tv Senator Grassley on Supreme Court Justice Nomination CSPAN April 7, 2016 9:30pm-9:57pm EDT
>> senator chuck grassley is the chair of the judiciary committee. he discussed the nomination of merrick garland. his remarks are 20 minutes. the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: we have a unique opportunity for the american people to have a voice in the direction of the supreme court. the american people should be afforded the opportunity to weigh in on this very important matter. our side, meaning the republican side, believes very strongly that the people deserve to be heard and they should be allowed to decide through their vote for the next president the type of person that should be on the supreme court. as i've stated previously, this
is a reasonable approach. it is a fair approach and it is a historical approach. one echoed by then-chairman biden, senator schumer and other senators. and also, i might say, it was something that was practiced during president johnson's administration, lyndon baines johnson, and it was also something that happened during the eisenhower administration. now, the other side, meaning the democratic side, has been talking a great deal about the so-called pressure campaign to try to get members to change their position. it is no secret that the white house strategy is to put pressure on this chairman of the judiciary committee and other republicans in the hopes that we can be worn down and ultimately
agree to hold hearings on the nominee. this pressure campaign, which is targeted at me and a handful of my colleagues, is based on the supposition that i and they will crack and move forward on the consideration of president obama's pick. this strategy has failed to recognize that i am no strange to political pressure and to strong-arm tactics. not necessarily for mother democrat presidents -- not necessarily for more democrat presidents, probably for more republican presidents. when i make a decision based on sound principle, i'm not about to flip-flop because the left has organized what they call a pressure campaign. as many of my colleagues and especially my constituents know, i've done battle with
administrations of both parties. i've fought over irresponsible budgets, waste, fraud and policy disagreements. i've made tough decisions. i've stuck with those tough decisions regardless of what pressure was applied. the so-called pressure being applied to me now is nothing -- it's absolutely nothing -- compared to what i withstood from heavy-handed white house political operations in the past. and let me say, by the way, most of that has come from republican white houses. just give you a few examples. in 1981, as a new member of the senate and a brand-new member of the senate budget committee, i voted against the first president reagan's first budget
proposal because we were promised a balanced budget and it didn't balance. i recall very spreskly a budget committee markup april -- i recall very specifically a budget committee markup april 19, 1981, on president reagan's first budget. now, it happened to be i wasn't alone on this. i was one of three republicans to vote against that resolution because it did not put us on a path to a balanced budget. and you can imagine when a budget has to come out on a party-line vote, you can't lose three republicans. and three republicans that were elected in 1980 on a promise to balance the budget did not go along with it. and what a loss it was for this new president reagan that his budget might not get adopted by the budget committee.
we were under immense pressure to act on the president's budget regardless of the deficits that it would cause. but we stood on principle and didn't succumb to the pressure. but just as an example, right after that vote when it wasn't voted out of the budget committee, i was home on a spring recess like we just had here when all of this stuff on the supreme court comes up at our town meeting. i remember calls from the white house. i remember threats from the chamber of commerce while i was home on easter break and even interrupting my town meetings. four years later i led the charge to freeze spending and to end the reagan defense buildup as a way to get the federal budget under control. the year was 1984.
i teamed up with senator biden, a democrat, and senator kassebaum of kansas, a republican, to propose a freeze of the defense budget that would have cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the annual deficit. now, funny, at the time it was known as the kassebaum-grassley budget because it fit into what you recognize the soviet k.g.b. -- it came out k.g.b. defense freeze. but it should have been the g.k.b. freeze because it was my idea in the first place. and i think you can kind of sense, then, how the logic of was that it became k.g.b. freeze. but it doesn't matter. it was the principle that counted. we were going to make sure that across the board budgets were
responsible, whether defense or anything else. so for months i endured pressure from the reagan administration and from my republican colleagues that argued a freeze on defense spending would constitute unilateral disarmament. president reagan had put together a less aggressive deficit-reduction plan. we didn't think it went far enough. my bipartisan plan was attacked for being dangerous and causing draconian cuts to the defense budget. i knew it was realistic and a responsible approach. i didn't back down. we were forced to vote that year, may 2, 1984, in the budget committee, we forced a vote on the senate floor and that particular year we were not successful. this effort required the senate and the nation to have a debate
about a growing defense budget. we started that debate, including the waste and inefficiency in the pentagon and the growing fiscal -- federal fiscal deficits. despite the weeks-long pressure from conservatives in the reagan administration, i did not back down because i knew the policy was on my side. in this process, i stood up to pressure from president reagan, defense secretary caspar weinberger, secretary barry goldwater, senator john tower, chairman of the committee, and many others. i remember a meeting it he white house where i reminded the president that he had been talking through the campaign about the welfare queens fraudulently on the budget. it happens that i reminded him that there was defense queens as
well. i started doing oversight on the defense department. it wasn't long before the evidence of waste and fraud began appearing. we uncovered contractors that billed the defense department $435 for a claw hammer, $750 for toilet seats, $695 for ashtrays. we found a coffeepot that even cost $7,600. i had no problem finding democrats to join my effort -- oversight effort back then, but it's somehow kind of interesting how hard it is to find bipartisan help when doing oversight in the current democrat administration. nevertheless, 12 months later, on may the 2nd, 18the 1985, afta year to make the case that the defense department needed structural reforms and slower spending growth, i was successful.
my amendment to freeze the defense budget and allow for increases based on inflation was agreed to when a motion to table failed by a vote of 48-51. a majority of the republicans opposed me and a majority of the democrats were with me. that didn't matter because i knew that we were doing the right thing. i went against my own party, my own president to hold the pentagon accountable and i never backed off. i had a similar experience with president george w. bush, 1991. in january 1991, the senate debated a resolution to authorize the use of u.s. armed forces to remove saddam hussein hussein's forces from kuwait. i opposed it because i felt the economic and diplomatic sanctions i just voted for should have been given more time to work. i was not ready to give up on
sanctions in favor of war. in the end, i was one of just two republicans, along with senator hatfield of oregon, that opposed the resolution. i was under pressure from president bush, vice president quayle, white house chief of staff john sununu. i even was pressured by then-iowa's governor, terry branstad, no once again iowa's governor. i heard from a lot of iowans, particularly republicans, who were disappointed and even angry with my position. some were even considering a public rebuke because of my vo vote. being one of just two republicans, it was difficult to differ with a republican president on such major issue, but as i stated at the time, my decision was above any partisa
partisanship. it was a decision of conscience rather than a matter of republican versus democrat. after a tremendous amount of soul-searching, i did what i thought was right, regardless of the political pressure. now, the same is true today with regard to the supreme court vacancy. under president george w. bush, i faced another dilemma. the president and the republican congressional leadership determined after president george w. bush was elected president on a policy to get tax cuts done -- and i agreed with that policy -- but they wanted to provide a $1.6 trillion in tax relief in 2001. i was chairman of the senate finance committee. the problem is, we had a senate that was divided 50-50 at the time.
the parties' numbers were equal also not only in the senate but on the senate finance committee. i had two members on my side who were reluctant to support a huge tax cut because they had concerns about the deficit and the debt. and, as we saw a few years later, their concerns were not totally unwarranted. but at the time, the administration leadership would have nothing to do with anything except what the president wanted , $1.6 trillion of tax increase, but obviously the president, the white house wasn't thinking anything about what republicans might vote against it. and when you have a 50-50 senate, you can't lose a lot of republicans. after very difficult negotiations, i finally rounded up enough votes to support a $1.3 trillion in tax relief, so
what happened? there was a hailstorm of criticism following. there were republican house members who held press conferences denouncing the fact that i wasn't able to achieve the whole $1.6 trillion. now those house members were more professional in their criticism which we witness almost every day from the current minority leader about my role as chairman of the judiciary committee, but it was still a very contentious and difficult period that included both the budget and the reconciliation process. minority leader reid has already brought up the pressure that i came under in regard to obamacare back in 2009. of course, his version is his usual attempt to rewrite actual history.
at that time, i was the ranking member of the finance committee. i was involved in a very -- in very in-depth negotiations to try to come up with a health care solution. we started in november, 2008. we had negotiations between three republicans and three democrats on the finance committee. met hours and hours, almost time consuming totally. so we met in november, 2008, and mid september, 2009, and then they decided that they -- the other side decided they ought to go political and not worry about republicans. the minority leader in his very unusual, inaccurate statement of facts about ten days ago, about three days before the recess, he's trying to say that
republicans walked out of those negotiations on obamacare. the fact is we were given a deadline and told in that deadline that if we didn't agree with the latest draft of the bill, then the democrats would have to move on. and i would ask anybody in the senate that wants some reference on this talk to senator snowe, senator enzi. i was the other republican. talk to senator baucus. talk to senator conrad. and then the then-senator from new mexico. the president called six of us down to the white house early august of 2009, and the first question i got, would you, senator grassley, be willing to go along with two or three
republicans to have a bipartisan bill with obamacare at that point, and i said, mr. president, the answer is no because what do you think we have been working on for nine months? we have been working trying to get a broad bipartisan agreement. it's something like 70-75 votes that you're trying to get if you really want to change social policy and have it stick. we didn't abandon this until 2009, but my idea is that probably it was that meeting at the white house early august, 2009, where this president decided we don't want to mess around with those republicans any more, we have got 60 votes, we're going to move ahead. well, that happened then in that september. the fact is we were given that deadline and we were shoved out of the room, so when we didn't bow to this pressure and agree
to the democrat demands, that's -- it ended up being a partisan document, and that's why it still doesn't have majority support of the american people. i want the minority leader to know that's what happened, not what he described a couple of weeks ago. eventually, as we all know, the former majority leader, now minority leader, had his staff rewrite the bill that came out of the health committee and came out of the finance committee and the secret of the back rooms of his leadership office, and we ended up with a disaster that's called obamacare that we have today. the senate minority leader also recently proclaimed that rather than follow leader mcconnell mcconnell -- and these are senator reid's words -- republicans are sprinting in the opposite direction.
the minority leader also wishfully claimed that the republican facade was cracking on the issue. senator schumer fancifully stated -- quote -- "because of the pressure, republicans are beginning to change." end of quote. you can almost hear the ruby slippers on the other side clicking while they wish this narrative they describe about us on this side of the aisle were true. the fact is the pressure they have applied thus far has had no impact on this senator's principal position, and i would have to say the principal position of almost everybody on this side of the aisle, and on this side of the aisle, the people that disagree with us, i wouldn't say that they're
unprinted. i'd just say they're wrong. our side knows and our side believes that what we're doing is right, and when that's the case, it's not hard to withstand the outrage and the pressure they have manufactured and the the -- the headquarters for that is the white house. this pressure then as i have given you this whole thing about my career in the united states senate and the more opposition i have had from republican presidents putting pressure on me that i have been able to withstand, this pressure we're getting on this issue pales in some pair son to what i have endured and withstood mostly from republican presidents, but now, of course, i face it from the democrats. i yield the floor.
>> tomorrow night, former vice president dick cheney on the role of vice president and have presidential candidates select their running mates. here is a preview. i was reputed by some to have a powerful position. >> i think the president said, when you hear dick cheney's voice, you hear mine. about why itc. worked the way it did on my watch. i think of a lot of reasons, but none of them really relate to the constitution or the -- >> a personal dynamic? >> very much personal. congressy to work with , i had been a member of the , shortly 10 years
after i was elected vice president, i was visited by the speaker of the house and the chairman of ways and means. speaker of the house is a good friend. thomas of california was chairman of ways and means committee. they came to me and said, we know you are going to the the president of the senate. of you as a man of the house. we want you to also have an office in the house. the ways and means chairman at that point had two very nice offices, one facing the west front. you could look out the windows all the way to the lincoln memorial. huge office. eager table than the cabinet. one he had was a small
and normal office but right off the democratic workroom off the house floor. , that ie me my choice could have either one of those offices. because of my background in the house, and my relationships, i picked the office right off the democratic cloakroom, partly because i knew it aggravated my democratic colleagues. that is the only time that ever happened. for six years, we controlled the house. i had an office not only on the senate side, but also on the house side, and was able to work from that position to break some logjams on tax legislation and so forth. all based only personal relationships and my
background with the house and senate. >> you can watch the rest of the former vice president remarks at 8:00 p.m. eastern time tomorrow on c-span. landmark cases is next. we will be looking at the 1962 supreme court decision in baker versus carr. then, federal reserve chair janet yellen and three former fed chairs discussed the role of the fed and the state of the u.s. economy. and, president obama making the case for senate hearings on his supreme court nominee, judge merrick garland. >> c-span's "washington journal," live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. friday morning, the president of the alliance for american manufacturing will join us to discuss the state of the manufacturing sector and react
to the most recent trade numbers, which show the u.s. trade deficit rising in february. then, johns hopkins university health and security lab director bobby rubin will be on to talk about the recent hacking of health care systems resulting in nearly 3.5 million medical records being compromised. and, melissa younger, senior staff writer for the sun life foundation, talks about the organization's ongoing efforts to highlight what they describe as the outsized role funding please in the daily lives of our congressional representatives. be sure to watch "washington are journal." join the discussion. >> when i tune in on the weekends, usually it is authors sharing new releases. >> watching the nonfiction authors on book tv is the best television for serious readers.
>> they can delve into their subjects. >> book tv weekends. they bring you author after author after author. they spotlight the work of fascinating people. >> i love book tv and i mean c-span fan. all persons having business before the supreme court of the united states, give their attention. >> landmark cases, c-span's special history series produced in cooperation with the national constitution center, exploring the stories and dramas behind 12 historic supreme court decisions. >> number 759. >> we will hear arguments from number 18. >> quite often, many of the most famous decisions are ones that the court took that werete