tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 13, 2014 5:30pm-7:31pm EST
the x.l. pipeline. senator mcconnell objected. on may 12, 2014, senator reid offered a vote on keystone pipeline. senator mcconnell objected. that i believe was connected with the energy efficiency bill with senator portman. senator inhofe objected and senator mcconnell did nothing to help. on june 25, senator reid offered x.l. pipeline, senator mcconnell objected. i want to underscore this. i'm not sighing that senator rid is -- is a supporter of the pipeline. but he has asked for a vote on
keystone on any number of times when senator mcconnell has objected. now, senator mcconnell will come to the floor and show a list like this when he ask has asked for votes on the keystone pipeline and senator reid has objected. and that is the truth of this congress. the saddest thing about this is, i have believed for over a year now that if we could actually get a vote, that we have the 60 votes to pass it. i have said that on any number of occasions. i believe we have the 60 votes to pass keystone. i believe that the coalition of oil and gas and energy and manufacturing companies that are very strong, with the coalition of the strongest labor unions and organizations that represent working people, and with the vote in this last election and
the people of the united states states, mostly because of the people of the united states asking us to do our jobs, i on faith and with strong evidence that i have, but on faith in what is right, what is true and what is best, we have the 60 votes on this floor. that's why i came to the floor yesterday on that faith. and i said that i believed that it was time to vote on the keystone pipeline now. the most important reason is to show the american people that we are willing to put partisanship aside. i called senator hoeven the first thing i did, and the senator has left the floor because i'm not sure that anybody wants to really debate me on this but that's okay, i'm used to it. i don't have anybody to debate at home in my election.
because my opponent won't show up. so i'm very, very used to debating by myself. so they've all left tour. but -- the floor. when i arrived in washington the first thing i did was call senator hoeven and spoke to him because i've done that on any number of occasions and i said to him, john, i think this is a really good time, there are several reasons why, i think the politics has cleared up, i think the people spoke -- cleared up, not meaning me, it's not about my politics but the politics of some people who lost and won. i mean, some people who were opposing the vote have lost. you know, some people that supported having the vote are here. it looks to me like this is a perfect opportunity to do two things. to get done something that you and i have wanted to do now for over a year, this letter most certainly suggests that there were a thumb number of us -- not many, only 15 of us that signed a letter to secretary
clinton asking her to push forward on the pipeline. other people were either too busy to sign it ordidn't think, whatever, but it's a bipartisan letter and it was very good. so i called the senator and he said that he just didn't think that it would happen until the next congress. so i said, well, you know, let's try. maybe we could get it done. he said that he would talk to his leadership. and that was the last conversation i've had with him. so i came down to the floor yesterday just thinking maybe i'll just kick it up a little bit and sure enough, i did. it got kicked up pretty high. because i actually was here at 2:00 because i've been horned now enough to know that if you show up early, you actually might could get something done. don't show up late, don't be late, my dad caught me be on time so i was here at 2:00. and i just was very interested
to see what majority leader reid would say and minority leader mcconnell would say, and the senator from texas, who is usually always with the senator from kentucky. what they would say about what we should do. and i sat here fully expecting the minority leader from kentucky, soon to be the majority leader, to say okay, the people have spoken, let's get on with a bill that's very important, and everyone in the country -- not everyone but many people, many people in this country in all regions support the keystone pipeline. not everyone. there's strong feelings against it, but every poll that i've seen shows people from many different areas of the country, many different political persuasions, this is not like
only democrats are against it and only republicans are for it. there are many democrats in my state that have supported this. you know, poor people, rich people, black people, white people, democrats who support the clean. and i'm -- keep. and i'm -- keystone pipeline. i'm sure this isn't a party issue in your state. it's like a commonsense issue to get the keystone pipeline built. so at 2:15 yesterday at approximately 2:15 i sat at the floor, ready to go, i had called my leader, john hoeven, his name is first on this bill. i could have asked for my name to be first on the bill because i actually chair the committee, but i was trying to be bipartisan and gracious and, you know, a team member. hasn't got me very far but i just use that as an example, i
said john, this means the world you to, although it means to world to me, put your name first so it's called the hoeven-landrieu bill and i called him since it's his bill and asked him what he thought. he said he thought he could do it in the next congress. i said i actually think we could do it now. he said he didn't think so so i came to the floor. i waited for mitch mcconnell to say something. this is away said. mr. president, last week week the american people send of sent a strong message to washington. they called for a change in the way we do things in the senate and they sent a new team to washington to carry out their wishes. to carry their wishes forward and we plan to do that. but there are several items -- he said there are several items -- remain for the outgoing congress to consider, and that is our immediate focus. so i'm sitting in my chair thinking okay, here we go. i'm ready.
i've been ready since -- i don't know since we started but definitely my staff can't find anything before -- that i can show for any evidence other than to this letter so i can say i think i was always for it since i heard about it but since i can't prove it let's just go back to march 16, 2011. because my signature the is the lead on this letter. so that is some indication that i've been leading at least since then and get a tremendous amount of credit, of course, from my own caucus because they understand that even though most of my caucus doesn't agree with me and thinks i've been -- and i have really pushed them on this issue and will continue to because that's what good senators do. we don't represent our caucuses. we represent our states. and we fight hard for what we believe is right. and i have for the longest time felt this was the right thing to do. so that was that letter. so i was sitting here thinking here we go but this is what the
minority leader went on to say. in the weeks that remain in this congress, we should work to accomplish the essential task not of building the keystone pipeline, we should work to accomplish the essential task of funding the congress and preventing let retroactive tax increases. i thought he could say essential task of funding the congress, which i would put first although a lot of people don't think we should fund ourselves because we're not doing a very good job but i'll give him that. but the second thing by have put and let's show the american people that we mean business by passing a bipartisan bill, the keystone pipeline and move it to the president's desk. but he said preventing retroactive tax increases. we must address the expiring authority for the department of defense to train and equip a moderate vetted syrian opposition. i agree that's a very important
and remust continue to support the efforts to address the ebola crisis, equally important. but then something interesting happened. then brought to the floor an early childhood bill, the majority and minority brought together, the leadership, an early childhood bill. that has bipartisan support but so does keystone. but the majority leader and the minority leader didn't think that keystone could get votes or couldn't pass or maybe they didn't want to pass it. but i as long as i am a senator -- and i hope to be for many years to come -- i'm going to continue to fight for what i know is right and do it in as gracious a manner as possible to give credit where credit is due, to honor the members on the other side and on my side who really work hard and just don't talk about bipartisanship but actually work at it every
day. and i'm just sorry that the -- it doesn't seem possible for the minority leader, soon to be majority leader, to do that. so when he finished speaking i just sat here because i can't get leader time because i'm not the leader of the caucus. and then i thought, well, maybe senator cornyn will say something. senator cornyn spoke at approximately -- at -- senator cornyn spoke at approximately 2:30 the record says, he spoke longer than the majority leader, he talked about dysfunction, but he never called for a keystone vote, either. so i thought that was strange. he said we'll pass a budget next year, something our friends across the aisle have failed to do. he said that i know republicans and democrats will continue to
have policy disagreements. he said last week's election will not change some of the fundamental policy differences on obamacare or what we need to do about social security, medicare and the like, but it will give us a chance to make some steady incremental progress on the areas that we agree. he talked about ted kennedy, the lion of the senate. he talked about mike enzi and how mike enzi who is a wonderful senator, someone i've worked with very closely said let's work on the 80-20 rule. he said what is that, he said let's work on the 80% that we can agree on, the 20% we cannot. then he went on to say strikes me as eminently practical. when i talk about the easy stuff we can do, i'm referring to the bipartisan majority that supports things such as the keystone x.l. pipeline authorization. i want to repeat that. when i talk about the easy stuff we can do, i'm referring to the
bipartisan majority that supports things like the keystone pipeline authorization. so i thought he would call for us to see what we could do in this lame duck. we're going to vote on an early childhood education bill. most certainly we would have the time to vote on a jobs bill. now, i think early childhood education in the long term is the best jobs bill we can do, i've said that over and over again, and my life has been committed to early childhood education and good schools and excellence in education and accountability. so i am not saying this to diminish the bill that the senate is poised to pass, which is for early childhood education. but if we started today with 2-year-olds, it will literally take us 20 years until they're 22 and the american people want
jobs yesterday. they want jobs now. they don't want jobs in 22 years. and so i was hoping that the majority would see that there is a clear path for the keystone pipeline to pass, a clear path. you can see it. you don't need a magnifying glass. you just need a brain in your head and understanding of what happened in the election. and the votes that are here. it's -- yes, what happened in the election, not only that the american people smoke but -- spoke but some members opposed to it who didn't want to vote have lost their elections. and the votes are here to pass this bill. it was clear to me. i thought it should be clear to the majority leader. so people are going to have to go ask them, ask the majority
leader and he left the floor and he will not answer this question, but i'm going to continue to ask it until i get an answer from him because i think the people of the united states deserve it. why didn't he? he's been talking about it incessantly every day, not only beating up on democrats, even though about 15 of us -- well, 15 of us, maybe more will vote for it, but he's been beating up on the president incessantly every day. and when he had the microphone, when he had the chance, when he was elected overwhelmingly in his state he walked to the floor and didn't say a word about the keystone pipeline. an word. -- not a word. didn't even refer to it. and then the senator from texas, who i thought, well, because they do their scripts together. they coordinate them very well.
i thought, well, maybe the senator from texas is going to, you know, give the signal. the senator from texas didn't give the signal either. so, as all senators here who are elected have the right to stand up at their desk and ask for recognition, it's about as simple as that. i didn't even have a script. i was just sort of thinking that they were going to do it. that's why i was here. because i thought at least i would like to say, i agree with it. and i'll prepareand i'm preparei have done to rally our side to get the votes. but so neither one of them said anything, and you can read it for yourself. it's very clear. the senator from texas said that you know, we should do easy stuff like the keystone
pipeline. we'll do that. next time we'll worke work on workforce training. number four, we can work on infrastructure. new mexico number fiervetion he said we should discourage costly litigation. number six, we're going to repeal obamacare, repeal the 40-hour work week. and earkts we're going to abolish the independent payment advisory board under medicare. each of these things i've mentioned has bipartisan support. if we can pass these measures, we'll send them to the president for his signature. so starting with the easy stuff we've already identified that a bipartisan support -- well, i lead the bipartisan effort on the democratic side. and i am proud to say that i lead it with the senator that's presiding from north dakota,
who's been an equally ferocious and sometimes more effective, i will admit, champion than i have been and the senator from west virginia, who has also been an absolute bulldog on the issue. and there are other senators -- max baucus was a strong supporter of keystone. senator tester -- is it impossible for republicans to utter the words "senator tester," "senator heitkamp." they don't have to say my name. i'm clear about why they're not doing that. but they could at least be gracious enough to recognize the leadership of the other senators here who have worked hard, because when we start this next congress -- and i'm going to do everything i can to be part of it -- i really hope that the reporters in this chamber and
people that are following this will start reporting what really happens here instead of what happens at press conferences, instead of what people say in press releases, instead of what people say when they buy staged television ads. if the reporters would actually just report what happens, i think that would be a good start, and, you know, sometimes they're going to say, this is what senator landrieu did and i disagree with her. this is what mitch mcconnell did and i agree with him. but at least they would report what actually happens. so when they finish speaking, i stood up and said, i think the votes are there. i have reason to believe they are. i worked, you know, for a couple of days last week just calling around because i'm the chair of the committee. my job is to pass legislation.
i've passed some significant pieces of legislation, even before i was the chair of the energy committee, although not, you know -- although you would not believe that listening to some people. we passed the restore act. i've passed the -- led the pushback against biggert-waters, which was again -- although i didn't put my name on it because i knew if i did, it would never pass. because they wouldn't allow it under any circumstance. so senator menendez was gracious to step up and senator isakson and they led the effort and i just kind of organized behind the scenes. it is clear that that happened. and we passed it. but, you know what? i'm grateful to this day that i didn't put my name as a lead because they never would have passed it in an election year, and we would have had 5 million people in this country literally
turning their homes back to the banks or telling their children, the home that i built and we built together that has $300,000 or $400,000 of equity, i'm just telling you we're bankrupt. i am so glad that that didn't happen. i'm thrilled. so we did that bill. we did the restore act. i passed early in my career a revenue-sharing bill that is going to serve the state of louisiana and the gulf coast beautifully for years to come. harry truman offered us a portion of offshore oil and gas revenues, even before i was born. when i got through college and read about it i felt like, geez, that was a good idea. liked are harry truman's idea and so i filed a bill and passed
it as a junior member of the committee, over the objection of my own chairman, who was a democrat at the time, jeff bingaman, who was adamantly opposed, adamantly fought every day -- not just voted against me, lobbied against me, fought against me, spoke against it -- not me personally but the bill. he just didn't believe in it. not meet personally, but the bill. i passed it over his objection which is a very hard thing for a junior member of the committee to pass it over the objection of their own chairman. but the reason i did it is because i figured out the votes, we drafted it in a way that could secure the votes and passed it. now, that is the truth. so i am happy tonight -- i'm not sad. i am happy tonight that the house of representatives is
again -- because this is like the third time this has happened in my career; it's a great honor -- for a house that i haven't spent two minutes on the floor there. i don't even hardly -- i know my dell gairkdelegation, but i've t any time in the house. i wasn't even a member of the house. this is the third time in my career that the house of representatives i has actually taken a hoeven-landrieu -- landrieu-hoeven -- bill, stripped their bill and i didn't even ask them do it and put the bill -- put my bill over there and passed it and then they're going to move it over here. i could not be happier. because we need to get the keystone pipeline done. they did this -- sort of the same thing with revenue-sharing, the restore act -- well, four times and the biggert-waters bill.
so i could not be happier that i was here at 2:00, that i listened to my father, who is listening now -- he should be happy to say, show up on time, you might not ever figure out what could happen if you're there on time. so i was, thinking absolutely. they wouldn't put the early childhood vote on the floor, they would put keystone on the floor because they've talked about it every single day -- every single day in my state, in alaska, in north carolina, in georgia, and in kentucky -- every single day. what was wrong with yesterday? what was wrong with yesterday?
it was a good day. i'm going to let that question just sit because there are a lot of people around here that know the answer. i don't have to tell it to you. what was wrong with tuesday? so when they didn't mention it, i thought that i would, because as is the truth, i have been leading it since 2011, and i'm not going to stop until we get a vote on the senate floor, for as long as i'm here -- as chair, as ranking member, which i will be,
and not as happy as being the chair but thrilled to be able to work with the senator from alaska. if i had to pick one person in this body on that side of the aisle to work with, it would be lisa murkowski -- without a doubt. not only because she is a woman but because she is an independent woman. she's strong. and since i was raid by one, i coton to them. so i am a happy kearch. it does not bother me, because i have worked here longer enough to work in the majority, in the minority, i've worked with republicans, i've worked with democrats. i have worked with three presidents of difference parties and six -- of different parties and six governors. why would i be sad? this is kind of like somebody said to me, this is the gig you
signed up for? i said, yes, it is. and it is strange to many people, and i don't blame our constituents for getting aggravated. but it is a gi gig i signed up . my dad signed up for it, my brother signed up for it, my sister signed up for t and we do it pretty well and every single member of my family -- and my husband signed up for it and his mother signed up for it. i think it is worth signing up for. that's why i'm here. other people can have their opinions about the people that are here. i think they're some of the best people in the world. maybe the institution is dysfunctional -- and it is. it is dysfunctional at this moment. but the people are not. the individual people that are here on both sides are not dysfunctional individuals. they are some of the most extraordinary people on this planet.
and i know i'm going to get criticized for that statement combos people wilbecause peoplee she goes, just talking about politicians. but i've served long enough to know that there are really -- really, really some extraordinary human beings that serve in this senate -- smart, capable, caring on both sides of the aisle. and i'm proud to be a part of it. i was not proud of the minority leader from kentucky on tuesday. i was not proud of him today. i was not proud of the senator from texas today. and i was very disappointed in the senator from north dakota. but they're my friends. we'll get through it. and we'll work forward together. i'm glad the house is debating and voting. i look forward to being back here on next tuesday where our
vote will occur, and i am very hopeful that we will have -- and i will we will have not 60 but probably 61 votes for the keystone pipeline. now, what the president does is a different matter, and i would like to challenge the senators on tuesday to just focus on the senate. let the senate's will work. let us pass this bill we will then send it to the president awnders the constitution, which is read to us on a frequent basis, the president has the right to sign it or to veto it. and if he vetoes it, it's going to take 67 votes to override his
veto. mine will be one of them, if he vetoes this bill. if i am here, my vote will be there to override his veto. i don't believe there are 67 other votes in the senate to do that. there might be. i don't know what mind-set people will have. but let's cross that bridge when we get there. stop talking about the white house and talk about the senate. if the senate can function, then maybe the house will do a little bit better. maybe the white house will do a little bit better. my mother taught me, if you want to criticize others, just start with yourself first. get yourself straight before you start criticizing everybody else. all i hear around here is what this one didn't do, what that
one didn't do, what the president didn't do with this. let us work as a senate. let us show the american people how the senate works. the house is going to do their job on keystone. we're going to do our job on keystone, and that will break the gridlock which we desperately need on a significant -- not an easy bill. not easy but easier, like early childhood education, who could p opposed to that? but let's break the gridlock on a tough bill that's hard for our members to allow a vote on. there are members that think it's the worst thing in the world. and i understand that. i thought things that have passed here were the worst thing in the world and i didn't like them, but voting is important. senator durbin said this and others have said this over and over again. senator leahy, who has been here a long time, let us vote and let
us stop criticizing everyone else. just do our jobs. and i am proud that i helped to get us moving in that direction. i'm going to ask senator carper is seeking to speak on another matter. i understand my hour of postcloture is about to expire. i don't need an additional time. i recognize senator carper on a different subject. i can't recognize, but i note senator carper is here. but before senator heitkamp, i would respectfully to the chair, i think she may have some comments she'd like to make, and i yield the floor. but if senator heitkamp could go next? ms. heitkamp: mr. president? the presiding officer: for the information of the senate, cloture having been invoked, the motion to refer falls. the senator from north dakota. ms. heitkamp: thank you,
mr. president. i want to thank my very good friend, mary landrieu, for everything that she has done for our country, for her state, for her tenacity and for her willingness to shepherd this through at a very critical time. we talked yesterday on the floor about how important it is to send the right messages to the american public. and a lot of people will say they picked this agenda or this agenda. they just want us to start working together, and they don't want us to turn on the television or watch c-span and say there they are in the sandbox again, fighting about things that don't matter to the american public. picking fights with each other, bad mouthing each other, as opposed to working together. it's a little tough right now because i think that if we are going to set the tone today --
yesterday, today and in the days that follow during this lame duck, the tone that will establish the relationships and the courtesies that we are going to have going forward in the next congress, we need to make sure that we're communicating when the tone goes a little wrong. and to me, i have fought this issue. i have been in favor of the keystone pipeline ever since i looked, and i some what famously likened it to caring about a area tv show that has nothing to do with people's lives and wondering why we care so much about keystone tbaws -- because it really doesn't have a whole lot to do with carbon. keystone pipeline is about transportation of oil. that oil is going to get transported.
it's going to get produced and it's going to move. it's going to move on rail or it's going to move on pipe someplace. and when you look at all of the study that's been done, environmental studies. you turn it around 100 different ways, you come to the same conclusion, that the expiep exphiep makes an in -- that the keystone pipeline makes an incredible amount of sense. it is a jobs-ready project, shovel-ready project with good trade union jobs. that's something you don't see every day in america. new things coming. it will help us transport 100,000 barrels of our oil. that's less than 10% of what we produce every day. but it will take, as my senior senator said, a lot of unit trains off the rail so we can move grain. and it will be state-of-the-art in terms of the quality of the pipeline. i've seen the pipeline. i've seen the oil sands.
i've been there. we are headed for north american energy independence if we don't get in our own way. so, keystone has taken a role larger than life, and it has been this hot button issue that really doesn't belong in this debate. it should have been approved, in my opinion, years ago. absolutely years ago. it has taken us longer to analyze keystone than what it has taken to us beat hitler by far. almost 50% more time spent analyzing the keystone pipeline. the people of the united states are tired of this issue. they are tired of our gridlock, and they are tired of the partisan bickering back and fompleght a so i would ask as a way to move forward on a lot of very difficult energy issues that we're going to have here, whether it's what i believe we need to begin to lower the barriers and eliminate the
barriers for exportation of crude oil -- it's been something i talked about a lot -- i believe that we need to export and to facilitate the exportation of natural gas. i believe that we need to do everything that we can to continue to develop our renewables. i believe we should have a renewable fuel standard that encourages, encourages the development of renewable fuels. i believe a lot of things on energy, and frequently we hear in this body we're all of the above and then people start talking, and you know they're not. they are not all of the above. they're polarizing this issue. and at the heart of it -- and as i said yesterday, one of the reasons why the united states of america has not experienced an economic downturn or slowdown that you see globally is because of this energy renaissance. and this is what the american public has sent us to do, to set
public policy. but more importantly, to get out of the way of private intervention, of private invention and entrepreneurship. and so, i would just respectfully, very respectfully ask that when our colleagues from the other side come to the floor, think about how we can use language that brings us together, that doesn't tell the american public there they go again. you know, here we are again in the sandbox, trying to figure out who's going to get credit. you know what? we all get credit. when this place works, we'll all get credit. and more importantly, when this place works, the american public will have their faith in their government restored. and so let's be very careful with language. let's recognize everyone for the commitment that they've made and that the leadership they've
provided. and i have said many times in my home state, senator hoeven has led this effort. he talks about it. he has been a champion for the keystone pipeline. i hope that i've been a champion. but i certainly have not done the time that he has done on this issue. and so, senator hoeven deserves an incredible amount of credit. but equally, mary landrieu deserves an incredible amount of credit for moving this issue right at this point in time and moving this issue forward. and we who are working on this side to gather the number of votes that we know we're going to need to pass this, that's not easy work. trust me, that is not easy work. but we're making tremendous progress. we're making tremendous progress. now what happens next week? we hope we pass it. and we'll cross the bridge of a
presidential veto when we come to it and if we come to it. but let's not presuppose what people are going to do and let's not stand here in a -- at a time when the american public wants to see us all come together. let's not stand here and worry about who gets credit. let's not stand here and call out people for what you consider past wrongs. let's move forward on behalf of the american people. i wanted to personally say thawrks senator landrii for your leadership and tenacity. i was with you every step of the way on flood insurance. it wouldn't have happened without senator lan driewvment she sounded the alarm before anyone knew we were going to have this problem and already
built this groundwork. i'm sure there's lots of things her opponents and her detractors could say about the position she's taken over the years. be honest about it. she's been a leader on keystone. she's been a leader on oil and gas. she's been a leader on flood insurance. she's been the tenacious voice for all of those issues. and she has in her heart the best interest not just of the people of this country, but particularly the great people of the great state of louisiana. and so, thank you, mary, for everything that you do, and i yield the floor. mr. carper: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: mr. president, i did not come to the floor to praise senator landrieu, but while i'm at it i want to say a few words. i have the privilege, mr. president, of chairing the homeland security and the authorizing committee. senator landrieu chairs the appropriations subcommittee that deals with homeland security.
she's also a member of the authorizing committee, so she works both venues. she is as tenacious and tireless in her defense of our country against cyber attacks, against terrorist attacks, against all kinds of ills that would otherwise be visited on our country, and she still finds time as chairman of the energy committee to focus not on issues that are important to her state -- and this certainly is one of them -- but also issues that are incredibly important to all of our country. i said to my wife the other night, we were talking about senator landrieu and her tenacity. that word has been used today a couple of times about her. about her unrelenting advocate for her state and the causes that she believes in. others have mentioned, she's tireless. she's a tireless advocate not just for louisiana but for the causes she thinks are just. i'd like to say there is no quit
in this woman. no quit. i also said to my wife this week, she said how is mary doing? i said she is doing just fine. i would never want to run against this woman. fortunately i'll never have to. for those who have, good luck, god bless. but i am proud to be here with mary and with heidi heitkamp, senator heitkamp as well. mr. president, the real reason i've come here tonight is to discuss a number of nominations that have been considered and approved by the homeland security and governmental affairs committee that both senator landrieu, senator heitkamp and i serve on. tom coburn, our colleague from oklahoma, the ranking republican on that committee. and we have worked tirelessly for the better part of the last two years to make sure there is a full complement on the leadership of homeland security to provide leadership for one of the most important agencies in our government. i have spoken preetedly on this floor -- repeatedly on this floor and wherever else i can
find a venue about the large and very troubling backlog of nominations in this executive. i call it executive branch swiss cheese. there's a couple of ways you can cripple the administration. you cannot provide funding for their priorities. another way is to not approve nominations for people who fill key leadership positions. the most important ingredient i found in any organization -- i don't care if it is a body like this or a state like louisiana or north dakota. i don't care if it is a college or business or church. most critical factor in all of those is leadership. when we deny a president or governor or mayor, for that matter, the inability to put together his or her leadership team, even when they're nominating well-qualified, competent people, people of integrity, we do not just a disservice to that person who has been nominated, who has gone through the process, but to the
state or the county or the country in whi they have been nominated to serve. i think it is every senator's constitutional role to provide advice and consent on a president's nomination in a thorough and timely manner as part of the senate confirmation process. i've exercised that constitutional role in our obligation there under. i think we do our country no service, we do ourselves no honor when we leave critical agencies. homeland security is certainly one of those. without proper leadership and leave honorable men and women willing to serve and government twisting in the wind. i'm a believer in the golden rule, treat other people how they'd like to be treated. how would we like if we are nominated, maybe we have job that pays a lot more than what we're nominated to do in service to our country. and all too often people are just asked to put your life on hold. put your family on hold. they don't know if they're going
to be uprooted to come here and live for their spouse or father or mother to work. it's just not fair. in some cases just to pull people before committees and break them publicly for sins of omission or commission that may just be fabricated. no wonder it's hard to get good people to serve. we have several people, i'm going to talk about them tonight, mr. president, about some people who deserve our -- not just our consideration but our strong support. during my two years as chairman of the homeland security and government affairs committee i've made it one of my priorities to work closely with our ranking republican, dr. tom coburn, a physician, also a senator, and to vet the president's nominees that we have jurisdiction over and to move them in a timely manner when they meet muster. when they meet muster. scrub them good, make sure they -- we have drilled down on what they believe in, credentials and competency for
serving and when they do to try to move them along, bring them through our committee. almost every time on a bipartisan vote and bring them before the floor. and tom coburn and i try to do that religiously with respect to our nominees, try to do the same kind of bipartisan approach with our legislation. we've had lot of the success, grateful to our colleagues for sponsoring what we've done in our committee. grateful to the majority leader reid and to senator mcconnell and their staffs, they've been valuable partners in this effort. gary myrick on the democrat side, laurie dub for the republicans have been terrific to work with and thank them for their stewardship. yesterday our committee reported out three more outstanding nominees. one of them, sarah sadano at the department of homeland security. it's a big job. a really big job. an important job and a tough job. russ doe has been nominated to
be the top management official at the department of homeland security and nicky barnett has been nominated for another postal service board of governors. i believe ms. saldano and mr. deo will be confirmed i think in short order. i urge my colleagues too review their qualifications and work with dr. coburn and me to fill these vacancies at the department of homeland security in the coming days. i want to spend a few minutes of my time, though, tonight discussing the nomination of mickey barnett to -- who is already serving on the postal board of governors but he's been nominated again, he's a republican, nominated again by the president. and then i want to talk about a couple of lower profile nominees i think we urge lent he opponently need to confirm as quickly as we can. certainly this year during this lame-duck session. mickey barnett. mickey barnett is among a group of five bipartisan nominees to
the postal board of governors submitted by a democratic president. two of the nominees republicans, mickey one of those, three of them are democrats. if we don't confirm mr. barnett and his colleagues by december 8, a little -- about on four weeks from now mr. barnett currently the board's chair will be forced to leave the board. if that happens the postal board of governors will not have enough members to achieve a quorum and will not be able to conduct business. at the time the postal service is struggling to aat the present time to the internet world we live in, being unable to conduct business would not be good for the postal service. in fact, it would be very bad and we need to avoid that happening. if it does happen, we'll be inviting a disaster. today because of our inability to come to consensus on postal reform legislation and they're colleague closer, good work of dr. coburn and other people to
develop a consensus around the legislation record out of -- reported out of our committee on a 9-1 vote, the postal service until we do something, the postal service continues to twist in the wind. able to do only so much to address the financial challenges that they face and transform themselves to figure out how do we make relevant in the 21st century in a digital age an internet age, make relevant a 200-some--year-old delivery business that goes to every business and resident six days a week. how do we make that relevant in the digital age. and they're figuring it out and we can help them with our legislation. the customers are left with uncertainty and they're about what the future holds for the postal service. are they going to be around? are they going to be able to do their job? they were going to modernize their processing centers and the post offices themselves. we can answer that question and
enable them to be financially viable once again. we would make that uncertainty that surrounds the postal service even worse if december 8 comes and goes and our five postal board nominees are still waiting for us to act. the same goes for our nominees to dill vacancies not on the postal board of governors but on the postal regulatory commission, a five-member commission, the regulator for the postal service. among these two people nominated by this president, nanci langley and tony hammond. they've been waiting since the spring of 2013 to be confirmed. the commission has been working with only three commissioners out of five as a result. we need to do something about that as well. and waiting for another year -- for another month is foolish. foolhardy. these people deserve a vote. we ought to vote them up or now, unanimously approved and
confirmed by our committee and i think they need a vote and we get a vote, i'm sure they'll be confirmed. also pending before the senate are two nominations to the d.c. district of columbia superior court. they are judge william nooter and judge steven wellner. they are both well qualified nominees who like the homeland security and postal nominees i've discussed won bipartisan support in the committee and are needed to fill vacancies on the district of columbia very busy trial court. judge nooter and judge wellner were reported out of our committee with unanimous bipartisan support months ago and judge nooter's case more than a year ago, more than a year ago. as i've discussed these men are not alone in waiting so long for confirmation but the problem is particularly unfair when it comes to the become's court system. earlier this fall during the homeland security and government affairs committee hearing on d.c. statehood, the vacancies on the d.c. superior court were
included as just one of many unjustices the district faces simply because it serves as our nation's capital. the district of columbia already suffers from not having control over its own laws or even local dollars. the citizens of this city should not have to face a compromise legal system as well. while we in congress may not be able to fix everything, i do think this is one of the few issues we can and must address now. the d.c. circuit court is a local court. it hears primarily local matters. most nominees are entirely uncontroversial. and used to going through the senate without a recorded floor vote. but because these local judges go through senate confirmation they've been caught up in broader political -- a broader political stalemate of the senate floor. i hope that's going to come to an end. meanwhile, no other local or state jurisdiction must have its nonfederal judges approved by
the congress. if we're talking about federal district judges or circuit court of appeal judges or supreme court judges, of course they 14 come through here. of course they have should have to be debated and approved here. these are local judges and it's only by a quirk in the law that they have to come here for confirmation at all. they're local judges for the district of columbia. and they need -- how would bee like fit we had been nominated and held up for over a year for a -- particularly in courts where there's huge backlogs. we're talking about case loads of tens of thousands of people and they don't have a full complement of judges because of us. how fair is that? it's not. no other local or state jurisdiction must have its nonfederal judges approved by congress. no other state or locality is without a vote in the senate to help push for action on nominations of concern to that community. d.c. superior court is operated by the federal government, judges are appointed by the
president for 15-year terms. it's important to note although this court is operated by the federal government it is separate from the federal government. instead, the superior court is the local trial court for the district of columbia and handles matters such as local crimes, such as domestic and civil disputes. nevertheless because the court is operated by the federal government, the president's nominees and his nominated candidates for judicial vacancies from a slated prepared by a nonpartisan nomination commission and the senate must confirm the nominees. well, current there are four vacancies on the superior court due to a planned retirement and medical leave this number will rise. it's going to get worse. they hennedder the according to apeeve built to administer justice for d.c. residents. they have enormous case loads. existing vacancies the majority are which are in the family
court division threaten to undermine the ability to give are proper pretty good shape including those that affect the welfare of families and particularly the welfare of children. recently the chief judge of the superior court in the bar association of the district of columbia have sent both senators -- senate leaders and to dr. coburn and myself a letter raising these concerns indoles ultimately seeking a vote on judges nooter and wellner. they are reaching to to to the choir. judge nooter has served as a magistrate judge for the past 14 years. as presiding magistrate judge he manages 23 fellow judges and serves under the leadership team of the chief judge of the superior court. judge wellner currently serves as administrative law judge for the district of columbia, administrative hearings and since 2011 he's led the unemployment insurance gigs by
all accounts skillfully coordinating a team of 10 administrative law judges and support staff to adjudicate over 3,000 unemployment insurance cases per year. mr. president, given the caliber of these nominees, the lack of controversies over their nominations, the bipartisan -- unanimous bipartisan support that they have received from the committee of jurisdiction, i urge and i'm sure i urge with the full support of dr. coburn, our ranking republican member of the committee, i urge this body to move their squirming forward as -- confirmations forward as soon as possible. justice delayed is still justice denied. it's been that way for centuries, and these delays are insufferable. and i would just close by saying what we are doing is not just bad judgment, it's not bad form, i think it's shameful and we need to fix it. with that, mr. president, i'm finished and i look around to
mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business, mr. president. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you.
after the election, i've heard a number of my colleagues in the house of representatives and in the senate say that they are going to come to the floor of the senate and to the floor of the house and again try to repeal the affordable care act. it strikes me -- i said last night on the floor that it strikes me that during an election, i would think people would, that members of congress would hear from their constituents whether it's in minnesota or ohio, the presiding officer's state or mine, or around the country, and that once you start talking to real people -- not campaign rallies, not a country club dinner, not a fund-raiser, but real people about their lives, you'd understand that what the affordable care act meant to a whole lot of people. in my state there are more than 500,000 people who have health insurance today that did not have it one year ago because of
the affordable care act. in addition, there were 97,000 and counting young people -- 18, 20 and 25 years old -- who were on their parents health care plan that wouldn't have insurance without it. there are a million seniors in my state from detroit to toledo to zanesville who have gotten free -- meaning no co-pay, no deductibles -- free cancer screenings, preventive care, diabetes checks, all of these kinds of preventive care when their doctor prescribes getting a physical for seniors that are free all because of the affordable care act. and there are thousands and thousands and thousands of people in ohio who have a child with diabetes or a son or a daughter with asthma, and that family's been denied coverage year after year after year. but now because of the affordable care act has coverage. we know what this has meant.
i've heard pope francis say a few months ago, speak to go his, some parish priests, he exhorted them to go out and smell like the flock, go out and understand their lives before you come to the floor and you try to repeal the affordable care act. there is something a bit untoward where people of privilege -- we're senators, we have great titles, we're paid good salaries, most of us dress well, most of us have nice haircuts, we come to the floor with government-paid insurance and we say we're going to repeal the affordable care act and take insurance away from 500,000 ohioans and tens of thousands of minnesotans and take away the young people and their parents' plan and take away these benefits for seniors. and i wanted -- i just came to the floor to share a hand full of letters because i want to put a face on some of these, what this actually means if we were to, with congress thinking
that's what the voters want, come to the floor and say we're going to repeal the affordable care act. let's talk about what that means. connie from hamilton county, cincinnati, one of your constituents, i want you to know the deleterious impacts of the d.c. circuit court's ruling on my well-being. because of a change in my employment status and marital status, i've looked at the affordable care act as a godsend. i work full time, good-paying job, 35 years when i was reorganized out of position at the worst time in the recession. i've been able to obtain limited and temporary part-time contract work since. but the income i net is substantially reduced what it was. as an older worker. she said she worked 35 years, so i assume she is at least in her 50's. as an older worker i'm having a difficult time securing permanent employment. i recently qualified for a catastrophic health plan on
health care.gov. ohio is one of those states, as you know, that opted out of establishing its own state plan. that wasn't a problem until recently, connie writes. now facing a plan may be ineligible, for the federal tax credit i face a dire tax situation. if i were the only one caught in this catch-22 i probably wouldn't be writing. i understand there are five million americans in similar straits living in a state where the governor didn't want to set up an exchange and the supreme court -- nine privileged men and women who are lawyers, who get government health insurance -- may take these benefits away from these five million people. that was my editorial comment. she writes, connie writes please help find a way to ameliorate the impact of this circuit court ruling. many of us are dependent upon it so we don't become burdens on the health care system. the question is, why do people that dress like this, who have
titles like congressman and senator, who get health insurance paid by taxpayers, why do they want to take it away from so many other people? why do they want to take these benefits away? why do they want to cancel these consumers protections? when they cast these votes on repeal of the affordable care act, they should be thinking about the connies of the world. also sharon from franklin county in the middle of the state, columbus is a lupus patient. she writes i urge you to maintain the health care reform that helps us afford coverage. before congress starts gutting the health care reform, please visit a support group for any chronic illness. listen to the stories of people struggling to pay their medical bills. listen to the stories about people being denied insurance due to preexisting conditions. cutting their medicine in half to try to stretch them until the end of the month. my wife was in a drugstore not too long ago and right in front of her somebody was trying to figure out can i skip, take half this number of pills so they last twice as long?
that happens all the time. if more of us would get out into a drugstore and more of us would get out and talk to people, we'd learn that. sharon writes i've got a good education, good job, good insurance but i know i could be wiped out in a matter of months if my job were outsourced or discontinued. since i work at home, i telecommute due to my illness, my chances at a new job and new health insurance are grim. the health care reform bill isn't perfect but when it was passed a collective sigh of relief went up for millions of americans struggling to maintain their jobs and their families and their lives while suffering with chronic illness like lupus. please don't pay politics, sharon writes, with our lives. please don't gut the health care bill. again the scwe: why do my -- again the question is why do my colleagues, almost all of whom have health care provided by taxpayers, why do they want to take benefits away from sharon and connie? rose from hamilton county writes
senator brown please vote no to repeal the health care law. my family and friends appreciate the added benefits that we're getting from the current health care law. my son's fiancee is currently finishing her graduate degree. she is 25. she is able, thank god, to remain on her parents' insurance. otherwise she would not be able to afford the high cost of private insurance. this is a young woman about whom rose is writing, this is a young woman who wants to get more education, wants to do better in life, wants to further her career. but what happens? if she can't stay on her parents' plan, if my colleagues are successful in repealing the affordable care act, what happens to her? why should we even be asking that question? my niece graduated last year from college, has not been able to find a full-time teaching job. she is doing what we need more of. good teachers in our country. fortunately she can stay on her parns insurance because of the -- parents insurance because of the health care law. she has an illness and the current health care law ensures when it is time to get her own health insurance she won't be
discriminated against. this woman, her niece, rose's niece is in this situation. she is right out of school. she wants to teach. she doesn't have a job yet. but once she -- so she's on her parents' health insurance plan. then when she gets a job, if it weren't for the affordable care law, act, she probably would be denied coverage because she has a preexisting condition. so she is a perfect example of two things about this law that my colleagues, for whatever reason, want to take away. and i'll close with this. chris from fair field county writes, southeast of columbus, senator, i want to thank you for standing by the health care law. i now have insurance after four years. i'm now receiving treatment for my knee after three years of pain and swelling. i have arthritis. i go to an orthopedic surgeon next week for further diagnosis and treatment. without the insurance i purchased through the scheang exchange, the exprai -- the
x-ray that discovered my arthritis would never have been possible. why would my colleagues want to take it away? why would they say to this person in fair field county, why would they say to chris, sorry you're not going to get that x-ray. chris wouldn't get the x-ray and not know about the arthritis until it gets worse. part of what the health care law does, it encourages and incents people, gives people incentives to get preventive care. so we repeal this law, if my colleagues -- again, i know i said this over and over but almost all of whom have health insurance provided to them by taxpayers, if they have their way, all these people -- chris and rose and sharon and connie, where do they turn? where do they turn? they end up, their lives end up worse.
they end up being sicker, they possibly die younger. they end up costing the health care system more money. they're less productive citizens. the niece and son-in-law and fiancee that one of these ladies talked about would not be able to get an education, get ahead, all the things we say we value in this country. how can anybody think in good conscience that repealing the affordable care act makes sense for our families, makes sense for our communities, makes sense for the states of minnesota and ohio, makes sense for our country? i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
quorum call: mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that at 5:30 p.m. monday, november 17, all postcloture time be considered expired with respect to the house message to accompany s. 1086, that the motion concur
with amendment 3923 with withdrawn and the senate proceed to vote on the house amendment to s. 1086. upon the disposition of the house message, the senate proceed to executive session to vote on cloture on executive calendar numbers 856, 857, 858. further that if cloture ask invoked on any of these nominations, on tuesday november 18 following the senate's action with respect to s. 2208 as provided under the previous order, the senate proceed to executive session, all postcloture time be expired and the senate proceed on confirmation of the nominations in the order upon which cloture was invoked. if the nomination is confirmed, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. upon disposition of the ross nomination, the senate resume legislate legislative session and the there be 30 minutes of debate equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. the motion to proceed to
s. 2685. further that any sequence of votes be two minutes of debate prior to each vote, all roll call votes prior to -- time in opposition to s. 2280 be under the control of senator boxer or her d.c. sphir officer there snookthe prs there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i ask that the senate proceed to morning business ands. the presiding officer:. mr. reid: h.r. 4 is due for a second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time u. the clerk: h.r. 4, an act to make revisions to federal law to improve the conditions necessary for economic growth and job creation and for other purposes. mr. reid: i would object to any further proceedings at this time on this legislation. the presiding officer: objection is heard.
it will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: mr. president, there is a bill at the desk and i ask for its first reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title for the first time. the clerk: h.r. 2, an act to remove federal government obstacles to the production of more domestic energy and so forth and for other purposes. mr. reid: i ask for its second reading in order to place the bill on the calendar under provisions of rule 14 i object to my owning request. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bill will be read for the second time u -- on the next legislative day. mr. reid: as if in executive session, the i ask unanimous consent that the nomination of sarah soldano to be secretary of homeland security reported by the committee on wednesday november 12 now be referred to the judiciary committee until no later than december 4, the committee on the judiciary has not reported the nomination by that date, that it be automatically discharged on the
one hand placed on the executive calendar. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask that the appointments at the desk appear separately in the record as if made by the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 2:00 p.m. monday, november 17. following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. the senators be permitted to speak up to ten minutes each with the time divided twoon the two leaders or their designees. at 5:00, the senate resume consideration e. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, there will be four roll call votes at 5:30 p.m. on adoption of the child care act. if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until
[inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon everyone. let me start by saying we have a new member of our senate leadership. senator wicker has been elected the senate senatorial committed and will be speaking here in a few moments. i have been very disturbed about the way the president has proceeded in the wake of the election whether it it is his intervention on net neutrality, his apparent decision to move
ahead on immigration with executive orders, the rather ridiculous agreement with the chinese under which they basically have to do nothing for the next 16 years while they are losing jobs in this country as a result of epa's regulation. i had naïvely hoped the president would look at the results of the election to decide to come to this political center and do some business with us so i hope he does at some point but the early signs are not good. let me tell you who did get the message. that was senate democrats. they got the message on the keystone pipeline and that is why you are seeing the current democratic majority of the senate have an epiphany and decide to allow a vote they have been blocking for literally years. our leader on the keystone pipeline from the beginning to the present has been senator
hoeven the senior senator from north dakota. i want to call on senator hoeven to give you his thoughts about going forward on the keystone pipeline which looks like we will be able to do in the house first and then the senate next week. john. >> think you leader. appreciated. just to take a minute to talk about the game plan. on the keystone xl pipeline approval bill as you know we have a bipartisan bill and we worked out unanimous consent for a vote first in the house and the houseboat tomorrow, friday and then we will vote on it in the senate on tuesday. this is a bill that is bipartisan but it's got all 45 senators on board so this is an issue that we have been pushing for quite some time and we believe there is strong support for it. it's about jobs comments about
energy. it's about building the right kind of energy plan for this country which will work for national security as well in the american public overwhelmingly supports it. we have been working to get a vote for some time on this bill. now clearly the house will pass overwhelmingly tomorrow but then we will vote on a tuesday. we have got all 45 republicans on board. as a matter fact all 45 republicans are co-sponsors of this legislation so we need 15 democrats. we will see what happens on tuesday. we hope to have 60 votes. we will see that the point i want to make is this. all along we anticipated that we will win on this issue because the american public once keystone xl approved seven new congress if we don't get 60 votes on tuesday in the new congress we will have 60 votes and again if you just go through the election results not only did the american people speak but when you look at the candidates we have 60 votes for
the bill. then it's up to the president. you have seen his comments and one of his spokespeople traveling with him in asia said that he wasn't fond of the bill and it sounds like he may veto it but if he vetoes it than then we will have the ability to attach it to broader energy legislation or maybe an appropriations measure we think he will not veto. again this is about what is good for the american people so i think we have got a good plan to advance keystone and i want to thank not only our leader but our whole process for getting on board and get them behind this important legislation. thanks leader. >> we are very excited with the new majority that will be sworn in january to do important things on behalf of the american people and to get americans back to work again. east on xl pipeline as you've
heard from senator hoeven is something we have been fighting for and advocating for for the last couple of years something that would have according to the secretary of state about 42,000 jobs, the thing we should have been doing years ago but we are grateful to have a chance to vote for that on tuesday. given the opportunity we have i think an emerging bipartisan consensus that the american people really are more interested in us getting to work again solving problems on a bipartisan basis. they have to live with it day in and day out. i can't think of anything more discouraging for the present present of an icc than what senator mcconnell tension and that is threatened with amnesty order which disregards the law and the balance of powers in the constitution but think about it. if you are someone who has tried to play by the rules and immigrate to this country
legally may naturalize almost a million people a year. we are a nation of legal immigrants. how one fire -- how much more unfair could it be for the president to issue this order and essentially bump all of these new folks ahead of those who have been waiting patiently in trying to play by the rules and doing it the right way. i hope the president will heed the request of people like senator angus king who said he hopes he delays this. i hope the delays it permanently but at least i hope the president would give us adequate time to be old to work together to try to begin to build a bipartisan consensus on repairing our broken immigration system. if he does that it's going to make it much harder, not easier. >> i want to start by thanking my colleagues in the senate for the opportunity to serve with this leadership team, guinness conference chair and i can tell
you what we will be doing is continuing to speak directly to the american people about our policies, create jobs and grow the economy and strengthen the middle class. we believe the president policies pushed on democrats in the senate have been harmful to the american people. we believe there's a better way and we will start by taking up these bills many of which have languished passed by the house of representatives that are conducive to creating jobs in growing our economy. we will work very hard to protect the american people from government overreach in so many areas where it is adding significant burdens to our economy and make it more expensive and burdensome to create jobs. we will draw contracts with the democrats in areas where we believe there's a better direction for the american people and we will talk directly to the american people about those differences. we hope the present and the democrats will work with us. it's going to be up to them. the ball is going to inner core.
obviously we are pleased to have an opportunity to serve as the majority in the united states senate and we look forward to hopefully bipartisan cooperation because we think it's in the country's best interest for us to not only give the senate working again to get washington d.c. and the people's government working again again for the american people. >> i want to thank my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to continue as chairman of the public policy committee. we are committed to policies that will put americans back to work focused on jobs and economy affordable energy and health care. there are many bills that pass in a bipartisan way in a house with a significant number of democrats also on board. those are the things we are going to work to try to pass through the united states senate. we have heard the message loud and clear from the voters and that