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tv   30 Years of Gavel-to- Gavel Senate Coverage on C-SPAN2  CSPAN  June 4, 2016 8:00pm-9:50pm EDT

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our guest is air force secretary deborah lee james. she talks about military operations against isis. defense policy debate in congress and whether women should be required to next, c-span looks at 30 years of senate coverage on c-span2. with the weekly addresses president obama and house speaker paul ryan. after that, the communicators and a discussion of consumer privacy on the internet.
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>> today is a historic occasion. the proceedings of the united states senate are being broadcast to the nation on television for the first time, not that we have operated in secret until now. millions of americans have set in the galleries and observed senate debates during their visits to washington. but today, they can witness the proceedings in their own homes. we might say that the nation is tuning in late. woodrow wilson said that the informing function of congress should be preferred to its legislative function. today, as the u.s. senate comes out of the communications dark ages, we create another historic moment in the relationship between congress and technological advancement in communications through radio and television.
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>> that was june 2, 1986, 30 years ago this month, and the occasion was the first day of permanent television of the united states senate. we are going to use the opportunity of the 30th anniversary to look back at the senate and how it is changed in the era of television. we have two guests that have been with the senate for 40 years and their careers there, though now retired, they span the age of the television before senate and after, so they are ideally suited to help us understand how the institution adapted to the coming of television cameras. let me introduce them to you. alan frumin is a senate parliamentarian emeritus, and as i mentioned, he spent 40 years in the parliamentarian office rising to the chief parliamentarian position. thank you for being with us. mr. frumin: i am delighted to be here. >> don ritchie has set down at our table many times. historian emeritus, again, 40 years in the united states senate and served as the chief
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historian from 2009 to 2015, and has written a number of books. nice to see you and thank you for being with us. mr. ritchie: thank you. >> the senate had been debating this idea of opening itself to cameras for a long time. the house had proceeded it in 1979. what took them such a long time to say yes? mr. frumin: the constitution does not require the senate to do its business in public. for the first six years, the senate met entirely in secret. the house had a gallery on day one because they were all running for reelection. the house was really primed when television became available. but the senate, because the rules are very different and allows its members to speak as long as they want, they were more reluctant to consider that, so it took several years to persuade the senators to go along. >> as soon as the broadcast media evolved way back in 1924, some senators have the idea that putting it onto the airwaves would be a great idea. what happened to those early efforts? mr. ritchie: they had a huge
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microphone they were going to put into the chamber. they had experiments to see how well it was going to work. the technology was not there at the time, but as a result, members were very conscious about communicating. members like to communicate with the public, so whenever there is a new form of technology, often members want to try it, but then there are the traditionalist that say the institution would never be the same if you brought in new equipment. >> one name that will be familiar to c-span viewers is claude pepper. began hee television , was a member. he thought it would be a good idea to televise the proceedings. what were his contributions to this whole debate? mr. frumin: he was gone from the senate by the time i arrived. since he was the only individual who traveled from the senate and to the house, he was willing to
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leave the more traditionally bound institution, an institution that was much more reluctant to adopt 20th century communication opportunities, that he was happy to move over to the house side, a body that was much more in tune to the popular will of the people, and so somebody more willing to open the doors decided that the door s would more likely be open on the house side. i am not surprised that he traveled in that direction if that was his attitude. a good number of the old line senators were against opening the doors to the cameras. >> why is that? mr. frumin: why is that? the senate is by constitutional design a reflective body. it is designed to slow things down. it is designed for contemplation. it is designed for compromise. i think a number of the senators who have been around for a long time felt that those characteristics were not
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necessarily photogenic and that the very nature of the body might be compromised when the cameras started to roll. >> in the 1970's, the senate experimented with one-time special event coverage. two dates i have in mind from that senate historian's office, the 1974 swearing in of nelson rockefeller, and then in 1978, a debate over the panama canal treaty. what was behind those short-term experiments? mr. ritchie: we are getting ready to impeach richard nixon in 1974, and they did not know he was going to resign, so the senate prepared for an impeachment trial. looking over the wreckage of 1868 when they impeached andrew johnson, they realized that was the first time they handed out tickets to the galleries because everyone wanted to be there. well you couldn't really impeach a president and not allow the american public to watch it, so they agreed to bring television cameras and for the president's impeachment trial, but that summer he resigned.
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the cameras were still there in december of 1974 when nelson rockefeller was sworn, and so that was the first event in the senate chamber. they immediately took the cameras out, so there was no more televising. and then in the late 1970's, the panama canal treaty was being debated and it was a very big significant issue at the time, huge amount of interest in it. the senate allowed national public radio to come in and to broadcast. i remember sitting in the staff gallery. right at the front was someone doing the play-by-play and introducing who was speaking at the time. the senators would speak, but nobody knew who the voices were. she would do a little introduction and then setting next to her was the woman doing sketches of the senators so they could have sketches of the evening news that night. that was the type of primitive broadcasting that was coming out of the chambers in the 1970's. >> after the 1980 election, republicans gained control of
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the senate and howard baker became the majority leader. he was so interested in televising the senate that it became first revolution he introduced as majority leader. first, can you speak to the issue andst in this what happened to his initial efforts to bring in cameras in 1981? mr. ritchie: he liked new developments and innovations, but he was one of the first leaders elected in part because he looked good on television. the party was thinking in those terms, that they needed somebody to be the face of the party. and so senator baker would have been a perfect person to present his party's agenda at the time. reagan had just become president. but the old line senators, the democrats had been running the senate for the last 26 years, and a senator from louisiana said it was a terrible idea, that if they were to give
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senators television time they , would not get anything done here. in the senate, people get up and who knows, they will be speaking tomorrow on this, so you had the resistance. senator byrd was initially one of those that was a traditionalist, institutionalist, and he just did not know what the impact is going to be. i remember at that time, they sent some staff around the world to talk to parliaments that had televising, and the secretary of the senate went to the israeli convention, which was being televised to see how it went and one of the members took him aside and said, whatever you do, do not let the cameras into your chamber. because once they come in, you will never get them out. >> from a procedural standpoint, what really was the process for the decision-making on cameras? was it always having to be introduced by the majority leader? did it need anything more than a simple majority of votes? can you just talk about it in terms of the process of getting it done?
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mr. frumin: let me go back to howard baker. you mentioned when he became majority leader in 1981 he led the charge in favor of television. he loved technology. he was a camera bug. he loved showing off his cameras. he was very much interested in computers as well. he was a hands-on techno-geek. he deftly wanted television in the senate. of course, he had to fight with resistance on both sides of the aisle. and it was left to his successor, senator dole, to navigate those waters as majority leader with senator byrd, the minority leader at the time. byrd was, i think, more reluctant, more a creature of the old senate. dole readily embraced his predecessor baker's interest in and respect for technology. they did go back and forth, and the parliamentarian at the time,
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bob dove, went back and forth, being in honest broker between the two leaders in trying to satisfy their wishes that the newly televised senate, were it to occur, would be more a somewhat more streamlined senate. there were a number of changes that were discussed. ultimately most of them were left by the wayside, on the cutting room floor. the one major change that was made, a major procedural concession, was to take the post cloture 100 hours that had been added to the rules in 1979 to reduce that 100 hours to a more manageable number. and at the time the two leaders , asked what was the most number of hours used in a post cloture filibuster since the rule change occurred in 1979? 100 hours were available. he came back to the office and said we had to do some research, what is the most amount of time
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?hat has been use post cloture and we discovered that 30 hours had been used by mark hatfield filibustering an attempt to reinstitute the draft, and that was the longest amount of time that had been used in a post cloture filibuster. dole went back to them and said, 30 hours? and they said, 30 hours it is. it has remained 30 hours since then. >> 1986 was when this first discussion and when the senate accelerated, and senator robert byrd of west virginia is really key. you said he was in institutionalist. can you tell us of any back stories about how he changed his mind? mr. ritchie: a number of senators were becoming concerned that house members were more recognizable than senators were because people were watching on c-span, but they cannot see the senate. senator byrd was not a great television watcher. apparently, he did not have satellite television at home. one of the stories i heard was that he was traveling back to west virginia to give a speech and he was staying in a hotel
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that had satellite-tv and he watched the house of representatives on television and he was rather stunned because he thought they were just showing clips. he did not realize it was gavel-to-gavel, and he was very impressed with what he saw. he began to think about what the senate would be like and begin to adjust to that. i think that combination plus the younger members coming to him and saying, look, when al gore got elected in 1984, he was the very first representative on tv in the house and now he is in the senate and not on television, so you get this pressure from the younger members to the senior members saying it is time for us to modernize. >> al gore in particular, who was the first to speak on the floor in 1979 in the house of representatives when it went on camera, very technology oriented. he was one of the first senators to speak in 1986 as well, so he was pushing senator byrd. we also have a bit of a story we have been telling over the years about senator byrd. that probably that same trip
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home, he was introduced in his home state of west virginia as speaker of the house, who was tip o'neill,to also with a big white mane of hair and was concerned the senate was being left in the dust. can you verify the story? mr. ritchie: i have heard that, too, but i do not know what the what invading factor was. >> so, he still needed votes. as you mentioned, there were a number of old-line senators. did he basically say to them, stay out of the way as we move forward. how did he get to "yes?" mr. frumin: he was good at changing minds, and once his mind was changed he could be very persuasive. again, i think he realized and he convinced his caucus that this was inevitable and that in order for the senate to function, that this body conceived in the late 18th century needed to adapt to the
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20th century, that it couldn't simply remain hidden from the public. you asked about the vote necessary. all resolutions in the senate require a simple majority for adoption. those that amend the standing rules of the senate require a higher number of for cloture. cloture is difficult to attain. on questions to amend the standing rules, it requires two thirds. dole and byrd knew they needed this number. senator byrd can be very persuasive, and bob dole on his side of the aisle was very also very persuasive. >> when the votes happened, they decided on a two-step process, one with the june 2 date. they envisioned that this a was trial period. what happened? mr. ritchie: a month later, they would see if it really changed things and give them a chance to
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step back, but within the month everybody liked it so much, everybody was on camera. it hadn't changed the institution. the world had not collapsed around them. it would have been very hard at that point to pull the plug. >> there are only a handful of senators who are still in the body today who were there in 1986. when i looked at the list one of them that surprised me is senator chuck grassley. he voted against the initial trial period and the permanent. he is very camera friendly. do you have any sense of what his concerns were back then? mr. frumin: people were afraid if you gave senators unlimited television time, they would take it and that nothing would get done. there is a sense about grandstanding. the senate talks about workhorses and show horses. senator grassley had been a workhorse. he spends time in the committees and gets things done. although he does get up in front of the cameras when he does want
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to promote something. there are some people who spend more of their time in front of the cameras and microphones than they do in the committees, and there was real concern that this would change the nature of the senate over time. i think, pretty quickly on, they realized they were used to tv cameras. tv were in the committee rooms, in their home states. deal toot that big of a have it in the chamber. >> one senator was john glenn who went to the floor that day when the cameras first arrived doing a bit of a display about how he thought the senate would change. the used makeup, talked about cameras, talked about a resurgence of blue shirts and ties and in fact, did you see that in the chamber? where people changing their attire and how they came to the senate floor on their arrival? mr. frumin: yes. i think senators realize this d this was a time for them to look their best. this was not really a question of showing up for an interview somewhere.
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this was where they went to work on a daily basis and the cameras would be there. and the cameras would be on them if they wished that to be the case, and so it was important that they looked their best, so i believe it was not proliferation of blue shirts and red ties back then, and i think to a certain extent, that remains the case. senator glenn may have made light of the incoming era of senate television, but he was not shy to use it. >> does it ever close its doors? mr. ritchie: they can have a n executive session if it is dealing with something of a classified nature. nowadays, don't they move down to the old senate chambers? mr. frumin: first of all, let me correct some nomenclature. executive sessions are sessions for the considerations of executive business. those are treaties and nominations. the doors are open for legislative and executive business.
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the proper term is closed session, and the standing rules permit the doors to be closed for really any purpose. it takes one senator to make a motion to close the doors and another senator to second that motion, and with that, the doors are closed. >> they do that in frequently. mr. frumin: it is infrequent. it is seldom done as a surprise. this is usually done in advance when the senators have notified the leadership why it is that they ask the doors to be closed. as don has pointed out, they go down to the hall of the old senate chamber, which is a more suitable venue for confidential business to be conducted. >> we mentioned that senator chuck grassley was one of the senators back in 1986 who voted against it and it is still in the senate. another of those was mitch mcconnell. he voted against the initial trial period, but later voted yes to make them permanent. he talked about that with us in an interview at his office recently.
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let's watch. majority leader mitch mcconnell, on june 2, the senate will be marking the 30th anniversary of its permanently televised sessions. there have been a couple to experiments over the years with special events, but on june 2, 1986, it became daily gavel-to-gavel coverage. you were here then. do you remember the discussions leading up to it and how contentious they were? sen. mcconnell: i do. i remember thinking it would be a big mistake and voting against it, but i have to confess, i was the one who made the mistake. i think it has been extremely important to have the senate televised and have c-span do that, and i am sure i have made a number of mistakes in my political career, but voting against having c-span televised the senate was one of them. >> the institutionalists were worried the senate would change as a result of the cameras. that is what held it up for those many years. howard baker, your predecessor, it was the first piece of legislation he put in as leader, and it did not go anywhere for
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years because of all these concerns. has the senate actually changed? were the worriers correct? >> the american people are in tired to see our debates. and frankly, our debates are much more civil than what they are subjected to in a presidential campaign or a senate reelection campaign. they get to see that we don't hate each other, that we have a collegial environment, and that there are a lot of intelligent people who are doing what they think is in the best interest of the country. they would be denied all of that were it not for c-span covering the senate. >> has the senate had to make any accommodations for cameras? have you changed the rules or procedures for the television audience? sen. mcconnell: you know, i do not know the answer to that, but if there has been some, it has
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been pretty minor. >> in recent years there has , been social media, people instantaneously clipping pieces of senate debate and sending it out. how has that changed your job? sen. mcconnell: social media is certainly important these days. there is no question about it. it does not change how i do my job, but i think it certainly does involve a lot more people in what is going on. there is nothing bad about that. my biggest frustration, of course, is that most of the coverage of what we do is the ont the things we disagree rather than the accomplishments that we achieve on a weekly basis for the american people. >> people who watch the senate often see quorum calls and there are from time to time discussions about whether or not that process works in the television age. what is your response to that? in cormeason we are
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quorumis because we -- calls is because we are having discussions about how to go forward. in the senate, everything is done on unanimous consent, so any one senator can keep you from moving forward. we use quorum calls as fillers while we are trying to discuss how to go forward. i am sure it is boring for the viewer, and i do not know from the c-span point of view how you deal with quorum calls, but it is not true that nothing is happening during a quorum call. >> if you were to change anything about television coverage of the senate, is there anything that you would change at this point? sen. mcconnell: i do not have any suggestions to make on that. i think it is great that c-span covers the senate. it is an important part of keeping americans informed. >> thank you very much. that is majority leader mitch mcconnell talking about his 1986 hesitation about television cameras in the senate. one of the compromises the senate made, as the house had done, was that the cameras in the chamber were to be run by
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senate employees and under the control of the senate and that any news organization could pick up that feed and use it in either short coverage or, as in the case of c-span, gavel-to-gavel coverage, and that is the way the operations remain today. gentlemen, one of the things i want to put on the table is how much of senate itself has changed in terms of demographics. looking at the senate and the 99th congress in 1986, here are the statistics. 96 white man, two asian men and only two women. they were paula hawkins of florida and -- but if we look at the 114th men,ess today, 75 white one asian woman, 20 women overall, three hispanic men and one african-american male senator. how has this center changed in the 30 years? in 30 years.nged mr. ritchie: the more diversity you have in the membership, the more diversity of the type of
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issues they push. 1986 was the year the barbara mikulski was elected to the senate, and her office sent pictures of each class that she served in with a group of women senators, and there were just two at first. with each year, it grows, which means issues of women are more front and center on the agenda than they were back into the 1980's. that is not to say the senate right interested in women's issues. there was a different focus on that and a different intensity about it. the same thing is true for racial diversity, ethnic diversity. the house has always been more diverse because districts are smaller and they tend to reflect more of the population. you have to run statewide. but television has helped people to identify attractive candidates, and it has helped to the point where we have several states that have two women senators, for instance. >> here is one other statistic on democrats that surprised me a just a little. in 1986, the average age was 51
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55, and today in the 1/14, the average age is 61. , the average age is 61. we have a vision of the senate in the old days of old men with gray hair, but the statistics belie that. what is happened? mr. frumin: the senate is designed for the long haul. i do think the people that people who come to the senate quickly learn that the nature of the body is that it is slow to act, but it takes everybody's wishes into account, and that longevity tends to be enlightening. that longevity and experience are at a premium. it is important to calm and work in a unique procedural environment. it is difficult to be very effective right away. to be effective legislatively
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and to be effective formulating policy in the senate is generally a slow learning curve and so the smart ones i believe , recognize the nature of the institution, how it was designed s procedures emphasize and support the founders design that this be a place for the long haul and so i am not surprised that you have people coming and staying for as long as they can. >> we heard the majority leader talk about the advantage of the public being able to bear witness to the great events of their time so we thought we , would look in broad categories at some of the things people were able to witness because of television cameras being in the united states senate. we really wanted to start with one of the most important duties congress has, that is the consideration of going to war. let's start by showing two clips. we will start with one in 1991 a senator bill: in the first gulf war and a second clip from
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october 3, 2002 with senator boxer talking about the decision and the iraq war. let's watch. >> ladies and gentlemen, nails have been driven into the bodies of innocent people. cigarettes put out in open eyes. electric wires attached to genitals. daughters raped before their parents and executed. horror that would challenge the imagination of a marquis de sade, and yet many in our society still say why can we not , continue the dialogue? why not agree to linkage? if someone other than secretary james baker agrees to its demands, won't that be sufficient to satisfy him? mr. president, with each passing acts of appeasement are wrapped in a language of dialogue with serious negotiations and with each passing day the united states and it allies emerge as the bullies of imperialist, seeking to destroy a man who professes to be a benevolent robin hood who only wants peace and justice for the palestinian and arab
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nations. let his soldiers lick the bones of those who they have butchered. >> america at her best has been seen as a beacon of hope not fear, an example of not might makes right, but might backing right, and what is right at the a time like this? i believe it is laying out a path for piece, not just a path for war, trying everything we can to avoid chaos and devastation to our own and to innocent civilians who may well be used as pawns in urban warfare. i felt that madeleine albright, former secretary of state under president clinton, and dr. henry kissinger laid out a path for peace when they spoke before the foreign relations committee. they talked about unfettered inspections and dismantlement of weapons of mass destruction. as they said, and i agree, it
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won't be easy. maybe, madam president, it will be impossible, but there is no doubt in my mind that we should lay out that path and try for complete, unfettered inspections with nothing off-limits to be followed by dismantlement of those weapons. for those who say it will never work, maybe they are right. but madam president, we have never, never pulled the massive trigger of our weapons on a nation that has not attacked us first. >> senators debating america's involvement in military action. count, since cameras came in 1986, there have been five votes in the senate on authorizing the use of military force. how significant are these debates over sending our military to war? mr. frumin: there is nothing more significant for a legislative body, for a government, to decide than to
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send its men and women into war, to risk their lives. i find it interesting that in the senate, decisions on committing troops to battle are by and large subject to filibuster. i have had people ask me over the years, shouldn't important decisions be on a fast-track? but you can turn that around and say truly important decisions such as committing our troops to battle really do require that the institution stand back and take its time to decide, and so these are extremely significant. obviously, in order for a vote to occur, all the members must agree that a vote will occur, but that is only after the greatest deliberation and the ability of everybody to be heard. >> don ritchie, when the first cameras came into the senate, many of the senators had been there through the vietnam war. how did the ghosts of vietnam impact the debates that happened
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in the televised age? >> the gulf of tonkin resolution, which president johnson used as his declaration of war was debated in a matter , on the senate floor, one of the shortest and quickest, very little thought went into it. it was something everybody was responding to, the immediate moment, without the long-term consequences. today, a similar type of resolution would take quite some time because practically every senator would feel the need to speak, and that is important for the senators to articulate positions on these. part of it is because of a lingering resentment from the gulf of tonkin resolution, which they felt, the senators felt, the president have used it in a way that the senate had not intended. there is a long history of conflict during presidents and between presidents and congress over the war powers in part because the constitution is a little ambiguous on this. the congress declares war and
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appropriates the funds. the president is the commander-in-chief. how far can they go under each of these and what are their responsibilities? today at least with televising, the senators feel the need to go on record on something as important as war and peace. one consequence of cameras? mr. ritchie: yes. >> what do you sense being in the chamber for these momentous votes that television viewers at home can't see? what is the atmosphere like? mr. frumin: the atmosphere on these significant votes is electric. during the debates, the cameras must be trained on the senator who is speaking, and so what the viewers at home do not see are the deliberations that are going on frequently in the cloak room, s, frequently in the well of the senate, frequently in the back of the chamber. so much of the grease that makes this process work are the deliberations, the back-and-forth among the
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senators. some of that can be captured on camera. a great deal of it is not captured on camera, and so it would be nice to be a fly on the wall, but i realize c-span cannot have cameras on flies on walls. a great deal of the give-and-take necessary on the senate floor in the national arena does take place between and among these senators off of the floor or out of the glare of the camera. >> that is intentional on the part of the people that set up the rules, correct? mr. frumin: yes. >> how does it affect the institution that they can do that? >> well, it is the way that senate functions. the senate is a 21st century institution conceived in the 18th century. it is trying to make the best use of the technology in the 21st century to remain true to its 18th-century conception.
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it is a difficult thing to do, to forge compromise. everybody has to give a little when you forge compromise, and that is not photogenic. and so, to a certain extent the cameras both reveal the greatness of the senate, but also conceal it by not being able to show these kinds of discussions taking place. >> another area that is the particular purview of the senate is to consider presidential nominations. in particular, we are going to talk about nominations to the supreme court. this is an interesting time with all three branches coming together, the supreme court, the executive branch and the nomination, and the senate in consideration. we have two clips, one from 1987. these are both from controversial appointments, robert bork and in 1991 clarence thomas, who made his way to the supreme court with his supporter senator danforth.
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let's watch and we will talk about supreme court nominations. >> robert bork's america is a land in which women would be forced into back alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizen doors in midnight raids, and schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution. writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal court would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is and is often the only protector of the individual rights that are at the heart of our democracy. america is a better and freer nation than robert bork thinks. yet, the delicate balance of the supreme court, his rigid ideology will tip the scales of , justice against the kind of country america is and ought to be. >> i believe that a supreme court justice is a living, breathing human being.
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and that that person should be judged as a living, breathing human being. and that is what clarence thomas brings to the united states supreme court. i consider him to be a great american. and i don't say that lightly. i consider him to be a great american because he has come farther in his life than anyone i have ever known. i have heard members of the senate say to me, well, i was poor, too. i was disadvantaged, too. mr. president, there is no one who serves in the united states
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senate who knows disadvantage as clarence thomas knows disadvantage. nobody here, nobody here was born black in the segregated south. >> that is the senate considering the supreme court nominations. don ritchie, it seems as though these nominations in the age the c-span viewers can see are pretty contentious. we have another nomination, merrick garland, that the president has put forth. has it always been so? mr. ritchie: i asked him has it always been like this? i pointed out george washington had one of his nominees rejected by the senate. so it has been like this from the beginning. the senate has advise and consent powers and no one is appointed to the cabinet or the courts without the senate having some approval over that. they can reject people.
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of all the hundreds of cabinet 500, lessell over than 5% have been rejected by the senate because those are relatively short-term appointments. they will not last longer than the president's administration. but the lifetime appointment to the courts are a different story. the senate has rejected about a third of all of the supreme court nominations that have come forward. the two speeches that we just heard, by the way, were two pivotal speeches. one by ted kennedy denouncing robert bork. it set the tone for the debate and made it a national issue, that it was not just the senators, but there were interest groups across the country that he rallied across the country as part of the speech. it is one of the most famous speeches that was delivered in the last half of the 20th century. and then the speech by john danforth in favor of clarence
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thomas was also very significant because danforth was a highly respected senator, republican, from missouri and he was a chief sponsor of clarence thomas who had once worked in his office. and because danforth was so well respected and regarded, that was -- he had once been a minister -- and that was almost a speech you could have heard given from a pulpit at some point. that speech carried some votes which was a very close some nation, the closest nomination vote of anyone, so every vote counted at that point and prestigeextended his there. senators have been putting their necks on the line since the george washington era, but they have always insisted that is the role of the senate to decide whether someone is fit to serve a lifetime appointment on the courts. >> what can you add to this understanding of supreme court nominations in the television age.
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mr. frumin: i want to echo what don said about john danforth's role in that clarence thomas nomination vote. senator danforth, i do not think there was one senator who had a level of respect that john danforth commanded among his colleagues on both side of the aisle. i'm not a vote counter. it was not my job to count votes, but it would not surprise me if the margin of victory for clarence thomas was based on john danforth's support. watching nominations and the level of contention has been a matter of some distress in the parliamentarian's office. what has evolved in the last decade or so is the issue of filibustering nominations, not so much whether a nominee has majority support, which in most instances the nominee does, but what is the legitimate role of the senate minority in filibustering and preventing a vote on nominees? >> perhaps one of the most
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dramatic moments, both visually and historically, since the arrival of television cameras in the senate was the impeachment of president clinton in 1999. i want to show again a bit of the video from that time, and then we will talk about how the senate prepared for it and what the senate as an institution went through during the process. >> this question is from senators kohl and edwards. to whom is it addressed? announcer oh, it is to the house managers. throughout this trial, both sides have spoken in absolutes. that is if the president engaged in this misconduct, prosecutors claimed that he must be removed from office, while the president's lawyers argue such conduct is not rise to an impeachable offense. it strikes many of us as a closer call, so let me ask you
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this, even if the president engaged in the alleged conduct, can reasonable people disagree with the conclusion that as a matter of law he must be convicted and removed from office? yes or no? >> absolutely. and this is a hard case in a couple of areas, and i think it is an easy case in many areas. the constitution reads that upon conviction the person shall be removed. you have to put it in context of the judge cases. because that is where it gets to be hard for this body. the presence of the body when you apply the same legal standard of high crimes and misdemeanors to the fact that a judge who was convicted of perjury was removed by the body and you conclude in your mind that this president committed perjury, you have a dynamic you have to work through. mr. bumper says there is perjury and then there is perjury.
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i would suggest to you that the allegations of perjury and obstruction of justice in this case are not trivial. it is not about a speeding ticket or a trivial matter. it is about the activity of the president when he was a defendant in a sexual harassment lawsuit, when he was told by the supreme court that you have to play, and you have to play fairly. if you determine that he committed a crime of perjury and you determine that he committed the crime of obstruction of justice, based on the president precedent of the senate, i think you would have a hard time saying under the situation of this case that that is not a high crime, but i would be the first to admit that the constitution is silent on this question about whether or not every high crime has to result in removal, and if i was sitting where you are at, i would probably get down on my knees before i made that decision because the impact on society is going to be real either way.
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that was then house member and later senator lindsey graham of south carolina who had the task of managing the trial for the republicans of the impeachment of then-president bill clinton. the senate has not been called upon to be involved in impeachment proceedings very often and certainly, not at the level of the president. what was it like preparing for this? mr. frumin: it was extremely nerve-racking. it was also an opportunity for those of us in the parliamentarian's office to get to meet the chief justice and his staff, who could not have been more professional, and who had the kind of presence that was essential for maintaining the dignity of these proceedings. chief justice rehnquist had written about impeachment. he had studied this long before these events brought him to the
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floor of the senate, to the presiding office. the nation was very fortunate to have him and his attorneys and his chief of staff who were absolutely incredibly dedicated that the trial be a fair trial. we did have moments toward the end of the trial where the conflict between the cameras and the institution arose. under the senate's impeachment rules, the case is laid out in public, but deliberations take place in private. deliberations take place with the door closed, and there were senators who were pressing their respective leadership, and this came from both sides of the aisle, to open the doors during the deliberation, and there was actually an attempt to convince the chief justice that he should rule that the doors be open. the rules however were clear that the doors should be closed
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during deliberation. it was a fascinating back and forth between the leadership of the senate, who wanted the doors close for deliberation, and some members on both sides of the aisle, and the chief justice who we shall say was amenable to both arguments. >> would you explain to our viewers what the role of the senate is in impeachment proceedings, how long the trial lasted, and for people for whom this is a historic artifact, what was the outcome? mr. ritchie: also, who was there. you notice in the picture, the room was packed. the senate chamber used to be beforeore crowded television cameras because senators hung around to hear what was happening, to know what was going to happen, and now they can watch it on c-span in their offices.
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, so they do not go there. so it was such a change for me to go into the senate chamber is the every seat taken, including the press gallery, which was absolutely packed. the house of representatives impeaches just like an indictment. they determine whether the person should be removed. in most cases, the judges and other positions, the vice president or president pro tem can preside, but in the case of a presidential impeachment, the chief justice presides because of course the vice president is next in line to become president and might have some reason to hope that the job opens up for them, so they wanted to make it a more neutral situation. also, in the house you only need a simple majority vote to indict. in the senate, you need a two thirds vote. that means that anything that is done and a purely partyline in the house of representatives is going to have a hard time convicting somebody of the senate. we have in recent years impeached and convicted and thrown out of office several federal judges, but they were in peach in the house by an
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overwhelming majority. not unanimous, but well over two thirds. to do something on a partyline vote in one house and expect a bipartisan vote in another is not plausible, and in fact, that is what happened in president clinton's situation. it went on for some time and they voted eventually that -- there was not a two thirds vote, so essentially it was an acquittal. i remember the day they voted, being outside, there were demonstrators on the plaza and then there was a bomb scare and the building had to be evacuated. the atmosphere outside was like mardi gras almost. mostly it was a sense of relief on the part of the senate not to be involved in this anymore and to settle this particular issue and to have moved on. >> you are watching a discussion on the senate in the television age on the occasion of the 30th
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anniversary, june 2, 1986, of cameras coming into the senate permanently to televise its proceedings. our two guests have been on the staff of the senate for many years, each about 40 years, one in the parliamentarian's office and the other in the senate historian's office, and we are appreciative of all of their information on our discussion. the particulars purview of the senate is approval of treaties. what if the constitutional responsibility of the senate in this area? mr. frumin: the senate alone has the authority to advise and consent to the ratification of treaties, and to do so on a vote of two thirds. these are enormously important deliberations. i believe that the consideration in the senate, well, before your cameras were rolling on a regular basis, of the panama canal treaties. the depth of the concern brought out by the deliberations on
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those treaties was remarkable. these are questions of how is the united states as a nation to function in the world and who speaks for the united states? enter into treaties, but only with the advice and consent of the senate. it is not well understood that the senate has the ability to amend the treaty, and so the senate can qualify its consent to the ratification of treaties based on the subsequent adoption of amendments. so the senate does not simply rubberstamp, but the senate gets to impose conditions on treaties that bind the united states and other countries. this is an enormously valuable and powerful tool given to the senate and they take it quite seriously. >> the clip we have chosen is from october of 1999. you will recognize the senator on the floor who is speaking about the comprehensive test ban treaty that was under the
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consideration. >> i heard in closing the last , comment i will make, my friend said, our allies will lose confidence in us if we ratified this treaty. tony blair called today and to paraphrase said for gods's sake, , do not defeat this treaty. he is the prime minister of england, our number one ally. the german chancellor said, please, ratify in an open letter. the president of france says, jock schroc please ratify. our ally. ladies and gentlemen, larry eagleburger's conclusion is the one we should all deal with. his conclusion, which i will enter into the record, i asked for consent that it be entered into the record since my time is running out. >> without objection. so ordered. >> the whole point of the cbd p the whole point from the
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, american perspective is to get other nations to stop their testing activities and locked in the overwhelming u.s. advantage. there is no other way to interpret a vote of this treaty than as a vote in favor of nuclear testing of other nations. as i used to say in a former profession, i rest my case, but in my former profession when i restedy case, i always assumed i was going to win. i know i am going to lose here, but i will be back. i will be back. >> then senator later vice biden.ent joe brydo he is right. the treaty went down 51-48. don ritchie when we look at the historian page, since the cameras came in, the senate considered many treaties. they do this a lot but only a few of them rise to this level. what is the deciding thing on the importance? mr. ritchie: many of them are minor issues and they are just between two countries trying to
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straighten out their affairs. but some of these are major issues, environmental debates and things like that. or something like the genocide treaty, which was on for a decade. senator william proxmire used to give a speech every week about the genocide treaty, and the y eventually did pass this. these treaties have to build an enormous consensus behind them to get a two thirds vote in the senate. those are the big pressing issues that are going to become the law of the land essentially by agreeing to the treaty and they will affect our relations with other countries. and they often reflect the self-image of the nation. the panama canal treaty was reduced to the issue, we built it type ofld keep issue. on the other side, keeping it is causing us to have poor relations with pretty much every nation in latin america. we need to resolve this issue,
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so we had to decide what kind of nation we were in passing that. eventually, by arguments, by debating, by articulating the issues, the senators can build a kind of coalition to get it through. senator biden said, i will be back, meaning this treaty will be out before us again, again and again. we will see what we can do. we will see if we can build a bigger coalition. >> let's move on to the next area, which is major pieces of legislation. what we chose here was the passage of the president's health care law, what we know as obamacare or the affordable care act. these are clips from march 24, 2010, senator barbara mikulski speaking in favor, senator tom coburn who has left the senate now and a doctor speaking against the affordable care act. >> but where i am also very excited and honored is because the role i played in making sure that we ended the punitive
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practices of insurance companies towards women. for too long, in too many ways, they treated simply being a woman as a pre-existing condition. so first of all, they charged us 30% to 40% more just to simply get insurance. then they would have the punitive practices of denying us health insurance for a pre-existing condition. in eight states, domestic violence was viewed as a pre-existing condition. you talk about being abused, you were abused by her husband, then you were abused by your insurance company. well, we are not going to be battered anymore by these companies. >> this is undoubtedly the greatest assault on liberty this country has ever had. and it is not direct.
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it is indirect. but it is what the senate from new hampshire talked about. if we are going to decide for you what you get. what the american people still do not understand in this bill is there are three areas in this bill that in the next five years will put the government in charge of everybody's health care. >> senator barbara mikulski is leaving the senate after 30 years. both supporters and opponents of the affordable care act described it as the largest piece of domestic legislation since civil rights legislation in the johnson administration. so what goes into a senate considering a piece of legislation this momentous? >> from a procedural standpoint the issue that swirled around , health care was whether or not it could be filibustered or whether it could ride what is known as the fast-track. there are expedited procedures
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provided under a number of different statues, the most notable is the budget act. the budget act provides for a process called reconciliation and reconciliation bills cannot , be filibustered. there has always been a push on the part of proponents of major legislation to see if they can't shoehorn it into a reconciliation bill that cannot be filibustered. parliamentarian's office has pushed back against that impetus going back into the early 1990's. and so from a procedural standpoint, we advise the leadership on both sides of the aisle that a measure of this comprehensive nature was not appropriate for the reconciliation fast-track process, and that basically what the majority leader needed to do was build a coalition sufficiently large to get cloture. >> don ritchie, the coalition on health care had been rumbling around since the clinton administration when famously hillary clinton was involved to
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senateifying before the to advance that president's proposals. what can you add from a historical perspective about the senate getting to a yes on this? mr. ritchie: nothing happens quickly unless there is a national catastrophe. most of the old-time staff would tell me it usually took about seven years between when a good idea came along before you could enact it into law. you had to go to the different states, different interests, have a sympathetic president, there were all these issues and , it required longevity, which is why we talked about senators staying in office. you rarely can get much done in a six-year term as you would like to. it takes longer to get many of these proposals through. so something as complicated and health carenational has been debated. harry truman had a major bill up that was defeated while he was
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president. lyndon johnson brought in medicare after his landslide election in 1964. you see the carrying on of this. it is not surprising under the circumstances historically that >> another example of a 19th-century institution operating with 21st century expectations. >> you could actually called in 18th-century institution, because that's when the original rules were written. they are not so different from the rules we operate under today. >> when you watch the public respond to this body, a public that demands instantaneous news and following things so quickly, how do you process the public's reaction to way the senate does its business? >> i don't know that the public is following what it is doing all the time. they tend to notice what is happening when there is a big eruption on the floor. i have talked to reporters for years who covered congress and
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they said even their editors are like that. their editors were not interested in stories about when a bill left a subcommittee. they only wanted to know in the final vote. they are only interested in the last two minutes of the basketball game. at least c-span allows people to watch it from soup to nuts. the people follow yet know that few things happen very quickly. most of the public pays attention when there is a big event or a big fight, for as senator mcconnell said, when we are in dispute as opposed to agreeing with each other. he mentioned the senate does a huge amount of its business for -- by unanimous consent. little things, polite things. bigger things, adopting amendments or passing whole bills. sometimes, that can whiz by. even people in the gallery don't realize.
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a piece of legislation is passed and nobody even voted because there was agreement. so much of the process is hard to follow and understand. i think it is not surprising the public is often unhappy. but at least now they have a better chance if they are interested. >> we close out the section with a bit of video from september 12, 2001. >> the senator from north carolina. >> i yield myself 10 minutes and i ask unanimous consent, that i be permitted to deliver my remarks seated at my desk. >> without objection. >> i have tried to count the number of senators who were even around on december 7, 1941. there are not many of us left.
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many of us, i hate to say i am a party to it, were not even born. senator thurman was around for the war of 1812, i think. bless his heart, and i'm pleased he is still here. i remember that sunday, i came out of church. and heard about the bombing of pearl harbor. in front of the editors of the afternoon newspaper in north carolina, i prevailed upon the publisher to put out an extra. it was the last extra newspaper put out in the state of north carolina, to my knowledge. i remember we sold 12,000. approximately. pleased the management of
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the newspaper. after we did that, i went three blocks up the street to the post office and the navy recruiting section. i volunteered. i did pretty well except they turned me down because of my hearing in my left ear. i recall i was so disappointed. but over the corner was the chief petty officer of the navy. i think i never saw a chief petty officer of the navy who talked anyway except out of the side of his mouth. he said, come over. i went. he said, you want to be in the navy? i said, yes sir.
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he said, i have some friends in the bureau of naval personnel. i thought he was pulling my leg. it turned out he wasn't. two months later, i received a waiver. for two toan diego three months training. except beside the point, to say that the recruiting station that day was filled with young men. they all wanted to defend their country. a lot of them didn't know where pearl harbor was or what pearl harbor was. but they came anyhow because they realized their country had been attacked. unfairly.
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that's the reason we won the war. that was a time when the accepted policy of the u.s. was to seek out and find and when necessary destroy the leaders of forces resorting to violence harm to the american people. that policy was in effect on december 7. in the days or years following, some in the political circles decided to substitute a two-fisted warning to creatures who made the threats by crashing airliners loaded with innocent americans. happened, and has to hearcouraged again
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the president of the united states last evening, and again this morning, saying, in effect, we are going to get them. they are not going to get away with it. that was the attitude in 1941, when franklin roosevelt8 and , and i'm the only one in the senate who heard him say it, this is a day that will live in infamy. yesterday was a day that better live in infamy. >> september 12, 2001. you were in the capitol at that time. we have to remind viewers, there was a time at which people in those buildings understood them to be one of the targets. what was the atmosphere like, the day after? >> the surprising thing was we
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came to work. most of the city was shut down. it was a ghost town. there was emergency tape all around pennsylvania avenue, but i had to come into work because the senate wanted to be in session. it was a very emotional day. you heard that in senator helms's remarks. he is comparing that from what he remembers to pearl harbor. it is a moment that brings people together. the moment of national catastrophe, crisis, political issues get thrown out and there was a great sense of unity. that is what the senators were trying to show. >> the senate wanted to show it was still operational in the face of crisis? >> yes. the senate wanted to demonstrate that, and wanted to convene at 11:00 that morning, and it did so in violation of its rules. the senate had no order to convene that day. they have a standing order to convene at noon every day, monday through saturday, unless
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there is a change, and there was no authority to meet at 11:00, when the leaders wanted to meet, so when the senate gaveled itself in, they said, we may convene at this hour. emergency times often require emergency processes. it was very important both bodies indicate washington was ready to do business. >> in our next section, we wanted to demonstrate some of the procedural drama that our viewers have been party to watching over the years. the first clip is from 1988. we are going to watch this and have you talk about what is happening. this happened at 3:00 in the morning. it is an exchange between robert byrd and alan simpson, the assistant minority leader. a debate over campaign finance.
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let's watch and then we will learn more about what is happening. >> the facts speak for themselves. senators were not here. they were not here. they didn't stay on the job. they had their own order of the senate. i didn't single out any senator, i didn't impute of any senator in the conduct unworthy of his being the center -- a senator. i didn't impute any senator's character, integrity, or any such. i am sorry the senator took that position. i didn't realize when i walked the floor, things were going to be said about this.
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>> if i may. >> i yield. >> mr. president -- when i was making my remarks, i was here. when i started my remarks, the majority leader was there. you were right there. >> i didn't hear the senator. kirksey were in this chamber. i would like to finish my explanation. of how i saw that, if i may. >> i allow you to do that, sir. >> we can go back and forth all night long. i am saying when i spoke, you were on this floor. >> i asked for the regular order. the senator addressed this sen senator in the third person.
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>> i always do that. i do that when i'm in the chair and outside the chair. i said, mr. president, i want to finish my remarks. i'm entitled to do that. >> that was 3:00 in the morning, the exchange between those two senators. why are they arguing over how senators should be addressed? >> i would like to thank you for allowing me to relive some of my moments of filibusters. it brings back really fond memories. very often when substantial matters are stalled, they fight over process and procedure. there are a couple of things going on. senator byrd is taking umbrage at senator simpson referring to him in the second person. the senate rules require senators address each other in the third person and through the chair. the idea behind that is a good one. what takes place on the senate floor is not supposed to be personal. it is not you, it is the senator
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from west virginia. the remarks directed at the senator from west virginia are not supposed to be personal remarks. they are supposed to be institutional remarks. of course, this was an all-night filibuster. everybody's nerves are frayed. and what had happened was that in the absence of a quorum, senate rule six authorizes the motion to request the sergeant at arms to recall those absent. the idea is a rollcall vote on that will produce a quorum. and senators don't want to miss votes. in the absence of a quorum, a motion was designed to produce a quorum. but if it does not produce a quorum, the rules authorize a motion to directly sergeant at arms to compel the attendance. what does compel mean? it means arrest. that is what had happened earlier that evening. there was a motion the sergeant of arms compelled and arrest
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warrants were prepared in my office. signed by the second-most senior democrat. william proxmire. bear in mind the vice president , at that time, george h.w. bush, would not have been interested in signing them. joan stennis was the most -- john stennis was the most senior democrat and was not available. he signed arrest warrants. the sergeant at arms was sent in to bring in absent republican >> how often does that happen? that senators are essentially arrested to return to the chamber? >> not often. it used to happen during some of the long civil rights filibusters. in the 1940's, the majority leader had the senators arrested. one is the senior senator from tennessee. he sat next to alvin barkley in the chamber. he was so upset about being arrested, he didn't speak to him for years even though they sat next to each other in the
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chamber. this is a rare occasion. one advantage of being a historian. i used to go home at a regular time in the evening. around 11:00, i would turn on c-span and i would see alan still sitting at the desk. the clerks in the chamber are there whenever the senate is in session, whether it is 11:00 at night or 11:00 in the morning or 3:00 in the morning. you can see from the atmosphere these senators are getting testy. senator byrd knew those rules inside out. he was a stickler for the way in which the senate should proceed. he is pointing out he did not name any specific senator. he did not break any rules. he is telling his colleague he that if he was going to make statements attacking him, he should've done it while senator byrd was on the floor.
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throughout his career he was insisting the senate operate the way the procedures and norms had been since the beginning. >> the public is used to the fact that the senate often changes leadership. it is not often the change happens when the senate has already convened and is in session. it did happen in 2001. some background, 2000 was the contested presidential election. tensions very high between the two parties. there was a very slim majority of republicans. what happened next? >> what happened is one of the senators, jim jeffords of vermont, chose to become an independent but to caucus with the democrats. that meant the democrats had a one-vote majority over the republicans. the numbers had been 50-50 up to that point. with the republicans holding the majority because the vice president was a republican.
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now the democrats had the edge. this is the only time in the history of the institution the party majority changed in the middle of a congress. there had been instances before in which one party started out with the majority and the other wound up with a majority because other people died in office. but there had never been a device to switch the chairmanships of committees. and the majority and minority leaders. in the beginning of this congress, the leaders sat down and worked out an arrangement that said, we are 50-50. but if one of us gets the majority, we will organize it that way. i don't think anyone anticipated when they signed that agreement it would be the democrats becoming the majority. everybody assumed if anybody switched, there would be an additional republican. because all of the changes before had been democrats becoming republicans. this was a historically unique moment. not only did senator daschle
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become majority leader, but all of the committee chairs changed. republicans stepped down. and democrats took the committees. >> the clip we have is from 2001 when the new majority leader, a democrat tom daschle, is at , the podium. let's listen. senator daschle: finally, there was another person who deserves special recognition. that is senator jeffers. last week, i was deeply touched by his courageous decision. his eloquent words. the senator has always commended -- commanded bipartisan respect because of the work he does. regardless of where he sits in the chamber, that is work that will continue. america will be better for it. this indeed is a humbling moment for me. i am honored to serve as majority leader.
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but i also recognize the majority is slim. this is still one of the most s in alldivided senate' of history. we have just witnessed something that has never before happened in all of senate history. a change of power during a session of congress. >> there is the new majority leader talking about the nature of it. what i would like to have you talk about, i think we keep reminding you of these very challenging moments, what it had been like operating with a 50-50 senate and then what happened when they gained a one seat majority. >> it was fascinating operating with a 50-50 senate. the president, the identity of the vice president is what ostensibly tips the balance. but i will point out several
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things. the senate leadership is not first, elected by the senate. the two parties elect their leaders. there is no action the senate takes to ratify that. they simply acknowledge and take notice of the fact that tom daschle is the leader because he sits in the chair. trent lott was the leader because he sat in the republican chair. which of those is the majority leader depends on how we count noses, and how people identify themselves. it was clear at the outset that there were 50 republicans and 50 democrats, and the leadership understood that and they worked at a power-sharing agreement that was to be effective unless one party obtained a majority of all the senators. i think what they thought might happen was there might be a death. they were concerned possibly someone like senator thurman who was approaching 100 years old might pass away. they did not want a reduction
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from the party ranks to tip the balance. they wanted there to be a firm majority with one party. it wasn't sufficient that there would be 50 democrats and 49 republicans. the leadership wanted there to be an absolute majority of the number. jeffords switch caused great consternation. initially, senator jeffords simply wanted to leave the republican caucus and not affiliated with the democrats, in which case there would be 50 democrats, 49 republicans, and an undesignated jeffords, and this would not be sufficient to in essence turned the majority to the other party,. senator jeffords was ultimately convinced he would identify himself as an independent, caucusing with the democrats. that qualifier in essence identify him as a democrat,
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giving the democrats in our mind theotes, and with that advice to the presetting officer was that the day before his switch was effective, senator lott was the majority leader, and after senator jeffords switched the chair would recognize senator daschle. >> this was an enormous change. his ability to get his agenda through. >> very significant change. >> our time is going to evaporate quickly. i'm going to move on to another procedural one. this is more modern. in the age of harry reid, we kept hearing the threat to invoke the so-called nuclear option. when they refer to that, what do they mean? >> it is a matter of forcing a ruling the senators would vote on that would in a sense establish a precedent that would overturn a rule or contradict a rule. they use the word nuclear
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because it is so controversial, they compare it to a nuclear explosion. the one thing people worry about is after a nuclear explosion what be left standing? -- what will be left standing? will the institution be left able to function? both parties have been on both sides of this issue. these are nominations we were talking about here, getting bottled up. the senator first proposed it. it did not happen. a gang of 14 senior senators got together and came up with a solution. when the democrats who oppose the nuclear option became the majority, they found the situation equally intolerable. they eventually detonated it although they detonated it in a slightly different manner than had been proposed. now that the republicans are back in, they haven't changed it. i'm not sure how the two parties will deal with this in the
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future and how long it will stay. >> two clips. senator mitch mcconnell before the vote and then patrick leahy announces the vote. let's watch and we will come back. >> just think about it. the majority leader promised, he promised over and over again that he would not break the rules of the senate to change them. this was not an agent promise. -- not an ancient promise. july 2014, on meet the press, he said, we are not touching judges. this year, we are not touching judges. then there are the double standards. when democrats were in the minority, they argued for the very thing they now say we will have to do without.
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namely, the right to extended debate on lifetime appointments. in other words, they believe one set of rules should apply to and another set should apply to everybody else. well have said, if you like the rules of the senate, you can keep them. if you like the rules of the senate, you can keep them. >> the senate will be in order. the senate will be in order. are there other senators who wish to vote? if not on this vote, the yeas are 48 the nays are 52. the decision is not sustained.
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>> i make a point of order. nominations are fully debatable unless 3/5 have chosen to bring debate to a close. under the precedent just sat by the senate, cloture is invoked. at a majority. therefore i appeal the ruling nays.k for the yeas >> the chair has not yet ruled. under the precedent set by the senate, today, november 21, the threshold for cloture on nominations, not including those to the supreme court of the u.s., is now a majority. that is the ruling. >> i appeal the ruling and ask for the yeas and nays. >> the republican leader appeals the decision to the chair. the question is now, show the
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all the decision stand to the judgment of the senate? is there a sufficient second? there is. and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll. >> what should people know about this? >> process in the senate change is not so much by rules changes, but by precedent, by establishing precedent. precedents are established when the chair makes the ruling or when the senate votes to appeal the ruling, and in this particular case, the ruling of the chair based on the advice of my successor elizabeth mcdonough, was the correct answer, that cloture requires 3/5 of the senate. she told the chair that, and the chair responded that way, and senator reid appealed.
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in these particular circumstances, that appeal could not be filibustered. there had to be an immediate thought, and on appeal -- a vote, and on appeal the chair required a majority for the chair's ruling to be sustained. the chair only obtained 48 votes. so the chair ruling on the advice of elizabeth mcdonough did the right thing. senator reid appealed the ruling of the chair, to say that where the rule says 3/5, it really needs a majority. and he had a non-debatable appeal. with that, he was able to alter said procedure, not by changing the language of the cloture rule, but by changing the manner in which the languages interpreted. >> as you are giving this explanation, i'm thinking back to a speech i heard senator robert byrd, a great institutionalist, give very early in the age of senate television. c-span was there. i recall him paraphrasing, canng, mastery of the rules
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greatly impact the outcome. we just saw a demonstration of that. >> exactly. that made him a very effective leader. he knew he could quickly respond whence ming was happening, -- when something was happening, and made it intimidating to go up against somebody who knew the rules inside and out. >> is a big volume of senate procedure, over 1000 pages. senator byrd would hold it up and say, every congress i read through this volume again and underline each important section that i think will be important. book party at the capitol. one senator leaned over and said, he never intends to read that volume. >> since you are both retired now, let me ask you. are there any institutionalists in the senate now who are masters of the rules in the way senator byrd was? >> well, i have been out for
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four years now, so i probably need to have my -- >> that's a diplomatic answer. >> i would have to think about that. at the moment, nobody comes to mind. it's possible if we have a dialogue here and either of you want to suggest someone from among the current membership, that would stand out. we look at the leadership for procedural expertise. e.d so i would start ther i believe senator reid and senator mcconnell are and theionalists, assistant leaders are also institutionalists. they and the staff spent time in the parliamentarian's office. >> it took senator byrd years to acquire the knowledge he had. theook seminars with parliamentarian than on procedures. there may be some junior
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senators right now, who if they will be here as long as senator byrd was, and he was here half a century, and take the institution as seriously as he did, master the rules the way he did. >> our file point of discussion in the section on our 30th anniversary of senate tv is on the filibuster. we talked about the filibuster frequently throughout our discussion. we will do the opposite and show you a one minute clip of a 21 hour filibuster. this happened in september 2013. senator ted cruz. it is referred to as the green eggs and ham filibuster. senator cruz: say, i like green eggs and ham. i do. i like them, sam i am. i would eat them in boat and on -- with a goat. and i would eat them in the rain, and in the dark and on a train and in a car and in a
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tree. they are so good, you see. so i will eat them with a box and with a fox. i will leave them in a house and with a mouse. i will eat them here or there. i will eat them anywhere. i do so like green eggs and ham. thank you, sam i am. i want to say to caroline and i love youmy angels, with all my heart. it's bedtime. pressure teeth, -- brush your teeth, say your prayers. daddy is going to be home soon to read to you in person. >> that certainly couldn't have happened before television cameras, a personal message to children. the popular image of a filibuster was in the 1940's movie "mr. smith goes to washington." with that famous filibuster on the floor of the senate. what are real filibusters like? what are the rules about how long one person must stand?
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>> there is no technical definition of a filibuster. i do think that "mr. smith goes to washington" was a fairly accurate rendition of what bone fide one-man filibuster is. the senator gets recognized at a time when there is no limit of debate and says he or she will keep the floor until they can no longer physically stand. we don't see that very often. is what the me, filibuster is. in current practice, filibusters are not necessarily conducted by one individual. if the votes are not there for cloture, that means you have at least 41 senators who do not want a vote to occur on something. ' they can take turns holding te floor, in which case a filibuster doesn't have to be a lone wolf activity.
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it could be a concerted effort i -- by 41 people, in which case holding the floor is not that difficult. they can hold the floor, go around the clock if they wish. though one particular senator would be inconvenienced much. the staff sits at the desk. it is difficult for them. the make them talk filibusters, which senators wants now, in essence would be a tagteam of as many as 41 senators coming to the floor and taking turns, keeping the floor and preventing a vote. >> i presume people watching this are familiar enough to know that cloture means the vote to cut off debate. in the age of television, how have filibusters been affected? >> those two types. there's the type described, to stop a vote from happening, knowing you will lose if there is a vote, so we will hold it up. this is what southern senators used to do to stop civil rights
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legislation from passing. more recently, another type of the floor, holding all night long not necessarily to stop a vote, but to call attention to whatever the issue is the senator is concerned about. we have seen a number of senators who have adopted this in recent years. william proxmire did it. alfonse d'amato used to do this. a one night filibuster. the next morning, it would be over with. senator cruz did it. senator sanders has done it. lots of them have done for one night. reporters would call the office and say why are they doing this? , i would say, so you will write the story. it is to draw attention to an issue they consider is important and they fear people won't pay attention to. >> in our final 10 minutes, we will show you personal or emotional moments. there have been many in 30
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years. we have time to show you just two of them. september 7, 1995. first,senator bob packwood announcing he's leaving the senate. senator packwood: some here, senator byrd, some in my age group remember general macarthur's final speech at west point. duty, honor, country. it is my duty to resign. it is the honorable thing to do. for this country. for the senate. so i now announce i will resign from the senate. i leave this institution not with malice, but with love.
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good luck, god speed. >> we need to convey to our viewers senator packwood had been enormously powerful. chairman of the senate finance committee. he was obviously not taking his leave on his own schedule. what do we need to know? >> this is a senator leaving under a cloud. essentially worried if he didn't leave, his colleagues would be forced to vote to expel him. what you get from that speech is the tremendous emotion of a person who has devoted a large portion of their career to serving in the senate. leaving under a cloud or for whatever reason is difficult. i was thinking, if only we had c-span in the 19th century to hear john calhoun's speech. or some of the other senators who left, some triumphantly, and
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others under clouds similar to senator packwood. we would hear the same emotion and capture the humanity of the institution. >> humanity, but also coupled with rules. i wanted to ask you. senator packwood resigned because of accusations of sexual impropriety. i wanted to ask in a general sense about ethics. how have they changed in the past 30 years, under the glare television cameras? >> >> i don't believe any formal changes have occurred in terms of the ethics of the senate. i think in the modern era, when communications, the communications industry, is operating 24/7, everything a senator does in the senate, on the floor, in a hearing, in that particular office, they are public people. every action they take is subject to public scrutiny.
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for better or worse, members know that. they have to conduct themselves with a level of propriety possibly unheard of in a previous era. i think that is a good thing. >> our next televised moment occurred in 2009. you will watch then senator john kerry in a testament to ted kennedy. who had passed away. senator kerry: i want to thank the majority leader and minority leader for the time they have set aside to remember ted kennedy, our beloved colleague. my senior senator for nearly a quarter of a century. a friend, the man i met first and who had great influence on me in politics in 1962, when as a young about to be college
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student, i had the privilege of working as a volunteer on his first campaign for the united states senate. mr. president, to look at his desk now, cloaked in the velvet and the roses, a desk from which he championed so many important causes, a desk from which he regaled us, educated us, and befriended us for so many years, it is difficult for us to think of this chamber, our nations capital, or our country without him. on many occasions in the senate, he was the indispensable man. on every occasion in this chamber and out, he was a man whose heart was as big as heaven, whose optimism could overwhelm any doubter, and his joy for life was a wonderfully
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contagious and completely irresistible thing. >> that was the tribute to senator kennedy on the senate floor. i want to use this to talk about senators as human beings, because we often see them in their public role, and we often see them at odds with one another because of the nature of politics, a blood sport without the blood. but you see these people in a very different light, and here's a moment when the cameras captured that. can you talk about that? >> the senate is a personality driven institution. there's just 100 senators, and they spend a lot of time together. they used to spend even more time together when they would stay in washington for months at a time, but they got to know each other as individuals, and they had to cross the aisle to work out arrangements with people on the other side. senator kennedy was superb at finding americans to because --
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republicans to be cosponsors of legislation, and building that to get legislation through. also, you remember senator kennedy with his dogs in the park at here. there were really nice moments when thecareers politics didn't make as much difference as the personalities did. and it comes out in these memorial addresses. this is one thing that has been consistent. when import and senators have died, every senator comes to the floor to make some sort of reference to what that senator meant to them. those speeches are compiled into special memorial volumes. we historians find them very useful, because they tell you a lot about the character of the individuals. we could hear senator kerry's voice breaking, how much the individual meant to him. practically every senator stood up at that time to commemorate ted kennedy, because he was such a towering figure in the
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institution. >> i'm also thinking about a moment when senator kirkwood suffered a stroke and made his emotional return, climbing very slowly of his own power to come back to the senate chamber. you talk about senators as people. >> people frequently ask me about the standing rules. don't think about 44 standing rules. think about the 100 standing, sitting, moving, breathing rules. 100 senators. the institution, despite the rules that say you should not personalize debate, the institution is deeply personal, and the procedures of the institution that empower everybody, basically, to stall anything, mean that you are dealing with 100 personalities. everybody is empowered in the means isnd what that it a community of 100 and. some more equal than others, but 100 equals.
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it's impossible in the environment to not reach out to these people as people. successful senators become that whobecause they understand their colleagues are as people, and i believe senator kirk was helped up the stairs by joe manchin, a democrat from west virginia. you have senator kirk, a republican of illinois. different parties, different states, different parts of the country. and that was a fabulous, fabulous window into the soul of the senate. it's people. yes, they represent their states, but a human element is essential in the construct of the senate and its processes. >> we are closing our discussion of 30 years of senate tv. all of the segments from today are gathered on a special website page on,
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a website that you can find easily navigating. we have all the clips and speeches and other historical information to mark the 30th anniversary of televised debate in the senate. natalie to c-span do gavel-to-gavel, but on the newscasts you see regular clips of the sessions. today, when people are seeking to run for the senate, they often use clips from the senate floor to mount their campaign. are clippingy video from the senate floor and tweaking it out -- tweeting it out. what is the effect of this video coverage? >> the senate is a much more open institution. certainly more open than it was when i came there in the 1970's. the senators of that era would be shocked to see we have all this available. it has not been an easy transition. once, senator ted stevens became
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furious because he felt he was ambushed in the hall by somebody trying to videotape him on a cell phone, and there are rules about where cameras can be in the chamber, around the chamber, things like that. it takes a lot of adjustment. takes a lot of figuring out of what you can do and cannot do. it also takes generational changes. younger senators have been coming in who are much more adept at the latest technology. the old institution continues. it has a form, has a structure. the members have to adjust themselves to the institution, just as the institution has to adjust itself to the new generation. we have had galleries in the just theyce 1795 it's have gotten larger, worldwide, and adapted to the digital technology of the era. far more citizens of access than ever before. >> iowa's tell people the senate is an acquired taste. to the extent greater exposure will allow people to acquire
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that taste, that's a great thing. >> with these younger members, is there any push for more openness, increasing camera angles, adding more cameras, allow journalists to bring their own cameras in? >> those clips we showed you of the first senators, the cameras were looking down on them. for a while, the senators all wanted seats in the back row because it was a better camera angle. now the cameras have been adjusted. the technology adjusts itself to the institutions to find better ways of operating. i'm sure they will be all sorts of new devices that will come along, because the members of congress really do want their constituents to know what they are doing. >> can they bring their own cell phones onto the floor? >> there is a sign outside the senate chamber. no electronic devices inside the chamber. for that you can blame thomas jefferson. thomas jefferson said, you can't read a newspaper when another member is speaking.
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ae rules committee has said, laptop or a cell phone is not much different. you are supposed to listen to the person speaking and give them your attention. that rule remains. >> different from the house in that regard. house members can bring their iphones or other devices in, so that's one difference. >> well, the senate is the upper body. >> with that note, let me say thank you to don ritchie, the historian of the senate emeritus, and the parliamentarian of the senate emeritus. and the historian's office, which has been enormously helpful, and our own dr. robert browning of the c-span archives for his assistance identifying the clips you saw today. >> thank you for being with us. as we close here, one must quit, ,oing back to -- one last clip going back to where we started, on the bob dole,
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first day of the televised senate. senator dole: there is no doubt about it, today is historic in many ways. it is exciting in many ways. i would guess now that tv in the senate is here, and of the public has an opportunity, i doubt we will never be without television in the senate except period when we pull the plug to take a look at ourselves and see what we might do to correct certain areas. today we in effect catch up with the 20th century. we have been the invisible half of the congress the past seven years. we have watched house colleagues with interest, at least i have with interest. and the tv coverage of members of our colleagues in the house.


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