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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  June 28, 2010 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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worthy of praise. but it will be incumbent upon you to convince me and others, particularly your fellow citizens, that whatever activities you've engaged in politicallyyand whatever advice you've given to president clinton or justice marshall, that you understand that you will be your own person, that you will be standing in difrent shoes where it will be your decision to make, not trying to channel what they thought. and if at the end of the day, you think more like justice marshall than justice rhenquist, so be it. the question is can you make sure that you're not channeling your political agenda, your political leanings when it comes time to render decisions? at the end of the day, i think the qualification test will be met. whether or not activism can be parked is up to you. and look at this confirmation process as a way to recognize that elections have consequences
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and the senate has an independent obligation behalf of the people of this country to put you under scrutiny, firm and fair, respectful and sometimes contentious. good luck. be as candid as possible an it's okay to disagree with us up here. thank you. >> the -- thank you, senator. and next, senator schumer. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i, too, want to note the passing of our friend and leader, senator byrd. senator byrd's fierce devotion to the constitution hovers over this hearing and nothing could be more appropriate on the sad day of his death than holding this hearing, where the first branch of government gives advice and consent to the second branch of government as we fill somebody -- fill a position on the third.
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well, welcome, madam solicitor general. there's only so much we can do to elaborate on your qualifications. solicitor general kagan's achievements, as well as her record, are by now well known to this committee and by the end of the week, they will be well known to the american people. frankly there are not many blankseft to fill in. given how forthcoming general kagan has already been, i would think that we could finish this hearing in one round of questioning. now, i am and i've always been a strong advocate for asking nominees searching questions and i expect nominees to answer. i also believe that my colleague on the other side of the dais have a right and a duty to ask tough, probative questions, but i also believe that the quality of answers matters more than the quantity and we can expect very high quality from you, general cage in the la several weeks,
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we on the judiciary committee have had had the opportunity to get to know general kagan and she's been very forth comingn every way. i'm confident that the american people will learn, as we have, that you represent are the best this country has to offer. as we begin these hearings, i have three points i'd like to make. first, a fir nation hearing no matter who's sitting in the chair over there, has the potential to be like eating spaghetti with a spoon. it's lot of work and it's hard to feel satisfied at the end. ielieve that this will not be our experience this week with this nominee. general kagan has set herself a high bar for providing material to this committee already. during a previous confirmation hearing, for example, she explained clearly and plainly her views about national security and terrorism, her views about the second amendment as well as her views about these very confirmation hearings, which in the past, she herself has criticized for being vapid
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exercises. in h questionnaire for th committee, she explained in unprecedented detail her work in the solicitor general's office, at harvard law school and in the clinton administration. she has already provided unprecedented supporting documen documents. she gave us from her time as solicitor general over 150 briefs from her time in office. from harvard, all of her previous academic work and all the letters, ele mails and press releases that went out during hr tenure as dean. from her work ithe clinton administration, over 170,00 pages of documents, including 80,000 pages of e-mails, which is more than twice the material received in connection with the nominations of chief justice roberts and justice alito. in fact, we even have this nominee's senior thesis, her graduate thesis, nearly 70 articles she aught foertd daily princetonian's as a college student, 200 speeches and another 200 interviews. the only thing, as far as i can tell, that we don't have is her kindergarten report card.
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but i respectfully submit to my colleagues that if they can't thoroughly evaluate general kagan on the record we have, there is no record nor nominee who could satisfy them. so we already have a clear idea of a record and what this hearing will be like, which brings know my second point, which is why this hearing is so crucially important. we need a justice who can create moderate majorities on this immoderate supreme court. i'm going to be blunt about this. we have a highly fractured court with an often rarified way of approaching the law. the rightward shift of the court under chief justice roberts is palpable. in decision after decision, special interests are winning with out over ordinary citizens. in decision after decision this court bends the law to suit an ideology. judicial activism now has a new guise. judicial activism to pull the country to the right. these rulings have real-world
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consequences, make no mistake about it. they affect the remedies of women who for years earn less money than men in the same job. they undermine the rules that congress and agencies can put in place to keep the water that we drink and the air that we breahe safe for our children and they rent the very fabric of our democratic system. i'm concerned that we will soon findurself back in the lockner eraf activist judgg. squarely if the age of the robber barons a right-wing majority of justices held in the locker in case the people of new york state could not pass laws that limited the workweek to 60 hours much the court held this because business had the freedom und the constitution to contract however they saw fit, even if the public safety was at stake. i fear that the recent decision in citizens united is a step backwards toward lockner, backwards to the era of conservative supreme court
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activism that most egregiously undermined even the most basic regulation of safety and of welfare. in allowing corporations to spend unlimited sums to influence elections, citizens united showed just how much the current are conservative block on the court in its zeal to bend the constitution to an ideology has lost sight of the practical consequences of some of its decisions. as justice stevens wrote in his dissent, it is a rejection of the common sense of the american people t doesn't end with citizens united. there's case after case after case which we could demonstrate. and in these cases, it's the american people who continue to bear the brunt these types of rulings. but there's hope, which brin mess s me to my third point. general kagan brings pragmatism and moderation to a court in need of both. her down-to-earth views and leadership skills mean this,
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elena kagan has a great potential to moderate a court veering out of the mainstream and bringing it back to the 21st century are. she is the right person at the right time. we have seen several examples of elena kagan's moderation and pragmatism already. the one i like best is a practical one, of course, while serving as the first dean of harvard law school, a difficult enough ta by itself, she was able to repair a deeply and ideologically divided faculty. because of dean kagan's acumen and great good sense, she broke a hiring logjam, often between the right and the left. and harvard was able to hire 43 new professors during her tenure, including notable conservatives like jack goldsmith and john manning. she diversified the faculty, advanced academic scholarship, improved the quality of the school and improveded tone of the school as well. dean kagan routinely received warm receptions and large owe
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vacations from the federalist society, the conservative legal association that gave rise to many of some -- of the judicial nominees of president bush. they knew her views. they knew that her views were largely different from theirs, as senator graham has mentioned, but they respected her pragmatism and her moderation. time after time afr time, pragmatism and moderation have worked together to hold elena's views of the law and the world. she managed to find a middle ground in the military recruiting controversy, a situatio already been discussed, but let's note that during dean kagan's tenure, military recruiting at the law school remains steady or improved while she, at the same time, voiced her disagement with opinion. her actions are not the actions of an ideologue. so, let me say one more -- one
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final word about general kagan's voluminous record as she worked for a lawyer as president clinton and then a policy adviser. all of a sudden, these are being held as strikes against her. fwhog her previous job should be viewed as undermining her moderate credentials or calling her ability to understand the role of a supreme court justice it is a fact that a presidential nominee with a political job on had her res may is far fm unprecedented. chief justice rhenquister is informed president nixon's office of legal counsel. justice thomas served in a republican department of education and the eeoc before his appointment. and like general kagan, 38 justices never served as judges before serving on the high court. fully a third of all justices who have served. what general kagan does bring to the table is unprecedented, practical experience. at harvard she manaed to -- ran the equivalent of a large business a budget of 160 million, 500 employees. she had a master into relations with thousands of students and
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hundreds of faculty, all of whom came from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. general kagan is simply a terrific antidote to the lack of practical real-rld understanding of the court. she is brilliant. she is thoughtful someone to the supreme court and that person will affect 300 million americans, but only 100 of us get to vote. that process will begin now. solicitor general, police please stand and raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give in this matter shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing, but the truth so help you god? >> i do. >> thank you. please be seated. solicitor general kagan, i know you have an opening statement and now the floor is yours. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, senator sessions and members of the committee.
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i would like to thank senators kerry and brown for those generous introductions. i also want to thank the president again for nominating me to this position. i'm honored and humbled by his confidence. . let me also thank all the members of the committee as well as many other senators for meeting with me in these last several weeks. i've discovered that they call these courtesy visits for a reason. each of you has been unfailingly gracious and considerate. i know that we gather here on a day of sorrow for all of you, for this body and for our nation with the passing of senator byrd. i did not know him personally as all of you did, but i certainly knew of his great love for this institution, his faithful service to the people of his
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state and his abiding reverence for our constitution, a copy of which he carried with him every day. a moving reminder to each of us who serves in government of the ideals we must seek to fulfill. all of you and all of senator bird's family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers at this time. i would like to begin by thanking my family, friends and students who are here with me today. i thank them for all the support they've given me during this process and throughout my life. it's really wonderful to have so many of them behind me. i said when the president nominated me that the two people missing were my parents, and i feel that deeply again today.
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my father was as generous and public spirited a person as i've ever known, and my mother sets a standard for determination, courage and commitment to learning. my parents lived the american dream. they grew up in immigrant communities. my mother didn't speak a word of english until she went to school, but she became a legendary teacher and my father, a valued lawyer, and they taught me and my two brothers, both high school teachers, that this is the greatest of all countries because of the freedoms and opportunities it offers its people. p know that they would have felt that today, and i pray that they would have been proud of what they did in raising me and my brothe
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brothers. to be nominated to the supreme court is an honor of a lifetime. i'm only sorry that if confirmed i won't have the privilege of serving there with justice john paul stephens. his integrity, humility and independence, his deep devotion to the court and his profound commitment to the rule of law, all these qualities are models for everyone who wears or opes to wear a judge's robe. if given this honor, i hope i will approach each case with his trademark care and consideration. that means listening to each party with a mind as open as his to learning and persuasion and striving as conscientiously as he has to render impartial justice. i owe a debt of gratitude to two other living justices.
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sandra day o'connor and ruth bader ginsburg paved the way for me and so many other women in my generation. their pioneering lives have created boundless possibilities for women in the law. i thank them for their inspiration, and also for the personal kindnesses they have shown me and my heart goes out to justice ginsburg and her family today. everyone who ever met marty ginsburg was enriched by his incredible warmth and humor and generosity, and i'm deeply saddened by his passing. mr. chairman, in law school i had the good fortune to lead has a kind of motto spoken each year at graduation. we tell the new graduates that they are ready to enter a profession devoted to those wise
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restraints that make us free. that phrase has always captured for me the way law and the rule of law mattered. what the rule of law does is nothing less than to secure for each of us what our constitution calls the blessings of liberty, those rights and freedoms, that promise of equality that have defined this nation since its founding and what the supreme court does is to safeguard the rule of law through a commitment to even handedness, principle and restraint. my first real exposure to the court came almost a quarter century ago when i began my clerkship with justice thurgood marshall. justice marshall reveered the
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court and for a simple reason. in his life, in his great struggle for racial justice, the supreme court stood as a part of government that was most open to every american and that most often fulfilled our constitution's promise of treating all persons with equal respect, equal care and equal attention. the idea is engraved on the very face of the supreme court's building. equal justice under law. it means that everyone who comes before the court, regardless of wealth or power or station receives the same process and the same protections. what this commands of justice is even handedness and impartiality. what it promises is nothing less
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than a fair shake for every american. i've seen that promise up close during my tenure as solicitor general. in that job, i served as our government's chief lawyer before the supreme court arguing cases on issues ranging from campaign finance to criminal law to national security, and i do mean argue. in no other place i know is the strength of a person's position so tested and the quality of a person's analysis so deeply probed. no matter who the lawyer or who the client, the court relentlessly hones in on the merits of every claim in its support of law and precedent, and because this is so, i always come away from my arguments at the court with a renewed
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appreciation of the commitment of each justice for reason and principle. a commitment that defines what it means to live in a nation under law. for these reasons the supreme court is a wondrous institution. the time i spent in the other branches of government remind me that it must also be a modest one, properly deferential to the decisions of the american people and their elected representat e representativ representatives. what i most took away is simple admiration for the democratic process. that process is often messy and frustrating, but the people of this country have great wisdom and their representatives work hard to protect their interests. the supreme court, of course, has the responsiblility of ensuring that our government
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never oversteps its proper bounds or violates the rights of individuals, but the court must also recognize the limits on itself and respect the choices made by the american people. i am grateful, i am grateful beyond measure for the time i spent in public service, but the joy of my life has been to teach thousands of students about the law and to have had the sense to realize that they had much to teach me. i've let a school whose faculty and students examine and discuss and debate every aspect of our law and legal system, and what i've learned most is that no one has a monopoly on truth or wisdom. i've learned that we make progress by listening to each other across every apparent, political or ideological divide.
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i've learned that we come closest to getting things right when we approach every american and every issue with an open mind. and i've learned the value of a habit justice stephens wrote about of understanding before disagreeing. i will make no pleddes this week other than this one that if confirmed i will remember and abide by all these lessons. i will listen hard to every party before the court and to each of my colleagues. i will work hard, and i will do my best to consider every case impartially, modestly with commitment to principle and in
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accordance with law. that is what i owe to the legacy i share with so many americans. my grandparents came to this country in search of a freer and better life for themselves and their families. they wanted to escape bigotry and oppression, to worship as they pleased and work as hard as they were able. they found in this country and they passed on to their children and their children's children the blessings of liberty. those lessons are rooted in this country's constitution and its historic commitment to the rule of law. i know that to sit on our nation's highest court is to be a trustee of that inheritance, and if i have the honor to be
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confirmed, i will do all i can to help prese didn't you could watch more of tonight's confirmation hearing any time at c-span.org. live coverage resumes tomorrow at 9:00 on c-span3. the longest serving member of congress, robert byrd, died this morning at the age of 92.+ we will hear from his senate colleagues. after that, kenneth feinberg on the government's role on executive pay and the gulf of mexico oil spill compensation fund. and lawrence summers on plans to extend the commercial sector to wireless devices.
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>> c-span is available in over 100 million homes, bringing you washington our way. created by america's cable companies. >> senator robert byrd became the longest serving member of congress last november. he was elected in 1953. he died late monday morning at the age of 92. his colleagues offered distribute. mr. reid: mr. president, our senate family grieves today with the byrd family over the loss of one of the most dedicated americans ever to serve this country, one of the most devoted men ever to serve his state, one of the most distinguished members ever to serve in the united states senate. robert byrd's mind was one of the greatest the world's ever seen. as a boy, he was called upon when he was in elementary school to stand before the class and
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recite not paragraphs from the assignment of the night before but pages of the night before. he did this with memory. from his graduation as valedictorian of his high school class at the age of 16 to his death this morning as the senate's pro tempore at age 92, he mastered everything he touched with great thoughtfulness and skill. mr. president, this good man could drive from his home here in washington to west virginia and back -- it takes eight hours -- he could recite poetry for eight hours and never recite the same poem twice. i was asked by senator byrd to travel to west virginia to do an exchange with the british parliament, and there were a number of us there, eight or nine senators, and an elect number of british parliamentarians. and i can remember that night so
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well. we had the music up there, music he liked the best, a bluegrass music. and they played. it was a festive evening. and then it came time for the program. the program, senator byrd said i'm going to say a few things, and he passed out little notebooks, had notebooks passed out to everyone there with a little pencil to it. he wanted to make sure everything was just right, that they had something to write on and write with. and he proceeded, standing there without a note, to pronounce the rein of the british monarchs from the beginning to the end. he would give the dates that they served, some of the more difficult spellings, he would spell the name, and he would, as i indicated, if it was something that really he wanted to talk about that they had accomplished that he thought was noteworthy, he would tell us about that.
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that took about an hour and a half to do that. the british parliamentarians were stunned. they had never heard anyone could do anything like that. an american talking about the reign of the british monarchs. those of us who were senators, nothing surprised us that he could do from memory. i can remember, mr. president, that when he decided he was no longer going to be the democratic leader, that senator dole did an event for him and they -- in the russell building and all senators were there, democrat and republican senato senators, and he told us a number of things he didn't do. he told us a number of things he did do. for example, he read the "encyclopedia britannica" from cover to cover twice. he was bored one break, he didn't really have something he
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wanted to work on, so he studied the dictionary. he read that from cover to cover during one of our breaks. i've told this story on an occasion or two but to give the depth of this man's memory, i had been to nevada and, and he asked me when i came back, what did do you? and i said, senator byrd, i pulled something out of my library for when i came back, and i read "the adventures of robinson ca carusso." he said, "robinson carusso," and he proceeded to tell me -- i had just read the book -- how long he had been on that island -- 28 years, 3 months, a week and two days, or whatever it was. i was stunned. i didn't know. i went back and pulled the book out to see if he was right, and he was right. he probably hadn't read that book in 35, 40 years but he knew
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that. what a -- what a mind. it was really stunning, the man's memory. the head of the political science department, andy tuttle, university of nevada at las vegas, taught a course, a graduate course, based on senator byrd's lectures on the roman empire. he gave two lectures here on the senate floor on the roman empire, the fall of the roman empire. he gave the lecture because he was concerned because of the line-item veto. and he felt that the line-item veto would be the beginning of the end of the united states senate and he proceeded to give ten lectures on that on the senate floor. every one of them from memory. every one of them from memory. timed jjst perfect. they ended in one hour. that's how much time he had been given -- how much he had been given. now, mr. president, the original roman emperors served for one year. he could do it from memory. he knew how -- who they were,
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how long they served, knew how to spell their names. truly, truly a n unbelievably -n unbelievably brilliant man. he was the only person to have ever earned his law degree while he was a member of congress. what he accomplished is really very, very long. but his thirst for knowledge was simply without equal. senator byrd once observed that the longer he lifd, th -- livede better he understood how precious the gift was of our time on earth. i quote senator byrd: "as you get older, you see time running out. it's irretrieveable, it's irreversible. but one should never retire from learning and growth." that was his quote. robert byrd never retired from anything. he served in the senate for more than half a century, in the house of representatives for six more years, and dedicated every one of those days to strengthening the state and the nation that he loved so dearly.
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he never once stopped fighting for the good people of west virginia and for the principles in our founding documents. he was forever faithful to his constituenns, his constitution and his country. he fought for what he thought was right and when he was wrong, he was wise enough to admit it. and he did admit it a few times. senator byrd's ambition was legendary. he took his oath in this chamber on january 3, 1959, the same date alaska became our 49th state. he told the "charleston gazette" newspaper in that freshman year -- quote -- "if i live long enough, i'd like to be chairman of the senate appropriations committee." 30 years later, he was and then lived and served for 21 more years. his legislative accomplishments are many and those achievements fortify his incomparable legacy. but he's perhaps best known in this chamber as the foremost guardian of the senate's complex
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rules, procedures and customs. he didn't concern himself with such precision as a past time or a mere hobby. he did so because of his unyielding respect he had for the united states senate, a a reverence the senate always returned to him and now with his memory. with robert byrd's passing, america has lost its most strongest defender of its most precious traditions and it now falls to each of us to keep that flame burning. throughout one of the longest political careers in history, no one in west virginia ever defeated robert byrd in a single election. in washington, his fellow democrats twice elected him to lead us when we were in the majority and once more when we were in the minority. having seen both sides, he knew better than most that legislation is the art of compromise. many years ago, in this chamber where he served longer than any other united states senator, senator byrd taught a heartfelt
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history lesson to guide our future. it was a lesson about both the constitution and this institution where he said, and i quote -- "this very charter of government under which we live was created in a spirit of compromise and mutual concessions and it is only in that spirit that continuance of this charter of government can be prolonged and sustained." aa quote from robert c. byrd. in his tenure, he saw partisanship and bipartisanship. war and peace, rescission and something that we have learned to appreciate, reeession. he has seen recovery. the rescissions he always fought. he department want anyone messing with his appropriations. his perspective and legacy are invaluable to the way we carry ourselves as united states senators. so it's instructive that the man who served the longest and saw the most, conclude we must work
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together as partners, not partisans for the good of our states and our country. in 1966, robert byrd spoke to a meeting of incoming senators and reminded them that the united states senate is still the anchor of the republic. senator byrd was the anchor of the senate. there will never be another like senator byrd. he was a member of this nation's congress for more than 25% of the time that we have existed as a country and longer than a quarter of today's sitting senators and the president of the united states have been alive. his political career spanned countless american advances and achievements. a dozen men called the oval office his own while senator byrd called the capitol building his own. and he would be the first to remind you that those two branches are equal in the eyes of the constitution, and i heard him say so many times, that we work with the president, not under the president. the nine times the people of his state sent him to the senate and the more than 18,500 votes he
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cast will never be matched. mr. president, as you and i and each of us are fortunate enough to be here, we have the privilege of knowing firsthand it was an incomparable honor to serve with and learn from this giant. by virtue of his endurance, robert byrd knew and worked with many of the greats of the united states senate. because of his enduring virtue, he dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i, too, would like to say a few words aboutur departed colleague. the first thing to say is that we're sorry. first and foremost to theamily and also to the staff of senator byrdor their loss. and the nexthing to say is that it's a sad day for the united states senate. mr. president, everybody who has been here for a while has got a few robert byrd stories. a couple couple to mind i thought i would share. along with senator reid and
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senator dodd who were here on the floor earlier, senat byrd in the early part of the decade responded to my request to come down to the university of louisville, my ma mater, and to speak to the students and to a broader audience. at his age and parcularly given the fact that i was a member of the opposition party, there was frankly no particular reason for him to do that, but he did and made an extraordinary imprsion on the students and inconvenienced himself on my behalf, which i always appreciated. my second and really my favorite recollection of senator byrd, i found myself a few years ago in a curious position, at viance with virtually everybody on my side of the aisle. i had reflexively, like i think many members had,esponded negatively to a decision of the united states supreme court in the late 1980's, essentially
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lding that flag burning was a permissible first amendment expression of political speech, and the first time that amendment came before the senate, i voted for it, and then i began to have some pangs of discomfort about my position. and having spent a good portion of my political career focusing on political speech and the first amendment, i, frankly, decided i was wrong. in subsequent votes, i have opposed it. a few years ago, it became clear that this was going to be defeated, if it was going to be defeated in the senate, by the narrowest of margins. i remembered that senat byrd was always crying around a constitution in his pocket and had a feeling that upon reflection, he might reach the same conclusion i did.
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and so i lobbied senator byrd. i thought initially it would be a futile act, but he re-examined his position, and as a result of that, he, too, changed his position, and as it turns out, there was not a vote to spare the last time the senate considered whether it would be appropriate to amend the first amendment for the first time in the history of the country t kind of carve a niche out of it to make it possible to punish an -ct we all i think find despicable but nevertheless the most unfortunate of speech is probably what the first amendment was all about initially. and so senator byrd did change his position. there was not a vote to spare and the amendment was defeated. for my point of view, the first amendment was saved on that important occasion. so we will all remember senator byrd for a variety of different
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things. as the majority leader pointed out, he was a unique individual in so many different ways. those are two ofy favorite stories about robert byrd. more than anyone else in our lifetime, robert byrd embodied the senate. he not only wrote the book on it, he was a living repository of its rules, its customs and its prerogatives. so it would be a mistake to think that senator byrd became synonymous with the senate simply because he served in it longer than anyone else. rather, it was a fitting coincidence that the man who cherished and knew this place so well would become its longest serving member. and yet, it's probably through that he will be remembered above l for his longevity. everyone seems to have a different way of communicating just how long a time he spent here. for me, it's enough to know that
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robert byrd had already spent nearly 20 years serving in elted office in west virginia and in the house of representatives before he was elected to t u.s. senate during the eisenhower administration. and over the years, he would walk the floor with four future presidents, four of the 12 he would serve alongside in a 57-year career in congress. i won't enumerate all the legislative records senator byrd held, but i would venture to say that the figure that probably made him the proudest of all was the nearly 70 years of marriage he spent with a coal miner's daughteramed erma. if he was synonymous with the senate, he was no less synonymous with west virginia. here's how popular robert byrd was in his home state. the year product liability byrd was first elected to the u.s. senate, 1958, he won with
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59% of the vote, a margin that most people around here would consider a landslide. in a record nine senate elections, it was the smallest margin of victory he would ever get. members will offer tributes of their own in the coming days. i'll just close with this. last year in becoming the longest serving member of congress in history, senator byrd surpassed another legendary figure, carl hayden of arizona. hayden was known to many as the silent senator, a phrase few would use to describe senator byrd. but what the two men shared was a devotion to the united states and in parcular to the legislative branch of our government, which the founders envisioned and established as co-equal with the other two. a few years ago, senator byrd's official portrait was unveiled at an event in the old senate
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chamber, and i think that portrait pretty well sums up the image senator byrd wanted to leave of himself. it's the image of a dignified man, in the classical mold, supported by three things -- the bible, the.s. constitution and his wife. a lot of people looked at senator byrd's record in congress, his emens knowledge of poetry and history in the senate and wondered where he got the strength. with this painting, he gave us the answer. he showed us the anchors. as i noted at that ceremony, senator byrd once wrote that if the question was whether to be loved or respected, he always chose to be respected. yet, his real accomplishment is that in the end, he managed to be both. so i join my colleagues, my fellow americans, the people of
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west virginia and the byrd family today in remembering our colleague. we will surely miss him. mr. president, i yieldhe floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. rockefeller: mr. president on this day, west virginia has lost probably its most prominent son, and the senate has lost probably its most able statesman. for myself, i have lost an admired colleague and a treasured friend. more than nine decades of remarkable life and five decades of an accomplished public servant in the senate only serve as one form of proof that robert c. byrd was and always will be an icon, particularly in his own state, a man of great character,
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faith, intellect, who rose to the heights of power yet never forgot where he came from. his story holds such a profoundly significant place in both west virginia and american history, b it was inhe coal fields of southern west virgia, mr. president, where a young robert c. byrd first gained the skills, the moral character, the toughness, the shrewdness that would make him a truly great man. after his mother passed away, he was raised by his aunt and uncle a coal miner he movingly called -- quote -- "the most remarkable man i have ever been privileged to know." close quote. from them, senator byrd learned early in life what it meant to be loyal, to have a ferocious
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work ethic, really almost beyond imagination, and possess a deep faith in god, and it was these values, these innately west virginia values, i would argue, that guarded -- that guided his offer action, made him such a unique and strong fighter for our state and who got such joy in doing that fight. he was proud of west virginia. he was proud of his ideals. he was proud of the service he could render to the people from whom he came. he believed with all of his heart that our breathtaking mountains, our rivers and our deep valleys and especially our well-rooted people who face adversity always and face it with strength and courage make
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our state a place like none quite other in the world. he loved the music of the mountains and played his fiddle, in fact, very brilliantly. he was a master violin player. he loved to quote the ancients lending deptsd to his a -- depth to his analysis. just as easily as he could quote cicero from memory, he could sing every verse of amazing grace and often did. everything about senator byrd was a testament to his faith in god. this man who wrote and debated countless laws lived with 10 clear commandments in his heart.
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his aunt and uncle kept theing james bible in his home and instilled in him a reverence he never forgot. there was always a higher law that took precedence. he started his career humbly by any definition. as a butcher, as a welder, other things too, than campaigned by playing his foot-stomping music, the fiddle, to get elected to the legislature. the very sameody that decades later would deem him the west virginiaian of the 20th century. it was a mark -- it was at mark twain high school where a lifetime of love first began for
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robert c. byrd and his first wife, erma ora james calling her the wind beneath this byrd's wings, he put it. senator byrd was never shy to tell you, erma, a beloved coal miner's daughter was the reason he reached all of his goals. he believed that with all of his heart. so from the fiddle-playing young man, to a history-making american icon, she loved and supported him every step of the way until her passing in 2006. i know and i observed maybe earlier than some that senator byrd lost just a bit when erma died. watching him hurting was
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painful. his wife died from the same disease that my mother died from, and that is alzheimer's. and we talked about it. especially a few years ago when he was talking more frequently. i always felt badly that i couldn't give him comfort, that i couldn't say something to him that would relinquish his pain, which was evident an obvious -- and obvious, very obvious, in privacy. but i couldn't do that because you couldn't do that for diseases like that one. there were not words to describe the difficulty at such a -- that such a devastating loss can bring. and i commend my friend for continuing on so strongly a he did for so long. erma was his soul mate, his best
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friend and trusted counselor. their marriage was something to behold. my wife, sharon, and i loved watching them together. he became a different person. they radiated an extraordinary faith in god, in each other, and the beautiful family they built with each other which, in the end, he loved the must. inde, it was the time that roberrobert c. byrd spent with s daughters and their husnd and children and grandchildren and great grandchildren that brought great joy to his life. with sadness in my heart, i also have joy at the thought of my friend united with his precious erma, with his dear grandson that he lost at a young age, and
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we all know, those off us who have been here for several years, the agony that he went through at the death of that young man, setting up a shrine in his office. it affected him deeply. it was interesting that a man who could be so oriented toward policy and sometimes almost remote from personal matters as a professional self-definiti could be so utterly moved by sadness in his own life and i think in the lives of others. it was in the halls of the united states senate where robert c. byrd became known as the soul of the senate, a fierce defender of the constitution, respected historian, and an absolutely fearless legislato he held, as has been said many times before, more leadership
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posts than any other senator, cast more votes than any other senator, served longer than any other senator. and one can go on in many i was in that theme. he literally wrote the you a ate procedures of the senate. taught all of us about that in classes which he would conduct in the -- you would see him standing in the well of the senate. he loved and he revered this institution. everybody says that. it's true. some people pass through this institution. they experience this institution. he lived this institution. yet, still his entire career was fundamentally an act of commitment to the state of west virginia and its people. a day in and day o effort to do the best he possibly could
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for the people of the mountain state. always put upon, often looked down upon, even de disdained by others who didn't understand what their life was like and what it was like to be a coal miner. people don't understand west virginia well. most people don't go there. senator byrd sprung from west virginia. yes, he was an intensely devoted statesman and he put himself through law school while also serving in congress. now i know a few others have done that. i sort of deny that. i think it's amazing that senator byrd did that, therefore, any other who did it, don't get my attention. he understood that people with the fortitude to ask questions and to debate and to dissent one from another make america stronger. he had that courage himself standing up time and time again
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to defend his ideals upon which our nation was found and often those ideas were very different from those of others. no matter with senator byrd. he always spoke for what he felt was correct. as the minority leader pointed out, the senator always had the constitution in his pocket, close to his heart. and et outlasted -- and he outlasted presidents and supreme court justices, served with an absolute insistence on the equality of the three branches of goverent as envisioned by our founding fathers, and, therefore, helped us as a body be more than our separate par. and he spread the words of our constituon to young children and to his colleagues alike. his patriotism was strong and he
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was confident infusing his every action with deep devotion for our nation and its people. a senator from a state that sent leaninlegions of sons and daugho war out of love of country, sometimes out of a need to get work. he supported our troops whether he agreed with their cause or not. fought for our veterans and worked hard to make sure that those who served our country got the respect, the support, the supplies that they needed and that they deserved. he also earned the loyalty of west virginiaians with a record of support for education an economic opportuty that few senators at any time in any state, in my judgment, could ever match. to him every school building or
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education grant was a chance for a better life for some west virginia child or maybe quite a lot of children. and he cared about that. and he helped that become true. every overpass, every road represented an opportunity for a more dynamic for our cities and towns that could be taken for granted in some places, but not west virginia. unless there's a road or a bridge, you can't build anything anywhere or virtually do anything anywhere. every business partner or government office meant the possibility of a better job for west virginiaians trying to raise their families. people he fought for all of his life. senator byrd also believed that health care is one of the most important ways to strengthen a community and his support for medical research resulted in
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breakthrough medical opportities. he spread this research all across west virginia, to west rginia the university, to marshall, to institutions of all kinds. he believed in medical research and did more than most of our colleagues even know. and so in a state with rugged terrain full of pple like the family who raised him, doing their best for their family, for their country, for their god, robert c. byrd decided that somebody needed to do the best for them. and he did so each and every day of his life. to me he was a perfect colleague and a reliable friend, a walking example of the kind of american that i believe in and a living testament to the values that made west virginia my own home
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forever. it has been my greatest privilege to serve with robert c. byrd in the united states senate. i respected him. and i fought side by side with hi for causes we both believed in. and obviously i'm profoundly saddened that he is gone. so i'm closing, mr. esident, -- so in closing, mr. president, i think he leaves a void that probably cannot be filled, but i'm lifted by the knowledge of his deep and abiding faith and that he is in the hands of the one who inspired these words in amazing grace, yae, when this -- yea when this heart and flesh shall fail, i shall possess within the veil a life of joy and peace.
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that gives all of us som mfort. so peace and godspeed, senator byrd. peace to your family, your loyal staff and to the loving people of west virginia who have held you high for so long and will continue to do so. i thank the chair and yield my time. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership ti is reserve. under the previous order there will now be a period of morning business until 30 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein up to 10 minutes each. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. dodd: i see my fend from tennessee. i presume we're going back and forth. you're in the leadership. i don't want to -- i would le to lead by three, but i'll be glad to defer to the -- mr. alexander: i will be glad to defer to senator from connecticut. mr. dodd: i thank you. i won't be long. are we in morning business, is
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that correct? the presiding officer: that is correct. mr. dodd: mr. president, let me -- let me begin by expressing my deep sorrow and my condolences to robert c. byrd's family. and that family includes, obviously, not only his direct and immediate family, but obviously the literally leanin s of people who worked for robert c. byrd, worked with him, in both the house of representatives and this body for the more than five decades that he served in the united states congress. i suspect i'm one of a handful of people left who remembers the day when i was 7 years old in e gallery of the house of representatives watching my father be sworn in as a new congressman. watching my father and a young 34-year-old west virgiaian med robert c. byrd to be sworn
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in as a member of the hou on january 3, 1953. seven years later, at the age of 14i was in the galleries of this chamber when i watched my father adds his gre -- and his great friend be sworn in together on january 3, 1959, as members of the united stas senate. and two years later, as a 14-year-old sitting on the veryú steps where these young pages sit today, in the summer of 1961, i worked with robert c. byrd. with his departure and death, he is now the only -- the last reining member of the senate that was there that day wh i first arrived at a page in the sum of 1961 when all of these chairs were filled by 100 uted states senators. for the last 25 years i have sat next to him at this very seat to be the recipient of his good counsel, his good advice, his
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humor, in so manyays, to me as he was to others, as he served here throughout his tenure in the united states congress. and so this is a very poignant day, one that begins in a sense a sense of bookmarks for me and a sense of public life and it won't be the same for the remaining seven -- six or seven months of my tenure ear to have this won diserful hymn -- tenure re to have this wonderful human being herr as my seatmate. i rise to celebrate the prolific life of robert c. byrd of west virginia. as i said to his family, to his sphastaff, and tophic of urse te people of west virginia for whom he has been such a champion throughout his public life, robert byrd loved three things above everything else. in the 30 years that i spent with him in this chamber, he loved his wife erma, he loved
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the state of west virginia, and he loved deeply the united states senate. and would say that each in turn loved him back. our sadness at his passing is tempered by our joy that he now joins his beloved erma. what a love story it was. they met in grade school. married in 1937, well before i was even born. they spent nearly 70 years on an incredible journey together. and even-her -- and even after her passing, his love for her was apparent in everything he did. when i first ran for office, west virginia ranked near the bottom in nearly every economic indicator you could think of. the bleak landscape marked by mining, the people struggling to make ends mtt and then a grocer, a young grocer from the
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town of sophia arrived on the scene asking his neighbors in those communities around sophia for their votes in his race for the west virginia house of delegates. as "the washington post" noted in its obituary this morning, robert c. byrd met nearly every person -- i would suspect every person -- in his district, campaigning alone, with no one else, talking about the issues he cared about and these would affect the people he wanted to represent, and with all else failed, wowing potential voters with his fiddling prowess. he won every single election he ever ran. the people of west virginia never could say "no" to robert c. byrd and he cld never say "no" to them. as a state legislator, a congressman, as a united states senator, robert c. byrd fought for west virginians and our nation, i mig add at every
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single turn. if you traveled the state of west virginia today, you'll see his name on roads and bridges and highway signs. you'll see the buildings and laboratories that he brought to the state, investments that contributed both to the state and to our national economy and nation. but don't just playbook for his name on the sides of building or overpasses; listen to it in the appreciative wds of his constituentconstituents. to state has ever haduch deep appreciation for the senate appropriatns committee because no ste has ever had such an appropriate fighter. robert c. byrd came to congre with my father in january of 1 1953. they the both arrived in januarf
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1959 in the senate. i was page in 1961. i still remember the eloquent speeches of the senator from west virginia. it is incredible to imagine that he was once a freshman senator. even then he had the same gentlemanly manner, kind to pages, as i recall, the name knack for triumphant oratory, and the same respect for the rules and traditions of the united states senate. but he soon became a fixture a d a mentor to new senators as well. i suspect that over the next few days many senators will take the floor with a constitution in theirockets, as i am, senator, they received from crob robert . byrd. here is my cop copy. i've carried this with me every day of my life for the last quarter of a century, given to me by m colleague in this chamber.
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along, i might add, with a stern but kind electric touche about senate -- bu -- with a stern but kind lecture about senate protocol. in the past quarter after strirks i've occupied some prime real estate on the floor of the united states senate. this desk right next to me today, the won with these flowers and black cape, is the one sat in by senator byrd for years. he have been awed business his commitment to preserving the senate's place in our legislative system. in many ways robert byrd's story is one of constancy, of preservation, and of tradition. you could he define his life by longevity, i suppose, his 69 years of marriage, 52 years of service in the united states senate, his 64 years of public service to the people of west virginia. but he wouldn't have wanted it that way.
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this country has changed over the many years in which robert c. byrd helped to lead it and to shape it. he grew and changed with it i might add. historians so many ways parallel the american story. the story of a nation on a long and difficult journey, ever trying to seek that more perfect union that our founders described more than two centuries ago. he wouldn't have wanted us to forget about the positions and affiliations that marked the early part of his life and career. and he did not as well. we should learn from our mistakes, he would say, as he did, draw inspiration from his journey and credit him i might add, by admitting wrong and embracing right when h he would the opportunity to do so. robert c. byrd grew wiser as he grew older. so we can remember him not only as a tremendously effective legislator, not only as a
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powerful speaker, not only as a parliamentary wizard, but also as a human being who fought for equality with a true sense of urgency of a convert. he was a man unafraid of reflection, a man who voted to make martin luther king jr.'s birthday a federal holidays, because as he put it, "i'm the only one who must vote for this bill." here was a man unafraid of progress, a man who in one of his final acts as a united states senator, voted to overturn the don't ask, don't tell rule in our military. here was a man unafraid of conscience, a man who as the guns of war prepared to fire in 2003 delivered one of history's most couraous and memorable pleas for peace. let us not remember robert c. byrd phos ho for how long he stt us remember how he changed
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america fo the better p let us remember him as west virginia's greatest champion, the senate's gentlemay scholar and erma's husband and, above all, a true friend to each and every one of us who knew and loved him so well. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i see the senator from pennsylvania. i would ask through the chair, is -- i plan to spheek for about fiv-- i plan to spheek for about five minutes. -- i plan to spheek for about five minutes z that leave him enough time? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you. in 1980, the republican leader, howard baker, became the majority leader of the united states senate, and robert c. byrd became the minority leader. according to senator baker, he went -- walked to senator byrd's office and said to him, bob,
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i'll never know the senate rules as well as you do. so i'll make you an offer. iecall a n surprise you if you'll -- i'll not surprise you if you'll never surprise me. senator byrd looked at senator baker and said, let me think about it. and the next morning senator byrd called senator baker and said, it' a deal. and that's the way they operated the senate in those four years when senator baker was the majority leader and senator byrd was the minority leader. they operated the senate during that time under an agreement where senator byrd was careful to try to give every senator the right of amendment. he thought that was very important. in return, he got back from senators who had amendments that many senators thought were frivolous or unnecessary, not germane, senator byrd was able
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to get an unanimous consent agreement that permitted him toy have a -- permitted him to have a fairly orderly management of the senate, he and senator baker during that time. senator mcconnell a few minutes ago talked about the time senator byrd reexamined the constitution, changed his mind on the first amendment and flag burning. senator byrd and senator baker during that time both read david mccullough's book on the one hand changed they are minds -- and changed their minds on the panama canal treaty. i never saw senator byrd after i was elected to the senate a few years ago when he did not ask me about howard baker. we will miss senator byrd's milding and his love of mountain music. he campaigned in tennessee a long time ago for albert gore sr. who was running for the senate, who also played the fiddle. senator byrd played the fiddle
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on the grand ole opry in nashville, came back to nashville in 2008 and sank along with a group of fiddlers. a few days later i came to him on the senate floor and talked to him about an old mountain song called "wreck on the highway" made famous in the 1940's, i guess, 1930's. and senator byrd began to sing the song. he knew all the words -- so loudly -- that the staff was afraid the galleries would all tice it. we will miss his loveeof the united states history, but traditional american history. he was the superior o sponsor oe teaching american history program which is part of the elementary and secondary education act. he has provided nearly $600 million to school districts to imriewft professional development of american history
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teachers. he and the late-senato kennedy and i were work on a piece of legislation which we introduced consolidating all the federal programs that support the teaching of united states history, hoping that our chhldren can grow up learning what it means to be an american. senator byrd is also responsible for the celebration of september 17 as constitution day a citizenship day. senator byrd had no time for revisionists who didn't believe america was exceptional. he believed this i one country unified by a common language and a few principles. he did not want our country to become a united nations but always to be the united states of america. he wanted us to be proud of where we came from, but prouder to be an american. we will especially miss senator byrd's love of and understanding of the unitedtates senate. one of the most special occasions i ever experienced was the opportunity as a freshman
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senator in 2003 to attend an indoctrination, one might say, or orientation would be the proper description of what it means to be a united states senar. senator byrd began by saying that you are presently occupying what i consider to be hallowed ground. and i would like to ask unanimous consent to include in the record following my remarks the remarks of senator byrd at the orientation of new senators on december 3 of 1996. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: senator byrd has hrefrbd long enough to know that, as he put it "as long as the senate retains the power to amend and the power of unlimited debate, the liberties of the people will remain secure." he believed that when he was lecturing republicans in 2005 who were trying to change the
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rules when there was a controversy about president bush's appointees to the federal judiciary, and he said the same thing to young democrats who were impatient this year trying to change the rule that would limit unlimited amendment and unlimited debate. his last appearance, perhaps his last appearance in the senate was before the rules committee on may 29, 2010, for his opening statement on the filibuster and the consequences warned against a rules change. i'd like to ask unanimous consent to place that statement in the record following my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: i was 12 years old when senator robert byrd was elected to the senate. wh i came here aa an aide 42 ars ago he had been reelected to his second term and was working his way up the party leadership. he was an imposing man, had a
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wonderful photographic memory. but after one got to know him, especially he was a kind man. all of us can be replaced, but it is fair to say the senate will never be the same place without robert c. byrd. i thank the president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from pnsylvania. mr. specter: since hearing this morning about the passing of senator byrd who died shortly after 5:00 a.m., i have been reflecting on the man i knew, and those who have the great privilege to serve in the united states senate have occasion to meet and interactith great people. the expression "giant" is used not too frequently about senators; certainly would apply to senator byrd.
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but i believe it's insufficient. searching my mind for a more apt term, i thought that "colossus" might better fit robert byrd. take a look at his career in the congress of the united states is extraordinary, really astounding. to think that he was elected in 1952 and was sworn in while harry truman was still president of the united states and has served since that time with many things which have happened during the administrations of president eisenhower and kennedy and johnson and nixon and carter and president george h.w. bush
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and ronaldeagan before president bush and president george w. bush, president clinton and now president obama and one of the distinctions that he made early on was the fact that in the senate we serve with presidents. we do not serve under presidents. i think that was a calng card by senator byrd as a constitutionalist on the separation of power. and he was a fierce fighter for that separation of power. and when the le-item veto was passed, he took uphe battle to have it declared unconstitutional as an encroachment on article 1 powers in the united states congress on
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appropriations. and the bills which we present to the president have a great many provisions, and senator byrd was looking upon the factor of a president perhaps taking some provision he didn't like too well in order to take the whole bill. and i'm sure that on senator byrd's mind was the largess which came to the state of west virginia. the and that part of our federal system, part of our democracy, part of our constitution of the advantage of seniority, where senator byrd and then elected and reelected on so many, many occasions. i recall senator byrd and his swift action shortly after that 1986 election. i was on t intelligence
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committee at that time, and senator byrd stepped in to the picture to see to it that the witnesses who testified on what was later knowns the iran contra controversy were placed under oath. he had a sense that there was a problem, that it had to be investigated by congress, again, under the doctrine of separation of powers. i recollect his position on the impeachment proceeding as he stood at this chair and recited the provisions of the constitution about impeachment for high crimes of misdemeanors and then started to talk about the action of the respondent in the case -- president clinton -- and the charges the, the charges which were levied. and he came to the conclusion
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that the constitution standard had been met and then voted not guilty. and with a sweep on a conclusion, a judgment of a higher principle involved. president clinton had not lost the capacity to govern and he ought to stay in office. i recall in october of 2002 debating the resolution authorizing the use of force for president bush. and the resolution did not say force would be used, but gave the president the authority to use force as he decided it appropriate. and i was concerned about that. the scholars who had written on the subct, for the most part said that it would be an inappropriate delegation of constitutional authority for the
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president to -- for the congress to say to the president you may start a war at some future date. the starting of a war depended really upon the facts and circumstances at hand when the decision was made. senator byrd and i discussed that at some length and finally concluded that there ought to be some flexility if both of us voted for that resolution on the ground that empowering the president with that authority, we might have the realistic chance of avoiding a war. serving with senator byrd on the appropriations committee, i recall one year when he chaired the appropriations comttee, i think in the late 1980's, the allocations made were not in accordance with the budget resolution which had been
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passed. some of us on the appropriations committee thought that we ought to have those allocations in accordance with what congress set on the budget resolution. senator d'amato and senator kasten and i staged a minor revolution. it didn't last too long. the vote was 26-3, but we expressed ourselves. i recall hearing senator byrd participated in a discussion with him on the senate floor about the right to retain the floor, whether you could yield to someone or whether you had to have an order of consent before you retained your right to the floor. discussing or debating senator byrd or procedural issues was indeed an education and always
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regard him as a foremost expert on senate procedure and the rules of this body. his service most recently, in coming in ill, in a wheelchair for a series of cloture votes at 1:00 a.m., historians i think will write about the passage of the comprehensive health care bill and the cloture votes and the passage in the senate on christmas eve early in the morning, finally had a concession that we wouldn't vote at 11:59 on christmas eve but would vote earlier in the day. even the objectors wanted to leave town.
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but senator byrd came here, performing his duty, although he certainly was not well. it was a trendous strain on him, but he came and made the 60th vote. so it is a sad occasion to see a black draping on senator byrd's desk and the flowers. and i'm sure in days to come there will be many cments, many eulogies about senator byrd. he leaves a great void, but in reflecting upon the experiences i have had with him, he -- there is much to celebrate in his life. a great american, a great senator. we our beloved colleague. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. dorgan: madam president, i came today to the floor recognizing that we have white roses and a black drape adorning
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the desk of the late senator robert c. byrd. i have told him personally in the past that when my service is done, i will have considered it a great privilege to have served in this body at the time when robert byrd served in this body. he was a lot of things. he was smart and tough and honest. because he legislated and because of his career here, this is a better country, i'm convinced, of that. all of us know that senator byrd grew old here and became someone with health problems in recent years. and yet, even last week, would come to this chamber and cast his vote. and in recent weeks i had several visits with him on the floor of the united states senate. all of us know as well that he loved his country. he, most of all, loved the united states senate. he wrote a two-volume book of history on this body, and i say
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to anybody listening, if they enjoy history and enjoy knowing anything about the wonderful history of this body, read what senator byrd has written. it is extraordinary. he loved the constitution of the united states, and he never appeared on the floor of the united states senate without having a copy of that constitution in his suit pocket. he always had a copy of the constitution with him. he was also someone who not just loved the history of the senate, but loved roman history. and i recall sitting on the floor of the senate many, many years ago when i first came to the senate, listening to senator byrd talk about roman history and the lessons in it for us. he described the -- i recall one day describing hannibal crossing the alps with a conclusion of hannibal, who had lost an eye, a one-eyed kargt -- carthoginian.
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rather than being captured, he took his life. i learned a lot listening to senator byrd on the floor of the united states senate about a lot of things, including roman history. i also learned that he had one of the most extraordinary memories i've ever known. and i thought today, because we are here all saddened but also mourning the loss of a friend and someone who served this country so well, i thought i would read something that he read on the floor of the united states senate a couple of times. but he read the preamble to it and then reciteed from memory this great, great story. he did it because he was talking about a crime that occurred with respect to a dog, an animal. he talked a lot about his dog, billie, who he loved very much. he told us the story about a man
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named vest, george g. vest, who was to become a united states senator later. and i'll read what senator byrd said. he said at the turn of the century george vest delivered a deeply touching summation before the jury in the trial involving the killing of a dog: old drum. this occurred, he said, i believe in 1969 -- excuse me. 1869. there were two brothers-in-law both of whom fought in the union army. they lived in johnson county, missouri. one named burton, owned a dog named old drum. he was a great hunting dog. i'm quoting senator byrd. any time that dog barked one would know it was on the scent of a raccoon or other animal. a man raised live stopl and -- livestock and some of his calves were being killed by animal and he vowed to kill any animal that appeared on his property.
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someone said there is a dog in the yard. hornsby said shoot him. the dog was killed. the man didn't take it lightly. he went to court. thefs old drum -- this was old drum who was killed. he won the case and was awarded $25. he employed a lawyer by the name of george vest and he read -- senator byrd did -- the summation to the jury, and he did it without a note. and it so reminded me of all the things i heard on the floor of the senate from senator byrd. yes, the ambulance down in the valley, a piece of lengthy prose, and this without a note. he recited the summation to the jury by george vest. gentlemen of the jury, the best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. the son or daughter whom he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to
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their faith. the money that a man has, he may lose. it flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. a man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. the people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw out the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our head. the one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is the dog. a man's dog stands by him in prosperity and poverty, in health and sickness. he will sleep on the cold ground when the winds blow if only he can be near his master's side. he will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the world, he
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guards his master a if he were a prince. when all other friends desert, he remains. when riches take winds and reputation falls to pieces he is constant in his love as the sun in in his journey through the heavens, as fortune drives the master out into the world, friendless and homeless, a faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard him against danger, to fight against all his enemy. and when the last scene of all comes and death takes its master in its embrace and its body is laid in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, head between his paws, his eyes sad by open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even unto death. i read this summation to the jury in the case of old drum, but senator byrd recited it as
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he did all of these similar circumstances completely from memory. and senator byrd came to the floor, and he had a wwy with words that doesn't so much exist in the senate anymore. i was sitting on the floor one day when another senator came to the floor and said some very disparaging things about a president of the united states, referred to the president in a way that was very disparaging. senator byrd didn't like that no matter who the president was, and he came to the floor, and i'm sure the person that was disparaging the person at that point never understood what had happened to him after senator byrd was done. but senator byrd came to the floor and he stood up and he said this: "i've served here long enough to see pygmies struck like colassas. and he said they like the fly in aesop's fable sitting on the axle of a chariot thinking 'my, what dust i do raise.'
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he just told someone what they did was unbelievably foolish. i'm not sure they understood it but he wrapped it in such elegant language as he also did. he also, in addition to serving at a time early on in his career when things were different, there was less perhaps anger, less partisanship and committee chairmen and ranking members got together and decided here's what we need to do for the country and did it together and came to the floor together, he also was on the floor of the united states senate, someone who knew the rules, studied the rules because he understood that knowing the rules to this chamber and how this process works was also important to be successful here. but aside from that, a skillful legislator, very skillful. i watched him walk out of this chamber from that door and very, very often stop as a bunch of senate pages, high school kids who serve in the senate, would gather around and then he would
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spend 15, 20 minutes telling them a story about the united states senate, about the history of this great place. too many of us walked bath -- back and forth walking too briskly because we're working on a lot of things. senator byrd always took time to talk to the pages. not just to talk to them, to tell them the stories about what this great united states senate has meant to this great country. he also loved very much his wife, erma, his late wife erma. and talked about her a lot to many of us. he loved to play the fiddle. and early on when i came to the united states senate, if you expressed even the least interest in music, he would get you down to his office and put a tape in his recording device to show that he played the fiddle on the program "hee haw." he was someone who loved west virginia, loved his country, was a friend to all of us.
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and today is a very sad day for all of us who see a desk who was occupied by a really great united states senator for so many decades now occupied with a dozen roses and a black cloth signifying that we have lost this great man. america has lost a great public servant and for one as a member of the united states senate, it has been my great privilege to serve while senator byrd served in this body. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, i appreciate the words of the senator from north dakota. i recall sitting here on the floor, i tell my friend from north dakota, he may well have been there too when senator byrd spoke of the pygmy strutting like a colasses, we know who he meant and the effect it had.
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i thank him for reminding us of that. madam president, we -- i believe all of us who served with and knew senator byrd are sa saddend by news of his passing. no senator came to care more about the constitution or to be a more effective defender of our constitutional government than the senior senator from west virginia. madam president, how many times have we seen him reach in his jacket pocket and hold up the constitution and he would say, this is what guides me? now, madam president, i say to the judiciary committee today, many of us carry the constitution and we can turn to it and read from it. senator byrd, if asked, would recite it verbatim from memory
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from page one straight through. and he was a senator's senator. whether it was on the time before he stopped playing when some of us could be at an aevent with him -- an's vent with him where he played the fiddle and now his successor as president pro tem, senator inouye played the piano, playing compensations requiring one hand and the two of them played that in the caucus room now named after our late senator ted kennedy. but i heard him play that in the happy times, in the enjoyable times when he would try to bring
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senators of both parties together to just act like human beings. but i also sat here with him when he reminded senators of what the constitution stood for, what our role was in the constitution when he spoke about against -- against going to work in iraq without reason and without a declaration of war. it was one of the most powerful speeches i have heard him give in over 36 years of serving with him i heard many, many speeches. others can speak of his record for time served in the senate and congress, the number of votes he cast, i think, madam president, him more as a mentor and a friend. i recall in the fall of 1974 having been -- having become the senator-elect and coming down here to talk to senators and
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meeting with senator byrd and senator mansfield. senator mansfield being the leader and senator byrd the deputy leader. i recall one of the things he told me -- both of them did -- always keep your word. robert byrd -- robert carlyle byrd, if he cave you his word -- gave you his word, go to the bank with with him, but he would expect the same in return, as he should. that is something that we should all be reminded of all of us should seek to achieve. i was honored to sit with him on the senate floor and sitting with him in the same room and engaged in many discussions with the senate or about the rules or the issues of the moment or about our family, but now when i sit here and i look at the flowers on his desk, i look at the drape on that, madam
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president, over the many years that i've had the privilege of representing the state of vermont in this body, i've had to come on the floor of the senate and seen the traditional drapery and the flowers on either side of the aisle we've lost dear colleagues. more than that, we've lost dear friends. the friendship is what's -- party is irrelevant, friendship -s what's important. and it tugs at your heart and it tugs at your soul to so it. walking in here and just looking down the row where i sit and seeing , that i don't know when -- seeing that, i don't know when i felt a tug so strong. marcel and i were privileged to know bob and erma, his wonderful erma. we'd see them in the grocery store in northern virginia.
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our wives would drive in together for senate matters. i recall sitting with him in his office one day when he spoke of the death of his grandson and how it tore him apart. he had been killed in an accident. he had his portrait in his office with black drapery and we sat there, this man who could be so controlled -- we sat, held hands while he cried about his grandson. and at that time i did not have the privilege of being a grandfather yet. today i think i can more fully understand what he went through.
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i remember the emotion and the strength of it. this was not the person you saw often as leader of the senate, chairman of a major committee, in control, but a human being mourning somebody very dear to him. he was a self-educated man. he learned much throughout his life, but then he had much to teach us all. it was spoken of how he would talk to the pages. but he would talk to anybody about his beloved senate. and he did more than that, he wrote the defensive history of the senate. we -- definitive history of the senate. we all learned from him. he was an accomplished legislator. he was an extraordinary american. as a formal tribute i expect
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senator byrd would appreciate, let me quote from the funeral oration. from the history of the war about the inherent strength of democracy, senator byrd was well familiar with this passage. with this relevance for our constitution, our form of government. i heard him use it before. parglece is said to spoken this way, our form of government does not enter into rivalry with institutions of others. our government does not copy our neighbors, but is an example to them. it is true that we are called democracy for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. but whether they exist equal justice to all and alike in private disputes, a claim of excellence is also recognized. and when a citizen is in a way
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distinguished, he is referred to the public service not as a matter of privilege, but as a reward of merit. neither is poverty an obstacle. man may benefit his country whenever the obscurity of his condition. senator byrd believed in this country, madam president. he believed that a youngster who had been adopted, who lived in a house without running water, who had to work for every single thing he obtained could also rise to the highest positions in this body, a body that he loved more than any other institution in our government, save one, the
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constitution. the constitution was his north star, his lone star. it was what guided him. senator byrd was such an extraordinary man of merit and grit and determination. love of family. i caught him sitting with his grandchildren and great grandchildren, and he could probably tell you how many there were. i remember even after he was a widower walking by here and leaning over and saying, how are you? he would say, i'm fine. how's marcel? and senators from both sides of the aisle coming just to talk with him. he drew strength from his deep faith. he took to heart his oath of support to defend the constitution of the united states. his career of public service is
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an inspiration to us all. he'll inspire generations of americans to come. sir robert, i say good-bye to you, my dear friend. i'm not going to forget the friendship. i'm not going to forget how you mentored me. but especially i will not forget that i will always cherish even after i leave this body your love of the senate, senator byrd, you're one of a kind. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois.
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mr. durbin: madam president, members of the senate are coming to the floor today to acknowledge a moment of our history, the passing of robert c. byrd, the longest serving senator in the history of the united states of america. a man who cast more than 18,000 votes, a man who served as authority leader of the appropriations committee, president pro tempore, he was, in fact, the united states senate. he embodied the senate in his life. it was his life. each of us before we can become a senator take a walk down this aisle and go over to the side here where the vice president of the united states swears us in. you put your hand on a bible and you take an oath to uphold and defend the constitution of the united states. you have to say that or you can't be a senator. for many people it's a for malty. for robert c. byrd it was a commitment, a life commitment to a document.
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the constitution of the united states. he used to carry one in his pocket every day of his life. that's the kind of commitment most people won't make because you think, well, maybe i'll change my mind. but for robert c. byrd there was no changing his mind. he was committed to that constitution. for him, it was the north star, it was the guiding light, it was the document that created this nation, and he had sworn on his bible to uphold and defend it, and he meant it. that's why he was so extraordinary. he understood this constitution because he understood what our government is about. he made -- he made a point of saying whenever a new president would come in, even a president of his own party, i will work with the president, but as a senator, i do not work for the president. we are equal to the president because we are an equal branch of government. so i will be glad to work with the president, but i have a
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responsibility as a united states senator. i remember that so well in what i consider to be the finest hour that i witnessed when it came to robert c. byrd. it was in october, 2002. it was a little over a year after 9/11, and president george w. bush was asking this senate to vote for a resolution to invade iraq. and at the time the pressure was building, public sentiment was strongly in favor. you'll remember there was talk about weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons, attacks on our allies and friends, even on the united states if we didn't move and move quickly, and there was a purr veiling, growing public sentiment to go to war. but the senator from west virginia stood up, took out his constitution and said this is a mistake. we shouldn't be going to war.
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and he proceeded day after day, week after week and month after month to stand there at that desk and lead the charge against the invasion of iraq. it was an amazing display of his talent, which was prodigious, and his commitment to the constitution as he saw it and the fact that he was politically fearless. i agreed with him on that issue. i was inspired by him on that issue. i can recall when my wife and i went to a mass at old st. patrick's church in chicago, and after the mass, we were in the pews, kneeling down after communion, and the church was quiet as people were returning from communion, and an old -- older fellow whom i didn't know stood next to me in the aisle and looked down at me, and in a voice that could be heard across the church, he said stick with bob byrd. and i came back and told him
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that story and he just how old in -- just howled in laughter. i said senator byrd, your reach is beyond west virginia and beyond the senate. it's in chicago and across the country. what you're saying is resonating with a lot of people. in the end, one republican and 22 democrats voted against that war. for a while, we were unpopular. over time, that vote has become i think more respected. but robert c. byrd was our leader and he used this constitution as his inspiration. he had such a sense of history. my favorite story related to about 16 or 18 years ago. i was a member of the house of representatives then on the appropriations committee and robert c. byrd was the chairman of the senate appropriations committee. he was a powerful man. and so we were supposed to meet downstairs in a conference committee, house and senate, the conferees from both appropriations committees on a
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transportation bill. and to no one's surprise and without any apology, senator byrd had quite a few west virginia projects in that bill. congressman frank wolf of virginia, a republican, sat on a committee on the house side. when he looked at the west virginia projects, he got upset, and he said it publicly in "the washington post" and other places, that he thought senator byrd had gone too far. well, that was a pretty bold move by congressman wolfe to make those statements in the minority about the chairman of the senate appropriations committee. i couldn't wait for that conference committee because the two of them would literally be in the same room. in fact, it turned out to be even better. they were not only in the same room but senator byrd's staff had reserved a chair directly across the table from congressman wolfe. the place was packed, waiting for this confrontation.
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senator byrd came in last and sat down very quietly in his chair and waited his turn. congressman wolfe at some point asked for recognition and went after the byrd west virginia projects. and frank is a passionate man. i have served with him and agreed with him on many things and disagree on others. but i respect him. he was passionate and committed. he made it clear he thought this was unfair and unjust. senator byrd in his three-piece suit sat across from him with his hands on the table, showing no emotion, until after 15 or 20 minutes, senator --congressman wolf was exhausted by his protest about these byrd projects. at which point senator byrd leaned over and said to whoever was presiding at that moment may i speak? and they said, of course. and then he said -- and i'm going to paraphrase this. i think it's pretty close to
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what he said, because there was no video camera there. i wish there had been. he said in 1830, in january of 1830, january 19th, 1830, which if my memory serves me was a thursday, daniel webster and mr. haine engaged in ooe of the most famous debates in american history, and off he went. for the next 15 minutes without a note, robert c. byrd tried to explain a very basic principle, and it was this: the senate is created to give every state the same number of senators, two senators. the house is elected by popular vote. a small state like west virginia doesn't have much of a chance in the house of representatives.
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it is small in a body of 435 members. but in the senate, every state, large and small, virginia and west virginia, illinois, new york and california each have two senators. and the point that senator byrd was making was if i don't put the projects in in the senate, we'll never get them in in the house, and that is what the great compromise, the constitution and the senate and house are all about. well, it was a masterful presentation which led to a compromise you might expect at the end of the day in which senator byrd did quite well for his state of west virginia. well, years passed and i was elected to this body, and i came here and i saw senator byrd sitting in that seat one day, and i said i want to tell you the most famous debate i can ever remember, and there wasn't a camera n the room and i don't know that anybody recorded it, and i remembered -- recalled his debate with frank wolf. and i said what i remember particularly is when you said
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january 19th, 1830, which was a thursday, if i recall. he said yes, i think it was a thursday. i said i don't doubt that it was a thursday, but that little detail was amazing. so we kind of smiled, didn't say anything more. about an hour passed before the next roll call, and he called me over to that desk. he had brought out a perpetual calendar and found january 19th, 1830, and said mr. durbin, it was a thursday. i said i didn't dispute it, senator. it was an example in my mind of a man who understood this constitution, understood his use of that constitution for his state. some would say he overused it, but he was fighting for his state every day he was here. his command of history and his command of the moment. that was robert c. byrd. they don't make them like that anymore. there just aren't many people in our generation who can even claim to be in that position. i recall it and i remember very
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well another conversation that i had with him. you see, history will show that in his early life, robert c. byrd was a member of the ku klux klan, and many of his detractors and enemies would bring that up, and he would be very open about it, not deny it, but say that he had changed and his votes reflected it. and i once said to him of all these thousands and thousands of votes that you cast, are there any that you would like to do over? oh, yes, he said. three. there was one for an eisenhower administration appointee which i voted against and i wish i had voted for him. i think that was a mistake. and he said i was wrong on the civil rights legislation. i voted the wrong way in the 1960's. and he said i made a mistake and voted for the deregulation of the airline industry which cut off airline service to my state of west virginia. those were his three.
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if you have been in public life or even if you have been on this earth for a while, i think you learn the value of redemption. robert c. byrd in his early life had made a mistake with his membership in that ku klux klan, and he was open about it and he demonstrated in his life that he had learned that he was wrong and would do better in the future. that's redemption, political redemption, and in my mind it was total honesty. there were so many other facets to this man, too. senator leahy talked about his playing the fiddle. that's the first time i ever saw him in person. he came to springfield, illinois, in 1976 when he was aspiring to run for president of the united states. he stood out from the rest of the crowd because he got up and he said a few words about why he wanted to be president, and then he reached in and grabbed his fiddle and he started playing it. i tell you,he brought the house down. i don't know who else was there. i think jimmy carter was there. but i do remember that bob byrd was there. when i came to the senate, i
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thought i can't wait to see or hear him play that fiddle again. i heard that after his grandson died in an automobile accident, he said i will never touch it again in memory of my grandson. that's the kind of family commitment he made as well. he would sing and would occasionally have a christmas party downstairs and a few of us would be lucky enough to get invited, and he would sing, but he was a man who had gone through some life experiences and family experiences which were very meaningful to him. i remember another day when i was on the floor of the senate here and there was a debate about the future of the national endowment for the arts, and senator ashcroft of missouri wanted to eliminate the national endowment for the arts and take away all its money. i stood up to debate him. i wasn't -- i was brand-new here, wasn't smart enough to know when to sit down and shut up. i started debating him and saying i think that's wrong and the arts are important and so forth. through the door comes bob byrd, walks in here and asks if he can have recognition. everything stopped when he asked
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foo recognition. they said of course. he said i want to tell you what music meant to me. i was an orphan and i was raised in a loving family, and early in life, they went out and bought me a fiddle. and music has always been a big, important part of my life. out of nowhere, this man gives this beautiful speech. then he quotes poetry during his speech. as you can tell, all of us who served with him are great fans of robert c. byrd and what he meant to this senate and what he meant to this nation. west virginia has lost a great, great servant who was so proud of his home state. time and again, that was always the bottom line for him. is this going to be good for the future of my little state of west virginia? he fought for them, he put them on the map in some regards, in some projects, and he was respected by his colleagues because of his commitment to the people who honored him by allowing him to serve in the united states senate. there may be a debate as to whether there is a heaven. if there is a heaven and they
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have a table for the greats in the united states senate, i would ask daniel webster to pull up a chair for robert c. byrd, west virginia. madam president, i yield >> c-span is now available in 100 million homes, bringing you washington your way, a public service of america's cable companies. >> in a few moments, kenneth feinberg on the role of executive pay and the cult of mexico will spill compensation fund. and a little less than an hour, the head of the economic council lawrence summers on plans to expand wireless devices. and later, we will be air some of the tributes to the late senator robert byrd who died monday morning at the age of 92.
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on "washington journal" tomorrow morning, we will look at the oil industry from of representative american patrol institute -- with a representative from the american petroleum institute. "washington journal" is live every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. general david petreaus was nominated to the u.s. commander of armed forces in afghanistan. he testifies at 9:30 eastern. >> c-span -- our public affairs content is available on television, radio, and online. you can also connect with us on twitter, facebook, and youtube. sign up for schedule alert e- mails at c-span.org. >> now kenneth feinberg on the
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role of the federal government on executive compensation. he has been a special administration overseeing the pay of executives at firms that receive government bailouts. he left that position to administer the $20 billion oil spill compensation fund. from up there -- from american university, this is a little less than an hour.
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y washington c law, where we're doing a couple of weeks of exciting and timely programming on law and government related institute on law and government at the american university washington college of law or the are doing a couple of weeks of exciting and timely programming on law and government related issues. as part of that program, we have had a number of different lectures and speakers on a variety of subjects. in line with that, it is a great privilege and honor to have ken feinberg with us today. i have known him for longer than 30 years. i was a boston globe reporter in the washington bureau and ken was working for senator edward kennedy and his legislative staff in the 1970's. can is here for a very different reason. his career in the last two decades really this bruce the -- disproves the assumption that lawyers go into law because they
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cannot do math. in fact, it can has done the -- can has done the doneken -- ken has done the opposite and made a career out of working with a rather important numbers. most visibly, i think the administration of the september 11 claims fund, but he has had numerous other experiences with similar kinds of funds. he was the administrator for the virginia tech fund and even before september 11, have been involved in other funds. he was able to figure route how to take a complex litigation and compensation money and figure out how to administer all of
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that in a fair handed an even- handed way. that has led to his two most recent assignments. one prior to a couple weeks ago, he came to be known as the executive pay is our -- czar. he was the secretary for special compensation in which he was looking at the issues related to executive compensation of various institutions being bailed out and whether there was a need to limit that compensation. then, not surprisingly, in light of his record, the president turned to him about a week ago to be the administrator of the bp oil spill claims fund, the money that bp agreed to put up in its meeting with
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president obama at the white house. that fund will now be administered by a him to figure out how to rectify the horrible damage that is taking place in the gulf. we are absolutely thrilled to have kenneth shearer -- kenneth here. he has been to the gulf already in the weeks since he had this assignment. he just came back yesterday and we look forward to his comments. he will make remarks for a few minutes and then we will open it up to questions. he has a conference call at 1:00 p.m., so we have to get him out of here at about five minutes to 1:00 p.m.. >> i am here because of steve. we go back many years to when he was a beat reporter here in washington for "the globe." i was working on the senate judiciary staff.
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steve would walk in and talk to all of us and tells what was right or wrong about what we were doing. -- and tell us what was right or wrong about what we were doing. [laughter] i asked learned pretty i have learned not to say no to steve. i am under a lot of pressure today. professor metcalf this year, an old friend, a very wise man who will be checking of what i do right and wrong today as part of my oral exam. i am pleased to see him here. he is a valuable addition to this group. you may wonder how it is possible to bring together, in 20 minutes, and discuss at the same time of my role in agent orange or the 9/11 victim compensation fund. my role as the treasury department's special master for top executive compensation.
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my role in designing and administering this new gulf coast claims facility. of what is the common denominator? there is a common denominator. the common denominator is the creativity of the law. the malleability of the law in coming up with creative ways to solve public interest problems. the lot is as malleable -- of the lot is as malleable and -- the law is as malleable and flexible aa the policy makers
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make it. if there is one common denominator, it is that occasionally the conventional approach to solving legal problems breaks down. there has to be a better way and the better way is a very innovative agent orange class action settlement, a statutory alternative to the conventional tort system, the 9/11 victim compensation fund. a private, alternative mechanism to divert people out of the tort system into a private, self sustaining, charitable distribution fund. a statutory way to try and win in our regis executive salaries -- and try to rein in an outrageous executive salaries
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and find out what is appropriate and not appropriate when it comes to regulating private pay. the pay czar legislation. now, a voluntary compact, rather unique, between a public entity, the administration, and the private entity, bp. resulting in the creation of a rather unprecedented, totally independent but private claims facility designed to resolve dp -- bp- related claims for damage. steve is right, i have been fortunate enough over the past
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25 years to be at the cutting edge of designing, implementing, administering these creative alternatives to conventional ways of thinking. the one common denominator is that creativity. what is very interesting is that every one of those creative alternatives has worked. it has resulted in canonizing or eliminating conventional litigation. bp, the verdict is out. but i am confident, that with bp, we will develop an infrastructure, a protocol,
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rules for the totally voluntary submission of claims which will resolve the claims and provide damage awards to eligible claimants in lieu of lawsuits in federal and state courts to laugh the gulf. -- throughout the gulf. how do you go about solving these problems? what are some of the basic bedrock principles that govern the solutions? whether it be statutory paid, statutory 9/11, voluntary private compaq's like the memorial fund, judicially imposed plans like agent orange for this rather unique vp -- bp
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public/private partnership. the principles are fairly clear. one, no-fault. these facilities will not work if there is going to be a lengthy legal debate over who is at fault. instead, these are no fault regimens. there is nothing unique about that. in 50 states, for 100 years, they have had no fault regiment's called -- no-fault regimens called workers' comp. let's not point fingers of blame. let's assume blame. let's check knowledge wrong -- let's take knowledge of wrong
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-- let's acknowledge wrong and move toward compensatory resolution. two, let's assure efficiency, speed. one of the great considerations for entering any of these programs is the speed at which compensatton is delivered or determine. in the pay czar example, we got the 2009 program retroactively. we got all of our compensation decisions in 60 days in 2010. that was in contrast to the link the inefficiency of the legal system. 3, streamline cooperation and proof -- streamline and
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collaboration and proof. -- corroboration and proof. let's avoid pretrial discovery. instead, consistent with speed, let's resolve claims efficiently on a it summarized and abbreviated record. it is submitted to the facility. four, in these alternatives to the tort system, let's not even damages. these are all compensatory damage vehicles. it is designed to right a wrong by distributing money that will make the claimant hold -- whole
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from his or her compensatory loss. punishment? no. the trade-off for committing wrong in terms of the willingness to pay is that there will be no piling on with punitive damages or other excessive or additional damage claims. 5, in all of these procedures, every one of them, make sure that you implement procedural due process as part of this process. the best example is the 9/11 victim compensation fund where every single plant to enter the program voluntarily -- every single complainant entered the program voluntarily.
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only half wanted it. they were given a full and fair opportunity to be heard. so true in all of these other funds, to one degree or another, you were not merely a cog in the claims machine. you have an opportunity for tailored consideration of your own claim. even with the pay czar plans -- claims, before i rendered decisions as to what a corporate, frustration -- what appropriate compensation should be, called all seven banks and they were all invited. they were told to come to the
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treasury and make their case. procedural due process, so that everybody knows that they have a vested, fares stake in the outcome. this is enormously -- their stake in the outcome. this is enormously -- a fair stake in the outcome. this is enormously important in ratifying these alternatives. do not underestimate that importance. that is the common benchmark for all of these programs. there has been a great deal written about all of them, but the interesting feature is how they pose a creative alternative to the conventional tort system or the conventional complex litigation system. those are the common similarities. there is another very important similarity in all of these
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alternatives. and that is that in every one of these cases, they involve another common element. corporate bigwigs, masters of the universe, appropriate paid during the time of a severe recession -- all of these cases involve another common element. that is human emotion. the degree to which the claimant or the target of what i am doing confronts anchor, frustration -- i'm do iing
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anger, frustration and is on the part of the individual that requires what i am doing or what my designees are doing to be psychiatrists as well as lawyers and as well as economists and statisticians and a sociologist. these national problems require you to get inside the head of the people that you're trying to deal with. it makes it very emotional and very difficult. that is how you can, under the rule book of law and government, land all of these problems -- link all of these problems to creative solutions. in the last 10 minutes before
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to questions, -- before i take questions, there are two examples of creativity. the federal legislation creating the top executive compensation, and my current work as the a administrator of the gulf coast claims facility or arising out of the bp still on the other hand. what are the problems that arise out of the siding pay? -- deciding pay? well, let's look at a couple of issues that i thought were rather interesting. i would have thought that the pay czar legislation -- i would
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have thought that there would have been a tremendous degree of adverse criticism. mr. feinberg, it is none of the government's business in setting private pay. it is philosophically televised and inconsistent -- philosophically ill advised and inconsistent with our policy. i got none of that. virtually no criticism. why is that? two reasons. first, i only have legal statutory authority over seven companies. of those seven companies, i am only over the top 25 officials
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of those companies. i am a sideshow. i have very root ltd. jurisdiction -- i have very limited jurisdiction. it is not worth the candle to take me on. train your free-market sites on regulatory reform, why bother with feinberg to a sort of an afterthought in the legal structure of executive pay? there is an important reason besides the limited jurisdiction that i have. that is, after all, i am viewed as a surrogate for the taxpayer. those seven companies only tal survived because of citizen taxpayer money that was loaned to them. i represent the creditors of these seven companies. the creditors that own the company. since the american people
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bailed out the seven companies, surely, the view is, the american people should have a say in what these executives of the seven companies make for living. that argument, i must say, that i am acting on behalf of the creditors of those seven companies and no others, looms large in blunting any philosophic criticism about government involvement in the private marketplace. i do not hear a month from -- at do not hear a lot from the cato institute. i do not hear a lot from republicans from red states who are opposed to t.a.r.p. in the first place. i certainly do not see that they mind feinberg influencing pay since the law says that once
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the corporation repays the taxpayer, they are out. that is not primary objective. seven companies are now down to four companies. bankamerica, city group and -- city group -- citigroup, and crestar financial are out, leaving the other four. i doubt very much that this will ever be repeated. it is sort of a one off. the other example that raises some interesting issues is the dp gulf coast -- of the bp and gulf coast plant facility. -- claims facility. this is very interesting. bp has voluntarily contributed $20 billion to deal with claims arising out of this bill -- of the spill.
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bp is also told the administration that of $20 billion -- that if $20 billion is not enough, they will also replenish the fund beyond 20 billion. the bp claims facility is independent and i am beholden neither to the administration nor bp. by agreement, i can do it on my own and exercise sound discretion in distributing the funds. the challenge with the dp -- bp facility is going to be that it is all well and good to set up this wonderful furniture mechanism to litigation -- this wonderful mechanism to litigation. what is your definition of an eligible claims under the fund? some claims are easy. mr. feinberg, i am a fisherman. i cannot fish.
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the fishing beds are closed because of oil. i cannot fish. pay me my economic loss. that is an easy claim. it gets more difficult if you try to pave the loss in one want -- lump to cover present and future lost to try to figure out what constitutes a future claim. the oil is still spilling. that is rather problematic. that is a murky crystal ball. that is a relatively simple claim where there are two issues. we are all lawyers here. there are two issues. am i eligible to file a claim. clearly, yes, your fisherman. second, what is the value of my claim? that is more problematic. particularly if the oil has not stopped spilling, so you did
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not know if the oil will reach the fishing grounds in the next month or pollute certain other grounds, thereby maximizing the damages. eligibility and calculation of award. two quite separate issues. those are two calculations. you could be eligible and get nothing. if you are not eligible, you can get nothing the second -- you can get nothing. >> the second issue is eligibility for indirect ripple claims. mr. feinberg, i own kincaid some food -- kincaid a seafood restaurant. we serve this fabulous dish,
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louisiana oysters. i cannot get woozy and oysters -- louisiana oysters. oysters. people can't order louisiana they have stopped coming to my restaurant and my customer volume is down 10%. pay me. what do you do about my claim -- about that plan? -- claim. you say no, but think about it. it is in an attenuated claim. if you pay that claim, the-will pay a restaurant in the inland states -- in the united states. how you rationalize principle? some claims are eligible. some claims are ineligible. how do you do that? actually, congress provided me some guidance in the 9/11 fund. the question was, how do you pay physical injury claims
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arising out of the terrorist attacks. the law in 9/11 said that ended minister in these claims, look -- special master, looked to -- look to state tort law of the residents of the victim. -- residence of the victim. will law allows that claim? i may do the same in the case of bp. i may say that you have brought a business interruption claim from washington d.c.. how likely is it that the courts of washington d.c., the superior courtt or maritime law, or the pollution control law or other applicable law, how is it that that rest from one have a valid claim? i would say virtually nil.
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somehow, you have to canonize -- canonize -- cabanize, you have to look at the relationship to the claim and come up with a principal way. if it is not principled, it will not sell. it will not work. there has to be principled way to do that. now, you have to be careful. you cannot have a restaurant in louisiana getting paid and the same restaurant in florida and not getting paid. you have to understand the law and have some sort of common denominator, but that is the way it works. so, in 25 or 26 minutes, i have tried to lay out how the law in government could work together -- how the law and the government could work together
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to come up with creative alternatives to do justice, provide a much more efficient alternative, and compensates in an actual -- and equitable way. -- in an equitable way. that is the summary. we have about 20 minutes for questions. as the promised me that you would have good questions. so fire away. >> if you have a question, please come to the microphones. so we can capture the questions. >> i teach a ministry of law. -- administrative law. when you describe the process,
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the requirements of due process, put more flesh on the bones. what do you actually do in the various contexts of that you are discussing so that people opportunity for their case. >> just like in court, the right to come in and be heard. we did that in agent orange and we did that in virginia tech and we did that in 9/11. the opportunity, if you walked in voluntarily, to meet your decision maker and have a vested stake in the process. that testimony is under oath, with a transcript, and it goes a long way in giving the plan and -- claimant a vested interest in the process. second, the right to appeal the
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administratively. if you do not like the results of your claim, he can appeal to another individual or a group to get another bite at the apple. third, the right to have counsel if you want counsel. bring a priest, a rabbi, a brother, whoever you want to represent you. transparency, openness, decisions not rendered in the dead of night, procedural protections. the administrator not as an adversary but a fiduciary. to try, in the confines of the law, to maximize your award. those are some of the time- honored principles.
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if you take professors -- of the course in administrative law, there will be a whole section on administrative due process and what is required. we try to follow those prescriptions. >> has studied your t.a.r.p. legislation. ndering what the initial reactions were to proposals for what were the executive reactions to that and also the increase stakeholders' that they had to take? >> they did not like it. wall street executives came to
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me and said that i must, under law, give them a competitive compensation, otherwise they will lose these people and they are irreplaceable. the graveyards are filled with irreplaceable people. that is first. secondly, they told me that if these individuals leave, they will not go across the street to a domestic competitor, they will go to europe or china. everybody is for to go work in china. these were the arguments that they may. we looked at the data -- that they made. we looked at the data. we tried to hire independent compensation consultants. we could not find any independence, so we hired academics. we developed models.
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you are right, the model that we used in most cases was cash compensation, based cash salary faugh under $500,000 per year. no guaranteed incentives. the remainder of your compensation would be in stock that could not be transferred until a third after two years, one-third after three years, and one-third after four years. long-term integration between the total cost of the individual and the company where he or she works. we think that that was the formula that worked pretty well. wall street does not like it. it went along. they had to, under the law. we thought that was the best way to go, tying individual compensation over the long term. i think it worked pretty well.
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80% of the people that we work within 2009 are still there. >> i wondered if you had in the voluntary options in the industry? any voluntary adoption in the industry? >> there has been some voluntary adoption. . it is too early to tell. i think there has been some small degree of acquiescence or ratification for what we're doing. whether that will continue when the americans memories fade. that remains to be seen. when it comes to my principles, it is nowhere near as important as the legislation as about to become law.
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corporate rigid corporate governance reform rules promulgated by the sec and the federal reserve. those much more pervasive reforms will do more than what i am doing. >> i am a professor at the school. you mentioned the difficulty in calculating the present damages and the unknown future. don't you have a similar dimension in clements -- it claimants? you might have a fisherman today that is fine, or is in trouble next year. how do you account for that? >> you have to sit down and offer that fisherman -- mr. fisherman, you have shown us economic loss models that give you $83,000.
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we are going to tender a check to you, not only for the economic loss that you have suffered to date, but what we think is it their projection of what you will suffer in the future and we will give you not $83,000, but $149,000. in return, we want a full release so that you cannot come back later and claimed that $149,000 should have been $249,000. or that $149,000 was only $99,000, and that would be bp coming back. the challenge, and you know this, the challenges to come up with a prediction of economic loss which is relatively fair and corroborated. corroborated. the safety valve, of course, is that if the
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the safety valve is that if the claimant fisserman is not convinced about 149,000 or thinks that it is too low, or thinks that it requires him or her to be too uncertain, do not take it. instead, opt into the litigation system. my goal is to minimize the number of people who think that the litigation system will give them more of an upside. i venture to say that the litigation system is more uncertain than my crystal ball analysis of total economic loss. that is a fundamental question. it will challenge the ability to make the facility work. >> i guess i would just follow- up on that. given that you have a knowledge is an emerging issue, there are wetlands that are damaged and not yet destroyed.
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they may yet be destroyed. how can you make those calculations? it is a different kind of projection. >> it is. you cannot do this until the oil stocks. -- stops. mr. feinberg, i have an oyster bed, and i do not know my damage total yet because the oil has not hit the oyster beds, yet. i know i have lost some business because i cannot get my oysters to market, but once the oil stops, maybe i can get them to market unless the oil reaches the oyster bed. steve is right, you cannot do this type of economic forecasting as long as it is an ongoing problem. what you can do is provide an emergency payments without a release. i completely agree with that.
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>> as best as you can estimate at this port, if the oil stopped yesterday or five minutes from now, do you say that $20 billion will be adequate to compensate people? >> i have no idea. i really do not have any idea until we see the nature of the claims. it is one thing for the press and the media to discuss all of these claims. i keep explaining to people in the gulf that if you do not file a plan, there is nothing that i can do. -- file a claim, there is nothing that i can do. do not assume that everybody will file a claim. there are barriers to filing a
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claim. it is too complicated, i do not have a claim, it is not the fault of the sppll, i do not know, i procrastinate. before i judge that the $20 billion will not be enough, i want to know how many claims -- how many eligible claims, what the calculation of loss is. you can go and get it short from -- shrimp from somewhere else or oysters. it does not have to be from the gulf, or that part of the gulf. i do not mean to beat live when -- the glib when i say that i do
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not know if $20 billion is enough. many in the media say it is not. i do not know. some will say, mr. feinberg, i cannot work. let me see your irs or your wage forms. this is a cash business. there is nothing illegal about a cash business, but let me see some corroboration. i'll be back. [laughter] this is an example. maybe that person will come in with an affidavit or notarized statement from a priest in the neighborhood or the sheriff or the mayor saying, mr. feinberg, he did earn this. there is a lot of way to corroborate.
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there are different ways to corroborate. but there has to be something. you have to worry about fraud. so that you don't divert good many -- could money away from eligible people. that is part of the challenger. we will see. >> we have been hearing reports in the news about the health effects on workers, of the chemicals being put on the oil. is that part of the mandate or is that a downstream issue? >> know, that is part of the mandate. they can come into the fund, the families. but you're right, respiratory or dermatological, detergent on the all of my hands or the clubs or whatever. they're about 850 physical
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injury claims that have to be dealt with. corroborate, show is your medicals, and how sick are you? i am disabled. you are? if you are disabled, where is your social security and disability? where's your workers' comp disability? show me that you are disabled. corroboration is absolutely necessary to make sure that eligible claims get adequate compensation. and that will be a challenge here. >> hunt curious about what you would say about punitive damages and the planet -- and the replenishment of the fund. is there any indication from bp as to whether the possibility for replenishment would be
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affected about whether there is a determination for punitive damages in the litigation? i would imagine that that might logically have an impact on bp. >> as that said, punitive damages in the fund are the question. will punitive damage awards in the traditional court system impact bp's's ability to replenish the fund? it may very well. i have not heard anything about that. it is very premature. the question about punitive damages, you can have one punitive damage decision or consecutive punitive damage decision by lawyers in different jurisdictions. all of that is downstream. my simple answer so far is, no, no discussions along those
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lines. i doubt that it will be on my watch. i am not dealing with litigation. i am dealing with facilities. but i feel the implication of your question. >> the claimants with whom you deal, saying that this is a fair deal, and the claimant is gambling as to whether there would be more outside the compensation system. >> maybe. >> in positioning your initiative as a one-off system, maybe you could speak more broadly to the implications of the one-offs, because our they affecting the tort reform debate? >> i do not think the influence it much at all.
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i am asked all the time these one-off claims facilities, are they the wave of the future? absolutely not. i think the american legal system works pretty well and i think the american tort system works pretty well. there are relatively rare circumstances, whether the volume of claims, the quality of the claims, the need for swifter justice, that is where these claims facilities come into play. steve says that this is a niche of mine. it is a niche. five of these over the last 20 years. they are not exactly commonplace. i remember after the 911-fund, the asbestos industry came in and asked me to set up a
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facility for the asbestos claims. i said, sure, but a question. who is going to pay for it? how much is everybody going to get? in the 9/11 fund, the american taxpayer footed the bill. in the bp oil spill, the people foot the bill. who is paying for it? you, the employers? the manufacturers? the insurers? you cannot get your act together for 30 years over those issues. and in a no-fault system, where speed is essential, do you expect to pay the same as if you win in court after seven years of litigation? there is a trade-off. the inability to find deep pockets to fund these alternatives, and the inability of lawyers to agree on what the
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amount ought to be for eligible claimants, makes these one-off programs one-off. and there is a new book out about the toefl -- de tocqueville, he wrote that it is a strange place when it comes to court. every major case in america ends up in a court room. the american legal system, the tort system is so ingrained in america, these alternatives, creative as they may be there at the margins. i think. one more. >> on american government,
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[unintelligible] what you think the american government will do next? i know that president obama is very angry about the disaster. you think that this will have a bad influence on the relationship between america and the operators? >> the american government will never contribute to this bp claims facility. bp has agreed to shoulder the cost of the facility. it is said that $20 billion is not enough, and i reserve on that question.
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the pieces that they will replenish the fund. this is a bp obligation, admitted by bp. we agree. what claims are eligible -- we agree to fund it. as for the relationship between the united states and great britain, to will have to ask them. i don't think there will be any short-term or long-term adverse impact. i think that this is a natural spill, a natural disaster -- its impact is a natural disaster, and there'll be resolution. i think the ties between the united states and britain are too strong for this one event to color their relationship. you're right. i have got a conference call now. i want to thank everybody, particularly steve, it was very
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understanding. i was going to be here last week and i got called down to the gulf because of this horrible accident. i wanted to make it up in some small way and i hope that i have. i hope they will be invited back. this is the only time i get to see steve. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> in a few moments, white

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