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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 16, 2016 2:00pm-3:01pm EDT

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today the senate works on the u. s. district judge for the district of maryland. they get to that at 4:30 on a confirmation vote at 5:30. until then, we expect general speeches from the floor. live coverage now on c-span2. the presiding officer the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, who preserves our nation with the power of your might. we lift our hearts in praise. we're grateful for your unfailing love and faithfulness because your promises are backed by the honor of your name.
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we place our hope in you and remember daily how you have sustained us in the past. lord, give our senators the wisdom to trust you in the small things, realizing that faithfulness with the least prepares them for fidelity with the much. may they trust you to do what is best for america in good times and in bad. look down from heaven on the entire human family and give us your peace.
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we pray in your great name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c, may 16, 2016 . to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable lisa murkowski, a senator from the state of alaska, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g.hatch, president pro tempore. mr. mcconnell:
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madam president? the presiding officer: mr. majority leader. mr. mcconnell: this week we commemorate national police week and pay tribute to the local, state and federal law enforcement officers who keep our country and our communities safe. we're grateful for their service and for their sacrifice. we benefit from their pledge to serve, protect, and defend. i had the pleasure recently of meeting with several officers from richmond, kentucky, who were in town for the events of police week. i also met with the families of kentucky police officers who laid down their lives in the line of duty. typically, tragically five officers from the bluegrass state were lost in p 2015. on march 5 lieutenant clifford scott travis, on mark 11, officer burke; jevon rhodes.
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on september 13, state trooper joseph palmer and september 6 senior patrol officer daniel neil ellis. the names of these officers along with the names of other brave officers across the country have been added to our national monument of law enforcement officers lost in the line of duty. the national law enforcement memorial. more than 20,000 names from across the country appear in all. that includes the four capitol police officers we've lost in the line of duty since 1994, the capitol police held a ceremony to honor their fallen officers. it reminds us of the continuing sacrifices of the men and women who stand guard every day at the very heart of our democracy. we're grateful for their
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service. i'm a proud cosponsor of the resolution to recognize national police week this year. the resolution recognizes the work of active duty law enforcement officers, the 25th anniversary of the national law enforcement officers memorial, the 15th anniversary of 9/11, and all the officers lost in the line of duty in 2015. i'm also a proud cosponsor of the fallen heroes flag act. this bill would create a program to provide flags that have been flown over the capitol to the immediate family members of law enforcement and public safety officers who are lost in the line of duty. this bill has passed both the house and senate and it is awaiting the president's signature. i'm also a cosponsor of my friend, the senior senator from texas, of the police act. the police act would expand cops grants so that those grants can be used for active shooter training and to help equip law enforcement to respond to events like the san bernardino
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shootings. passing the police act would help give our police officers the training they need to do their jobs more effectively. and i'm hopeful that we can quickly move this important legislation. i'm proud to represent kentucky's police officers here in the senate. law enforcement is a very dangerous work. it is also a noble calling. i'm grateful for the service of every police officer in kentucky and across the nation. i know my colleagues share my deep admiration and respect for police officers everywhere. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: i join the republican leader in recognizing the contribution of the law enforcement officers all around this country.
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i'm sorry that the -- they have such a tough job, and i don't think we appreciate them enough. so i appreciate what the republican leader said. we too in nevada have had our share of these awful instances where these men and women are killed needlessly. madam president, what we know today as the zika virus was first discovered in 1947 in uganda. it was first detected in monkeys but in 1947 they also learned that the mosquito was now carrying the same virus the monkeys have. initially we did not know or hear much about zika, but we've heard plenty and we're going to hear a lot more.
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they named the service zika because that's where the virus was discovered, in a forest in uganda, and it is a ugandan term that means overgrown. so these mosquitoes, this virus was discovered in this overgrown forest in uganda. now seven decades later zika is an international emergency. countries are scrambling to address the problems created by this mosquito that bites. what i've learned is there's more than one mosquito. there's two. zika-carrying mosquitoes have transmitted the disease to american citizens in puerto rico and other united states territories. this summer the mosquitoes carrying this zika virus will be biting and infecting people in the continental united states, and that's not just hyperbole. it is going to happen. zika carrying mosquitoes won't
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be limited to the gulf coast. madam president, look at this map. look at this map. you can't see it very well in this, but you can see that dis coloration. the original coloring, you have the blue, the orange, and you have the gray. now, i was really surprised. i thought it would just be where we have subtropical climates here in the united states, the southern part of our country; i thought that's where it would be. but you can see that's not the case. nevada is here, las vegas is here. we have more than two million people that live there. all over the united states, boulder, colorado, that's what that is up there.
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puerto rico, hawaii, this is a map from the centers for disease control and prevention showing the estimated range of the two types of zika-carrying mosquitoes. the areas are three in color and covers 39 states. most of these states don't have subtropic weather. nevada, colorado, wisconsin, ohio, kentucky, new hampshire, and mainer are at risk. health officials are desperate to stop zika, this devastating virus that's been around for so long was not known to carry all the many problems it now carries. it causes birth defects and other deadly conditions. last week a report on npr described what zika does to the brain as it begins to grow. here is one definition.
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quote, as the brain starts to grow it creates pressure which pushes on the skull and causes it to grow. but if something stops brain growth, such as the zika virus, the person's skull drops and the skull can collapse down into the brain. two weeks ago we had people come into my caucus and they described these skulls that just collapse. that's the end of the quote. zika is not only linked to birth defects. the virus is also linked to nervous system disorder that can cause paralysis among other problems. despite the devastating impacts of zika, i'm sorry to say the republican congress doesn't see this virus as an issue. months ago president obama requested almost $2 billion to fight zika. and for the same months republicans refused to give
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money america needs to fight this crisis. the best time to deal with crisis, any crisis is before it's here but republicans have dragged their feet. we should have passed emergency spending bill months ago, months ago. we need to address zika and the territories, give states and local resources they're begging for. last thursday appropriators found the limit would provide $1.1 billion for zika funding. that simply is not enough. this is not negotiating with arbitrary numbers made up by lawmakers. public health experts have been clear they need that money. senate republicans are giving half of what they need to fight the ravaging virus. this is beyond reckless. house republicans are even doing less. the chairman of the house appropriations committee last week said republicans are working on a zika funding
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measure but what the house is proposing is even less. about half of the $1.1 billion amendment from some senate appropriators. republicans are trying to haggle as if this is some sort of a bidding war. that is not how congress should react to a potential health crisis. we know what's going on in puerto rico. we know. because of the republicans' refusal to lift a finger to help the crisis, the administration is forced to use a chunk of ebola funds in order to fight zika now. they had to take about $510 million that was set aside specifically for ebola two years ago, america was afraid of ebola. ebola is still a killer, and we invested in supporting public health and structures to prevent future outbreaks like the one we
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saw, as i indicated, two yearsing a. we need to replenish this money so we can continue the work on vaccines and other things, but republicans are standing in the way. it's really a sad commentary on republicans that when asked for emergency funding to protect millions of americans, they respond by offering half of what's needed. this is in a spending bill, that we have to go to the house and have a conference. in the meantime people are begging for this money. republicans should be ashamed if they're not doing everything in our power to do it now, to protect the american people from this virus. we should have an emergency spending bill on the floor now. if it were a flood or a fire that occurred, it would have been here. that's too bad because this is a crisis that's already here. it is not an emergency crisis. it's here. -- not an emerging crisis.
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it's here. last week the republican leader came to the floor and here's what he said -- and i quote -- "we have elections in this country right on time, and that's not an excuse not to do our work." "we have elections in this country right on time, and that's not an excuse mott to do our work." that's what senator mcconnell said. so i is a you to my friend from kentucky, i agree. elections are no excuse not to do our work. so senate republicans should do their job and give supreme court merrick garland a hearing and vote. there is clearly no question that merrick garland is experienced and qualified to be a nominee. he is a nominee, and he has the expertise to go along with what a supreme court nominee should have. throughout his decades as prosecutor and judge, mr. garland has proven himself to be committed to the rule of law and following it.
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that's more than i can say for my republican colleagues who, by refusing to consider this nominee, are rejecting their constitutional duties. the republican leader needs to practice what he preaches. he says that elections should not interfere with our senate duties. well, she prove it. republican senators should prove this. put aside presidential elections. put aside donald trump. and put aside all the phony excuses and give merrick garland the consideration he deserves. study judge garland's questionnaire. it is here. analyze his rompletd it's a here. give him a hearing, send his nomination to the senate floor now. just as the republican leader put it, we have elections in this country on time, and that's not an excuse not to do our work. so absolutely he's right. i would ask them -- the republicans -- to do their job.
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i would sumly add on this -- i would simply add on the zika matter, madam president, the following: the news from the house -- and i talked about the chair of the appropriations committee over there -- and other word we have heard from the house, virtually guarantees that the house republicans will fight until the end. the way things are going around here, the aappropriations bills aren't going to be finished until right before the end of this fiscal year, late in september. the crisis will long having arrived, and we'll be talking about cases that actuallyies in the continental united states -- that actually exist in the
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continental united states. it is really wrong to wait. mr. president, i don't see anyone here on the floor, so i would ask the chair a ons no our business of the day. the presiding officer: under the previous order,s leadership time is reserved. and under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 4:30 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each.
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mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic. mr. durbin: madam president, three months ago president obama asked this congress for funding to address a public health emergency, combating the zika virus. three months ago. i'm pleased that this week, 14
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weeks after his request, we're going to respond. we're not responding in full. the president asked for $1.9 billion to address this serious public health challenge. and we're not responding without some theatrics in posturing first. but we are going to vote on some amendments this week, and it is about time. it's about 14 weeks since representatives from the center for disease control and prevention and the national institutes of health testified at senate appropriations committee on the dire need for immediate action to combat the zika virus. i visited the center for disease control about 14 weeks ago, and by then they had been able to verify that the tissue samples coming in from brazil of miscarriages and other serious health problems were linked to the zika virus, so there was no question that these mosquitoes
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carrying this virus had serious public health consequences, so serious the center for disease control dedicated 1,000 staffers to dealing with this issue. and that was about 12 or 14 weeks ago. the president used his authority to come to congress and say, we have a public health emergency. treat it like an emergency. now here we are 14 weeks later getting around to discussing it. when i think back in times in american history when congress has been called on to respond to an emergency, there have been amazing examples where partisanship was set aside and people said, in the interest of america, we need to act and act now. whether we're talking about mobilizing for a war, whether we're talking about responding to terrorism, we've done it. we can do it. this time we have failed. we have failed for 14 weeks.
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and in that period of time, 1,200 americans in 44 states -- washington, d.c., and three u.s. territories, including over 110 pregnant women have contracted zika. six more have contracted an autoimmune disorder that can call paralysis and death. the first zika-related micro-encephaly case was reported in puerto rico. in my state of illinois, 16 people have tested positive for zika, including at least three pregnant women. over the past few months, we've learned more about zika and how dangerous it can be. we now know it's carried by two types of mosquitoes. we now know it is linked to serious neurological damage and birth defects in children. and we now know it can be sexually transmitted. we also know the mosquitoes carrying the zika vie us have thrive in the warm summer
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months, which is why this action should have been taken long ago and must be taken this week. the best way to fight a public health threat like zika is to have a strong, stable public health infrastructure in place. that is what the president asked for. that means reliable and stable funding year after year after year. our public health agencies have to be viewed as the first line of defense just as we view the pentagon as the first line of defense when it comes to military and terrorist threats. our public health agencies are the first line of defense when we're speaking of ebola, the zika virus, and a variety of other challenges that could literally threaten the health and life of innocent americans. we must ensure robust and stable funding for agencies like centers for disease control. these invasive problems can pop up at any time. we can't rally to each and every occurrence after it happens.
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we have to be prepared. the center for disease control is not only the best, it is the best in the world but it cannot operate without adequate funding and the national institutes for health. they're right now working on a vaccine to protect all of us against the zika virus. that's the answer but it takes time, a year. we should have been moving on it sooner. and we must provide critical resources to food and drug administration. their reviewers are responsible for ensuring that any new zika treatments or vaccines are safe and effective. they have to be clinically tested. for years we've heard congressional republicans rail against federal spending and even embrace the notion of a sequester, a blind across-the-board cut. case in point, over the past few months we've heard republicans protest, stall, push back on providing funding to help combat the zika virus. there have been a variety of
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excuses for their delay. the outcome has always been the same. we have lost time in responding to this public health emergency. for years those of us on this side of the aisle have been arguing that this approach, one of starving funding and endless delay, is shortsighted and irresponsible. yes, we must be good stewards of taxpayers' dollars, but i would argue there's no better use of taxpayer dollars than investments in public health, investments in the national institutes for health, the center for disease control, and the food and drug administration. these are investments that prepare our nation for the unseen, like zika or ebola, but they are also investments that help us prepare for the foreseen situations that americans face every day, alzheimer's, cancer, parkinson's diabetes. that's why i introduced the american cures act, legislation that would provide our federal health research agencies reliable and robust funding
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increases every year into the future. we're not going to win a war against zika, ebola, alzheimer's, cancer if our response is tepid, delayed, watered down or subject to the whims of political fate. big budget cuts may make a good talking point in a speech somewhere, but the results can be devastating. i look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on the senate appropriations committee to find a path forward on addressing the funding of these critical federal health agenci agencies. there's more to do and we must do it together and if we don't do it together, we'll pay a heavy price. so this week we'll take up the issue. we'll be voting on three zika-related amendments this week. now, the first offered by senator nelson of florida is one that i fully support. it would fulfill the president's request by providing the $1.9 billion in needed funding to ensure immediate comprehensive response to zika.
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treat this public health emergency like a public health emergency. senator nelson's amendment would ensure the c.d.c. has the money they need to support states in conducting surveillance, vector control, emergency communications and research. it would ensure that the national institutes for health has the money to develop this vaccine, and it would ensure that usaid has the money they need to build up a global health response to zika. i'm proud to be a cosponsor of the nelson amendment. it would provide the united states as well as pregnant women and many -- in many affected countries with our very best chance of minimizing the damage done by the zika virus. let's not be penny wise and pound foolish. cutting back on this money for pregnant women and running the risk that a baby is born with a lifetime of medical challenges and expenses is no savings. it's a disaster for the family and a disaster for our budget.
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then comes the second amendment offered by senator cornyn of texas. this is a misguided amendment. i urge my colleagues to defeat it. senator cornyn's amendment would provide a portion of the funding needed to adequately respond to the zika virus. he picked the number $1.1 billion and said let's take the money out of the prevention and public health fund for america, money that is currently being invested to deal with other health challenges around our country. so in order to deal with the zika virus, wee take money away from other efforts to keep americans healthy. the prevention fund accounts for 12%, nearly $900 million of the center for disease control's core public health efforts, such as lead poisoning prevention, breast and cervical cancer screenings, tobacco prevention and control. think about that for a second. senator cornyn of texas wants to take the money out of those
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areas, legitimat public health kearns and put them in zika. he is going to move some of the pieces around on the chess board here in the hopes that he moves the right one. but sadly it will endanger innocent people. and there's something else to be considered. his amount is $1.1 billion. the president asked for $1.9 billion. for some reason senator cornyn believes that we can reduce the threat of zika virus by 40% on the floor of the senate. i don't buy it. this is a public health emergency. reducing the funding for it from what the president requested by 40% is playing russian roulette with innocent lives across america and around the world. senator cornyn's amendment cuts base funding in order to provide for the center for disease that ordinarily would be provided to the center for disease control. also we're dealing with lead poisoning issues across america. front page story, chicago
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anybody biewn yesterday -- tribune yesterday, all of the lead testing around my state of illinois finds that in areas you wouldn't dream of, the suburbs of chicago, in fact some of the wealthy suburbs of chicago sadly have too much lead in their water. we know after flint we have to take it seriously. the impact on innocent children is obvious. cutting back on funding for that to pay for zika virus, it's robbing peter to pay paul. lastly, we have an amendment to be offered by senator blunt. he is like senator cornyn's approach in that it would only provide $1.1 billion. and i would take exception to that number. as i said, 40% less than what the president believes is needed for this emergency. but it would not cut the money out of the prevention fund so that's a positive thing to say about the blunt amendment over the cornyn amendment. this amendment is an improvement, but still it is important for us to adequately fund public health defense for
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innocent americans. when dr. frieden of the c.d.c. tells us how much the c.d.c. needs to fight zika, i trust the doctor. i do not believe he should second-guess his approach and i don't believe we should provide the center for disease control with less money than dr. frieden says is needed. that said, i appreciate that senator blunt is trying. i hope that the initial amendment by senator nelson passes. that is the responsible amendment to deal with the public health emergency. we've seen zika coming for months. and we had the administration's detailed comprehensive plan of action sitting up here for over three months. the time so act is way overdue. it's my hope the senate will finally approve zika funding this week, and that house republicans will stop their stalling as well and get to work and do the same. we've lost enough time already. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama.
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mr. sessions: mr. president, i would like to share some remar remarks and ask that i be allowed such time as i may consume. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: i appreciate senator durbin's comments. i think there's clear bipartisan support for dealing with the zika virus and something will be done on that, but make no mistake, on this agreement and our colleagues on the democratic sield as they always -- side as they always do just want to add whatever new expense comes up during the year to the debt, add it to the deficit of the united states of america. and so there are many ways that we can save money to pay for new expenditures. that's what senator cornyn is talking about, trying to have it paid for so we don't add more debt. you say, well, how can that be?
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well, we're already in debt. we have this year approximately $540 billion we borrowed to fund the government. we spend 4,000 billion, we borrow 540 billion of that. that's very large number. it's unsustainable. it's getting worse, and we've got to start paying for things that we want to do around here and make some choices and set some priorities. and that's the entire dispute about this matter if you want to know the truth about it. there's no way we can't find the money to fund this zika challenge, sufficient funds to do that within the spending we already have and reduce it. mr. president, i'd like to speak in opposition to the nomination of paula xinis to the united states district court for the
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district of maryland. by all accounts she's a nice person, has a number of admirers. i don't question her integrity and had an exchange with her at the judiciary committee when she sca before -- when she came before the committee. but i think that this nominee has perhaps the most hostile record toward police of any i've seen in a long time. just a background that's troubling to me and i believe justifies us not deciding to give her a lifetime appointment where she's unaccountable to anyone as she conducts her daily duties involving on a very frequent basis the appearance of police before her in criminal cases of all kinds and even cases against police officers for misconduct that may come before her, her career. and i prosecuted 15 years almost in federal court before federal
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judges. i was blessed to appear before federal judges of high quality who gave the prosecutor a fair trial and gave the defendant a fair trial. that's what we're looking for here. but i'm aware of a lot of federal judges who had a clear bias against law enforcement, and it made the communities less safe, made prosecuting a nightmare, and i don't believe is good for the legal system. there's nothing you can do about it. a judge can declare that the evidence is insufficient to convict on his or her own motion. nobody can appeal. that's the final word, even though a jury, had they been able to hear the case, might have found otherwise. yesterday was peace officers memorial day and this week police week. we take special occasion each year to remember the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers and their indissensible
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role in ensuring law and order in our cities and towns throughout the country. too often today whether something goes wrong on the streets, the media are quick to point their fingers at the police. but that is why we have an impartial justice system so that the facts can come out in open court. in my experience when those facts do come out, and i've had the duty of prosecuting police officers many more times than not, we learn that the police did everything they could according to the procedures and that instant complaints we heard about in the media and through others are not accurate rchlt that's -- accurate. that's just what the facts show us time and time again. so it's critical that we have judges that respect the rights of the accused but also the role of law enforcement and the dangers they face on a daily basis.
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now we have before us a nominee for the federal court in maryland, and every police officer in the country needs to know where she stands and how she approaches the duties and responsibilities and the requirements of the police and how she approaches law enforcement. will she give them a fair hearing, too? aren't they entitled to that? well, miss paula xinis worked as a federal public defender for the district of maryland for 13 years. that is, she was on a paid staff that defendedded criminals that were being prosecuted in federal court. those accused for a whole lot of crimes. nothing wrong with that. it's perfectly an honorable profession, and i certainly want to emphasize that. and for six of those 13 years she simultaneously served as a
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complaint examiner in the office of the police complaints for the district of columbia in nearby d.c. and in the course of that, she heard complaints against police officers for conduct as part of their duties. and she heard six complaints and in every one of those cases, every single one, she found against the police officer. it troubled me. and i asked her some questions about it. in one of the cases, an officer arrested a man he was outside a grocery store while talking on his cell phone and he was asked to move alone and he refused to do so. and then the man became belligerent, repeatedly cursed and swore at the police officer. the officer eventually arrested the man senator disorderly
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conduct. ms. design on the panel, concluded that the police had harassed the man, had harassed him and found the police officer guilty of misconduct. when i asked her about this decision at her hearing -- confirmation hearing in the judiciary committee, she said she didn't even know what consequences this finding might have to the career of the police officer as a result of having this on the record. in 2011, ms. xinis began work with her current 11-attorney law firm in baltimore, where she focuses her practice emphasis on lawsuits against the police. according to her firm's web site, she and two of her colleagues recently settled a $5 million police brutality lawsuit. notably, her firm also represented the family of freddie gray jr., the 25-year-old man who was arrested on april 12, 2015, for possessing an illegal
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switchblade and who subsequently died, trag lick eye, in -- fragically, in police -- tragically, in police custody, causing rye rots in baltimore, if you recall. the suit against the city and the police department in which her firm represented the plaintiff settled for $6.4 million. well, this may have been a totally justified settlement. i certainly believe that any death in custody of a police officer by any accused is entitled to and requires a thorough investigation, but in a big city like baltimore, when there is civil and unrest and huge public atten, cities -- attention, cities are under political if not legal pressure to reach some sort of financial settlement. so this was a tragic case. the details were disputed, but it appears some of the facts
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were not clear certainly. ms. xinis -- and the point is, she has built a career in dealing with lawsuits against police and police departments and dealing with complaints against the police. and every complaint case she heard, she ruled against the police, which, frankly, makes me uneasy, as it does many law enforcement officers. when a complaint sits as a -- the examiner or judge in that case should know and understand the reality of police work. and what our people have to do every day to defend us from crime. so i asked her about her findings that the arrest of a
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loud cursing loiterer outside a store was harassment. in other words, the loiterer, the cursing loiterer, he was okay, but the police officer was wrong. so i would think that someone who spent their entire professional career in this arena would be familiar with some of the concepts and procedures in policing in cities and around the country today. for example, broken windows policing is well-known. i think most people know what broken windows policing is. it's a short, firm way to describe a policy that originally grew and came -- became predominant in new york city under mayor rudely giuliani, and many believe it
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saved new york city. crime was surging. disorder was about. the city's financial status was at risk. and they started a systematic, smart method of policing, and the murder rate is less thafn what it was -- is less than half what it was in new york city. the entire city has been transformed. here she is judging police officers about their -- how to handle confrontations on the street and how to make communities safer. shouldn't she noi about these -- should she know about these things? well, broken windows policing suggests that when law enforcement consistently enforces the law in cases involving minor crimes -- not just big crimes but even minor crimes, that consistency helps to prevent major crimes. and it's proven to work. it is a major trend. virtually every city in america
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does it. and, yes, you have people who are out on the streets causing trouble or risk, and they get their back up. -- and complain when anybody says anything to them. 0 being? okay sno and police officers have to use judgment. but this police officer does what you would norm a expect hmmm -- what you would normally expect him to do. her statement that she did not know what broken windows was and was not familiar with it, i think, evidence a real lack of understanding. well, there's concern about this appointment by people who have to deal with this every day. here's a letter from the fraternal order of police, the
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baltimore city lodge, signed by lieutenant gene rine, president, baltimore city order of police. "on behalf of almost 5,000 members of the baltimore city fraternal order of police, lodge number 3, i write in letter in extreme opposition to the appointment of paula xinis as united states district judge in the federal district court system. while on paper ms. xinis appears to be highly qualified criminal attorney, our membership is urgently concerned about her obvious disdain for the law enforcement professional, as expressed time and again through the various court appearances in which she has represented citizens claiming harm caused by police personnel. in fact, her current partnership in the baltimore firm of murphy, falcon, and murphy itself is a concern, as this is a firm
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well-known in our area for hostility toward our profession and our members and, as a result, we question the ability of ms. xinis to remain impartial in any federal cases involving law enforcement." "senators, we respectfully request that you give consideration to our request to deny the appointment of paula xinis to the federal bench at this time." also, a letter from the maryland state lodge of the fraternal order of police, president ismael canals. he writes that quks as president of the maryland fro ternal order of police and on behalf of 20,000 active and return law enforcement officers throughout the state of maryland, i respectfully request that members of the united states senate vote unfavor the appointment of paula xinis as a judge in the united states court of maryland. i believe she -- at this time, i
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believe she fails to have the requisite temperament and ability to be fair and impartial on matters that directly affect law enforcement. quks "anclose quote. so i would ask that these two letters be made part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. sessionswell, federal judge- mr. sessions: well, federal judges decide cases that have an impact on our justice system. sometimes good, sometimes bad. let me just point out this case. it gist just gives an insight into the kind of things i saw every day as a prosecutor and it's happening every day right now in courts a you will over -- all over america. here was case before the united states district judge royce c. lambert. he denied a request by the prosecutor for early release of
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two top associates of rayful edmond iii, the notorious drug kingpin in washington, d.c. i think they made a movie about him or a film about him. one of the most notorious gang leaders around. "the washington post" described judge lambert's astonishment when the united states attorney did not object to the drug felon's request for early release. quote -- "the judge rebuked the office of acting united states attorney vincent colin jr. of the district saying prosecutors do not give due wreat to the los angeles-based cocaine broker and partner of d.c. drug lord rayful edmond iii and jones 58, one of the top -- the four top armed enforcers of edmond's violent trafficking network." the group imported as much as
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1,700 pounds of colombian cocaine a month. that's almost a ton a month. that's the largest amount i've ever seen. about the biggest case i'd ever seen was 600 pounds flown on about 20 planeloads every several months. this is 1,700 pounds a month. edmond's organization enabled drug addiction on a scale that until then -- quote -- "was unprecedented and largely unimaginable in washington," lamb berth wrote. the harm the defendant's caused is immeasurable and in many cases irreversible." -- the judge said. to put it bluntly, the court is surprised and disappointed by the united states attorney's decision not to impose the -- not to oppose the present
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motions, lamberth said. "the court struggles to understand how the government could condone the release of butler and jones, each convicted of high-level, sophisticated, and violent drug trafficking offenses." close quote. so that's a federal judge doing their duty. i'm not sure where ms. xinis would be on this. contrast that with many courts across the country that are currently rubber-stamping motions for early release for federal drug trafficking felons under the sentencing commission's reductions to the sentencing guidelines that have already occurred and that are impacting the prison population significantly, as we will see. according to an october 2015 article in "the los angeles times," entitled "the face of the federal prison release: a heavy dose of meth, crack, and
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cocaine" --. this is what the article says. "a federal analysis of the expected impact of the first wave of those approved for early release shows 663 prisoners from california had filed for shorter sentences as of late-july. federal judges denied 92 of them." looks like six out of seven were granted. according to an october 2015 article regarding offenders released from the pittsburgh area, the united states attorneys office there -- quote -- "erred on the side of granting the motions." so the u.s. attorney's office is not defending the legitimate, original sentence that was imposed. they walked in and just don't -- if there's any doubt about it they just go along with the prisoner's request. according to a november 2015
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article entitled "upstate new york gang members on secret list of 6,000 freed early from prison" --. so it's happening in new york, too. "in the northern district of new york, the court prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed on the eligibility of almost all of the inmates and disagreed on only five cases that became subject to litigation of those five cases, a judge ordered early release for three and rejected one." a fifth case is pending -- so ought of all the cases, only one was rejected. so judges have a duty to make sure that they -- they don't have to take everything the prosecutor says. normally a prosecutor asks for sometimes a higher sentence than
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the judge wants to give. but a judge is equally required to reject a prosecutor's failure to oppose unjustified reductions. but this is, frankly, mr. president -- frankly, this is president obama's policy. and the attorney general who he's appointed, loretta lynch's policy. and eric holder before her, to basically cut people's sentences that have been lawfully imposed throughout this country, and it's impacting public safety, in my opinion, and will continue to do so in the future. judges must protect the rights of the accused absolutely and give them a fair hearing as they are required. but they must give the rights of the people a fair trial also. and the police and the prosecutors a fair trial. these kinds


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