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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN2  May 15, 2018 10:00am-1:02pm EDT

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21. senators will recess after the vote for party lunches. president trump will speak at the republican meeting. and they'll look at the net neutrality rules. for live coverage here on the senate on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. our god and father, the fountain of every blessing, we ask you to
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guide us through the challenges you use to test us and to lead those who represent the people of this nation so that they will labor with courage, strength, and civility. for those who are struggling, may they find clarity to resolve each difficulty. today, open our hearts to your divine guidance and our minds to your peace. in a special way, be with the protectors of freedom who serv in our armed forces. merciful lord, we ask you to look after each of us in such a way that we may live up to our
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full potential for the glory of your name. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., may 15, 2018 . to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable cindy hyde-smith, a senator from the state of mississippi, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g. hatch, president pro tempore.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, joel m. carson iii of new mexico to be united states circuit judge for the tenth circuit. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: majority leader. mr. mcconnell: today is peace officers memorial day when we honor the men and women of law enforcement. during police week, thousands of officers from across the nation and the world travel here to
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washington to remember their fallen comrades and rededicate themselves to protecting our communities. i welcome them, particularly peace officers from the state of kentucky. i look forward to visiting later today with members of the louisville metro police department. we owe them and departments across the commonwealth our heartfelt thanks for keeping the bluegrass state safe and secure. i also wish to pay tribute to members of kentucky's law enforcement community who gave their ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. since police week last year, three of the commonwealth's finest have fallen in the line of duty. officers scotty hamilton, a 12-year veteran of the pikeville police department was fatally shot while on duty. the hopkinsville police department lost officer philip neechman who was killed off-duty by someone impersonating a
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police officer. and officer rodney -- rodney smith of the hickman police department drowned while on patrol when his vehicle was washed into the water during this spring's severe flooding. each of these men left behind spouses, children, and a commonwealth indebted to them for their service. we also remember sergeant david ray gibs of the kentucky state police who was killed in a car crash in 2015 of the way to his grandmother's funeral. his name was added this year to the national police memorial, a fitting tribute to a fine officer. his sacrifice and those of each of these heroes will not be forgotten. finally, as we warmly welcome law enforcement from across the country, i'd also like to especially thank the men and women of the u.s. capitol police. each day their vigilance protects members of congress, our staff and visitors from around the world. and after the terrible events of the baseball park in alexandria
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last june, we're all reminded just how lucky we are to have them. now, madam president, on another matter, yesterday the senate voted to confirm two more of president trump's fine circuit court nominees, michael scudder and amy st. eve, both of illinois, both exceedingly qualified and both carrying the bipartisan support of the judiciary committee. michael scudder carries an impressive legal record with extensive experience in both private practice and public service and the american bar association's highest rating. judge amy st. eve carries the a.b.a.'s unqualified competence. she compiled a 17-year record in the northern district of illinois. that's why the senate confirmed these highly qualified nominees to serve on the seventh circuit court of appeals with a bipartisan majority. today our progress will continue. we'll vote to confirm john l.
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natural band ya of kentucky and joel carson to serve on the tenth circuit. joel carson has a distinguished tenure. his peers say his integrity, fairness and respect for the dignity of others are topnotch. a bipartisan group of new mexico lawyers have expressed competence. he'll be an excellent addition to the tenth circuit they said and the judiciary committee agreed reporting judge carson's nomination to the full senate in a bipartisan fashion. we'll also vote on john nalbandian from my home state of kentucky nominated to serve on the sixth circuit. he has earned respect from across the political spectrum as a top appellate advocate. he's known for his fairness, collegiality, and legal ability. in 2007, mr. nalbandian was appointed to be a special justice of the kentucky supreme court. he later sat on the selection
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panel for magistrate judges in the state's eastern district. and more recently, president obama nominated him to serve on the board of state justice institute. he was confirmed by a voice vote. in addition to well regarded work in private practice, nalbandian has also dedicated himself to community causes such as economic development in northern kentucky and greater local representation from minority attorneys. to that end the national asian pacific american bar association has joined the multitude of supporters of his nomination. they note that if confirmed, nalbandian will be justice seventh acting asian pacific american federal appellate judge nationwide. john nalbandian has impressive credentials, the preparation, the broad suc support, every indication that he'll be a worthy and capable judge. we should confirm both of these nominees without delay. less than 16 months into the
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republican government, our policies are helping create a sea change in economic climate in our country. "the washington post" recently reported on new data from the national federation of independent business. 43% of small business owners say they're already investing in new equipment. more than half of manufacturing firms and construction firms expect demand to keep growing. and the percentages of small businesses who raised worker compensation is the highest it's been since 2000. for years democratic policies like high taxes and runaway regulations put a head wind in the faces of american job creators. now historic tax reform, regulatory relief, and the rest of our opportunity agenda mean the wind is once again at their backs. republicans understand that american workers don't win when american businesses lose. our economy isn't a zero sum gain. if we want middle-class families to thrive, we need the american
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businesses that compete to employ them and pay them to thrive as well. and sure enough, the bureau of labor statistics reports the amount employers spent on worker pay and benefits grew more in 2017 than it did in any calendar year under president obama. more prosperity, more opportunity, more raises and bonuses for working families. this is just the start of what the american people can accomplish when republicans get washington out of the way. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: are we in a quorum, madam president? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: madam president, last night, the judiciary committee announced that it would be voting on a slate of judicial nominees, including andrew oldom, a nominee from the fifth circuit, and wendy vitter, a nominee for the eastern district of louisiana. we prize the quality of moderation in all our judges. at the district level, the circuit level, and of course at the supreme court level.
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mr. oldon and miss vitter, unfortunately, have expressed a number of sentiments that would put him on the political extreme, including troubling statements about women's health care rights. asked separately by my colleague senator blumenthal if they agreed with the decision on brown v. board of ed, both of them demurred. can you believe that? they would not say they supported brown v. board, and this is who our colleagues are nominating to put on the bench? it shouldn't be a tough question. segregation and the false paradigm of separate but equal was a national disgrace. it remains a stain on our history. it has been widely discredited from one end of america to the other. and yet the nominees for the fifth circuit and the eastern district of louisiana could not say they agreed with the idea that we as a nation should have one school system for all races.
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the judiciary committee will vote on mr. oldon and miss vitter's nominations on thursday. 64 years to the day since brown v. board was decided and segregated schools were deemed unconstitutional. in honor of this anniversary, the 64th anniversary of brown v. board, my senate republican colleagues aren't rolling out a new education policy or a new civil rights policy. they are voting to give these two individuals lifetime appointments to the bench. when we say that sometimes our republican colleagues and this president is divisive, it's actions like this that document that and make the fact that they are being divisive irrefutable. our nation became a better nation, more just, more free, when the supreme court said that no official, high or petty, could determine where an african american child could or could
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not go to school. if you can't agree with that decision, you don't deserve to be a federal judge. and my colleagues should make a stand and roundly vote against these two nominees. next, i want to talk about an emerging theme from president trump's presidency. that is his failure to deliver. for all the ballyhoo about the president being an effective dealmaker, a get-it-done business executive, president trump has failed remarkably to deliver on his promises to the middle class and to the american people as a whole. so while sometimes i think folke chaos for activity, the truth is the president's i impulsive and erratic behavior has scuttled bipartisan legislation, impeded progress, and prevented the middle class from gaining their rightful share. if the rhetoric continues
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unabated, the president talks a good game, but actions and accomplishments in area after area after area escape him. president trump, for instance, promised the american people a better health care system. he said better quality at lower prices. premiums now have jumped double digits in state after state. it's clear he hasn't delivered on that promise. president trump promised to protect medicare and medicaid from cuts. and then he proposed cutting both these programs. just recently, the president backed off a commitment to let medicare negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs. when he campaigned, all the president would talk about time after time is drug prices are too high. and yet, the program he announced last thursday was a humiliation for the president. from one end to the other, they said this does nothing. in fact, the stocks -- the stock
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prices of the pharmaceutical industry went up as he gave his speech. no better proof that he wasn't doing anything. president trump promised that his tax bill would be a middle-class miracle. instead, it's a giveaway mostly to corporations and the wealthy. 80%, higher than 80% goes to the wealthiest people and the most powerful corporations in america. and now already we're seeing higher health care premiums and rising gas prices eat away at any meager tax benefit middle-class families receive. so to ask the question that's been asked time and time again of middle-class people, are you better off today than the day president trump became president, most people are not because so many costs are going up and so many promises that president trump made are not being fulfilled. the president seems to think rhetoric's in one place and
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action is in another, and the twain never meet. so he talks a good game and then acts on behalf of the powerful and special interests that hurt the middle class. here's another one. what about infrastructure? president trump promised the nation a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill to build gleaming new roads, bridges, and tunnels. it took him over a year to propose a detailed infrastructure plan. when he did, it wasn't even close to a trillion dollars and it's gone nowhere. one of his spokes people just said we're not doing infrastructure this year. that was one of his biggest promises to the american people. gone. how about trade? trade is an issue where the president and i mostly agree. as i have said, i believe i am much closer to president trump on trade than either president obama or bush. i have publicly and privately told him as much. but now i'm beginning to doubt him even on trade. he talks a big game on china.
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he promises to be tough. and yet, this weekend on the toughest thing he did, the thing that woke the chinese up, made them think we were serious, the president backed off. not only may president trump allow china to evade the consequences of i am paishiously stealing america's intellectual property, he also pledged to help a chinese telecom company guilty of violating u.s. sanctions. even on trade. where the president and i mostly agree on policy, president trump hasn't delivered, to the cha grin of me -- chagrin of me and millions of americans who defend on fairer trade policies for jobs and income. and finally, what about draining the swamp? this is his big cry. it's all we hear on fox news. the president wants to drain the swamp. it was a central campaign pledge, but what happened when the president got to washington? he filled his federal government
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with industry lobbyists and rich executives with sprawling conflicts of interest. his cabinet secretaries engage in flagrant graft, enjoying luxuries on the taxpayer dime. his administration hardly vets its candidates. no president, at least in my career, has done as much to fill up the swamp as president trump. if the american people look at his actions, not his rhetoric, the swamp has gotten much worse and a lot of it because of what president trump did. mr. president, you can't say you're draining the swamp and then have an administration abounding with conflicts of interest, abounding with people who favor the wealthy and hurt the middle class. and, of course, there's been no bill of love for dreamers. the president said he's going to stand up to the n.r.a. told a couple of senators that you shouldn't be afraid of them. and we haven't seen a check from mexico on the border wall.
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it is a plain fact that this president talks the talk but fails time and time and time again to walk the walk. the trump administration has left behind a trail of broken promises. example after example of this president failing to deliver. he has dropped the ball for the middle class on health care, on trade, on prescription drugs, on draining the swamp, on infrastructure, on each issue he said he'd do something. he hasn't. i actually agree with a good number of president trump's campaign promises. i want us to be tough on china. i want to bring more accountability and transparency to government. we democrats want a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, and we want to bring down the alarming cost of prescription drugs. but this president either lacks the commitment, the consistency or the know-how to make real
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progress on any of these issues much that's not good enough. not for the millions of americans who voted for him because inequitied him to -- expected had i am to deliver or the millions who didn't vote for him but need him to deliver, because he's president of the united states, and the buck stops with him. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. leahy: madam president? the presiding officer: the
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senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, i ask consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: madam president, notwithstanding what we sometimes hear about a deadlocked washington, there are times when both parties work together. three months ago republicans and democrats came together and we reached a bipartisan budget agreement. we reached an agreement, republicans and democrats together, to lift the budget caps, provide relief from sequestration, but most importantly, make responsible and new investments in the american people over the next two years. and then president trump, as he stated earlier he would do when we reached that agreement, he
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signed it into law. but now even though he signed it into law, even though the agreement had been worked with republicans, democrats, and the white house together, the president has proposed and unfortunately house republicans have drawn up a proposal to claw back vital funding for children's health care, claw back fund funding for rural communities, take back funding for our infrastructure programs, take back funding for our law enforcement. now, these programs that the white house and apparently their allies in the house, these programs where they want to raid the money, these aren't democratic priorities. they're bipartisan american priorities.
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mrs. trump has said american families need relief. and the policies that allow women with children to thrive, those shouldn't be a novelty. they shouldn't be just for a press conference or a photo opportunity. they should be the norm. president trump's proposal would claw back $7 billion from the children's -- the children's health insurance program, chip. $7 billion. if you can't keep a child healthy, what are they going to be like as an adult? chip currently provides health insurance for 8.7 million vulnerable children from low-income families. millions of families from red states, blue states, urban and rural, depend on chip to keep their children healthy and
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happy, to make them the healthy and happy future generation. and i don't know how pulling $7 billion out of this program aligned to claw back policies that allow children to thrive and say that should be the norm. you can't say at a press opportunity this will be the norm to allow children to thrive. oh, by the way, we're going to take back the money to make that work. and if the money can no longer be dedicated to the chip program, well, then, reinvest it in other important programs, as we've done in the past. the program to support our nation's children and families, including head start, the children care child doaft block grant -- development block grant, research at n.i.h.
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the president's proposal also takes away $159 million from our law enforcement. i began my career in law enforcement. i can't understand taking $159 million from law enforcement. the president has claimed he's going to support our police like our police have never been supported before. this week is national police week. today, may 15, is designated as national peace officers memorial day. this is when we pause to thank and recognize our nation's law enforcement officers for their important work, and those officers who sacrificed their lives. how does cutting $159 million in resources support our law
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enforcement? the president's proposal would claw back $162 million from infrastructure programs. now, the president has tweeted often that our infrastructure again will be the best in the world. the best in the world, he tweets. well, a tweet doesn't cost anything. but if you're going to match your action and your words, it may cost something. and it doesn't help if you're going to take almost half a billion dollars out of our infrastructure at the same time you say and tweet we're going to make it the best in the world. now, he said he's going to cut $252 million that's meant to combat infectious diseases that threaten the united states and threaten millions of americans who travel or work or serve or
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study abroad. just last week there are confirmed cases of the ebola virus in the democratic republic of the congo. that's not a fight that we should be retreating from. we shouldn't say we'll stop money to fight infectious diseases. but then we send our soldiers abroad. we send our peace corps abroad. we send our diplomats abroad. americans travel abroad. we have students that go abroad. don't retreat from that fight. the u.s. won't be ready to face a flu epidemic until it improves its vaccines, its health care infrastructure, and coordination with other country, all of which we're told are top priorities for the white house.
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according to the national security council official said on monday, influenza is a priority to the white house. it represents both a health security, a national security threat. today, however, we cannot respond with the speed that we need to. this is probably said because of the large number of deaths of americans inside the united states during the last flu season. but what do they do? they cut back a quarter of a billion dollars meant to combat infectious diseases while the press opportunity, the photo op they say they're against these kind of infections in the united states looks good, nobody is going to disagree with being against it, but i hope that my
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colleagues will disagree with cutting out the money we need to carry out the president's promise. and -- and then the proposal to put back a million dollars meant to invest in our rural communities. well, i think about march, it seems so long ago. it was almost two months ago. secretary perdue testified before the senate that prosperity in rural america is particularly vital, not just for the rural communities we love, that many of us call home, but also for our entire nation. i agree with secretary perdue. many of us do call rural communities home.
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my own town has 1,800 people in it. i love it. so i agree with him. but whether it's a rural community in my state or any of the 50 states, we don't invest in their prosperity and as the administration has promised, if we strip a billion dollars in resources from them. in fact, the president's promises are not going to be his last proposal. he is going to send another package in the coming week that would attack the foundation of the bipartisan agreement, the agreement that republicans and democrats reached in congress, signed into law by the president. he's going to go back on that and have even more rescissions. now, i'm sure he is looking at the deficits. the president's tax giveaway to
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billionaires and corporations increased our nation's deficits by $1.9 trillion. according to the c.b.o., the rescission bill that the house would debate next week will save only $1 billion. a tiny, tiny fraction of what has been given away to billionaires and corporations. well, the president's actions have matched his words. he says america first, but then just in the last few days, he has gone out of his way to fight to save jobs, but they're chinese jobs. i wish he would save jobs in our states. i wish instead of spending his time fighting to save chinese jobs the president would work to
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save american jobs. we have people who could use jobs in our country. let china worry about china's jobs. don't have the president spending his time first cutting the money to create jobs in america and then spending time fighting to save chinese jobs in china, because you can't strip investments from the american people and say you're in favor of saving jobs in china and say somehow this is making america strong. now, here in the senate, though, there is good news. we're focused on moving forward on a bipartisan basis on the fiscal year 2019 process. just yesterday, chairman shelby and i announced the schedule for marking up all 12 of the appropriations bills by the end of june. our staffs, republican and
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democratic alike, have been working nights, weekends to get us into this position. and we as senators are committed to spend whatever amount of time it takes, whether we have to go into the evening, whether we have to go throughout the week to get all 12 of them marked up by the end of june. so i hope the house republican leaders will abandon this ill-considered rescission bill. it's not the start to the fiscal year 2019 process, how i would have hoped for. mr. president, chairman shelby and i, different parties, different philosophies, but we want the senate to work. we're working very hard
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together, and i have great respect for him in putting together our 12 appropriations bills. we can do it. we'll be a better body if we do it. let's stop the -- the tweeting and the sloganeering and let's deal with substance. now, i say on another matter, a personal matter, mr. president, before i yield the floor, my wife marcelle and i wish the best and a speedy recovery for the first lady. that is one thing i know every, every single member of this senate, republican and democrat, agree with. we hope she has a speedy and complete recovery. my wife knows from personal
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experience what she is going through. recovery can come, but you have to work at it. i also would note, mr. president, that in our family, our thoughts and prayers are for the recovery of the former democratic leader, harry reid. we have prayers for he and his family. i'm glad to hear he is recovering from his surgery, and we wish him the very best. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. i see nobody else seeking recognition, so i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for wyoming. mr. barrasso: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: mr. president, i have nine requests for committees to meet during today's session of senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leader. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. barrasso: i ask that the senate proceed to executive
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calendar 607. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. barrasso: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for wyoming. war bar i ask -- war bar i ask -- mr. barrasso: i ask that the quorum be vitiated. the presiding officer: the question occurs on the carson nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 77. the nays are 21. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table, and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. the clerk will report the next nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, john b. nalbandian of kentucky to be united states circuit judge for the sixth circuit. the presiding officer: the question occurs on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or to change their vote? if not, the yeas are 53. the nays are 45. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table. the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until
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