WHICH WOULD GIVE ASSURANCE. I WAS VERY RELUCTANT TO SEE SANCTIONS IMPOSED ON SYRIA IN THE HOPE THAT DIPLOMACY MIGHT WORK THERE, BUT DID JOIN IN THOSE EFFORTS A FEW YEARS BACK WHEN THE MATTER CAME FOR A VOTE. I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO VISIT IRAN PERSONALLY SINCE 1989, AT THE END OF THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR. AND IN 1989, MADE MY FIRST TRIP TO IRAQ, AND IN 1990 SENATOR SHELBY AND I HAD A TALK WITH SADDAM HUSSEIN. IT WAS A VERY PROFESSIONAL CONVERSATION. IRAQ AT THAT TIME HAD JUST LAUNCHED A THREE-POWER ROCKET SYSTEM, AND I LED THE CONVERSATION BY ASKING PRESIDENT SADDAM HUSSEIN IF HE WOULD BE WILLING TO NEGOTIATE WITH ISRAEL BECAUSE THEY WOULD TAKE OUT HIS NEW WEAPONS JUST AS THEY HAD TAKEN OUT HIS REACTOR OCTOBER OF 1981, AND HE DISMISSED IT, SAYING, NO, HE WOULDN'T NEGOTIATE WITH ISRAEL. THEY WEREN'T A BORDER STATE. THEN HE ASKED ME A QUESTION. HE WANTED TO KNOW WHY ALL OF THE RUSSIAN JEWS WERE GOING TO ISRAEL. I SAW HIM SHUFFLING SOME PAPERS, AND I KNEW THAT HE KNEW THAT I WAS JEWISH. I WANTED HIM TO KNOW THAT I KNEW THAT HE KNEW, AND I SAID MY FATHER WAS A RUSSIAN JEW WHO EMIGRATED TO THE UNITED STATES. I BELIEVE THE RUSSIAN JEWS OUGHT TO GO WHEREVER THEY WANT TO GO, AND THERE IS A -- AND THERE WAS A 50,000 LIMIT AT THE TIME ON RUSSIAN JEWS WHO COULD COME INTO THE UNITED STATES. IN THE COURSE OF AN HOUR AND A QUARTER DISCUSSION, IT WAS A SUBSTANTIVE TALK. AND I CAME BACK AND TOLD A NUMBER OF MY COLLEAGUES THAT I THOUGHT WE OUGHT TO HAVE MORE DISCUSSIONS WITH SADDAM HUSSEIN. AND I DO NOT KNOW IF ANYTHING COULD HAVE DETERRED HIM FROM HIS AGGRESSION AGAINST KUWAIT OR HIS LATER ACTIVITIES, BUT I HAVE LONG BEEN A BELIEVER WITH A MAXIM THAT YOU MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR ENEMIES AND NOT WITH YOUR FRIENDS. IN MY WORK AS CHAIRMAN OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE IN THE 104th CONGRESS AND WORK ON THE FOREIGN OPERATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE, I'VE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF TRAVELING EXTENSIVELY IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND HAVE SOUGHT OUT THE PEOPLE WHO ARE -- WHO MIGHT BE CATEGORIZED AS OUR ENEMIES. I HAD A USEFUL TALK A FEW YEARS BACK WITH THE LEADER IN VENEZUELA, SEVERAL VISITS TO FIDEL CASTRO IN CUBA, CONVERSATIONS WITH ARAFAT BOTH IN RAMALLAH, GAZA, WHEN HE CAME TO WASHINGTON, CAME TO MY OFFICE DOWNSTAIRS LOOKING FOR MONEY FROM THE FOREIGN OPERATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE; HAVE MADE MANY TRIPS TO SEER KWRARBGS GOT TO KNOW HAFEZ AL ASAD AND BASHIR ASSAD, ONE OF SIX SENATORS WHO VISITED SYRIA ABOUT A MONTH AGO TO TALK TO PRESIDENT BASHIR ASSAD ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF A PEACE TREATY. I BELIEVE SYRIA COULD HOLD THE KEY TO PEACE IN THE MIDEAST. ONLY ISRAEL COULD DECIDE IF ISRAEL WANTS TO GIVE UP THE GOLAN. THEY OUGHT TO MAKE THAT DECISION WITHOUT ANY PRESSURE FROM THE UNITED STATES OR ANYONE. BUT IF ISRAEL SHOULD MAKE THAT DECISION, THERE COULD BE A GREAT DEAL GAINED IN TERMS OF HAVING SYRIA STOPPING THE DESTABILIZATION OF LEBANON, STOPPING THE SUPPORT OF HAMAS, STOPPING THE SUPPORT OF HEZBOLLAH. AND IT IS A DIFFERENT WORLD TODAY THAN IT WAS IN 1967, WHEN ISRAEL TOOK THE GOLAN. IT'S NOT THE SAME STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE. THE POINT THAT I MAKE IS I THINK DIPLOMACY IS THE WAY OUT. BUT SOMETIMES THERE HAS TO BE A CARROT AND A STICK, AND I THINK WE HAVE COME TO THE POINT WHERE SANCTIONS DO NEED TO BE IMPOSED. THAT IS WHY I HAVE JOINED THE EFFORT. I THINK THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS GIVEN FAIR NOTICE TO IRAN, THAT THEY COME TO THE TABLE BY THE END OF THE YEAR, AND WE'RE A LITTLE PAST THAT. AND WE OBVIOUSLY HAVE PROBLEMS WITH CHINA ON A NUMBER OF FRONTS. WE HAVE PROBLEMS ON THE TAIWAN ISSUE ON OUR SALE OF ARMS TO TAIWAN. WE HAVE PROBLEMS WITH THEM WITH RESPECT TO TIBET AND OUR ISSUE OF HUMAN RIGHTS. WE HAVE VERY SERIOUS PROBLEMS ON TRADE. WE HAVE BROADER ISSUES ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND CHINA'S EMERGING AS A TREMENDOUS WORLD POWER. WE'RE CHALLENGED AT EVERY LINE. BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT THE LOGIC OF THE SITUATION IS THAT IT IS IN CHINA'S INTEREST NOT TO HAVE A NUCLEAR IRAN. OUR CODEL, AFTER VISITING IN SYRIA, WENT ON TO INDIA, TALKED TO PRIME MINISTER SINGH WHO WAS EMPHATIC IN AGREEMENT THAT IT IS NOT IN INDIA'S INTEREST OR THE WORLD'S INTEREST TO HAVE A NUCLEAR -- AN IRAN WHICH IS ARMED WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS. SO IT IS MY HOPE THAT THE ACTION BY THE SENATE IN VOTING FOR SANCTIONS WILL INCREASE THE MOMENTUM FOR SANCTIONS FROM THE UNITED NATIONS. IT CAN ONLY BE DONE IN AN EFFECTIVE WAY IF CHINA IS PERSUADED TO GO ALONG. MR. PRESIDENT, I RENEW MY REQUEST THAT MY FULL WRITTEN STATEMENT BE INCLUDED IN THE RECORD, AND I ASK THAT THE "CONGRESSIONAL RECORD" RECITE THE LANGUAGE I'M USING NOW. USUALLY WHEN SUMMARY IS CONCLUDED AND A FORMAL STATEMENT IS PUT IN THE RECORD, IT JUST IS CHANGED. IF ANYBODY READS THE "CONGRESSIONAL RECORD" -- I THINK THERE IS A CHANCE THAT SOMEBODY DOES -- THEY WONDER WHY SENATOR SPECTER'S MAKING ALL THIS REPETITIOUS STATEMENT, THAT HE'S MADE THIS STATEMENT AND HERE'S ALL THIS REPETITION. IF YOU PUT THIS EXPLANATION IN JUST AS I HAVE SAID IT, THE READER WILL KNOW THAT I HAVE SUMMARIZED AND AMPLIFIED TO SOME EXTENT. WHAT FOLLOWS NOW IS NOT REPETITION AS SUCH, BUT THE FORMAL STATEMENT WHICH WAS PREPARED IN ADVANCE.

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  • 06:54:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 06:54:29 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: THANK YOU,…

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WOULD ASK CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE BE VITIATED.

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  • 06:58:12 PM

    MR. CASEY

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TONIGHT TO SPEAK ABOUT JOB…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TONIGHT TO SPEAK ABOUT JOB LOSS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, BUT IN PARTICULAR, SOME OF THE INDIVIDUALS, REAL PEOPLE AND REAL FAMILIES ACROSS OUR STATE THAT I HAVE MET THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS WHO HAVE TOLD SOME OF THEIR STORIES ABOUT HOW THEY'RE STRUGGLING IN THIS RECESSION. AND, UNFORTUNATELY, JUST IN TERMS OF NUMBERS, THE NUMBERS HAVE NOT GOTTEN BETTER IN OUR STATE. WE WENT A LONG PERIOD OF TIME WHEN, AT LEAST AS A PERCENT OF THOSE WHO ARE OUT OF WORK, WE WERE FORTUNATELY IN THE BOTTOM TIER OR IN THE MIDDLE AT LEAST. WE DIDN'T HAVE DOUBLE-DIGIT UNEMPLOYMENT. THAT IS CHANGING TO A LARGE EXTENT. WE'RE NOT AT THE 10% NUMBER THAT THE COUNTRY IS, BUT WE'RE AT ABOUT 8.9% RIGHT NOW. WE JUST GOT SOME REGIONAL NUMBERS TODAY. WE HAVE HAVE, OUR STATE'S DIVIDED UP INTO 14 LABOR MARKETS. UNFORTUNATELY, IN ALMOST EVERY ONE OF THEM THAT NUMBER KEEPS GOING UP. I'D ASK CONSENT THAT I BE PERMITTED TO INSERT, OR MAKE PART OF THE RECORD A TWO-PAGE SUMMARY OF THE UNEMPLOYMENT DATA FROM PENNSYLVANIA.

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  • 06:59:36 PM

    MR. CASEY

    HIGHLIGHT ONE OR TWO REGIONS TO GIVE YOU A SENSE OF THE GRAVITY OF THE…

    HIGHLIGHT ONE OR TWO REGIONS TO GIVE YOU A SENSE OF THE GRAVITY OF THE PROBLEM. WE HAVE IN SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA, TWO MAJOR REGIONS THAT HAVE HAD VERY STRONG ECONOMIES OVER TIME. THE PHILADELPHIA METROPOLITAN REGION, THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THE SUBURBAN COUNTIES. THEY'VE DONE WELL ECONOMICALLY. BUT THAT NUMBER IS GOING UP. THE NUMBER, THE TOTAL TPHUFPL UNEMPLOYED IS OVER -- NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED IS OVER 164,000 PENNSYLVANIANS IN THAT CORNER OF THE STATE. AND THAT'S JUST ABOUT FIVE COUNTIES. 164,000 PEOPLE. JUST ABOVE THAT IN -- NORTH OF THAT IN LEHIGH VALLEY, THE ALLENTOWN-BETHLEHEM REGION, THEY'RE AT 9.8%, SOME 40,700 PEOPLE OUT OF WORK. MY HOME AREA IN NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA, NORTH OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY, WE GOT REPORTS TODAY OF THE JOB MARKET GOING UP TO 9.7% UNEMPLOYMENT. HIGHEST IN 17 YEARS. WE COULD GO ACROSS THE STATE AND TELL THE SAME STORY. SO THE NUMBERS ARE GOING HIGHER. AND, OF COURSE, THAT MEANS THE CHALLENGE, THE MISERY, THE -- THE HEARTACHE, REALLY, FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS IS ONLY RISING. SO WE HAVE TO MEET THAT CHALLENGE AND PART OF MEETING THAT CHALLENGE ISN'T JUST ADDRESSING IN TERMS OF POLICY. AND I'LL TALK ABOUT THAT TONIGHT FOR A COUPLE OF MINUTES. BUT ALSO TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND, AS BEST WE CAN FROM THE DISTANCE OF WASHINGTON, BUT EVEN WHEN YOU'RE -- AS I WAS SITTING IN THE SAME ROOM MORE THAN A WEEK AGO, WITH EIGHT OF OUR UNEMPLOYED PENNSYLVANIANS. JUST GIVE YOU TWO EXAMPLES. ONE INDIVIDUAL SITTING RIGHT ACROSS FROM ME, HIS NAME IS RON, HE WAS LAID OFF LAST APRIL. HE'S 61 YEARS OLD. ONE OF THE MOST COMPELLING STORIES IN TERMS OF WHERE HE WAS WITH A JOB AND WHERE HE IS TODAY. HE WAS LAID -- BEFORE HE WAS LAID OFF, HE MANAGED A STAFF OF 12 PEOPLE. OVER THE COURSE OF HIS LONG AND SUCCESSFUL CAREER, HE WORKED IN VARIOUS MANAGEMENT POSITIONS AT INTERNATIONAL TRADE GROUPS, MANUFACTURING FACILITIES RAP RENTAL COMPANIES. DURING MY -- FACILITIES AND RENTAL COMPANIES. DURING MY CONVERSATION WITH RON, HE TALKED ABOUT HIS WIDE EXPERIENCE SEEMED TO BE WORKING AGAINST HIM IN THIS LABOR MARKET. RON WAS EARNING MORE THAN THAN $100,000 BEFORE HE WAS LAID OFF. TODAY HE AND HIS WIFE ARE GETTING BY ON HER EARNINGS IN A CLERICAL JOB AND HIS UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION, WHICH AMOUNTS TO JUST $40,000. SO IN HIS LIFE IT'S A $100,000 INCOMVERSEUS NOW A $40,000 INCOME. I MET ANETTA, SHE WAS ON MY RIGHT AS WE WERE TALKING TO THESE EIGHT INDIVIDUALS, AND SHE HAD -- A LOT OF -- A LOT OF ENERGY AND VIGOR. AND YOU COULD TELL SHE WAS A VERY GOOD EMPLOYEE. SHE WORKED FOR A RETIREMENT HOME UNTIL SHE WAS LAID OFF. ANETTA HAS BEEN USING HER TIME TO BE A C.N.A., CERTIFIED NURSE'S AID. IN ORDER TO OBTAIN HER CERTIFICATION, ANETTA, HAD TO PAY FOR A FINAL EXAM AND A PHYSICAL. SHE DIDN'T HAVE THE MONEY -- SHE DIDN'T HAVE THE MONEY TO UPFRONT THE COST OF THOSE TESTS AND, THUS, COULDN'T OBTAIN HER CERTIFIED NURSE'S ASSISTANT CERTIFICATION. ACCORDING TO ANETTA, THE MOST FRUSTRATING PART OF HER EXPERIENCE, SHE HAS THE EXPERIENCE OF A CERTIFIED NURSE OF A PREVIOUS EMPLOYER WHO DID NOT REQUIRE FORMAL CERTIFICATION. I WAS PARTICULARLY TOUCHED BY HER COMMENTS THAT A SINGLE PERSON, IN THIS CASE I SHOULD SAY AS A SINGLE PERSON, ANETTA FEARS HAVING NO ONE TO FALL BACK ON IN THESE TOUGH TIMES. AND ALSO HER EMBARRASSMENT, WHAT WE WOULD ALWAYS SAY TO HER, ANYONE IN THIS SITUATION, YOU SHOULDN'T BE EMBARRASSED. YOU'RE IN A DIFFICULT SITUATION. YOU LOST A JOB THROUGH NO FAULT OF YOUR OWN. BUT, OF COURSE, THAT'S NOT THE WAY SHE SEES IT IN TERMS OF HOW SHE FEELS IN HER HEART. SHE FEELS A SENSE OF EMBARRASSMENT TO HAVE TO TURN TO CHURCHES FOR FOOD. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE AN INCREASE IN FOOD STAMPS HERE. WE LEGISLATE TO DO THAT. IT'S NOT ONLY GOOD FOR THAT INDIVIDUAL. TAXPAYERS HAVE AN ADDED ECONOMIC BENEFIT FROM AN INCREASE IN FOOD STAMPS AN INCREASE IN UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, JUST TO NAME TWO EXAMPLES. BUT WHAT STRIKES ME MOST ABOUT THE STORIES THAT -- THAT EACH OF THESE INDIVIDUALS TOLD BUT -- IN PARTICULAR, AS I CITE THEM TONIGHT, RON AND ANETTA, THEY'RE LOOKING FOR WORK IN THE WORST JOB MARKET IN MODERN TIMES. BUT THEY SPEAK VERY CANDIDLY ABOUT THEIR FEARS. BUT MOSTLY THEY TALK ABOUT THE INCREDIBLE EFFORTS THEY'VE MADE TO -- TO -- TO GET BACK TO WORK. I KNOW THAT THE PRESIDING OFFICER WOULD REMEMBER THE PRESENTATION THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA MADE TO US IN DECEMBER ON A SUNDAY. WE WERE MEETING IN CAUCUS ABOUT HEALTH CARE, AND HE CAME OVER TO TALK TO US. HE TALKED ABOUT MEETING INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE OUT OF WORK IN -- IN ANOTHER PART OF PENNSYLVANIA IN ALLENTOWN AT A JOB CENTER. WHAT HE SAID FROM EARLY DECEMBER WAS VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT I HEARD IN -- IN LATE JANUARY, WHICH IS THESE ARE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE OUT OF WORK THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN. THEY'RE WORKING AND STRUGGLING, LEADING LIVES OF TREMENDOUS STRUGGLE AND SACRIFICE AND HEARTACHE, BUT THEY'RE NOT COMPLAINING. THEY'RE DETERMINED TO GET A JOB. THEY'RE FILLING OUT SCORES AND SCORES OF APPLICATIONS. SOMETIMES BEING REJECTED FORMALLY AND SOMETIMES HEARING NOTHING AT ALL. THAT'S THE LIVES THAT THEY'RE LEADING. AND I THINK THE PRESIDENT'S VISIT AND OTHER VISITS BY -- BY SOME OF US IN THE SENATE ARE CONFIRMING THAT SENSE OF DETERMINATION, THAT SENSE OF GRATITUDE THAT THEY HAVE FOR -- THAT THERE ARE PROGRAMS TO HELP THEM WHILE THEY'RE UNEMPLOYED. BUT ALSO A -- A TREMENDOUS RESILIENCE AND ABILITY TO -- TO LIVE THROUGH AND WORK THROUGH THIS STRUGGLE. SO WHAT DO WE DO? WELL, WE COULD -- WE COULD CITE THEIR CASES AND SAY HOW MUCH WE HOPE THEIR PROSPECTS WILL IMPROVE. WE COULD CONTINUE TO ENLARGE AND EXPAND AS WE MUST AND WE SHOULD A SAFETY NET. AND WE COULD PASS OTHER LEGISLATION. BUT I THINK ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO JUMP-START JOB CREATION IS TO PROVIDE SIGNIFICANT TAX INCENTIVES TO EMPLOYERS. LOTS OF EMPLOYERS OUT THERE. WHO WANT TO HIRE. WHO WANT TO INVEST IN THEIR -- IN THEIR BUSINESS. WHO WANT TO MAYBE MOVE PEOPLE UP WHO HAVE DONE A GOOD JOB AND INCREASE THEIR PAYROLL IN -- IN THAT WAY. BUT ESPECIALLY TO HIRE MORE PEOPLE. TO HIRE FOLKS THAT ARE OUT OF WORK. I BELIEVE THE BEST WAY TO DO THAT -- NOT THE ONLY WAY, BUT THE BEST WAY, IS TO PASS LEGISLATION LIKE THE ONE THAT I INTRODUCED -- THE BILL THAT I INTRODUCED YESTERDAY, THE SMALL BUSINESS JOB CREATION TAX CREDIT ACT. IT'S RATHER SIMPLE, BUT I THINK THE IMPACT OF IT COULD BE SUBSTANTIAL. A VERY SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER OF JOBS CREATED. WHAT THIS ACT DOES IS PROVIDE A NONREFUNDABLE QUARTERLY PAYROLL TAX CREDIT BASED UPON AN INCREASE IN THE EMPLOYER'S WAGES THAT ARE PAID. IT WOULD BE A ONE-YEAR BILL. IT WOULD BE IN EFFECT FOR ONE YEAR SO IT'S VERY TARGETED IN TERMS OF THE TIME. THE CREDIT WOULD APPLY TO AN EMPLOYEE'S WAGES UP TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY BASE OF OF $106,800. THAT WOULD BE THE LIMIT OF THE -- WHAT YOU COULD COUNT FOR THE TAX CREDIT. IF YOU GOT LESS THAN 100 EMPLOYEES, YOU GET A 20% CREDIT. MORE THAN 100 EMPLOYEES, 15%. WE KNOW, AS WE'VE HEARD TODAY ON -- IN -- ON SO MANY OTHER OCCASIONS, THAT THE DRIVER OF OUR ECONOMY TENDS TO BE ALMOST OVERWHELMINGLY SMALL BUSINESS. IN PENNSYLVANIA, IF YOU LOOK AT A THREE-YEAR PERIOD FROM 2003 TO 2006, SMALL BUSINESSES ACCOUNTED FOR MORE THAN 91% OF THE JOB CREATION. SO WE KNOW BY GIVING SMALL BUSINESSES A 20% TAX CREDIT UNDER 100 EMPLOYEES, THAT THAT CAN HAVE A SUBSTANTIAL BENEFIT ON THOSE EMPLOYERS. OBVIOUSLY ON THOSE WHO CAN -- CAN OBTAIN WORK AND I THINK IN A LARGER WAY OUR ECONOMY. WE PUT A LIMIT ON THE CREDIT. ONE COMPANY COULDN'T HAVE MORE THAN A HALF MILLION DOLLARS BY WAY AFTER CREDIT. -- BY WAY OF A CREDIT. AND YOU WOULD BASICALLY COMPARE ONE-QUARTER IN 2010, FOR EXAMPLE, V. THAT CORRESPONDING QUARTER IN 2009. WE KNOW THAT ONE OF THE REFEREES AROUND HERE IS THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE. MAYBE THE MAIN REFEREE IN TERMS OF HOW LEGISLATION IS GIVEN A PRICE OR A -- OR A SCORE OR NUMBER SO TO SPEAK. THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE HAS SAID A THAT A TAX CREDIT BASED UPON AN INCREASE IN PAYROLL WOULD HAVE THE GREATEST POSITIVE IMPACT ON AMERICA'S GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT AND EMPLOYMENT WHEN COMPARED TO OTHER JOB CREATION STRATEGIES. I BELIEVE CONGRESS SHOULD PASS A JOB CREATION TAX CREDIT TO REDUCE UPFRONT LABOR COSTS. THIS CREDIT COULD PROVIDE FOR ONE SMALL BUSINESS -- ONE -- JUST ONE BUSINESS ALONE A 20% JOB CREATION TAX CREDIT. OTHER ECONOMISTS ACROSS THE BOARD, THE ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE AS WELL AS OTHERS, HAVE ESTIMATED THAT A JOB CREATION TAX CREDIT WOULD CREATE APPROXIMATELY 40% MORE JOBS THAN OTHER PROPOSALS. FINALLY, I'D MAKE A POINT ABOUT HOW IT WORKS. SOMETIMES WE PASS LEGISLATION AROUND HERE AND WE DON'T OFTEN THINK ABOUT HOW IT WORKS IN THE REAL WORLD. THE REAL WORLD OF BEING AN EMPLOYER. THE REAL WORLD OF HIRING PEOPLE AND MAKING ENDS MEET, AND MEETING YOUR BOTTOM LINE, GETTING A PRODUCT OUT THE DOOR. ALL OF THE REAL WORLD CHALLENGES THAT OUR EMPLOYERS FACE. WELL, THE WAY THAT THIS WOULD WORK IS EVERY EMPLOYER IS FAMILIAR WITH -- WITH THE I.R.S. CALLS FORM 941. JUST ONE OF MANY FORMS THAT WE HEAR ABOUT. BUT ALL THAT WE WOULD NEED TO DO IF WE PASS THIS TAX CREDIT IS HAVE A LINE OR TWO ADDED TO THAT FORM. THE EMPLOYER WOULD FILL THAT OUT QUARTERLY AND SEE IT IN FRONT OF THEM. WOULDN'T HAVE TO HIRE A TEAM OF ACCOUNTS ANTS OR LAWYERS AND COULD FILL THAT IN AND RECEIVE THE CREDIT. IT'S VITALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE TAKE THESE STEPS FOR PEOPLE LIKE RON THAT I SPOKE OF BEFORE -- OF BEFORE AND OTHERS AS WELL LIKE ANETTA AND OTHER INDIVIDUALS THAT I MET WITH AND I KNOW THE PRESIDING OFFICER HAS MET INDIVIDUALS IN THE STATE OF COLORADO AND ACROSS OUR COUNTRY WHO ARE FACING SIMILAR CHALLENGES. AN ESPECIALLY WHEN WE SEE MORE AND MORE -- AND ESPECIALLY WHEN WE SEE MORE AND MORE THE RISE IN THESE JOB LOSS INDICATORS TO HAVE -- TO HAVE HEADLINE AFTER HEADLINE SAY HIGHEST JOB LOSS IN 17 YEARS, HIGHEST JOB LOSS IN 20 -- IN 23 AND IN 25 YEARS. JUST HEADLINES I'VE SEEN OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS IN PENNSYLVANIA. TO SEE THAT, IT'S NOT ENOUGH JUST TO SAY WEATHER THE STORM AND WE'LL TRY TO PROVIDE A SAFETY NET. WE HAVE TO HAVE A SAFETY NET. BUT I BELIEVE WE HAVE TO HAVE TARGETED AND FOCUSED STRATEGY THAT'S ARE NOT THEORETICAL. WE KNOW THIS WILL WORK. WE HAVE PRIOR EVIDENCE AND EXPERIENCE WITH IT. WE NEED TO PASS A JOB CREATION TAX CREDIT TO JUMP-START THE CREATION OF JOBS THIS YEAR IN 2010, IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS AND THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. AND, WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I WILL YIELD THE FLOOR AND NEAT THE -- AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 07:12:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: MR.

  • 07:14:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 07:14:51 PM

    MR. CASEY

    I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED. 2000 WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO…

    I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED. 2000 WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. --

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  • 07:14:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 07:14:57 PM

    MR. CASEY

    AFTER THE OPENING OF THE SENATE ON FEBRUARY 4, THAT THE SENATE RESUME…

    AFTER THE OPENING OF THE SENATE ON FEBRUARY 4, THAT THE SENATE RESUME CONSIDERATION OF CALENDAR 474, THE NOMINATION OF PATRICIA SMITH TO BE SOLICITOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. THAT ALL POSTCLOTURE TIME BE CONSIDERED EXPIRED EXCEPT FOR 20 MINUTES. WITH THAT TIME EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN SENATORS HARKIN AND ENZI OR THEIR DESIGNEES. THAT UPON THE USE OR YIELDING BACK OF TIME, THE SENATE THEN PROCEED TO A VOTE ON CONFIRMATION OF THE NOMINATION. THAT UPON CONFIRMATION THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE. NO -- NO FURTHER MOTION TO BE IN ORDER. THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION. THAT THERE BE TWO HOURS OF DEBATE PRIOR TO A CLOTURE VOTE WITH RESPECT TO CALENDAR NUMBER 188, THE NOMINATION OF MARTHA JOHNSON TO BE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE G.S.A. WITH THE TIME EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN THE LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES. THAT UPON THE USE OF TIME, THE SENATE THEN PROCEED TO A VOTE ON THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE ON THE NOMINATION. THAT IF CLOTURE IS INVOKED, ALL POSTCLOTURE TIME BE YIELDED BACK AND THE SENATE THEN IMMEDIATELY VOTE ON CONFIRMATION OF THE NOMINATION. THAT UPON CONFIRMATION, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE. NO FURTHER MOTIONS BE IN ORDER. THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION, AND THE SENATE THEN RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

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  • 07:16:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 07:16:30 PM

    MR. CASEY

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EN BLOC…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EN BLOC EXECUTIVE CALENDAR NUMBERS 654, 661, 667, TO AND INCLUDING 685, AND ALL NOMINATIONS ON THE SECRETARY'S DESK IN THE AIR FORCE, ARMY, MARINE CORPS AND NAVY. THAT THE NOMINATIONS BE CONFIRMED EN BLOC, THE MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER BE LAID UPON THE TABLE EN BLOC, THAT NO FURTHER MOTIONS BE IN ORDER, THAT ANY STATEMENTS RELATING TO THE NOMINATIONS APPEAR AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE IN THE RECORD AS IF READ, THAT THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION AND THE SENATE RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

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  • 07:17:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:17:18 PM

    MR. CASEY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH.

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  • 07:17:26 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 07:17:30 PM

    MR. CASEY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF S. RES. 405, SUBMITTED EARLIER TODAY.

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  • 07:17:38 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 07:17:42 PM

    THE CLERK

    RESOLUTION 405, REAFFIRMING THE CENTRALITY OF FREEDOM AND EXPRESSION AND…

    RESOLUTION 405, REAFFIRMING THE CENTRALITY OF FREEDOM AND EXPRESSION AND PRESS FREEDOM AS CORNERSTONES OF UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY AND UNITED STATES EFFORTS TO PROMOTE INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 07:17:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

  • 07:17:58 PM

    MR. CASEY

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:18:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:18:15 PM

    MR. CASEY

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 07:18:24 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 07:18:27 PM

    THE CLERK

    RESOLUTION 406, RECOGNIZING THE GOALS OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK AND…

    RESOLUTION 406, RECOGNIZING THE GOALS OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK AND HONORING THE VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS IN THE UNITED STATES.

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  • 07:18:37 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

  • 07:18:40 PM

    MR. CASEY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE AGREED TO, AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID UPON THE TABLE.

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  • 07:18:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:18:50 PM

    MR. CASEY

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS BUSINESS TODAY,…

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS BUSINESS TODAY, IT ADJOURN UNTIL 12:00 NOON ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4. THAT FOLLOWING THE PRAYER AND PLEDGE, THE JOURNAL OF PROCEEDINGS BE APPROVED TO DATE, THE MORNING HOUR BE DEEMED EXPIRED, THE TIME FOR THE TWO LEADERS BE RESERVED FOR THEIR USE LATER IN THE DAY, AND THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE SMITH NOMINATION AS PROVIDED FOR UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 07:19:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:19:19 PM

    MR. CASEY

    THE SENATE WILL NOT BE IN SESSION TOMORROW IN ORDER TO ACCOMMODATE THE…

    THE SENATE WILL NOT BE IN SESSION TOMORROW IN ORDER TO ACCOMMODATE THE DEMOCRATIC ISSUES CONFERENCE. WE WERE, HOWEVER, ABLE TO REACH AN AGREEMENT TO VOTE AT APPROXIMATELY 12:30 P.M. THURSDAY ON CONFIRMATION OF THE NOMINATION OF PATRICIA SMITH TO BE SOLICITOR FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. FOLLOWING DISPOSITION OF THE SMITH NOMINATION, THERE WILL BE TWO HOURS FOR DEBATE PRIOR TO A VOTE ON THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE ON THE NOMINATION OF MARTHA JOHNSON TO BE ADMINISTRATOR FOR GENERAL SERVICES. ALSO UNDER THE AGREEMENT, IF CLOTURE IS INVOKED ON THE JOHNSON NOMINATION, THE SENATE WOULD IMMEDIATELY PROCEED TO VOTE ON CONFIRMATION. THEREFORE, THERE WOULD BE UP TO TWO ADDITIONAL VOTES IN THE 3:00 P.M. RANGE, SO THAT WOULD MEAN ONE VOTE AROUND 12:30 P.M. AND UP TO TWO VOTES

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Briefings for February 2, 2010

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115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 2039 (After 654 days)
  • Debate1175 Hours
  • Quorum Calls474 Hours
  • Votes333 Hours

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)