tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate Sen. Barrasso on Judicial Nominations CSPAN November 2, 2017 6:58am-7:11am EDT
mr. president. i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. this week, the senate is moving through a series of votes to fill vacancies in the federal appeals court. president trump has nominated highly qualified, mainstream judges and legal scholars to do these jobs. now, democrats have responded once again with delay and with obstruction. it is clear to me that we need to change the rules in the senate that govern how we debate nominations in this body. all year, democrats have been putting up roadblocks to nominations. they have forced the majority leader to file cloture so that they -- we can confirm nominees like these four judges. president trump, as of last mister president, as of last friday, democrats have forced the senate to file cloture 47 times when we had to have cloture vote on donald trump's
nominees. there are only 6 cloture votes of the previous president, 5 for obama, none for george w. bush, one for bill clinton and four under the presidency of george herbert walker bush. these are the hoops democrats have been making the senate jump through in an effort to confirm donald trump's nominees. this procedure has been set in place to allow debate. debate is good as long as it is actually occurring, a chance for senators to stand up, say what they would like and what they don't like about a nominee. if no one wants to debate we should move things along and have the vote. there is one senate rule that allows as much as 30 hours of debate time on presidential nominations after the cloture vote. in reality very little of that time which is spent on the senate floor actually has been
used for the debate. in the past both sides would agree to waive the time requirements and move on to other senate business which is what we need to do to get the country to move forward. what is happening now is democrats are insisting on cloture votes and then insisting that we use hour after hour after hour even when there is no one here to debate the issue or the person in front of us. it is time to end this. the united states senate used to be called the world's greatest deliberative body, democrats turned it into the world's most paralyzed deliberative body. we have more than 125 nominees for various jobs. we had hearings in committee, testified in committee, committees have voted on,
cleared the entire committee setting process and are now waiting for a vote on the senate floor. 125. most have bipartisan support. they will be confirmed easily and eventually. they should be confirmed immediately. there should be no reason for democrat stalling tactics except once again to slow down the pace of other progress on legislative issues. mister president, look what happened with one judge last week, a case you are familiar with, he was nominated by donald trump to serve in the us district court. he had bipartisan support in the judiciary committee. it went to the committee, hearing in the committee, bipartisan support voted out of committee, that was in june. more than four months ago. apparently that is not good enough for the democrats, they
are only interested in slowing down the work of the senate, we had a cloture vote on the nominee, one of the 47 cloture votes we talked about. had to have a cloture vote. every republican and 27 democrats voted for him. he had bipartisan support. still had to allow all this wasted time in debate. couldn't induct other business in the senate during the time because democrats insisted we use all the debate time. they could have easily agreed to waive the rules and go straight to and for. we wanted to do that and democrats refused. how much of that time did democrats spend on the floor debating this person's qualifications to be a federal judge, how many of those 30 hours to democrats use? none. how many minutes did they use? none. not one democrat came to the floor of the senate to talk
about that, not a single democrat even bothered to say a word against his nomination. there were fewer than 20 minutes of total talk on the floor of the senate through hour after hour after hour of ongoing time, 20 minutes spent actually talking about the judge and it was all spent in praise by the republicans. still had to run out the clock because that is the delay game democrats are playing in the senate. the senate had to waste hours and hours when we could have finished debating in less than 20 minutes. the democrats have done this same thing time after time, day after day, wasting day after day. things take time in the senate. that is what the founding fathers had in mind when they formed the two bodies of congress, the house and senate.
there is no excuse for democrats abusing the process to make things take even longer. democrats aren't using rules for debate, they are not using rules for deliberation, it is only for delay. it hasn't always been this way and there's no reason it should continue to be this way. the senate had different standards a few years ago in the 113th congress, 2013-14, the senate allowed two hours of debate after cloture was invoked when nominations for district court judges, two hours more than democrats actually spent debating this judge's nomination last week. the rules said eight hours to debate executive branch nominations below the cabinet level and cabinet secretaries, judges on the supreme court, circuit courts, the full 30 hours of debate. 30 hours now is what we allow every nomination today and
democrats have shown in most cases it is far too much time because even though we have to spend all the time they use very little of it talking about the nominees. we need a fair debate on every nomination. the procedure in 2013-14, fair debate on nominations was fair. the way democrats are wasting time today to keep us from doing our work is not fair. i believe it is time to return to the rules for debating nominees the senate use three years ago. plenty of time for senators to debate the nominees, raise objections if there are any and every senator on the record, just have a lot of hours we could avoid that are being wasted 2 days it could be used to do the people's business of this country. a president's nominations, qualified people to important
jobs, was never meant to be a tool for delay in the senate or to be an obstruction to the way democrats have been using them. these rules in 2013-14 result in compromise. democrats controlled the senate at the time, barack obama was in the white house making the nominations and republicans agreed to make these changes to the rules. it was part of a bipartisan group and i was part of that group. there were eight senators working on the compromise, senator mccain, senator alexander were part of this group, senator schumer who was democrat leader was part of this group and there was overwhelming support for these changes on both sides of the aisle. it is time to do it again. let's change senate rules, go back to the process senator
schumer supported in 2013-14. today the schedule allows us to do one or two nominations in a typical week, back to the 2014 standard we could clear multiple nominations in a day, the republican senate has been busy this year making progress on behalf of the american people, we passed resolutions, 15 resolutions rolling back district of obamacare regulations, the congressional review act signed into law by the president, we passed a budget that will help give us as americans give americans a raise by cutting their taxes giving us an opportunity to do the kind of tax relief, tax reform, tax reductions, tax cuts the american people are looking for. we need to do more. it is time for democrats to stop abusing the rules just to delay the process. time to go back to the previous standard of debating nominations, to pick up the pace and do the job the
american people expect us to do. if democrats have a different approach and don't want to accept the standard of debate set in a previous congress then i believe it is time for us to force that change. if democrats maintain their lockstep opposition to real progress on judicial vacancies and other nominees we should give them the chance to vote on their continued obstruction. we can vote on these nominees in a straightforward and efficient way or we can vote to return to the president of the 113th congress, that is the choice. either way it is time to vote. thank you, mister president, i yield the floor. suggest the absence of the core. >> clerk will call the role. >> join us this weekend for booktv at the texas book festival in austin.
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