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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 23, 2016 11:18pm-12:01am EST

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hill. live coverage of the house appropriations subcommittee hearing. later live coverage of homeland security secretary testifying at the senate appropriations subcommittee on homeland security at 215 eastern. >> how can we best get people to pay attention to wasteful spending? we find things that are interesting, different, easy-to-understand because the government is so large the organizations have to cut through the noise, members of congress talking about the things they are doing and try to get people to be more involved and make it more personal. >> sunday night.
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>> we worked with a bipartisan coalition of congress which that was called the congressional toward busters coalition and they came up with the definition of what was then called porkbarrel spending and eventually became the term earmarks. we went through the appropriations bills. the 1st was about $3 billion. every year sometime around april and may. >> sunday night at 8:00 o'clock eastern.
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>> really national security. looking for a leader understands national security completely .. commonsense methods. we don't need to exclude or hurtthe hurt anybody but we need to establish guidelines procedures to make it happen >> here today i have been to marco rubio, crews, jeb bush. obviously economy. the 2nd most important issue is immigration. >> thank you. >> today senate republicans announce no confirmation hearings.
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members discussmembers discuss the supreme court vacancy on the senate floor. >> the signs of the season are all around us. volunteers are knocking on doors. countless balance of been cast. thousands more. it is more states will have an opportunity. it is campaign season. we are right in the middle of it. one of the most important issues is who americans trust to nominate the next supreme court justice. they are already debating the issue on stage.
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already discussing the issue among themselves, and voters are casting ballots. one might say this is an almost unprecedented moment. more than 80 years since the supreme court vacancy euros and was fill in a presidential election year. and that was when the senate majority in the present from the same political party. the same political party. since we have divided government means we have to look back almost 130 years to the last time a nominee was confirmed.
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that is back when politicians debating policies likely silver. a guy named rover around the country. thatas soon as it leaves us with a choice of people to continue deciding on empower a lame-duck president to make that decision on his way out the door. the question of who is has been contemplated by many, including our friends on the other side of the aisle. we already know the incoming democratic leaders view the claim that the senate should reverse the presumption of confirmation and not confirm a supreme court nominee except in extraordinary circumstances. we also know how the current democratic leader feels. here is what he said, the
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senate is not a rubberstamp for the executive branch. nowhere does it say the senate has a duty to give presidential nominees to vote. appointment shall be made. that is very different. what about the views of the top? joe barton wasi was a center for many decades. the loyal democrat. develop enduring friendships command before becoming vice president he served here is chairman of the judiciary committee. consider what he said. it was an election year with campaigns already underway, president and the senate majority and political
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parties. and here is what appeared on page a 25. democrat delaware chairman of the judiciary committee urged president bush not to fill any vacancy that might open up on the supreme court until after warning that any election year nominee will become a victim of a power struggle over control of the supreme court. biden said he would urge the senate want to hold hearings on the nomination if bush decided to name someone. the article continued coding then senator biden. >> someone steps, if someone steps down i highly recommend the president not name someone. if you did howard asked the senate the seriously consider not having a hearing on the nominee. and in this, can you imagine having enough money after the three or four or five decisions about to be made
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by the supreme court into the cauldron of the middle of a presidential year. i believe therei believe there would be no bounds of propriety honored by either side. the environment would be so supercharged and prone to be distorted. whoever the nominee, become a victim. as the current current chairman pointed out yesterday, biden went further saying that it does not matter how good a person is nominated because it was the principle of the matter. but cautionbarton caution some of our nation's most bitter and heated confirmation fights upcoming presidential election years but also reminded colleagues of several incidents when
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they exercise restraint and withheld from making a nomination until after. one was abraham lincoln. president obama once served in the illinois legislature. the place he returned to. here is what he said. it has been noted often that the tone of politics is gotten better. in fact, it has gotten worse. my inability to reduce the polarization and meanness. this is histhis is his moment. he has every right to nominate someone would even if doing so will inevitably plunger nation and another bitter and avoidable struggle. that is his right. if you never expect the nominated the confirmed. he certainly has the right to do that. but he also has the right to make a different choice.
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he can let the people decide. whatever he decides, his own vice president others remind us of an essential. residents have a right to nominate just as the senate has his constitutional right to provider withhold consent in this case the senate will withhold. the senate will appropriately revisit the matter after the american people finish making there decision. for nowdecision. for now ask colleagues to consider the words of vice president biden. some will criticize such a decision in the hopes that a member ofa member of my party will be permitted to fill it, but that would not
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be our intention. instead it will be our pragmatic conclusion that was the political season is underway acting on a supreme court nomination must be put off until after the campaign is over. that is vice president biden when he was chairman of the judiciary committee. .. to bereal resources, not just lp service, to this important problem. i know the republican leader is doing his best to try to make a good picture here as to why he's made the decision that the senate's not going to confirm any supreme court nominee that the president puts forward. i heard one statement by the former chair of the judiciary committee this morning say it doesn't matter who he puts up, we're not going to vote for him yen -- anyway -- or her whatever
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the case might be. but the facts of my case are distracting and wrong. he can read all the statements of the senior senator of new york and the vice president, but never were any nominees held up. in fact, he -- you don't have to in fact, he -- you don't have to >> you don't have to go back to grover. president reagan, 1988, the last year his presidency put forward a nomination of kennedy to be supreme court justice. and what do we do? he took it up and he was confirmed. there's lots of time to do
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things bite him biden statements made in the middle of the summer but they're so much time left. we have three to 33 days left in president obama's term of office. there is plenty of time to get the work done because the average days to confirm justices is 67 days. out of 333 days it only take 67. i don't want to burden everybody with facts but sometimes they can get in the way of these ridiculous diversions of what our job should be. senator biden was chairman of a
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different committee in 1991 in 1992. george w. bush's two. george w. bush's term, he confirmed once 20 -- 120 judges. now we're moving in the direction toward making sure there is more confirmation and it's like the instructions are in steroids. this is a pivotal moment for the republican party and this republican senate. the republican party of abraham lincoln, and theater roosevelt was transformed before eyes. messages of decency, rationality and unconditional is a moral compass. and now that donald trump and ted cruz, any days ahead of us with compromise. the radicals in
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the republican party has turned bipartisanship into a dirty word. i think most of us would like to express disappointment in the way the party is taken but never would we say these things publicly because these extreme elements of the party will soon be running the party. republican should think long and hard about the simple fact that if they followed the course of the republican leader everyone will be responsible as trump and cruz as the division of the republican party. they will join him in what they have done to the party. it will be a much worse republican party. there is no clear example of this as republican leaders response to a supreme court victory. , vacancy i should say. clearly there is no evidence of
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that. upon justice scalia's passing the senator from kentucky could have invited to fill the vacancy but that is not what he did, because that is not the party of trump. instead the leader announced he will deny president obama his constitutional right, and by so doing will lead the supreme court in a state of uncertainty. mcconnell is leaving leading at all costs. doesn't sound familiar, it sounds like something donald trump would do. because that is exactly what donald trump urge senator to do.
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trump said. everybody else will stop the nomination, it's called delay, delay, delay. donald trump, that is exactly what the republican leader is doing, delay, delay, delay. 333 days is not enough to do the work that we ordinarily do and 67 days. it is disappointing to think that the senate is taking their impact by what donald trump things. on account republican leaders and this was in the new york times much like the tea party and i quote, those idiots, those
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people, appearing have never been in office and know nothing about being in office. yet today, he is leading with the same republicans, with the house caucus, the same republicans that work with ted cruz shut down the government. they shut it down. so seems like now they subscribe to this new radical republican. mainstream americans categorically rejected. public policy polling released a survey of independent voters in ohio, not democrats, not republicans, but a large swath of americans. who are now independents. this should serve as a wake-up call to the republican party. 70% of the vote in ohio said a
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supreme court justice should be named this year. 60% of independent voters said they should be named this year. they object this obstruction to the supreme court nominee. unfortunately, unfortunately, republican leaders listening to donald trump, is not listening to mainstream america. it is not listening to the few voice of reason coming from his own party. even from his own senators. yesterday the senator from maine said for my part it is clear the president can send up a nominee regardless of where he is in office. it is a duty of the senate under the constitution to give our advice and concern. or withhold our concern. i believe we should follow.
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mr. president, even in the judicial and the persons that reported out with the majority vote it comes. senator leahy, longtime chair of the party, the judiciary committee and in the senate bill, talk about this this morning. but the quote i just read, she is not a loan with her republican leader, some say the same thing but i won't read what they'll say. there is a small group of senators believe that what mcconnell is doing is wrong. one is quoted by saying if a republican nominee is one is his choice i think that person
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deserves a hearing, that person is not just someone nominated for political purposes. they agree that the president nominee deserves a fair share. their urgent senator republican to do the right thing on our constitutional duty. we have have served here for more than three decades and here's what he said, yesterday i quote, i can understand the reluctance give the controversy that surrounds all of the debate that has already occurred. if that is not suspicion reason to forgo your duty. i believe the parts that should go for it be given a good faith effort. good faith effort. it is absolutely crucial to american democracy. our constitution was constructed
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with expectation and elected leaders would act in good faith. that that is our government operates. it should. under the republican instruction it has not been the case. who said you want to be on? whose waist you listen to? these voices of moderation coming from within your party or the shrill voices of trump and cruz. right now before us republican leaders need to decide donald trump and ted cruz, we need to reject the extreme approach. they will only hurt our country, put aside this on president and work with president obama to fill this crucial spot. do your job. all were all were saying is do your job.
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do your job. >> this past weekend justice scalia was laid to rest after serving on the supreme court for nearly three decades. my son and i were at home in vermont when we learned that justice scalia had passed and frankly we're stunned by the news. i did not of often agree with justice glia but he had a deep commitment to our constitution and we enjoyed a friendship for decades. he will be remembered by one of the most influential justices in modern history. while his family and all should have had a chance to mourn his passing i was shocked at the immediate wake of his death is so that republicans vote quickly
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to shut down the constitutionally mandated process to fill the vacancy left on the supreme court. within hours of his death been announced. they declared they would oppose any effort to confirm the next supreme court justice this year. i've served in this body longer than any member here, i have heard some shocking things during that time. but i was surprised by the political crass of these statements. before and nominee has even been named, some republicans reflectively decided to prematurely reject anyone, anyone nominated by the president. this impulsive rush to judgment and completely contrary to how the party has always treated nominees to the highest court in the land. the republicans should not allow the rhetoric of the campaign
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trail to trump one of the senate's most important constitutional duties. i've talked to 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. of course, he should. the president has already began consulting members of both party and the senate. after nomination is made we asked senators get to work and do our jobs, the jobs we are elected to do. i was at my state of vermont last week, though so i spoke with reflected americans across the country, they are tired of bipartisan games that chip away at our constitutional democracy.
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>> i heard this from both republicans and democrats in vermont, they extended the supreme court vacancy caused because the senate was unwilling to actually do their work would certainly create a constitutional embarrassment. i ask unanimous consent for this to be included in the record. thank you. we must not let that dysfunction affect 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
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consideration by the senate. that includes a timely hearing and an up or down vote. now i am worried that even before president obama took office in ever sense that since he was elected by 5 million vote there has been an unrelenting and cynical campaign by some to deep do legitimately ties his presidency. outside this body president obama's constitutional authority to tell the the supreme court.
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everyone of us took an oath in office. everyone. we are sworn to uphold the constitution. we are. we are sworn to uphold our constitutional duties. let us not be intimidated and pressured to avoid are sworn duty for the good of the american people and for the good of this great nation. now some have justified their call to unprecedented obstruction by claiming that because the american people need a voice. give me a break. the american people have spoken, millions of americans, an overwhelming majority of vermont citizens of voted in record numbers in 2008 and 2012 to elect president obama. in doing so they grant him constitutional authorities for all eight years.
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you do not elect a president for one year or two years or three 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 this election is not until november. the american people expect those elected to do their jobs for the entire term. that means both in the senate and the white house. they don't expect senators to say we can't vote on anything this year because it's an election year. we collect our full salary but were not going to vote on anything. the american people don't like that. it's rare of vacancy on the supreme court arises during an election year, but it is false
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that justices don't get confirmed in election years. more than half have been confirmed in a presidential election year. one i voted on, democrats held the senate during reagan's final year in office and we voted president reagan's nominee is confirmed. by a democratic senate during reagan's final year in office. he received a hearing and a confirmation vote. it would be the height of hypocrisy to say that we should not apply the same process with a democrat in the white house and republicans in control of the senate. we cannot say we will not do our constitutional duties because we have a republican senate and a democratic president but we can
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do it if it's the other way around. now some senators have acknowledged the next supreme court nominee to receive a fair hearing, but the process is in there. i have served served on the judiciary committee for 36 years, during my time on the committee we have never refused to send a supreme court nominee to the full senate for confirmation vote even in those cases when the majority of the committee had opposed the nomination, we still report the nominee for a full. once reported to the full senate every supreme court nominee received an up or down confirmation vote during my 40 years of the senate. we have to uphold this bipartisan tradition. for the next supreme court because the supreme court nominee and so much is at stake. nearly holding a hearing with the full committee process,
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confirmation vote is insufficient for supreme court nominee and we would be avoiding our constitutional duties. if republicans refuse to pull their constitutional responsibility i believe that harms our constitutional system of government. if they succeed in upholding the supreme court for more than a year they will be intentionally disabling the court's ability to fulfill its constitutional role. republicans will be harming the supreme court for more than one year. justice scalia once wrote that the supreme court of just eight justices risk the possibility the court will find itself unable to resolve the significant legal issues presented by the case.
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the legal issues in front of the supreme court are significant. the important of a single vote in the court cannot be overstated. one vote on the supreme court decides landmark cases, looks at finance laws, air policies, marriage equality, voting rights, america deserves a fully functioning supreme court. mr. president, i've traveled all over the state and country, i've talked to republicans and democrats alike. what i know from my fellow americans that make them so proud, they show up for work and they do their jobs, they don't have the luxury of telling their bosses instead of doing their jobs they would rather delay, delay, delay.
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if they did they would probably be fired. with the united states senate should not tell the american people we should not we are not going to do our jobs were going to delay, delay, delay. the mistakes are too high. the american people actually expect us to show up for work and do our job. so let's get to work, do do the job the american people sent is here to do and maybe we may want to reread our own to uphold the constitution. it requires no less. mr. president i ask unanimous consent that be granted their privileges for the 114 congress. >> without objection. >> mr. president we will put
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these in the record. >> without objection. mr. president i don't see others on the floor about to speak i will yield the floor when we do. we have allowed this whole process to become far too partisan. i am a lawyer, a former prosecutor, i have argued cases in state court, and federal courts, and federal trial courts and federal appellate courts. the federal courts i was that the beauty of this whether republican or democratic nominees i thought i could get a fair hearing.
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people come from all parts of the world and talk about our judiciary and the example for them. i recall when a country have been under dictatorship change to a more democratic form and some of the people came to my office and asked about our judicial system and they said is it true that the united states of america people can actually see their government? i said yes it does it happens all the time. they said will is it true that sometimes the government loses? and i said it happens all the time. and they said will do you replace the judge when it happens? i said no, they're independent. it's like a lightbulb that went on they realize what a difference we are. think of the image we sent to the rest of the world as well is 300 million americans.
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if we say we're not going to politicize the supreme court, the court that is supposed to be the final arbitrator of constitution in question. look at what it said and says yes we have time to take more recesses this year than the senate ever has. at least i can ever remember. but we do not have time to do the job we are our elected to do, the job we are paid to do. then vote on, have a hearing on and vote on a supreme court nominee. mr. president, the american people have a job they can't pick and choose when they bother to show up. they can't say i know this is
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what i'm supposed to do in this job but i don't feel like it or i have a private reason not to do it. i'm going to sit this out, see, see me next year and i may do my job. nobody would accept that. but that is really what is happening. republican leadership say we want to sit this out, we don't want to do our work, we don't want to do our job, see us next year, maybe we will then. that has never happened and has never happened in an election year. and at least a dozen supreme court vacancies in it election year. the senate, no matter who was president came together and had a nominee and got them confirmed. why did senators do that in the
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past? probably because they figure they were elected, they were being paid by the american people, it was part of their job and so they should show up and do their job. when are we now going to change what is been the president ever since the beginning of this country and say we are better than that? we don't have to do your job? you keep an us but we don't have to do our job even though we have taken an oath to uphold the constitution into our job. even justice scalia would say that would be wrong. you should not have been a member supreme court and we don't. so let's actually show up and do the job we were elected to do. do the job we are paid to do.
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every american has to show up to work and have to do their job they can't say i don't feel like it this year, i will see you next year, oh by the way, semi- my paycheck. that's the not the american way. it should not be the senate way. president, yield the floor. >> mr. president this past saturday is honored to attend the funeral mass for justice antonin scalia. i cannot help but recall back when president reagan nominated him for the supreme court of the united states that judge scully at the time said that his only goal was to be a good judge. today, 30 years later it is 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
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jurisprudence. as i got to know him 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 in 1991 when i had won an election to be on the texas supreme court. the court invited justice scalia to come to austin, texas texas and administer the oath of office. at that time i already admired his intellect and commitment to the constitution rule of law. believe me he was an inspiration to young judges like me who aspired to do the same, but he has been in inspirations for so many judges, lawyers and law students over the past decades. i admired and respected justice scalia. like many texans i was proud of the fact that he also seemed to
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love texas, believe it or not from virginia he remarked once that if he did not live in virginia he would probably want to be a texan. i like to spend a couple of minutes remembering this great man and the contribution he has made tarnation. beyond his incredible resume justice scalia was a devoted husband of more than 50 years to moraine. he is a dedicated father to nine children and i grandchildren grandfather to more than 30 grandchildren. he was not only a family man which i think he would've considered his most important job but he was a role model for lawyers, judges judges and scholars and those who love the constitution.


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