tv U.S. Senate CSPAN October 13, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order the morning business is now closed, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations which the clerk will report. the clerk: alison j. nathan of new york to be united states district judge, susan owens hickey of acre to be district judge, katharine b. forrest to be district judge. the presiding officer: under the previous order there will be two hours with debate with respect to these nominations with the time equally divided in the you are form. -- the usual form. the senator from rermt. mr. leahy: i ask unanimous
consent notwithstanding the two hours, it's now 12:10, that the two hours be deemed as having begun at 12:00 so that the first vote will be at 2:00. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: and with the time equally divided as under the normal agreement. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: and that the time on quorum calls be equally divided. the presiding officer: also without objection. mr. leahy, we are vote today on three of the 33 judicial nominations favorly reported by the judiciary committee and the senate will complete action on the nominations that are part of the unanimous consent agreement reached three weeks ago prior to the last recess. i do want to thank the majority leader for pressing at that time for senate votes on all 27 of the judicial nominations then on the executive calendar. fortunately, the republican leadership would --
unfortunately, the republican leadership would only agree to vote on 10 of those long-stalled nominations. even after today's vote we're back where we started with 27 judicial nominations on the calendar. the nominations we considered last week and early this week, all three of the district court nominations the senate considers toad were reported favorably by the committee months and months ago by bipartisan vote. they've all been considered by the judiciary committee, all been through a thorough vetting process, they were all ready for final senate vote well before the august recess. we're only considering them now, halfway through october. as i said when the senate returned from their september recess with votes on six long-pending nominations, i hoped that these votes are an end to the unnecessary stalling on nominations.
you know, i'm not quite sure why senate republicans have stalled them. i hope they will stop. i hope the senate will build on these votes and make real progress in addressing a crises in judicial vacancies that's gone on far too long. as to the detriment of our courts but also the american people. most people go to court, they don't consider themselves republicans or democrats. they just know they have a reason to go to court but they find out a lot of empty courts, vacant courts, they can't get their cases heard and justice delayed as, we know, justice denied. votes on four to six judicial nominees a week can't be the exception if we're to bring down the vacancy rate that remains above 10%. we have 92 vacancies on federal courts across the country. that affects tens of millions of americans. votes on four to six nominations
which is required throughout the year to make a real difference. i hope that my friends on the other side of the aisle would join and let us do that for the good of the nation. we need a return to regular order with a timely consideration of consensus, qualified nominees is not the exception but the rule. in fact, if we had had republican agreement we could vote today on all 30 of the nominations reported by this committee. i've been here with both republican and democratic leadership, republican presidents and democratic presidents. especially district courts when they're voted out of the committee with bipartisan majority or unanimously, they're voice voted within a matter of days. that has changed and it's only changed for this president. i don't think that's right. of the 27 judicial nominations that are going to remain on the executive calendar tomorrow,
that's 27, that's really -- we never saw that before. 25 of them were reported with unanimous support of every single democrat, every single republican serving on the judiciary committee. all of them have the support of their home styt state senators. 13 of them have home state senators that support them. in the past -- i have been here with president ford, president carter, president george h.w. beneficiary, president clinton, president george w. bush. only president obama are republicans blocking those judges that were voted on unanimously by every republican and democratic judiciary committee. i don't know what is different about this president that they would do that, but it wasn't
done with the other democratic or republican presidents i've known since i've been in the senate. more than half of all americans -- almost 170 million -- live in circuits or districts that have a judicial vacancy that can be filled today -- filled today -- if the senate republicans just agreed to vote on just those nominations that were reported favorably by republicans and democrats on the judiciary committee. as many as 25 states are served by courts with federal vacanci vacancies. millions of americans across the country are harmed by delays in overburdened courts. as i said, we have 27 judicial nominations remaining on the calendar. 25 of them voted for unanimous unanimously. thit's unprecedented.
i'd ask the republican leader to explain to the american people why they will not consent to vote on the qualifying consensus candidates nominated to fill these judicial vacancies. i would note that the ranking member of the committee -- i see he is on the floor now -- the ranking member of the committee has worked with me to move these through the committee. but they have to go to the senate. that's not in his control or mine. but i wish they would move. barks i've been here since president ford's time. we've never seen so many that were confirmed unanimously in the committee and still languish on the executive calendar. it's led to a damaging backlog in judicial nominees, and it also threatens to undermine the long-standing deference given to home state senators who know the needs of their states best. so i'm glad that we're finally
going to vote on the nomination of alison nathan, and susan owens hickey. but i would hope that we would not here questions about the qualifications of these two fine nominees which were never raised by any of presiden president bus nominees, even though some could almost mirror them in the qualifications. allison nathan is currently special counsel to the solicitor general of new york. earning an achievement for work there last year. previously had a successful career in private practice as a national author, as a professor to new york law schools. clarked for supreme court justice john paul stevens. has the strong support of both her home state senators.
she's had senator schumer praise her intellect and accomplishments. half the republicans on the judiciary committee joined all democrats in voting for her. now some of the committee raised concerns about her qualifications, citing her rating by a minority a.b.a. standing committee as not qualified. i would note the majority rated her as qualified. i would also note that her a.b.a. rating is equal to or better than the rating we see by 33 of president bush's confirmed judicial nominees, including one that had an initial rating unanimously of not qualified. they were supported by nearly every republican senators and voted for them. there's no question we should confirm her. 27 former supreme court courts
in support for her qualifications including current clerks who have worked for very some conservative republican justices. they wrote that although we hold a wide range of political jurisprudential views, all of us believe that ms. that i than has the ability, character, and temperament to be an excellent circuit court judge. we recommend her without reservation. i support her nomination without reservation. i hope senators from both sides will. the senate will also vote to confirm the nomination of judge susan hickey to the western district of arkansas. he has the bipartisan support of her home state senators, democrat senator mark pryor and republican senator john boozman. both of them praised her qualificationed in the committee. a majority of republicans joined every democratic senator on the judiciary committee and voted to report her nomination.
yet because she spent a significant part of her career as a law clerk and took a tie a toc while on family leave, some question whether she is qualified to serve. in my view, and the view of her home state senators, one democratic, one republican, these concerns are misplaced. i'm not going to penalize somebody that takes family leave to help raise a family. so i hope she is going to be confirmed with bipartisan support, and i hope in the weeks ahead we can consider more of the 27 judicial nominees, 25 of whom went through unanimously. next year we need to confirm nearly 100 more of president obama's circuit court nominations to bring vacancies down to match the 205 confirmed during president bush's first term. i note that 100 of those were confirmed during the 17 months
that i served as chair in president bush's first term. so let's do that for the 170 million americans who now see vacancies -- 117 million americans who now have vacancies in their courts. again, i apologize for my voice. i thank the ranking member for his help, and i yield the floor. i would ask, however, that -- unanimous consent the president of the senate be authorized to appoint a committee on the part of the senate and to meet with a committee of the house to exsupreme court his excellency, a lee myung-bak, the president of the republic of korea, for the joint meeting at 4:00 p.m., thursday, october 13, 2011. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: i yield to the senator from iowa. the presiding officer: the distinguished senator from iowa is recognized. mr. grassley: thank you,
mr. president. today we continue our cooperation with the majority as we vote on three more judicial nominees. with a confirmation earlier this week and six judicial confirmations last week, i would no note the progress we've made. after today's vote we will have confirmed 68% of president obama's judicial nominees submitted during his presidency. we remain ahead of the pace set forth in the 108th congress. we've already held hearings on over 84% of president obama's judicial nominees this congress. while at this point in the 108th congress only 7 77% of president bush's nominees had their hearing. just this morning the judiciary committee reported five more nominees to the senate floor totaling over 77% of president obama's judicial nominees
receiving favorable votes out of our committee. that is compared to only 72% of president bush's judicial nominees receiving favorable outcomes at this point in the 108th congress. this indicates the bipartisan effort taking place to move consensus nominees forward despite what we hear from the other side about obstruction and delay. the advice and consent function of the senate is a critical step in the process. in federalist papers 76, alexander hamilton wrote, "for what purpose then require the cooperation of the senate? i answer: that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful vot though in general operation. it would be an excellent check on the spirit of favortism in the president and would prevent unfit characters from state prejudices, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view of
popularity." that's the end of the quote of alexander hamilton federalism paper 76. so let me say in other words about what hamilton said, the senate has a role in preventing the appointment of judges who are simply political favorites of the president or of those who are not qualified to serve as federal judges. so let me remind my colleagues of what then-senator obama stated about this duty. six years ago in connection with the attempted filibuster of jan is rogers brown, our president now, then senator, said this -- "now, the test of a qualified judicial nominee is not simply whether they're intelligent. some of us who attended law school or were in business know that there are a lot of real smart people out there whom you would not put in charge of stuff. the test of bhej a judge is
qualified to be a judge is not their intelligence. it is their judgment." end of quote. a few months later on january 26, 2006, when debating the alito nomination, then-senator obama said this. quote -- "there are some who believe that the president, having won the election, should have the complete authority to appoint his nominee and the senate should only examine whether or not the justice is intellectually capable and an all-around nice guy. that once you get beyond intellect and personal character, there should be no further question whether the judge should be confirmed. i disagree with this view. i believe firmly that the constitution calls for the senate to advise and consent. i believe that it calls for a meaningful advice and consent
that includes examination of judges' philosophy, ideology, and record." end of quote of then-senator obama. so you can see some differences between what senator obama said son a couple different occasions on the senate floor and also how there's some disagreement with what alexander hamilton said in "the federalist" papers 76. so our inquiry of the qualifications of the nominee must be more than intelligence, a pleasant personality, and a prestigious clerkship. at the beginning of this congress, i articulated my standard ofs for judicial nominees. i want to ensure that the men and women who are appointed to a lifetime position in the federal judiciary are qualified to serve. factors i consider important include intellectual ability, respect for the constitution, if i dilt to the law, personal
integrity, appropriate judicial judgment, and professional competence. in applying these standards, i have demonstrated good faith in ensuring fair consideration of judicial nominees. i've worked with the majority to confirm consensus nominees. however, as i've stated more than once, the senate must not place quantity confidence over quality confirmed. these lifetime appointments are too important to the federal judiciary and the american people to simply rubber stamp them. although we have had a long run of confirming consensus nominees, two of the nominees on which we are about to vote come with some reservation. ms. nathan and judge hickey both have had limited experience in the courtroom. they have failed to meet even the minimum qualifications that the a.b.a. says is -- that it uses in rating process. the standing committees of the a.b.a.'s guidelines provide --
quote -- "a perspective nominee to the federal bench ordinarily should have at least 12 years experience in the practice of law." end of quote. but they go on to further state, quote, "substantial courtroom and trial experience as a lawyer or trial judge are important." end of a.b.a. quote. i want to emphasize that the american bar association 12-year standard is not an absolute. however, it is a benchmark that we can use to evaluate the experiences of various nominees. as i have said in the past, being appointed to a federal district judge should be a capstone of an illustrious career. federal judges should have significant courtroom and trial experience as a litigator or a judge. i would note that last week at our hearing judge scalia -- justice scalia expressed concern about the decline in the quality of federal judges. with regard to the two
nonconsensus nominations before us today, i voted to advance them out of the judiciary committee so that the full senate could evaluate their qualifications. however, both of these nominees received votes in opposition in our committee. after they were reported we had our second opportunity to examine their records and unfortunately, i am unable to support them on the floor. i am, however, pleased to support the nomination of katharine f. forrest to be united states district judge for the southern district of new york. in ms. nathan's case she graduated from law school only 11 years ago and has been admitted to the practice of law for only eight years. her questionnaire states she served as associate counsel on approximately six trial court litigation matters, most of the significant litigation she lists is from her current position in the new york slitter general's office.
in addition i'm concerned about her views on second amendment rights, on the death penalty, on the use of foreign oil and remarks regarding the bush administration's war on terror. judge hickey has served as a state court judge for about one year. were questionnaire indicates she has presided over two criminal bench trials, a speedy d.w.i. case and a second speeding case. prior to that she spent about seven are years as a senior law clerk, western district of arkansas. early in her career, 1981 to 1984 she cause staff attorney with murphy oil company. all together i'm not sure we can get to 1 years of legal judicial experience, a minimum that the american bar association committee says a nominee to the courts should have. furthermore, judge hickey has no litigation experience. she has tried no cases. i want to be very clear here, i'm not denigrating the career choices of these nominees nor am
i arguing that the experience they have is unrelated to service as a federal judge. what i am saying is that they do not have enough experience and this is not the place for on-the-job training. i'll insert a full statement into the record and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection, it shall be. mr. durbin: mr. president, my republican colleagues have come to the floor to criticize president obama for his handling of terrorism cases. they have argued regularly and consistently that terrorism suspects should never be intergated by the f.b.i. and should not be prosecuted in
america's criminal courts but instead they argue they should only be held in military detention and prosecuted in military commissions. today i've noticed no one on the republican side has come to the senate throor to make those arguments -- floor to make those arguments. why not? it may be because yesterday umar farouk abdel pled guilty in federal court to trying to explode a bomb in his underwear on christmas day, 2009. the suspect is expected to serve a life sentence. i want to commend the men and women at the justice department and the f.b.i. for their work on this case. america is a safer country today thanks to them. my colleagues on the other side were very critical of the f.b.i.'s decision to give miranda warnings to abdel
motaleb. let me quote from the minority leader when he said on the floor of the senate, and i quote, "he was given a 50-minute interrogation, and the senator went on to say" probably larry king has interrogated people longer and better than that. after which he was assigned a lawyer who told him to shut up." end up of quote from senator mcconnell. an interesting statement but here are the fact. experienced counterterrorism agents from the f.b.i. interrogated abdel when he arrived in detroit. according to the justice department, during the initial interrogation, if the f.b.i. obtained information that proved use envelope the fight against al qaeda. after this initial interrogation, abdel economy tal ebb refused to cooperate further with the f.b.i. only then after he stopped
talking about they give him a miranda warning. what the f.b.i. did in this case was nothing new. during the bush administration the f.b.i. consistently gave miranda warnings to terrorists detained in the united states. here's what attorney general holder said, and i quote, "across many administrations both before and after 9/11, the consistent well-known, lawful, and public-stated policy of the f.b.i. has been to provide miranda warnings prior to any custodial interrogation conducted inside the united states." end of quote. in fact, under the bush administration they adopted new policies for the f.b.i. that say, quote, "within the united states miranda warnings are required to be given for custodial interest gaitions." end of quote. let's take one example from the bush administration, richard reid known as the shoe bomber. reid tried to detonate an explosive on in his shoe on a
flight from pair toys miami in 2001. similar to the atact by another foreign trivet who also tried to detonate a bomb on a plane. how does the bush administration's handling of the shoe bomber compare with the obama administration's handling of the underwear bomber? the bush administration detained richard reid as a drill, gave him a miranda warning within five minutes of being removed from the airplane and reminded him of his miranda rights four times in the first 48 hours he was detained. later abdel metalla began providing valuable citizens. director robert mueller for whom i have the highest respect, described it this way, and i quote, "over a period of time, we had been successful in obtaining intelligence not just on day one but on gay-day two, three, four, and five down the road." now, how did that happen? how did the f.b.i. get even more
information from this suspect after they gave the miranda warning? the obama administration convinced his family to come to the united states and his family persuaded him to start talking to the f.b.i. that's a very different approach than we've heard in previous administrations. sometimes when a detainee refused to talk in the bush administration, in some isolated cases there were extreme techniques used to try to get information from him. such as waterboarding. but real-life -- real life isn't the tv show "24." on tv when jack bower tortures somebody the suspect immediately admits everything he knows. here's what we learned during the previous administration. in real life, when people are tortured, they'll lie. they'll lie and say anything to make the pain stop. oftentimes they provide false information, not valuable
intelligence. richard clark was senior counterterrorism advisor to president clinton and president george w. bush. here's what he said about the obama administration's approach. "the f.b.i. is good at getting people to talk. they've been much more successful of previous attempts of torturing people and trying to get information that way." end of quote. many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle argued that abdel metaleb should have been held in military detention as a enemy gatt combath pant. here's what attorney general holder said. since the 2001 attacks the practice of the u.s. government followed by prior and current administrations without a single exception has been to arrest and detain under federal criminal law all terrorist suspects who are apprehended inside the united states." end of quote. many of my republican colleagues also argue that terrorists like
metaleb should be tried in military commissions because courts are not well suited to prosecuting terrorists. that argument is simply wrong. look at the facts. since 9/11, more than 200 terrorists have been successfully prosecuted and convicted in our federal courts. here are just a few of the terrorists convicted in federal courts and are serving long prison sentences. ramseyy receive --, yusef of the world trade center bombing. the blind sheik, the 20th 9/11 hijacker, richard reid, ted kaz ini ask, the unabomber, terry nichols, the oklahoma city coconspirator. compare it with military commissions. since 9/11, four have been convicted by military commissions. more than 200 in the courts,
four in military commissions. and two of those individuals spent less than a year in prison, having been found guilty by a military commission, spent less than a year in prison, are now living freely in their home countries of australia and yemen. clen general colin powell, the secretary of state under president bush, supports prosecuting terrorists in courts. "the suggestion somehow a military commission is the way to go isn't borne out by the way to go boinch out. military commissions are an unproven venue unlike federal courts. former bush administration department officials james car bombe and jack goldsmith also support prosecuting in federal court. they say "there is great uncertainty about the military commission's validity. this has led to many legal
challenges that will continue indefinitely. by contrast there is no question about the legitimacy of u.s. federal courts to incapacitate terrorists." end of quote. i say to my colleagues after a steady parade of speeches on this senate floor by the senate republican leader and others about how we cannot trust our federal court system to prosecute terrorists, how we should take care to never let the f.b.i. do this important job, the facts speak otherwise. in detroit in the federal court, we should give credit where it's due. the f.b.i. did its job. our courts did their job. the department of justice prosecutors did their job. he pled guilty because the evidence was overwhelmingly against him, he was convicted openly in the court of america which is an important message to send to the rest of the world and he will pay a heavy price, a life sentence, for his
terrible attempt to down an aircraft in the united states. to argue that military commissions are the only way to go in our article three courts as a venue for terrorism is wrong is not proven by the facts, the evidence or the most recent information coming forward. by hope-- i would hope that somy colleagues who are now holding up the defense authorization bill on this issue will at least be hesitant to argue their case now that the abdulmutallab prosecution has been successfully completed. over 200 terrorists successfully prosecuted in america' america'. my message it them is you use the court, use the agency you think will be most effective in protecting america. congress should not tie the hands of any president when it comes to this important
prosecution and this success that we've seen in detroit is evidence that if we give to a president, whether it is a republican or democratic president, the tools to prosecute those accused of terrorism, they can use them wisely, sometimes in military commissions but more often in our court system. an open system that says to the world, we can bring the suspected terrorists to justice and do it in a fashion consistent with american values. i hope all myself colleagues, democrats and republicans, will join me in commending the justice department and the f.b.i. for their success in bringing abdulmutallab to justice. and i sincerely hope this case will cause some members of the body to reconsider their opposition to handling terrorism in the criminal justice system. mr. president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant majority leader. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. officer sphe without objection. mr. durbin: ask consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: wowcts. mr. durbin: the events this week are an indication that much remains to be done here in washington to deal with the state of our economy. with 14 million americans out of work, it is high time that both political parties find a way to develop a plan to move this country forward and to create jobs. when the president spoke to congress a little over four weeks ago, he laid out at least rt foundation of a plan and later provided the details. but time and again president obama has said to the republican
leadership, i am open to your ideas. bring them forward. let's put them in a combined effort to make america a stronger nation and to find our way out of this recession. imu, unfortunately, we've not -- but, unfortunately, we've not heard suggestions from the other side. we had an important vote tuesday night and sadly the republican filibuster prevailed. republicans, because they didn't want to move the president's bill to consideration on the floor of the united states senate, voted every single one of them against president obama's effort to put america back to work. i don't think that that's going to be a position which is easily defended back home. whether you agree or disagree with president obama, the american people expect democrats and republicans to enter a dialogue to help this country. we have to give on the democratic side. they should be prepared togy on the republican side. and let's try to find some common ground. there are just too many instances here where we fight to a faceoff and then leave. and the suggestion that
yesterday's efforts to pass three free trade agreements with korea, panama, and colombia are going to turn the economy around just, i'm not sure are even close to being accurate. i supported two of those trade agreements, and i think they will help create jobs and business opportunities in america in the longer run. but in the near term, not likely so. what we need to do is to work on thongs that have been proven to be successful -- work on things that have been proven to be successful to manufacture this economy forward. let's start with the basics. working families struggle from paycheck to paycheck. working families don't have enough known get by. they're using food pantries and other help to survive in this very tough economy. so president obama said the first thing we need to do is to give a payroll tax cut so they have more money. in illinois, where the average income is about $53,000 a year, it is the equivalent of about $15,000 a year for working
families. that's about $130 a a month, which many senators may not notice but people who are struggling to fill up the gas gs tank and put the kids in school could use $130 a month. the president thinks that's an important part of getting america back on its feet and back to work. i support it. that was one of the elements stopped by the republican filibuster on tuesday night. the second thing that the president proposes is that we give tax breaks to businesses, particularly small businesses, to create an incentive for them to hire the unemployed. starting with our returning veterans. it is an embarrassment to think that these men and women went overseas and risked their lives fighting an enemy and now have to come home and fight for a job. we ought to be standing by them, helping them to get to work. and that's one of the elements in the president's bill that was also defeated by the republican filibuster on tuesday night. the president went on to say, we ought to be investing our money in america. if we put people to work, let's build things that have long-term value. one of the things he suggested
was school modernization. i visited some schools around my state, and i'm sure in the state of colorado amends other places there are plenty of school districts struggling because the tax base has been eroded by declining real estate values and these districts need a helping hand. when i went to martin grove and visited a middle school there, great teachers doing the best they can in classrooms where the ceiling tiles are falling from the ceiling and where the boiler room should be labeled an an teak shop because it is a 50- or 660-year-old operation. we ought to be buying new equipment and installing it here in our schools in america so they can serve us for many dwreers come. the same thing holds true when investing in our infrastructure. make no mistake, our competitors around the world are building their infrastructure to beat the united states and those who want us to retreat in this battle are going to be saddened by the
consequences if they have their way. president obama said invest this money nut pg americans to work -- in putting americans to work, rebuild our schools, build our neighborhoods, and n. a way that serves us for years to come. the president is also sensitive to the fact that in many parts of the america, including illinois, there are school districts and towns that have had to lay off teachers and firefighters and policemen. doesn't make us any safer and it doesn't make our schools any more effective. part of the president's jobs package is to make sure that those teachers as well as policemen and firefighters are -- at least some of their jobs will be saved. in illinois, over 14,000 of those jobs will be saved by the president's bill. now, what really brings this bill it a screeching halt in the debate is the fact that the president said, we should pay for this. let's come up with the money that's going to pay for the things that i just described and his proposal is a simple one. it says that those who make over $1 million a year will pay a
surtax of 5.6% -- over $1 million a year in income. that's over $20,000 a week in income, and these folks would pay 5.6% surtax, and that surtax would pay for the jobs bill. if the jobs bill worked -- and i believe it will -- i can guarantee you that a thriving american economy is going to be to the benefit of those same wealthy people. so asking them to sacrifice a little in this surtax is not too much to ask. unfortunately, although some 59% of republicans -- republicans -- support this millionaire surtax, not one of them serves in the united states senate. we need to have a bipartisan effort to make sure this is paid for in a reasonable way. the alternative we've heard from the other side that mounted this filibuster against president obama's jobs bill is that we ought to return to the old ways of doing things -- tax cuts for wealthy people, not new tax
burdens but tax cuts for wealthy people. they argue that the people who make over $1 million a year are the job creators. that's a phrase they use, job creators. a survey came out yesterday from the general accounting office and when it said was 1% dpsh 1% -- of those making over $1 million a year actually own small businesses. most of them are investors. and although there's i'm sure worthy calling of being an investor, they are not the job creators that they're described to be. so i would say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, this notion of protecting those making over $1 million a year at the expense of a jobs program to move america forward is backwards. we have got to come together and i hope we can start as early as neck we week. we have got to find provisions in this jobs bill we can agree on. i hope that the republicans would agree that we should modernize our schools and build our own infrastructure in this country. i hope that they agree that we shouldn't shortchange our schools and our communities when
they need teachers and policemen and firefighters. i hope that they would agree that it's a national priority to put our returnin returning veteo work. i think that should be a bipartisan issue. but the filibuster this week that stopped the president's jobs bill has really stopped the discussion. the trade bills yesterday won't make up the difference. we have to focus on putting americans to work with good-paying jobs right here in our nation. new consumer demand for goods and services which will help businesses at every single level. the president has put his proposal forward, has challenged our friends on the other side of the aisle to step up and put their proposals forward. my suspicion that most people in america would be delighted to see a breakthrough in washington, d.c., where democrats and republicans actually sit down i at the same table. we can do this. in order to do it, we have to give on both sides and we have to forget about the election that's going to occur in
november 2012 and focus on the state of america's economy right now in october of 2011. if we put aside the campaign considerations and focus on the economy, i think we can get a lot done. i trust that there are some on the other side of the aisle who feel the same way. i hope they will break from their leadership on this filibuster and join us in this effort. mr. president, before i yield the floor, i have six unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. with the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask consent these quarterbacks agreed to and -- i ask consent that these requests be agreed to and present printed in the record. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. durbin: i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: i'd like to speak a few moments on the nomination of alison nathan to be united states district court judge for the southern district of new york. this is a highly important position, one of the more prestigious courts in the country that handles some of the nation's most complex cases, and it's my observation having practiced over 15 years full time trying cases before federal
judges 25 the office is of extreme importance and you need good judgment, good experience, good integrity, proven stability before you give a person a lifetime appointment for such an office. it's just an important matter. and i vote for -- overwhelmingly a vote for the nominees of the president, i believe in giving the president deference to -- in those nominations, but i do believe we need to hold the presidents accountable and to scrutinize the nominations in a fair way, and to not hesitate to push back and say no if a nominee does not meet those requirements that are necessary to be a good judge. i believe ms. nathan is one of a number of president obama's nominees who believe that
american judges should look to foreign law in deciding cases and she has other indications that suggest that she is not committed in a deep and understanding way to the oath that federal judges take, and that oath is that you serve under the constitution and under the laws of the united states. that's so simple and so basic that it goes almost without saying, but it is a part of the historic oath that judges take. and i believe that both and that commitment to serving under the united states constitution, under united states laws, is critical to the entire foundation of the american rule of law. it's so magnificent, we have the greatest legal system in the world, and by and large our federal judges are just
magnificent. and it is a strength both for liberty and civil rights and economic prosperity that we maintain a judiciary has a high level. so one of the things that causes me concern, there's several but this one i'll just mention, is her belief that american judges should look to foreign law in deciding cases. i mean this is not a little bitty matter. it's a matter of real national import. it owe offends people, some people, nonlawyers get offended, they think they shouldn't do that and they are right. but just because people are upset about it and get angry about it doesn't mean it's not a deep, legitimate concern and can be a disqualifying factor in whether a person should be on the bench or not. what law do they follow?
united states law or foreign law? so, in a book chapter published less than two years ago, ms. nathan suggested that the cases leading up to the supreme court case of roper versus simmons which was a death penalty case, showed legal progress and in roper the court held that it is unconstitutional to impose a death penalty even for the most heinous crime if the defendant is under the age of 18 years. now, as a matter of policy, i'm not sure we should be executing people under 18, although a lot of people think that certain crimes are so bad that they ought to be executed. we can disagree. that's a political decision. the question is, does the constitution prohibit that? i suggest it does not.
but if it does, it ought to be interpreted in light of its own words and the laws of the united states. but the own constitution -- the own import of the constitution of the united states. ms. nathan seemed to commend the decision, however, on a different basis in her book. she commended it for, quote, "elaborating upon relevant international and foreign law sources and defending the relevance of the court's consideration of those sources" close quote. when describing justice kennedy's change of opinion on the issue, he reversed himself, she said it was, quote, "a change that can be
attributed to the international human rights advocacy and scholarship that has taken place outside the courtroom walls" close quote. she also praised the roper attorneys for their, quote, "strategic and savvy reference to international norms" in litigating the case and she asserted that the strategies, quote, "effectiveness" holds promise and lessons for the future advancement of international law." well, she went further and suggested that the reason the supreme court does not look to foreign law more often is because the justices simply do not understand international law
arguments. she is been practicing law about ten years -- nine, i guess at the time she wrote this, so she knows more about the issues realing to international law than the justices that have been on the bench for decades, many of them constitutional professors. rather than demonstrating a knowledge that the judge must serve on the united states constitution and u.s. law, she -- in recognizing that has no place in deciding what our constitution means, she stated -- quote -- "as these trends" -- in international law -- "continue, surely the court will increase its understanding and internationalization of international human rights law arguments." close quote. and then she concluded in this book -- quote -- "the presence
of the chinese official delegation i at the supreme cout on the day of the roper arguments wonderfully symbolized the rich dialogue between international and constitutional norms." so what she is calling for there is a dialogue presumably between chinese law, international law, and constitutional norms, pretty plainly -- in a book, not just an offthe comment -- offthe cuff comment. but in a serious book about her philosophy and approach to law. and i am troubled by that. i believe judges have to be bound. they're not free to impose their view. and justice scalia and others have criticized -- devastated, really -- this international law
argument. there's no -- in my view, the debate that's gone forward in circles, including the academy and law schools, has clearly been a victory for the people who understand that it's our constitution. we didn't adopt the laws of china, if they are real estate ever enforced, which they're not, except by the government when it suits them. bought bought we didn't adopt laws in france. we didn't adopt laws in italy or brazil, yugoslavia. that's not what binds us. that's nolt what judges serve under. they serve under our law. i think it's -- it is a dangeroudangerous philosophy tht strikes at the heart of what the anglo-american rule of law is all about; that law is adopted by the people of the united
states, and that's the law judges must enforce, laws passed by the people of the united states. reliance on foreign law, i believe, has been shown to be nothing more than a tool that activist judges who seek to reach outcomes they desire utilize. it's just a way to get out from under the meaning of u.s. law. else, why do you cite it? if they cannot find a basis for their decisions in american law and legal tradition, they just look to the laws and norms of foreign countries to justify their condition, as justice scalia aptly described it and he's hammered this theory, courts employing foreign larks including his own court, the u.s. supreme court, are merely -- quote -- "looking over the
heads of the crowd to pick out their friends." what did i mean by that? he means, the law -- the foundation, principles of deciding cases, if you don't like what you find here in the united states, you look out over their heads and you find somebody in italy or spain, or china or where ever and you say, well, we need to interpret our law in light of what they do in germany. how bogus is that as an intellectual legal argument? judges who engage in this type of activism violate their judicial oath, i believe. the oath is to serve under our constitution and our laws. it requires judges to evaluate cases in that fashion, not the laws of other countries. other countries don't have the
same legal heritage we have. they don't value the same liberties and the same fundamental freedoms that are enshrined in our constitution. the decisions of foreign courts have absolutely no bearing on a decision of a judge in a u.s. court. and nominees who disagree with that really fundamentally can disqualify themselves to the bench. it's very hard for me to believe that i should vote to confirm a judge who is not committed to following our law, who believes they have a right to scrutinize the world, find some law in some other country and bring it home and use that law so they can achieve a result in a case they want.
there are a number of other concerns i have with ms. nathan's record, not the least of which are her views on individual rights to bear arms. you know, we have a constitutional amendment on the right to keep and bear arms, the right to keep and bear arms shall noting abridged. that's an odd thing compared to france or germany or red china. but it's our law. we expect judges to follow it whether they like it or not. that's what our constitution says. suffice to say, i believe her record evidences an activist viewpoint. perhaps if she had more legal experience, she would have a better understanding of the role of a judge. she has only become a lawyer in 2000, 11 years ago. and she has had limited time in a courtroom.
evidently, the american bar association recognizes this. the a.b.a. gives ratings to judges and a minority of the members of that committee, not the majority, but a minority have rated her "not qualified." and frankly they're a pretty liberal group, so i don't know that it's so much her view on some of these issues, but it 0 probably is more to an actual evaluation of the kind of experience and background she brings as to whether or not she would be qualified to sit on an important federal district court bench in new york -- southern district of new york, one of the premier trial benches in the world, in america, and i think that's -- that is a matter that we should think about as we evaluate it. so this is a very serious shortcoming for a number of
reasons. litigating in court is valuable experience. it provides insight to someone who would be a judge. it helps make them a better judge if they've had that experience, and an understanding that words have meaning and consequences. when you see people get prosecuted for perjury, or you see million dollar contracts decided this way or that way based on the plain meaning of words, you learn to respect words. some of these people out of law schools with their activist philosophy seem to think a judge has the right to allow the empathy and their feelings to intervene and decide cases based on something other than the words of the contract or the word word of the constitution. it is an unhealthy threat to american law. indeed, it's what president obama has said a number of tim times: he believes judges hue should allow their empathy to help them
decide cases. what is empathy? their personal views. who do you have empathy for? depends on who you like, before you come on the bench. so you're deciding cases based on factors other than the objective facts of the case. and i believe the practice of law is a real legal testing ground in which persons can prove their judgment, integrity over time. it also provides a maturing experience where one learns the import of decisions and how cases turn out and how it impacts their clients. finally, i would note -- well, i'll just say, seasoned lawyers develop reputations. when you've seen nem in court many times and they've had experience there, people know if
they've got good judgment. you know if they're solid. if you know they're men and women of integrity. and you have that opportunity to establish a reputation. in such a short period of time in practicing law and some odd positions she's taken over the years, i think justify raising serious questions about her understanding of the role of a judge in our system. i would note that the concerned women for america, the judicial action group oppose this nomination n a letter sent to all senators today, the concerned women for america neated that ms. tha nathan's bis are so ingrain grained and so much the main thrust of her career that it's not rational to believe that she will suddenly change once confirmed as a judge. rather, it is reasonable to conclude she would use her position to implement her own
political ideology." so i have reached the view that the factors i've note - noted -r open defense of the idea that judges can use sources other than our law to decide cases and her lack of experience and proven record of good judgment and legal skill, the fact that the a.b.a. minority said she was not qualified to be on the bench justifies a vote in opposition to this nomination. i won't block the nomination. we'll have her up-and-down vote. but i do think, in my best judgment -- and that's all i have, my best judgment of looking at the resume, looking at how thin her experience is, her position on a number of
issues -- indicates to me that she has the real potential to be an activist judge, not faithful to the law. for that reason, i will vote "no." i would note the absence of a quorum. oh, excuse me, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. bosnia bosnia thank you, mr. president. i would agree with the senator from alabama. it is so important that we -- bose bose thank you, mr. president. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. president. i would agree with the senator from alabama. judge hickey's distinguished career reflects her pursuit to serve the interest of justice, as an attorney and now a circuit judge in my home state of arkansas, she haserned the respect of the -- she has earned theern of the arkansas legal community and proven she is devoted to fulfilling this important role.
i am confident in a judge hickey's extensive experience with the legal system will serve her well in the federal bench. her confirmation would fill the seat of retired judge harry barnes, whom she clerked for before her appointment as circuit judge of the 13th judicial district. she also worked in a private law firm following her graduation from the university of arkansas school of law and also served as an in-house counsel. judge hickey has strong bipartisan support for a good reason: she established herself as a dedicated public servant who supposes a strong work ethic and commitment to a fair and impartial legal system. her experience, her impartial demeanor and reputation amongst her peers give me faith that judge hickey will do a great job as the u.s. district judge for the western district of arkansas. when she was nominated for this
position, arkansans from all across the state expressed their support for her confirmation. i am honored to recommend that the senate confirm judge susan hickey as a juice district judge for the western district of arkansas. i am confident that her experience and judicial temperament make her the right person to serve arkansas as a district judge. with that, i yield back, mr. president. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. pryor: i want to thank my colleague and expressing his approval for susan hickey to be a judge in the district of arkansas. she is exactly what we need in a federal judge in the fact you have both home state senators, one republican and one democrat supportive of the nomination, just begins to speak volumes
about the kind of person and the kind of reputation that susan hickey has. she's been in both the public sector and the private sector, she's worked in house with an oil company as senator boozman said, but she's also law clerked for a very, very solid and well-respected federal judge. she's now a state court judge in arkansas at the state trial court level, and she's handled 313 felony criminal cases since she's been on the bench. she just brings a lot of experience and she's exactly the kind of person we need to be on the federal bench. by say when i look at a judge candidate, a judge nominee, i always have three set of criteria. one is are they qualified? certainly she is. she brings very, very strong
qualifications and experience to this position. second, can she be fair and impartial? i think that is something that comes up with susan hickey over and over and over from her local bar down in south arkansas, from her -- from the people in the community, the folks that have dealt with her. they all say she is an extremely fair person and they have no doubt she will be impartial as she puts on that federal district court robe. and then does she have the proper judicial temperament is my third criteria and that obviously is subjective because judges -- that comes down to their personality and their style. but you want a federal judge who has great demeanor who is very good with the law but also very good with lawyers because obviously the a trial court, you have a lot of type a
personalities in the court, and you have to give the proper appearance to the jury. and that's critically important for a -- for a district court judge. i would say absolutely, yes, she has the right judicial temperament. i would strongly urge all of my colleagues to vote favorably for susan hickey. like i said, she's handled 1,690 total matters in the federal court since she's been a law clerk there, 313 total felony cases have been disposed of in her trial court in south arkansas down in el dorado, she has very solid legal experience and the bottom line is she just is a good person and people like her and respect her and they trust her, and i think when our founding fathers put together the federal judiciary this was the kind of person they wanted.
she reflects the values and the attitudes of that part of the state. she's smart, she's hard working, she's going to be fair and really we couldn't ask a whole lot more for any federal judge in any district and certainly she's going to do a great job down there. i'm proud to be joined by my friend and colleague from arkansas to support this nomination. if we support her and if we confirm her today, we will be joining thousands and thousands of people in south arkansas who have supported her and we've had hundreds, i know, express support for her into my office and i'm certain senator boozman has had many, many support in his office as well. so mr. president, with that i would encourage my colleagues to give her a very strong consideration. she has been rated unanimously qualified by the american bar
association. there again, i think that the fact that both home state senators support her, the american bar association supports her, the arkansas bar, not the association because they don't do those type of endorsements but every lawyer i've talked to who knows susan hickey thinks she will do an outstanding job. mr. president, with that i'd like to ask my colleagues to vote for her and appreciate your consideration on that. with that, i yield the floor, and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. schumer: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. and i rise to speak today in support of two excellent nominees for the bench from the southern district of new york. these two women, alison j.
nathan and katherine forrest, have different backgrounds but each in her own way represents the best that the new york bar has to offer. katherine forrest is a young lawyer but extraordinarily accomplished lawyer whose practice has been particularly well-suited to the needs of litigants in the southern descrirkt. she was born in new york city, received her b.a. from wesleyan university and her law degree from n.y.u. law school, one of the best in the country. she has spent the majority of her career in private practice at the prestigious top-line firm of corvaath, swain, and moore. she currently serves as the deputy assistant attorney general in the antitrust division of the dwpt of justice where i know she is very well-regarded and has served with great distinction. i look forward to miss forrest's
transition from one position of service to our country to the oamplet i also rise in support of alison nathan and i would like to counter some of the arguments that have been made against her on the floor today. first, alison nathan has tremendous legal experience, albeit that she is young. she is a gifted young lawyer who new yorkers would be fortunate to have on the bench, hopefully for a long time. while she is a native of philadelphia, she has called new york city her home for sometime. she graduated at the top of her class from both cornell university and cornell law school where she was editor in chief of the cornell law review. she worked as a litigator for four years at the preeminent firm of which will mehr hale and has also served in two of the three branches of government. she clerked for bete fletcher and then for supreme court justice john paul stevens. recently she served with
distinction as a special assistant to president obama and an associate white house counsel. she is currently special counsel to the solicitor general of new york. now, that is a world of experience. it is hard to find better experience from somebody being nominated to the bench. some of my colleagues have said, well, her rating from the a.b.a. wasn't as good because -- and that was based on experience, that's what the a.b.a. does -- they claim, these colleagues, that ms. neigh thans lacks the majority to be a judge because only a majority rated her qualified. ms. that i unanimous has the same qualification ratings as bush administration judges that this body confirmed. specifically, the senate confirmed 33 of president bush's nominees with ratings equal to
ms. nathan, including mark fuller and keith watkins of alabama, virginia watkins of the northern district of alabama, paul casell, david murray of arizona. mr. president, are we going to have a different standard for ali nathan than for other judges? i sure hope not. then some have brought up only recently -- actually, very recently -- the thought that ms. nathan would apply foreign law to our own laws. that is patently false to say that ms. nathan has suggested or that she believes it is appropriate for u.s. judges to rely on foreign law. or that she herself would ever consider doing so. to the contrary, she explicitly -- said explicitly in response to written questions from senator grassley -- quote -- "if i were confirmed as the united
states district court judge, foreign law would have no relevance to my interpretation of the u.s. constitution." let's go through that quote again. this is in reference to a question from senator grassley. quote -- "if i were confirmed as united states district court judge, foreign law would have no relevance" -- no relevance, my emphasis -- "to my interpretation of the u.s. constitution." my colleagues are also wrong that ms. nathan has in the past relied on foreign law herself or suggested that courts shoob should do so. in the baise v. reid case, she merely described the fact that oh, including a law school clerk and human rights watch, had argue ed in the their own beliefs that international law could be considered when dealing with questions of pain and suffering. similarly, in her analysis of the roper case, ms. nathan made an observation about p what the supreme court had done.
specifically, that the supreme court had cited foreign law as nondispositive support for their conclusion about the national consensus in the u.s. about the death penalty. that my colleagues have jumped from these two instances in which ms. nathan described other people's opinions to conclusions about ms. neigh thans own belief leads me to ask: are judicial candidates not allowed to describe the arguments that others have made in that would be rather absurd and i can't imagine it's the outcome my colleagues would want, but it is the one their arguments naturally lead to. finally, an national security, where again some from the outside who have criticized ms. nathan have brought up national security, here is what she has said. i think it is important for a federal district judge to follow the supreme court. it is important to our national
security for there to be judges who follow the law in this area -- national security -- to the extent questions come before them and that congress act as it has in this area. unquote. that is good reason that she is supported by all the law clerks she served with, including those of justices thomas, scalia, kennedy, and o'connor. and they obviously -- those justices are not justices that agree with some of the other justices on the court, but their law clerks uniformly supported ali nathan. so i would urge urg my colleaguo support alison j. nathan as well as katherine forrest. with that, i yield the floor and note the the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the question is now on the for forrest nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, motions to reconsider are considered made and laid on the table. the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. the senate will resume legislative session. mr. reid: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business, senators be allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each during that time. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. kirk: i ask unanimous
consent to proceed as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kirk: mr. president, with regard to our policy towards iran and the recent revelation of a potential attack involving not just foreign embassies and ambassadors but americans, potentially senators being killed by a plot hatched by the eye rainian revolutionary guard, there should be consequences, not just concerns expressed from the administration. we have witnessed a growing aggressiveness by the iranian regime towards the united states and towards their own people. for example, recently, an iranian actress who appeared uncovered in an australian film was then sentenced to 90 lashes for her so-called crime. with regard to the 330 baha'is, a religious minority in iran, first they were excluded from all public contracting.
then they were told all of their children had to leave iranian universities. and then all of their home addresses were registered in secret by the iranian interior ministry. i would suggest that we have seen this movie before in a different decade wearing different uniforms, but this is the bureaucracy necessary to carry out a kristanok in farsi. we have seen the world's first blogger thrown into jail simply for expressing tolerance towards other peoples and other religions, and probably most emblematic, we saw the jailing of a young mother and a lawyer whose sole crime was to represent sharin abadi, a nobel
prize winner, in the courts of iran. we hear and watch unclassified reports of an acceleration of uranium enrichment in iran. we even have the irony, according to the international monetary fund, that despite comprehensive united nations and u.s. sanctions, according to the i.m.f., iran had greater economic growth last year than the united states, and that the iranian indebtedness is only a fraction of u.s. indebtedness. according to the i.m.f., the united states owes about 70% of its g.d.p. in debt held by the public. for iran, only 5.5%. now, the united states has enacted a new round of sanctions against iran. president obama signed it into law last year. 410 votes in the house, unanimous in the senate. i worked for many years on a
predecessor to that legislation when i was a member of the house. the record of the administration and especially our very able under secretary of the treasury david coen has been very good at implementing that bill. he has been very successful in reducing former banking contacts between american, european and asian banks and iran, but it's very important when we look at the situation of how to deal with iran that we not see it from washington's view looking towards eye ran, in which you see an awful lot of banks and an awful lot of transactions shut down, but you look at it from tehran's view looking back at the united states and there you will see a very quickly growing iranian economy, a growing aggression against actresses sentenced to 90 lashes, nobel prize-winning attorneys thrown in jail, an accelerating nuclear
program, and then a decision by the head of the iranian revolutionary guards force to attack the united states. long ago, i thought it was a mistake to have the drug enforcement agency left outside of the u.s. intelligence community. luckily, we reversed that decision and we brought d.e.a. back into the intelligence community. it was a lucky strike that the person who was contacted by the agency to carry out an attack on the united states actually contacted a confidential informant working for the d.e.a. it was in that lucky break that we had the ability to break this plot. but if you read attorney general holder's complaint against the defendant involved, you will see -- i believe it is on page 12, a rendition of how if you could not kill the ambassador outside the restaurant, it was perfectly okay with the quds force
operator that a bomb go off involving dozens if not only hundreds of americans killed. the bonus he thought that maybe a large number of senators would be involved, and if that was necessary to kill this ambassador, all the better. now, the treasury department has designated finally the head of the quds force under our law, but it is ironic that when you look at the comprehensive record of designations, the europeans who actually are not known for their strong-willed backbone on many international questions have had a far more far-reaching effect on calling it the way they see it in iran. both europe and america now have a regime to bring forward sanctions and designations against iranians who are -- quote -- "comprehensive abusers of human rights, but currently our government has only designated 11 iranians where the
european union has designated over 60. one of the people missed by our administration is the president of iran, mahmud ahmadinejed, who often talks about ending the state of israel. probably the only head of state of a member of the united nations who regularly talks about erasing another member of the united nations from the planet. we also have a designated president ahmadinejed's chief of staff. we haven't designated dozens of people that even the european union has designated as comprehensive abusers of human rights. so what should we do when we have uncovered a plot to attack the united states in which the highest levels of the iranian revolutionary guard quds force was involved? well, thank goodness for the d.e.a. and the rest of the law enforcement intelligence community of the united states, the plot was foiled, and so no
attack was carried out. in my mind, we should take the toughest action possible short of military action. and is there consensus in the congress behind what that action should be? i would argue yes. senator schumer and i this summer put forward what we feel is one of the real most crippling sanctions the united states could deliver against iran, and that is to ensure that any financial institution that has any contact with the central bank of iran be excluded from the u.s. market. because the united states is the largest economy on earth, we believe that nearly every financial institution on the planet will cut its ties to the central bank of iran. that most likely would cripple iran's currency and cause chaos within their economy. you know what? iran might actually even suffer a recession, which it currently
is not in, and i think that would be an appropriate price to pay. when senator schumer and i reached out to the senate to ask for support, i was very surprised at the answer, because all but eight senators signed our letter. 92 republicans and democrats signed a letter stating that it should be the policy of the united states to collapse the central bank of iran, to cripple its currency, and after what we learned this week of a plot to kill americans and to carry out terrorist attacks in the capital city of the united states, i think that represents appropriate consequences, not just concerns. we heard from the administration this morning, and while i was encouraged by the diligent work especially of the treasury department, i was concerned about another thing. there are press reports that the administration learned about this plot in june, and only
revealed it to us therefore yesterday. so the administration has had months to understand what this plot meant and plan for the consequences, and yet except for minor actions against a small airline in iran called mahan airways, except for actually designating the head of the iranian revolutionary guard's quds force, we have no comprehensive action by the united states. my recommendation to this house and to the administration is you should take yes for an answer. with 92 republicans and democrats all standing behind an effort to collapse the central bank of iran, this is the appropriate sanction. on top of that, we have the menendez bipartisan legislation to close loopholes in the sanctions, already cosponsored by 76 senators. this is a tough time of
partisanship in washington. you don't get bipartisan issues like this that often. i am surprised that having known about this plot since june, the administration hasn't already put forward action, but i would urge them to do so. this was not a multilateral attack by a collection of countries on the united states, and therefore i don't think we should wait for multilateral approval before the united states acts against the iranian revolutionary guard corps and the highest levels of the iranian government. we should designate the full list of comprehensive abusers of human rights the way the e.u. has done. we should exclude any financial institution from the united states that does business with the central bank of iran, and we should make sure that in the case of high-level iranian officials that have plotted an attack potentially involving dozens of american deaths right here in the capital city of the
united states, there should be severe consequences, they should be fairly swift, and we should not be miss taking our inaction for weakness in the face of what is one of the most brazen international acts we have seen in recent times. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. inhofe: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i be recognized for up to 20 minutes as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: let me just make one comment. the senator from illinois has -- i'm glad he said what he did. it is very significant. people don't look at iran as seriously as they should. you know, it's not even classified that iran is going to have the capability of having a weapon of mass destruction, a nuclear warhead and a delivery system by 2015. that was the very reason they were going to have ground-based
interceptor in poland so we could defend against something coming from that direction since all of our ground-based interceptors were on the west coast, alaska and southern california. i think when we see things like this, and the fact that they are coming out and doing things that they haven't done before, to me, that just tells me that our expectations of their nuclear capability are very true, and it's a very serious thing. that's not what i want to talk about, mr. president. in the wake of the defeat of the the -- of president obama's jobs bill, i want to give a couple of thoughts here and then talk about something we better look out for in the future. that jobs bill failed by a major -- a large margin, and we heard the president say pass the bill, pass the bill, pass the bill. well, we didn't pass the bill, and can i see why the president wants to consider a passing some kind of a jobs bill right away
when you stop and remember what he did with the last one. the last stimulus bill was $825 billion. this package was rammed through the congress shortly after he entered office. the recovery act as it was called included only about $27.5 billion. now, out of approximately $825 billion, only $27 billion for roads and highways. the occupier of the chair is very well aware of my concern over infrastructure in america. and i remember when that bill was on the floor. and senator boxer from california and i had an amendment to increase that amendment, it was only 3% of the total of $825 billion, would go to roads, highways, maintenance, bridges, and this type of thing. only 3%. we were trying to raise that up to 30%. now, if that had happened, just look at where we would be today. we would have the jobs, we had
all the shovel-ready jobs throughout america, certainly in my state of oklahoma our portion of that would be well spent. just distributed in the way that we had the formula in -- after the 2005 highway reauthorization bill. anyway, that actually was -- was only 3%, only $27 billion out of $825 billion. well, the one that we just defeated was a $447 billion stimulus bill. and it only had $27 billion in roads, highways, construction, maintenance, the things that really provide jobs, the things this country needs. i've been ranked as the most conservative member of the united states senate several different times in the past, and yet i readily say i'm a big spender in two areas. one, national defense and the other in infrastructure. i think that's what we're supposed to be doing here. and we are in a desperate
situation with our infrastructure around the country. so you might say well, if the president had the $825 billion stimulus package and only $27.5 billion went to roads and highways, what happened to the rest of it? the rest of it in spite of what he said -- i'm going to read what he said right after the passage of the bill and when he was signing the bill, the $825 billion stimulus bill, i'm quoting now, "what i'm signing then is a balanced plan with a mix of tax cuts and investments, it's a plan that's been put together without earmarks or the usual pork-barrel spending, a plan that will be implemented at an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability." you know, you stop and remember as i say, tell you what this actually went for. it's clear that the most recent example was this loan guarantee with solyndra. everyone in here is aware of what happened with solyndra.
they know that it was a -- a firm that was producing supposedly green energy, we know that the people that were behind this, this loan guarantee of $535 million were big contributors to the administration, and they went ahead and were able to get -- not bailed out but get their loan guaranteed, costing the taxpayers a half a billion dollars and that was part of what was in this bill. that's where the money was. the genesis of that was the $825 billion stimulus bill. now, i'm reminiscent a little bit of what happened back in the middle 1990's back when bill clinton was president of the united states. we had a very similar thing happen at that time. there was a company called the loral corporation. the loral corporation headed up by bernard schwartz. he was one of the biggest contributors of the democratic national party and of bill clinton.
well bernard schwartz, their company, the loral corporation, built a guidance system for a missile. so that that missile could be more accurate. now, because of some of the obvious reasons, even though china wanted to have that system so they would be able to guide their missiles more accurately for obvious reasons we didn't want them to have it and so we took a waiver, signed by the president of the united states, president bill clinton, did it. he signed the waiver and they got the money. i see similarities in here and i think, again, everyone is familiar with that. now, how do they get the money, where did it come from? the $825 billion in the -- the stimulus bill. so let's just look since the president gave that statement which i will read again, he said "while i'm signing, then -- what i'm signing, then, is a balanced plan with a mix of tax cuts and investments, a plan put together without earmarks
without the usual pork-barrel spending. what do you call the solyndra thing? that's pork-barrel spending. but what about the -- what about the earmarks? this is really a confusing thing for most people because my well-meaning conservative friends in the house of representatives a couple years ago put a one-year moratorium on earmarks and earmarks would be defined of course as appropriations or authorizations. now, by doing that, totally contradicts what the constitution, article 1, section 9, says what we're supposed to be doing here. it says we are supposed to be doing the appropriations, we're supposed to be doing the authorizations. that is specifically precluded from the president in the article that -- the article in the constitution. so it's one that was very, very obvious. now, we find out later that the person who was behind that was none other than president obama
and there's a reason for this. because most people don't understand there are two different kinds of earmarks. one is a congressional earmarks, where a congressman will put on, a lot times in the dark of night try to put something down that maybe is not in the best interests of the united states if it helps his district, that occasionally happens, that hasn't happen and under our system it won't happen if you require all appropriations to be authorized. but in addition to the congressional earmarks are bureaucratic earmarks, what the president can do. i'll give you an example. i'm on the armed services committee and the armed services committee, the president's budget comes out, he says what we should spend money on to defend america. well, a couple years ago before this moratorium that the republicans put on in the house, one of the lines that he had in his budget was $330 million for a launching system called a bucket of rockets. it was a good system and i would like to have that system for defending america.
but we thought in our committee that that same $330 million would be better spent on buying six new f a-18 e and f model strike fighters for our air force. well, we -- we could do that except that would be called an earmark. now, when you destroy an earmark you don't save any money. you say mr. president, we're not going to do it so you go ahead and you do this. so consequently, we were able to do -- to take the $330 million and put it into the six fa-18's, but after it passed it would be called an earmark so the president would have all the power. and if you look back at the $825 billion stimulus bill, look at some of the things that were in there. and he said he wasn't going to have ear parks. these are presidential earmarks, madam president.
$219,000 to study the hookup behavior of female college coedz in new york. $1.1 billion to pay for beautification of los angeles sunset boulevard, $10,000 to discover whether mice become disoriented, 720,000 to generate machine generated humor in illinois, $249,000 for foreign bus wheel polishers in california. on and on. a massachusetts middle school to build a solar array system on their roof, a million dollars to do research on fossils in argentina. and here's a good one. i don't attribute this to my two good friends who are senators from wyoming but it's a $1.2 million to build an underpass for deer in wyoming. now, that's what the president put in. those are all earmarks. so consequently i think what we're trying to get to here is, if he were -- had been
successful in the $447 billion stimulus bill just earlier this week, then we could anticipate the same type of thing happening. and i really want the conservatives in america to wake up to the fact that the problems we have when they talk about earmarks are not congressional earmarks. they are bureaucratic earmarks. it wasn't long ago that sean hannity on his show had a feature, i think it took him several nights to do it, he was -- it was the 102 most egregious earmarks. and he named all these earmarks one after another, went on and on and on, and i came down to the senate throor the morning after that and i read that same list. there were 102 earmarks very similar to what i just read. and the interesting thing about it and i said this on the senate floor at that time, what did all these 102 earmarks have in common? not one was a congressional earmark, they were all bureaucratic earmarks. now, we are going to be
attempting to do something about this because it's -- it's something most -- almost everyone would agree needs to be done. now, what we're going to introduce and what i -- a bill that i'm working on now, gathering some cosponsors, it's legislation that will bring real transparency and accountability to this process. and it would do this by involving congress in the grantmaking process. right now agencies are required to disclose a lot of information about grant awards but not until after they're already awarded. we don't know about them and we even here in this chamber don't know about them until some unelected bureaucrat actually makes these -- these what by refer to as bureaucratic earmarks. so it's setting up a system very similar to the congressional review act. the congressional review act lets us look at the regulations and have a process by which we can stop the bureaucrats from
passing regulations that we may think as elected members, elected by the people, is not good. and this would do essentially the same thing that the c.r.a. does for -- for regulations. it would do for these earmarks. so it's something that we'll be active in, and i think back now, if we had not defeated that $447 billion stimulus bill, the first part of this week, we'd be looking right now and i'm sure they would be putting together their list of earmarks. so i think we have an opportunity now for -- to do two things. number one, when the president and i say when, and not if, when the president comes up with another jobs bill, let's look at it very carefully to make sure we have everything specifically in there if it's going to be deserving of our votes. i say that to each individual democrat and republican in this chamber. and the second thing, make sure that we don't open the door for him to be able to come up with
mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call in progress be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: madam president, no one is seeking time right now even though i've used my time. i ask unanimous consent to be recognized again for up to 10 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: madam president, i heard a report today from senator murkowski from alaska. apparently the energy committee had a hearing on the 90-day shale gas report. i think this is very significant. i don't want to -- i'm sure she'll come down and talk about it in detail, i didn't even know about it until at noon today when she gave a report and i happened to be there but it is something that's very, very significant. but because in this country when we're talking about energy and the fact that we have enough energy that we produce domestically, we can produce domestically in the united states of america to run this country for a hundred years in terms of gas at the present
consumption or 50 years as far as oil is concerned and we are dependent upon oil, gas, and coal to run this country. those are fossil fuels and there are a lot of people saying we have to do away with fossil fuels and every time i hear people say -- it's kind of laughable, we have to do something about our dependence on foreign oil by doing away with our own production in this country. you know, our problem isn't that we don't have the amount of coal, oil, and gas that we need to be totally independent from anybody. we do. but we have -- politically we have the obstacles. there's not one other country in the world where the politicians won't let that country develop its own resources except for the united states of america. it's kind of interesting, it wasn't too long ago when president obama who is very much in line with some of the far lest environmentalists who want to do away with fossil fuels, was -- he is realizing the people were catching on and
people knew with all the shale deposits that are out there and every time -- every week that goes by, we find another great big opportunity for shale. this is both oil and gas. and th president said, we need o use more gas and that. at the end of the speech he said, we need to do something about hydraulic fracturing. anyone knows who understands energy that to get at all of these deposits, these shale deposits of gas oil, you have to use a procedure called hydraulic fracturing. it happens we know intg it in my state because in 1948 the first well was fraced and we have not had one dominat dock documented. those individuals who want to
make people think -- make people think that they are wanting us to develop our own resources, then they turn and and say we are going to stop or have the federal government regulate hydraulic fracturing, it's totally inconsistent, and i think it's a direct effort to misinform the people. so this meet thaig went to today, senator murkowski did a handout. i am going to read a couple of the quotes of people who were testifying. keep in mind, this is after a 90-day shale-gas report. they talked about hydraulic fracturing and all that. the chairman of the cambridge research institute said, "there is a gap in perception, this idea that oil and gas is not regulated. we are all impressed by the quality and the focus, the long experience of the states in regulating oil and gas. there is a strong backbone to it
and that is not as well recognized as some -- as in some circles. so i think there is a very strong fabric here." here's a quote. this is from kathleen mcginty. remember her when she was an aide to al gore. i'm going to quote this. she said, "we didn't come up with any conclusions." this is the 90-day shale report. "we didn't come up with any conclusions that the deck chairs need to be shuffled around. there was nothing in the testimony that we heard or in the substance that we focused on or in the what" -- end quotes need to be done that there was an actor missing from the scene.
this is someone that comes from completely the other side. so i think it is very important. the more time that you look at this thirng the more there is an awareness of the people that is heightened almost on a daily basis that we have all this opportunity and we're not doing it just because of the political obstacles. dr. steven holdrich. he is the department head at the samuel roberts professor. he said local control, local understanding of best practices is really the best way to go. there's nothing broken with the system now. what he is talking about, if you go into -- we're an oil state, my state of oklahoma. a lot of our stuff is pretty shallow. on the other hand, we have the an.r.a. calendaanardarco basin. for 60 years the states have regulated hydraulic fracturing. it has worked very well.
it is not one of these one-size-fits-all because in some states -- you get into new york and pennsylvania now and the marcellus shale. it's -- the stuff is pretty deep. but it is abundant. well, the regulation there would be different than it would be in my state of oklahoma or louisiana or new mexico or any of the other oil states. so i think that -- i was really glad to see this come out and i was glad senator mor co mor cowe is now letting pem -- and i was glad senator murkowski is now letting people aware of it. one of the techniques used in being able to recover this of course is hydraulic fracturing. that's why a lot of the people who are trying to shut down phos l fuels are trying to shut down that process. i had an experience -- i wish i could remember the name of the company -- but it was in broken arrow, oklahoma, during the recess, and i was calling on different people. and there is a young man who
started a company. he had been with a larger one. he is making platforms for hydraulic fracturing. now, a platform is about a fourth the size of this dhaim that we're -- i'm speaking in right nowvment it is a very large thing. on the platform they have so they can high drailically fracture these wells, they have a very large -- very large diesel engine. a regulation came through -- and i wasn't even aware of this until i sat down with him -- this is less than a month ago -- and he said the regulation was that you can no longer build platforms and use them for hydraulic fracturing unless you have a tier 4 engine. well, we went to check and he was right. there is no tier 4 engine. he is on the drawing board but it is not available commercially now. so that's just another way through regulation that they're trying to do away with hydraulic fracturing. so we've got to be on our toes and have a wake-up call for the american peevment if you want to
have good, clean, abundant and cheap energy, we've got it right here in the united states of america and we need to knock down the political obstacles and develop our own resources like everybody else does. with that, i'd yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. kerry: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: i ask that proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kerry: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination, calendar number 287, that the nomination be confirmed, the motion to reconsider be made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate, and that no further motions be in order, and any related statements be printed in the record and that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate
then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kerry: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that at a time to be determined by the majority leader in consultation with the republican leader, the senate proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 78, that there be four hours for debate, equally divided in the usual form, upon the use or yginack of time the senate proceed to vote without intervening action or debate on calendar number 78, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order to the nomination, that any statements related to the nomination be printed in the record, that president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. kerry: i thank the chair and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask that the senate stand in recess subject to the call of the chair. the presiding officer: without the presiding officer: without
>> good afternoon and welcome to the national press club. my name is angela reporter for bloomberg government and membership secretary of the national press club. we are the world leading professional organization for journalists committed to our profession future to our programming, events such as this while fostered a free press. for more information please visit our website at www.press.org. to donate to a program offered to the public, please visit www.press.org/library. on behalf of our members worldwide i would like to welcome our speaker and those of you attending today's event. our head table includes guests of our speakers was working journalists were club members. if you happen to applause in the audience we know members of the general public are also attending so it's not necessarily evidence of a lack of journalistic objectivity. i'd like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences.
our luncheons are featured on our member produced weekly podcast from a national press club available on itunes. you can follow the action on twitter using hash tag npc lunch. after our guest speaker includes will have a question session and i'll ask as many questions as time permits. now it's time to introduce our head table. please note they chose to present at the head table does not imply or signify an endorsement of the speaker. i would ask each of you to stand up briefly as your name is announced. jennifer michaels, editor of aviation daily. chuck lewis, senior editor. the honorable roy, undersecretary for policy at the department of transportation and the guest department of transportation and a guest of our speaker. sylvia smith, editor for state news and the speakers committee member who organized today's lunch. edwyn wickens, president of trade department of afl-cio and a guest of the speaker.
marilyn geewax of national public radio and vice chair of the speaker committee. skipping over our speaker for a moment, jerry, washington bureau chief. patrick coast, a freelance reporter and vice chair of the press clubs young member committee. catherine, reporter for the "chicago tribune," and matt, president of the advocate group. [applause] >> we last invite secretary ray lahood to speak at the national press club luncheon when he was a newly minted secretary transportation. he was one of two republicans in the new democratic presidents cabinet. to say it's been a rocky road since may 2009 appearance would overstate history and torture a metaphor, but his tenure as secretary of transportation has not been without. in the last three years
transportation issues and industry segment made headlines legally. faa partially shut down during the debt ceiling standoff, republican governors sending pakistan was money. toyota cars recalled worldwide over safety issues, fighting successfully i might add with new jersey governor chris christie over money that the department gave new jersey to build a tunnel the christie decided not to bill. there was a near showdown over the highway bill though at the last minute congress passed a temporary extension. that did not address the underlying issues of how the infrastructure needs without addressing the long-term funding issues. mr. leonard has been the most high profile transportation secretary in a long time, and he helped spin the steam is money that was the first big transportation infusion in many years. mr. lopez but with his personal passions on the radar across the u.s. but perhaps one of the biggest expectations of mr. lahood as the transportation secretary had nothing to do with planes trains, trucks, or seat belts
and buses. as a long-term and well-liked republican congressman who plan to retire at the end of 2008, lahood's presence in president obama's cabinet was expected to get a democratic white house a vehicle to work with republicans in congress. the kind of description we can apply to that relationship right now is it's a work in progress. transportation, whether it is to work, for personal pleasure, for shipping what america makes and vise, or for the jobs it provides touches all of our lives. please join me in welcoming transportation secretary ray lahood. [applause] >> good meantime, everyone. thank you all very much. thank you for the invitation from the press club to come ba back. this is my second visit and i'm delighted to be back. and before i begin i want to say a special word of thanks to jill zuckerman who, for the last two and a half years, has been in charge of our public affairs and
has put the department of transportation i think on a level with certainly other high profile cabinet organizations. and we're going to miss, and she's put together a great team of others, and we're grateful for her service year i also want to say a special word of welcome to these georgetown students who are here. i hope you are here because you're interested in transportation, but i probably know better than that. maybe you're just you because your professor told you, you had to be here. but in any event, we are delighted that you are here. wish you well in your studies. i want to say, to begin with, that what i would like to do is talk for a few minutes about some issues that i feel very, very strongly about, and then
obviously i'll be happy to answer any and all questions that angela decided she wants me to answer. i want to talk about what i believe is on the minds of americans today, which is getting family, friends and neighbors back to work. since labor day, i've been to 10 states the country. and what i found is that every family knows somebody that is unemployed in america today. and every family has somebody that's unemployed in america today. i don't know if that condition has ever existed in the time that i've been in public service for 35 years, but it exists today. and we have millions of people who want their job back, and countless construction jobs waiting to get started. so if you'll indulge me for a
moment, i'd like to start by reading the words of a newsmaker from another time, and i'll begin with this quote. one of america's great material blessings is the outstanding network of roads, and highways that spreads across this vast continent. he continued, freedom of travel and the romance of the road are vital parts of our heritage your they also form a vital commercial artery unequal anywhere else in the world, and the passage goes on, but let's face it, time and where have taken their toll so i am asking the congress to approve a new highway program. it will stimulate 170,000 jobs, not in make work projects, but in real worthwhile work in a hardheaded construction industries, and an additional
150,000 jobs in related industries. as a result, speaker concluded, we will be preserving for future generations a highway system that has long been the envy of the world. nobody in this room will be able to guess who said that some going to tell you. president ronald reagan gave that speech. the date was november 27, 1982, just 40 days before president reagan made the surface transportation assistance act a law, by signing it into law. in a five week period, which included christmas and new year's, reagan's transportation jobs bill passed the congress, controlled by the opposition party, which only weeks before had picked up 27 seats in the
1982 midterm elections. and by the way, that particular piece of legislation also extended unemployment benefits, which president reagan himself called, i quote, hadley needed assistance. -- badly needed assistance. talk about a bipartisan jobs package. that was it. wouldn't it be great if we could re-create that kind of history today in washington? and i remember this very clearly because i was about to start a new job as a staff of the republican leader, bob michael. the man they called it the greatest speaker the house never had. leader michael fox nation's lay for president reagan's transportation bill, but only because he was the president ally in congress. also because he knew that
investments in roads, bridges, transit systems were an essential way to put our illinois constituents and americans back to work. so, here we are today, three decades later, and the same american roads and bridges and transit systems are in greater need of repair than ever before. two days the 35th day since president obama took to the house ross room and asked congress to pass the american jobs act. and unless there's some kind of miracle between now and the next tuesday, the 40th day, will come and go with no relief for friends and neighbors looking for work. the fact is, we have a crisis in our country. our citizens, our friends and neighbors, family members, are struggling amidst the worst economic conditions of a lifetime. our transportation systems are
overburdened, and fast becoming obsolete. our politics are so broke and that we can't connect to people who need work with the work that needs to be done. our institutions of government has become so paralyzed that we can't enact tried and true policy prescriptions. bipartisan remedies that have a track record of improving our economies well being. think about the reality i deal with every single day, as you transportation secretary. americans roads are so choked with congestion that the average commuter, all of you, know this, spends 242% more time stuck in traffic than when president reagan's signed that surface transportation built in 1982. this drains $100 billion in wasted fuel and lost productivity from our economy
annually. that's as much as the united states spent on r&d for the entire apollo space program adjusted for inflation. the same time, bridges are crumbling beneath our wheels. more than one in four of america's bridges are substandard. one in four, including an astonishing 12% that are structurally deficient. that's 68,858 bridges that, while safe to drive on, are nearing the end of their life span. just look at the sherman that and bridge were i was at recently, which links louisville, contact with southern indiana. three weeks ago officials discovered significant cracks in the steel support beams of the 49 year old bridge. as a result they were forced to shut the whole bridge down, all six lanes of ia-64 and u.s. 50. the local traffic was so bad
that residents -- our aviation system is reaching its capacity, too. the united states is now home to the world's worst air traffic congestion. a corner of our flights arrived more than 15 minutes late. and our national average for delayed flights is twice that of europe. meanwhile, compare this to transportation systems around the globe. the chinese just opened the world's largest bridge, long enough to cross the english channel with six miles to spare. they are also paving tens of thousands of miles of expressways. by the end of the decade they will surpass the united states in total highway distance. in the port of shanghai numbers more container traffic every year than the seven top u.s. ports combined. or think of this, in the 14 countries with true high-speed
rail, passengers can write a total of more than 15,000 miles at speeds faster than 220 miles per hour. in the united states, they can ride exactly zero. this about sums it up. as recently as 2005, the world economic forum ranks america's infrastructure as the best in the world. today, we are not even in the top 10. what's more, while that may feel like we are saving a few bucks by doing nothing, the long-term costs of inaction are staggering. ..
>> it's roughly the size of japan's entire economy. of course, this is all taking place at a time when millions of americans are looking to get their jobs back. many more a struggling to make ends meet as they work fewer hour for less pay. this is more of an economic problem and an opportunity we're wasting. every successive day that congress finds a reason not to act is an another day that an unemployed mom or dad decides between the groceries and the rent. it's another day for someone the american dream of buying a home or putting a child through college slips further from their reach. a lot has changed in this town since i arrived more than 35 years ago, but nothing changed more than the evolution of a
culture in which elected officials are rewarded for entrance innocence. compromise is a dirty word, and for many, it's not even in their dictionary. cooperation is an unforgivable sin to some. i'm not one of those who pines for a yesterday when we remember as far better than it actually was. there was a time when members of congress got into fistfights on the house floor. i witnessed a few. a sitting vice president once shot and killed the former treasury secretary. politics has never been for the faint of heart, but partisan rank somehow feels worse today than it ever has. you know the pattern. one side reaches out, the other side digs in their heels. nothing gets done.
the commentators on the news channels about who is up and who is down like government is an endless football game, and the voters tune out a pox on both your houses they say. after 14 years 234 congress myself -- in congress myself, i'm all too familiar with this dynamic. when president obama invited me and asked me to serve as a republican in his democratic administration, i accepted his invitation not just in spite of our differences on a small handful of issues, but because of them. see, president obama didn't ask me to switch from one side to the other. he asked for my ideas. he asked for my perspective. he asked me to help solve the american people's problems, to stand up for compromise and cooperation in those areas where democrats and republicans have almost always agreed. there's no presidenter example of a traditionally bipartisan
issue than transportation. there's no such thing as a democratic or republican bridge, a democratic or republican road, a democratic or republican job. repairing bridges or roads that are in danger of falling down. our infrastructure belongs to america. american infrastructure has been built by american workers. it's more than the way we get from one place to another. it's the way we lead our lives and pursue our dreams. further more in this economy, job creation should be everyone's number one priority. that's why when i was in congress, the house passed america's last two transportation bills with 417 votes. that's about as bipartisan as you can get. that's the definition of
bipartisanship, and that was in 2005, and in 1998, right after i came to the congress, it was 337 votes. again, that's the definition of bipartisanship. frankly, that's why president obama proposed the american jobs act, a package of historically bipartisan policies, and that's why i'm barn storming the country and knocking on every door of every congressman that will see me. my message is congress needs to pass a bill. here's what president obama put forward. first the american jobs act includes $50 billion immediate investment in construction jobs rebuilding america's roadways, railways, transit systems, and airports. it will hire american workers to upgrade 150,000 miles of road, to lay or maintain 50,000 miles of track, to restore 150,000 miles of run ways, and put in
place a next generation air traffic control system to reduce travel time and delays. anything partisan about that? i can't think of anything. second, the american jobs act includes a national infrastructure bank with $10 billion in up front funding. the bank operates undpiptly, offering loans based on how badly a project is needed and how much good it would do for the economy. no boondoggles or bridges to nowhere, no unnecessary red tape. third, president obama already directed our department and agency to identify high impact job creating infrastructure projects that we can fast track them through the review and permitting process. at the department of transportation, we picked six to start with including replacing
the tap bridge in new york, extending transport systems in l.a. and baltimore, and installing next generation technology in two houston airports. seems to me democrats and republicans can both agree we should speed up project delivery time. finally, all of this is funded without putting it on the debt or deficit. the president proposed that we pay for the american jobs act through his long term plan to pay down our debt, a plan that cuts spending and asks the wealthiest citizens and biggest corporations to kick in their fair share in taxes. this is about priorities. it's about choices. should we repair those 69,000 worn out bridges or keep tax loopholes for oil companies? should we hire construction workers to build a national high
speed rail network that connects 80% of americans or let billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries? we've heard economists and analysts of every political persuasion tell us that the president's jobs bill will boost the economy and spur hiring. more importantly, we've heard the uproar of enthusiasm from the american people. i've traveled to more than 200 cities and 47 states during the last three years. everywhere i go, people come up to me and say the same thing -- put my neighbors back to work rebuilding this country. just as president obama sent the jobs act to congress, i met with construction workers building st. paul's new light rail, charlotte's new streetcar system, the new traffic control tower, visited with leaders of the american labor movement. i thank my friend, ed witkin,
for being here today. we met with officials in anchorage, alaska. their response to president obama's call to action has been overwhelming. at every stop, workers are shouting, "pass the bill; pass the bill now." businessmen and women tell us we owe job creators and our future the safest, fastest, most efficient ways to move people and products. moreover, this is no partisan sentiment. in one poll conducted earlier this year, two out of three voters and 59% of tea party supporters said making improvements in transportation is extremely important. unlikely allies like the chamber of commerce, tom donohue, and afl-cio president rich trumka are supporting investments. bipartisan.
i talked to about of them about it at great length. many governors also are rejecting the premise that jobs on transportation projects should be proxies in congress' political warfare. after -- at the sherman bridge, an indiana governor, a republican, and a democrat worked together and are working together to repair and reopen that bridge. now, i mentioned my service with republican leader, bob michael, he knew how to play partisan and could be tough when we wanted to be, but he knew how to sit down across from the other person and hammer out a deal because it's the best thing for the american people. this is one of those moments when the american people are counting on their representatives in washington to set aside their differences and to achieve the possible, not the perfect.
they should expect nothing less. we've had a rich history in this country of bipartisanship, particularly when it comes to transportation, particularly when it comes to putting friends and neighbors to work. no one can or will get everything they want, and i've personally delivered that message to some of my former colleagues on the republican side of the aisle, so all those years ago when president reagan signed his transportation bill into law, he said that america could, once again, and i quote, "ensure for our children a special part of their heritage, a network of highways and mass transit that has enabled our commerce to thrive, our country to grow, and our people to roam freely and easily to every corner of our land," end of quote. our transportation is a special part of our rich 235-year heritage. the canals that first made
interstate commerce possible, the transcontinental railroad that connected the coasts, the interstate highway system that enabled a half century of unrivaled opportunity and prosperity, american workers dreamed these things and were able to accomplish them. american workers wielded the shovels, forged the iron, laid the tracks, and poured the concrete that brought these things to life in america. american workers passed these things on to us, their children and grandchildren. we owe it to them, congress owes it to them to continue to pass it on to their children and grandchildren. american workers paid the taxes that were necessary to finance these investments for tomorrow. they sacrificed so their neighbors would have jobs, so their businesses would flourish, so all of us would reap the benefit of living in the best country in the world. this was america's recipe for
success. this was the way we took responsibility for the future. the united states isn't a nation that just talks about building big things only to get mired in the smallness of politics. we don't skirt tough issues and kick challenges down the road. that's beneath us. we're better than that. in america, we do big things. we always have. we solve problems. we always have. we put our friends and neighbors to work. we always have. if congress passes president obama's jobs bill, we can once again put people back to work making our nation's transportation system the envy of the world. just to borrow a phrase from president reagan. with that, i'll be happy to take your questions. [applause]
>> thank you, mr. secretary. we do have a lot of questions. i think they cover every mode and every element of politics, so we'll get started. the next highway bill and complete faa reauthorization including nextgen, would have been a huge job creators. why didn't the president include those in his jobs bill? >> why? >> why didn't he? >> it's $450 billion, $50 # billion is for roads and bridges, transit, high speed rail, every mode of transportation, $10 billion for the infrastructure bank. i think the president was trying to give an infusion so that people could go to work quickly, certainly during the next construction season while the congress worked on a five year secure transportation bill.
i think the president's notion as a part of the jobs act is let's get some money out there quickly, $50 billion. we received $48 billion in the stimulus bill two years ago. we've obligated it all. most of it's been spent. we created 65,000 jobs and 15,000 projects. we believe $50 billion, we can spend quickly and put people to work quickly while the congress passes a transportation bill. the big vision. i think that's the reason the president proposed what he did with the hope that congress would then pass, you know, we've go two and a half years beyond the last transportation bill, and so the congress -- i think the president believes direct infusion, the way we did with stimulus, and you have not seen bad stories written about our $48 being. there were no boondoggles, no sweet heart deals. we spent the money.
65,000 jobs, 15,000 projects. we're ready to go. >> the bowles-simpson and the gang of six recommended infrastructure spending to get the economy going. are they urging the super committee to include infrastructure spending in their recommendations? >> we're working 24/7 to get congress to pass the jobs bill. i don't know what the super committee's going to do, but congress should take action now. they just simply should. this is a no brainer. everybody knows what needs to be done. everybody knows what road needs to be built. everybody knows what bridge needs to be replaced or repaired. everybody knows that nextgen is important. you got states all over the country that want to get into high speed rail. all of these things create jobs. our mission is to persuade congress to pass a jobs bill. >> the administration announced
this week that it was expediting 14 infrastructure projects that you talked about. given that president obama visited the speans bridge in cincinnati as a symbol of the jobs bill, why wasn't that bridge project and the ohio river bridge projects in louisville on the list of expedited projects 1234 >> frankly, we tried to look at projects we really could expedite. we worked with our partners out in the states. as all of you know, we can't do what we do in terms of implementing programs without part nors to the state -- partners in the states, and so we look to our partners, and they give us good suggestions, and the ones that we suggested are ones that can get started immediately. >> last time around, was it a mistake to build the obama stimulus bill around funding for states and projects like high speed rail and green energy? had the nation been better off
if that bill had true ready projects? >> well, look at -- we had $48 billion. the money's been spent. we put 65,000 people to work, 15,000 projects, you have not seen any bad stories about what we did, and we didn't write the bill. the bill was written by congress. the president signed it within 30 days of being sworn in, and we implemented it. we took our cues from what congress said, and i think the money was well spent, and a lot of americans went to work, and that's why we're encouraging congress now to look at what the president's proposed in the american jobs act and pass it. >> you commented at length about the partisan gridlock that ultimately affects employment and safety in transportation. as a long time politician, what do you think has to happen to return to a more pragmatic approach to governing?
>> another election. [laughter] [laughter] >> carrying along that line, is it really possible to get a bipartisan agreement on transportation issues without earmarks to reward lawmakers on the bill? >> i think there is. i really do. some people believe that because earmarks are banned now, that it's going to be more difficult to engage members of congress. every member of congress has a road or a bridge or a transit system or some infrastructure that they know needs either repaired or building or repaved, and under a transportation bill, what will happen is we will work with our friends in the states, the governors, the commissioners of transportation, the secretaries of transportation,
on what their needs are, and that will filter down to congressional districts, so it can be done. look at -- congress passed transportation programs before there were earmarks, and our idea is everybody knows what needs to be done. everybody knows that what we do with our money puts people to work, and it's not that complicated, so i do think that the needs are there, people know what they are, and even without earmarks, i think we can get a bipartisan bill. >> this questioner asked, do you still shoot the bull with chairman micah, and if you do, why doesn't he listen to you? [laughter] >> well, i have conversations with chairman micah on a regular basis, and he listens to me. [laughter]
well, he does listen. [laughter] >> will we see some of your recommendations enacted by the house republicans? >> given what chairman micah said about the infrastructure bank, probably that's not going very far, but i think that, again, i think chairman micah, i think chairwoman boxer who is writing the bill in the senate both get it. they know that we need to get a transportation program. we need to put people to work, and i believe that we are going to get an infrastructure program, and i believe it'll happen before the end of the calendar year because i think there's an enormous amount 6 pressure on congress when they go back home and they go to their churches, they go to their
barbecues, they go to their political events, what they hear is what are you doing to do about jobs and the economy? we know how to fix that. they know how to fix it. reaching that kind of consensus, i think, is possible. >> this questioner says, despite recent news about certain transportations bills being "dead on arrival" and the california high speed rail opposition, high speed rail is an issue. what is president obama doing to get wins on the board of transportation? >> we're working 24/7. all hands on deck. i've been to ten states since labor day. i travel every day other than one day next week. i'm travels four days next week. i'll be in detroit, florida -- i'm going to be around the country and everywhere i go, i'm going to talk about infrastructure and transportation and jobs and just
keeping the momentum going. a lot of other of our cabinet colleagues are doing the same thing, traveling the country and really trying to engage people in the fact that they just have to persuade their representationives and senators that we need -- representatives and senators that we need a bill. >> can we meet the infrastructure needs of the nation without an increase in revenue for the highway trust fund? >> the president's budget originally called for $550 billion. we felt that that was what was really needed over the next five years to really begin to meet the needs. there are a lot of unmet needs, and obviously, there's not $550 billion in the highway trust fund, and that's the reason that the president, when he put forth his american jobs agent, put forth the pay fors, and congress
is going to have to find the pay fors. there's not enough money in the highway trust fund to meet all the infrastructure needs in america, and the president has made it very clear he doesn't want to raise the gas tax when we have more 9% unemployment, but there are other ways to do it, and you know what the president has said, those ways are, and we're willing to work with congress on finding the pay-fors. >> what do you support as a means of increasing that revenue? you just ruled out gas tax, indexing the gas tax, does that count as raising it? tolls on interstates? do you have an idea no one's thought of yet? >> i support what the president talked about in the american jobs act to pay for it. >> what will happen in the transportation universe if the super committee doesn't come up with a plan by the deadline and
the automatic cuts across the board are triggers including in transportation? >> our hopes is congress really will address the jobs issue, will really address a way to put people back to work quickly, the way to do that is to pass either a transportation bill or the american -- the portion of the american jobs act that really will put people to work. the 50 billion plus the 10 billion for the infrastructure bank. >> in a blog post this week, you wrote that the administration is well on its way to realizing president obama's goal of giving 80,000 americans access to high speed rail service within 25 years. how can they meet the president's goal if funding 1 drowned out in congress? can you change how they run the program and focus on specific projects if there's less money in the future? >> we invested, over the last two and a half years, $10 billion in high city rail.
the largest of $3 billion in california, a significant amount of money between detroit, chicago, st. louis, and then along the northeast corridor. we think these are good investments. we think this really begins to carry out the vision that the president has, to implement more passenger rail in america. there's not enough -- if you look at the plan, it's to connect 80% of the country in 25 years. it costs about $500 billion to do that. there's obviously not enough money in washington. that's the reason when we have traveled around the world and visited just about every country that has high speed rail, we've talked to the manufacturers in those countries about coming to america, partnering with states, hiring american workers to build the trains and the infrastructure in america.
we believe this is the next generation of transportation, training the next generation of transportation workers to build the infrastructure for high speed rail. we have a lot of workers. some of them are prepared to get into the business of helping to build this rail infrastructure. the train cars and the other infrastructure. we know that there are as many as ten foreign companies in america trying 20 partner -- to part near with states that have received the high speed rail money. that's what we need. public-private partnerships, so you leverage some federal dollars with some private dollars with some state dollars, and we begin to reach our goal to get passenger rail moving in the united states, and i think we're making a lot of progress.
there's a lot of companies that are very interested in partnering in america to hire american workers to build the next generation of american transportation. >> as you know, it's been a rocky road between passenger rail service and freight rails on which track, most of that service runs. what are freight railroads told you regarding passenger railroads using their tracks? >> we have reached agreements with our friends in the freight rail business. it hasn't been easy, but we've done it. it's been hard work, and it's been tough negotiations, but we've also made investments in the freight rail, over half a billion dollars, we've invested to fix up tracks so trains can go faster on those rails, and we know that we can't implement more passenger rail in america without our friends in the freight rail system, and they've been cooperative and worked with us and signed agreements, and
we've made investments in their infrastructure so that trains can go faster, and so i'm optimistic that that kind of cooperation will continue. we need our friends from the class one in order to make passenger rail the kind of rail system that we really want in america. >> what about build america bonds for transportation funding 1234 they were extremely popular, but this congress has not committed to reviving them? how hard will you push for conclusion on that program and any transportation program? >> we like the bill very much. it's been effective. we told the sponsors of the legislation that we support that legislation. we think it's another way to find the revenue that we need to continue our efforts on infrastructure. >> you mentioned the hearing that was held yesterday in the house transportation committee that was bashing the infrastructure bank idea that's part of president obama's
platform. is there any chance of getting congressional support for that proposal, and if there is, how exactly would you reach that? >> well, we know that in the senate, senator hutchenson from texas and senator kerry, senator john kerry, have introduced he is on the infrastructure bank. that's really what when the president introduced his plan, he modeled the infrastructure after their legislation. i believe the, you know, the debate in the senate, part of the debate in the senate will be about the infrastructure state, about that legislation, about how to implement it. it is a way to leverage billions of dollars to do infrastructure. >> in other republican oppositions, speaker john boehner and eric cantor urged them to drop the requirements on hours for trucking drivers.
are you beginning to rethink the need for proposed hours of service changes? >> that's a rule that's pending, and so i can't really comment much more than to say that it is pending in the administration, in the department, and we'll just ask you to stay tuned and we'll see where it takes us. >> also in trucking, the mexican trucking program is getting off to a bit of a slow start after you faced pressure to get that program written and out the door. are you doing anything to get more participants in that program? >> our people are working very hard to get companies from mexico certified. when we rewrote the program, the mexican truck program, we rewrote it around what members of congress told us was their number one priority which is safety, making sure that the
trucks were safe mechanically and that they would be inspected making sure the drivers were well licensed and well trained, that they could -- we could also put on board recorders in the vehicles to make sure that truck drivers were not exceeded their hours that they were driving. we put all of that in the proposal, and we've signed an agreement with mexico. 50% of the tariffs have been removed on the day that we signed the agreement, and the other 50% will come off when we certify the first trucking company. >> also yesterday on the hill, there was a hearing criticizing the new fuel economy standards that your agency and the epa put out a couple months ago. opponents say that the standards may jeopardize vehicle safety and frame it as a debate about how the rule was written, the process in which it was
written. how do you respond to the criticisms that are getting increasing amount of attention? >> the way i respond is there was out merit. we spent a great deal of time, one of the first executive orders president obama signed was to raise orders in 2012 and 2016. we worked with our friends at the epa and automobile manufacturers who stood with the president a year after that executive order was signed in the rose garden and agreed to 2012 and 2016 standards. every car company, every car manufacturer was there, both foreign and domestic, and now they are about meeting those standards, 25-26 miles per gallon in 2012 and 30 to 35 miles per gallon in 2016. now we're proposing standards
for 2025. we're going to finalize that very soon here, and, again, when the president made the announcement about getting 54 miles per gallon, then, again, every car manufacturer representative, almost every with the exception of two foreign manufacturers, were, again, at the washington, d.c. civic center to, for the announcement, and this is a significant accomplishment. this is something that the president felt very strongly about. he talked about it when he was running, but to be able to get the car manufacturers to agree to these because they believe in it, not because they were forced, is quite an achievement. for all of us being able to drive more fuel efficient vehicles, for saves a lot of
gasoline, and for cleaning up the air, taking the carbon monoxide out of the air, this is a big deal, and it was done in a very collaborative, cooperative effort. the last thing that your safety agency -- our safety agency would ever do is to put out a standard that would make cars less safe. the last thing that a car manufacturer would do is to agree to a standard that would allow their cars not to be safe. that just simply belies belief that anybody would even suggest that. this was done with total collaboration and cooperation with the car manufacturers, both foreign and domestic. it's a good thing for america. >> moving over to aviation, how will the delta-u.s. airways swat swap that the dot approved this week giving delta dominance at
la guardia, how does it reshape the dc market and why did the dot allow that motion to proceed? >> well, this was an agreement really reached between the two airlines, and we felt it was good for both airlines, for the airline business, for the hubs that these airlines will be operating on, but more importantly, good for the flying public. that's the reason that, but it was an agreement that was forged really between the airlines, but our -- one of our metrics 1 and one of the things we care about is how does it affect the flying public? is it good for the flying public? the answer is that it is, and it's good for the aviation industry. it's good for these companies, but most importantly, it's good for the flying public. >> the justice department closed its investigation of the delta la guardia piece, but investigating u.s. airways side of the deal. tell us the significance of
that. >> i really can't. you have to get eric holder to come. [laughter] >> we'll invite him next. in early 2009, 50 people died in the crash of the continental connection flight 3407 near buffalo. neither pilot got a full night of rest before the flight, but now new rules controlling pilot fatigue at stalled at omb. why are they stalled, and can you commit to us today a final rule will be completed during your ten year as transportation -- tenure as transportation secretary? >> we have worked very hard with particularly the families who lost loved ones in the kolgan -- colgan aircraft. they have been the loudest voices in terms of telling us that changes need to be made. right after the colgan aircraft, the administrator traveled the
country on listening sessions. he met with the airlines, met with the pilots, met with flight attendants, met with everybody in the industry, met with the families on a number of occasions, and we really tried to figure out what was necessary to make regional jets and flying on regional jets the safest that it could possibly be. if you look at what the ntsb said, there was fatigue, but there was also poor training on -- for these pilots. they did exactly the wrong thing when their plane started icing up and they were descending into buffalo. what we've tried to do is put together a rule that addresses pilot training, fatigue, safety, training, and shortly, we will be announcing what that is.
>> under your leadership, dot focused on airline passenger protections more than any of your predecessors. there's one last rule making promised dealing with price transparency. can the public expect the rile to come out before the next election? >> one of the things that we are very proud of is that we have looked out for safety and all of our modes of transportation. we get up every day, and that's what we think about, safety. trains planes, automobiles, motor coaches, pipelines, a lot of jurisdiction over a lot of things. safety is number one, so when we think about, and one of the things that i ordinarily say is that all of us, everybody in this room, either got in your car, on a metro train, you know, when you get on an airplane, we never think about safety. we think the pilot's
well-trained, the train is mechanically okay, the train driver knows what he's doing, the automobile's going to be find, but that's what we think about because we know that when americans use transportation, whether it's their car, a train, a plane, a motor coach, they don't think about safety. well, we do, and so the other thing we think about are the people that have to use these modes of transportation, and what we have done, i think, for passengers that are flying is try and really look after them in terms of their ability to be treated well by the airlines, and so when the next rule comes out, which i believe hopefully it'll come out next year,
they'll be plenty of transparency so that when you show up at the airport, you'll know what you're being charged, why you're being charged that, how much it is, and you'll know that well before, you know, you make your decision about buying a ticket, and we think transparency is the one way that people have assurances that they are being treated fairly. >> we're going to wrap up with distracted driving. can't let you go without that. are we making real progress on distracted driving? if you say "yes," how do we measure that process? >> i don't know if it's 11 or 8 states had distracted driving laws, and now there's around 36. we started this two and a half years ago. there's no line item in the budget for distracted driving.
we used the bully pulpit, traveled the country persuading people if you have one of these up to your ear while driving, then it's dangerous. anybody in the room who doesn't have one of these devices either a cell phone or a blackberry? now, i'm not going to ask the question how many of you have used these while you're driving because i know the answer. everybody has. you all know that when you do it, it's dangerous. you can't drive safely when you have one of these up to your ear. you just can't, so we've met with all the automobile manufacturers, and we've asked them to address this issue, and to look at the technology they're putting in cars, and to really examine are they making cars safer with all of these technologies? we engaged with insurance companies who've taken up the cause of distracted driving, and
we're going to continue our efforts. we want congress to pass a law. we want every state to have a law. we want good enforcement, but the one way that we know that we can really correct this very dangerous behavior is if people take personal responsibility. when you get in a car, put this in the glove department. can you think of a call you've ever take p that was so -- taken that was so important that caused you to be distracted? how many of you have been in accidents or got rear ended or rear ended somebody else because you were on your cell phone? you know people that have. this is as dangerous as drunk driving and as driving www.your isn't. when and as driving without your seat belt. when this started, nobody was wearing a seat belt because it's uncomfortable and wrinkled our
clothes. you heard the excuses. today because of what agencies have done, 85% of the people buckle up. that's the first thing people do as they get in the car. the second thing i want people to do is put these in the glove compartment. there's no call that's so important that can't wait until you get to your destination. i know you want me to get off the podium, but i'm not done yet. [laughter] we made progress. we have a long way to go. we need your help. personal responsibility. the best ad that i have seen is the suburu ad. he's looking at a little girl who is 10 years old. he hands her the keys and she turns into a teenage girl. he says don't text or call me while driving. that's what you tell your children and grandchildren. well, that's what you should be
telling yourself. if you put this in the glove compartment while driving, you'll save lives. that's what we owe one another as we drive around. thank you, angela. [laughter] [applause] >> almost out of time. one more question, but before i do, a couple housekeeping matters. there's an upcoming luncheon speakers. there's singer, natalie coal, talking about the national public health initiatives on. on october 24, tmz's talking about news coverage. we have herman cane coming up who will talk about gop presidential issues. on november 3, we have tom bro caw, journalist and author.
second, i want to present the guest with the traditional national press club mug. >> thank you. >> thank you. one last question. a questioner asks, mr. secretary, if i get one of those new cars made by google that drives itself, can i text on my way to work again? [laughter] >> no. [laughter] [applause] >> well, thank you, secretary lahood, for being our guest today. i want to thank the center for organizing today's event. you can find more information about the national press club on our website, and if you want a copy of today's program, go to www.press.org. thank you, and we are adjourned. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] >> of course, i'm delighted, but not surprised by the violence repails of the 18th amendment. i felt all along when this matter was properly submitted to the ranking file of our people, they would readily see it has no place in our constitution. >> he served as governor of new york four times though he never attended high school or college, and in 1928, al smith became the first catholic nominated by a major party to run for president. although he lost the election, he still is remembered by the al fred e. smith memorial dinner, a fundraiser for various organizations and al smith is one of the 14 men featured in c-span's new weekly series, "the contenders" live friday at 8 p.m. eastern.
[applause] >> this is the chamber of the u.s. house, the house and senate are meeting now in a joint meeting to hear from the south korean president. he's just wrapping up his comments. he's the first south korea leader to speak to a joint meeting in 13 years. you can follow the remaining coverage on our companion network, c-span. he'll be welcomed to the white house this evening for the state dinner. we have live coverage of that on c-span3. the senate should return soon. senate republicans released their jobs plan at a news conference on capitol hill.
the plan calls for reforming the tax code, a balanced budget amendment, and a moratorium on all new federal regulations. ?aforts john mccain, rand paul and others introduced the plan and took questions from reporters. >> good afternoon. i'm pleased to be here with my, many of my colleagues this afternoon on this very important issue. i especially like to thank conkman rand paul -- senator rand paul and senator rob portman. i wish he was a congressman, i guess. i thank both of them for their hard work on this issue as well as some 20 other republican colleagues of ours in the united states senate who have made input and whose legislation is part of this piece of
legislation. i'm not going to go through all the details of the legislation. you have handoutings as to what they are, but we're announcing the introduction of the jobs to growth act. this bill will serve as a blue print to bring our country back, economically create jobs, and give americans hope again for the future. now, obviously, president obama has his plan. there is dramatic difference between ours and his because president obama and my friends on the other side of the aisle in the senate believe that they can create jobs through government spending. we believe that we can create jobs through growth. they believe that government creates and spending creates jobs. we believe business and broth creates jobs in america, so in all do respect to the president,
his plan, we've seen that movie before. we saw it in 2009 when they said if you enact this stimulus bill, maximum unemployment would be 8%. we saw when they said if you enact this stimulus bill, that you will have millions of jobs created. well, we know what the economic situation is today, so, again, i want to thank all of my colleagues that are here, and i want to briefly mention some of the highlights, and they will mention others. we strongly believe that if we're going to restore this nation's economy, we have to have a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. we need to give any president of the united states a line item veto, now called an enhanced rescission authority. we need to create a simplified tax system to keep more money in the hands of consumers. we need to have a reduction corporate taxes from 35 to 25
and ha the finance committee report out in closing loopholes and making giving americans three tax brackets and a fair tax code. we have to bring home the $1.4 trillion sitting overseas that won't come home because we have the highest corporate tax in the world. we need regulatory reform. every time i talk to business people, a short time ago as last night, and they are sitting on money, and they are not investing or creating jobs because of the total uncertainty about their future. they don't know when the next regulation is coming down, which will cause them to be unable to do what they want to do, and that is to create jobs in better lives for them and their families. we need to reform and repeal and replace obamacare. we need to have a moratorium on all new federal regulations. place a moratorium on it is
businesses, both large and small, can have a predictable future, and finally, we need to lift all of these crazy prohibitions off on the energy exploration that immediately would create tens of thousands of jobs. there's many other provisions, some 25 -- 24 provisions to the bill. my favorite of all that senator johannes will talk about which is the farm dust regulations prevention agent. we have the balanced budget amendment down to and including the farm dust act that senator johanns is for more familiar with being from nebraska. i asked rand paul to make brief remarks and the other colleagues, and then we'll take brief questions. it's been a great pleasure working with senator paul. >> i've only been here a few short months, but so far my
understanding of legislative strategy, pass it, pass it now is probably not a great strategy for trying to get a jobs bill threw. -- through. we have a republican jobs bill we're introducing today, and we consider this to be a conversation. if the president would like to come and talk to us about our jobs plan and have a reasonable discussion, not a campaign rhetoric, take it or leave it, this is my jobs bill. that's not constructive. we want a constructive conversation with him. we have a different vision on creating jobs. senator mccain says we believe the private market place creates jobs. we also believe that lowering tax rates can create an economic boom. under ronald reagan we lowered marginal tax rates and grew rates at 6% and 7%. you'll get rid of joblessness and unemployment when the economy grows again. we think our package can create
over 5 million jobs. we're ready to discuss it with the president, and we're willing to have him come down. this legislation is based on a jobs plan and he was instrumental in putting 24 together. >> thank you. senator mccain talked specifics about the jobs proposal, but i'll put it in general terms. it's a pro-growth proposal to create the environment for jobs opposed to the short term sweetener approach of the obama administration that has not worked. we recognize that we need to address this problem in a way that actually puts people back to work by changing some of the structural problems in our economy. we understand that this is not going to be done by short term sweeteners. it's going to be done by facing up to the serious economic problems we face, and that means we have to reform our tax code, provide regulatory relief to our small businesses, do something to ensure that investors, job creators, and businesses have an
incentive to invest and grow jobs, and i'm proud to stand here with my colleagues and proud to say that this proposal, if enacted, would be a thing on a bipartisan basis, to get the economy back on its feet. yesterday, for the first time in awhile, you saw a bipartisan vote, it was for one of the elements of this jobs plan to say on a bipartisan basis to american exporters and american workers, farmers, and service providers, we're going to open new markets to you so you can, through private sector, free market approaches, sell more of your products, sell your services, and create jobs in the country. by the president's metrics, those three trade agreements create over 150,000 new jobs. that's what we should be doing in other areas outlined in the jobs plan. i'm hopeful the administration and democrats on the hill work with us like yesterday to move the economy forward and put people back to work. >> the elements for creating
jobs are available in this country. right now, we're spending too much, borrowing too much, regulating too much, and taxing too much. we can fix that with the jobs proposal that we are supporting here today. this is the republican alternative. it is very important that we open the energy industry. there are thousands of jobs that are moving overseas because we have a basic moratorium on drilling for energy that is in our country's control. we will change that with this bill. when i talk to small business people in my state and throughout the country, the thing that scares them to death about hiring is the health care and what is happening in our health care system with the rates of insurance going up in anticipation of this big new tax increase, this big new spending increase that is not going to improve the quality of health care in our country, so we have the elements to fix this problem. unfortunately, the president's
plan does nothing new. ours is the way to go. thank you. >> now, the president's plan creates jobs, temporary jobs. our plan creates policies that allow for economic growth and jobs follow from the economic growth. this plan that has been put together, i thank all 6 those who put so much time and effort into it, is a growth-oriented plan to get people back to work and get our economy moving again. one of the components -- people say, and -- can you get bipartisan support? one of the components is comprehensive tax reform. senator wyden and i, a democrat, and a republican, incorporated our provisions into the tax reform. it's gaining bipartisan support. it provides growth we have seen and has been tried and tested in the past. 1986, the last time we had comprehensive tax reform. it was a bipartisan effort.
the parten bill bradley, ronald reagan, democrats and republicans working together following that 1.63 million new jobs through the private sector, not the public sector. whether this, repatriation, or the other items in here, line item veto, those gained democratic support in the past. this can be a bipartisan effort to create the growth that creates the jobs for the future. >> the president, and democrat tried to create jobs by government spending, and despite suffocating debt, they've resisted even nominal spending cuts and have insisted on higher taxes for more revenues. the republican plan, which should be called the american plan because it is based on free enterprise principles, is the way to create new tax revenues. if we look at any historical
analysis, the more you raise taxes, over time, the less revenue you get, but if the democrats and the president want more tax revenue, which will help reduce our debt, this is 5 growth plan not only to grow jobs, but it will grow the amount of revenue we bring in at the federal level. we insist that the president work with us. he's got to stop campaigning around the country saying vote for a bill now that harry reid will not even allow on the floor. this is a bill that can pass if the democrats open their eyes and work with us. >> can you all state your name? >> i'm senator ron johnson from wisconsin. i've been an owner and manufacturing company for the last 31 years, i've been a job creator. it's obvious if you talk to business people they will not expand business because of the high level of uncertainty and lack of confidence in terms of increasing demand for their product. an awful lot of the blame for