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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 17, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EDT

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to c-span.org. the senate is about to gavel in at 10:00 eastern, at 11:00 members will vote on the confirmation of three more of president obama's nominees to serve on federal district court and whether to let fans nomination of peter joseph ka i kadzik to be assistant attorney general. @consider the federal spending bills including funding for the department of transportation, commerce, housing and agriculture. now to live coverage of the senate. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, because of your power, monarchs reign and rulers decree justice. radiate your light and peace on capitol hill today. help our senators
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to understand your will, and make the commitment to follow your leading. lord, give them the wisdom to live in harmony with one another, so that together they will strengthen america. may the weapons they face fail because of the shield of your divine favor that protects them. sustain them in their going out and coming in, in their rising up and lying down. instruct them in the night seasons, providing them with wisdom to illuminate the darkness of our world.
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we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. mr. reid: mr. president? the president pro tempore: the majority leader. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to calendar 428, the appropriation matters that we will work on. the president pro tempore: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 428, h.r. 4660, an act making appropriation for the departments of commerce and justice, science and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2015, and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president? he the president pro tempore: the majority leader. mr. reid: following my remarks and those of the republican leader, we'll be in a period of morning business until 11:00 this morning. at 11:00, we will have four roll
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call votes. we will confirm three district court judges and an assistant attorney general. the time until 11:00 will be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. mr. president, there are two bills at the desk due for second readings. the president pro tempore: the clerk will read the titles of the bills for the second time. the clerk: h.r. 4453, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to make permanent the reduced recognition period for built-in gains of s. corporations. h.r. 4457, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to permanently extend increased expensing limitations and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president, i would object to any further proceedings. the president pro tempore: objection is heard. the bills will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: mr. president, today we are going to begin work on three very important
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appropriation bills. the leaders of this bill, of course, will be the chairman of the overall committee, senator mikulski of maryland. working with her will be other committee chairs of the transportation subcommittee, senator patty murray who is extremely well versed on matters here on the floor and on agriculture, the senator from arkansas, senator pryor. we hope that we can move forward on this bill immediately. there is no reason that we can't. it's something we should be doing to fund our government. now, senator mikulski is going to be leading this, as i indicated, along with another member, the senior senator from alabama, senator shelby. these bills will provide our government with resources they need to serve the american people. so the manner in which we handle these very important issues will largely dictate how the appropriation bills are managed
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in the coming weeks and months. we need to keep our government operating, and so i look forward to a cooperative amendment process and participation from all senators. if we are successful in considering and passing these bills in a timely manner, we can much to other legislation such as the much-needed surface transportation bill. mr. president, would the chair announce the business of the day? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 11:00 a.m. with senators permitted to speak
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therein for up to ten minutes each. with the time equally divided and controlled by the two leaders or their designees. mr. reid: mr. president, the distinguished senior senator from iowa is here to speak on one of the nominations. i'm sure if the republican leader does come that he would yield to the republican leader. mr. grassley: i want to speak to the point of one of the nominees we're going to be voting on today. that nominee is peter kadzik. he's nominated to be department of justice office of legislative
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affairs. he would have the position of assistant attorney general. today i'd like to make a few concluding comments about this nominee's record as well as this administration's record more broadly speaking with respect to congressional oversight. it's hard for me to imagine a nominee that is less suited to head up the legislative affairs office than mr. kadzik. it's not a mystery how the nominee will run that office if he is confirmed, and we know that because he has been acting attorney -- assistant attorney general for that position for well over a year, and he's got a long and well-established history of contempt for congressional oversight authority. it's clear to me that when it comes to this nominee, past practice will be an accurate predictor of future performance. unfortunately, there is a lot of
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evidence that justifies my conclusion. i will start with the nominee's record for contempt for congressional oversight even before he joined the justice department. as a private attorney back in 2001, the house ordered the nominee to testify as part of the congress' investigation into the 11th hour pardon of billionaire tax fugitive mark rich. the nominee represented rich. not only did the nominee refuse to appear voluntarily, but he got on a plane to california the day before he was scheduled to testify before the house committee in order to get him to testify before the house, the house had to send the u.s. marshals to personally serve him with a subpoena in california. now, isn't that a cute way to
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act if congress is trying to get you to speak to them. and when he returned then to washington, he actually claimed that his lawyers had never bothered to mention the subpoena to him before he left on that plane trip to california. we know that claim isn't true because of handwritten notes that are now part of the record of this nominee's confirmation hearing. unfortunately, things haven't improved much since then. the nominee's record as acting assistant attorney general has been completely unacceptable. senators' letters and questions go unanswered for many months before the nominee provides most often a largely nonresponsive reply. so as i said last week, this administration is sending a message by nominating mr. kadzik
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to the legislative affairs office. that message is this -- you can expect more of the same. i want to ask my colleagues this -- how much more abuse of this body's prerogative by this white house are we willing to accept? how much more stonewalling of our legitimate reasonable requests for information are we prepared to tolerate as we try to carry out our constitutional responsibility of oversight? how many more times do you intend to look the other way as this administration flouts the law through illegal and unilateral executive action? because in recent weeks, the administration has raised the stakes. two weeks ago, the president approved the release of taliban five from guantanamo without so much as a phone call to the chair or vice chair of the senate select committee on
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intelligence. disposition of the detainees at guantanamo is one of the most important issues related to the war on terror and congress has a well-defined role under the law when it comes to releasing dangerous terrorists, but the administration doesn't care about the role that congress has assumed for itself under the constitution and under the laws we write. this administration has shown total contempt for its obligations under the law, a law that they took an oath to uphold. i guess the president's view is that it's better to ask forgiveness after the fact than it is to abide by his constitutional obligation to follow the law and take care that that law is faithfully executed. that's one reason why this nomination is so important. it's a perfect example of this administration's contempt for oversight and contempt for the
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law. this senator believes that congress is entitled to learn why the administration thinks it's free to ignore the law. that's why i ask the -- asked the attorney general to provide the legal rational for the president's unilateral executive actions that the office of legal counsel gave to the administration, that they could ignore the law that said that they had to notify congress 30 days ahead of time when they were going to release guantanamo prisoners. but back in may, the nominee refused to disclose the office of legal counsel materials. given the administration's flagrant disregard for the law governing the release of the taliban fighters, i think my request to the attorney general is all the more important right now. so i have reviewed my request -- no, i renewed my request that
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the administration provide us with whatever advice it received from the office of legal counsel before it decided to violate the national defense authorization act and go forward with the stealth release of the taliban prisoners. on june 5 then, i asked the attorney general to provide the justice department's legal rationale by june 19. that happens to be just two days from now. at the very least, senators should wait for a vote on this nomination until then so we can determine whether the justice department intends to comply with our request for the legal justification for why the president could ignore the law when these prisoners were released. that would be a modest first step the administration could
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take to demonstrate it's serious about respecting oversight authority and the constitutional responsibility of the congress to do that oversight and whether or not they respect the separation of powers under that constitution. so i will conclude here, my colleagues know this nominee embodies the administration's disregard for oversight authority and its dismissive approach to its legal obligations. that much is clear. but my colleagues also need to remember this. if they vote for this nominee, they are voting to diminish congressional authority. if they vote for this nominee, they are voting to give the president more of a free pass than he already assumes and specifically in this case on the unlawful release of taliban fighters. they are voting also to empower
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unlawful excution -- execution executive actions pie this and funeral administrations. they are voting to chip away at the networks of checks and balances that under girds the relationship between the executive and legislative branches, the very signal that the constitution writers sent to the colonies that they didn't want one person making decisions in our government. they wanted that to be divided authority. and you also need to remember that one day the shoe may be on the other foot. one day, there may be a republican administration that is just as cavalier about its legal obligations. and if that administration ignores our oversight requests, any senator who voted for this nominee will have no right to complain. so i urge senators to stand up for the senate's constitutional responsibilities of oversight and stand up to this administration and vote no. i yield the floor.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president,? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: the world is learning of the problem confronting our nation as the sweep across iraq. we hear the names of former battlefields in iraq and remember the gains in hard fought places like fallujah and ramadi. just as many americans hadn't heard of al qaeda in the asian peninsula before terrorists
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attempted to detonate an explosive over detroit in 2009, they are now learning of isil, a vicious, vicious terrorist organization that operates across portions of syria and iraq. like aqap,asil consists of an insurgency that threatens stability in the region where it trains and fights and presents a terrorist threat to the united states. the iraqi security forces that coward in the face of isil advances are now less capable than when the president withdrew the entirety of our force without successfully negotiating a capable remaining u.s. presence. such a force would have preserved the gains made on the ground by mentoring our partners and assisting with command and control and intelligence sharing.
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now we must grapple with how best to help iraq meet this threat. isil is a leetal, violent terrorist force and its activities in syria and iraq represent a grave threat to u.s. interests. the administration must act quickly to provide assistance to the maliki government and for every gain made by the u.s. and allied troops is lost. and before isil expands its sanctuary from which it can eventually threaten the united states. now, several years weeks ago the president spoke at west point and in that speech he vaguely described a new counterterrorism strategy that he said -- quote -- "matches this diffuse threat" -- end quote by expanding our reach without sending forces that stretch our military too thin or that stir up local recentments. he said that we need partners to fight terrorists alongside us.
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so the president must quickly provide us with a strategy and a plan that address the threat posed by the insurgency and the terrorist capabilities of isil and he must explain that new strategy. now, on a different matter, mr. president, when the i.r.s. targeting of conservative groups came to light after the last presidential election, just about everyone denounced the agency's nixonian tactics. members of the both parties called it outrageous and inexcusable and just about everyone agreed that no stone should be left unturned in figuring out how it happened in the first place. well, that was more than a year ago, and despite the president's assurances that he was just as mad as everybody else, his administration has been anything but cooperative in the time that's elapsed since then.
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instead of working with congress to get to the bottom of what happened the president's allies went in the opposite direction. they tried to slip a regulation by the american people that would are have effectively enshrined the i.r.s. speech suppression tactics, the kind of tactics at the center of the i.r.s. scandal, as a permanent agency practice. it was a brazen move on the administration's part. and administration of course officials only backed down after americans literally rose up and demanded that the i.r.s. get out of the speech suppression business for good. even some of our friends on the pro-first amendment left, a dwindling constituency in recent years, joined us in condemning it. but i doubt we've seep the last of the administration's anti-free speech efforts. we've seen a revival in recent weeks of a radical, truly rad corral proposal to change the first amendment. wit comes to the i.r.s. scandal it's obvious we haven't seen the
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last of the administration's stalling, either. the lathest claim by the i.r.s. is somehow, somehow it lost a full two years' worth of emails from the woman in charge of the i.r.s. department at the center of the scandal. they lost two years' worth of emails. but congress submitted a request for these emails over a year ago. and they're suddenly telling us now? the committees investigating the scandal kneads need those emails in order to figure out who knew what and when and to determine whether any coordination was going on between the i.r.s. and anyone outside the agency. so i'll be interested to see what the i.r.s. commissioner has to say about all this when he testifies next week. but please, let's just skip past the dog ate my homework excuses buried in a late friday news dump. the president promised to work hand in hand with congress on this matter so the
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administration needs to live up that promise immediately. and now on one final matter, in the obama administration's latest defensive in its war on coal, it has proposed new regulations that threaten kentucky's 20 existing coal-fired power plants while potentially putting thousands out of work. if enacted the massive new regulations would prove the single worst blow to kentucky's economy in modern times and a dagger to the heart of the commonwealth's middle class. despite what they are called the proposed rerestrictions amount to little more than a massive energy tax. and they will have a devastating effect on kentucky. the administration announced it would hold four public hearings on the new proposed regulations and given the dramatic effects they're sure to have on my home state you'd think they'd hold at least one, one, of those hearings in eastern kentucky or somewhere in kentucky at the
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very least. but then, of course, you'd be mistaken. once again, just like last year when the obama administration held hearings before proposing this national energy tax not one of the sessions is slated for a nonmetropolitan area dependent on coal. the nearest location to eastern kentucky is a 10-hour round trip away. since coal employs over 11,000 kentuckians and accounts for over 90% of kentucky's electricity i wrote a letter to gina mccarthy, the e.p.a. administrator formally requesting she convene a hearing in coal country. of course, i have yet to get a response. it doesn't appear that administrator mccarthy is too busy to talk to some people, however. imagine my surprise when i learned she found the time friday night to ahere on a hbo comedy show where she admitted that the obama administration is in fact waging a war on coal.
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the host asked her this question, some people called it a war on coal. and the host said i hope it is a war on coal. is it? after a moment of indirection, administrator mccarthy conceded that a war on coal is -- quote -- "exactly what it is." the e.p.a. administrator said a war on coal is -- quote -- "exactly what this is." of course this talk show was recorded and in front of a friendly anti-coal host and audience in a television studio in los angeles. it almost sounds like the site of one of her e.p.a.'s anti-coal hearings. so why does administrator mccarthy have the time to appear on hbo but not to appear on wymt in hazard so she can explain or war on coal to the people it's most directly
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affecting? why does she have the time to sit down with the tv comedian but not with the editors of the an plashian news express -- appalachian news express and explain how these rules will impact them? of course, for those of house watch this administration closely, this kind of admission is nothing new. a year ago an advisor to the white house acknowledged that a war on coal is exactly what's needed. last year because the obama administration refused to hold any of its listing sessions in coal country, i held one of my own. we heard a lot of rifting testimony from -- riveting testimony from coal miners and their families and broit their stories back to the administration where i testified on their behalf since the administrator wouldn't hear from them directly. i'm committed to making sure kentucky's voice is heard on this issue even if the obama administration doesn't want to listen. that's why i immediately responded to the
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administration's new regulations with my own legislation, the coal country protection act to push back against the president's extreme anti-coal scheme. supported by the kentucky coal association, my legislation would require that the following simple but important benchmarks be met before the rules take effect. here's what it would do. number one, the secretary of labor would have to certify that the new rules would not generate loss of employment. number two, the director of the nonpartisan congressional budget office would have to certify the rules would not result in any loss in american gross domestic product. number three, the administrator of the energy information center would have to certify it would not increase electricity rates. and number four, the chair of the federal energy regulatory commission and the president of the north american electric
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reliability corporation would have to certify that electricity delivery would remain reliable. that's it. my legislation is just plain common sense and i urge the majority leader to allow a vote on my legislation. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, this morning there was a scene on television i'd never seen before. in fact, the commentator said they'd never seen it either. i might preface this by saying i grew up in the midwest. tornadoes are part of our lives. swrarl how many times -- i can't recall how many times i was rousted out of eye bed as the sirens were going off and mom and dad were taking me to the basement. that's what we did growing up in the midwest. tornadoes were part of our lives.
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this morning showed what happened in nebraska yesterday to be a virtually unique concurrence. -- occurrence. twin tornadoes came ripping through the state of nebraska killing people and destroying lives and businesses and homes and farms. and there was a reflection on this about is the weather getting more extreme in this country, are we getting more and more extreme weather events, many of which are very destructive? i think the clear answer is yes, and don't trust a politician or even an environmentalist for that answer. go to the people who do this for a living. that's what i did. i held a hearing and called the leaders from the property and casualty industry, insurance companies. they do this for a living. and they said not only are we getting more extreme weather events, they're much more expensive than ever before. the destruction is much larger.
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and so many insurance companies, because these extreme weather events are starting to charge higher premiums and backing off of coverage saying we can't create a reserve for the possibility of an extreme weather event that would be so destructive. now, there can some people who hear what i have just said and say, well, god has his ways or her ways. and god may decide that whether there -- weather is going to be a lot tougher for you in this generation than other generations. i've heard that. i've heard that back home. but there are some people who believe, and i'm one of them, that this isn't just god's work, this has something to do with our work on this planet. i happen to believe that carbon pollution is a challenge for not just america but the world. to reduce carbon pollution which is changing the planet we live on. this warming climate, this warming planet, because of
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carbon pollution is creating situations which are troubling. norfolk, virginia, there was an article in the paper over the weekend. norfolk, virginia, not a liberal bastion, is now taking steps because of the rising ocean. it's up about a foot and a half from what they knew as the standard and they expected to grow even more, threatening buildings, commerce and homes all around that area. the impact of climate change and carbon pollution is evident in every direction of this world. i've said this on the floor four or five times. i will repeat it. there is only one major political party in the world today that denies climate change and denies these extreme weather events have anything to do with our activity on earth.
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the republican party of the united states of america are in denial. and so when you deny the premise that something is happening on this earth that we need to think about and worry about, it is easy to dismiss any and every effort to deal with it. the senator who spoke before me is from my neighboring state of kentucky. his coalfields abut my coalfields in southern illinois, so we have a common energy resource, but i will say in all honesty if we want to use the energy resource of coal in illinois, we have to change the way we use it to reduce pollution. i think we can do that. it will be better technology in the elect power plants and using something that's under way in our state, carbon capturing sequestration. imagine if you could take the carbon pollution that is headed for the atmosphere that causes the problem and never let it
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reach the atmosphere, that's what we're going to do. we're going to dig deep into the earth over a mile down under three levels of shale rock and store compressed co2 so it doesn't go in the atmosphere. carbon-capturing sequestration. that's not a war on coal. that's a war on our energy problems and a responsible approach dealing with coal. i think that's the honest answer to my friends in southern illinois and those who value the coal industry and what it means to our economy. we have got to be thoughtful, reflective and innovative in making sure that we use the energy resources we have responsibly and leave this earth in a situation where our children and grandchildren will say our generation did not ignore the obvious. twin tornadoes in nebraska are
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an indicator to me that time's not on our side. we have to step up, both parties have to step up and find solutions that are responsible. mr. president, in a separate place in the record, i would ask to insert the following remarks. i rise in story of staci yandle, nominated to serve as federal district court judge in the southern district of illinois. she is going to replace a fine federal judge, phillip gilbert, who took senior status in march. the vacancy is designated as a judicial emergency, and so i'm glad that we're moving to it today. staci yandle has the experience, integrity and the judgment to be an excellent federal judge. born in centreville, illinois, incidentally the hometown of my wife, she currently lives in carlisle, illinois, down state. received her undergraduate from the university of illinois, her law degree from vanderbilt. during the course of her career, staci yandle has gained extensive experience in the
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courtroom. she has her own practice which she has operated now for seven years. she has worked for several outstanding law firms in southern illinois and handled a wide range of litigation matters, including employment, education, medical injury, civil rights and nursing home abuses. she also worked as an arbitrator for the 20th judicial circuit court in illinois. she currently serves on the board of the illinois bar foundation. she has taught as an adjunct law professor at st. louis university law school. she has a distinguished record of pro bono service in southern illinois, representing indigent clients and nonprofit corporations, including the delta economic development corporation which operates a child care center in saint claire county. miss yandle's nomination is historic in several respects. never before in the course of the history of our state has there been an article three federal judge who is openly a member of the lgbt community. upon confirmation, staci yandle will be the first. upon confirmation, she will also be the first african-american
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federal judge ever to serve in the southern district of illinois. she will be only the second woman to serve as she is joining nancy rosenstengel who was approved by the senate a few weeks ago. in short, staci yandle's confirmation marks an important milestone in america's journey toward equal opportunity. she was recommended to me by a bipartisan screening committee which i established to look at all the judicial candidates and i was pleased to recommend her to president obama and he forwarded her nomination for consideration by the senate judiciary committee where it passed with a strong vote. i hope there will be an equally strong vote today in support of her nomination. in conclusion, miss yandle is an excellent nominee and i hope my colleagues will join me in voting to confirm her. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington.
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mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i wanted to just take a few thins this morning to -- minutes this morning to talk about an important vote that we'll be taking to confirm the next united states district judge for the eastern district of washington state. it's not every day that i get to support a nominee who also happens to be a former intern in my senate office, but it's also not every day that a man who is the son of a migrant farm worker and himself worked on farms in yakima valley is called on by the president of the united states to become the very first latino federal judge in the eastern district of washington. so, mr. president, i am incredibly proud today to stand here in support of judge salvador mendoza, jr., whose confirmation we will vote on shortly. mr. president, throughout his life story, judge mendoza represents the very best of my home state's honest, hardworking spirit. through his work ethic, his commitment to his community and his belief in equal opportunity,
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judge mendoza is a leader and a role model for families throughout our state, particularly young men and women born into poverty and difficult circumstances. in fact, in his application to serve as federal judge, he discussed his own up bringing, and i'd like to quote from here. judge mendoza wrote -- "i worked and studied hard to better myself and my family. i understood then what i believe now, that both the quality of the educational system, coupled with a strong system of justice, will lift up the entire community." unquote. mr. president, those are the words of a man who belongs in our judicial system and should come as no surprise that throughout his professional life, judge mendoza has stayed true to those words. from serving as a trustee for columbia basin college to helping coordinate the annual tricities youth and justice conference to helping create the first drug court for benton and franklin counties.
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judge mendoza has given his time and experience investing in institutions that lift up communities throughout our state. he is currently a superior court judge, but his judicial career spans private practice, service as an assistant attorney general and years of experience in superior district municipal and juvenile court. he is an experienced practitioners in federal court and served from 2010-2013 as a lawyer representative to the ninth circuit judicial conference, and through his many years of legal practice and judicial experience, judge mendoza will come to the federal bench well prepared. mr. president, judge mendoza has described his judicial philosophy as guided by the principles of patience, respect and humility, the same principles that have guided his life and legal career and principles that will serve him well as a member of the federal judiciary. so let me close by thanking judge mendoza for his willingness to serve washington
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state as a federal judge. you know, i have always believed that as a country, we are at our best when good people are willing to give of themselves in service to others. it is that kind of service to others that is de-- that has defined judge mendoza throughout his career and will continue to define him as he assumes the duties of this new office. so, mr. president, i'm proud to support his nomination to be united states district judge, and i urge our colleagues today to support his nomination as well. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. carldwell: mr. president -- ms. caldwell: i rise to speak on the floor. the presiding officer: the senator descrekd. ms. cantwell: i applaud the senate judiciary committee for favorably reporting mr. mendoza's bipartisan nomination out of the committee with a 17-1 vote, so a great deal of support. we are happy today because we filled one vacancy for the eastern district bench earlier in april, and now it's time for the senate to move forward in filling the last of the two vacancies by voting to confirm judge mendoza. mr. president, judge mendoza is a well-qualified, dedicated judge whose passion and perspective will serve the eastern district of washington very well. he has had experience serving as a supreme court judge, he served as a prosecutor, he has been in
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private practice and he has been a community leader in the central part of our state. there is no question that salvador mendoza is ready for the challenge of being a federal judge, but i also want to speak today in terms of the historic nature of this vote. salvador mendoza will become the first-ever hispanic federal judge in eastern washington. that is a major step forward and one that is long overdue. one in every nine residents of washington state is spanning and yet we have not had a hispanic federal judge in the eastern part of our state. judge mendoza is the right man for the job and is ready to make history. judge mendoza personifies the american dream. eastern washington is home to a very large and growing hispanic population. many settled in eastern washington for the very same reasons that judge mendoza's family did. he grew up in a family of migrant workers who moved from california to washington's yakima valley when he was just a small child. he went on from working
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alongside his parents in the fields to earning a bachelor's degree from the university of washington and a law degree from the university of california out in los angeles. coming from very modest beginnings, judge mendoza has built a stellar legal resume. mendoza served as a deputy prosecuting attorney and spent a year as assistant attorney general. he has worked in private practice in a partner firm and he went on to serve as judge pro tem for benton county juvenile court and franklin county district court. since 2013, he has served as washington state's superior court judge for benton and franklin counties. a few years ago, i had the honor of speaking with judge mendoza at a roundtable of latino community leaders in the tricities. i came away very impressed with his intellect, his ability, keen understanding of our challenges in central and eastern washington and of our legal system. he talked about the importance of an effective drawing court to
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tackle the challenges facing central washington, and judge mendoza has showed his commitment to making his community a better place to live. he helped found the juvenile drug court program for benton and franklin counties and provides the opportunities for -- which provides the opportunities for treatment for juvenile drug offenders. he is the main organizer of the tricities youth and justice forum, an organization that encourages students from underrepresented communities to seek careers within the legal system. he also serves on many other boards, including the board of trustees for columbia basin college. so judge mendoza i think has earned this important position. i hope my colleagues will support him. i know my colleague, senator murray, just spoke. our governor jay inslee and many other attorneys and judges across the state of washington enthusiastically support judge mendoza's nomination. so i urge my colleagues to confirm him today.
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i thank the president and i yield the floor, and i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the assistant majority leader.
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mr. durbin: i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations which the clerk will report. the clerk: nominations -- salvador mendoza, jr., of washington to be united states district judge for the eastern district. staci michelle yandle of illinois to be united states district judge for the southern district. darrin p. gayles of florida to be united states district judge for the southern district. the presiding officer: there are now two minutes of debate prior to a vote on the mendoza nomination. all time is yielded back. without objection. the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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the presiding officer: on this vote, the ayes are 92, the nays are 4. the nomination of salvador mendoza jr. of washington to be united states district judge is confirmed. there are now two minutes of debate prior to a vote on the yandle nomination. without objection, time is yielded back. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote: vote:
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the presiding officer: on this vote the ayes are 52, the nays are 44. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, there are two minutes of debate equally divided prior to the vote on the gayles nomination. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: just to share with the senate that -- this judge has come through the process that senator rubio and i have in florida, where we have a
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judicial nominating commission specifically to try to take the politics out of the selection of judges. he's been through many, many different iterations. and so i encourage the senate to support him. thank you. the presiding officer: if there is no further debate, the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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