tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN April 25, 2018 10:16pm-12:01am EDT
this is the second time i've had a chance to chair the committee and i will return to the chairmanship i am fortunate that senator klobuchar is my ranking member. she and i worked on a lot of things together and look forward to continuing to do that and some of the things we'll be right before the committee that we are able to be the chair and ranking member of. i'm pleased to welcome the senator to the committee. you following the footstep follf the law been on this committee. senator lott, senator cochran and of course your colleague senator wicker on the committee. a long history of service of mississippi senators and we are glad to have you join that. this afternoon we need to markup the senate resolutions 355 of the resolution for improving procedures for the consideration of nominations in the senate. senator langford introduced this legislation in december of 2017.
i think that he has talked to virtually every member of the senate, democrat and republican about it and his work here we appreciate. the committee held a hearing on december 19, 2017. the text was taken from a resolution that passed 78-16 and 115 congress. the senator proposed a simple resolution if adopted would allow the senate to vote on nominees and a streamlined manner once a majority of the senate decided senators would still be allowed to speak on all but the most senior executive and judicial nominees for eight hours and most senior nominees they would still be allowed to have debate for up to 30 hours. a district of the db2 judges as
thejudges as they didin 2013 ann eight-hour debate. i support the resolution and look forward to the vote to send to the floor for the senate's consideration. the resolution addressed to name issues all senators should care about. first we should agree the president should be able to appoint officials to carry out their agenda. excessive and unproductive delays in that process for the will of the voters and frankly make it harder for the newly elected president particularly to take control of the government. our citizens are all well served when we have agencies with leaders and second order of the senate should be used for more than nominations. in the current congress, 20% of nominations were cloture filed
eventually passed with votes that were 90 or more and a few voice votes so the plaintiff would be in the nominations where we have the delay and theoretical debate still have huge votes for confirmation. today's discussion and debate is important for the future of the senate and we both want this committee to be a committee that leads us to having a senate that functions better in everyev way both the administrative parts and the rule parts. i'm pleased to welcome you for comments. >> thank you and welcome back chair of the committee. i also congratulate senator shelby on his position of the senator of appropriations and welcome to senator highsmith.
as you've noted over the years we have had success working together on the commerce committee and issues ranging from tourism to transportation to adoption and we've proven working together can be good not just for minnesota and missouri and the people that come from states with an a within them lie mississippi but all states. just last week we found something we could agree on and that was a baby, thank you senator mcconnell and there is an example where senator blunt we worked together to make a simple change to accommodate a new mother and also i know this is senator langford's proposal alin the final i don't agree wih the specific proposal at this moment in time, we worked together on getting the funding for the election security for the states and the last budget over $380 million but again thank you to the majority leader
and senator schumer for their support on that as well. when i first came to the senate, one of our major pushes was for ethics reform. we had some violations that have occurred in the congress and we got that build on in 2010 and i strongly supported the practice of ending the creek holds and last year with both leaders working with us, senator shelby and i worked with members of the committee including senator cortez on legislation and sexual harassment training in the senate. however, for this proposal before us today, i feel that this is not the right moment to make this permanent change. the senate as th is the world's greatest deliberative body designed for the careful consideration and debate of proposed walls and nomination on the ones in the history of the cloture process as the senate voted to permanently change the
time we have to debate an issue. that was back in 1986 when we went from 100 hours of post-cloture debate time to the currenunder thecurrent rule of e resolution we are considering today asks us to make a second permanent change. as the senator noted, following years of failing to get nominees confirmed, the senate did vote 78 to cover 16 and a senator blunt noted to temporarily change the rules on the post-cloture debate but it's important to understand that in 2013 the circumstances were different than they are today. first there were important procedural protections in place at that time. nominations required are 60 vote threshold. the blue slip process for the nominations was respected and a thorough process to select qualified nominees from the administration wasas in place. second, it was a time of
historic gridlock over the nominations compared to today just 22 judicial nominees would convert during presidentnt obams last two years in office and if you've been in congress since harry truman was president. in stark contrast to 2013, last year was actually a record-breaking year for advancing judicial nominees and we highlight the fact that come equipped with senate republicans are closing in on the record for the most circuit court appointments for the first year in office and in the first year president trump confirmed 19 judges compared to just 13 for president obama and the same time to go. if the judges confirmed, told for circuit court the most confirmed in the first year of any presidency since the federal appellate courts were established. as a member of the judiciary committee, i seem t i've seen ts and pace at which the nominees are being advanced. the judiciary committee reported
44 nominees to the floor last year but in president obama's first year in office we reported just 23 nominees. my third and last point is we are not using the 30 hours of post-cloture debate time of the nominations inn which the senate invoked cloture in the 115 congress, only to nominations use 20 or more hours post-cloture and 74 nominations used eight or fewer post-cloture. to address the issue in 2013 a bipartisan supermajority of the senate supported a temporary change to the rules. this is not what is before the committee today. during the congress it's been critical that the senate have time to think and consider potential nominees. for example matthew peterson a nominee to a district court judge was unable to answer basic questions posed by a louisiana
republican senator and he was one of the more than 25 nominees that was withdrawn by this administration. the american people deserve qualified judges. i've worked with our judges in minnesota and have supported the judges after discussions with the administration has put forth. this can work but it has not worked in all cases and that's why we believe the vetting issues and also because of the time that we need to look at certain judges and administration nominees that haven't been adequately considered we think this is a bad time to change the rule. thank you mr. chairman. >> this is a committee of senior members certainly and they don't want to prohibit members from saying anything they would like to say and i would ask senator durbin and senator alexander if
they'd like to make a few comments. the majority leader is here. if you would like to start with your comments. >> mr. chairman, i will yield to a senator alexander who's in the middle of the discussion and 2013 leading up to standing order at the time we were trying to discourage the leader from using the nuclear option which had been threatened on a number of occasions and so in order to take the steam out of that issue it was an overwhelming vote to go to the standing order which is essentially the langford proposal puts before us today. obviously it didn't work well because six months later in his desire to stack the circuit, the majority leader recommended to his party that the nuclear
option be used at the threshold lower for every appointment except for the supreme court so that puts that episode in context. what we are talking about now that strikes me is wasting the senate's time. we've all got a long list i will spare all of you of the appointments that we had to file a cloturcloture on and use the e time. and then when we finally got to devote there was little or no opposition. ..
without mr. chairman i would like to yield to senator alexander. >> senator alexander and then senator durbin. >> they are having to look up like this when they talk. thank you mr. chairman and senator mcconnell. i was trying to think of what i could say today that would be constructive in a time of some partisan stalemate and i brought a picture with me of the senate doing nothing, which is what what we are we do doing right now nominating -- con and a week later we float in
the next monday we confirm him with one senator speaking. or district state in charge of cloture on wednesday, a week later cutoff confirming the next day and no senator speaks. the problem with that is people look at c-span and say they are doing nothing and they are as bad as we thought. that's one problem but letin me see if i can say this. i would like to see if there's any way could resurrect the bipartisan spirit that existed in 2011, 12 and 13 when a group of former white house counsels democrat and republican came to me and said could we do something about tradition of innocent untilco nominated? it difficulty of nominating and confirming presidential appointees. we had president obama democrats and it democrat and not majority io would like to try that i
worked with a bipartisan group of senators, senator durbin senator schumer senator mccain senator lynn and senator barrasso in each of those two years we took some steps to try to improve the put presidential nominating process. we did some pretty important things. we eliminated 163na positions. we took 272 more and said it's their privilege to move them through more rapidly. we eliminated a secret hole in that took 17 years with senator grassley to be nominated on noncontroversial positions and for two years for some cabinet members eight hours of post-cloture debate. senator reed really wanted us to do that and senator mcconnell didn't really want to do it but we did it anyway because we thought it was good for the senate and the institution.
so we did that. here we arere today and back thn i i remember senator schumer sang hoon america doesn't think a president democrat or republican deserves his or her sapick for anybody who should rn the agency. everybody believes that so everyone knows where we are right now. democrats agree for a variety of reasons so their tactic is to slow down the senate by taking a long time to consider the president's nominees. i just left an appropriations subcommittee hearing i think the department of justice has 14 of its nominees have been reported out of committee but haven't been able to comee to the floor. so where does this lead us? i'm afraid i know. what happens is if one party uses the rules the other party takes notes and they do the same thing. the democrats brought circuit
judges for the first timers in 2003 so he did it in 2011. democrats used to the nuclear option in 2013 so we did it in 2017. nown democrats are making it virtually impossible for president trump to fulfill his administration and what do you think will happen when we have a democraticmi president? it doesn't take many republican senators to take? notes to remember that. i think i know what happens. what happens is one party or the other will say we can't put up with this. we are going to change the rules but 51 votes to make this happen and we are going to move into an institution where the majority can do anything itt wants to whenever it m wants to and what senator lynn warned us was only will make that we become a senate without rules. i've had a number of democratic members tell me one vote they wish they had never cast in the senate is the vote on the nuclear option not just because
of what it did but because the republicans to do. so i would like to turn this around and go back in another direction. the right approach is let's take a relatively reasonable proposal that we adopted once before and as a rules change in the right way and avoid piling on nuclear option after nuclear option after nuclear option which is a prelude to the destruction of united states senate as a consensusbuilding institution of this country. it's kind of like the lead-up to world war i which i believe everybody agrees was an accidental war could have been stopped. nobody stop it. just kept going in that direction. i would appeal with my democratic colleagues to look at proposal. think of some version of it that you could vote for that would stop this prelude destruction of
the senate of the consensusbuilding institution. if there ever was a time that her countryry needed a consensusbuilding institution it's right now. but we don't have is an ability to work across party lines. all of a sudden done it and talked about in private and we pray about it, to morning at her prayer meetings that when we get into the publicc it's harder to do. my hope would be we can go back then resurrect some of that spirit of 2011, 12 and 13 and find some way to end this prelude towards the destruction of the senate as a consensusbuilding institution. i like the link for proposal because that is what we did before and i don't know why we don't do it again. >> thank you senator alexander. senator durbin. >> most of the charm buried history that moment when abraham lincoln contacted general mccullough and said if you are not going to use your army can i
use it to wage civil war? i thought about that because they were assisted just in our caucus that weou consider leasig out the senate chamber for what events wedding receptions and the like since we are not using it very much and there's a lot of free time on the floor as senator alexander has noted with the photograph he brought. i would say lamar alexander is correct. we can reach a standoff in a hurry on this question of fillingn vacancies. i will trump you with how many judicial nominees got through the last two years with barack obama and you will come back to us with agreements about the current matter and i will bring up merit ireland. at the end of the day we are to stand still in the situation. i've been here for a few years and some of you have two and it's hard toso explain to newer members of the senate with the senatee used to be like where we actually used the floor of the senate forde debate. it was a regular occurrence and it was exciting.
there were top votes there, don't get me wrong. he really was with the senate was about. truly was delivered up and there going on.ebate i long for that. i tried to explain to younger members what it was like and they cannot believe they could come to the floor and offer an amendment and get a vote the same day. it's beyond belief that something like that would happen it's considered normal right now and else completely beyond their reach or it appears to be prevatte one glimmer of hope. i don't support senator langford's approach as senator klobuchar is outlined here. when you look at the nominations considered post-cloture is a solution in search of a problem when it comes to eight hours but there's a problem in the senate and all of my faith in this fellow from alabama this new
chair richard shelby. he and diane pat leahy leahy and i believe senator mcconnell had then on these conversations with senator schumer. we really want to restore the appropriations process. think about a it 12 appropriations bill's coming to the fore subject to r debate. it will be like the senate of old and i say to senator alexander that's a confidenceco building. we have to get back to the role where we executed on the floor where members are engaged in floor debate. i think that will build up more camaraderie and trust and we need to restore trust in the institution i'm counting on you senatore shelby and i'm going o try to help you. >> i would say that senator shelby heston of time on the floor to do that but if you have any comments. >> i'm here to support you mr. chairman. i wish we didn't have to go down this road. i think the graphics you handed
out here say a lot. cloture votes on executive judicial nominees under president carter zero. under president reagan, zero. under president george h.w. bush, zero. under president clinton, eight. under president george w. bush bush -- under president obama, 12. under president trump thuss far the second year, 86. it means we have got to change the way we do business. i wish we didn't have to do this but it's important that we change. >> thank you chairman. any other comments? i would just say on the time to vet it takes 85 days now to get
on average to get these individuals to the floor and i don't recall any vetting happening on the floor that made ade difference but also the othr thing that i would like say is that this is not designed in any way to limit debate. it's designed to free up four times a week he get to the appropriations bills and other things. the debate is occurring anyway. i just checked the last couple of votes that were clearly controversial. a circuit judget and administrator for nasa. the nominees were more controversial than the nominees for the that got 80, 90 and 98 votes after a long period of debate where there is no debate going on. we did confirm our 15 circuit judge last week 50-47. there were 42 minutes of debate from the minority in the 30
hours but would still be available under the langford rule. there had still be a number of people who would have 30 hours but it's not like we are using 30 for debate. whatever hours we use are not available for anything else. but most people on this committee would like to get to would be a nomination reported comes tommittee that the floor. whatever debate is necessary to have at that time i've been told people are worn out but then you would have to vote. last week we had the nasa administrator and the time for the vote was quite a bit longer than the time taken for debate but we set aside 30 hours for debate. that debate was 17 minutes by the minority. 17 minutes insist on the full-time intake this full 17 minutes. if we could try to revive that concept where he could have
other at the same time for their things this committee can do but for the issue d for us today is this. there are amendments filed. >> following senator durbin's footsteps and the one-on-one on facts. april 12 obama presidency and trump presidency, obama had sent to the senate 734, donald trump 589. that had been ando issue of less nominees coming to us but i do want to put on the record something from senator schumer which is at special report if i could put that on the record. >> without objection. take on the suggestions of some of the members that there's a way to make this bipartisan have a collective future somehow
i'd like to work with you on that. >> thank you mr. chairman. senator kaine. i want to continue to work on this issue. i am not i in support of the motion as it currently stands but one thought that i perhaps will put forward on the floor and we can have a discussion is as this rule change goes to the floor is at the vote achieves 60 votes or more than the time limits would collapse to the langford proposal. in other words it would alleviate the situation where you have a cloture vote and everybody is for the person. they are going to pass 98-2. that's a suggestion that i have prepared in language but it's one that we should talk about as this matter proceeds. another proposal that you and i have discussed and i'm one of those new people, not younger but new.
why can't we do other things while we are waiting for eight hours or the 30 hours to lapse? it's not eating used for debate on the nominee. in other words can we walk and chew gum at w the same time? and to consider other matters during that period and those who have been there longer than i have perhaps know why that's not the case that is a newcomer that some ring that has always puzzled me. >> it used to happen with great frequency but it requires unanimous consent so it hasn't been allowed for a long time. for several years that was the way the senate did function. senator kaine you have amendment on the first issue which you don't intend to offer today. i have if there are no further comment i have to amendments to offer blunt amendment 1 in blunt
amendment to. i ask unanimousus consent that these amendments be considered en bloc so they would require onehe vote. without objection. the amendments i proposed to ensure this resolution is adopted is consistent with the current precedent and removes any future issues or interpretations should nuke precedent they set regarding how you invoke cloture. all the members know a simple majority which was set by president is currently required to begin debate on nominations should a new president be established by the langford resolution weather was more or less if this change is made. so a call for the vote. this would just clarify we would be using the new president at any future time if this
amendment is approved. >> this would keep itbu at 51. i don't know if you want to add anything on that or few major point already. thank you. >> i think we could probably do this with the voice vote if that's acceptable. all those in favor say yea. all those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. are there for are there amendments? yes, sir. >> i think we'll know this and i don't know if the public knows this but this deals with post-cloture after cloture is invoked. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> thank you. and it does deal with the intervening day which is another topic. >> mr. chairman i appreciate the tone of senator durbin's comments in the comments of the others of senator mcconnell.
let me make a suggestion though. i sit just did this at a republican lunch today that we have a discussion among ourselves about what the amendment process actually is. appropriations bills come to the floor in so many senators don't, haven't seen it before. that is really, that has really been the problem. we can change all the rules in the books but if alexander it objects to thehe durbin amendmet and durbin objects to the alexander amendment the whole thing stops. we are going to have to consensus within each of our caucuses. senator shelby andnd senator ley are going to be successful with senator mcconnell moves to bring a bill to the floor there is not an objection. you have to file cloture on it and that will delay things and senator durbin moves an amendment that some of us don't
like we need to vote on it. we need to agree and table it or vote on it. i think that really requires some understanding of each caucus. i'm not sure most senators know exactly how that works. >> would the senator yield? giving two recent examples went to the floor and immigration were debate. weop called up the banking bill open for debate and what senator alexander's talking about is this would prevent other members from getting a vote. there's no way to fix that i don't think from a procedural point of view. it's a behavioralie issue. i remember jake using one-time if you don't one vote don't come to the senate or something. there is nothing wrong with voting and we will be going to these appropriations bills. we have a very constructive meeting in my office yesterday with senator shelby and senator
leahy and the minority leader and express an interest in getting on appropriations bill without a motion to proceed and having an open amendment. as senator alexander just pointed out anybody can prevent anybody else from getting an amendment vote. we need to quit that. that's not a rule. thank you mr. chairman. >> mr. leader just say you know that was representative ported at out of the ranking member's mainstay in a very positive way from lead -- leader schumer and senator durbin has explained wind to go forward with the super operations process. i'ma. in agreement that was a gd idea. >> senator shelby. >> i really believe this when the appropriations process breaks down the senate breaks down. it reflects on both of us,
republicans and democrats because the senate is not workingus. if we work the appropriations process we are going to work the senate. senator durbin. >> i would just add let's take an appropriation bill and put and training wheels on it headed to the floor and see how this works. we have to educate ourselves and senator mcconnell you are rightt. anybody can stop the train so i hope we can find a way to get back to that. >> if somebody comes up and it could be one of ours or yours a bill that comes out of the committee and we are willing to say unanimously and they say i am going to ask for a motion to proceed. not to cut that off. that's what they used to do. i have been there and you have too. when the committee worked we work together.
>> i am violating an in rule by speaking this many times but would you and senator klobuchar as chairman and ranking member i would hope that this committee, would take it upon itself to focus on the health of the senate as an institution and lead us in the discussions. i overheard justice thomas talking last summer. someone asked him how he and ruth bader ginsburg got along so well and he said he could as we try to remember that the institution is more important and any of our duties. i think this committee could help senators remember that this institution is more important and any ofis our opinions are partisan differences. it would be welcome i believe by almost all of us. >> well said. >> thank you. senator clover -- klobuchar and
i are in agreement that that's one of things we'd like to accomplishing and we are willino to spend their time and effort to do that. i think more and more the leaders of the democratic whip and the majority leader hearing that numbers want to vote to give the chance to vote and one memberr complaining an object ding shouldn't be able to decide that the rest of us don't get to participate in the process but three members who don't want an amendment they are worried on voting on i think senator durbin's view that if you don't want to vote you should become to the senate is the correct view. if there is no further debate the question is on reporting favorably on senate resolution 355 asy amended. all those in favor will vote aye unopposed vote no when we will have a roll call. the clerk will call the roll.
>> the ayes are 10 andye the nas are nine. the resolution 355 as amended reported favorably. i ask unanimous consent in preparing a measure for reporting theny staff is authorized to make any required technical and conforming changes like i told the leaders today we want to vote and now we'd like to get the nomination process working better so wepr can get e other things we are supposed to do to have the time to do those. like i said i'm pleased to be able to chair this committee and i'm pleased to serve on the appropriation committee with their new chairman senatorti shelby. and senator klobuchar and i are going to do our best to bring
the senate is considering the nomination of current cia director mike pompeo to be the next secretary of state for. the senate will hold a vote on the nomination thursday at noon eastern. next senators debate the of the chamber. >> madam president i. rise in support of the nomination of mike pompeo our current cia director to be the next secretary of state and i must say i have watched with interest they perceiving the day before yesterday in the foreign relations committee. and i appreciate the fact that accommodations were made so mike pompeo's nomination could be presented to the full senate
with a positive vote. i am disappointed that so many of my democratic colleagues have stated that they will oppose this nomination and i keyed the admonition of one of the members of the democratic party on the confirmation vote for the committee when this member asked that senators not question the motives of anyone who takes the position one way or the other with regards to the nomination of mr. pompeo. so i will heed that admonition madam president and not question the motivation. the vote is either yes or no of this nomination. i would simply observe this. mike pompeo is a highly qualified nominee, a
distinguished former member of the house of representatives. he served with accomplishment and great dignity and ability as director of the cia. he graduated first in his class in the united states military academy at west point and went on to serve to graduate with distinction at the harvard law school and served as editor-in-chief of "the harvard law review." this is a manin of great intellt and ability and great accomplishment so without impugning the motives of anyone who would vote no i think they observe they will be voting a highly accomplished and qualified nominee. when the shoe w was on the other foot during the obama administration i along with
members with an almost unanimous majority of members of my caucus in favor of the confirmation of hillary benton to be secretary of state i voted yes along with virtually unanimous vote on both sides of the aisle for the nomination of our colleague john kerry to be the successor to hillary clinton as secretary of state. i would simply note to my doubtingdo friends who are standing on the other side of thele aisle that the overwhelmig public opinion from the news media has come down on the side of mr. pompeo. the wall street journal headline today says we need to secretary
of state a mic pompeo should be confirmed. the "chicago tribune" in an editorial states why the senate should confirm mike pompeo. the "washington post" on the editorial page confirm mike pompeo. president trump need to secretary of state and i would add madam president that this country needs a secretary of state. because of internationalti diplomacy we need ads secretaryf state or because of human rights around the world we need a secretary of state. "usa today" said to confirm mike pompeo a secretary of state. i will not question the motives of any of my colleagues. i will only say that things are
surely different around the united states senate nowadays than they were previously. when we rose up almost unanimously and confirmed john kerry and hillary clinton and stood with the proposition that a president of the united states is entitled to his or her team and that person is in strong support but i want to say that at a moment when our country needs to send a strong message of resolve to our allies to the entire internationalin community -- we send a strong signal of unity that the vote we make today later this week in confirming mike pompeo might have been a signal of partisanship and division and i regret that.
i think this unfortunate narrow vote will come and go and perhaps not even a standard that we operate under in future times. i would only say for those colleagues who are still looking for an answer and still wrestling with how they should vote i would commend to them the example of previous days and sending a strong signal around the globe that this president is supported in his efforts and international diplomacy and that he is entitled to the team that he has t chosen. with that madam president i urge my colleagues to vote yes and i
appreciate the distinguished minority leader for indulging me and allowing me to go forward. i yield the floor. >> madam president the senate is considering the nomination of mike pompeo to be the next secretary of state. i must admit that even after his confirmation the directorship of the cia i remained concerned about mr. pompeo when he was in the congress. i talked to him directly. i told him not deeply disappointed i was and how he handled the benghazi hearings and how partisan they were. told him some of his comments about minority groups muslims in particular were way over the top overet the course of his tenuret langley had met m with them several times after that first meeting where i had given him my views on some of the things that
disagreed with him that he did. i'd have to say those meetings were good meetings. he was very candid with me and obviously very smart. he is obviously well-informed about foreign policy far more informed than secretary tillerson was when he came before the committee for his nomination hearing. and what particularly gave me some good feeling was that mr. mr. pompeo was strong on russian sanctions even showing separation from the president as we met. so i began to think that mr. pompeo was better than my first impression which is guided particular by his performance which was a very poor performance in the benghazi hearings. when he was nominated for secretary off state that's a whole different ballgame. anyone nominated for such a
critical position, security position deserves the most careful and scrutiny. with that in mind i met with mr. pompeo privately were interviewed him on foreign policy. frankly w he was far more hawkih than i or for our diplomats be preferring to my views were probably on this issue a little closer to the p president who remembered as i do that iraq we spend over a trillion dollars andsn lost close to 5000 of our bravest men and women and iraq doesn't seem much better off today than it was then. so my view was it was too quick to recommend strong military action when diplomacy might do. but at the same time i believe the president should get to pick his team.
president trump wanted a more hawkish secretary of state which is concerning to me but it is his decision and mr. pompeo answered my questions with the same candor and forthrightness. i thought it would wait for this hearing because speaking in public and speaking privately to a member of the senate before making the decision mr. pompeo's hearing became very disappointing. first the president has shown he often directs foreign policy by impulse or radically and consistently. the fact that we were contending with several hotspots in the world north korea iran syria yemen venezuela and russia means we need summer at the state department who not only prices diplomacy but is willing to check the president's worst instincts. unfortunately mr. pompeo's
testimony and of course public testimony is the real test it did little to convince me that he would be a strong influence on often erratic president. he didn't convince me that what he would be the kind of secretary that most of us believe secretary mattis is who is able successfully to check the present when the president might go off base. even more disappointing was mr. pompeo's tepid responses to questions that commitments to bedrock principles like rule of law. as important and difficult as there foreign policy decisionse, are the nation is taking a great test. the president rule of law in america when it comes to the investigation of whether there was collusion in this administration his campaign and russia. an investigation to look into this and to look into russian
interference in our election and whether there was participation of members of his campaign or administration is vital to the bedrock of america. if the president says i can undo this investigation one way or another is our day trying to in terminated but fortunately mr. mueller or mr. rosenstein are intimidated. a key position like secretary ot state should able to speak out on this kind of issue. america is recognized throughout the world as the country that most of the price is the rule of law. the retiree doesn't speak out strongly above it -- about if it's not only bad for country but it's not good for his job.
unfortunately i was deeply disappointed. mr. pompeo responded when put the question is whether he would stand up to the president would he resign or otherwise protest and the president's actions that would undermine the rule of law and his answer was weak. he did not say he would resign if the president fired mueller or rosenstein. toet me a cabinet officer should do that. he did not even unequivocally state that he would publicly urged the president not to fire mr. mueller so that's was not good enough. but i thought i owed mr. pompeo a direct d discussion because he is a talented man and the president does deserve the benefit of theso doubt. i called them into my office for
one final meeting. i asked him pointedly whether he'd able to say publicly that the president should fire special counsel mueller before we voted. i asked him what he would do if the president fired the special counsel mr. rosenstein. his answers were extremely insufficient. i also asked him if he'd be willing to recant or undo some of what he said about muslims in indian americans in lgbtq americans and women's rights now that he was in line to be our had to deal with countries that might be affected by his remarks. again he demurred. when he left that evening i emerged with a clear conscience that a vote against mr. pompeo's nomination was the right thing to do. i still believe the president deserves his team and
disagreements on policy alone are not a t sufficient reason to reject the nomination but i gave mr. pompeo the benefit of the doubt with three chances to answer the questions that i thought were extremely important and assuage my broader concerns about his nomination. he did not answer those questions in any way that was satisfying. so with a clear conscience i will be voting against his nomination. let me be clear. this is not about politics. this is not about denying the president and his team just for the sake of it. it's about the role of congress and frankly the cabinet to provide a check on the senate. i'm sorry. it's a roll about congress but also the cabinet to provide a check on the president who might go off the rails and undo the
respect for rule of law the tradition of rule of law that we have had in this country for so long. it is my view that the next secretary of state in this moment of history with a president who seems a radack and with little regard oftentimes for niche in history of president whose constitutional order. that secretary must he willing to the country first and stand up for our most sacred fundamental foundational values and the rule of law through the idea that no person not even the president is above the rule of law. unfortunately mr. pompeo in these difficult and troubled times times didn't meet that task as much as they wish he did i don't doubt that the president could nominate someone with the right experience, the right values and the right commitment
to our core national principles to earn my vote is secretary of state but i do not believe mr. pompeo has those qualities. so i will be voting no on his nomination. i yield the floor. >> madam president i rise today to express my opposition to mike pompeo as the nation's top diplomat. as i said earlier in this committee and generally disappointed to be casting a vote against secretary of state nominee. they believe the united states needs an effective leader on the global stage but at the end of the day as i consider tractor pompeo's nomination including his past statements and recent revelations i have concern along three of rod themes. mr. pompeo failed to express any tangible diplomatic strategies for which you would advocate to advanced america's interest. failed to be forthright and
finallyy i don't have a satisfactory answer to the question which mike pompeo emma asked to cast a vote on. unfortunately during his nomination process where we adjust all of these concerns directly pompeo offered contradictory statements and was less than forthcoming on ahe number of issues. given the opportunity outline strategies he would advocate with the administration to deal with the challenges of russia iran north korea china and venezuela to mention a few. failed to exhibit the depth of knowledge about what those strategies would be. under the constraints of this administration which has failed to offer strategic vision for american diplomacy a white house which has failed to effectively outlined policies to achieve a series of ever-changing goals and g objectives but i expect hr
chief diplomat to have a vision for diplomacy. the meeting is not a -- a strategy in airstrikes areon noa strategy. unilaterally walking away from an international agreement is not a strategy. beyond the strategy i fear mr. pompeo was less than transparent through his confirmation process through truthfulness and the willingness to be forthcoming to the senate foreign relations committee are essential as the secretary off state nominee but such refusal to answer questions about the russian investigation in which he wasie interviewed a critical issue and to disclose information about the trip to north korea which he could have disclosed even a classified setting. both critical issues before the committee he exhibited he was --
to the kind assigned nature of the ca department. i don't expect him to publicly disagree the present andut inded it's his or her duty to carry out the president's agenda but his policies are being formulated i'm feeling skeptical whether he will beme forthcoming with members of congress. and what that means for our foreign policy. that lack oftn foresight and his leaves me wondering what he would be willing to put out against the president's worst instincts whether he'd be willing to say no on a different course or whether he would simply be a yes man. when the president blames russia's aggressive behaviors and democrats will director pompeii remind him that russia's aggressive behaviors caused by russia and no one else? as our nation's top diplomat
what he said in his confirmation hearing values diversity and demand every employee be treated quote equally with dignity and respect. does he believe in his hearing equipment promoting america's ideals values and priorities including our corrective identity of the nation of immigrants and refugees fleeing oppression who have made the unitedl states their best hopen the world or representative by congressman pompeo who voted against the violence against women's act and gender-based violence and sponsored legislation to roll back marriage equality at the congressman pompeo and 2016 sponsored by his legislation to immediately responsible until revised reforms were measured.
this legislative history paid to troubling picture of how the united states and our diplomatic efforts will be conducted by our allies and adversaries alike. will he speak to roll back women's access to health care programs that have significantly improved the lives not only of women all over the world but prosperity and governance reforms heard me talk about universal human rights in countries who seek to oppress people based on their orientation what would are nation's top diplomats say? as we work with our allies who are absorbing millions of refugees from devastating crises all over the world and his families in my own state of new jersey and got the country open theiray hearts what will be
say to our own refugee program once the crown jewel of our foreign policy and establishing moral leadership and its supporting our partners. on our own border we simply cannot address the threat of opioids without productive collaboration. when the president wants to call mexicans drug traffickers in rapist as a top diplomat his record is exquisite with respect to treating people from each and every state with the dignity that they deserve or would it be the pompeo who once called the indian-american political opponent a turbine topper. how would he explain this kind of rhetoric to people at
marriott different states within millions of orc christians in the horn of africa or cyber leaders in afghanistan with whom we are trying to build relationships based on democracy and human rights. what impact will the accusations that leaders in the united states are somehow complicit and devastating terrorist attacks have as he engages around the world. nearly 2 billion people in the world adhere to the muslim faith many in countries with whom we have relationships critical to protecting and promoting our national security and citizens who have suffered the most terrorism. similarly the exceptionalism of the united states comes from the power of our diaspora communities that serve as the public diplomats to the rest of the world.
someone who has made such derogatory remarks conduct diplomacy. as i've saidat by four i believe the secretary of state to be forthright someone with whom the american people and their allies can put their trust someone who will unequivocally champion our values to assist our global leadership.om art global leadership comes from our investment in diplomacy and development our primary policy drivers are brought to enforce and i don't believe director pompeii was someone who always prioritizes diplomacy particularly in the context ave gress of foreign policy enforcement growing around us in a particular concerned about his past comments on regime change in north korea and iran. our national interests and security is a little different than that. while he said in his confirmation hearing that war is
quote last resort he's calling for military action and regime change in iran for example we are sure to follow him as we work with our allies to build on agreements to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon. his remarks about regime change in north korea will be ever-present as we pursue negotiations to roll back north korea's nuclear weapons program. madam president with all these concerns of mine ultimately i simply do not leave director pompeii was someone who can generally represent all americans and thus promote american foreign-policy interests. it is for these reasons among be votingt i will against director pompeo. but let me be very clear despite what some of my other colleagues may believe or tell the press this is not a vote in the name of political resistance to the president. i havef voted for amendments frm
the secretary of defense to the former secretary of homeland security now the president chief of staff to our ambassador to united nations to mention some. i will never hesitate to agree with a sound policy or criticize a misguided one regardless of which party is in the white house. i think i have certainly proven that objective to be true. i will put our national security interest of reporters chip always. whether that be a nato summit or meeting with north korea know but he forced the president to fire his former secretary of state at the time and elect kim jong-un's unilaterally to hating the terms of our relations we should wait until we have the appropriate people and the
dutiful preparation to achieve the success that we and the world need. in closing as we consider this nominee and the nominee that is subject to -- let me be clear. the white house wants to claim democrats are not obstructing nominees through this body. the facts are simply not on their side. of 17272 positions in the state department andid usaid criticalo advancing u.s. interests the administration has failed to even nominate 77 of those positions including 45 ambassadorial positions in critical countries including south korea, saudi arabia and georgia to mention a few. i could go on and on. all republicans control the votes on the senate floor propublica leadership can bring
up any nominee once they pass the committee at any time. that is their prerogative. the founders recognized democracy needs coal equal branches of government to operate in a system of checks and balances. the president has elected the nominee whoever he wants to the congress has the responsibility to ensure that person is best suited for the job. .. prioritize diplomacy instead of war and promote fundamental values. if and when he is confirmed as someone who has served on both the house and senate committees tasked with overseeing foreign tasked with overseeing foreign >> there overseeing form policy and administration. i'm more than willing to work alongside with the nominee if he is confirmed to provide input as they seek to advance america
interest on the american stage. in my capacity i will work alongside with comprehensive and coherent strategies that promote american interests. despite my misgivings always have an open door. we stand ready and willing to take on any in the interest of peace, security and all of americans. that has always been my northstar and it will always be. >> mr. president, following the remarks i asked consent center
from ohio be allowed to make remarks from 3 - 5 minutes. i stand here to urge her swift competence confirmation of my good friend and former colleague, current director of the cia, mike pompei to serve as the next secretary of state. mike's resume would put him at the top of any pile. no spending time in public services resume shines. that's talk about his record of results. just returned from a trip from china. as with four u.s. senators. we visited china, south korea we went to the dmz. i'm at the premier of china. the same we can met with the premier of china, kim jong-un met with president she in beijing. we spent time with the president of south korea and other leaders. the feedback was clear. perhaps this is the story were not hearing.
administrations resolve and diplomacy is what has brought kim jong-un to the negotiating table. the administration is moving forward to the denuclearize north korea. pompeo has played a critical role in those efforts. the secretary of state who defend american interests abroad protecting national security and making the world safer place. he has been the best at everything he's put his mind to. he was first in his class at west point. a graduate of the harvard law school. he served our country in the military. his run businesses before serving in congress.
mike has the resume, the character, and the record and results to make him an exceptionally qualified leader for this job. as we weighed in limbo without a secretary of state lives are on the line. national security is on the line, our freedom is on the line. i urge my colleagues to stop putting politics before america's national interest. his body passed hillary through secretary of state with 94 votes. i urge them to make the best decision for country their constituents back home and join me in confirming mike pompeo as the next secretary of state. >> thank you. glad to be here today to be on
the senate floor and to urge my colleagues to confirm mike pompeo as the next secretary of state. we are built on history and tradition. particularly when it comes to confirmation. confirming the president's cabinet judges think it's one of the greatest honors we enjoy. recent secretaries of state have enjoyed strong bipartisan support during their confirmation process. hillary clinton was confirmed by vote of 94 - 2. john kerry was confirmed by 94 .
these are overwhelming bipartisan posts. because everybody agreed with everything secretary clinton undersecretary carey would have done. the results of the senate's long tradition of confirming qualified nominees and to give the president this very crucial position, secretary of state. to give the president his voice to around the world. when it comes to the confirmation of mike pompeo, many colleagues have seen to ready to brush aside this long-held tradition. the reason is obvious. it's flat-out partisanship. partisanship is the only explanation. it's really could not be, is not and will not be the nominee's
qualifications. we've all heard of his resume. his list of accomplishments making more than qualified to serve as the nation's top diplomat. some of his qualifications are worth repeating. he was first in his class at west point. the calvary officer in the army and served honorably. a graduate of harvard and editor of the harvard law review and the harvard journal of law and public policy. after law school he worked for top law form before he cofounded a company and served as ceo. that was before he was elected to serve for terms in the united states house of representatives. i was very fortunate to serve in
work alongside him and call him my colic. during congress he served on a committee on intelligence. it's a select committee by the speaker in the minority leader. it's important because it deals with nations intelligence. after he left that position to become president trumps director of the cia. by all reports is done an exceptional job. he revitalized the morale put us on even footing. i think it's an impressive list of qualifications. especially compared to some previous secretaries of state.
i ask what does it take for a military officer, lawyer, ceo, congressman, and the cia director to get one democrat vote out of committee? why is there such pushback on a qualified nominee? i believe because it's a partisan campaign to obstruct. this obstruction does not help her government function. it doesn't help the crew folks of the state department to their job. it doesn't help her country lead on the global stage and it does not help the people we serve. it's important time in the history particularly around the world. i just heard the french president talk about the needs of europe and his viewing
terrorism in america's place is a world leader. we need to strive qualified secretary of state. a leader to negotiate these are coming up rapidly. we know mike pompeo has already developed a relationship. we need him to counter the russian aggression we see popping up over the globe. we need a strong leader to address the chemical weapons situation in syria. mike pompeo is up for the job. we should give it to him. we should give it to him by confirmation. the american people want washington to work and to work together as a team.
how can that happen if the president cannot have the opportunity to put his own team in place. i will vote for mike pompeo to be the next secretary of state. i want our state department to be functioning as fully and vibrantly and it's gross of lance we can around the world. with that, area urge my colleagues to put partisanship aside and confirm mike pompeo as our next secretary of state. >> i rise to join you and others on the floor hoping that we have moved this week to support the confirmation mike pompeo was nominated to be secretary of state. we had this morning in the joint session importance of our
country those who tear their defense of freedom and security to stand up for that. there are threats all over the globe. everybody realized that mike pompeo would have the knowledge she needs to do the job. he has the experience and he has the support of the president you be representing. historically until recently years this body dealt with form policy as if we're sure bipartisanship starts at the waters edge. partisanship and that the waters edge. that was evidenced in the secretary of state's job confirming people to important positions related to national security. john kerry was voted on by --
hillary clinton was voted on 94 - 2. condoleezza rice : paul was confirmed unanimously. as the tradition the country has set for this job. my colleague said who in america does not think of president, democrat or republican deserves his or her pics for the agency. that's the answer to his own question. apparently it's no longer the answer. senator kerry later said in 2009
it's essential we provide the tools and resources we need to change. it starts by making sure we have the national security team in place is soonest possible. there were not confirmed because republicans agreed with everyone other policy positions. because everyone agreed with everyone of their votes. they were qualified to do the job in the president who nominated them deserve to have place. the same standard should be delivered to pompeo. he is qualified for the job and graduated first in his class at west point 1986.
he served as -- before the berlin wall. after he edited the log review and he's a man of great accomplishment before hand or politics. he also into successful businesses before he was elected to the house of representatives in 2010. he served from 2010 until 2017. it is duties range from the iran nuclear accord to the patriot act. he understands the issues and is of significant capacity and most importantly he was picked by the
president who after this time working together with director of pompeo the president should know exactly what he's getting. frankly, we should too. president trump decided to not only nominate director pompeo but when he was confirmed 66 - 32 is the vote 14 senate democrats there may also be here voted of the cia. i would say he's more qualified today to be director of the cia.
he has taken the responsibilities seriously, his brief the president over and over again. the president knows what he's getting and director pompeo should know exactly who he's working for. given the challenges he faces here and around the globe it's important we swiftly confirm that just mike pompeo but the president's nominees. many of these positions remain vacant because our colleagues across the aisle wasted hours and days obstructing the confirmation process. it's way beyond any normal way. were in the middle of a 30 hour debate. i don't see that many people
debating. at least time reserved and i think the debate was 20 minutes out of 20 hours of the time the nominee could have been voted on i would have gotten the same number of votes almost 20 hours later after 28 hours of debate. president trump's nominees have faced 80 closure votes. that's the timer and now. where you have this theoretical debate that doesn't occur. we face 28 cloture votes compared to 24 and the first entire two years of the six previous presidents combined. so on average of four cloture votes for those presidents their first two years.
president trump has 88 in less than a year and half. something is happening differently than ever before. it takes an average of 85 days for president's nominees to be confirmed. twenty days longer than president obama's nominees. the other differences we didn't stop all the work in the senate during the 60 days were were having hearings getting the nomination ready to the floor. to say that were going to take advantage of every right the minority has to insist on debate. the only thing missing is the debate. at the rate were going it would take more than nine years to confirm all of the president's
nominees. nine years of his four-year term. it would be longer than the president have if he didn't nominate anybody else or was elected to two terms. it's ridiculous. it denies the president the council he needs. it also denies the senate the floor time it needs to deal with issues. if you watch the senate the last couple of years and particularly the last several months the quorum call that we often have the nice suggest we remove ourselves on is what you see because were waiting for a vote to happen. the debate does not occur.
later today the rules committee will consider senator lankford's legislation to address these ties. all his resolution does is make from annette the same rules senate democrats agreed to in 13 when they were in the majority. majority of republicans and democrats all agree we would confirm president obama's nominees with debate that more narrowly met the likely debate for that office. it would reduce debate from 30 hours down to eight and from district judges from 30 hours down to two hours. we don't have to use those. if there's no debate we should always move to the vote. at least the debate has time in the minority has structured
protection that it traditionally has. but when you abuse them in the senate that's when those protections tend to go away. the resolution would have 30 hours a debate for district and cabinet level nominees. were not opposed to debating nominees that get debated. the opposition is were opposed to not debating and using time as a delay tactic where the result would be the same whether you voted in 30 minutes or 30 hours. the same framework they voted to pass in 2013. fifty-two democrats voted in favor of this resolution in 2013
including the current minority leader. this would make the framework permanent allowed to expedite the process for the presidents well-qualified nominees. it would allow the senate to get to the other work the american people expect the senate to do. today and tomorrow we continue this process of waiting for the votes on the nominee to be secretary of state. prior to recent times it would've been right after the report was out. >> i come to the floor to speak on the pending nomination of mike pompeo to be secretary of state. i had a pose that nomination
committee and i will oppose on the floor. i said publicly that this is not an open and shut case for me. i probably voted for more of the president's nominees that come before the senate the many of my democratic colleagues. i believe in a substantial amount of deference and who he chooses to serve him and his administration. there's been a number of applicants for cabinet posts i supported even though had misgivings about the policies they're going to be articulati articulating. i also believe director pompeo when he talks about the morale crisis in his sincere desire to
address that. there is a morale crisis after secretary tillerson waged an assault on diplomats trying to push out as many as he could for over a year. making it harder for people to live in difficult places around the world. continuing a hiring freeze there's a lot of people in this country and abroad who need to be told their work is valuable. i think there are checkmarks that would argue for mike pompeo's confirmation. i will vote no. i think there's more checkmarks on the other side of the ledger. want to talk about qualifications.
our choices as the senate when it comes to those pick for cabinet should be about policy differences. sometimes though be so serious that members of the opposing party may have to cast a noble. by and large we should be evaluating candidates on their qualifications. and at least if there within reason. i want to talk about my belief that director pompeo is not qualified to be our next secretary of state. i want to talk about that through the prism of three
qualifications that i arguably secretary of state has to meet. one is that if they're going to advise the president on matters of war and peace to question some military operations overseas they has to believe in his heart, and her heart in the constitution the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branch. second they have to believe in the value of diplomacy. here in the national security cabinet in order to represent difficult pathways around the world. they need to truly believe that diplomacy can be a viable path out. and you need to secretary of state was free of prejudice or
substantial association. sir nation's chief diplomat who will be representing the united states all over the world to build bridges between our countries and those with different cultures and different faiths and different ways of viewing the world. on these three tests i don't believe director pompeo measures up. first, the belief in the separation of powers. if we aren't standing up for article one powers no one else will. the founding fathers were clear that when it came to military engagement is the congress and only the congress that has the ability to declare war.
admittedly or is so much fuzzier concept today than it was when armies were marching against each other and tidy peace treaties. so i understand declarations of were harder today when enemies never go away. but i ask a series of questions of director pompeo at the hearing wish to leave me with confidence that he understood there still must be some places in which only the congress can declare hostility. i don't believe the president has the ability to take action against the syrian regime without the confirmation of congress. there's members of his own cabinet that believe the same thing. secretary mattis counseled him to come to congress for us. so i queried about it and i
asked if there is any attack launched against the united states and he said no. i asked if there is a threat of imminent attack and he said no. i then asked what was the authorization that allow the president to take action. his art his answer was article to authority. it's a blanket answer for anyone who doesn't have an answer. i will cement the obama administration occasionally relied on this as well. i tried to give him a way out. i said can you identify one limiting factor on this broad claim of article to authority. he could not.