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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  April 5, 2016 10:00am-12:31pm EDT

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$33.1 billion for funding faa program until september 30th of next year, senators meet with president obama's supreme court nominee merrick garland, he is expected to sit down with republicans and democrats jean shaheen and joe mansion of west virginia. live coverage of the senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, though we cannot see you with our eyes, or touch you with our hands, we daily experience the reality of your presence and power. abide with our lawmakers throughout this day, providing
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them with wisdom, courage and strength for the living of these days. give them grace to understand the world we cannot see or touch , comprehending that eternal issues are at stake. as you care for their physical needs, provide also for their soul needs. help us all to remember that you are the source of our strength. we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag.
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i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: we will soon begin consideration of bipartisan legislation that can support american jobs, improve airline safety and help
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passengers, all without raising taxes or fees on travelers. the f.a.a. reauthorization act before us is the result of a collaborative committee process. it shows what's possible with a senate that's back to work and back to regular order. in this case, the commerce committee held a series of seven hearings to guide and inform its deliberations throughout this process. republicans on the commerce committee had their say, democrats on the commerce committee offered their input, and at the end of the day, members of both parties were able to agree on bipartisan legislation that passed committee on a voice vote. we know that the bipartisan f.a.a. reauthorization act will promote american manufacturing, preserve rural access in states like kentucky and advance new consumer protections for the flying public. we also know that it will help improve safety and security both in the skies and in our
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airports. here are a few ways this bipartisan bill can help. by allowing us to better prepare for the outbreak of communicable diseases like ebola. by improving the quality of f.a.a.'s safety work force. by encouraging the f.a.a. to harmonize international safety standards. by bringing the government and stakeholders together in the development of safety standards for unmanned aerial vehicles. and by taking aim at human trafficking. this legislation is the product of a lot of hard work and reaching across the aisle. i'd like to recognize senator thune for leading this effort. he knows what's possible in the senate that's back to work for the american people. he worked hard with the top democrat on his committee, senator nelson, to get us to this point today. but these two senators certainly didn't do it all by themselves.
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senator ayotte was one of the key players in this bipartisan effort as chair of the subcommittee on aviation, senator ayotte held numerous briefings and hearings on the issue with her colleague senator cantwell. while many in this chamber are focusing on the issue of now, the bill before us is the product of many months of work by members of the commerce committee and their staffs. let's continue working together in a similar spirit now while the commerce committee has produced a product that merits this chamber's consideration, i'm sure they would acknowledge they don't have a monopoly on good ideas. i hope we can have an efficient amendment process where members bring their best ideas to the floor. let's pass another significant piece of legislation for the american people. now, on another matter, a few years ago, president obama gave a speech in miami where he said the following about immigration immigration -- "i know that some wish that i could just bypass
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congress and change the law by myself, but that's not how democracy works. that was the president in miami a couple of years ago. he's right. that's not how it works. it wasn't enough to keep him from overreach of ignoring the law and unwise and unfair. didn't keep him from doing that anyway. maybe he didn't anticipate that a federal district court would issue a preliminary injunction to prevent him from moving forward. maybe he didn't expect that a federal appeals court would uphold that ruling. but now, now the supreme court will hear arguments in this case later this month on core constitutional principles like the separation of powers and the duty to take care that the laws are faithfully executed. that's why i led a group of 43 republican senators yesterday in
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filing an amicus brief in support of the challenge to this overreach, a challenge brought by a majority of america's governors and attorneys general from across our country. as we highlighted in the brief, the administration's executive action stands in stark contravention to federal law and to the constitutional principle of the separation of powers. it's also an explicit effort to circumvent the legislative process. so look, whether republicans or democrats, this kind of partisan overreach should worry all of us, no matter who is in the white house, because not only is the president's blatant refusal to follow the law an extraordinary power grab, it's a direct challenge to congress' constitutional authority and a direct attack on our constitutional order. now, on one final matter, earlier this year, i noted that the next commander in chief will assume office confronting a
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complex and varied array of threats. i observed that after seven years of the obama administration delaying action in the war on terror, the next administration would need to return to the fight and restore our role in the world. among many other things, that means we must return to capturing, interrogating and targeting the enemy in a way that allows us to defeat terrorist networks. because let's remember, in his first week in office, the president issued a series of executive orders that collectively undermined the capability of our intelligence community and military to combat terrorism. yesterday, the defense department confirmed that two of al qaeda's former explosives experts were transferred from the secure detention facility at guantanamo bay to senegal. both detainees had long records of supporting al qaeda. according to records that have been made public, one of those
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detainees, a former associate of osama bin laden, is likely to re-engage in hostilities. the other detainee was previously assessed as likely to return to the fight. this comes at a time when al qaeda and the arabian peninsula has exploited the war within yemen to secure a safe haven, and the nusra front within syria is exploiting the civil war there to carry on al qaeda's mission. this is precisely the wrong time to send experienced, hardened fighters back into the conflict. we should use, we must use the remaining months of the obama administration as a year of transition to a better posture -- to better posture our military to meet the threats that we face. not make it more challenging for the next president, regardless of political party. and actually, there have been some encouraging changes within the administration recently,
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like programs presented in the budget request by the secretary of defense to address chinese and russian aggression, a public recognition by the chairman of the joint chiefs of the threat posed by isil and libya, more focus on the need to rebuild a nuclear triad, general campbell's statement that a larger force must be left in afghanistan and the deployment of the expeditionary targeting force to iraq. this is the wrong time, mr. president, the wrong time for the administration to release terrorists who are likely to return to the fight. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: we also hope on this side that we can move through the f.a.a. bill, which is important to get done. we just have to make sure we do it right. there is lots of things we need to do. i think that the bill coming
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from the committee led by senators thune and nelson is a good basic outline for us to proceed on this matter. mr. president, just on a couple of other things. my friend, the republican leader, commented on. he mentioned immigration. in the last congress, we worked very hard together in a bipartisan fashion to form form a good, comprehensive immigration reform bill. we passed it. but due to the power of the tea party or as speaker boehner referred to them the crazies, we didn't have a vote in the house. if he allowed a vote, it would have passed overwhelmingly. democrats would have voted for it and enough republicans would have voted for it. it would have been a big vote coming out of there. it didn't happen. the president had to do something with immigration. the president laid the groundwork. he spoke at the state of the
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union address, saying, you know, you're not passing any legislation, i'm going to have to use my executive power to get things done. so he prioritized what he wanted to do. he issued the -- the order was so important to boys and girls. it's called a deferred action, the dreamers were allowed to stay in the country, and that was the right thing to do. he also has prioritized deportations, going after criminals, not families, and enforcing the law, so he's done a very good job. and i think it's also very important, mr. president, that these administrative actions the president has taken is nothing unique. we can go back to the days of theodore roosevelt, a good republican president who did a lot of stuff administratively.
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and on his talk about getting involved in the fight again -- i'm paraphrasing what he said, but we have to get back to interrogation that we did before. mr. president, we know that the torture was eliminateed quickly, led by a lot of people, not the least of which was someone who has been tortured, a member of the united states senate, john mccain. he has spoken out very admirably and as only he can do about how bad torture is. and the facts indicate that torture doesn't get new information anyway, there are other ways of getting that information. mr. president, the senior senator from iowa came to the floor yesterday to divert an -- in an attempt to divert attention from the failure of the committee, the judiciary
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committee, and directly as to what he has not done doing his job, the chairman of that committee. he hoped to do that by focusing on me for objecting to a bill that would expand the subpoena powers of certain government appointees called inspectors general. but his efforts failed. people weren't looking at me. they were looking at the work not done by the judiciary committee. i objected to that bill because that legislation was really a legislative overreach, just as my friend, the senior senator from iowa continues to overreach by turning the senate judiciary committee into a -- for example, into a benghazi committee, narrowly partisan committee masquerading as an independent body. the same theory that had secretary clinton spent 11 or 12 hours before a committee in one day, which was a flop, that hearing, because of her
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assertiveness, her direct answering of questions and her physical and emotional strength, standing and sitting for the time that she did. one of secretary clinton's staffers. another political stunt was blocking the qirnlings of state department legal advisor brian egan. another political stunt was blocking the promotion list of career foreign service officers. and his latest political stunt is preventing the senate from doing its constitutional duty in considering president obama's supreme court nominee, a man by the name of merrick garland. so even though the senior senator from iowa hopes to divert attention away from this disappointment that is his as
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the republican judiciary committee is, people aren't easily fooled. another scathing editorial regarding senator grassley's unprecedented obstruction of a supreme court nominee. the editorial highlights the fact that because the supreme court's vacancy, the highest court in the land is now stuck in a rut of 4-4 decisions, a stalemate. this is what the "des moines register" editorial said, and i quote -- "americans might need to get used to deadlocks, thanks to senator chuck grassley. the head of the senate judiciary committee seems just fine with that stalemate." close quote. now, the senior senator from iowa may be content with gridlock in the supreme court, but the american people simply aren't.
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they're not content with the way the chairman continues to use one of the senate's most prestigious, independent and powerful committees to carry out political warfare. so maybe he should spend less time complaining about me and more time simply doing his job. every day, more and more senators are meeting with president obama's supreme court nominee, merrick garland, as well they should. according to the senior senator from utah, i quote -- "fulfilling that role of advice and consent requires us to evaluate a nominee's qualifications for the particular position for which he has -- she has been nominated close quote. we know that that was when they were looking at sotomayor and kegan who are now on the court. that's why every senator, using the same logic of my friend from utah, the republican democrat, should meet with judge garland this week has a full state of
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meetings scheduled with senate democrats. senator ayotte, boozman, cassidy, cochran, collins, flake, grassley, inhofe, johnson, kirk, lankford, murkowski, portman, risch, rounds and toomey. these are all republican senators who have said publicly they're going to meet with him. i think that's a step in the right direction. and i think it speaks really volumes. take, for example, senators inhofe and senator lankford. i'm sure they ha
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he led the charge. no one questions his terrific, outstanding prosecution of that man who killed those many, many people in oklahoma with that bomb, which, of course, eventually he was given the death penalty. mr. president, this is a good man. judge garland is a good man. everywhere he goes, democrats and republicans speak highly of him. chief justice roberts, among others. so i was disappointed last week when some republican senators, senators murkowski and moran, have abandoned their previous support for agreeing to consider judge garland's nomination. senator moran is backtracking is especially important because it appears to be the result of a multimillion-dollar campaign urging the senator to reverse
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his support for a hearing for judge garland. as has been reported by the topeka capital journal, senator moran's about-face came in response to backlash from the koch brothers and others. i quote directly from the article -- "on march 21, moran told a small crowd i have my job to do and i think the process should go forward." although he made it clear that garland likely wouldn't be worthy of his oath, the comments indicated hearings should be held for the judge." close quote. the judicial crisis network announced it was putting the finishing content on bashing moran and the citizens fund said it was considering backing a primary challenge. u.s. representative mike pompei
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owe, a federal republican from kansas, publicly called on moran to reconsider, a rare criticism of iran from a fellow member of the kansas congressional delegation. the criticisms eventually reached bizarre heights when the traditional values coalition compared moran to jude a.c.c. is care yacht. the chief announcinged durnl a.m. cork the chief counsel of the judicial crisis net work said friday she was pleased to see moran had changed his mind. well, i guess you could say changed his mind. moran was meeting with garland and holding confirmation hearings until the judicial crisis network and the tea party patriots and the koch brothers threatened him. i was surprised that no one but the koch brothers and their dark money fund these radical organizations more than anybody else in the world. the kochs are notorious for
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bothering anyone who stands in their way. without question, there are new oligarchs in the land. the first ones i've known in america are the koch brothers. if they're successful in their splurging of their vast wealth and accomplishing what they set out to do in this campaign, i feel very, very bad for our country. they will be talking about us like they talk about russia, the oligarchy that is there. we're going to have one of the same. now, we must not forget how the koch brothers' minions tried to intimidate journalist jane mayer because she dared to expose the koch's attempting to buy our
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democracy. her book called "dark money" is on the "new york times" best-seller list and all over the country people are buying those books. why? because they -- it's an insight into how two brothers who are trying to buy america. charles and david koch use their fortune and tremendous clout to force senator moran to back down from his position. publicly, i kangth imagine how one of us -- i can't imagine how one of us, a senator, could be forced to do that in the manner that he was. all this because the junior senator from kansas dared to meet with the supreme court nominee. he dared to suggest that garland deserve add hearing. he dared to do his job.a recordo
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conduct the most in-depth inquiry that we can on supreme court nominees." close quote. now the republican leader, charles grassley, have twisted the members of the judiciary committee members compelling them to sign a loyalty pledge and forcing them to refuse to consider the president's supreme court nominee. regrettably, senator more rang is just the latest republican senator to allow himself to be pushed around, to be intimidated by money. instead of caving to the republican lender the koch brothers, it is time for the republican members to take a stand and do their job. i hope the remaining republican senators who said they will meet with him will be glad to do so. stand firm. hope they'll meet with judge gawrld and then take the next
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step and hold confirmation hearingsment. as was reported by the nonpartisan congressional service, the average wait for supreme court nominees for a nomination hearing, 42 days. according to that time line, chairman grassley and his committee should begin confirmation hearings for judge garland april 27. last week democrats on the committee sent a letter to the republican leader and chairman grassley calling on them to abide by the traditional time line and holding them by the 27th. i'm very proud of my democrats on that committee. -- the judiciary committee for doing that. that's what the american people want. they want republicans to stop counting the most extreme forces within their party and do just their job. that's all we're asking. it is as simple as that. would the chair announce are what we're scheduled to do the rest of the day? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is lessed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to
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h.r. 636, which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 5, h.r. 636, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to permanently extend increased expensing limitations and for other purposes. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, there is an old verse that reads, if i remember it correctly, as follows: "while i was going up the stair, i met a man who wasn't there. he wasn't there again today. i wish that man would go away." that man in the united states senate is merrick garland, a person that i'm sure the republican leadership wishes would just go away. but he's not going to go away. merrick garland is the nominee that president obama has sent forward to fill the vacancy on the supreme court, occasioned by the untimely death of antonin
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scalia. in sending that name forward, president obama was meeting his constitutional responsibility. article 2, section 2, of the united states constitution states clearly that the president shall -- shall -- nominate a person to fill a vacancy on the u.s. supreme court. it goes on to say that the responsibility of the senate is to advise and consent to that nomination. it's very clear. the men who wrote the constitution understood the importance of filling a vacancy on the united states supreme court, understood it to be so important that they mandated that the president understand is a nominee forward to bill that -- send a nominee forward to fill that vacancy. you can read that constitution from stoort finish and never find the ration neal be used by senator mcconnell in the united states senate to stop that nomination from being considered in the united states senate. there is no argument made in the constitution, nor has there ever
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been an argument 345eud, that because a president is in the last year of his four-year term, he no longer has a constitutional responsibility to fill a vacancy on the supreme court. in fact, we have never -- underline "never" -- as a united states senate refused a hearing to a nominee that's been sent forward by a president of the united states to fill this important vacancy. it speaks volumes that senator mcconnell, the republican leader, has decided that he is taking it on himself to stop the senate from considering the president's nominee. and it's an embarrassing position to take for many of his colleagues. look at what they're going through. republican senators who went home over this easter break, many of them, went to town meetings where people asked a very basic question. senator, why is it the that you won't do your job in why won't
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you giving a hearing to this man being sent for consideration to the senate to fill this important vacancy? it is a hard question to answer, if you take the position of senator mcconnell, the republican leader. because the answer is, basically, he is arguing this president has no authority -- no authority to fill this vacancy. he argues, senator mcconnell argues, that we should hold this vacancy open for the rest of this calendar year into next year so that a new president, whoever that might be, would have the power to fill this vacancy. he argues that the american people will speak through this next election as to a new president, and that person should have the authority. well, what we've discovered over the course of the last several weeks is this isn't about giving the american people a voice in choosing to fill that vacancy. it's about giving two individuals -- the koch brothers
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-- the decision to fill that vacancy. and they have decided that it is their best interest, their political trrks their economic interest, whatever it may be, to keep this spot vacant on the u.s. supreme court. in the hopes that a republican presidential candidate would win the election and fill the court vacancy with a nominee, with the blessing of the koch brothers. so republican senators are going back to their home districts and states and basically facing the electorate in their home states and finding it impossible to really justify avoiding any consideration of this nominee. it got more difficult this morning. "the washington post" has reported -- and i ask unanimous consent that this article in its entirety be placed in the record -- the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you. "the washington post" has reported that u.s. appeals court
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judge merrick garland is getting a boost for his supreme court nomination from some of the lawyers who know him best, his former law clerks. it goes on to say that 68 former law clerks for this judge have written to members of congress recommending him based on their personal experience of working professionally with him. let me read this passage from their letter. "there are not many bosses who so uniformly inspire the loyalty that we all feel toward chief judge garland. our enthusiasm is both a testament to his character and a reflection of his commitment to mentoring and encouraging us long after we left his chamber. he has stood by our side during the happiest moments of our lives, quite literally having officiated the weddings of seven of his former clerks. he has welcomed us and our growing families into his home. he is a constant source of career advice and guidance, and he has offered love and support in the dark times, too, when we suffered setbacks, losses and uncertainty." end of quote.
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this article you night expect from his clerks saying what a good person he is, but they have gone out of their way to suggest to the senate that a person of this quality and this integrity should be treated fairly, fairly. and i listened to some of the comments that are being made on the republican side about this man, and it's a long way from fairness. what they're saying to him is we don't care about where you came from. we don't care about your education. we don't care about your professional qualifications. we don't care about your career on the bench. we care that you have been nominated by president barack obama. and as far as senator mcconnell is concerned, enough said. if barack obama nominates this man, senator mcconnell has made it clear he will deny to him something that has never, ever been denied to a supreme court nominee in the history of the united states of america --
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a fair hearing. that's why it's painful for a lot of republican senators to go back and face audiences. the partisans in the audience come in florida predictable state. republicans saying hold the line, don't let obama act like a president of the united states. we want him to go away. democrats come in and say can't you at least give this man a hearing, but i would say to my republican colleagues listen to the people who view themselves as independents in this country, folks who don't really carry a party label. they're saying overwhelmingly that merrick garland is entitled to a hearing before the united states senate. he's an extraordinarily well qualified man, and there is no credible justification to refuse to give him a hearing. merrick garland was
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they came to america in the early 1900's. judge garland grew up in lincolnwood, illinois, graduated at the top of his class from niles west high school in scoakie. earned an under-gad watt and law degree from harvard, was law clerk to judge friendly on the second circuit and to supreme court justice william brennan. he had a distinguished career at the justice department. they sent merrick garland down at the oklahoma city tragedy when there was a terrible incident, a terrorist bombing, domestic terrorist bombing, that killed and maimed so many people. the prosecution of that accused terrorist was the highest priority for the department of justice. they had to get it right, not just for the cause of justice but for the victims and their families. they had to get it right in this prosecution. so they sent their very best
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prosecutor, merrick garland, and he was given that responsibility and took very seriously. he used to carry around with him the names of those who died in that oklahoma city terrorist incident as a reminder of the solemn responsibility which he carried in this undertaking. that's the kind of person he is. and he successfully prosecuted those who were engaged in the terrorism that caused that terrible event. the department of justice thought that highly of him and his performance in oklahoma city was so stellar that he achieved his goal: the fair and effective prosecution. the senate considered merrick garland for the second-highest court in the land, the d.c. circuit court in 1997. he received a majority vote on both sides of the aisle, republicans and democrats. total final vote: 76-23. 32 senate republicans voted to confirm judge garland. now, he's been on that court,
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the d.c. circuit, for 19 years. and he's been the chief judge for the last three years. throughout his lengthy judicial career, chief judge garland has been praised for his intelligence, knowledge of the law, adherence to precedent, and his toobt forge a consensus. listen to what chief justice john roberts of the u.s. supreme court said during his own confirmation hearing and i quote: "anytime judge garland disagrees, you know you're in a difficult area." close quote. now, i have my differences with chief justice roberts of the u.s. supreme court, but i'll be the foyers say, his presentation to the senate judiciary committee was one i'll never forget. he set there for two days without a note in front of him and answered every question effectively and eloquently. i left there with the distinct impression he was one of the brightest individuals who had ever been nominated to the
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supreme court. so this man, chief justice roberts, whether you agree with his politics of his decisions or not, should be listened to when he says of merrick garland, president obama's nominee, that if you disagree with judge garland, you know you're in a difficult area. that's high praise from chief justice john roberts. high praise for a man who has been denied a hearing before the senate judiciary committee. for the first time in the history of the united states senate. i want to commend judge garland for his many decades of public service and congratulate him and his wife lynn and their daughters for the great honor that they have been given to be nominated to the u.s. supreme court. and a word of apology to them for the way they're being treated by the united states senate. this is not right. i hope that in the quiet and the solitude of their own republican
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caucus lunch, that they'll close the door and turn to one another and say this is not fair, it is not right. we owe this man a hearing. i'm not saying he should be rubber stamped. i'm not saying that the senate republican majority here should approve this man, although i think it's difficult not to, but i am saying he should be given a hearing. he deserves that respect from the united states senate. it would be terrible and beneath the dignity of the senate republicans to close the doors of the senate to such an accomplished american and deny him a fair hearing and a vote. the president has met his responsibility. the senate should do no less. all i know is merrick garland is in for a rough ride if they have a hearing. the senior senator from texas said as much a few weeks ago. he said that president obama's supreme court nominee would -- quote -- bear some resemblance to a pinata, close quote.
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do we know what that means? well, remember, if you will, that mexican custom of filling a papier-mache animal with candy, then blindfolding a child and giving him a stick or a bat to try to swing wildly and beat on that pinata until you break it open and the candy hits the floor. well, that was the analogy used by the senior senator from texas as to how merrick garland should expect to be treated if his nominee -- nomination comes before the senate. it's a sad commentary, but it may reflect the reality of the bitter political environment that we live in today. it's troubling to hear our nomination process in the senate characterized this way. well, there is a way to avoid pinata politics. let's give merrick garland a fair hearing. right now, conservative groups and some senate republicans are taking their swings blindly at
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merrick garland. they're flailing around hoping to find some argument to justify the mistreatment which they are offering. for example, there is a right wing advocacy group calling itself the judicial crisis network, whatever that is, that recently announced a multistate ad campaign against judge garland. how about that? they won't give him a hearing, they won't let him even sit down in a chair under oath and face questions and give answers, but they have started a multimillion-dollar ad campaign against him. the campaign said that with garland on the bench, the second amendment would be -- quote -- gutted because -- quote -- in two separate cases, garland has demonstrated strong hostility to gun owner rights. several senate republicans have echoed this attack. they have heard this so-called judicial crisis network ad and they have decided to amplify it. however, there is no argument that can be made seriously or
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fairly for the proposition that judge garland opposes the second amendment in his rulings. there are two cases mentioned by this right-wing organization on the subject. they date back many years to 2000 and 2007. the first was a case involving the auditing of background check records. when that case was appealed to the supreme court, the justice department of president george w. bush, led by conservative attorney general john ashcroft, agreed with judge garland's position. there was no controversy as far as they were concerned, so a republican president and a republican attorney general agreed with the ruling of judge garland. the other case in which judge garland is accused of having overstepped the bounds on the second amendment, never even addressed a substantive second
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amendment issue. if the judicial crisis network was so outraged by these decisions in the year 2000 and year 2007, why didn't they bring it up in 2010 when merrick garland was nominated to serve on the d.c. circuit court? in that year, kerry severino, the head of that organization, the judicial crisis network, told "the washington post," and i quote -- "of those the president could nominate, we could do a lot worse than merrick garland. he is the best scenario we could hope for to bring the tension in politics in the city down a notch for the summer." end of quote. i just quoted the person who was in charge of the judicial crisis network when merrick garland was nominated to the d.c. circuit court five years ago. now that same network has decided to spend millions of dollars to stop this nominee. so if judge garland's views on the second amendment were so
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objectionable, why has he been praised by charles cooper, the gun lobby's top outside attorney? on march 28 of this year, cooper told "the washington post" about his -- quote -- high opinion -- unquote -- of garland as a judge. so here's the reality. right-wing advocacy groups like the judicial crisis network are swinging wildly at judge garland. they mischaracterized his record, and they attack his judgment in an effort to discredit him. if the senate holds a public hearing for garland, he would at least have his day to state his position clearly on the second amendment, but they are so afraid of what he's going to say, the republican leadership in the senate has denied merrick garland an opportunity for a hearing to this point in time. at a hearing the american people can judge for themselves. how about that for a novel idea that we would put merrick garland under oath, sit him at a
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table, ask whatever questions we consider to be important for his nomination, and then let the american people decide. the republicans will have nothing to do with this. senator mcconnell has said from the start he is never going to allow that to occur. the senate is doing judge garland and our nation a grave disservice if we don't move forward with a public hearing on this nomination as we have with every other supreme court nominee that has been sent by a president. and just for the record, go back to 1987. a vacancy occurred on the supreme court. and in 1988, the last year of ronald reagan's republican presidency, he sent a nominee to the u.s. senate to be considered, anthony kennedy, a reagan nominee, and the democratic-controlled united states senate not only gave anthony kennedy a hearing, gave
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him a unanimous vote sending him to the supreme court, despite the fact that ronald reagan was -- quote -- lame duck, last year of his presidency. the senate at that time respected the office of the presidency and respected the constitution enough to give anthony kennedy his day before the senate judiciary committee. his day before the united states senate. if it was fair enough for a republican president and a democratic senate, why isn't it the same standard to be used when it comes to president obama's nominee being sent to a republican senate this day? you just can't explain it away. so what does this vacancy on the supreme court mean? only eight members of a nine-member court. all right, the supreme court has deadlocked twice on 4-4 tie votes since judge scalia's passing. almost 50 cases still need to be decided this term. major legal questions may go unresolved. because the senate is not doing
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its job. and not filling this vacancy. judge garland does not deserve to be used as a pinata, a word used by a senate republican to describe what he would face in the senate. let's give him an taunt to rebut any a-- an opportunity to rebut any attacks made against him. let's let him explain himself on the record and in full view of the american public. let's let the american people decide if the ads and attacks against him are valid or baseless. i urge my republican colleagues, do not follow the lead of right-wing advocacy groups and attack judge garland's character or record when you refuse to give the man a chance to respond at a public hearing. that is fundamentally unfair. this is a real moment of truth for the senate. no supreme court nominee has ever been denied a hearing before, and meh -- and merrick
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garland should not be the first. the message is very simple. three words: do your job. do your job under the constitution. have a hearing. be fair to this man. don't dream up excuses. don't argue that this president, who won by 5 million votes over mitt romney is not the president of the united states when it comes to filling a vacancy on the supreme court. don't does respect the office -- don't disrespect the office of the presidency or the constitution, which in its clarity establishes our responsibility to give a hearing to this nominee. my republican colleagues need to do their job and schedule a hearing for merrick garland without delay. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. blumenthal: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. i want to join in the remarks just made by the distinguished
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senator from illinois that we have an obligation to do our job, to provide a hearing, and a vote for the president's nominee, not as a matter of discretion or convenience but as a mandatory obligation that we have as members of this body, an obligation that comes from the constitution, which says that we shall exercise this duty of advising and consenting. for all the reasons that my colleague has expressed so eloquently, the american people feel that it is our jobment and they are right. nothing so epitomizes the feeling of the american people
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that washington is failing to work, that this body is failing to do its job, that the congress and the federal government are failing the american people than the failure to deal with this nominee. the refusal even to meet with him mocks the american system of justice. for all who care about the quality of our judicial nomine nominees, this intransigence is both insult and injury, and it will do lasting damage to the court if it drags this third branch of government into the mire of partisan bickering. the judicial branch depends for the enforceability of its
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decisions on the trust and credibility of the american people that it is above politics and that decisions made by the judicial branch are on the merits, without regard to the special interests and the money that so infects this branch. and they are entitled to our support for the credibility and trust of the judicial branch, and nothing epitomizes the need for that credibility and trust more than the united states supreme court. it is the highest court in the land, and it is the most powerful. it is an anomaly in a democratic government because it is unelected, appointed for life,
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at the top of the judicial pyramid, exercising vast power, with only the trust and credibility of the american people as its means of enforcement. it has no armies or police of its own. its decisions and their enforceability depend for their effect on its being above politics, and so the controversy and the intransigence and refusal to even consider this nominee is a grave throat that -- threat to that constitution. and on the issue of getting the job done, i want to go to a separate topic very much on our minds at this time of year, very distinct and different.
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but i want to join it in these remarks because it is timely, as we begin the next phase of our bipartisan effort to combat lyme and tick-born diseases. we will be building support this week for a bill that has been introduced by senator ayotte and myself with the strong involvement and leadership of senator gillibrand. s. 1503, the lyme and tick-born act, with 13 co-sporks a bipartisan bill -- with 13 cosponsors, a bipartisan bill that is critically born to public health. and today we will be welcoming a number of my friends and
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constituents from connecticut and around the country who are experts to provide briefings to our staff in sessions that have been organized by myself, senator ayotte, and senator gillibrand. we are very pleased to welcome some of the leaders of this effort, john bacot, who is an assistant professor of medicine at the johns hopkins school of medicine; dr. brian fallon, a good friend and leading expert in this area. he is a professor at the columbia college of physicians and surgeons. ally helfiger, who has been a survivor and strong supporter and advocate. rebecca tibal, a fourth-grade teacher from my home state of connecticut who has been
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battling lyme disease since august of 2014. and david roth, also a leader, a long-standing lyme disease patient advocate from new york who in his day job is a managing director at the private investment group blackstone. these individuals are here to call attention, to build support, to solving a disease that literally is exploding exponentially in this country and now constitutes an epidemic that literally combination and cripless the lives -- impinks and cripples the lives of millions of americans. the center for disease control and prevention indicates that more than 36,000 americans suffered from lyme disease in 2013, but it says the number who
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actually contracted this disease is probably ten times higher because it is undetected and undiagnosed in so many people, and it is underreported even when it is discovered in individuals. most of the cases of lyme disease occur in a limited number of states. 96% of them occur in connecticut, delaware, maine, maryland, massachusetts, minnesota, new hampshire, new jersey, new york, pennsylvania, vermont, virginia, and wisconsin. i name them because the senators of those states ought to be behind this bill, every single one of them. but those cases are only the ones reported, and in many states there is no systematic reporting of lyme. and so the full extent, the
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breadth and depth of this epidemic is truly unknown. now, we know in this body how to respond and recognize a public health threat. it was done in ebola. it is done for influenza. it hopefully will be done for zika. what's needed is the same kind of bipartisan awareness and support for legislation to help people who suffer from lyme and other tick-born diseases. i am sometimes asked why has the congress failed to recognize and respond to this severe public health threat? there's no good explanation exempt for the -- except for the underreport rng the under-awareness and that is no excuse.
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in the meantime, the cases of lyme are exploding in number, and their severity impacts our economy as well as quality of life for americans. it affects people's ability to perform their jobs, children's ability to go to school, families' ability to function normally. the disease, if undetected and untreated, can cause the most severe kinds of pain and disability. lyme disease is named after a town in my state. i've always felt that it was tremendously unfair for the beautiful and wonderful town of lyme to bear the burden of this
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disease having its name. but, regardless of the name, the burden is on the entire country, not simply on connecticut, not simply on the northeast, not simply on any part of the country or profession to take action. and that action must include provisions of this bill that strengthen lyme disease surveillance and reporting, create a physician education program, establish an epidemiological research objective set for tick-born diseases and prepare regular reports to congress on the progress of efforts to combat these devastating tick-born diseases and the effects are devastating. pernicious and insidious, creeping into every aspect of a victim's life.
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our bill has earned the support of 13 senators from both parties, including five members of the help committee. when it comes to fighting lyme, there is no partisan difference. the ticks who carry this disease don't know a red state from the a blue one. they don't make any difference between the boundaries of a state. the deaf stating disease that can spring from these ticks and associated with them are common to our entire country and therefore demand a national response and a federal program that we have outlined in this bill.
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i am proud to join with senator ayotte and senator gillibrand in this effort. i urge my colleagues to support this bill, to send your staff to the briefing that we have today. i thank others from connecticut such as alexandra coen who are going to be coming today, and i look forward to continuing this fight, which has to be one of nationwide commitment. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. thune: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: mr. president, i rise today to address last month's tragic terror attacks in brussels and istanbul by isis. it's critical for the senate to consider these significant events as we get back to work on bills enhancing security and setting policies for air
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transportation. in brussels, 35 innocent people, including four americans, lost their lives in barbaric attacks by isis at a subway station and airport terminal. in istanbul, an isis suicide bombing killed four on a central street and left dozens more injured. our thoughts and prayers are with those injured, the families of the victims and the citizens of belgium and turkey. in the past two years, isis has orchestrated 29 attacks on western targets around the world, killing more than 650 innocent people. a decade ago, the group of violent jihadists behind isis fit a fairly conventional definition of a terrorist group. operating in iraq, they endeavored to kill americans, iraqis and others working to build a free and democratic nation. today, however, calling isis a mere terrorist group may not fully convey the seriousness of the problem. isis or the so-called islamic state has taken control of a
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significant amount of territory in iraq and syria. within this territory, isis has established a self-proclaimed capital city, an effective sovereignty over other populated urban centers. it collects taxes, operates and profits from oil well operations, controls banking and rules over substantial agricultural acreage. these operations help fund and sustain not only isis armed fighters but also the group's attempts to build actual institutions that spread its message of hate. isis has unfortunately enjoyed considerable success, communicating and spreading its distorted vision of a grand islamic caliphate claiming authority over all muslims. branches of isis trying to replicate what has happened in syria and iraq has taken root elsewhere and carried out operations in destabilized areas including libya, egypt, sinai peninsula and yemen. a recent report estimated that as many as 31,000 isis adherents
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traveled from 86 countries to join the organizations of iraq and syria. more than 5,000 of these recruits have come from western europe and 150 from the united states. in addition to those americans who have actually traveled abroad, researchers at george washington university estimated in december that there are 900 active investigations of isis sympathizers here in the united states. let me repeat that. 900 investigations of isis sympathizers here in the united states. and this doesn't include those who have been radicalized without noticeable warning like the couple in san bernadino who weren't known to authorities before they killed 14 in a shooting attack last december. over the past few years, isis's reach has expanded dramatically
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and claims that it contains messages are both false and reckless. we have had some successes in targeting senior isis officials, but as we saw in brussels, in san bernadino and elsewhere, those efforts have not lessened the threat posed by a terrorist state that is successfully pop gating its ideology all over the world. so what can we do to protect against this threat posed by isis? well, here are a few things. first, we need a president who is committed to forming a robust coalition to destroy isis abroad. real american leadership against isis must be manifested in sustained engagement against the enemy. we need an administration intent on limiting the group's sources of income and its control of territory which facilitates an illusion of legitimacy for its followers. incremental progress is not enough. indeed, "the washington post" reported last week that some
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terrorism experts believe pressure on the group's finances could make isis more dangerous and unpredictable until it's defeated. second, we need to control our borders. we need to know who is coming in and out of our country and why. this includes screening travelers for ties to isis and to its sympathizers. one of the greatest threats facing europe is citizens who leave their homes to fight for isis and then return to recruit or conduct operations in their communities. we also face this threat from european isis fighters, the return of american citizens who have fought for isis and agents of isis posing as war refugees. although we passed bipartisan legislation to tighten some screening requirements, we need the administration to enforce the law rather than attempt to undermine a work around it. third, as a final line of defense, we need to better secure the homeland. we must make sure the
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intelligence community, law enforcement and homeland security officials have the tools that they need to deter attacks and to stop plots before they are launched. this includes the need for constant reassessment of our vulnerabilities so that we stay ahead of threats. tomorrow i will chair a hearing at the commerce committee with transportation security administrator peter neffinger who happened to be in brussels during the march 22 attacks. while we mainly see and know the transportation security administration or t.s.a. as the agency behind airport screening of passengers and baggage, the organization actually has a much broader charge. t.s.a. is the designated federal agency for all transportation security matters. as we know from independent covert testing that exposed t.s.a. failures a year ago, t.s.a. still has work to do to improve screening at airports. but t.s.a. also needs to focus on securing transportation by
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train, bus, pipelines and through our ports. the diversity of the targets isis selected in its most recent attacks, a subway station, an unsecured airport terminal and a busy street underscores the challenge of protecting our citizens from an enemy seeking the path of least resistance to maximize its carnage. to stay ahead of this dangers, security officials and other agencies need to be looking at potential threats before isis does. congress has a role in helping security officials stay ahead of isis. aided by congressional oversight and government watchdogs, the commerce committee has already approved bipartisan legislation that senator bill nelson and i have offered to address airport security vulnerabilities. our bill is cosponsored by the homeland security committee's chair and ranking members, senators johnson and carper. among other provisions, our legislation improves the vetting process for airport workers seeking or holding a security
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credential that grants access to restricted sections of an airport. over the past few weeks, a number of badge aviation workers have been caught in the act helping criminal organizations. on march 18, a flight attendant abandoned a suitcase with 68 pounds of cocaine after she was confronted by airport security officials in california. florida on march 26, an airline gate agent was arrested with a backpack containing $2,824,000 in cash that he intended to hand off to an associate. according to press reports, the agent told authorities that the money was connected to illegal activity but he knew few other details. mr. president, some of the perpetrators in the deadly attacks in brussels were previously known to authorities and criminals, but not terrorists. as we work to address concerns about an insider threat scenario where an aviation worker helps terrorists, criminals who have broken laws for their own financial gain and those with histories of violence are a good
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place to start. ensuring that airport workers with security credentials are trustworthy is especially important considering that isis in october killed 224 on a russian flight leaving egypt. many experts believe this attack had help from an aviation employee. in senate bill 2361, the airport security enhancement and oversight act, senator nelson and i not only proposed tightening vetting procedures for workers who need a security credential, but we also expand the list of criminal convictions that disqualifies an applicant from holding one. at present, even applicants convicted for embezzlement, racketeering, perjury, robbery, sabotage, immigration law violations and assault with a deadly weapon can still obtain an airport security badge granting access to restricted
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areas. our bill closes this loophole while updating airport security rules, expanding random inspections of airport workers and requiring a review of airport perimeter security. the commerce committee has also approved another t.s.a.-related bill, h.r. 2843, the t.s.a. precheck expansion act. this bill would expand participation in the t.s.a. precheck application program by developing priority sector partnerships and capabilities to vet and enroll more individuals. as a result, more passengers would be vetted before they even arrive at the airport and received expedited screening. this would get passengers through security checkpoints more quickly to ensure that they don't pose the kind of easy target that isis suicide bombers found at the brussels airport. historically, mr. president, if this body has passed aviation security enhancement separate
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from a reauthorization of the federal aviation administration. while i still prefer the separate approach and believe the senate should pass our consensus security legislation without delay, i will pursue every option to enact these improvements and will vigorously oppose any effort to water down security enhancements that passed the commerce committee. as we look at isis and consider necessary steps to stop attacks, let's remember our recent history of fighting terrorism. in the 1990's, our nation not only fell behind on intelligence and airport security, but we did not act with force against al qaeda's enclaves in afghanistan. this was true even after we recognized a significant threat following attacks on our embassies in east africa and on the u.s.s. cole in yemen. only, only after the attacks on the world trade center and pentagon did our nation pursue a
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strong military response and adopt significant reforms to enhance our homeland security. like al qaeda, isis is now a significant danger. while we are doing more to push our homeland security and intelligence agencies to meet current and future threats, we are unwise to allow this enemy time and multiple chances to inflict mass casualties. as a legislative body, we've already passed legislation closing a border security vulnerability in our visa waiver program and have an opportunity to act in the bill that senator nelson and i have offered to guard against an insider threat at airports. as lawmakers, we're going in the right direction. our responsibility to the people we represent, however, does not end there. until this administration or its successor changes the facts on the ground, we also have an obligation to speak about the
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continued threat of isis, especially when the administration down plays the need for a more aggressive response. we have an obligation to continue discussing the genocide of christians and other religious groups in areas under isis control, and we ever an obligation to scrutinize executive actions and conduct rigorous oversight of administration initiatives that pose risks to our homeland. mr. president, if we can't do this, we have learned very little. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. casey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, i ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. just a couple of minutes on the floor to send my congratulations
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on my own behalf but also on behalf of the people of pennsylvania to the villanova wildcats on a great win last night in the ncaa final. it was a remarkable game for a lot of reasons. my wife and i watched every minute of it, as i know so many did. it was a remarkable game even before the last-second shot, but even -- even more so after the shot made by chris jenkins. so we're grateful on behalf of the people of pennsylvania to commend and salute villanova, the university, and of course the team itself. but i in a particular way want to commend the players, not only chris jenkins but the entire team, but at the same time we want to commend the work done by jay wright, a great coach. he was awarded the naismith award this year as the coach of the year, but also for leading villanova this year. but also i think for the way
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that he conducted himself even in the aftermath of the win. we learn a lot about people in victory and defeat, whether that's on the -- in the athletic contests or even in politics or life itself. i thought jay wright showed a lot of class in the way he conducted himself after winning, which is sometimes not the case in sports today. but i want to commend them as well, the team,for their great teamwork which obviously has to play out not just on court in one game but over the length after season. the practice and the hard work and the working together and the way they built each other up. there's so many instances where this team really was a team in reality, not just in terms of people talking about them as a team. i'm not sure they could have shot better. i'm told -- and i hope i have
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this right -- 58% shooting, field goal percentage throughout the tournament. a remarkable achievement. again that doesn't just happen. it happens because of hard work and because of a great coach. so i want to commend and salute the team and congratulate them on winning a very difficult tournament. this is a tournament that had a lot of upsets. to come out number one is a great achievement. finally, i want to commend and salute the university. father peter donahue, the president. we know him as father peter. i want to thank him. he had sent me a villanova hat, which i wore during the semifinal game or part of the game, and i made i wore it or at least a few minutes during the final game. i was grateful to have him send me that reminder of team spirit. in addition to father peter in
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the larger villanova community we want to salute as well the students. the fans who may not have been students, but fans who are either supporters or graduates. and of course the alumni that might it possible for the team to have the support they've had. mr. president, i would ask that these remarks appear in a separate part of the record from a few comments i'll make about the recent travels across pennsylvania that i made. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i do want to say as well that two issues arose when i was traveling across pennsylvania. as i know, the presiding officer and others may have heard about in the time we were away from washington, and i know there are many, but i'll just mention two that the people of our state are
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thinking a lot about and worried about and also they expect us to take action concerning. number one, the opioid epidemic across the country, which is -- which has kin caused the kind oh and deaf sthaition that none of us can imagine. in pennsylvania alone, more than 2,700 people died in 2014 as a result of some kind of drug overdose. so this is a major challenge. we made tremendous progress when we passed our bipartisan bill here, the so-called cara bill. that was a good move, an important step for the senate. i hope we can follow up on that with the funding, the $600 million in funding that local law enforcement and the treatment experts and others have asked us for. we need to finish the job in terms of making sure the senate is taking the right steps on
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this challenge. the second issue i'll mention just briefly, because we don't have time today to develop it further, is lead poisoning in children. we know what happened in flint, the horror and the tragedy of flint. but in a state like mine, the biggest challenge we have is not necessarily lead from water or in the water systems that would adversely affect children. in our case, because we have a lot of hold homes, it's lead paint. and the exposure to lead paint and the high lead levels that get children -- or i should say puts children in a precarious situation short run but even long term because some of these impacts, if the levels are very high, can be irreversible. we've to make sure we're doing more to protect our children, not only this pennsylvania but across the country in terms of making sure that fewer and fewer
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children are exposed to high lead levels. and i know we'll talk more about that. but there are two major challenges that i now confront, pennsylvania and also confront our country. so with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispense wd pfer without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, as you know, we have been back at home in our states for the last couple of weeks or traveling listening to our constituents. it was great to be back home and to spend some time talking to
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the people who i work for about the challenges facing our country and what we have been doing in the united states senate to try to address those. and while it's always true that people wished there would be more consensus building and more solutions offered, i would say by and large people feel like we had a pretty productive 2015, and are hoping that we can continue that sort of productivity here in the senate in 2016, even though this is as we all know a presidential election year. and yesterday was a good example of that productivity. we passed a trademark enforcement piece of legislation basically without -- it was unanimous to the best of my knowledge. all the senators here in the chamber voted for it without going through the usual procedural hoops that are
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required in order to process legislation here in the senate. previously we passed legislation recently the comprehensive addiction recovery act to deal with this crisis involving opioid or prescription drug painkillers that are being abused around the country and people unfortunately following -- falling into that trap. and then the cheap heroin that sometimes is used as a substitute if people can't find the opioid prescription drugs. so congress actually has been doing the people's business here, but of course we're in the type of profession where people will sometimes tell you, well, we think you're doing a great job and others will tell you, well, we don't think you're doing quite so great a job. but that's the nature of the beast. but either way it's always good to be back home. as i was talking to my constituents back home, i was glad to hear one thing.
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no matter what part of the state that i was traveling in, it was an appreciation for the decision we've made to give the voters a voice on who makes the next lifetime appointment to the supreme court. texans want to have a say in who replaces justice scalia on our nation's highest court and i believe their voice should be heard. we are already engaged in the presidential primaries process. today is the wisconsin primary, and it won't be that long before we have a new president who will make that appointment. and i simply believe that it's important particularly in something that could extend for the next 235 or 30 years -- 25 or 30 years and affect the balance of power really on the supreme court that this be left to the voters. we all know that we did not end up in this position overnight. in fact, there's a lot of history. i remember back when i came to the senate, i was frustrated by
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the fact that there was so much politics at play in the judicial confirmation process. and having served as a state court judge myself for 13 years, i had some pretty strong views about that. but the problem is there's been a lot that's transpired in the interim. everything from the biden rule to the reid statement in 2005 are really a threat saying that if president george w. bush were to appoint a judge to the supreme court, that it was within the authority of the united states senate not to hold a vote on that appointment. that was in 2005. that was the democratic leader. and then 2007 when george w. bush was still president, 18 months before he left office, senator schumer, the next democratic leader, said there should be a presumption against confirmation. this is something nearly unprecedented. then we know in the interim
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there's been this development of filibusters or the requirement of the 60 votes in order to get judges confirmed brought to us by our democratic friends as well as something we didn't think would ever happen but did happen under democratic leadership, the so-called nuclear option. in other words, breaking the senate rules in order to confirm judges mainly to the si sir kurt court of appeals what some call the second most powerful nation, in order to pack that court with judges who are more likely to affirm president obama's constitutional overreach. so as i said much so my chagrin and i bet to a lot of people's chagrin, we've seen the playbook torn up by our democratic lleagues and rewritten. and the question is, are we going to be operating under a different set of rules than they would if the roles were reversed. frankly, my constituents back
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home think that the rules ought to be the same no matter who happens to be in the majority and who happens to be in the white house. but even more significantly, the supreme court is the final authority for many of the most pressing issues that face our country and the court often acts as a constitutional counterlate to the passions of both the -- counterweight to the passions of the both the executive and legislative branches. we've scene the supreme court -- seen the supreme court act time and again on the obama administration's lawless actions. we saw this in the recent appointment case. we've seen it in a number of different cases where the court has said to the obama administration you simply overextended your reach beyond legitimate boundaries. and i'm thankful for that important counterbalance in our government and the give and take that the founding fathers intended for us to have with three coequal branches of government. but as i said, the next supreme
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court justice could well change the ideological direction of the court for a generation. rightly or wrongly, the supreme court has the final word on issues as varied as the scope of the president's power, the ability of the states to make their own decisions about self-government, questions of personal liberty and the like. the court can and has made all the difference in the world, and one justice can affect that for a long, long time. now, we recall justice scalia as somebody who believed in the words in the constitution. that the words in the constitution matters greatly, and he served on the court for 30 years. justice scalia was what was sometimes called an originalist. he believed that the court had an obligation to apply the constitution and the law as written, not based on some substituted value judgment for what perhaps the unelected lifetime tenured judges would have preferred in terms of
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policy. that's not their role. that he don't stand for election. -- they don't stand for election. it is our role as the policy-makers who do stand for election and, thus, give the american people to voice their pleasure or displeasure, as the case may be, with the direction that we perhaps take the country when it comes to policy. but teas not a role that the -- but that's not a role that the supreme court should play. so we need to approach filling this seat with great care. the administration and their liberal allies are now trying to basically throw everything but the kitchen sink to try to get -- to stop the american people from getting a voice in this matter. in other words, they're trying to force congress' hand or the senate's hand to confirm the presidential nominee at this time. and they're end spending millions of dollars on tv advertising. they've hired consul taints, and they've found some sympathetic allies in the immediate i do not -- in the media to criticize.
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i don't begrudge who has a different point of view than i do about this. but i simply cannot in good conscience vote to confirm another obama nominee to the united states supreme court in the waning days of this president's term in office. and so i happen to believe that we should not process this nomination. we should exercise the power that we have under the constitution to grant or withhold consent, and in this case to withhold consent. but here we are several weeks after the president announced his nominee, and nothing has really changed. all the money and the consul stants in the -- and the consultants in the world isn't going to change the fact that the american people are going to have their say. we don't know how that will turn out. this is not based on the personality of the nominee but on the principle that the american people should have their voice heard. as i said, the president has the
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authority to nominate anybody he chooses. but that doesn't change our responsibility or our authority under that same constitution. and we remain committed to the idea that this vacancy should be filled by the next president. i want to be clear that the american people do deserve a voice here, and we will make sure that they are heard. in the meantime, as i started out in saying, there is a lot of this unction that we can do -- there is a lot of things that we can do working together. just because we disagree about this one item doesn't mean we have to disagree about everything or that congress needs to lapse into dysfunction. and we currently have a bill pending before us involving the federal i have aation administration -- voferg the federal aviation administration and the very important topic of safe and secure air travel. so we can disagree about how to proceed with the president's nominee to the supreme court and still work together to pass other good consensus legislation. so i hope all of us, our
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colleagues across the aisle and on this side of the aisle, will continue to work together to do things that i think would help the stun country a lot -- would help the country a lot. things like criminal justice reform, a bill that enjoys broad, bipartisan support and the president of the united states has said he supports. there's also other important legislation that i'm very concerned about and interested in involving the intersection of our -- of mental illness with our criminal justice system and the fact that our jails have become the de facto warehouses for people with mental illness who are going untreated. and obviously the homeless who are living on our streets, many of whom are suffering from mental illness signs and symptoms. so i hope we can continue to work together on these other consensus matters, even though we disagree about this one very important matter.
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i'm confident we can and we will. mr. president, on another matter, i have nine unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. these have been approved by both the majority and minority leaders. i ask these requests be agreed to and print the inned record. the presiding officer: without objection. the presidin mr. cornyn: thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: roll. -- the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? i would ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with
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pfer without objection. a senator: i would ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: mr. president, during the recess last week, i had the opportunity to meet with judge garland of the united states court of appeals for the district of columbia circuit, president obama's nominee to fill the existing vacancy of an associate justice of the united states supreme court. during our meeting, we discussed the role of the supreme court in protecting the civil rights of americans. we discussed the -- we discussed national security challenges including those related to the detainees at guantanamo bay, cuba. we discussed the citizens united case and campaign finance laws. we talked about the respect for each branch of government and our constitutional system of checks and balances. we spoke about the important role of precedent in our judicial decisions and the need to build consensus on decisions. we discussed the value of promoting pro bono work in the
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legal profession and the need to address the growing aspect to the justice gap. i was pleased to hear that chief judge garland worked to clarify ethics rules to allow government lawyers to engage in additional pro bono work. mr. president, what i was doing is what i hope every member of the united states senate would do, and that is finding out more about judge garland, his judicial philosophy, his way that he has conducted his life, his respect for the constitution and the precedents of the judicial branch of government, to look at current issues and see how judge garland views those current you shalls. that's all part of a confirmation process. the president under the constitution has done his job. that is, he's made the nomination of who he believes should fill justice scalia's vacancy. it is now up to the senate to do our job. our job starts with members of the senate meeting with judge
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garland to be able to see one on one, without cameras glaring, how judge garland responds to our individual issues. we obviously have his record, his background, his public service, what he's done as a lawyer, what he's done as a prosecutor, what he's done as a judge on the circuit court. we also will have -- we should have a confirmation hearing in the judiciary committee which will give us more information. the responsibility of the president as under the constitution is to make the nomination. it's now up to the united states senate to do our, and our job is to consider that nominee, for each senator to learn as much as we possibly can. this is a crit clinical important position, the supreme court of the united states, and for the institution to hold hearings and to vote. each senator will have to make his or her judgment. we have a responsibility to
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consider that nomination and a responsibility to vote. i must tell you that i was very impressed by the nominee. during the course of our meeting, he really does have an impeccable qualification as a prosecutor, a judge, now chief judge of what many call the second highest court in the land. the senate confirmed judge garland on a bipartisan basis for his current judgeship which he has held for nearly two decades. chief judge garland strikes me as a very thoughtful and deliberative person. i am proud to sthait nominee is a marylander and lives in bethesda in montgomery county, maryland. chief judge garland is the nominee for the supreme court and should be dealt with in this term of congress. it is not a matter for the next president and the next congress. it is a matter for this president and this congress. there are nine months left in this year. to suggest that we don't have the time and the president doesn't have the authority to aponts a nominee is absolutely
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outrageous. it is an affront to the constitution. this nomination is not about popularity or politics. it is about finding the next justice who will advance the rule of law in this country, who will recognize the responsibility of the supreme court to be the final arbiter on constitutional issues and having a person who can bring about greater consensus among his colleagues. as more of my colleagues meet judge garland, they will see that this is one of his many strengths. we need to go through the process and give chief judge garland a chance. i think it is hard to understand how you are excused from doing your job for nine months by not having a confirmation hearing or vote. i don't think the american people understand that. quite frankly, i don't understand that. i don't understand why we are not going through the regular order. regular order would be for us individually to meet with judge garland and for the judiciary committee to hold a hearing and to schedule a timely vote on the floor of the united states senate.
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i think more and more senators will come to that conclusion. the president did his job. it is now tomb for the senate to do its job. the american people want to see nine justices on the supreme court when it convenes its new term in october. we have a new term beginning october of this year. we expect to see nine justices on court to make decisions. you don't resolve issues on a 4-4 vote. we hope we'll have greater consensus. we shouldn't have a divided court. we should be able to get more collegiality on the supreme court. but we also should be able to make a decision. the supreme court needs to make a decision with eight justices, in too many cases they're not going to be able to make a decision. article 2, section 2, of the constitution says that the president qush shall nominate and by and with the advice and consent of the senate shall appoint judges of the supreme court." the president has no alternative under the constitution but to make a nomination when there is
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a vacancy. there is a vacancy on the supreme court. justice scalia's untimely death. the president did his job. the constitution says very clearly that we, the senate, has the advice and consent. that is our rirlt. this is not optional. we have this as a requirement. never have we denied an opportunity to consider a supreme court nominee. it's now up to us to consider that nominee and we should consider that nominee by doing our job, interviewing judge garland, schedule ago committee hearing and votin voting. the american people twice elected president obama to four-year terms in office. their voice has been heard very clearly. elections have congresses and president obama has carried out his constitutional responsibility and duties of his office by nominating judge garland as the suck successor to judge scalia. the president is doing the job
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the american people elected him to do. the president doesn't stop working simply because it's an election year. he has more than nine months left in office, as do senators that will face the voters in november. congress should not stop working either in this election year. of course, every senator has the right to make his or her own judgment on they'll vote for or against confirmation. senators were elected for six year terms and have the right and obligation to vote as they see fit. president obama was elected by the people of the united states for a four-year term and has the right and obligation to nominate judges. history has shown that when the roles were reversed and democrats held the majority in the senate, supreme court and judicial nominees for republican president were given hearings and up-and-down votes regardless of when the vacancies occurred. while i might have picked different judges as a senator, i voted to confirm a vast majority of president bush's judicial nominations in his final year in office. i will continue to carry out my
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constitutional responsibilities that i undertook when i became a senator and swore to support the constitution. a democratically controlled senate confirmed judgment kennedy to the supreme court in 1988. the senate also confirmed justice murphy and jufort cardozo, justice brandeis in 1916. the precedent of the senate indicates that we need to take up this nominee. with the republicans -- what the republicans are effectively trying to do is shrink the supreme court from nine to eight justices and shortening the term of the president from four years to three years. why? because the president is of a different party than the senate. this is disgraceful and indwnsable. let me quote justice sandra day o'connor who was appointed by president ronald reagan in 1981. the first female justice of the supreme court. when asked about the vacancy on the court created by the death of justice scalia, justice
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o'connor said, "we need somebody there now to do the job and let's get on with it." end quote. i agree with justice o'connor. let's do our job and fill the senate tion constitutional responsibilities and vote up or down on judge garland's nomination. with that, mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: i would ask that the senate stand in recess until 2:15 p.m. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the
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senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m.
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schedule and >> campaign 2016 continues with the wisconsin primary. and your reaction taking you on the road to the white house on c-span, c-span radio and up next, former presidential campaign manager and advises discuss campaign advertising. and george w. bush center in dallas, it begins with a look at presidential campaign ads as far back as 1952.
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♪ everybody likes like ♪ we don't want john ♪ ♪ ♪ >> now is the time for all good americans to come to the aid of their country. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome kevin sullivan, senior advisor external affairs, george w. bush presidential center. >> good evening and welcome.
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let me offer our sincere apologies for embedding that ike for president ike for president. it is going to be in your head for two or three days. hopefully it will be a reminder of a fun evening tonight. that clip from 1952 was one of the first presidential tv ads, a nice way to set the tone, it is being recorded by c-span for airing later so tell your friends. thank you for being here for another sold-out event at the george w. bush presidential center. in addition to the presidential museum and library, it also houses the bush institute, robust and energetic policy center that addresses today's most pressing challenges by developing leaders, fostering policy, and taking action that improves quality of people's lives here at home and all
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around the world, the bush institute focuses on policy areas that were most important during their public lives and one way to continue their service to our nation, and honor to have the president and this is bush here tonight. [applause] >> i want to call your attention to the path to the presidency special exhibit which explores the history of campaigns and elections, lots of interactive things you can do. the exhibit will be open until 9:00 pm. if you didn't have a chance to see it please check it out after the even. really excited about the program tonight. we think you are in for a treat. we begin with the conversation about presidential campaign advertising. we have two experts, award-winning political strategist mark mckinnon, doctor patrick merrick


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