tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN April 26, 2018 9:29am-11:30am EDT
the rest of us die. watch the coverage of the annapolis book festival on c-span's book tv. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your satellite or cable provider. . >> the u.s. senate gavelling in, which is expected to be the last legislative day until may 7th. this'll finish up work on the nomination of mike pompeo to be secretary of state. votes at noon and take up the nomination of richard grinle to
be the u.s. ambassador for germany. nomination of ronny jackson, physician, withdrawing his nomination today and we may hear speeches of that on the floor. live coverage of the senate now on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, who made the light to shine in the darkness, shine
now in our hearts. forgive us for our transgressions in thoughts, words, and deeds, as you cleanse us from all sin. we thank you for your many blessings, for music and laughter and poetry and color. lord, strengthen our senators. provide them with help in times of need, power for moments of weakness, and hope for the years to come. lift our lawmakers above suspicion and fears, so that they will be your ambassadors of peace to our nation and world.
we pray in your mighty name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our 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. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: this week we confirmed yet another well-qualified nominee to the federal bench, now kyle
duncan of louisiana, to get to work serving on the fifth circuit court of appeals. his qualifications are truly impressive but his sterling reputation among colleagues and peers was an even greater testament to mr. duncan's fitness. i'm glad the fifth circuit will benefit from his expertise. speaking of well-qualified nominees the president will vote today on the president's choice for secretary of state. we'll consider an outstanding nominee. fortunately we have the votes. and later today we'll confirm
mike pompeo as our nation's 70th secretary of state. we've been discussing director pompeo's abundant qualifications all week. in a little over the year the senate has had two opportunities to assess his considerable qualifications. last january a bipartisan supermajority of us saw fit to confirm him as c.i.a. director, and his performance in that role, exemplary by all accounts, has given us even more compelling cause to confirm him as our chief diplomat. he's earned the trust and the confidence of the commander in chief by providing top-notch counsel on critical issues and helping lead ongoing efforts to lay the groundwork for negotiations aimed at denuclearizing the korean peninsula. along the way he deepened his reputation for fairness and discernment. i'm glad president trump has nominated this distinguished leader to be america's chief
diplomat, and i'm glad a bipartisan majority of senators will vote to confirm him today. it's just too bad that director pompeo's confirmation process offered such a prime example of the historic partisan obstruction that my colleagues across the aisle are visiting on the senate. all fair observers agree that mike is up to the job. here's how "the washington postn of republican thinking -- titled their editorial. simply confirm mike pompeo. but despite all this, democrats on the foreign relations committee almost took the unprecedented step of voting him out with an unfavorable recommendation. that attempt to play politics with our nation's security fortunately failed. but even so, according to the senate historian, he became just the second secretary of state nominee in recent memory to clear committee by a margin of
only one vote. the only other time that's happened in all the senate's history was also at the hands of senate democrats during the trump administration. and once they got here on the floor they were also the only two secretary of state nominees in history who needed cloture to receive confirmation votes. let me say that again. from the founding of the republic until 2017; the senate's never required cloture to confirm a secretary of state. now we're at two, both in this administration. i guess senate democrats are in a history-making mood. because over the past 15 months they've embarked on a partisan campaign to block, obstruct and delay president trump's nominees that is quite simply, without precedent in american history. let's put things in perspective. in the first two years of the last six presidencies combined, the first two years of the last
six presidencies combined the president subjected nominees to a total of 24 cloture votes. during the last six presidencies during the first two years, 24 cloture votes. add up president carter's first two years, president reagan's first two years, and so on through presidents bush, clinton, bush and obama, 24 total cloture votes on nominees. and for president trump, 88 and counting. just 15 months into his term. by the end of the day it will be 90. 90 cloture votes on nominees. this is partisan obstruction elevated to an art form. and every one of us has seen it firsthand. it's not just the high-profile nominations. scores of unobjectionable, unobjectionable choices for all kinds of posts have languished
on the senate calendar. it took months and months and several deadly accidents to persuade senate democrats to stop obstructing a fully qualified nominee to head the federal railroad administration. or take the example of district court judges. with only one exception we've had to file cloture on every single district court nominee. it doesn't matter if every democrat on the judiciary committee supported the nominee. it doesn't matter if every democrat in the whole senate supports the nominee. no matter what, our colleagues across the aisle are insisting on obstruction for no apparent reason. here's some of the final vote totals for these district judges. 96-1. 98-0. 97-3. 95-0. 96-0. 98-0 once again.
100-0. back in january it took more than a week of the senate's time to confirm four district court judges, and not one senator voted no on any of them. a whole week to do four district judges, and not one senator voted no on any of them. mr. president, our problem is not the qualified personnel before us. our problem is that nearly half the senate has decided that resisting for the sake of resistance is more politically advantageous than doing right by this institution or by our constituents. this regretfully is where we are. democrats chewing up hours of senate time on nominees that literally no senator opposes. i understand my friends on the other side have a number of disagreements with the president. that tends to happen in politics. but that's no excuse at all for
this historic obstruction of noncontroversial nominees. bad for the senate. it's unfair to the american people. that's why i support senator lankford's efforts to enact the very same rules change that a large bipartisan majority agreed to back in 2013 when the democrats were in the majority here in the senate. it would empower the senate to process nominations more quickly while preserving ample opportunity for debate. it is precisely the rules change that my friend, the democratic leader, supported back in 2013. i joined in that bipartisan effort along with a number of my fellow republicans. it passed 78-16. 78-16. the white house may have changed hands, but the last time i checked, fair is still fair, and common sense is still common sense. so senator lankford is giving my
democratic colleagues their very own chance to show that principled convictions matter more than political convenience. i'm proud to back his proposal. i'm glad to see the rules committee advance it to the floor yesterday. there's no reason why every senator shouldn't be able to join us. otherwise, until our democratic colleagues put aside their historic obstruction, republicans will continue to do our duty and process the president's nominations one way or the other. let me repeat that, mr. president. we're going to process these nominations one way or the other. after mike pompeo, i filed cloture on richard grenell's nomination to serve as ambassador to germany. we'll vote on his confirmation later this afternoon. so why don't we turn over a new leaf together and start rebuilding the comity and customs that ought to define our work here. just yesterday the rules committee held a very productive meeting that took a step, a step
in that direction. colleagues from both sides of the aisle took a serious look at what we can do as a body to more efficiently fulfill our responsibilities in the appropriations process. and that follows on a productive meeting i had with the democratic leader, the appropriations chairman, and the ranking member a few days ago. so i'm hopeful about the prospects of moving forward together. we need to keep this momentum going and extend it not just to appropriations, but to nominations. this congress has already made great progress implementing a pro-growth, proopportunity agenda for the middle class, including historic tax relief for families and small businesses. but there's a lot more to do. that's how the senate should be spending our time, exchanging ideas and fighting for the american people.
mr. president, but the words of the senator from vermont, senator leahy, when he chaired the judiciary committee in 2014. judicial vacancies today are 60% higher than when he expressed those concerns back then. vacancies are 52% higher than what he said was a, quote, disaster for our nation's overburdened courts. unquote. the administrative office of the u.s. courts labeled some judicial vacancies as judicial emergencies because of their duration and impact on caseloads. on march 12, 2012, the senator from illinois, senator durbin, said that 35 judicial emergency vacancies would cause the administration of justice to suffer at every level. mr. president, today there are 72 judicial emergency vacancies, more than twice as many as
senator durbin warned about. to be fair, i have to say that the left-wing groups that are such faithful allies of senator -- of senate democrats are no better. in july, 2012, for example, the alliance for justice proclaimed that 76 vacancies demonstrated, quote, an overall and ongoing vacancy crisis in the federal courts, unquote. today,ening -- today, vacancying s are 88% higher and all we hear from the alliance center are calls to oppose and obstruct even more. judicial vacancies today are 74% higher than when the brennan center for justice said that the senate was not meeting its obligation to the american people. mr. president, if high judicial vacancies harm the judicial system and prevent americans from seeking justice, why aren't
democrats and their left-wing allies leading the effort to confirm judicial nominees today? if democrats once said that 79 vacancies constitutes a crisis, why are they silent about 143 vacancies today? today we face the highest judicial vacancy total since june of 1991 after congress had created dozens of new judgeships. it is crystal clear why this dire situation confronts us today. the procedure for appointing federal judges, after all, has only three steps -- nomination by the president, consideration by the senate judiciary committee, and a decision by the full senate. now, the first step in the judicial appointment process is presentation nomination. president trump has made more judicial nominations than his
predecessors of both parties at this point. so he is not the problem. as you can see from that chart. the second step is consideration by the judiciary committee. chairman chuck grassley has held a hearing on 75 of those nominations, more than under previous presidents. so the judiciary committee is not the problem. that leaves step three right here on the senate floor. even though president trump is the head of the nomination -- is ahead of the nomination pace and the judiciary committee is ahead of the hearing pace, the senate's confirmation pace is half what it was at this point for the past five presidents. on march 20, i spoke here about some of the below the radar obstruction tactics that democrats are using to make this
part of the process as time consuming and cumbersome as possible. let me offer a brief review. democrats once complained about u.s. district court nominees being reported from the judiciary committee on a party-line vote. that is happening at a rate more than four times as great today. democrats once criticized the failure to cooperate in scheduling floor votes for judicial nominees. so far, so far, democrats have forced the senate to take separate votes to end debate called a cloture vote on 96%. 96% of president trump's judicial nominees. the senate has been forced to take 16 times as many cloture votes on president trump's
judicial nominees as under the last 12 presidents combined at this point. you heard me right. the senate has been forced to take 16 times as many cloture votes on judicial nominees as under the last 12 presidents combined at this point. that's every president since the cloture rule was first applied to nominations in 1949. in 2014, with a democratic president, democrats said that every time the minority refuses to cooperate in scheduling confirmation votes, every time the majority leader is forced to initiate the cloture process, the senate is forced to take up scarce floor time when we know that their -- that these nominees will be confirmed. today democrats are using that and other tactics on a scale this body has never seen before.
democrats once objected to voting against confirming u.s. district court nominees who were supported by their own two senators. at this point, president obama's confirmed district court nominees had received a total of zero negative votes, zero. president trump's district court nominees have received 73 negative votes, 73. think about that. think about the unfairness of it. each of these and more besides is a tactic that democrats once condemned but are today pushing to record levels of obstruction, or should i say to record levels of obstruction. even more important than seeing where we are and how we got here
is understanding why democrats and their left-wing allies are working so hard to prevent president trump from appointing judges. mr. president, i have served in this body and on the judiciary committee for nearly 42 years. i have participated in the confirmation of half of all article 3 judges who have ever served in this country from the beginning. in all that time, the conflict over judicial appointments has never been over judicial nominees. it has always been over judicial power. the vacancy crisis we face today is a consequence of the broader ongoing conflict over the kind of judge america needs on the bench. america's founders gave us a system of government that includes a judiciary with a role defined by three important principles. first, as founder james wilson
put it, the people are masters of the government. secondly, the constitution is the primary way that the people set rules for government. thirdly, among those rules is the separation of powers into three co-equal but different branches. judges acting consistent with these principles, what i have called impartial judges fit the design of our system of government and the liberty it makes possible. judges who depart from those principles, what i have called political judges, are at odds with that design and undermine our liberty. president trump is committed to appointing impartial judges while those working so hard to obstruct his nominees favor political judges. president obama led the way in the quest for a political
judiciary, first as a senator evaluating judicial nominees and then as a president choosing them. he said that judges decide cases based on their empathy, their vision of how the world works, their core concerns, and their deeply held beliefs. if judges make decisions on their personal views, then it's no wonder that democrats want so badly to know a judicial nominee's personal views. i will never forget the confirmation hearing for chief justice john roberts in 2005. democrats pressed him to commit to advance -- to commit in advance and under oath to particular results in different categories of cases. they ask repeatedly whose side will you be on? political judges take sides even before cases come before them
because their main objective is to ensure that the favored side wins and that the preferred political interest is served. now, we see this in plain view today. democrats observe a judicial nominee's personal views or his legal views on behalf of the client and insist that those views will dictate his judicial views. this is why many democrats will oppose any nominee who has conservative personal beliefs or ha-has advocated for conservative clients. to them, there is no difference between politics and law. democrats oppose judicial nominees because of their personal views even when the american bar association, which has never been accused of being conservative, gives those nominees its highest rating. the appeals court nominee confirmed this week, for example, received that rating
only after the a.b.a. considered in its words his, quote, compassion, decisiveness, open-mindedness, courtesy, patience, freedom from bias, and commitment to equal justice under the law, unquote. you see, mr. president, in their heart of hearts, those who favor political judges have no problem with judicial minds being closed or biased so long as that leads to results they like. they seek politically correct results by any judicial means. mr. president, that judiciary is very different from the one contemplated by the founders of this great country. that judiciary is very different from the one described by the oath of judicial office by which a judge commits to do justice without respect to identities or interests. and that judiciary is very
different from the one that makes our liberty possible. the liberty we enjoy is by design, not by accident. that design requires judges with a limited and defined role. impartial judges support the liberty that our system of government was designed to provide while political judges undermine it. impartial judges take the law as it is and apply it fairly to decide cases, leaving decisions about what the law should be to the american people and their elected representatives. political judges take decisions about what the law should be away from the american people, manipulating the meaning of statutes and the constitution to follow their own views and their own agenda. the conflict over judicial appointments is and will remain
a conflict over judicial power and therefore a conflict over the system of government crafted by america's founders. remember the three principles that i mentioned earlier. impartial judges allow the american people to remain the masters of government. political judges become the masters of the people. impartial judges follow the rules that the american people put in the constitution. political judges change the meaning of those rules to suit their own ends, and impartial judges respect the separation of powers while political judges breach it. the unprecedented obstruction of judicial nominees today is a tool in the campaign for an increasingly politicized judiciary. the rhetoric of that campaign is all about desirable objectives,
all about good intentions. i close with the words of daniel webster who represented two different states in the house and represented massachusetts here in the senate before serving as secretary of state under three different presidents. he said good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. it is hardly too strong to say that the constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. there are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. they promise to be good masters,
but they mean to be masters. that's daniel webster's -- let me just repeat that again because webster is one of the greatest people who ever served in this government. good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. it is hardly too strong to say that the constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. there are then men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. they promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. america needs impartial judges
so that the american people can be the masters of government and so that liberty can thrive. let me go over that quote again from daniel webster. and i will end with this. daniel webster said good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. it is hardly too strong to say that the constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. there are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. they promise to be good masters,
but they mean to be masters. some of those founding fathers really knew what they were talking about and webster was certainly one of them in many respects. all i can say is we have a chance of working together to do what is right and in the best interest of the american people, and i intend to see that we do that and i hope we can because this country is worth it and our system of government is the best this world has ever seen and i want to see it continue to be. with that, madam president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: madam president, i watched the president on tv this are morning, and like most americans, so many americans, i was
aghast. the president seems to live in an alternative reality. he says things that are patently false and he thinks just by saying them they become true. the amount of 1880- -- 1880-degree turns, name calling and blaming, you watch the presidented the president this morning and the -- you watched
the president this morning and the way he acted it is so unbecoming of a president and democracy. we believe in truth. people may vp different value systems, but to just make up things as they go along and without a blink of the eye and contradict things that he said that are exactly the opposite a few hours, a few weeks ago is not who any president of any party of any i'd lollingy -- ideology should be. what the president said this morning is embarrassing to america, democracy, and to any american who prizes truth. one of the things the president said this morning was that, quote, he's decided not to be involved in the russia probe but may change his mind. that is why it is so good this morning, madam president, that the judiciary committee is marking up legislation, bipartisan legislation, that would protect special counsel
mueller from political interference. from the very beginning, special counsel mueller's investigation has been about following the facts and how a foreign hostile power interfered with our free elections, the well-spring of our domestic. that investigation must be allowed to proceed safe from the heavy hand of the president. the president can't make this go away by name calling. he can't dispute facts. he can't dispute the fact that russia interfering in our election is very dangerous and must be investigated no matter where it led. it is so abundantly clear from the president's remarks this morning and so many other things he has said, that he has little regard for the rule of law. he seems to have this view that the purpose of the justice department is to protect his interests and persecute his enemies. that is not a democracy, mr. president.
the purpose of the justice department is rule of law and that no man or woman is above the law, not simply to go after his friends. he's angry when the justice department does something he doesn't like even though they are following the law. that, again, is not the hallmark of our democracy, and so i am so proud of our judiciary committee and chairman grassley rising to the occasion, proposing, and hopefully passing legislation that says we will protect rule of law, we will protect our democracy by not allowing the president to fire the special counsel at will because he simply doesn't like the results they come up with. again, the judiciary committee this morning makes us proud. it rises to the occasion. it rises to the occasion to tell
the president they can't tamper with the very wellsprings of our democracy and will pay a bipartisan price if he does. i want to particularly praise chairman grassley. we've worked together on many things, we've had our differences on many things, but this morning he is rising to the occasion and history regards such moments very favorably. i hope we will get a large vote this morning -- a large vote. now, while we're speaking about bipartisanship, there's another bit of good news. there are two chiewts of bipartisan -- chiewts of bipartisanship, one on the committee's action to prevent the president from firing special counsel mueller and the
agreement between leahy, shelby, leader mcconnell and myself to try to begin moving appropriations bills the way we used to in a bipartisan way, and we had a very good meeting yesterday where we laid out the perimeters -- parameters of how to do this. we talked about not allowing ex strangeus amendments disrupt the process. wele talked about doing our job the way it used to be done, doing all the appropriation bills this year, doing them in a bipartisan way with the chair and ranking member of the subcommittees working together to craft a bill that both sides can be happy with even though neither side will be happy with everything in it. i hope that moves forward. i want to pledge to the millimeters of this body and to the american people that i'm committed to making that process move forward in a fair
bipartisan way and try to restore some of the semblance of bipartisanship that we used to have in this place back to actual action and reality. another issue, madam president, the v.a. secretary. we just received word that the president's nomination to be the next secretary of the v.a. has withdrawn his nomination. the allegations swirling around the nomination of dr. jackson were troubling, raised lots of questions. but the real blame here falls on the administration for once again being sloppy and careless in the vetting process. dr. jackson didn't go through a careful vet, where some of these things might have been discovered beforehand and he wouldn't have had to go through the process that he went through. the veterans' committee did the right thing, and they didn't
seek to go after jackson. people came to them. when people come to them, particularly military folks, with serious and troubling allegations, they have an obligation to investigate. and i want to salute chairman isakson and ranking member tester for pursuing those allegations. it is -- dr. jackson went through a maelstrom, and he should tell his patient, i guess, the president, that he -- the president -- is what caused this problem by not properly vetting, by making these decisions on the fly, by making sure they don't count. our obligation above all is not to any one individual, but to the millions of veterans in america. they deserve a department that treats them well. they deserve the best health care. and we need someone to run the
v.a. who is up to the job. i hope the president learns his lesson. i hope the next nominee is thoroughly vetted before he or she is sent to the congress. most of all, i hope that so our veterans can get the kind of leader they deserve. finally, on another matter -- health care. next week health insurance companies will begin to announce their initial proposes rates for 2019 in each state across the country. and when they do, every american should remember that president trump and congressional republicans have spent the past year and a half trying to sabotage our health care system in a way that could increase costs and decrease access to quality health care. it's true that last summer the senate republican effort to repeal our current health care system and gut medicaid, an effort that would have left tens of millions uninsured and raised
costs on millions more, ended thankfully for the american people in failure. despite that legislative failure, president trump, his administration, and congressional republicans have committed several other acts of sabotage, raising premiums and hurting health care, all it seems to me for political vendetta. for a long time the president refused to guarantee that the administration will honor the cost-sharing program which reduces premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for low-income americans. he eventually canceled payments for that program causing major uncertainty and confusion in the markets. then republicans repealed the health care requirement as a part of that tax bill and put nothing in its place. the c.b.o. projects repealing the coverage requirement could cause rates to increase by as much as 10% and result in millions more people without insurance. so if you can't get insurance,
mr. or mrs. american, or if your premiums are going up, you'll know who caused it. the president and congressional republicans by sabotaging the law that a majority of americans want to see stay on the books. making things worse, earlier this week the comment period ended for a proposed trump administration rule that is perhaps the most radical sabotage of our health care system yet, a rule that would expand the availability of junk insurance plans. these junk insurance plans would force higher premiums on people with preexisting conditions, impose an age tax on older americans, and once again could subject americans to the devastating effects of medical bankruptcy. which too many people go through now. many plans might not cover essential services like prescription drugs, maternity care, mental health services. each of these actions taken by president trump and republicans in congress will raise costs and
reduce access. we are truly living under trumpcare today with no effort by the president or congressional republicans to make it better. and unfortunately, starting next week the american people could well see the devastating consequences of a year and a half of health care sabotage reflected in their 2019 rates. finally, mr. president, i'd like to add a word about an event taking place today in montgomery, alabama. today in montgomery, the national memorial for peace and justice dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people's victims of lynching and african americans victimized by white supremacy will open up its doors. i read about the new memorial in the newspaper. it was touching. it was moving. so many innocent people lynched for no reason.
walking behind a white woman ar- other kinds of things like that. having read and watched accounts about the memorial it will be a harrowing experience much like the holocaust museum in washington, d.c., it forces visitors to confront the human toll of racism, original sin. and it allows each county to get a replica of the list and the block, sort of like a tombstone, of who was lynched. so maybe those counties can look into their souls too and do better, as we all can, at trying to eliminate racism. america's original sin is racism, and the vast and terrible numbers of african americans who were brutally murdered for simply being black. this museum forces us as martin luther king did, to look into the mirror, see what the country
has done wrong, and move to correct it. i truly salute all the folks who put this wonderful, wonderful museum together. i yield the floor. mr. roberts: would
the distinguished minority leader -- the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: i'd like to make a very short comment with regard to your remarks this morning. in the midst of all of your remarks, you did mention something that i think is terribly important. yesterday in the rules committee distinguished senator aoufpd to be the chairman of the -- used to be the chairman of the rules committee. i think i was ranking at the time. but an agreement to move appropriations bills. and i want to thank you for that, and also for senator durbin who indicated that as of yesterday. we did reach an agreement on a bipartisan way to do something
about filing cloture 86 times and other things going on, and reducing that time period. we'll get to that. the breakthrough could be an agreement that you have agreed to, sir, with regard to appropriations bills. if we can do that, we might be able to get back to a regular order that both of us have experienced when we first came to the senate. and many members here have not experienced that. and so consequently, i want to thank you for that. i know senator shelby is eager to do the 12 appropriations bills. i know senator durbin is as well. and so i think that that one statement in the midst of your comments, sir, that certainly is important. and i want people to certainly be aware of it, and i thank you. mr. schumer: well, thank you. i appreciate very much my friend from kansas' remarks. i hope these sprouts of bipartisanship can grow into mighty oaks. i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: madam president, i take this time because i know shortly we're going to be voting on mr. pompeo's nomination to be secretary of state. and i want to explain to my colleagues why i cannot support his nomination. as i said in the senate foreign relations committee during his nomination hearing, i appreciate mr. pompeo's public service throughout his career, his service in the military, his service in congress, and as director of the central intelligence agency. i also appreciate the fact that he's willing to serve our nation in this most important post as secretary of state. in the united states we urgently need a confirmed secretary of state, but it's our responsibility in the united states senate to advise and consent the president on his nominations and to act as an independent pwrafrpl of -- branch of government. we're in this urgent need because of mr. trump's abrupt dismissal of our former
secretary of state in the midst of many international challenges. in my view, though, mr. pompeo is not the right person, and i reach that conclusion by his actions and his rhetoric. if mr. pompeo is confirmed, he will be the top diplomat for the united states. he must be an independent voice in the white house. i have questions as to whether he will be that independent voice. he needs to engage our allies. that's how diplomacy works. he has to be the loudest voice for diplomacy in our national security and the use of our tools that the military needs to be a matter of last resort. i was reminded of this challenge for president with president macron's joint address yesterday. when he pointed out the world order after world war ii embodied in the trans-atlantic
partnership, and we must lead the united states in order to preserve that multinational security blanket. so it's incumbent upon the intersection secretary of state to work with our allies, particularly the european allies but all of our allies. when i look at mr. pompeo's record with regard to the nuclear agreement with iran as just one example, during that discussion as to whether we would have diplomacy, it was mre solution rests with 2,000 sorties to destroy the iran nuclear capacity. that's not diplomacy. that's not leading with diplomacy. and now he is espousing that if necessary, we should pull out of the agreement, pull out of the agreement if we can't change it, even though iran is in compliance with the agreement. that's not diplomacy, and that's certainly not working with our european allies. we heard president macron yesterday assert that it's
critically important that that agreement move forward if iran is in compliance. we can build one but to walk away from it would be wrong. another example which gives me great concern is mr. pompeo's position with regard to the paris climate talks. i know we all have tkeufrp views about climate and -- different views about climate and what our individual policies should be in order to deal with the realities of climate change, but one thing should be clear, that we want to be in the discussions with the international community. in regards to iran, mr. pompeo would isolate ourselves from our european allies. but in regards to withdrawing from the paris climate talks, he would isolate america from every other nation in the world. we would be the only nation not part of discussions. let me remind my colleagues that the commitments made in paris are only enforceable by ourselves. there is no international enforcement mechanism. words matter. our top diplomat needs to engage
a very diverse global community. mr. pompeo's words are unfortunately very challenging for him to be able to have the confidence of the international community. he associated american muslims with terrorism by stating that their perceived silence is condemning attacks and i quote, has made islamic leaders across america potentially complicit. end quote. madam president, i know after each of the horrible terrorist activities that we've sao*ep -- seen in america that muslim leaders in maryland and muslim leaders around the world have stood up and said that they condemn in the strongest possible terms those terrorist acts. that should have no space. unfortunately, those types of comments give space to those who are promoting a form of nationalism that allows for hate mongering, and that cannot be tolerated in our country.
the lgbtq community is rightly concerned. i go to mr. pompeo's, citing verbatim the follow passage from a sermon castrating members of the lgbtq community. quote, america has worshipped other gods and called it multiculturism. we endorse perversion and call it alternative lifestyles. that type of language should have no place for someone who wants to be the top diplomat of america. so i have come to the conclusion based upon the necessity of the secretary of state to engage the international community, to provide u.s. leadership on the use of diplomacy that based upon those, my priorities, policy priorities, not politics or partisanship that i cannot support mr. pompeo for secretary of state. i just want to conclude on this -- i've had the chance to
lead the democrats on the senate foreign relations committee. i've been a member of the senate foreign relations committee my entire 12 years in this institution. the senate foreign relations committee and its leaders have had a long tradition of bipartisanship, of recognizing the independent role of the legislative branch and the critical role played by the senate foreign relations committee, and we're always stronger when we act in unity. that's a tradition of our committee. i want to point out, i don't question anyone's motives on how they vote on the nominee for secretary of state, but i have great confidence that we in the senate foreign relations committee will continue the great tradition that we have established as an independent voice and as a voice that works -- tries to work in unity in the best interests of our nation. with that, madam president, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas.
mr. roberts: thank you, madam president. madam president, it was an honor for me to speak in front of the senate foreign relations committee. this month in support of my kansas friend and colleague, mike pompeo, the president's nominee for secretary of state. i said at the time and i come to the floor today to urge all my colleagues, despite the comments by the previous remarks, to vote in favor of this uniquely qualified nominee to such a vital role in our administration's cabinet. the point that i'd like to make is that as we go into the very important topics that we have to discuss on an international basis, we need mike pompeo, and we need him now. as our nation's most senior
diplomat, mike, i know, will be forthright, he will be forceful and thoughtful, and yes, he will be diplomatic. he will give the president and the congress very candid counsel. he is a man of his word. i say all this and think that i at least have the credentials to know mike and to know who he is and what he is about because i have -- i have known him for more than a decade, first as a friend and a business leader, and then a congressional colleague, most recently as the leader of our intelligence community. had some long talks before he accepted that offer by the president. and i thought it was very well well -- he was very well suited. michael represented american ideals and values backed by the strength and leadership of the free world. yes, the free world and the allies that have been referred to by my colleagues across the aisle. the point is whenever there is a
void, the world pays a price. that's why we need mike, and that's why we need him now. so i'm going to again urge all of my colleagues, all of those who voted in support of his intelligence post last year and those who now have the opportunity to support this extremely qualified to vote yes and to send our senior diplomat to work on the many challenges that face our nation. now, let me talk a little bit about bipartisanship and just what i have stated with regards to my friend and colleague, the minority leader. i have encouraging news. we met yesterday in the rules committee and voted to reduce postcloture debate from 30 hours to eight hours for certain nominations. i am not sure we have the 60 votes to pass that, but it's something at least that we're
moving with regards to the problem of having 86 cloture votes and not wasting but at least taking the time or delaying the time. that's three months, by the way, with regards to time lost that we could have been working on other issues. we still have to consider this change to the rules on the senate floor, but in the course of our debate, the minority whip, who is an appropriator par excellence, senator durbin, has supported chairman shelby's commitment to do all 12 appropriation bills. how long, how long, how long have we been since we have done appropriation bills and voted on amendments on appropriation bills? and the leadership has apparently decided to recommend that we actually return to being a senate, voting on these amendments. many senators, as i said earlier, do not even know what it is like to serve in a
functioning senate. they hardly know what it is like to operate under regular order where bills are referred to committee, amended, brought to the floor, debated, amended, and then passed when appropriation bills were on time. goodness knows we need to get back to that. now members of the appropriation committees right now without this agreement, prior to this agreement, were standing on the sidelines, wounded cardinals, if you will, with a shrinking slice of the discretionary pot. so thank you to the minority whip. thank you to the leadership on both sides for our efforts to get back to regular order. now, you can take one step further and vote for mike pompeo, a qualified and honorable kansan to serve as secretary of state. most of the statements that i have heard i have not paid too much attention to the colloquy on the floor or the statements on the floor, but people who
have qualifications. it's a while i speech. while i understand he has a great background, first in his class at west point, and while i, while i. but then there is a catch. on the other hand, i have some concerns. most of them are in regard to whether or not mike pompeo can be diplomatic. i know him. he can be forceful. sometimes he can be a little stubborn, but he can be forceful. he is well qualified for the job and he can be diplomatic. i would hope we can take this step toward a bipartisan senate and one further vote, a vote for mike pompeo is certainly qualified. i say that because the cloth of comity in this senate is pretty threadbare. we have a situation here where we need to return to a sense of comity here and at least some bipartisanship. that would certainly be also to set aside any personal or
partisan concerns and vote for mr. pompeo. as i said again, we have a void right now. we have a good man to be secretary of state. i urge my colleagues to vote yes and let's put a few threads back into the cloth of comity in the senate and recommit to being the world's greatest deliberative body. i yield back, madam president.
a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: madam president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: the senate is not in a quorum call? ms. warren: may i be recognized to speak? the presiding officer: the senator is recognized to speak. ms. warren: thank you, madam president. i rise today to express my
strong opposition to president trump's nomination of mike pompeo to be the next secretary of state. there are many reasons to oppose thp nomination, but the main reason for me is pretty straightforward. mike pompeo is completely unfit to serve as america's chief diplomat. during his time as a public servant, mike pompeo has embraced a variety of views that betray america's values, whether it's his support for interrogation techniques that amount to torture, his preference for war over diplomatic solutions, or his hateful, blatantly discriminatory views about muslim and lgbtq americans, mike pompeo's confirmation would degrade america's diplomacy and erode our moral standing on the world stage. let's start with his evolving position on torture. in 2014, then-congressman pompeo praised the interrogators who
used torture as, quote, patriots and, quote, heroes, but when seeking confirmation to become c.i.a. director, mr. pompeo suddenly said he would, quote, always comply with the law prohibiting torture. when asked if he would comply with a request from the president to use torture, he said he couldn't, quote, imagine being asked to do so. never mind that as a candidate, donald trump boasted about his desire to bring back waterboarding and, quote, a hell of a lot worse, and in his later written answers, mr. pompeo suggested that he could support bringing back waterboarding and orator tour techniques if he thought they were necessary. so first, mike pompeo was for torture, but when he wanted to be c.i.a. director, he miraculously changed his position. now he thinks the united states should reverse the right to torture -- reserve the right to
torture people in the future. this position undermines our core values as americans, and that alone should disqualify him from being america's secretary of state. but there is more. mike pompeo's hawkish views could quite literally lead us into another war. just look at his views on iran. the iranian government is a bad actor, no doubt about it. that's why the iran nuclear deal was so important. it is easier to counter iran's bad behavior if it has no nuclear weapons than it would be to keep iran in check if it could threaten the region and threaten the world with a nuclear bomb. the deal with iran imposed strong limits and intrusive inspections on iran's nuclear program so that it cannot develop a nuclear weapon, and our intelligence community tells
us it is working. that's very important to the security of our allies and the security of the whole world. the iran nuclear deal is a negotiated solution designed to prevent iran from developing nuclear weapons, and it was accomplished without resorting to military action. the deal is the product of putting diplomacy first. that's good for the security of the united states, good for our allies, and good for the world. mike pompeo doesn't seem to understand that. he has called the iran nuclear deal a, quote, surrender, and he has said that the united states should walk away. pompeo has even publicly contemplated regime change. how can we expect countries to trust america's word when our chief diplomat believes that we have the right to break our word and violent international agreements at any moment.
and think for a minute about what it would mean for negotiating any deal with north korea about their nuclear weapons if mr. pompeo is in charge. he said we can tear up our agreement with iran even though they have fallen through on their -- followed through on their part just because mr. trump and mr. pompeo have decided they don't like it. who would negotiate with a united states that has so little respect for the standing of its promises? i cannot in good faith vote in favor of mr. pompeo for the reasons i have outlined, but there is another reason i cannot vote for him, one that is deeply personal to me. shortly after the boston marathon attack, then-congressman pompeo accused muslim leaders of being silent about the bombing and even said they were potentially complicit in the attack. after the marathon bombings, all
of boston grieved together, including our muslim leaders. our muslim communities helped massachusetts emerge stronger and more united. to suggest otherwise is insulting to the boston marathon bombing victims and to our muslim american brothers and sisters. when he was shown to be wrong, mike pompeo refused to apologize. his comments were ignorant, offensive, and just plain wrong. they certainly aren't the words of someone who is fit to america's chief diplomat, but there's more. mike pompeo's longstanding attacks on the lgbtq also make him unfit to serve as secretary of state. he supported legislation in congress to allow states not to recognize equal marriage and he relied on financial
contributions from hateful groups like family research counsel. his public record paints a deeply disturbing world view. the risks posed by this nomination is magnified because mike pompeo would be teaming up with john bolton, president trump's new national security advisor. john bolton has never met a war he didn't like and mike pompeo supported bolton's disaster iraq war. together they will fan the flames of war in president trump's -- and president trump's foreign policy because they both embrace military solutions first. i hope that, if confirmed, mr. pompeo will take real steps to prioritize diplomacy, to improve morale at the state department, and to fil key diplomatic positions that have been vacant for far too long.
but at a time when we're facing enormous global challenges, the state department needs a leader who will put diplomacy first to solve problems and to protect our national security. mike pompeo is not that leader. i strongly urge my colleagues to vote against his nomination. madam president, i yield the floor.
a senator: madam president. mr. peters: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: are we in a quorum call. the presiding officer: the senate is not in a quorum call. mr. peters: madam president, i rise to oppose the nomination of c.i.a. director mike pompeo to be the secretary of state. i voted against confirming mike pompeo to be the director of the central intelligence agency because he lacked the experience and the qualifications for the position. his time at the c.i.a. has done nothing to assure me that he now
has the capabilities to lead the secretary of state. -- the state department. as a member of the house of representatives mike pompeo made repeated discriminatory remarks about muslim americans. he has argued that the muslim-american leaders have a special obligation to denounce terrorist attacks and he has falsely claimed that they have failed to do that. i'm proud to represent a dynamic muslim and arab-american community in michigan. i have seen that these patriotic communities are often the first -- they are the first to denounce senseless acts of violence that perverts the islamic faith. mike pompeo has also close ties to the group that the southern poverty law center designated hate group because of its anti-muslim rhetoric and conspiracy theories.
i question the judgment of an elected official who would work with such a group and i do not believe it shows the type of character required in an individual that is nominated to be our country's top diplomat. how can someone with this attitude work effectively with our allies and partners in the middle east? i don't think he can. mr. pompeo has also supported bringing back waterbothering and other -- waterboarding and other torture. he has done nothing to keep our country safe. he said that torture, and i quote, absolutely works. madam president, we can do better than that. america is better than this. i voted to ban the use of waterboarding and other so-called enhanced interrogation measures because they do not work, and, in fact, they violate basic human rights, undermine
our nation's counterterrorism missions and place our nation at risk. confirming a secretary of state that condones torture is another step in our nation's retreat of what ronald reagan called a shinning city on the hill. i'm concerned that mike pompeo will also continue the united states' retreat from a leadership role in addressing climate change, and more ral and economic issue that will affect our planet for generations to come. director pompeo has criticized the paris climate agreement and made statements that contradicts the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. our nation faces serious global challenges, russia aggression, north korea nuclear weapons programs, instability in the middle east and china's ongoing efforts to expand her power and influence. madam president, the world is
looking to the united states for leadership. this is a time when skilled and experienced diplomacy is essential to advance our interests and our values on a world stage. i do not believe that director pompeo has the necessary experience, diplomatic skills and values required to be the secretary of state. and i will oppose his nomination this afternoon. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: madam president, in addition to the nomination of the secretary of state later today, we are considering the nomination of richard grenell to be our ambassador to germany.
i oppose mr. grenell's nomination in committee and i will oppose his nomination today. if confirmed mr. grenell will assume the post in a time of strain of the bilateral relationship since the election of president trump who has disagreed with with the chancellor merkel. they are responsible for securing peace and prosperity. germany served with distinction and sacrifice in afghanistan. germany serves on the front lines of europe against an aggressive russia that is looking to destabilize germany's democracy. german accepted so many refugees. this is a close ally for our security but more important an
ally in championing the value that we hold dear. it would be my hope and desire that such an important ally as germany the president would have put forward a serious, credible, experience diplomat who would strengthen our relationship with germany. instead president trump nominated mr. grenell. in a few moments i will read things that mr. grenell has tweeted in the past and that he continues to tweet even as his nomination has been pending before this body. i do not savor having to read these tweets because, frankly, i don't think they are suitable to have to say on the floor of the senate, but since the majority and the president have prioritized this nominee and the vote will occur a little later, the american people deserve to know exactly who the trump administration wants to represent the united states to our great friend and ally germany. and so i'll read a selection of
mr. grenell's tweets for the record. quote, did you notice that while michele obama is working out on the biggest loser, she is sweating on the east room's carpet? unquote. rachel maddow should take a breath and put on a neck last. also about calista, she stands there pliec she is -- like she is wife number one. do you think her hair snaps on? this is just a selection. a selection. i considered the ones that are not insults. these are not the words of a child or teenager would does not understand the power of words. these are the words of a grown adult who had previously been the public face of the bush administration for eight years. mr. grenell's derogatory comments about women are simply unacceptable for anyone to make
in public let alone a diplomat. and i would go further. not only do these tweets show bad judgment, they show us who mr. grenell really is and how comfortable he is publicly contributing his own brand of toxic political discourse. will he do such things if he's confirmed and goes to germany? will he insult via his twitter account the female chancellor of germany? i don't know and i hope not. in the committee process of considering his nomination, mr. grenell was asked about these tweets and other comments he has made. and you know what he said? he assured us he understood there was a difference between being a private citizen and being a public figure and that he would never say or tweet such things as a public figure. so imagine our surprise when mr. grenell started tweeting
again after he had been voted out of the committee. astonishingly, he retweeted a wikileaks tweet which included documents stolen by russian intelligence. the other nominee before us today, c.i.a. director mike pompeo has called wikileaks, and i quote, a nonstate hostile intelligence service. that's what mike pompeo, the c.i.a. director, called wikileaks, a nonstate hostile intelligence service, unquote. and he further went on to say about wikileaks that will, quote, take down america any way they can and find any willing partner to achieve that end, unquote. so imagine that. amidst all the controversy about the connections between wikileaks and russian and their interference in our 2016 election and while under consideration for an ambassadorship of this body --
by this body, mr. grenell feels perfectly comfortable tweeting out e-mails stolen by russian intelligence to interfere in our democratic process. basically, in essence, as mike pompeo describes, doing the work of russian intelligence. mr. president, these are not the actions of a person with anything close to good judgment. these are not the actions of a diplomat. i urge my colleagues to reject sending mr. grenell to germany as the u.n. ambassador. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and observe the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: