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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  February 23, 2016 2:15pm-7:16pm EST

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next election no matter who they choose to make the nomination for this important seat on the supreme court. justice scalia served for 30 years, so this clearly extends far beyond president obama's term of office. it's that important. and as senator mcconnell said, we have some precedent. well, actually, we have three things. we have the biden rule, we have the reid dictum and the schumer precedent. all in which they, essentially, tore up the rulebook. so there isn't any rulebook anymore other than the way they've rewritten the rules, and this is the right thing for us to do, and this is going to be our path forward. >> just last november the president signed into law legislation that forbid the closing of guantanamo bay and transporting of detainees there anywhere in the united states. that was something that was sent to him by both republicans and democrats. and what he is now proposing to
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do is in direct contradiction with the will of the american people, and it's the will of the american people and their voices that need to be heard. and that's the point that we are making with respect to this supreme court vacancy as well; that a lame duck president should not be making a lifetime appointment to the supreme court. the american people deserve to have their voices heard in this process, and they will have that opportunity in the election this year which, as the leader pointed out, is already well underway. the next president of the united states -- be et a democrat or republican -- should be making that nomination. and we believe that that's the way that this process should proceed. and as was pointed out earlier, that is the view of the republican senate, and we think it's the view of the american people. >> i want to first thank senator mcconnell for his leadership on the whole issue of the death
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of justice and scalia and the decision to be made by the american people, the voters in november, not by a lame duck president to make a lifetime testimony appointment. i also want to mention this hearing this morning in the foreign relations committee with secretary of state kerry. it was specifically related to syria. when secretary kerry came for his confirmation hearings -- >> and we're leaving this now to go live to the senate floor. are we still in recess? the presiding officer: the senate is now postcloture on the nomination. you may proceed.
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mr. hatch: mr. president, i rise today to honor one of our champions under the constitution, justice scalia. he was as personal friend. i knew him very, very well. he set the standard for the kiewndkindof judge upon which ly depends. the purpose of government according to the constitution to secure inalienable rights and the blessings of liberty. liberty exists by design and, as andrew jackson put it, by eternal vigilance. america's founders were clear that liberty requires separated
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and limited government powers, including the particular role for unelected judges. judges ar that seek to determine what the law is promote liberty. judges who say what they think the law should be undermine t put systemliers judges must interpreapply the law impartialy setting aside their own opinions, preferences, or prejudices. when they interpret written do you impartially, they discern what the original public meaning of the law is. when judges aplay the law impartially, they pay no regard to the identity of the parties or the direct effect of their decisions. judges can neither make nor change the law they use to decide cases. interpreting and aplaying the law impartially leaves the american people and their elected representatives in charge of the law.
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that is the kind of judge that liberty requires. that is the kind of judge antonin scalia was. when president ronald reagan first appointed antonin scalia to the u.s. court of appeals for the d.c. circuit in 1982, the future justice said to those of us on the judiciary committee that if confirmed, the time for him to opine on the wisdom of the laws would be bygong -- -- quote -- "bygone days." when he came before the committee four years later as the supreme court nominee, he repeated that setting aside personal views is -- quote -- "one of the primary qualifications for a judge." he described a -- quote -- "good judge ""-- unquote -- "as one who starts from the law itself and not -- quote -- "where i would like to come out in a particular case." justice scalia stuck doggedly to
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this ideal of a good judge whose role in our system of government is limited to property -- to properly interpreting the law and impartially acomplying it to -- applying it to decide cases. his wit was impressive but was powerfully connected to this deliberately framed judicial philosophy rooted in the principles of the constitution. justice scalia's approach requires self-restraint by judges. judges, he often said, must take the law as they find it and apply it even when they doubts like the results. in his own words, "if you're going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you're not always going to like the conclusions you reach." liberty requires such judicial self-restraint, whether it is in vogue or not.
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as president reagan put it when he administered the oath to justice scalia in september 1986, america's founders intended that the judiciary be independent and strong but also confined within the boundaries of a written constitution and laws. no one believed that principle more deeply and insisted on implementing it more consistently than our justice scalia. his approach to the law was often called textualism, or in the constitutional context originallallism, an approach which is nothing more than determining what the lawmaker mountain by what the lawmakers enacted as legal text. it leaves the law making to the lawmakers rather than to the judge. the senate unanimously confirmed justice scalia's nomination on september 17, 1986. the 199th anniversary of the
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constitution's ratification. that was very appropriate because his approach gives the constitution its real due, treating it as more than empty words on a page but as words that already have meaning and substance. justice scalia knew that the constitution cannot limit government's power if government actors, including judges, define the constitution. justice scalia rejected judicial activism, what he called power judging that treats the law as shape-shifting. for activists, the laws and the constitution have no fixed meaning that can rather be contorted or manipulated to fit the judge's own policy preferences. that is for activities. such an aprop pproach puts the unelected judge, not the american people and their elected representatives, in the position of supreme lawmaker.
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thomas jefferson warned that if judges controlled the constitution's meaning, it would be -- quote -- "a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please." that is exactly what activist judges do, treating the law like clay that they can mold in their own image rather than reinterpreting the law in his own image, the good judge conforms his decisions to the fixed meaning of the law. by insisting that even judges must be the servants rather than the masters of the law, justice scalia was simply following the lead of america's founders and empowering the american people. justice scalia's approach to judging not only requires self-restraint by judges, it also demands riggers and accountability -- rigor and
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accountability by legislators. the good judge takes seriously the language the legislate terse enact so that people can hold accountable the legislators they elect. the famed senator daniel webster once said that -- quote -- "there are men in all ages who mean to govern well but they mean to govern. they promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." those who object to justice scalia's approach embrace the notion that judges rather than the people should be the masters of the law. justice scalia's impact has been enormous. a liberal legal commentator may have put it best in his review of justice scalia's book "a matter of interpretation," with these words: "we are all originallallists now. thathat is to say most judges ad legal scholars who want to remain within the boundaries of respectful constitutional
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discourse agree that the original meaning of the constitution and its amendment has some degree of pertinence to the question of what the constitution means today." justice scalia brought the boundaries of respectable constitutional discourse more in line with the principles of liberty than they had been in a generation. for that, our liberty is more secure and we should be deeply grateful. justice scalia was a person i knew well. i had meetings with him and others over at the supreme court. i knew him well before. he came to me in his confirmation pretext -- or pre-time and we had a wonderful discussion. i'll never forget, this is a man that anybody who ever studied law would appreciate and care
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for. it was a terrible tragedy to lose him, to be honest with you. i think he was one of the all-time great supreme court justices and will go down in history as one who will be emulated by people who really know and understand what judges are all about. and i suspect that we can all learn from him. because of justice scalia, this country is better off. because of justice scalia, we have good examples of what a great judge is, should be, and was. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, this last saturday i was honored to attend the funeral mass for
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justice antonin scalia. i couldn't help but recall back when president reagan nominated him for the supreme court of the united states that judge scalia said at the time said that his only goal was to be a good judge. today, 30 years later, it's clear that justice scalia who until his death served longer than any other current members of the supreme court of the united states was a good judge. in fact, he was a great judge. he was a giant of american jurisprudence. and as i got to know him a little bit better in more recent years, thanks to a mutual acquaintance, i can tell you he was also a good man. my first encounter with justice scalia was back in 1991 when i had won an election to be on the
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texas supreme court, and the court invited justice scalia to come to austin, texas, and administer the oath of office. at that time i already admired his intellect and commitment to the constitution and rule of law. and believe me, he was an inspiration to young judges like me who aspired to do the same. but he's been an inspiration to so many judges and lawyers and law students over the past decades. i admired and respected justice scalia. and like many texans, i was proud of the fact he also seemed to love texas, believe it or not, for a virginian. he remarked once that if he didn't live in virginia he would -- quote -- "probably want to be a texan." i'd like to spend just a couple of minutes remembering this great man and the contributions he has made to our nation beyond his incredible resume.
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justice scalia was a devoted husband of more than 50 years to maureen. he was a dedicated father to nine children and a grandfather to more than 30 grandchildren. but as i said earlier, he was not only a family man, which i'm sure he would have considered his most important job, he was a role model for a generation of lawyers, judges, and legal scholars, and those who love the constitution. interestingly about justice scalia, and perhaps he could teach all of us a little something these days, he was quick to build up relationships with people who had different views from his own and fostered an environment of collegiality and friendship on the court. it's interesting to read, as we learned earlier about his relationship with people with whom he couldn't have disagreed more on the supreme court on the key issues that the court confronted, people like justice
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ginsburg, for example. we all know he was a gifted writer and possessed an infectious wit. but justice scalia's most important public legacy is his life's work and his call for us to return to our constitutional first principles. justice scalia strongly believed that words mattered, and i think that's one reason why he quickly became one of the most memorable writers on the court and one of the best in the court's entire history. he believed that the words written in the constitution mattered because that was the only thing that the states voted on when they ratified the constitution. those were the words with which the american people chose to govern themselves, and he tried for decades to give them force and to fight against an attempt to say that, well, we really don't have a written constitution. we have a living constitution that should be reinterpreted based on the times when indeed
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the text had not changed one bit. his originally -- originalist interpretation of the constitution meant he viewed the cost as a place to interpret the law and what it meant. justice scalia was one of the most fervent advocates for the rule of law and a written constitution. on many instances he made the point, the important point that if the supreme court was viewed merely as a group of nine individuals making value judgments on how our country ought to be governed under our constitution, that the people may well feel that their values were equally as valid as those of the high nine on the potomac given life tenure and a seat on the texas supreme court. and it was his strict adherence to the text of the constitution and not evolving value judgments over time that gave protection
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to our democracy. justice scalia was strongly committed to the separation of powers. this is so fundamental to the constitution that james madison didn't even think that we actually needed a bill of rights until the first congress, because he felt like the separation of powers and the division of responsibilities would be protection enough because they viewed the concentration of power, the opposite of separation of powers, as a threat to our very liberty. i think he said the very definition of tyranny was the concentration of powers. so he saw the separation of powers as nothing less than the most important guarantor of our liberty, the most important shield against tyranny. in one dissent, justice scalia wrote without a secure structure of separated powers, our bill of rights would be worthless. i guess you'd have to say he's a
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madison pian and not a federalist by temperament and view. but this separation of powers could not be any more important at this point in our history because scarcely a month goes by when this administration has chosen to undermine this basic constitutional precept by exerting itself and claiming authorities which the constitution does not give the president. justice scalia understood what was at stake. he believed that every blow to the separation of powers harms our republic and liberty itself. as justice scalia wrote in a case in which the court unanimously struck down the president's violations of the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers, he said we should therefore take every opportunity to affirm the primacy of the constitution's enduring principles over the politics of the moment.
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he continued warning against -- quote -- "ago -- aggrandizing the presidency beyond its constitutional powers." that's what justice scalia did time and time again and that's what he reminded us about, the importance of the doctrine of separation of powers, adherence to the text of the constitution and not to make it up as you're going along or expressing value judgments that can't be related to the actual text and original understanding of the constitution. so, mr. president, the question arises when the president makes a nomination to fill the vacancy left by justice scalia's death, what is the constitutional responsibility of the united states senate? it is true under our constitution the president of the united states has a unique role and the authority to make a nomination to fill this vacancy.
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but it's also true that the senate has an essential and unique role to play as well. the founding generation regarded the senate's role and the appointment process as -- quote -- "a critical protection against despotism. nothing less." that means the united states senate has a separate and unique role to play, and certainly a coequal role with that of the president in the process to fill vacancies on the court. we are not, and the constitution never comprehended that we would somehow just be a rubber rubber stamp for the president of the united states. i will know the president, president obama, would love to nominate somebody and have in his waning months of his term of office as he's heading out the door, perhaps fill this vacancy which in the case of justice scalia was filled for 30 years, far extending president obama's term of office. but that's not what the united
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states senate is. we are a coequal branch of government, and we have an independent and separate responsibility from that of the president. he can nominate anybody he wants, but it's up to the senate and its collective wisdom whether to grant advice and consent. and when we say that, we mean if the senate did not play its unique role, liberty itself would be weakened and despotism strengthened. as i've said before, the american people can and should have a voice in the selection of the next supreme court justice. in the waning days of this presidential election year, after voters have already cast their ballots in primaries with republican candidates and democratic candidates and there is a caucus occurring even today as i speak in nevada, i believe giving the american people a
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choice in who selects the next justice of the supreme court is very important. i think it elevates the -- what's at stake in this next election this november, and that means simply that this vacancy should not be filled at this time by this president. mr. president, i yield the floor. mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: mr. president, i came to the floor today because i am stunned. i just learned that the republicans have announced to the country that they won't even call a hearing should and when president obama does his job and
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nominates a replacement for justice scalia. and we send our sympathy, heartfelt to his family. i don't know where the republicans have come up with this notion that this is the right thing to do. if you look at the strict constitutionalists, you know that they're reading the constitution, and unless they're phonies, this is what the constitution says. "the president shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and judges of the supreme court." now, where in this does it say except in election years?
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as a matter of fact, we have acted 14 times in election years. mr. president, whoever is a strict constructionist should read the constitution. article 2, section 2, clause 2. i'm going to read it again. "the president shall nominate and by and with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and judges of the supreme court." it doesn't say, as senator cornyn said, oh, the president can nominate but nobody else has a job to do. oh, no. it says same sentence, -- "and with the advice and consent of the senate." to have such a press conference, as i understand -- i didn't see it myself but it's been reported to me that there has been an announcement that the republicans won't even hold a hearing, goes against this constitution. i wouldn't be surprised if there is a lawsuit brought by the
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people of this country, 70% of whom believe that we have an obligation. we have an obligation. nowhere in the constitution does it say it's too late for the president to nominate. guess what? the republicans keep saying we need an elected president. well, i have good news for them. this president was elected twice and he's got about a year left. guess what? i'm not going to run again, but i'm here now. i want to work. i didn't take this job to have a year off and not worry about working in my last year. nowhere in the constitution does it say -- oh, and by the way, don't advise and consent if it's a democratic president in his second term. it does not say that. so if you consider yourself a strict constructist, then pay attention to this. and i'm proud that several
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republicans on the other side said baloney, we don't go along with that. good for them, and more should do it. it doesn't say in the constitution you only advise and consent if it's a republican president, with a republican senate. again, the senate has repeatedly over the years considered supreme court nominees in both election years and in the final year of a president's term. justice kennedy who serves now, a fellow californian, was nominated by president reagan in 1987. i was over on the house side, i didn't have anything to do with it, but i sure watched it. and kennedy was confirmed by a democratic senate during reagan's last year in office. and my republican friends say oh, but this senator said this about it and that senator said that and joe biden said it doesn't matter what people say,
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it's what we do. and 14 times in history, we have voted on judges in an election year. so my republican colleagues who suggest that this process cannot be done before president obama leaves office are fooling themselves. history has disproven them, and the constitution is going to chastise them. whoever says i want a dead constitution. read this. this is very clear. it absolutely is. so i guess i have the message for my republican friends here. pretty simple, pretty simple. do your job. do your job. if you're afraid to do your job, then do something else with your life. if you don't want to do your job because you're worried that someone moderate may get through, then make your
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argument. if you want to vote no, vote no. but to hold a press conference and to say you won't even hold a hearing, it's outrageous. mr. president, every day in towns and cities across this country, americans show up for work, and they do their jobs. they don't call up their bosses and say, you know, i don't feel like doing this today. i'm healthy, i'm fine, i'm well, but you know what? i don't want to do my job. they would be fired. and they should be. do your job. you're elected to do your job. no, the american people, they show up for their jobs, they do their jobs. it's as simple as that. and you know what? the justices of the supreme court, they show up and they do
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their jobs every day. justice scalia did it. they all do it. they hear cases. they write opinions. the supreme court is the last stop on the justice train. but to be able to function as our founding fathers in the united states constitution intended, they need a full bench with all nine justices. a supreme court with eight justices is not a functioning court. let's look at the republicans' hero, ronald reagan. we always hear them say, ronald reagan, i was proud to serve in the house during ronald reagan's term. i didn't agree with him on a lot of things, but guess what? i agreed with him on this. you know what he said? "i look forward to prompt hearings conducted in the spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship. i will do everything in my power as president to assist in that
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process." president ronald reagan, november 12, 1987. what did he say? did he get up and say oh, it's an election year -- which it was. no. no. kennedy was voted on in an election year, and president reagan made the case. this is what else he said. ronald reagan said -- "every day that passes with a supreme court below the full strength impairs the people's business in that crucially important body." let me say that again. ronald reagan, who was pushing for a vote on a supreme court justice in an election year, said the following -- "every day that passes with a supreme court below full strength impairs the people's business in that crucially important body."
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now, i don't get it where the republicans are coming from. they're disregarding ronald reagan, their hero, they're disregarding the constitution that they say is their shining star of their being, which it should be for all of us, and they stand there today and blatantly announce they're not even going to hold a hearing on a nominee, before they even know who he or she is. what is that about? i am truly stunned. you know, i thought i've seen everything but i've never seen this. you show up, you do your job. now, i'm going to show you a few other quotes of people who are very important to this conversation, and what they're
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saying about not moving forward. how about sandra day o'connor, what an incredible woman, appointed by ronald reagan, the first female ever appointed to the supreme court, a magnificent person, and a republican. what did she say? "i think we need somebody there now to do the job, and let's get on with it." she just said that ten days ago or less. is she a partisan? i don't think so. she is speaking from the heart. she is speaking from her soul. she is speaking from experience. she knows the court has important cases before it and we will be tied in knots if we don't have a court at full strength. here's what she shade again. republican sandra day o'connor, esteemed member of the supreme
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court, a ronald reagan nominee -- "i think we need somebody there now to do the job, and let's get on with it." i'm going to show you two more quotes from scholars here. this is from the american constitution society. quote -- "a vacancy on the court for a year and a half" -- which is what the republicans want, at least a year and a half --" would mean many instances where the court could not resolve a split among the circuits. there would be the very undesirable result that the same federal law would have differing meaning in various parts of the country." that's the american constitution society. and then we have another quote i want to share with you. the director of the byron white center at the university of colorado. "it would essentially shut the supreme court down for two years. it would be a monumental crisis
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for the development of the law and the need to resolve large legal questions." it would essentially shut down the court for two years. it would be a monumental crisis for the development of the law and the need to resolve large legal questions. now, mr. president, it isn't as if large legal questions aren't at stake. right now, the supreme court is set to look at some incredibly important cases that have real effects on our people. this isn't some argument in a salon. this is real stuff. the cases can't wait, and it doesn't matter what side you're on on these cases. they have to be resolved. how about voting rights? i don't think there would be a difference of opinion here in this chamber that this is what makes this country great and special, the right to vote, the
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responsibility to vote. we have many states that have put forward voter i.d. laws. they need to be told whether they're fair or unfair, whatever side you come down on. we need a court to look at voting rights cases and see who the eligible voters are. affirmative action. they're going to reexamine that case. whatever side you're on, it has to be decided. workers' rights. the court will decide the impact of the ability of the union to represent millions of working americans. whatever side you're on, you may be on one side of it, there needs to be a decision. otherwise, you're going to have different states with different laws, and it makes no sense. this is one nation under god. that's why we have a u.s. senate and a u.s. house and a u.s. president and a u.s. supreme
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court, because we're one nation, and these issues have to be decided. there's one on employee discrimination. how do people get their day in court if they're being discriminated against? it doesn't matter what side you're on. the fact is there needs to be a decision. women's health. there is a big case on women's health as to whether or not workers can get birth control. again, whatever side you're on, pro, con, there needs to be a decision. it's women, it's health care, it's voting rights, it's students. these cases have real consequences. so i'm going to conclude with one more chart that deals with the length of supreme court justices for the past 35 years. and here you see the list of the
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various nominees, mr. president, some of them made it -- i think -- no, not all of these made it, a couple didn't. but here's the deal with these. o'connor waited 95 days. rehnquist 92. scalia 92. bork 109. kennedy, 113, souter 74. thomas 110. ginsburg 137. sotomayor 97, kagan, 118. under mitch mcconnell's plan, the republican plan that they laid out, you just heard me say, if you average up all of this, you get 102 days. that's the average. -- that it takes. under mcconnell's plan it would take 444 days, at best. that's assuming everything goes
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perfectly well. it could take a lot longer, and what does this mean? anyone within the sound of my voice has heard this. justice delayed is justice denied. that is a fact. and it is used throughout the country. when we talk about the importance of making these decisions, when our constituents go to jury duty, what are they told? can you make this decision? can you come to this decision? because everyone deserves to have an answer. so, in conclusion, take a look at this. this is an abomination. this is the days we have seen in the last 35 years that it took to confirm 14 of our justices,
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14 of our justices were confirmed in election years since the beginning of our country. and this take takes us back to e civil war days, when we really a country divided. and this is what we really need to do now. with awful these decisions that -- with all of these decisions that are coming up, regardless of your stand on them, people deserve justice. so i'll conclude with the "do your job" chart, because that's what it comes down. i urge the people of this great country to call the republicans, every one of them, with three words "do your job." and if the person answering the phone, i don't know what you mean? say, do your job. let the process move forward on the supreme court justice. and if they say, well, we want an elected president, what will
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be told to them is, we're fortunate. we have one, elected once but twice. more than enough time remains for him to do his job and more than enough time remains for us to do ours. republicans "do your job." i yield the floor. ms. klobuchar: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: i rise today to talk about the importance of filling the current vacancy on the supreme court of the united states. i appreciate the words of my colleague from california, and i'd also like to begin by saying that my prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends and supreme court colleagues of justice scalia. he was a great scholar who had friends in many places. i was just last week at the university of chicago law school, where i went to law school, and so many people had stories, as he used to teach there, taught there for a long
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period of time, and they miss him very much. mr. president, the supreme court has the constitutional responsibility to weigh some of the most important issues facing the american people, from freedom of speech, to due process, to doing business in america. supreme court decisions have impacted and continue to impact the daily life of every citizen of this country. as one of the three pillars of our government, we value the court's distinctive insulation from public opinion. justices commit themselves to the law and to the constitution and not to politics or partisanship. americans need and deserve to have a functional and fully staffed supreme court. we cannot delay consideration of the next supreme court nominee. as my colleague just pointed out, you would have to go back
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to the civil war to a time where a position, an important key position, on the supreme court of the united states was left open. you would have to go back to a time when it was left open for more than a year. you would have to go back to a time before we had planes, before we had automobiles, before we had washing machines -- you name it -- you have to go back to the civil war. delaying the confirmation of a new justice will prevent the court from issuing binding precedent and deny access to justice for americans. lower courts will be left with decisions, decisions will not be made in close cases, and that is why the constitution of the united states, the constitution of the united states says that the president shall -- shall -- nominate someone to the supreme court. it doesn't say that he will wait
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for a year. it doesn't say that he can't do it in an election year. it says that he shall nominate someone. we have a lot of members of this great body that are lawyers. a lot of them i have heard quoting the constitution. a lot of them believe in strict interpretation of the words of the constitution. well, mr. president, the words of the constitution say, "the president shall nominate." and that the senate's job is to advise and consent. it says that it is the senate's job. it doesn't say that it is the senate's job to avoid things and to just go on tv and to run ads. no, it says that the senate has a job to do. the senate has a job to do. both the president and the senate have a constitutional duty to protect the supreme court's ability to function and dispense justice, not to tell the supreme court what to do, not to dictate their decisions,
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but to make sure they are simply able to do justice. this means that they must be fully staffed and have the justices in place, and it also means that they should be funded. those will are our jobs. according to our constitution, the president replaces vacant seats on the supreme court. that duty does not end, as i noted, in a presidential year, just as the responsibilities of all senators in their states and in their nation do not end in an election year. president obama was elected to serve out his entire second term, not just the first three years. for 332 more days, the president is the democrati democraticallyd president of the united states. democratically elected, as in a democracy, as in how our democracy functions. he has an obligation to all americans to dutifully execute his oath of office.
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the president has not yet announced a nominee to fill the current vacancy on the court. when he does, it will be the constitutional duty of each one of us to consider the nominee on his or her merits and then choose whether to vote "yes" or "no." i.t. reallit's really not that . it's what the kids learn what they are taught social studies and civic lessons when they are in elementary school. the american people who voted for us -- and also those who didn't vote for us -- expect us to do the jobs we were elected to do, regardless of the timing. a complete refusal to engage in this constitutionally required process before the president has even announced a nominee is dangerous for our system of governance. it defies the words of the constitution. this chamber would be neglecting a key constitutional duty if it prevented a well-qualified nominee from serving on the supreme court for two terms.
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and, guess what? how do we figure out -- how do we if figure out if someone is well-qualified? we have hearings. that is what we have designee for decades now -- that is what we have been doing for decades now. that is how we advise. that is how we consent. that is how we do our duty under the constitution. and it is for that reason that i urge my colleagues to continue in the senate's bipartisan tradition of giving full and fair consideration to supreme court nominees. we have precedent, mr. president, for the senate performing this role in the final year of a presidency. most recently the senate confirmed justice kennedy, someone who is currently serving on the supreme court, a current member sit being on the supreme court, someone who makes decisions every day. when was he confirmed? he was confirmed in the last year of ronald reagan's presidency.
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and guess what? the senate was controlled by democrats. so we had the exact opposite situation. now, we have a democratic presidency and we have a senate that is in the control of republicans. back then we had a republican president and a senate that was in the control of democrats. because people say, well what does history show us? what do we know? to me, that's the best example of hoamplet yo history. you know what happened? justice kennedy was confirmed on ronald reagan's nomination in a democratic senate in an election year unanimously -- unanimously. the senate has taken such action more than a dozen times in our nation's history, and there is no reason to abandon that precedent now. and i am talking here about when a justice, when there is a justice opening up during an election year. you have that precedent, which i
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think is important. again, i think the most important press dernghts the -- precedent, the most important precedent for historians is what he said. you have to go back to the civil war to find a time when we left a vacancy on the supreme court open for a year. think about that. through world war i, through world war ii, before -- through huge turmoil in this country, we always made sure we had a fully staffed supreme court. it would be unprecedented to deny a supreme court nominee fair consideration in the united states senate. in the last 100 years, the senate has taken action on every supreme court nominee, regardless of whether the nomination was made in a presidential year. mr. president, it is now february, which gives us plenty of time to consider and confirm a nominee. let's go to that next. like, oh, would we have the time
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to get this done? i would submit that we do. we have hundreds of days before us, and in fact the senate has taken an average of only 67 days. let's make it easier, two months, about two months. that's the average since 1975 from the date of the nomination to the confirmation vote -- two months. that means that if the president offers a nomination, say, in the month of march -- that sounds like a good month to have a nominee -- that nominee would receive a vote in the senate by memorial day. there's your two months. and if you even wanted to add a little time on, we would certainly do it by the 4th of july, a very good holiday for those that believe in the constitution and the words of the constitution. until we confirm a nominee, mr. president, the court is left with only eight justices. a split decision will prevent the supreme court from making
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critical decisions and leave lower courts without precedent to follow. a major responsibility of the supreme court is to resolve disagreements among lower courts. a failure of the president or the senate to meet its constitutional obligations would cause the supreme court to be unable to fill its constitutional obligations. these supreme court justices aren't elected directly. they have lifetime appointments. their job is to be insulated from elections and politics, and that's why we have these strict and straightforward words in the constitution that say that the president shall nominate someone for the job. and they also say that the senate will advise and consent. we have those words in place in the constitution, in that incredibly important document that guides news this chamber every -- guides us in this chamber every single day just for a situation like this one,
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just for a situation like these times. in closing, i remind my colleagues of the important work that the people have sent us here to do. yes, we have major disputes every day. that happens every day. we get into arguments about issues. there's political campaigns going on. but we have always at least followed the constitution. that is what this is about today. as soon as we have a nominee, as soon as the president exercises his constitutional duty and puts someone in place, we should follow the constitution and our long-standing traditions and the history of this country and uphold that duty by diligently considering the president's nominee to be the next supreme court justice, as a member of the judiciary committee, we must have the confirmation hearing, mr. president. we must do our jobs. thank you, and i yield the
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floor. mr. nelson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, i'm here to talk about takata air bags, but i want to say to the senator from minnesota that she is so right on. the constitution, article 2, says that the president shall nominate and the senate shall confirm. it doesn't say may or wish. it says shall. it is a constitutional responsibility of our duties. just do your job, united states senate. just do the job. and we'll see once the president comes forth with a nominee, let's see are we going to have
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committee hearings. let's see if we're going to have open and bipartisan discussion on the merits of the nominee that is put forth. let's see if the constitution is trashed or whether or not the constitution is upheld in the process that is put out to us in this third branch of government. so i thank the senator from minnesota. but, senator klobuchar, i came here to speak about something else, something that looks very sinister. as a matter of fact, and, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to have two items to show to the senate with regard to the takata air bag crisis. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: it looks kind of sinister.
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unfortunately, because it is. it's supposed to save lives, not kill lives. this is an air bag. it's obviously already been inflated. and where it goes is right in the steering wheel. so when you get in an accident, this thing inflates and it fills up with gases within a split second, and of course that protects you from your head coming forward, your torso, your upper torso coming forward and being injured. but what happens if this is malfunctioning? and what happens if its very
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manufacturer causes it to malfunction under conditions? well, let me show you what happens. now i said that these things look pretty sinister. indeed, this is pretty sinister, mr. president. because this is a fragment that was in the metal casing in one of these air bags that in florida when it malfunctioned because the explosive force of the ammonium nitrate that created the gas was so explosive that it ripped apart the metal casing, and this part came flying into the case of the driver, severely injuring the
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driver. in this case it hit the floor peddle. i have told the senate on many occasions that fragments of metal like this have come out just within the orlando area of my state. they found a woman in the middle of an intersection where she had had a collision. and when the police arrived, they found out that she was dead. she had bled to death. they looked at her neck, and it was slashed. the police's immediate response was that this was a homicide. and upon reflection, because she had had a collision in the intersection that otherwise would have been a major fender
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bender, but because of the defective takata air bag, it sent a piece of metal like this into her neck and cut her jugular vein. near orlando a firefighter, a big, strapping, 6'4 also" hunk of a man doesn't have an eye anymore because a piece of metal came out when there was nothing more than a fender bender, when this bag exploded it again sent out a piece of metal, in his case that firefighter doesn't have the sight in one eye because a piece of metal fragment hit him. and unfortunately that has happened all over the country.
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and unfortunately it's happening with a great deal of, shall we say, dragging of feet and cover-up and obfuscation. these air bags are supposed to save lives, but when they fail they rupture violently and they sent metal fragments right at the driver or the passenger. now, these takata air bags have had such explosive force, so what's behind it? well, our staff on the commerce committee has just produced a report which i am releasing today. it's an update on this report
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which found that through a review of recently obtained internal documents in the takata corporation, that takata employees routinely manipulated safety testing data. now it would -- that would be bad enough, but let's see the consequence of this. this drip, drip, drip approach to now a substantial number of recalls. a million vehicles recalled in one week. a million more the next. there's no end in sight. as a matter of fact, a few days ago there was a reuters report that said that in addition to the already 20-plus million
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recalls of takata air bags, reuters reported that an additional 70 million to 90 million takata air bags may have to be recalled right here in the united states. can you imagine what that's going to do to all these poor auto dealers? i mean, don't even speak about the person that is in the greatest jeopardy, the one that's behind that wheel, driving that car with an explosive grenade right in front of their face. and the grenade may go off. but can you imagine the poor auto dealers, the toyotas, the hondas, and you can go through the numbers. let me tell you the last person killed. it was in a ford f-150 pickup
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truck, and it was in south carolina. and by the time people got to the truck after a truck crash that would not have killed him, he was dead because, again, of a fragment like this. i wish you could see this thing. i wouldn't want that hitting me with an explosive force that inflates that air bag in less than one second. well, that's why the commerce committee has decided to jump all over this. we've been doing it for the last two years. we had a hearing on this two years ago. and on the current recall, i
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said in excess of 20 million -- it's actually 29 million -- with these deflective inflators, that's because nine people are dead and dozens are injured. and now we find out that in all, there may be 120 million air bags that will eventually in the united states alone have to be recalled. and if you want a shocking figure, that may be in excess of 260 million air bags recalled worldwide. now, knowing of all these problems, it's puzzling that the
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consent order that the national highway traffic safety administration signed with takata allowed the continued production of ammonium nitrate nitrate-based inflators indefinitely. and then they said that certain ones had to be phased out by 2018. why is it the nhtsa, why aren't they taking a more aggressive approach? and what's going on after all of these inflators based on what we see with ammonium nitrate have been exploding? the essence of this and of the report that we are releasing today as an addendum to the previous report is that the
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current recall may have to be redone. why? because auto manufacturers are installing new live grenades into people's cars as replacements for the old live grenades. and corgd -- according to reuters and "the new york times" there are also internal documents that show takata officials were aware of these consistent problems at its manufacturing plants. these reports claim that officials knew of manufacturing issues that could lead to moisture contamination, contaminating that ammonium nitrate wafer inside of the air bag inflator. and so, this just all the more
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adds to the body of evidence. last june the oversight and investigation staff of the commerce committee released a report on the takata air bag fiasco showing that the company knew there were serious production and testing issues dating back more than a decade. that's why we wanted to release this report today. that through a they row review of recently obtained internal documents of takata that takata employees routinely manipulated the safety testing data. for example, in this report, in a 2005 memo to the takata vice president, an engineer of takata explained that the integrity of
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the validation reports is in serious question. end of quote. and that engineer continued, these are not trivial changes in that the data clearly is in violation of the customer specs and it's altered to meet what the customer demands. that's my paraphrasing. the engineer called that, however -- a clear misrepresentation of the facts." end of quote. that's twhat takata engineers said to one of the takata vice presidents back in 2005. that is' 11 years ago. so then in a 2006 e-mail, a
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different engineering manager explained that testing reports were -- quote -- "cherry-picked, and a takata employee was schmoozed" to accept deviations in the data. so what is he schmoozeed or intimidated, whatever it was was it was altering what was the truth. the manager concludeed, this is the takata manager. this is back in 2006, that's ten years ago, concluded -- quote - "the plant should have been screaming bloody murder long ago." end of quote. well, if i were a lawyer making a case to a jury, i'd rest my
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case right now. the fact is we're not lawyers arguing to the jury. we're here to try as senators to protect the american people. and since this data manipulation has continued even after the recalls had been announced and the rupturing inflators had caused deaths and injuries and yet the data manipulation was continuing. giving an example, a 2010 presentation explains that an experimental inflator was experiencing a significant safety and weld quality issue. according to that presentation, takata, japan, -- and this is quotes -- takata, japan, was
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informed of these results but altered them and reported good results to honda, end of quote. furthermore, even when these issues were raised to senior takata employees, no action was taken. in a takata director's notes from 2013, he explains that he shared his view that the range of a certain recall might be a -- quote -- "violation of our moral obligation to protect public, end of quote. let me repeat that. a violation of our moral obligation to protect the public came from a takata director wow. the engineer raised these concerns with takata's senior vice president of quality assurance but the vice president failed to take action to address
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it. these new documents that we note in this report from the committee, they speak for themselves. takata failed to prioritize the safety of its products, and as a result nine people are dead and dozens are injured, and even after exploding takata air bags had killed these innocent people , the company employees continued to manipulate safety testing data. this is not only inexcusable, it's reprehensible. now, we've got these thousands of automobile dealers around the country that have sold vehicles
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with the takata air bags. they cannot sell a new vehicle unless if that vehicle is under recall because of a takata air bag. under law, they cannot sell a new vehicle. also, rental car companies that have more than 15 cars cannot rent cars if they are under recall. but used car dealers can sell used cars that have a defective takata air bag in them under recall without fixing it.
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i really feel for automobile dealers, and i really feel for our automobile dealers also because what in the world are they going to do with the customers now screaming replace this air bag when in fact there are not enough replacement air bags, and in fact because the national highway safety -- i'll get it right -- the national highway transportation safety administration has in fact allowed some of these replacements to go in with this ammonium nitrate. this is a horrendous situation, and so i come to the floor today, this has been going on
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for over two years that we have brought this out in a hearing in the senate commerce committee, and i urge today takata and nhtsa to do what should have been done long ago, stop producing these ammonium nitrate air bags and get them out of people's vehicles. and oh, by the way, give your automobile dealers some relief, and how about putting the american driving public that is driving around with one of these things in their face, some consideration and put them first, and hopefully we will see some more action on this. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. roberts: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that i may proceed for 15 minutes as if we were in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. roberts: thank you. mr. president, i rise today to speak about president obama's plan to move guantanamo bay terrorists to the united states. however, it is not a plan, in all due respect. it is more a failed attempt to fulfill a campaign promise and in my view what he believes will secure his legacy. and fortunately for us, those who believe moving dangerous enemy combatants within our communities is dangerous, irresponsible and an illogical idea, the president's plan contains really nothing substantive. in fact, it fails to recommend
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an alternative to any location to any current facility at all. as a matter of fact, i call that a win. the plan does not provide any intelligence to substantiate the president's claims nor does it even provide a chart or a graph to support the mathematics on the alleged cost savings. and there is no estimate regarding the costs to local and state governments to support such a move. indeed, the nine-page report is short in every regard. the white house received the department of defense's results of their site surveys and other data regarding potential closing last month, and what this -- and i'm holding up the report here here -- this is all we have in return, nine pages. probably about 10 point, maybe less, single spaced. this is what we have in return. i know the chairman of the
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senate armed services committee, my good friend and colleague, senator john mccain, is not going to be pleased with the lack of substance or data or the articulation of a real plan, and the same goes for senator richard burr, chairman of the intelligence committee who at this particular time is going to be doing -- or introducing legislation of his own to provide intelligence with regards to the administration's lack of intelligence on moving detainees to the united states. mr. president, the lack of a plan and the inability of this administration's -- this administration to provide a site alternative indicate that none of the sites visited by department of defense's survey team met the demands necessary to hold detainees and more important keep our communities safe. the fact that no site was named, no substance on those visits provided tell me there is no alternative to match what we are now doing safely and scurrile at
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gitmo, period. this so-called plan is outlined by the president in his speech today from the white house stems over four steps to closing guantanamo bay. first, it articulates the administration's plan to continue moving detainees designated for transfer by the president's national security team to foreign countries. in some instances, this may have been successful, but with regard to individuals being rehabilitated, but a third of the time detainees transferred to third party host countries have returned to the battlefield, and these are just the ones that we know about. surely that percentage would increase. this is called recidivism, and the rates are too high for this process to be called secure and responsible as the administration has labeled it. second, the administration plans to continue its review of the
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threat posed by those detainees who are not currently eligible for transfer through the periodic review board. this is to provide a new review on the current population of detainees who have been deemed too dangerous to transfer, deemed too dangerous for transfer. and yet this president wants to give them a second shot at getting out. mr. president, this doesn't make any sense. terrorists are not criminals. as much as this president would like for you to believe, terrorists are not equal to the inmates we have across america's prison system. they are fixating on the destruction of america. they have no regard for life, not that of their own and especially not the lives of innocent civilians. the report hones in on having a detainee population anywhere from 30 to 60. there seems to be an assumption on the part of the president
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that the review board will determine half of those deemed too dangerous for transfer or releast are suddenly safe for transfer or release. does the president believe this is possible or does this assumption simply serve his own means to create cost savings for his plan that can never be realized? the plan also fails to account for the fact that our nation is still mired in the war on terrorism. we're still fighting in the middle east worldwide, including the united states of america to ensure terrorism does not prevail. but what about the individuals we detain from this day forward? what about those individuals with critical information related to the next terrorism threat? how can we operate a facility like guantanamo bay to hold terrorists we take off of the battlefield? third, the plan attempts to identify individual dispositions one by one for those who remain
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designated for continued law of war detention to include article 3 military commissions or foreign prosecutions. what a muddle. in his remarks today, president obama advocated for trying terror suspects in article 3 courts. the president named two american citizens -- shazad and sarnov. to articulate his point, both of these individuals, however, were apprehended in the united states, not on the battlefield. the intent of the guantanamo detention facility is to protect the american people by removing terrorists from the battle field. as the united states faces a growing terrorist threat from organizations like isis, which have tens of thousands of members, bringing those terrorists to the united states to stand trial simply cannot be the answer. it is not safe for the american
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people and irresponsible to our national security. the fourth part of the plan. the plan states the administration's desire to work with congress, to lift unnecessary prohibitions in the law. that's in quotes. work with congress. there is something that is unique for the president, worked with congress to lift unnecessary prohibitions in current law. but it is not anywhere in its nine pages endorse a specific facility to house guantanamo detainees. rather, the plan describes a prototype for a detention facility in the united states. not kansas, not colorado, not south carolina, not anywhere in the united states. the president's long-awaited plan is to work with congress to identify the most appropriate location as soon as possible
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according to the summary provided by the department of defense to my office. question -- how could it take seven years to arrive at the idea to work with the congress? what a novel idea. but only for this express purpose. if the president had a suitable alternative, he would have provided it in this plan. if he had a suitable alternative, he would have provided it in 1990 when we stopped this plan. further, the plan fails to substantiate that th president a repeated claims that the guantanamo bay serves as a recruiting tool for jihadists, a rallying point for terrorist attacks, hindering relations with allies, draining defense resources. my goodness. i wrote defense secretary ash
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carter, did so with previous secretaries in november, to ask for an intelligence report or data to support many of these assertions. i asked secretary carter if an intelligence assessment has been done in conjunction with the site surveys recently conducted by the department of defense. from the safety of our communities' standpoint, i asked for the department's rationale for evaluating fort lea for the leavenworth when it has been determined to be an unacceptable alternative. i asked if there were intelligence products regarding previous site evaluations at phot levin woncht the administration has argued that guantanamo is a recruiting fool for terrorists. so i logically asked for an intelligence assessment to support that argument. as a follow-on, i asked what assessment had been done to
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reflect that guantanamo has increased terrorist recruitment. finally, mr. president, was there any empirical data to support the administration's argument that national security threats will decrease if enemy combatants are held in the united states? and common sense will tell you that it would increase. two months later, the response confirmed my assumptions. the department of defense had no intelligence products. none. no intelligence products, no data to provide to support the president's argument that gitmo serves as a recruiting tool and that moving detainees to the mainland would increase security and decrease the terrorist threat to the united states and all the other claims. my colleagues, this plan really confirms what many of us already know: there is no safe alternative to gitmo. not in kansas, not in colorado,
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not in south carolina, nowhere on the mainland is there a secure and responsible alternative. if there were, this president would not have failed to articulate it in his plan. mr. president, a plan that is a legacy speech does not safeguard the lives of the american people. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mandelmr. manchin: are we in mog business? the presiding officer: we are postcloture on the nomination. mr. manchin: i would like to speak on the nomination of the food and drug administration, dr. robert califf. the presiding officer: without objection, the senator is recognized. mr. manchin: i believe that the f.d.a. needs new leadership
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and a new focus and a new culture. dr. califf's post involvement in the pharmaceutical industry shows he will not be this person. he will not have the impact or leadership, capabilities that the nation needs to stem the tide of the opioid crisis that we have all over this country. my state and yours have been ravaged by this. i would like to put things in context. he's been there for over a year. a good man. i am not speaking about his ability, his honesty, his integrity, his education, and his background and all the good work he's done. but he's been there for a year, and for the past 20 years dr. califf basically comes from the institutional research, from education. and with that, his support has come from the pharmaceutical industries, those that are putting opioids on the market. i just felt it would be hard, human nature-wise, for him to be able to change and rule against and maybe try to keep these
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products from coming onto the market. so to put this in content, as this is not personally about dr. califf, it is about the culture that he comes from and the year that he's been there is number two, and what has happened in that period of time. over the last drks last dakd, . has awe approved drugs at a rate. market drugs were denied 66% of the time. yet between the beginning of 2015 and august of 2015, the f.d.a. had rejected only three uses for new chemical entities and approved 25. that's an approval rate of 89%. tell me how in seven short years that culture chaidge changed toe
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everything come at us has changed? if you look at just new drugs and not the use of drurks they have only rejected one and approved 23. that's a 96% approval rate in 2015. so new drugs that came to the market, only one was rejected, a 96% approval rate. in 20 0rb8gs the food d f.d.a.'s approval of new marketing claims for existing drug was 56%. in the first eight months of 2 2015, it was only 28%. this includes approving drugs like oxycontin for children. zohydro drew widespread kerchlt all of us were outraged. we heard that this new drug came on the market and to put another time myriad in contents, i hadworked for three years to try to gettual opiates from a
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schedule iii to schedule ii so doctors could only prescribe for 30 days. you had to go back and see your doctor. up until that time, vicodin and lortab, the two most widely prescribed opiates were schedule iii. that means that you could get 90 days prescription and then just call in to get it refilled. they were going out like m&m's. we were able to do that and no sooner did we get that done -- took three years, should have been three weeks. took three years to get it done. within the same week that all opiates got to us from a schedule i iii to jewel 2, they approved a new drug kaimed zohydro, much morning hour powerful. two pills killed a human being. that was done against the advisory committee, 11-2. that means 13 experts evaluated this drug, said it is not needed, too powerful, don't do it.
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guess what? they did it anyway. now they're saying that we're not going to pay attention to the advisory committee. not only did they say they're not going to pay attention to the advisory committee, we've had the decision on oxycontin being given to 11-year-old children, we've had two new drugs that came out after the zohydro and the pushback that we as senators representing our states, they had a new drug called targiniq and hysingla, which is an extended release hydrocodone project. so you had three new decisions made -- two powerful new opiates came to the market -- and the decision that oxycontin would be given to 11-year-olds. that was done without any review, any review by the advisory committee. they got so much pushback, so much pushback from zohydro, they
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said we'll just not have anyone review t we'll just go ahead and do it. now, if you believe that's a cull tear that's going to protect the -- culture that's going to protect the welfare and well-being of our state, then i'm so, i don't. i have more people dying of legal prescription drug abuse than anything else in the state of west virginia. more people die. it's ravaging families. i have got personal letters i am going to read to you. it just tears your heart out. tears the community apart. every law enforcement agency, every law enforcement agency in america will tell you, no matter what town they're in, what county they're in or what state they're in that over 80% and upwards of 95% of all crimes committed are drug-related. are some sort of drug-related. there's not one of us right now in this beautiful senate chamber that doesn't know somebody in our immediate family or senate
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family that's been affected by drugs, either prescription legal drugs or illegal drusmghts it ir illegal drugs. it is an epidemic. i believe that the f.d.a. must break its cozy relationship with the pharmaceutical industry and instead start a relationship with the millions of americans. i am going to fight against the f.d.a. protecting a business plan and hopefully the culture will change and they'll start protecting america and the families and citizens of this great country's plan. to have a healthy lifestyle. it is because of this belief that i am urging my colleagues to vote against the confirmation, as the director of the food and drug administration, dr. robert califf. he'll still be there. he's still a valuable person. he's just not that person with that passion to change the culture in this important agency, and we've let this sleeping giant go for far too long, far too long. so my office has been absolutely
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flooded, mr. president, with stories from west virginians, but i've gotten them from all over, all over the country, who want their voices to be heard. they said, pleerks use my name. i am not ashamed. i've watched too many people being destroyed. today i want to read letters not only from west virginians but also from across this great country of ours that have been impacted by the opioid abuse especially dimmic. i urge my colleagues to listening to these lowers from those states and my stories from my state about these stories before confirming dr. califf and in all good conscience make that decision tomorrow when we vote, do you really believe he can bring the changes needed? not just saying, well, we have to have somebody there. he's already there. he'll do a good job where he's at. he's just not going to be able to kick them and shake them up and say we're not going down this path anymore. that's awvment therthat's awvmee recommendations that would bring
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the culture chaifnlg i am going to read to you a young lady from southern west virginia, her name is chelsea. this is her story. "as a recovering adirkts i have watched myself, my friends, and loved ones suffer from this horrible thank we call an addiction. as i watch all these people suffering, i know they had no idea what they were getting themselves into and neither did i. whether it be for pain ar sumly honking out with the wrong people like i did" -- this is chelsea saying this -- "we all had one thing this common. we chose to do drugs for the first time. swung made the decision to do descrution for the first time. growing up, i can honestly say i had what most people would call a normal childhood. i was raised by two hardworking parents who would and will still do anything for me. i was a gym nist and a cheerleader for most of plief and went to church every wednesday and sunday.
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my dad was even the mayor of madison be, west virginia. my gad wa -- my dad was the may. and at one point when he served -- but even being raid up in a good home did not stop me from doing drugs. this has no social barrier. it does not have a political partisanship -- democrat, republican, makes that dinks. rich or moore makes no difference. she says i can still remember the first too many i heard about someone getting high. i was in the sixth grade and became friends with a girl whose parents got high themselves. we would walk about the playground and she would talk to all of us about these things called drugs, which i'd never heard about. and she talked day in and day out about how getting high made her feel. it made me start to wonder what this thing called "getting high" was really all about. mind you, i am talking about a 12-year-old girl, 12 years old. i can remember thinking how cool it must be, and i thought, it
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was that her parents also had done drugs with her. another friend of hers 12 years old, her parents were doing drugs with her. and would party with her. she says one weekend, i went to her thousands stay the night and that was the first time i had gotten high. we smoked some pot, draining some alcohol, and -- drank some alcohol and i was turned ton my first pill at the age of 12. from this point on my life would never be the same frvment the ages 126 to 15eu partied, some on the weekends and sometimes during the week. but as time went on, my addiction and tolerance grew more and more. by this time i was doing more pills because i had access to them. between stealing lortabs off of my dad to hanging with that girl so we could get high with letter dad to buying pills off the local drug dealer on the street, i had moved from doing them every now and this to every day. i would stey stay a lost
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weekends a this the girl's house just to get high because my parents would have never done that, nor did they know i was doing it. impi 16 my life took another turn. my grandmother, who i call nana, had taken care of me most of my life while my mother worked. she woos diagnosed with lung cancer taboo years prior. in the last days of her life, i would visit her in the hospital and she would tell me how proud she was of me and how i was her little model. i had also met a special guy by the name of j.r. a few months before this who i spent a lot of time with. on july 18, 2003, my nana passed away. on the day of her wake j.r. took me to dinner and on the way home he asked me to go meet his dad. i explained to him i could not and that my grandma's funeral was the next day. he dropped me off that night, kissed me goodbye and that was the last time i ever heard from
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j.r. 20 minutes after he left me, he wrecked and died. i felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. the day of his funeral is the next time i met the love of my life that would soon try to destroy my life. it was called oxycontin. i fell in love immediately with oxycontin. it took all my cares and worries away, and from that moment on all i wanted to do was be numb. as the years passed, my drug addiction grew worse. i was not only doing pain pills, i was now experimenting with all kinds of other things. i can still remember my senior week in high school. while everyone was excited about going to the beach, i had to make sure i had enough drugs to go and not be sick. i took roxies, pretty much anything i could get my hands on and all eight balls of cocaine. by this time in my life i didn't care about anything. it never once had crossed my
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mind that if i got caught with all of that i could go to jail. i was just worried about my next high. the following months were the same. i was doing anything i could to get my hands on drugs, from pain pills to cocaine to meth, i did not care as long as i was high. i was hanging around with people who were as sick as i was and places that i look back now that i would not even take my dog. at 19 i met a guy who would fuel my drug addiction even more. he was 40 years old and dealt oxycontin. at this point i cannot afford my habit so i did what i had to do. i started seeing my drug dealer. my life soon went from bad to worse. i had oxycontin 80's any time i wanted them and at the time i thought life can't get any better than this. when you are doing eight to ten oxycontin 80's a day, you will do whatever it takes to get
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them. at this point i was turned on to heroin. heroin had taken my life if it hadn't scared me so much. the high from heroin is so intense that anyone who had done it would have fallen in love, but actually it scared the life out of me. as time passed and i wasn't getting high like i wanted to anymore from snorting oxycontin, i decided to start shooting up. that is one thing i never thought i would do is shoot up. i always told myself that people who shot up were the homeless people on the streets, complete and utter trash. now here i was sticking a needle in my arm to get what i wanted and to be honest, i thought life was bad before. it just got a whole lot worse. the life i was and the life that i knew was gone, and oxycontin was completely ruling my life now. oxycontin is a legal drug made by a legal pharmaceutical that knew exactly the effects this would have when they put this on the market over 20 years ago. she said what stood before
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everyone was pure addiction. i had started stealing off of everyone by now and didn't care who i hurt. people's priceless possessions that meant so much to them meant nothing to me. all i've seen was my next fix. that's all i could see. people were bringing me stolen stuff, and i was taking it to the nearest pawnshop or my drug dealer. i had no shame. i had needle marks all up and down my arms, and i would lie to my family about how they got there. it was like i had no conscience or better yet, my addiction was my conscience. eventually i got caught stealing and was charged with 17 different felonies and one misdemeanor. this still did not slow me down, even though i was looking at 2 to 20 years in prison. nothing scared me more than being sick from the drugs. on september 29, 2008, i was called in for a random drug test and failed because i had shot up
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oxycontin the day before. at the courthouse, they handcuffed me and shackled me and sent me to southwestern regional jail where i did ten days. as i sat there in that jail cell and cried, i thought a pill could not be worth 2 to 20 years of my life, and i hit my knees and prayed to god that if he brought me out of that jail cell, that i could never ever, ever touch drugs again. the lord answered my prayer, and the judge gave me the choice to stay in jail or go to the life center in galaxin, virginia. i chose to go to rehab. i completed the 30 day program and came back and did thomas memorial intense outpatient program for six weeks. once i got home i was sentenced to to 20 years suspended. i was the third person to graduate from the lincoln county drug court. i had to do 14 more days in jail, six months of home confinement and four years
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probation. i can honestly say that going through jail and rehab saved my life. if i hadn't been put in jail i would probably be six feet in the ground like a lot of my friends i had to bury. all these things combined gave me something i hold very dear to my heart: my recovery. recovery has not only given my life back, it has given me a chance to be a daughter, a sister, a wife and hopefully a mother someday, a productive member of society, a good friend, but most of all my recovery has given me a chance to be the voice of the sick and suffering addicts who lay in bed at night wondering if there is a way out. i enjoy giving people hope and showing them that treatment does work. i am living proof that if you work the program of recovery, it will work for you. since that day i found myself sitting in that jail cell with no hope and my life completely consumed by my addiction, my life has changed for the better. i have graduated with an associate's degree in applied science from southern west
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virginia community and technical college. i got my bachelor's degree in the arts of psychology from west virginia state university and am l currently working on my masters of social work degree at concord university and i will graduate with that degree in may. i have also been able to go to various schools, drug courts and different places around the state to tell my story of addiction from where i was then to where i am now. i have also had the pleasure of working with a great group of people who are trying to get a sober living home open in danville, west virginia called the hero house. and i can tell you she is so passionate about getting this hero house so she can help other people. anybody listens that wants to help chelsea in danville, west virginia, with the hero house please do so or contact my office. with this being said i don't tell my story to get praise. i tell my story because there is a son, a daughter, a husband, a father, a wife and many, many other people out there addicted
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to drugs, and they do not see a light at the end of the tunnel. when you are in active addiction, that light is so dim, and a lot of times people think they are going to die from this horrible disease. but i am here to show people that you don't have to die. you don't have to let that horrible addiction win. you can step out and take your life back, because i'm here to tell you that if you don't, if you don't, your addiction is going to take you to your grave. drugs do not discriminate. they know no good, no bad, no rich, no poor. there are so many people out there who suffer from this because there is little to no treatment. by the grace of god i was sent to rehab and given a second chance. i still have that horrible reminders every day of the things i did to my family, my body and most of all my self-esteem. i have the track marks after being 17 years sober that
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constantly remind me of the life i once lived. i have a poor self-image because of the men i chose to give myself to just to get a pill and the damage i did to my family because i had no cares in the world. one day i hope there is enough treatment to help the addicts who want help. people need to be given a second chance and shown there is a better way of life than to do drugs. i have another story called tammy's story, but i know chelsea. i know this girl. she's impressive. and for her to come out, she says please tell my story. i want people to know. no one can hit lower. no one can come from a finer family than i came from. no one can go lower than i've gone. and no one but by the grace of god can be saved like i was. when you hear these stories and all she's saying is no treatment, she was lucky, she found a treatment center. we have to come to grips with this, mr. president. you know, we have a tax on
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tobacco because we know it's harmful and we have to cure people with the disease. we have a tax on alcohol. we have no fee whatsoever on opiates. none. and it is destroying lives like nothing else that's ever happened in this country. you know, and we need to make people conscious of this and we need to have an f.d.a. that is compassionate. but not only that, is committed to the change that needs to be made in our culture. i want to read to you tammy's story. it says my name is tammy and i've from fallensby, west virginia, in the northern pan handle. chelsea was in the southern part. she says we have two adult children suffering from substance abuse disorder. our son was in the military while in college, sent to iraq september 27, 2010. he experienced things he never talked about. celebrated his 21st birthday there and returned home. he was not a saint when he went to war. he had a juvenile past of
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drinking. back then we thought he was a typical teenager acting out. when he returned, he suffered ptsd as many do and went to the v.a. hospital for treatment. he was put on cocktail after cocktail of medications. we all know this. we all know that basically these brave men and women that are willing to risk their lives and sacrifice their lives for us, we think in order to treat their pain just give them a prescription and they're able to get anything and everything. that's what they're talking about when he was put on cocktail after cocktail of medications, was this his starting point of the spiral into addiction? i believe his addiction to opiates, benzoids and amphetamines started then. he lost his marriage, didn't see his son. he bounced from drugs to drugs to drugs. he obtained several d.u.i.'s and time after time he walked away. no offer of help, no sentencing. he bounced, married again. she was addicted to heroin.
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bounced again. was in and out of our house. unfortunately we've always gave him a safe place to land. she said that unfortunately. not fortunately, but unfortunately we always gave him a safe place to land. last time i saw him is when i called the police on him. i discovered that him and his girlfriend with two small children who had been living in our house for four months were using and selling drugs. i found out he was recently incarcerated for drug traffic and sent to correctional rehabilitation facility. our daughter was an athlete all through school. she received an injury after injury and at 18 started seeing specialists for back pain. that was in 2004. they prescribed opiates. i never saw the addiction coming. she lost her best friend since first grade that year to a drunk driving accident. she went to counseling. more prescriptions. she appeared fine, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and then because of back pain, more pain
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prescriptions were given. i realized she had a problem when she was pregnant with her second child and was stepped down to vicodin while president. vicodin while pregnant. after his birth we started her first rehab experience. she returned to the father of her children sober. she relapsed and began snorting heroin. at this time she was living on a high and we were unaware of her relapse. we found out when her mother-in-law went to court and took her children. that was one of the worst days of all of our lives. we immediately picked her up, brought her back to west virginia and into treatment. fast forward, thousands of dollars later on attorneys, doctors rehab, she returns to ohio to obtain her children. relapse, she began shooting heroin and then arrested. we let her sit in jail and picked her up on her release. charges were dismissed. back to west virginia she comes. hospitalized for a week and rehab again. she has now been in recovery for
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13 months. she fell in love with a nice drug-free man. moved to ohio to try to obtain custody of her children, back and is six months pregnant. one thing i can say is my daughter was always a good mother. even while in active addiction she worked and took care of them. both of our children became addicted to prescription drugs first. they tell me this is exactly how it starts. it starts at a very young age. recreational marijuana, prescription drugs out of your parents' medicine cabinet, taking them to school, being the cool kid in school, sharing those drugs. then you become using them. then you sell them. this is how it starts. and it left to obtaining street drugs to feed their addiction. it goes from occasional to recreational to addiction to feeding that addiction. this is a condensed version of course, as with any family dealing with addiction, it does not show the tears, the hurt, the financial breakdown. put on this family.
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we are broke. literally and figuratively. she says i want to thank you for listening. they keep prescribing the pills, and what we're saying doctors have very little training. they'll tell you as they go through all their med schools and all their advanced training, they get very little training in what the effect these drugs have on human beings. and addiction. we took one billion pills off the market when we went from 90 days to 30 days of vicodin and lortab, everything going opiates. we took that many pills off. that means 30 days. i have people in my office, and i know you do, mr. president, that will go for something that they need pain relief for one day, two days. but do you know what they get? they automatically get 30 days. that's the path of least resistance. it's legal, i can do it, i will write you a prescription, you have 30 days.
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we have a bill coming up that we will do the work, there are a lot of things that need to be changed, but the most important thing is to make sure we have a federal agent, an agency in the federal government in the united states of america that is fighting and wanting to fight and protect every american. and it's not a business plan that we have to adhere to, not at all. these are good companies, they are legal companies, they are good pharmaceutical. they do an awful lot of good. i would challenge each one of them listening to what we're talking about right now, i would challenge them give us pain relief without addiction of opiates. do something, break through the chemistry, it has to be there. we have been able to solve every other epidemic. we have been able to cure epidemics, pandemics. now we have one that has been ravaging our country for almost 30 years. i have samantha's story. she says hello, my name is samantha holbrooke. she wants you to know her name.
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i am from fayette county, west virginia. i'm a 28-year-old female. i have been an addict for the past six years. this letter is to explain to you how addiction has affected my life. it is also to express my view on drugs and what is going through our society. i first started drugs when i was 13 years old. i was a recreational marijuana user. recreational marijuana user. my mother was an alcoholic and a drug addict. my father was not in the home nor involved in my life. unfortunately that's in many lives around this country. my mother would allow me to drink with her and go to bars. i was often her designated driver, but i was only 13 years old. i got in my first and only bar fight at 13. it was with a 24-year-old woman. she thought i was coming on to her boyfriend. in reality, we were smoking weed, not trying to hook up. when i was 19, my oldest sister
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and mother introduced me to hydrocodoan, ritalin, xanax and percocet. my sister and mother had no income. i did. by getting me on pills, they were able to get free pills by charging me to get them for them. by the time i was 22, i think, i was snorting oxycodone. oxycodone was made in single sorts, which is a powder form compressed. they would break it down, crush it, snort it to get the quicker high. that became my drug of choice. i eventually got in with a doctor that was pretty much a pill mill. we know we have them all over this country. he wrote me a prescription for xanax and oxycodone. i got even more strung out on those two. as a result of using drugs, i now have memory problems, concentration problems, and the list goes on and on. i lost about 30 pounds, i lost my job, i lost my home, i lost my child, i lost my fiance to
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suicide. he was drunk when he shot himself in the head. i believe that had he not been drinking, he wouldn't have taken his own life. as a result of these life-changing events, i became severely depressed. i then took the wrong road and began to use drugs intravenously, that means shooting them in. i started lying and stealing. this led me to gain two felony charges and several other misdemeanors. i went to jail and prison and spent two and a half years locked up. i'm now on d.r.c. because i'm on parole and had a relapse which led to several bad decisions, and now i'm paying the consequences. i'm now in recovery. i am a recovering addict. i joined narcotics anonymous and alcoholics anonymous. the classes and programming in prison helped me to think better. i now analyze a situation before making a decision. this is my story. prescription drugs and all drugs have ruined a large percentage
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of the citizens of west virginia's lives. i am now in full control of my life again. thank the lord. this story is anonymous, but they wanted to share this. i grew up in a nice home. my grandfather was a pastor. my dad grew up in church. my family went to church every sunday. we had ace -- a nice house, my mom didn't have to work and my dad took real good care of us. my dad had a common surgery to move several -- remove several large veins in his legs, varicose veins. this is where his addiction began. this is where he found his unlimited supply of numbness. i was in middle school, and this is when i remember things being different. things were changing. my dad stayed out with his friends a lot. he wasn't home for dinner any more. when he was home, he was laying down, sleepy and always said silly things.
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i would stay up late at night until he would get home only to hear my mom and dad fighting, screaming, my mom crying. eventually i hated to hear the garage door open because i didn't want him to come home. before my dad would take me to school, standing in his business suit with his briefcase. he would scarf down pills out of a little orange bottle. he would tip it back like he was eating a box of candy. i didn't know any better. my being naive innocent mind didn't know what was happening. i couldn't comprehend that a doctor could be his drug dealer. i couldn't comprehend because we have been taught to trust. things got a lot worse. i started finding bottles of liquor and cans of beer hidden, and i passed it off. three empty beers in the back of his company car, oh, they must be his friends. no one in our family drinks, definitely not my dad. i remember whole vacations, weekend trips, afternoons ruined
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by his addiction. mad fits of rage until one day my mom stood up and couldn't take it anymore. my dad got the help he needed. how did he get the help? in hiding, in private, local rehab facility. he was on a business trip. our culture had stigmatized a group of people, a group of people that transcends race, status, gender at the expense of their lives. this is a hidden killer. drug abuse and drug addiction is a hidden killer. so many of us that know people in our family or close friends don't want to talk about it, they are ashamed. so it goes kind of covered up and hidden away. and this is what happens. we don't cure, we don't bring people. she says my dad was hurting. no, not from the wounds on his legs when he had his surgery. from depression and bipolar disorder, these are the roots of his addiction. they go hand in hand. when will we see this? when will we stop seeing addicts
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as a problem and start seeing them as a human being and hurting? let me say to that, for the last 20, 30 years i have been in public life. you have been in public life a good bit. i always thought anybody fooling with drugs, they're a criminal, put them in jail. we've done that. hasn't solved a thing. it's gotten a lot worse. we have to rethink. this is not a crime. addiction is basically an illness that needs to have a cure, and treatment is that cure, and we've got to face it. sentencing guidelines, we're talking bipartisan, republican and democrats, of how we fix this. i think that's encouraging and it is healthy for us to have these discussions. she says it's a selfish sickness. of course it is, but how can we help them see the light when we push them aside? because they asked for it. just like a lady with skin cancer asked for it because she lay in a tanning bed. what if we treated addicts with the same compassion that we treat cancer patients? my father has been clean for almost a decade, and the demons of his addiction still haunt us
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all. no, we weren't homeless nor do we have to face a death to be completely broken by this horrible epidemic, but i had a zombie for a father for my adolescence. i missed my childhood, years that we can never get back, memories that will never be erased, all because of a little orange pill bottle chased with a brown paper bag. luckily my story ends with a happy ending. i still have my dad. my story hasn't ended up how so many do every day. like my two friends that didn't get the help in time and passed away. i have stories from all over the country. they are pathetic. i have one -- a couple more i think i can read from west virginia. i will go to different states. this is erica's story. she says hello. my name is erica, and i am an addict, and i say that with
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great pride as i celebrated ten years of recovery on november of 2015. i began using drugs here in west virginia at the ripe age of 13. 13 seems to be that magic. adolescence. we're coming into adolescence. we're willing to experiment. we think that we're invincible. we think that nothing can harm us. prescription drugs were easily accessible at that age and opened the door to 11 years of anguish, desperation, jails and dirty needles. i came from a stable drug and alcohol-free home but i was able to gain access to prescription drugs for my peers in my local mid school and high school on a daily basis. as my disease progressed, i dropped out of high school. my freshman year and continue to put myself and family through years of pain and suffering. i tried drug replacement therapy to control my opiate addiction. that was only a temporary solution and i eventually returned to drugs. finally i found myself in the
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court system and facing felony drug charges. it was then i was able to find freedom through a 12-step fellowship program. today i can say i am a cum laude graduate of marshall university, fully employed, homeowner, wife and the mother of two wonderful west virginia boys. i pray my children don't follow the path that not only myself but many of my fellow west virginians have fallen into. the disease of addiction is progressive and fatal if not treated or prevented. here in west virginia we are leading the nation in drug overdose and where i live, we have had over 900 overdoses in just a year of 2015. 900. as a mother, i must entrust in our leaders to make responsible choices, to help us seek solutions, gain back our communities and save our children from following the same deadly path. you know, i know that the f.d.a. was so proud they came out with
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some new guidelines and they said now they're going to start paying attention to the advisory committees. they didn't say that they would adhere to the recommendations. they would just start paying attention to them. also the c.d.c., centers for disease control, put out some guidelines of how we should be prescribing, how we should be administering, what we should be doing to curb this drug abuse. guess which agency fought against that and put it on delay? the f.d.a. so the only thing i would ask all of my colleagues to please consider, the vote you make tomorrow, just sending a message. it's not about the doctor at all. it's not about the person before us. it's about getting an advocate that will make real change and making sure that we'll fight this war. this story is another anonymous story. my brother is in his early 20's. he was hired at the local plant that employees the -- employs the majority of the county.
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he was injured on the job, saw his doctor and was prescribed lortab long term. lortab as i told you before was a schedule three. 90 days, keep calling in, keep calling in, keep calling in. as the effects from it started to wane, he was prescribed xanax , clonopin and a variety of other prescription medicines. he then lost his good-paying job but found other work at a lower pay after almost a year of unemployment. this prescription med addiction continued for years. and once laws finally cracked down on prescribing narcotics, it left him unable to get all the medicines he had previously been prescribed. once it became too expensive to buy them on the street, he turned to heroin. my fun-loving brother who was always at family functions, loved to be around his nieces and nephews totally disappeared. i suspected something more serious was going on, but he wouldn't answer calls or texts. in august, i hadn't seen him in
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several months. we have always been close. this was very unusual. i sent him a novel of a text since he wouldn't take my phone calls. confronting him over the rumors that i had heard of his heroin use, he denied it. a few short weeks later, i got a call from my mother that he was transported to the hospital by ambulance but discharged a few hours later for chest pain. he later told us he had gotten a bad batch of heroin and was certain he was dying. he told the e.m.s. he had used that morning as well as hospital staff. i still to this day don't understand how someone can come in suffering from an overdose and be discharged a few hours later. people don't have knowledge. they're not being trained in this horrible epidemic that we have in this country. nothing was mentioned to him about treatment or rehab, and he was treated as a lesser person. i was worried before but after this was in a constant state of fear that i would get a call
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that my 31-year-old brother was dead. in october, he called to tell me yes, he was a heroin addict. but a new treatment center had opened near his home and he wanted to get clean. he asked if i would go with him, which of course i said yes. his insurance would not cover a dime of this treatment. it would be all out of his pocket at $100 a day plus the cost of meds. for someone being working at a $30 a year job paying housing, utility, food -- and never did receive public assistance; he was too proud for that -- this cost could be more than he could do. g.n.p. i told him i would be there and pay for whatever he couldn't. i convince the him he didn't need more of a support system than just me, and he finally told our parents. we were raised in a church and we came from a very large religious family, and he was so is ashamed of what he had become that he didn't want the family to know and the majority of them still don't know to this day.
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i'm hoping, as this letter was written in honor of him, they'll screantsly share this with their family and prevent another from going down this road. one of his at been at every appointment since. it is wonderful that he has a session with a psychiatrist at every visit. it is more than prescribing ms that they are doing. the counseling to make sure their patients get clean and i am proud to say that after only four months, not only is he clean, but he is weaned off the drug. he still goes for counseling and has a nurse's cell that he can did all 24 hours a day if he is having a hard day. in the future, he wants to tell his story and help others facing the same crisis. madam president, i've been reading stories of people addicted all over the state of west virginia. i've got stories from your state
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also, madam president. and i would like to read that for you. this is in new hampshire. this is kathleen's story. i'm sure she sent you the same copy she sent me. "my name is kathleen stevens." she wants her name to be known. "i am a 56-year-old registered nurse from san town, new hampshire. i am currently the director of cline services at a nationwide hospice company. my story is much like others out there. pretty average, fairly normal. i have two children, a son who graduated with a degree in mathematics and a 31-year-old daughter who graduated with a psychology degree from assumption clefnlgt i myself have a bachelor's of science degree. i give you this detail
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background for you to see that we are a well-educated and a very successful family. we are a white, mid-to upper-middle class family who have always lived in a neighborhood surrounded by loving families. we were the home in the neighborhood where all the children loved to play. we took our churn to drive-in movies, camping, the beach, museums, and always visited their grandparents. we were very normal and that is all. or what we perceived was normal. when speaking with our children now, they both recount wonderful childhoods and deem themselves lucky. our house was filled with love. i hug my kids all the time, never hess taughted to demonstrate or to tell them how much i loved them. they had grandparents who were always around. and also demonstrated their love for them. about five years ago my daughter
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and her boyfriend, an intern at tufts medical school, decided after being together for two years that they would move to sacramento. i was devastated inside but encouraged my daughter to follow her heart. over the subsequent years, our communications went from daily to weekly to scattered. each conversation seemed more distant than the last. we saw her an average much twice a year. most significantly when we paid her expenses to come home for christmas, her boyfriend never came. he distanced himself from all of us almost immediately. i'm sure at this point you know the story. about 18 months ago i finally confronted my daughter, asking her what was wrong. seeing her go from a loving daughter to a distant person i no longer knew. over the previous few years she turned into a virtual stranger. i told her i loved her no matter what and what i would be there for her. at that time she denied any
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dishes. a -- at that time she denied any issues. a few weeks later she confided that she was a heroin addict. i was more than shocked. she had been in a substantial-free dorm in college. she hated drinking, drugs, and was pretty straight-laced overall. i kept myself in check saying that no matter what, i would support her. i asked her to come home so that we could help her. she confided and started with a prescription for opiates that her boyfriend had shared with her. he was given one for back pain years earlier and he got hooked. amazingly, she did come home but she went back a few months later. she then returned to get clean again and went back a few months later. she overdosed multiple times of which i knew nothing until recently. her boyfriend gave her i.v. heroin while she was in the hospital being treated for pneumonia, to keep her habit going. he was the one, i found out
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later, that he shot her up because she hated doing it. he had developed a hold on her that was a bond of heroin high. i knew the drug had gotten her when due to the stress of everything happening i ended up in the hospital ruling out a heart attack. she drove me there, dropped me off and went to get high. i found out laimplet i ended up being fine, stressed of course and she needed up going back home and yet again she stayed clean after going into rehab, which kicked her out after about eight days because her insurance was declined. she then attended n.a., narcotics anonymous, meeting almost daily and got a job she loved. in the meantime, her boyfriend was found out through a random drug test and suspended. she was clean for four months. the happiest four months of my life. we spoke every few days or texted. her voice was truly hers again. her laughter, her expression,
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her humor. i felt she was finally back with us. she had left her boyfriend and went into a sober living home. life was good and i was so grateful to have my daughter, my best friend back. about three months into her sob sobriety, she decided to get her boyfriend back. at exactly month in our, she went to his house and he had a surprise for her. she was new in her sobriety. just once had she fell back down the rob by the hole. i knew when she didn't return my calls or my texts that it was bad. but finally she responded. she was back into it again, but she'd get out, she promised me. the next eight months were a few weeks clean, then back into drugs gefnlt i did not send her money. honestly, she never asked. she knew i'd never support her habit. around thanksgiving of 2015, she had had it. she called me and said she wanted to get back into rehab and leave her boyfriend prmtly.
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her life was no longer worth liferlg, she said. weeks of trying to get her into rehab went unsuccessfully. finally we found clean and sober in sacramento. at that point she was clean for two weeks, had slowly packed up or sold her belongings. she had to smee sneak out to gey from her partner. she did. the happy part is this: she is today 60 days sober. she has a new job. she had been fired from the other ones, which she loved. she blocked her boyfriend from her phone, her e-mail and her facebook. she is the daughter once again that i know and love, but i love her regardless of the disease or addiction, love the adirkts hate the disease, and for right now i thank god, pray a lot and take one day at a time. close quote. i have another one here i want
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to share with you. the thing i wanted to share, madam president, is this. my state and your state have probably been hit as hard as any two states? the country. we have people coming to us all the time. we're inflowferg pieces of legislation. we're not worrying about who is a republican or democrat. it is about how can we help americans? how can we help the beautiful people of new hampshire and west virginia that are facing this? more deaths, more disease, more destruction to their family. i want to share with you -- when i first got elected, senator byrd had died in 2010. i was governor. state of west virginia. i had to make a decision. maybe i can come to walker and maybe help. maybe i could -- the experiences i had and what i saw in my state and the triumphs we had and challenges, i had gone back after i was elected into the 123459, gong back to a little tong called oceana, west
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virginia. at that time it had been coined "oxy-ana." because drug use was so large. it was the most beautiful coal camp i had ever been in. they had everything. what a privilege it would have been to grow flop this beautiful town. now i saw it many years later and it was not the town i knew and remembered in my mind. so i wnts to the school and it was a middle school. children sixth to eighth grade. i tried to give pep tawrks get them involved and tell them how- give something back to society and how fortunate and lucky they are to be in this little town. after i got done speaking and they were all attentive, there was a group of them. can we talk to you privately? and i'll never forget this. these were 12- and 13-year-old boys and girls.
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there had to be six or seven of them. they started talking and telling me their stories. these were stories they were telling me. this is the first time i had ever heard fundamental from a child -- therd from a child u my dad will a back problem and he got hooked. before you lost i knew it, we lr house. we've got nothing now. i have to live with my grandparents because they are the ones watching him. my dad is an addict and it goes on and on. i heard these stories from these five kids. they were all pleading. now fast-forward to this -- 2015. i go book t back to the same sc. these kids that were 12 years old are now seniors, in high school. same group wanted to talk to me. they had lived a clean life, thee kids d but what they have gone through and what they have seen -- then i sat down with another group of 12- and 13-year-olds
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from the same area. they're telting me stories of how they're wampg their lives before them when they watch a boyfriend or a ^+step father because the family had broken apart, the mother remarried or whatever and the person she's with is a drug addict and this little child watches her mother get shot up and killed because of the drugs that the boyfriend shoots into the mother. can you imagine a 12- or 13-year-old girl having to live with this and see this happen in her home? what we're asking for is simply for the food and drug administration to change, to be the watch guard, to help us. i mean, they're there supposed to protect us. they don't just say, wcialtion i did my job. the company, the pharmaceutical they made this drug and this was the way it was made and what it is supposed to do. we checked it out and everything is fine and leave it on the market. that's -- you're not looking att the welfare and well-being.
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you know it is addictive. we've got -- we have no treatment centers. we're doing nothing to cure this. we're not challenging these pharmaceutical companies who are good companies smghts they do a lot of good, put a lot of products out there that are really good. but they're imrig these oiptz on the market quicker than ever before, more powerful than ever before. they know what's going to havment so i'm challenging all of thevment i think the f.d.a. should challenge thevment we are not going to approve more opiates. we're not going to let you bring stronger opiates on the market that we know about ruining people's lives. if they would challenge these companies to come up with new research and development, scientifically, they can give us the relief that's fleeded for people that have chronic pain without making them addictive and losing their lives. we should be able to do that in this great country.
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i'm going to read you a story from kentucky. my next-door neighbor in the majority leader's home, but my next door neighbor from kentucky. my name is emily walton. i lost my 231-year-oldston a drug overdose in 2012. my son t.j. came from a good family, was a member of the kentucky national guard and the most respectful young man you could ever meet. t.j. made an initial poor decision and led to an addiction to the drug opana. he had unlimited access to this drug during that time. t.j. did not want to die from this. he tried very hard to overcome his addiction and i tried very hard to save his lifer. i started researching the drug about five years ago and would like to share with you what i have learned that illustrates the need for changes to our f.d.a. policies. and approval processes for all
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opiate drugs. the drug opana contanks the opiate oxymorphone, removed from the market in 1979 due to the overdose deaths and addiction this drug was causing across the country. in 2002, the f.d.a. started holding impact meetings every year allowing pharmaceutical companies to pay money to be included in discussions and changes to clinical trials by design. we called that pay-to-placement the impact that they're able to go in these type of settings and get absolute front-row seats with the people that they're trying to persuade to take another look at these drugs that might have been taken off the market deemed too dangerous and this is allowed to go on. it's been going on for far too long and the f.d.a. is part of it. this is part of the change that needs to be made and made immediately. endo pharmaceuticals, the
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manufacturer of opana attended each one of these pay to play meetings. in 2003, endo pharmaceuticals brought the drug opana to the f.d.a. for approval and was denied due to the overdoses that occurred during the clinical trials. in 2006, endo pharmaceuticals again brought opana to the f.d.a. for approval this time using a clinical trial that applied a modified process called enriched enrollment. enriched enrollment, which removed patients with preexisting opiate sensitivities from the trial. the enriched enrollment process excuse results and seriously underestimates risks associated with the proposed drug involved in the clinical trial. in addition, the f.d.a. ignored their own review guidance by bypassing their advisory committee and approved opana for
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moderate to severe pain. at the time that opana was approved, our country was already experiencing an explosion of overdose deaths. in addition -- an addiction from the overprescribing and misrepresentation of the safety of opiates. in addition to causing thousands of deaths and addiction, the approved use of opana has now been directly i am polyindicaten h.i.v. cases in the state of indiana. the f.d.a. continued to use enriched enrollment as an overrider, bypass their advisory committee for opiate approval and for new opiates approving to death and addiction. these changes must stop. the year after i my son died i
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traveled to washington, d.c. for the first time in my life and was very fortunate to meet with then senate majority leader, now senate majority leader senator mcconnell. the next year i had nine meetings which included meetings with acting bottecelli, d.e.a. administrator michael lenhart and seven meetings with senior staff. in the years since i had 13 meetings scheduled. i am not going away. the mistakes that were made need to be corrected. how many people have to die? how many more people have to become addicted? the f.d.a. is sending the wrong message to physicians by continuing to approve opiates during the worst drug epidemic our country has ever faced. the f.d.a. has suspended -- the presiding officer: the
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senator's time has expired. mr. manchin: i ask unanimous consent to continue. over 200,000 people have died and the f.d.a. has failed to put appropriate restrictions on these dangerous drugs to prevent overdose deaths. i want to know why there is one death from something such as e. coli and every head of lettuce that's pulled from the shelves in ten different states, but opiates have killed thousands of people and they are considered safe and effective. how can that be? when is the f.d.a. going to put human life before the paychecks of big pharma? what would it take? a million deaths? we need an f.d.a. commissioner that will protect the citizens of this country, that is willing to take the overall best interest of public safety and -- into consideration and not allow the pharmaceutical companies to have him in their back pockets. my son t.j. had a life long dream of joining the military and fighting for his country.
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he would have given his life to protect and to serve, and he was one of the most patriotic young men and his country has failed him. please do the right thing. please do not let one more mother get a knock on her door saying that her child is gone, and they will never ever come home again. there is no greater pain than burying your child. my son, my precious child, with the most beautiful blue eyes, caring and loving heart in part by the greed of big pharma and most importantly the carelessness of the f.d.a. it is time for a change. another story from kentucky, this is in northern kentucky, and this is kimberly's story. my name is kimberly wright and i'm a northern kentucky advocate who works in the trenches to save the lives of people in my community. n.k.y. was hit by a pill epidemic around 2000. that pill epidemic has now
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turned into a heroin epidemic. since 2013 the death toll continues to climb. in 2015 we have had 1,168 overdose reverses. we still await the number of deaths. our entire system is on the verge of collapse. our courts, police, children's services and jails, our jails have 99% heroin and pill cases. housed in the jails, our treatment system is seriously strained and not one new bed added in the last ten years since this epidemic started. we are in a war in north kentucky. every day we wait to see how many die that day. we have people getting in their cars driving high on pills and heroin wrecking into innocent people and killing them. this is the united states of america and this is a shame. we allow the f.d.a. and big
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pharma to profit off the deaths of an generation of young people. we are in effect losing two jumbo jets full of kids every day in america due to pills and heroin. we need help. we are begging for help to stop this madness. our american families are losing our children in an alarming rate. to overprescribing doctors and big pharma. we beg you please help us stop this. i lost my sister alica cook october 26, 2010, to an overdose. alicia was a nurse with two young daughters. this epidemic has no boundary and it's in every community in the country. northern kentucky has the highest rates of hepc, surpassing the national level due to heroin and pills being injected. we have a high rate of homeless children due to their parents being dead or drug addicted with no end in sight. we have 52% of grandparents raising their grandchildren due to the death and addiction.
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this is a nightmare for parents when our children were born we could have never imagined this would be our life. you don't sleep at night from the anxiety of wondering if you're the next parent to get that call that your child overdosed. it's like being in a constant panic attack. it is not normal to grieve the child who is alive for they are truly lost. i watched parents who have lost their child. i can't imagine their pain and grief. i grieve for my addicted 26-year-old daughter who is in the fight for her life in her addiction. i watch her destroying herself every day. i don't want to join the mothers who have lost their child to this epidemic. i know i suffer now, and i just can't go there. i will continue to fight for my community. will you please join me? that's arlene's story. indiana, here's one that's been hit so hard also. this is denelle's story from
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southern indiana. my name is denelle mcallen. about two and a half years ago a customer by the name of josh harvey left me his number. at the time he told me he was living in chicago for school. little did i know he was in rehab there. granted i didn't know about his addiction for over a year because we hadn't stayed in constant contact. over a year or so ago i found out about his heroin addiction. he still told me little about it. i do know it started out with prescription pills and later went to heroin when the pill became harder to get. he served a month in jail in michigan for the entire month of this past july over a heroin-related charge. he came home immediately after an overdose that same weekend. luckily his dad saved him that time. now he got enrolled in college and was going to an outpatient program doing better, or so we all thought.
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school let out for break, and i guess it all went downhill. he came to me on november 4, telling me he had used a couple of times and wanted my advice. i suggested an inpatient program. he went to wellstone after he left my house, sat for several hours and finally was given a room. i went and checked on him two different times while he waited to make sure he was there. thursday i didn't receive any calls. friday nothing either. then saturday morning the 7th of november, his mother called me to break my heart. he had passed away that friday the 6th over in louisville and didn't know who to contact until that saturday morning i guess. he had checked himself out of wellstone, broke into his house, took his xbox where he later either pawned or traded it for heroin. never in a million years did i think i'd become close to anybody addicted to heroin. it doesn't discriminate. it can get ahold of anybody and
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everybody. never in my life have i been so depressed or heart broken. all i want is his story shared. he was my happy ending gone way too soon. they continue. they continue on, the stories, the heartaches, the breaks, the lives destroyed, lives changed. the future of lives that are saved. massachusetts, as you know, senator markey has been working with me very closely and all of us on this horrible, horrible epidemic that we have. this is sarah's story. she's from amherst, massachusetts. my nuclear family is middle class or the working poor, but it is blended in that i was raised by my mother and step dad. but my bio's father side of the family would be considered well off. heroin first came to my radar after my brother donnie became addicted to pain pills after
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surgery and heroin followed suit after that. then it seemed like it was everywhere around me. my nephew, my niece. we lost my cousin corey who passed in a sober house from his addiction to alcohol alone with a needle and empty bag next to him. corey is an example of a young man institutionalized and when he would try to lift himself up, in he would go again. he was trying to get clean for his girlfriend's unborn child when he passed away, and he was happy thinking he was getting better. living with someone close who struggles, then multiply that by two and adolescence young adulthood mixed in, and you have my descent as an empa thataunt powerfulless to -- as an aunt powerless to change.
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my cousin came from privilege, the nicest person i knew in my life. he leaves behind three loving sons. they both couldn't access the help they needed at various stages, including recovery, and died alone. it is my mission to stand up for them and the young people like my niece who began her struggle at 14 and now approaching 18 has some clean time. there are no support programs in my community for this age group, and especially for nonwhite young people like my niece and nephew. they are both of latino descent. please do something. people are begging us everywhere in this country to help them and basically it starts with treating this as an illness and not as a crime. and it starts also with having clinics, having basically places we can serve them, help them get clean. they cannot do it by themselves and they're the first to tell you. the stories i'm reading here
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exemplify that so well. i have a florida story here. florida has also been ravaged. florida was one of the places that we had in west virginia was the problem with pill mills. people would take a cheap flight to florida, buy all the pills they could and come back. florida has been very helpful in the last years trying to stop that pill mill epidemic. this is janet from fort lauderdale. dear senator manchin i appreciate you trying to stop dr. califf from becoming the f.d.a. commissioner. stop the organized pill pushers. now due to all the drug addicted babies i was caring for as a neonatal intensive care nurse at a children's hospital in broward county, florida, we started holding protests in front of the 150 pill mills that were in broward county alone. many parents came out to protest with us. parents from all over the
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country contacted us as well. too many parents are crying themselves to sleep over the loss of their child. at first there were no consequences for either the clinic owner or the doctor. then they started arresting the doctors for money laundering. our state attorney pam bondy has called the doctors drug dealers in white coats. the board of medicine is not protecting the public by allowing high-prescribeing doctors to keep their license. therefore the plight of the drug addicted babies and the devastation of the families continues to rise. when one clinic owner was arrested, he was earning $150,000 a day. i repeat, $150,000 a day. not one doctor in that clinic today has lost his license or his practice. we only have the judicial system helping to alleviate this in florida. doctors are now being charged with first-degree murder. it would be kinder for a doctor to lose his license than to set
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in a courtroom at their own murder trial. we have been unsuccessful in our efforts for lawmakers to mandate that prescribers use the prescription drug monitoring program in florida, yet in this environment there is a bill passing through the committees allowing nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to prescribe narcotics without a doctor signing off on the order. i would -- i would support this bill if they included a mandate. and of course the f.d.a. approving that children as young as 11 years old can be prescribed oxycontin. we definitely need an investigation. madam president, as you can see, these are problems we have all over the country. it's not just your state, not just my state. i know it's hard. i know they're saying we need someone in there so let's just go ahead and confirm.
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as i said before, dr. califf is a good man, an honorable man. he is still there, he is going to be there. he has been there for one year. and that year, madam president, that he has been there, we have basically put more drugs on the market, more opioids on the market without even going through a clinic overview. so if that change was going to come, it would have come by now. i'm sure it could have had impact, and i would hope that he would. i know he's called a lot of our colleagues and said these changes will be coming. let me tell you the changes they recommended when they did tell us they were going to make some changes. they said okay, now we're going to make sure that we start listening to our -- basically our -- our clinic, basically our staff and people who are reviewing these drugs. they're going to listen to it, but there is no mandate they have to follow. i have a piece of legislation i think that you're a co-author with me on it, i appreciate it very much.
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basically what we're saying is this -- when you have your advisory committee and every drug must be -- must go through an advisory committee's opinion and if they recommend like they did with zohydro not to come onto the market, you cannot bypass that, you cannot neglect that, push it aside. our bill basically would say this, madam president, as you know. they must -- they must bring that to basically the people's representative here in congress, and come before us and tell us why it is so important, so very important for them to bring this new high-powered drug to the market. as if we don't have enough. 5% of the population of the world lives in the united states of america. 5% of the population of the world. that's it. we consume 80% of these addictive opiate -- opioid drugs. something is wrong. something must change. so, madam president, i thank you for allowing me to be able to read the letters that people
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have been affected all over this great country, my state and yours and all of our states. i know that we are all filled with pain and we're all trying to make the changes and make sure these agencies do the thing they should do. thank you, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: madam president, first of all, i want to take a moment to honor the life and service of supreme court justice antonin scalia. justice scalia was a dedicated public servant who gave so many years to our courts and our country. he and i didn't agree on every issue, but his intellect and passion and commitment were unquestionable. i know he will be missed and the thoughts and players of washington state families go out to his family. madam president, people across the country are now looking at what is happening here in congress, and they are frustrated. they look at the many challenges that we face as a nation, and
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they want democrats and republicans to work together to tackle them, to make sure our government is functioning and that it is working for all of our families, not just the wealthiest few. madam president, i share that frustration. we have been able to get things done when democrats and republicans work together to break through the gridlock, but that shouldn't end just because it's an election year, and it certainly should not end when it comes to one of our most important roles here in the senate -- working with the president to evaluate and confirm judges for the highest court in our land. madam president, the supreme court plays such an important role in protecting the rights and liberties and responsibilities of all americans. over the years, the court has made decisions that have moved our country in the right direction and made decisions that set us back. when the court can do its work,
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it offers certainty to people across the country when it comes to their rights as workers or as patients or as consumers or as women or as citizens. and at its best, it helps our judicial system rise above politics, above partisanship and above the spats and sniping of the moment. but in order to do that, the court must have a full bench. it can't have vacancies leading to potential deadlocks at every turn. so, madam president, that's why i was so disappointed that hours after justice scalia passed away, republican leaders jumped out of the gate to say they would not allow the vacancy to be filled while president obama was still in office. right away, before the nation had a chance to take in and mourn the loss of a supreme court justice, a man who fiercely believed in the constitution, republican leaders
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injected politics and partisanship into a process that should be about our obligations as americans. now, the constitution is very clear, so let me take a moment to read from it directly. in article 2, which clearly defines the powers of the president, section 2 states he shall nominate and by and with the advice and consent of the senate shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the supreme court and all other officers of the united states. madam president, that couldn't be more explicit. the president shall nominate and shall appoint with the advice and consent of the senate, not shall nominate in its first three years, not shall nominate unless the senate leadership wants to keep the seat open for a while. the president shall nominate. that is his responsibility. and then it is our
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responsibility in the senate to consider, advise and ultimately help make sure that the vacancy is filled with a qualified person. now, madam president, of course the senate has a right to weigh in with our advice and consent. it is our job to vet nominees sent to us by the president to make sure they are qualified for the job and determine if they meet the basic standards of honesty, ethics, qualifications and fairness. i know i personally will always want to evaluate if they will be independent and evenhanded in deciding cases and if they will uphold our rights and our liberties, including the critical right to privacy. but, madam president, republican leaders are not objecting to a person. they are objecting to this president being allowed to do his job. that is an advice -- that isn't advice and consent. that is to politicize and obstruct. republicans say there is a precedent to stalling supreme
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court nominations in the last year of a president's term. that's just not true. president reagan had justice kennedy confirmed with unanimous vote here in a democratic senate in his last year of office, and since 1975, the average number of days from nomination to final senate vote is about 70 days. so this kind of pure obstruction and partisanship is absolutely wrong. people across the country will not stand for it, and i hope that our republican leaders back down and do the right thing. because evaluating and confirming supreme court justice is one of the most important roles we have in the united states senate. in fact, it is this issue that actually pushed me here into -- to run for the senate in the first place. it was back in 1991. i was just a state senator, a former school board member, a mom. and like so many people at that time, i watched the clarence thomas confirmation hearings, and for days i watched in
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frustration. i could not believe that that nominee wasn't pushed on the issues that i and so many others thought were so important to the future of our country. i didn't feel like the members on that committee at the time represented the full spectrum of perspectives, and i decided then and there to run for the united states senate to give washington state families a voice. now, as a united states senator, i get to have my questions answered. i get to make sure that my constituents have a seat at the table. and i get to push nominees now for the highest court in the land on the issues that i care about most. but, madam president, i can't do that if republicans play election year politics and don't even allow us to have that debate. the american people won't have a voice. the court will be dysfunctional for a year longer, and republicans will have politicized a process that should be above this sort of petty partisanship.
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madam president, many republicans might not like to hear this, but barack obama is still president barack obama for almost a full year more, so i'm hopeful that they step back from this very dangerous and very partisan path and work with us to consider and confirm a nominee in a reasonable time frame. families across our country deserve to have a functioning supreme court and a congress that works well enough to allow that to happen. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. whitehouse: i ask unanimous consent that the pending quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you. i'm here now for the 128th time to urge that we wake up to the ugly changes that carbon pollution is wreaking on our climate. it is happening all around us, and it's happening right now. not in some far-off future. as humans we are terrestrial beings. we live on the land. we pay more attention to the experiences where we live, things like changes in extreme
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weather when it hits the land. we don't so much pay attention to what is happening in our warming and acidifying oceans. the oceans are a big deal in climate change. for decades the oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gas emissions. all the different places the excess heat goes, 93% into the oceans. what we see in the atmosphere, the temperature changes we've already measured, the changes we're seeing in our habitat and what's happening in the western forest, all of that is less than the remaining 7%. a study published in the journal nature climate change found that the oceans have absorbed as much energy just since 1997 as they had in the preceding 130 years. as much in 20 years -- less than 20 years as they had in the
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preceding 130 years. according to an associated press write-up of the study's findings, and i'll quote it "since 1997, earth's oceans have absorbed manmade heat energy equivalent to a hiroshima-style bomb being exploded every second for 75 straight years." that's the energy load of heat that has gone into our oceans. a hiroshima-style bomb exploded every second for 75 straight years. what does all that excess energy going into our oceans mean? well, it means that sea levels are rising, in part due to melting glaciers but also because of expanding ocean water. it's basic physics, the principal of thermal expansion, when the ocean warms, it
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expands. it can't go down so it comes up along our shores. we have measured sea level rise in rhode island since 1930. since then, the water level is up nearly ten inches at the tide gauge at naval station newport, and rates of sea level rise are on the increase worldwide. since 1993, global sea level has risen at a rate of approximately double the rate that was observed through the 20th century. it's accelerating. current forecasts confirm that if we do nothing to curb greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades, the oceans could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100. that's the baseline model. our state coastal management agency predicts that we could see as much as seven feet of sea level rise in the ocean state, in rhode island by the end of the century. so i hope my colleagues understand that when i come to do this, i am deadly serious
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about things that are predicted to happen in my state. this week the proceedings of the national academy of sciences reported global sea levels are rising at their fastest rate in nearly 3,000 years. that study also estimates about half of the 20th century sea level rise would not have occurred without global warming. the lead author, dr. robert copp, an earth scientist at rutgers university, explained i "the new york times," and i quote him -- "physics tells us that sea level change and temperature change should go hand in hand. this new geological record confirms it." this level rise matters. to my constituents and to all coastal communities. a related study led by dr. robert strauss found that approximately 3/4 of the tidal flood days now occurring in towns along the east coast are a
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result of the rise in sea level caused by human emissions. for example, if you look at tide gauge data, 32 flood days were recorded in the decade from 1955-1964 at annapolis, maryland. and 34 flood days were recorded in that same period for charleston, south carolina. one decade, 32 flood days in annapolis, 34 flood days in charleston. scroll forward to the decade 2005-2014. the number of flood days in annapolis jumps to 394 from 32 to 394 in one decade, and 219 flood days were recorded in charleston. sea level rise brings coastal erosion and it brings saltwater inundation of coastal marshes and habitats. it amplifies the effects of
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storm surge and flooding as storms ride ashore on higher seas. it changes flood zones. it affects flood insurance for homeowners. these are real problems and they are serious problems, and as dre new york times" article this week, it's not the tide, it's not the wind, it's us. mr. president, the main culprit is carbon dioxide. building up in the atmosphere, which again in 2015 reached new record levels. to put a little context on this, for as long as human beings have inhabited planet earth, we have existed safely in a range between 170-300 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. unfortunately, we broke beyond 300 parts per million early last century, and we haven't looked back. we have now exceed exceeded 400s per million.
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among its harms of excess carbon dioxide has a particularly damaging chemical effect on our oceans. oceans in addition to be a soccer 90% of the heat i pointed out are absorbing about 30% of the carbon dioxide. it goes right into the oceans. roughly 600 gigatons since preindustrial times. all that carbon is absorbed into the oceans, and when it goes, it changes the ocean's chemistry. it makes the oceans more acidic. the chemical reaction is simple, but the effects out in the ocean are serious. this chart shows ocean p.h. or acidity over the pass 25 million years. and we can see some variation across those millions and millions of years. this is what's projected for the
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next 100 years. p.h. drops equals acidity rises. according to a research article published in the journal "nature geoscience," the rate of change in ocean acidity is already faster than any time recorded in the past 50 million years. scientists go back and they can see this in the geologic record. we have broken every record for 50 million years. millions and millions of years before human beings were ever on the planet. this all may sound esoteric, with you it has -- but it has real hometown consequences for rhode island, where coastal life defines our heritage, our culture and our economy. fishing is big business in my state. rhode island's annual farmed oyster production, for instance, is valued over $5 million, but carbon pollution is changing the very chemistry in which those oysters must survive. research on the effects of ocean
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acidification on shellfish and other marine life can barely keep up with a rapidly acidifying ocean. another reason we need more money for research. change is coming at us faster. we have to speed up the pace of research to understand it. but what we do know is that shellfish, like mussels and clams and oysters make their shells from calcium carbonate, and calcium carbonate dissolves in acidified seawater. here is how bob roe, executive director of the east coast shellfish growers association put it. i'll quote him -- "the only thing we know for sure is that the larvae in that first 48-hour period before they start feeding are tremendously susceptible to dissolution, dissolving. their energy budget goes negative because they haven't started to feed yet, and if they haven't got enough energy in that egg and they are starting
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to dissolve, then it takes extra energy to lay down shell, and they sometimes don't make it. here we see normal, healthy oyster larvae in those first few crucial days of development compared to larvae grown in more acidic ocean water. noaa's scientists have projected that the world's oceans and coastal estuaries will become 150% more acidic by 2100. this could mean disaster for shellfish, a billion-dollar industry around the country. u.s. shellfish production is currently expected to see a 10% to 25% reduction in the next five decades, according to the woods hole oceanographic institute. again, pardon me for being serious about this, but it's correctly predicted that a major industry in my state is going to be knocked down 10% to 25%
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because we are making our oceans acidic with carbon pollution. a study published last year found that rhode island's shellfish populations are especially vulnerable. mark gibson is the deputy chief of marine fisheries at the rhode island department of environmental management and he calls ocean acidification a significant threat to local fisheries. i don't know how many senators are expected to forget or ignore a significant threat to an industry in their home state because it's inconvenient for lobbyists and for the fossil fuel industry, but i don't think that's a fair thing to ask of me. acidification is not the only problem for fishermen. in a 2015 survey from the center for american progress, 40% of fishermen in the northeast reported catching new fish species that they don't usually see in the waters they fish. rhode islanders are starting to
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catch tarpon and grouper. usually those are tropical fish. our valuable winter flounder fishery virtually gone. and our lobstermen have to go further and further out to sea to find cooler waters where they can catch their fish, catch their lobsters. among fishermen surveyed, 80% of those who noticed warmer water temperatures attribute it to climate change. this is new, mr. president. when i first got to the senate, if i went down to galilee, rhode island's largest fishing port, and tried to talk to the fishermen there about climate change or ocean acidification, i was lucky if they didn't throw me off the pier. they didn't want to hear about it. but then it started to hit home. now fishermen come to me and say shelled on, it is getting weird out there. sheldon, it is not my grandfather's ocean any longer.
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these are men who fished with their grandfathers, who fished with their fathers, who now have their own boats. they know these waters. and when they say the ocean has changed and it's getting weird out there, we should listen. they're on the water every day, and they see these changes happen before their very eyes. i hope that my republican colleagues are like those fishermen. i'm sure some of them probably want to throw me off a pier for all these talks, but mostly they probably just don't want to hear about climate change. but what i'm hoping is that soon they will hear it from the fishermen in their own states or their farmers or their foresters, and they'll hear it from their state health officials and they'll hear it from their state emergency officials and they'll hear it from their own state universities and they'll listen. and when they do, they will realize that the fossil fuel industry has been dupe police us
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it with them, have been -- duplicitous with them, have been leading them away from their own state's best interests. they will learn that the fossil fuel industry lobbyists are false friends as well as greedy ones. we have a clear scientific understanding of the problem, yet relentless fossil fuel opposition prevents us from moving toward a solution. it's a disgrace, frankly. it's time to pay attention to reality, to the evidence, to what our farmers and foresters and, yes, our fishermen are telling us. it's time to shut off the toxic polluter-paid politics that cloud this issue and give washington a dirty name. it's time indeed, mr. president, to wake up. and with that, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk
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will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: ..
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: mr. president, i rise to recognize ali lockman. ali lockman is the pride of brockton, montana. in fact, ali grew up on her family's wheat farm ten miles north of brockton in eastern montana. ali's also the pride of freud high school, a class-c high school in montana. she was the valedictorian of a graduating class size of six. ali graduated from high school from freud and went on to harvard and graduated in 2010. but ali lockman also served as my communications director for the past three years. she came back to washington when i was elected to the house and served on my team there. she worked on my campaign staff as well. we ran for the united states senate. and thanks to ali's tireless
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work and her strong work ethic, we were able to win that race, and she came over to the senate side and served as my communications director there for the past year plus. she played an absolute invaluable role in my office. she is a l brilliant creative thinker who has a talent that is unparalleled. i'll never forget our road trips across montana where she would join me and we spent countless hours, sometimes in a really small, little compact car and i'm used to driving my big foreign pickup, we would rent this car and drive literally thousands of miles across montana, in all the small towns. and there was nobody who is a greater advocate for rural montana issues than somebody who lived it and breathed it her entire life than ali lockman. in fact, one of the best nights of the month was our monthly
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teletown halls where tens of thousands of montanaans would know ali's voice because she always would introduce me and always took pride in announcing you just heard from ali lockton from brockman, montana. i could always count on her to provide wisdom and insight, particularly when it came to my prolific social media feeds, when ali sometimes would place guardrails around what i probably should or should not be saying. so we're going to miss ali lockman. ali has gone on to pursue a great new opportunity which i'm very excited about for her, and i wish her the very best. and i want to thank ali lockman for her service to the people of montana, to this nation, to this institution. you're going to be missed, ali, and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. thank you, mr. president.
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mr. daines: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: i ask unanimous consent that the senate be in a
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period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: i ask unanimous consent that the junior senator from montana be authorized to sign duly enrolled bills or joint resolutions on tuesday, february 23. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 9:30 a.m., wednesday, february 24, following the prayer and pledge the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings approved to date and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. following leader remarks and not withstanding the provisions of rule 22 the senate resume consideration of the califf nomination postcloture. at 11:00 a.m. the senate vote on confirmation of the califf confirmation. if confirmed the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, the preses president be notified of the senate's action and upon disposition, the the senate resume legislative with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection.
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mr. daines: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that the senate adjourn under the senate adjourn under the
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>> the issue and most concerned about this election is national security. i'm looking for a leader that understands national security completely to make sure that our borders are protected. need to have commonsense methods to achieve this. we don't need to exclude anybody or hurt anybody but we do need to establish guidelines to make it happen in an appropriate fashion. >> i name is rick dixon and today is an event for marco rubio cruz and jeb bush. this event is obviously the economy with. we are $20 trillion in debt and we intend to spend out of control on the second important issue is immigration. we can't afford to have anybody coming and jeopardizing our national security. thank you.
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>> with that in every bond. as we awfully well know the most
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significant occurrence during the previous recess is the death of justice scalia. many of us have our own interaction with justice scalia over the years. i was young staffer in the justice department in the ford administration and i get to go to staff meetings where it would to my mouth shut as i was in the presence of robert bork who was the solicitor general. lawrence silverman who was the deputy attorney general and nino scalia who was head of the office of legal counsel through the most brilliant conservative lawyers of our time and silverman of course ended up being on the d.c. circuit and scalia on the supreme court and bork was nominated for the supreme court. i came to the senate number of years later is on the judiciary committee when scalia was nominated and like a lot of
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conservatives watched them over the years with great admiration. so clearly this was an extraordinary individual and a great loss for the country. the question immediately becomes what is the way forward and as you all know i hi heather the yuan express it early on that the next president should make this nomination. that certainly is supported by the president. you'd have to go back to 1888 when grover cleveland was in the white house to find the last time the senate of a different party from the president confirmed a nominee for the supreme court and in an election year. in 1988 justice canady and early 80s was confirmed and that was a bait -- vacancy created six months for that which bork was subsequently defeated. the vacancy had existed for quite some time prior to the
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presidential election. so the question is who should make the decision? in my view and am now confident it's the view shared by virtually everyone in my conferences that the nomination should be made by the people elect and the election that's underway right now. in fact we have had three of them already in iowa, new hampshire and south carolina and one going on stay in nevada. the election is well underway, so i believe the overwhelming view of the republican conference of the senate in the senate is that this nomination should not he filled, this vacancy should not be filled by this lame-duck president. that was the view of joe biden when he was chairman of the judiciary committee in 1992. chuck schumer who i assume will be my counterpart next year had the view that you shouldn't fill a vacancy in the last 18 months
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going into a presidential election year and certainly that was senator reed's view as well in a different era. so i think that's where this will end up. i expect the president will make the nomination to senator cornyn is on the judiciary committee and i would like for him to take over now and address another aspect of all of this. >> the majority leader was reminiscing about his experience with justice scalia. i met him when he administered the oath of office to me in 1991 on the texas supreme court. many of us have our own personal memories of those giant in the law than somebody who really has transformed the supreme court in its jurisprudence and i think set a high standard for those who follow. today the members of the senate judiciary committee on the republican side unanimously have agreed, we wrote a letter to senator mcconnell saying we
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are of the view that there should not be a hearing in the judiciary committee for anyone that the president nominates. the reason for that is because it's not about the personality. it's about the principle. the principle being that it's up to the american people this next election no matter who they choose to make the nomination for this important seat on the supreme court. justice scalia served for 30 years of his clearly extends far beyond president obama's term of office. it's that important and that senator mcconnell said we have some presidents. actually we have the biden rule, we have the read dictum and the schumer president. all in which they essentially pour up the rulebook so there is in any rulebook anymore other than the way they have rewritten the rules of this is the right thing for us to do and this is going to be our path forward. >> just last november the
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president signed into law legislation that forbids the closing of quantum obey and transporting of detainees there anywhere in the united states. that was something that was sent to him by both republicans and democrats and what he is now propose to do is in direct contradiction with the will of the american people and it's the will of the american people and their voices that need to be heard and that's the point that we are making with a supreme court vacancy as well. the lame-duck president should not be making a lifetime appointment to the supreme court the american people deserve to have their voices heard in this process and they will have that opportunity in the election this year which the leader pointed out is already well underway. the next president of the united states be they democrat or a republican should be making that nomination and we believe that is the way through this process
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should proceed and as we pointed out earlier that is the view of the republican senate and we think it's the view of the american people. >> now want to first thank senator mcconnell for his leadership on the whole issue of justice scalia and the decision to be made by the american people, the voters in november not by a lame-duck president to make a lifetime appointment. i also want to mention this hearing this morning in the foreign relations committee for secretary of state terry. it was specifically related to syria. when secretary kerry came for these confirmation hearings three years ago about 60,000 syrians had been murdered. here we are three years later and at the time he said the situation is getting worse. here we are three years later and that number is now 470,000 killed. so in those three years that's
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an average of over 300 syrians killed every day since secretary kerry has taken over as secretary of the state. the strategy of this administration is not working. what we are seeing now is russia is actively involved in the ground -- on the ground in syria. they say they are there to fight terrorists. we know who they are after and even though they recently announced a cease-fire after announcing the cease-fire they completely and viciously destroyed two hospitals in the all up to sending a message to those on the ground that it's time to get out, civilians are terrorized and terrified. people do want to stay as part of the resistance they see the price to pay is very high. the white house as well as the russians have announced a new cease-fire but not to take effect for a couple of weeks. i will tell you once again that is a charade. it is a smokescreen. it's time for a new strategy for
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secretary of state today admitted in committee that there are no consequences to be paid by russia when they violate the cease-fire again. spin it thank you. the recent i am part of this stake out from time to time is that i'm the elected representative of my colleagues in the senate re-election campaign this year and in that respect a number of you have asked me in the last day or two what effect the supreme court nomination might have on our chances in november. let me just say that we are very comfortable letting the american people speak on this issue. the american people will choose a president in november and they will get a choice between a president that is likely to appoint someone in the tradition of justice scalia or a president who is more likely to appoint the type of nominees that we
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have seen from president obama. elections have consequences and the election this november will have consequences as to the type of senate we have and as to our being disposed to confirm nominees in the vein of justice scalia or the american people if they so choose could choose the senate that would be delighted to have overly liberal and expansionist justices. i think that we really should become matter-of-fact about this we know from the statements made by our friends on the other side of the aisle that if they were in the position that we hold today, the result would be exactly the same. the vice president said as much in 1992. a future democratic leader said
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as much in 2007 and clearly that would have been the attitude of senator reed also so i believe we have got work to do. i think that it will be disposed of as the vice president would have disposed of that nominee had he been in the leadership, had senator schumer been in the leadership and we need to get on with legislative matters that we have to attend to this year. >> could you talk about how far you're willing to go? the first step is a courtesy call. we you actually meet the nominees? >> i don't know how many times had to keep saying that suit the judiciary committee has recommended to me that there be no hearing. i have said repeatedly and i'm now confident they might conference agrees that this decision ought to be made by the next president whoever is
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elected. i don't know the purpose of such a visit. i would not be inclined to make one myself. [inaudible] >> i don't see the point of going through the motions. we know what the outcome is going to be. i don't see the point in going through the motions and creating a misleading impression if something else is going on. [inaudible] my question is do you feel you could take a simple gamble? >> i have many faults but getting out messages is not one of them. this nomination will be determined by whoever wins the presidency in the fall. i agree with the judiciary committee's recommendation that
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we not have hearings. in short there will not be action taken. [inaudible] i know they said it doesn't matter what they said that i think senator wicker summed it up rather well. we know what would happen if the shoe was on the other foot. we know what would happen. a nominee of a republican president would not be confirmed by a democratic senate when the vacancy was created in a presidential election year. that's a fact and some of their statements in the past are very inconvenient now and i'm sure they would like to suggest that they didn't really mean it. but let me try one more time. the judiciary committee has unanimously recommended there be no hearing and i agree with that
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and number two this nomination will be filled by the next nomination of the president. >> what is the harm in the senate voting on this? >> i'm just going to say the same thing again. [inaudible] >> whoever that president is would get an up-or-down vote on that nominee? >> what i'm saying is whoever the nominee is that comes up next year will be considered by the senate. the procedure in the process would be, i don't know but it's the beginning of a four-year term. the suggestion of the senate of either party wouldn't consider the nominee at all would not be correct. we are talking here and election already underway, vacancy
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created in a presidential election year. next year is not a presidential election year. this is a unique circumstance and you'd have to go back to 1888 when grover cleveland was president to find the last time a vacancy created in a president elected here was approved by the senate of a different party. i think you all understand where we are. >> he started campaigning in iowa last year. >> we are in the election year. it will occur this november. be it vacancy occurs this election year. that's what we are talking about. thanks everybody. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> before the president has even named a nominee the supreme court, republicans are doing what everyone thought was impossible. is it real? the former chair of the judiciary judiciary committee the senior senator from utah said today we are not going to
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hold hearings. it wouldn't matter because we are not going to approve whoever does my father was just the senator talking but now we have learned that senator mcconnell is even up for that one. he has got every republican member of the judiciary committee to say they won't even hold a hearing. hard to comprehend but it appears that senator grassley is going to follow through on this plan. it will go down in history as the most obstructionist judiciary chair in the history of our country. now that says a lot because we knew about the judiciary committee chairs during the civil rights era. i can't imagine senator grassley who i've served with in congress for more than three decades, this is the legacy that he wants is this the choice is making by
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following senator mcconnell down this path of trump and cruz republican leader wants believe the senate should do its job and supreme court nominations. he got four pages of quotes that he is made. the supreme court is not a time for being obstructive. it's time to have hearings and move forward. four pages. if anybody wants some we will be happy to give them to you. before ted cruz and donald trump took over the republican party, and now the judiciary committee itself the committee chair senator grassley said quote i have been -- and the senate needs to conduct a comprehensive review of supreme court nominations. it's important that the nominee be given a fair respectful and a
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deliberative process." and now here is the chair this committee is very important committee saying we are not even going to hold it and i heard him a few minutes ago chairman connell said he may not even meet with a nominee. so instead of the judiciary committee doing the judiciary committee's job cutting a fair delivered process they are ruling it out even before the nominees named. they are threatening to abandon the senate's responsibilities. that's what donald trump and ted cruz wants and remember trump said delay, delay, delay the supreme court nominee so they are doing that in a way that i'm sure trump could imagine. they have taken that to a new height. it's wrong and the american
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people i believe won't stand for this. the senate needs to do its job. as the republican leader once said, quote it's time for to move away around the advise and does -- obstructing effective eyes and instruct. the republicans makes take their duties seriously and reject the extreme approach of trump and cruz. the senate the world's greatest delivered his body. they are not going to deliberate at all the most important responsibility they have. all who want them to do was to do their job. do their job. senator durbin with your new voice. >> i've been listening carefully to senator mcconnell. i'm trying to find some basis for agreement.
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turns out the principle that he has stated is something i'm interested in. here's what he said that if you're going to fill the vacancy on the supreme court let the american people decide who will fill it so i checked, they did. in 20 south america people decided via margin of 5 million votes that barack obama would be present at that states not just for three years or three years and three months but for four years so i've senator mcconnell is looking for some indication from the body politic of america they voted in a voted decisively on behalf of president obama. what is at stake here gets to the heart of what we swear to uphold and defend in this constitution. this constitution is very explicit. article ii, section 2. the president shall appoint a nominee to fill the vacancy, shall appoint and the senate shall approve that nominee. both of those are directions are they give their responsibility to the president to appoint a
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nominee to name a nominee and give the responsibility to the senate to advise and consent. what do you hear from republicans today, people who get before us and argued for supreme court nominees? we are strict obstructionist. we are going to stick by every of words to what happened today in this press conference? in this press conference senator mcconnell and republican leaders said pointblank they're not going to exercise their constitutional responsibilities. this is never happened before, never. it has not happened in the history and now senator mcconnell is going to have to wear -- he decided his republicans will not do their job or their message to them is very very clear, three words. do your job. call this nominee wants the president present this nominee. review their background, have a hearing, asked questions and then rang the nominee for a vote the constitution requires an ever senator mcconnell and the senate republicans to walk away
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from us to buy into the trump strategy of delay delay delay is a further indication of the destruction we have faced in this chamber since the republicans have been in control. this is the worst example. >> well right there in the grips of a new level of obstruction by a senate republicans. it's a sad day when the world's greatest delivered a body won't even deliberate. our message today to our republican colleagues is simple, do your job. the republicans running for president and here in the senate perfecto love and admiration for the constitution to anyone who will listen but it's clear republicans only love the constitution when it's convenient for them and fits their political goals. the constitution is outline, the constitution very clearly lays out the job the senate has to do when it comes to filling a
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supreme court vacancy. republicans have a right to vote no on whomever the president nominates but to not even give the nominee a hearing and fair consideration is beyond the pale and it won't stand. the republicans on the senate judiciary committee said this afternoon that they are quote consensus view unquote as did deny the nominee hearings pray that maybe their consensus view or the consensus between the far right and the far far right but that is certainly not the consensus view of the american people who want the senate to act. both sides over the last week have been tossing old quotes about judges in the supreme court back and forth. this republicans said that 15 years ago. that democrat said this 20 years ago but here's the point, none of not one of those quotes have
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made an actual vacancy or an actual nominee. not one of the quotes changes the fact that we have a vacancy on the court battle right in front of us that must be filled. we have a job to do. the senate must do its job. now this hearkens back to 2013, same scenario. the hard right led by ted cruz said shut down the government and let it repeal. the republicans later should -- but they had to go along because the hard right had such power. the same thing is happening today. senator mcconnell who is tried for years to build this idea that the senate is working and republicans are not obstructionist, noses at the thing to do but he can't resist the clarion call of the hard right and like in 2013, they will have to back off their position with their tail between their legs. today's effort by senator mcconnell began every member
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of the judiciary committee signed a letter saying they want to hearings is an effort to make this issue go away. it won't. the american people won't let it we won't let it's because we know that the american people sent us here to do a job plain and simple. it's time for senate republicans to do their job. >> will you know for republican leaders this is a pretty simple choice, stand with the constitution and the vast majority of people across the country who want a functioning supreme court or stand with donald trump, ted cruz in the tea party who want to put politics and ideology above our constitutional responsibility. just hours after justice scalia passed away republican leaders started down the wrong path. i'm hopeful that they reconsider and come back and do the right
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thing. as my colleagues here have noted the constitution could not be clearer when it comes to what should happen when there is a supreme court vacancy. the president shall nominate and shall appoint with the advice and consent of the senate not shall nominate in its first three years, not shall nominate unless the senate leadership wants to keep the seat open for a while. the president shall nominate. that is his responsibility and then it is our responsibility in the senate to consider, advise and ultimately to help make sure that vacancy is filled with a qualified person. but republican leaders don't seem to be interested in constitutional responsibility. they seem to be interested in partisan politics. they aren't objecting to a person. there are objecting to the very idea of this president,
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president obama being allowed to do his job. just today they reiterated that they won't even allow a hearing no matter how qualified a nominee is. that is not advise and consent, that is politicized and abstract. working with the president to evaluating confirm supreme court justices is one of the most important responsibilities we have here in the senate so again i hope the republican leaders get back from this dangerous partisan path we are asking them to do one thing, do your job. [inaudible] >> you said senator mcconnell would cave, those were your words. do you still believe that's the case?
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>> he has an seen the pressure that's going to build. it's going to build an all masses of political constituency in the country. >> do you plan to use the appropriations caucus? >> i'm not going to turn into abstract the caucus. we are going to do our work. we have a lot of work to do and we are going to proceed. someone asked me also they said are you going to shut down the senate? nothing is shut down. we are not doing anything anyway. [inaudible] >> i know the republicans are -- joe biden's comments but how much of that video undercut your method here today? >> remember senator schumer laid out very clearly, we have not
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held up in the nomination. this was in june. there was nobody being considered at the time so they are rushing for something that is not going to help them at all. we have time and time again -- let's go back to 1988, the last year of the reagan administration. what did we do? >> at the hearing on kennedy and was approved unanimously so this is something that is untoward. of course people make statements about a lot of things but joe biden, understand joe has made a few statements over the years about a lot of things but this is one instance because nothing was pending. he has a right to speak. it'd make any difference. there was nothing pending. >> did mcconnell make a mistake and it -- make a mistake when they said they?
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the public doesn't care about that. they care about us doing our job plain and simple. all this back-and-forth from years ago which didn't hold anything up doesn't nick a darn bit of difference to the public. >> senator reid how much of old vulnerability do you think this is to republicans? >> the republicans themselves are saying to their right-wing outlets that they would rather republicans lose the senate then allow to vote on the nominee. that says it all. let's look at it this way. doing something never done in the history of this country, never done in the history of this country is not going to help them, let's put it that way. >> is a republican does when the white house how does it change the standards of consideration for supreme court nominees? >> it's not a question of changing how we approve supreme court nominees.
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it's how we approve any nomination. what they are doing is changing the senate. they are changing it create our founding fathers were very clear. i outlined on the senate floor yesterday thinks the george washington said. madison said, that the founding fathers of this country to have a country that functions you have to have a senate that works with collegiality and fairness and that's why we have been able for all these years to have the filibuster row can with closures. that's not in the constitution. it's something we developed around here and they have even -- that. >> would you urge the white house to move on this? >> they will do it as quickly as they feel appropriate radio boston seen a binder that a president kerry. he is taking this responsibility
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himself. he wants to do the right thing. he's looking to get a nomination soon. [inaudible] >> the question is why do the republicans harden their position on this? they harden their position on this because the code driven white -- right-wing, there's a lot of money that has driven their way and this is a way that they believe is good to help them. they believe it's more important that they stop a person from going on the supreme court than having their own job as a senator. if something that the right-wing is thriving. when i talk about the trump cruz wing of the republican party and not just making that up. that's what they are doing. donald trump, when he said a couple of days ago supreme court nomination, these are his words, delay, delay, delay. last question.
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[inaudible] >> i think they do not understand how wrong they are how i'm the wrong side of the road they are the someday have the wrong direction. it's going to be very i think that for them. last question. [inaudible] >> we haven't done it before it. that's all made of. we have not done it. i felt for example the nomination of clarence thomas was bad for the country. i voted against him. he got 62 votes. anyone could have held it up but we didn't do that. you know we were delighted and especially after -- but we
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didn't filibuster anything. that is all phony. we have never done that. if we did it wouldn't be good for the country and what they are doing is not only bad for the country, it's bad for the political parties generation especially republicans because this is a clear indication they are heading in the direction, the party of lincoln is becoming the party of donald trump. >> more from today headline in the burlington free press. leahy has harsh words for gop supreme court vacancy in the story senator patrick leahy says leaving the seat open for a year would look foolish to the rest of the world. the last time a supreme court seat set up on fraser was during the civil war. here's the democrat on the senate floor.
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>> this past weekend, the nation honored justice antonin scalia.t marc serving on the supreme court for nearly three we were at home in vermont when fran w past and frankly we were stunned by the news. i do not often agree with justice scalia but he was a brilliant jurist with a deep commitment to our country, to the constitution and we enjoyed a friendship for decades.t he will be remembered as one of the most influential justices in have b while his family and all of us had a chance to mourn his passing i was shocked in the immediate wake of his death. senate republicans moved quickly to shut down the constitutionally mandated
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process to fill the vacancy left in the supreme court. within hours of his death being announced, they declared they would oppose any effort to confirm the next supreme court justice this year. now i served in this body longer than any member here and i have heard some shocking things during that time. i am surprised by the political. statements. before a nominee has even beenns named some republicans reflexively decide to prematurely reject anyone,minatd anyone nominated by the president. it's how this party has always treated nominees to the highest court in the land. senate's most
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constitutional duties. i've talked with the president and i know he will fulfill his constitutional duty. he will nominate an individual to bring the supreme court back to full strength. and of course he should. and the president has already begun consulting with members of both parties in the senate. but after a nomination i has ben made, we in the senate should get to work and do our jocks, -- and do our jobs, the jobs we are elected to do. i was all over my state of vermont last week. vermonters i spoke with last week reflect americans across the country. they are tired of partisan political games. they're chipping away at the foundation of our constitutional democracy. i heard this from both
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republicans and democrats in vermont. as oliver goodnuff wrote, "an extended supreme court because the senate was unwilling to actually do their work would -- quote -- "seniorly i--quote -- a constitutional embarrassment." i ask unanimous consent that a copy of his op-ed be included in the record. officethe presiding officer: wit objection. mr. leahy: thank you. we must not let that dysfunction infect the supreme court. the supreme court is an independent, coequal branch of government that was designed to be above politics. the next nominee to the supreme court deserves full and fair consideration by the senate.
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that includes a timely hearing and then have an up-or-down vote. now, i'm worried that even before president obama took office and ever since then, even after he was reelected by a 5348 vote plurality, there is a been an unrelenting and cynical campaign by some hyperpartisans to de-legitimize the president's authority. there are the birthers and there have been and still are spurious slurs of all kinds. outside of this body, the efforts to undermine president obama's constitutional authority to fill the supreme court vacancy draw some of their vehements and venom from these dark corners. but every one of us took an oath of office, every wurc one of usd
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we're sworn to uphold the constitution. we're swr sworn to uphold our constitutional duties. less us not be intimidated to v.a. void our sworn duty. let us act for the good of the american people and forked good of this great nation. now, some have justified their call for unprecedented obstruction by claiming that it's because the american people need a voice. give me a break. the american people have spoken. millions of americans, an overwhelming majority of vermonters, voted in record numbers in 2008 and again in 2012 to elect president obama. in doing so, they granted him constitutional authorities for all eight years of those terms. you don't elect a president for one year or two years or three
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years. you elect a president for four years at a time. and just saying that president obama is a lame duck president does not make it true. in fact, the next election is not -- at the end of this year, in november. the american people expect those they elected to do their jobs for their entire terms. that means both in the senate and in the white house. they don't expect senators to say, well, we can't vote on anybody this year because it's an election year. we'll collect our full salary, but we're not going to vote on anything. the american people don't like that. now, it's rare that a vacancy on the supreme court arises during an election year. it is just false to say that justices do not get confirmed in presidential election years. more than a dozen supreme court
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justices have been confirmed in a presidential election year. i think one of those i voted on, democrats led the senate during president reagan's final year in president reagan's final year in >> one of those i voted on, left the senate during president reagan's final year in office. president reagan's nominees confirmed by democratic led senate. he received a hearing and confirmation vote. it would be the height of hypocrisy to say we should not apply the same process for the democrat in the white house. we can't say we will fall on our constitutional duties
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with a democratic-controlled senate and republican president. now, some republicans having knowledged the next supreme court nominee should receive a fair hearing. i have served served on the judiciary committee for 36 years. during my time on the committee we have never refused to send the supreme court nominee to the full senate for confirmation vote , even in those cases where a majority of the committee opposed the nomination. we still report the nominee. every supreme court nominee has received an up or down confirmation vote during my 40 years in the senate. we have to oppose this bipartisan position. supreme court nominee, so
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much as a stake. a full committee process and the confirmation vote insufficient for supreme court nominee. it would just be a charade and important to our constitutional duties. republicans refused to uphold theconstitutional responsibility to consider the next supreme court nominee. if they succeed and deliberately holding open a seat on the supreme court for more than a year it will be intentionally disabling the court's ability to fulfill its constitutional role. republicans will be harming supreme court. justice scalia once wrote that a supreme court had just eight justices risks the possibility court will find yourself unable to resolve significant legal
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issues presented a case. the legal issues before the supreme court are significant. the importance of a single vote cannot be overstated. one vote on the supreme court decides a lot of our cases. the campaign-finance laws, clean water, air policies, marriage equality, voting rights. americans deserve a fully functioning supreme court. mr. president, i have traveled all over my state in this country talking with republicans and democrats alike. and what i know from my fellow americans that makes me so proud, they show up for work, and they do their jobs. americans don't have the luxury of john bosses.
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if they did, they would probably be fired. the united states senate, we're not going to do our jobs. the stakes are too high. the american people actually expected to show up for work and do her job. let's get some work, do the job the american people sent us here to do, maybe we may want to reread our oath to uphold the constitution. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent and greenberg. [speaking in native tongue] utilities of senate judiciary committee be granted senate floor privileges for the duration of the 100 14th congress. >> without objection.
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>> mr. president, my full statement in the op-ed piece are for two. >> without objection. >> mr. president, i will yield the floor. you know, we have allowed this whole process. i am a lawyer. former prosecutor. i have argued cases in state court, federal court, federal trial courts and federal appellate courts. federal courts, where republican or democratic, i felt i could get a fair
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hearing. i felt it was a great honor to go there. people come from other parts of the world and talk about our federal judiciary. i recall my country has been under dictatorship and change to a more democratic form and some of the people my office and asked about our judicial system and said is it true that the united states of america, people can actually sue the government? i said, it happens all the time. they said, well, is it through them sometime the government loses? i say it happens all the time. while the replace the judgment happens? no, they are independent. they realize what a difference we are. think of the image we send to the rest of the world as
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well as 300 million americans if we say, no comeau we are going to politicize the supreme court look at what it takes to say yes comeau we have time to take more recesses this year than the senate never has. though we don't have time to do the job we are elected to do, the job we are paid to do. the hearing on it and vote on it. supreme court nominee. mr. president, american people have a job,a job, they cannot pick and choose when they bother to show up. and they can't say, i knowi
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know this is what i'm supposed to do, but i don't feel like it. i have a partisan reason not to do it. i'm going to sit this out. see me next year and i may do my job. nobody would accept that. that is really what is happening. republican leadership say comeau we want to sit the south.set the south. we don't want to do our work. we don't want to do our job. just next year and maybe we will. no. that has never happened. at least a dozen supreme court vacancies and a dozen times the senate no matter who is president came together and the nominee. and got them confirmed.
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why the senators do that in the past? probably because they figured they had been elected comeau are being paid by the american people command was part of their job. they show up and do their job. now going to change what has been the pres. ever since the beginning of this country and say comeau we are better than that. we don't have to do our job. keeping us. we don't have to do our job. uphold the constitution. justice scalia has said that would be wrong. should not have a member of the supreme court. and we don't. so let's actually show up, do the job elected do, do the job they were paid to do
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, do what every among -- what every other american has to do, show up for work and do their jobs. see you next year. by the way, send me my paycheck. should not be the senate way. i yield the floor. >> and a live look into columbia south carolina, part of our road to the white house coverage mailer clinton and the panel forms speaking about gun violence. some of the relatives of victims of gun violence. liveviolence. live coverage right now. more road to the white house later on. republican caucus tonight. results and speeches from some of the candidates. coverage expected to begin around midnight eastern our companion network, c-span. >> the columbus dispatch is reporting the path the
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nomination is getting murky. joining us on the phone, public affairs editor for the columbus dispatch. thank you very much for being with us. >> thank you. no problem at all. >> the good news is that he is the last of several current or former governors still in the republican race. he is teetering on the brink of irrelevancy. >> well, as we were talking off air, if you had told the campaign people a few months ago that they would indeed be the last current or former governor standing come out last former governor bush after south carolina everything the nomination was all but within hand. but as we all know, 2016 has turned out play pretty much no one is predicted. so the governor did well,
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second-place finish to my got a lot of publicity, endorsements, south carolina he did not compete very much and finished next-to-last. now comes more that are not necessarily friendly to someone of his middle-of-the-road philosophy. i say middle-of-the-road in comparison to the rest of the republican field, quite frankly. the sec primary coming up on march 1. not very friendly. the other thing is many of the states have a threshold, meaning that unless you get 15 or at least 20 percent you don't even qualify to get a single delegate. he has not gotten that. did not happen that that threshold. and that means if you don't make the threshold
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all your votes from the front runners. and that leads us to where we are today, people are pressuring the government to get out of the race to be the standardbearer for guess what we have been calling for lack of a better term the republican establishment. >> establishment. >> the government has been spending a fair amount of time in michigan. best's primary is beyond super tuesday on march the 8th. can he survive that long? >> that is a big question because there are so many states voting on march 1. he has to burn through someplace certainly of the absolute least a strong 2nd or very strong 3rd party is going to lose relevancy. so far he has gotten some mulligans.
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in iowa and he did poorly there. did not have much there. the same for south carolina. he was present for six days leading up to the primary. but there are only so many mulligans you get, at least when i play. so to say all these super tuesday states are just not my kind of state. they are not on the south.south. massachusetts, virginia, the deep south, at least. you got vermont, bernie sanders on state. saying that is not a relative moderate republicans type of state is going to be a tough argument to make. >> public affairs editor for the columbus dispatch. slated for march the 15th. dwindled the field sewing
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get a clear shot of donald trump. oneone of the latest polls telling you? >> afresh poll out today and right now he is running 2nd to mr. trump. a 45-point. second is still 2nd. march 15 starts the winner take all contest. there are no points for close second. second.2nd. you know, the same with the other states. so the significance really goes up. it is totally game over. there is no reason to continue. i think you talk to most political people. hold his people. hold his own turf. what is important about this, how much effort is going to have to put into holding the country and not going to states like illinois and missouri. again, you need some when's.
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he was hoping that perhaps some group would be busy fighting off mr. trump. the owner case may be fighting off in ohio just remain viable and it's only must win state. >> public affairs editor of the columbus dispatch. joiningdispatch. joining us from columbus, ohio. >> thank you. appreciate the opportunity. >> that the tension facility symbolizes the successes that follow the september 112001 attacks. watch the remarks at here is some of what he said.


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