tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN October 24, 2020 11:59am-5:04pm EDT
their love is simply another form of patriotism. it is like a central move. it is an essential step in urging people that are making sacrifices. that can only be asked in the interest of an authoritarian. see mike to watch more visit our website and click on the in-depth tab near the top of the page. the senate's meeting on a saturday to continue debate to be on the supreme court. after a number of votes yesterday aimed at delaying the confirmation. mitch mcconnell has filed a
debate to limit that it limits the remaining debate to 30 hours. so the final vote on the confirmation could not i'm sorry what it happen until happened until late monday. the session will begin with remarks by majority leader. in several hours of debate. no votes are expected. you can see the entire senate judiciary committee. up to this point on line. live coverage of the u.s. senate now on c-span two. .. ..
she sent plenty of signals in the past about what she feels about the affordable care act. my friend from south dakota who says you don't know how she is going to rule, there is some truth to that. she could change your mind. but i tell you if you were a betting person, you would say the statements she made criticizing chief justice roberts for saving the affordable care act, other statements that she has made about the law itself suggest she will not be a friend when she has the opportunity to vote. do we take that seriously? on behalf of 600,000 people in illinois, you bet i do. it directly relates to this pandemic, the opportunity for people across this country to have the coverage they need. i'm going to tell a quick story about one of them. i have a quote of her here that
i want to share with people, a situation that she faces. sorry that i don't have that in front of me, but i'm going to tell the story anyway because i remember it. her last name is daninberger. she is from new berlin, illinois. an amazing young woman. she is battling breast cancer. here it is. thank you. when we cut corners when it comes to the affordable care act, susan is one of the victims. she is a fifth generation farmer and winemaker. she has a great little v.i.p. yard and a great little restaurant, and i have been out there with my family. she is also a two-time cancer fighting with stage four met
static breast cancer. she has been through the gauntlet of medical procedures, treatments and complications in recent years. a double mastectomy, radiation, i.v., chemo, pulmonary embolisms, lung infections, and more. her oral chemomedications alone have cost her thousands of dollars every single month, even with insurance. as a business owner, susan offers insurance to her employers. she was relieved to know when opening her new health policy that the a.c.a. guarantees she gets coverage, even with that medical history. it also allows her 23-year-old son to stay on the family plan. here is what she says to me. most of the times, i feel driven, making wine, running a winery is more than just a job. it's my purpose. i am more scared than i pretend to be. that is how i make it through. i pretend that everything's okay. but this year, it's harder to pretend that everything is going to be okay. i'm worried about the future.
i'm worried about money. i'm worried that i won't be able to afford to fight cancer. i'm worried about taxes. health insurance changes, and being at the mercy of insurance companies. for americans like susan, the family, a business, preexisting conditions, there is so much at stake with this case pending before the supreme court and the judges and justices who will vote on it. susan, bless you. she just can't afford for this court to strike down the affordable care act. where will she turn? you must conclude, durbin, you're not telling the whole story. tell us about the republican alternative to the affordable care act. tell us about their substitute, the one that is going to save everybody so much money and provide all the same coverage. tell bus that. i would sure like to but i can't because it has never been written down on paper ever. there is no republican alternative. they are bound and determined to
kill obamacare with no substitute. that's why john mccain voted no. he said we owe it to the american people to give them an alternative. sadly, sadly, unfortunately, there is still no alternative. mr. president, senator schumer earlier in the day noted that there are a lot of other things we should be taking up at this moment in time. i'm going to mention a few here this morning. these are measures which passed the house of representatives, sometimes months ago, sometimes over a year ago, sent to the desk of senator mcconnell. they were never taken up. they have been sitting there while we have done little or nothing on the floor of the senate except entertain his judicial nominations. the first one is personal to me, not that it affects me personally legally, but it's relating to a bill that i introduced a long time ago. on june 4, twint, the house of
representatives passed h.r. 6, the dream and promise act. strong bipartisan vote, giving a path to citizenship to dreamers. mr. president, i introduced the first dream act 19 years ago. i have been producing on this ever since. these are young immigrants brought to the united states as toddlers, infants, and children. the dream and promise act has now been sitting on senator mcconnell's desk for more than a year. more than a year. on june 22, i sent a letter signed by all the democrat senators calling on senator mcconnell to finally bring it up for a vote. four months later, senator mcconnell has not even responded. he sent a letter after president trump had the deportation for dreamers. here is what justice roberts said about the actions of the trump administration on daca. here's what he said. arbitrary and capricious.
that was the description. i joined with senator duck lugar, a republican, years ago, asking for the president to create daca. president obama responded by creating an executive order. sadly, president trump eliminated it. and literally hundreds of thousands of young people had their fate in doubt because of it. the same thing is true when it comes to temporary protected status for people in the united states. this administration has been a scourge when it comes to the issue of immigration, particularly inspired by steven miller, a person i could never, ever understand. they have decided to be as mean as possible and cruel when it comes to people who are in this country having left horrible circumstances at home. now is the time for us to take up this measure, to start the debit. it isn't as if we have so much else to do. what we should be doing is to make sure that we do this. and so, mr. president, in order
to proceed to consideration of h.r. 6, the american dream and promise act, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator frp indiana. mr. braun: reserving the right to object. i have only been here a little under two years. in the time that i have been here, it has been disappointing that when it comes to real attempts to make legislative progress, so often i see that we are far apart in terms of how we want to go about it. i came here from a state like indiana where serving in our state legislature, running a business for 37 years, we seem to get things done. even though we were divided, of course, like most legislative bodies are, we came together and did things that made a difference for our constituents. in the time before the
impeachment saga came along, covid, civil unrest, i thought many of us were putting our shoulders to the grindstone and i'm on committees like health, education, labor, and pension, wanted to weigh in on talking about some of the things democrats have brought up about health care. and to me again i think it brings in front of us differences in approach certainly. i'm a believer that rather than trying to get government even more involved in person things, that we might look at what actually works in the real world, works in many states, including health care, which i agree is probably the number one issue we face as a country. it was the number one issue when i was running a business. and i think there is so much commonality in the sense that we have got a broken health care system.
we sometimes as conservatives are slow to maneuver. we may not be interested in doing things that need to be done, but i think there is a time and a place for that. i was pleased to see i think 70, 80 senators weighed in on trying to fix health care. but what interrupted that progress was several months of an impeachment saga that proved to go snowe where. we have been confronted with the biggest health crisis certainly in a century. other issues. but in this case, i think to me trying to cut to the chase, this is clearly a sequence of maneuvers that is trying to interject in a process of getting one of the most qualified judges across the finish line to become a supreme court justice.
i think the american people are watching, too. they see what goes on here. they see that year after year, we seem not to deliver results, and when it comes to stuff that should be simple, when it's clear based upon the credentials especially of someone like amy coney barrett who come from my state, that has done such an outstanding job as an appellate judge, impeccable credentials, and to where now this is being litigated not on the merits of who she is and how she will handle herself as a supreme court justice, it's gotten so partisan. i think that really does turn people off. i think this is more a sequence of maybe we're both guilty of to where we do not roll up our sleeves, get to the heart of the matter. i was happy to be the first republican to come across and
acknowledge that climate is an issue. formed the climate caucus. got six other republicans to do it. i think we have got to be engaged in the key issues of the day. again, as i said earlier, we sometimes are slow to come to the discussion. but the time that i am going to spend here, i would hope that we do legislation in the time that is there to do it and not try to interject it into a process like this. i am so happy that we have got this in a situation where we're going to get her voted in on monday, and in the meantime, i think that any of the attempts that are made by the other side to belabor the point just shows the american public what's wrong with this institution. so that being said, i do think
that it's -- she is a qualified nominee to the supreme court. it's of the utmost importance that we do not belabor the process, and i object to proceeding to legislative session. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, i would say to the senator from indiana, i recognize that he is new to this body, and what he has seen in the senate is not the senate that i was elected to. there was a time, the senator may find it hard to believe, that we actually brought bills to the floor, we allowed amendments. before that, of course, the committee had done its work. we allowed amendments on the floor up or down, and we ended up deliberating and voting and measures if they passed here would head to conference and miraculously -- miraculously at some point become law. that hasn't happened for a long, long time. i don't know if you have seen
it. the defense authorization, we don't have active amendments there. in this circumstance, the bill that i brought before the senate judiciary committee 18 years ago, 18 years ago, it has passed the house of representatives and sitting on senator mcconnell's desk for a year. it has been referred to the senate judiciary committee, and i cochair the immigration subcommittee with your colleague who is standing to your right from texas. we have met twice in the last two years, twice, and never taken this up. so for the sake of the people affected by it, asking that it come to the floor is not an unreasonable request. their lives are tied up in it. so i would love to see the regular order. we haven't seen it in so long, most people wouldn't wreck -- wouldn't recognize it. but i understand your objection. i have a series -- i will only make one more unanimous consent request because i see members waiting to speak. this one is very relevant, very timely. mr. president, we know that
foreign election interference continues to be a real threat in america. just this week, we learned a foreign influence campaign carried out by iran in which fake menacing e-mails were sent to democratic voters who were told to vote for trump or, quote, we'll come after you, close quote, origin were told by our intelligence agencies iran. f.b.i. director wray has that russia seeks to denigrate democratic nominee joe biden, two countries up to their elbows and trying to make a mess of our election campaign. it is well past time to address this threat. we spend a lot of time talking about t we could do it today by passing a house-passed shield act. this is a bill passed in the house of representatives that would establish a duty to report election interference from foreign entities so the f.b.i. and the federal election commission are aware when foreign powers are offering unlawful -- unlawful -- election assistance to campaigns and
other political committees. this bill would restrict the exchange of campaign information with foreign entities by making it illegal to offer nonpublic campaign material to foreign governments and those linked with foreign governments. the bill would improve transparency by applying existing campaign advertising requirements to online and would close loopholes to foreign nationals and foreign governments to try to influence the outcome of a u.s. election. finally, it would prohibit depend stiff practices to stop individuals from providing false information about voting rules andification qualifications for voting. in light of these ongoing threats to both presidential candidates, president trump as well as vice president biden, this is a bipartisan attack. they're not just going after democrats or republicans. they're going after all of us. isn't it about time we said we're fed up with it?
that's all this bill does. it's bipartisan. in order to proceed to the consideration of this bill in time for it to affect the outcome of this election perhaps, h.r. 4617, the shield act, i ask we proceed to consideration of it to prevent foreign interference in elections. i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. braun: mr. president, reserving the right to object, as i said earlier, the said is currently considering the nomination of a highly qualified nominee to be an aassociate to the supreme court. this request is another procedural move to just belabor the process. they voted to adjourn until after the election four times this week, so obviously this bill, even though it may have merits that we need to discuss,
should not be done in this format. continuing to consider this highly qualified nominee to the supreme court is the utmost most important thing we should do here. therefore, i object proceeding to legislative session. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. durbin: mr. president? er ifer if the senator from illinois. -- the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i am going to put my statements in the record as to the other three bills and make a general u.c. request as to all of them en banc, as they say. in order to proceed to consideration of h.r. 4995, maternal health quality improvement arctic of 20, h.r. 4996 helping moms act of 20, and h.r. 1585 violence against women reauthorization act, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. braun: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. braun: i object to proceeding to everything en bloc. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. durbin: i yield the floor.
mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. coarse correspondent mr. president -- mr. cornyn: mr. president, on thursday you the senate judiciary committee advanceed the nomination of amy coney barrett unanimously. it was unanimous because our democratic colleagues sought to boycott the meeting, but what they basic lay did is expedite -- basically did is expedite consideration of her nomination. it was really kind of puzzling to see the chairs that were set aside for our democratic colleagues filled with large, blown-up pictures. and i'll sort of get to that in a moment. the false narrative that we've seen here -- because our colleagues cannot successfully attack the character or the qualifications of this incredible nominee to this seat on the supreme court. she discussed -- judge barrett
discussed everything from the separation of powers to the free expression clause of the first amendment, and many of us marveled at her knowledge and her ability to recall facts and legal decisions without so much as even a note in front of her. it's no surprise that the american bar association, which the minority leader has called the gold standard, gave her their highest rating. the chair of the standing committee on the judiciary said in interviews with individuals in the legal profession and the community who know judge barrett, not one person uttered a negative word about her character. that assessment is in line with the glowing letters of support we've seen from her former colleagues and students, whose political philosophies and beliefs fall across the entire spectrum.
what we've repeatedly heard is about judge barrett's brilliance, her strong character, her great temperament, and her impressive humility. judge barrett, i'm convinced, will serve our nation well on the supreme court. it's clear that the mountains of evidence stand in sharp contrast to the portrait that our colleagues across the aisle have attempted to paint of this nominee. democrats have tried to claim that she is somehow too radical, despite that fact that in her three years on the seventh circuit court of appeals, she has agreed with her colleagues 95% of the time in the 600 cases they've decided. back in 2017, when she was nominated to the seventh circuit, she was attacked explicitly because of her catholic faith, even though our colleagues know that under the constitution, no religious test is permissible. and really, suggesting that
because of her faith she couldn't follow her oath to decide cases on the facts and the law that come before her. truly insulting and completely out of character with the person that we saw in judge barrett in front of the judiciary committee. our colleagues even went so far as to hold up a chart with more than 100 cases listed, and claimed that judge barrett would overturn every single one of those precedents. well, there's certainly no evidence of that, nothing in her record that would suggest it. with her fidelity to law, do you think she would be so reckless? well, of course not. there's just no evidence to support t but we know that because they couldn't attack her on the merits, they decided to use fearmongering instead. through innuendos misinformation, and
intellectually dishonest arguments, they've been trying to stoke fears about how she may rule on a case which she has not even heard yet. this is sort of a sky-is-falling argument, a chicken little argument. but it has more to do with the way our colleagues view the judicial branch. they view it as another political argument as opposed to an apolitical branch that is supposed to interpret the law and decide cases on their own merits. instead of addressing her judicial philosophy, our democratic colleagues eagerly shared their plan, should she be confirmed, to pack the supreme court with additional justices, to give them the political result that they cannot achieve with the current composition of the court. this is something that ruth
bader ginsburg explicitly condemned, saying this would turn the supreme court into just another political body because you can imagine if democrats when they're in power decide to add additional judges who may decide cases in a way they would like to see them decided, the temptation would be great for the other side of the aisle to add judges to the supreme court. and it would completely destroy what has been rightly called the crown jewels of our constitution, and that is the independent -- our independent judiciary. well, for many americans, the idea of mutating our own apolitical branch of government is absolutely terrifying. so, not surprisingly, our colleagues across the aisle have tried to rebrand and call this rebalancing the court. well, this is what we would call back home, putting lipstick son
a big. usingrebalance is a way -- using rebalance is a way to obscure what it really is. they want to try to secure wins this he can't win in a rough-and-tumble process. if you can't win in congress, well, get the judiciary is bail you out. that's not the appropriate role of judges or the judiciary under our constitution. our democratic colleagues seemed absolutely fearful about judges who will actually apply the law as written. they want somebody to impose a result that they wish was required. they want judges to evaluate cases not by the letter of the law but through the same lens of personal and political biases. in short, they don't really want a fair and impartial judge like judge barrett. they want a guaranteed result.
our democratic colleagues repeatedly pushed judge barrett to say how she would rule on future cases. they asked her to share her personal views on controversial issues. they demanded a commitment from her to recuse herself from specific cases. but once again judge barrett proved why she is the right person for the job. she followed the precedent set by former and current justices and respectfully refrained from answering those kind of provocative questions. contrary to what our democratic colleagues believe, supreme court justices are not life-tenured super-legislators. they're obligated to apply the law as written. no favors, no biases, no predetermined outcomes. that's what judge ginsburg said when she was confirmed. and that's why it's so important to confirm amy coney barrett. she's artfully -- she has artfully demonstrated her understanding of the rule of the judiciary to show she has the
temperament and the intellect and the experience to serve on the nation's highest court. she won't impose her personal beliefs. she said that time and time again. and to suggest that she somehow would violate her judicial oath in a future case is inconsistent with everything we have come to know about amy coney barrett. she won't impose her personal beliefs. she won't try to favor one side over the other. and she won't legislate from the bench. that's exactly the kind of nominee that republicans and democrats should want on the high court. so i look forward to supporting judge barrett's nomination on monday when we finally vote to confirm her. and briefly, on another matter, mr. president, on thursday's presidential debate, former vice president joe biden said he wants to transition the u.s. from the oil industry. actually, as governor abbott
said, no, joe biden wants to transition hundreds of thousands of texans from their paycheck. what joe biden is sending is a not-too-subtly coded message that he wants to end our energy industry as we know it. this is an industry that according to one study directly or indirectly supports one out of every six jobs in my state. and it is a pillar of our state's economy. through tax revenue, high-paying jobs, and downstream economic gains, communities across texas reap substantial benefits from our thriving oil and gas industry every day. and those benefits reach beyond our borders or the borders of any other energy-producing state. that's because of the hardworking men and women on rigs in the fields and refineries, because of their work, the american people have access to reliable and affordable energy. in places like california and
new york, folks can't turn on their lights, fill up their gas tanks, or hop on an airplane without ever thinking about the men and women who have made that seemingly simple task possible. and now we're seeing our democratic colleagues fighting to leave these energy sources in the dust. they're talking about switching to renewables as if it were as simple as turning on a light switch. in texas, we literally believe in an all-of-the-above energy policy. we produce more electricity from wind energy -- from wind turbines than any other state in the nation. but we know what the reality of the kind of transition that vice president biden has talked about would mean. we got a taste of how disastrous it would be earlier this year. when the coronavirus hit, the need for texas' greatest natural resource plummeted. with fewer cars on the roads and fewer planes in the sky, oil and gas producers were left with a
lot of supply and not much demand. and that's when the layoffs began p. a new report by deloitte found that between march and august of this year, about 107,000 energy workers in texas were laid off. and that doesn't include the countless workers who had a pay cut or temporarily furloughed. to make matters worse, as much as 70% of those jobs might not even come back by the end of 2021, and that is if we continue business as usual. if the vice president's plan to destroy the energy industry were enacted, these workers would have no jobs to come back to and it would only be the beginning of the cascading negative economic consequences. many americans aren't old enough to remember the 1970's energy crisis which put our energy depends in this country in the spotlight.
the situation was so bad that gas stations were serving customers by appointment only. some states banned neon signs to cut down on energy use and a number of towns asked their citizens not to even put up christmas lights. it was a hard, cold dose of reality that brought america's energy dependency to light and a need to increase our domestic resources and to wean ourselves off of foreign oil. that's what we did. we put a ban on crude oil at that time to grow our own. with the technology sector in recent years production has skyrocketed. then it became abundantly clear to lift the export ban, which we did. almost five years ago i voted in the senate to lift that 40-year-old export ban and until
covid-19 hit, we were seeing major gains. last november, for the first time on record, the u.s. exported more crude oil and fuel than we imported. and now that we've reached really what you could call energy self-sufficiency, our democratic colleagues are eager to impose policies that would send us right back to the 1907's and -- 1970's and that orwellian energy crisis and wreak havoc in the process. i think that vice president biden has succeeded in alienating all sides on this topic because he has been flipping and flopping back and forth about fracking bans, whether it would apply across the board or just to federal lands. but his running mate has been abundantly clear and consistent. she said last year, there's no question i'm in favor of banning
fracking. whether democrats are talking about a transition, fracking ban or green new deal, these proposals will kill the goose that laid the golden egg, our oil and gas industry and send the economy into a tailspin. that would bankrupt my state with the best economy in the country. a study by the u.s. chamber of commerce estimates that a fracking ban would cost our state 2 toin 2 million jobs by -- 2.2 million jobs by 2025, the annual cost of living would go up $7,000, unemployment would skyrocket, the tax revenue would plummet and what made us the envy of the word might never recover. the only thing that it would lead to is a dire economic picture for texas, and i believe the rest of the country as well.
an unaffordable or unreliable energy resources. i want to be clear i support efforts to drive down emissions. that's why this shale gas revolution has been so good for the environment by reducing emissions dramatically i. the united states energy-related emissions dropped by almost 3% last year largely due to the increased use of natural gas for power generation, but i also support renewable energy. as i said, texas is the number one producer of electric from wind. but even the strongest supporters of renewable sources of energy can tell you right now renewables are not capable of providing the energy that our nation needs. as we all know, the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow. so wind turbines and solar panels can't fill the need, particularly with about 270-plus million cars on the road and an
airline industry, not to mention our national defense, that depend on fossil fuels to run their engines. last year renewables accounted for only 17.5% of our total energy generation. for a comparison natural gas alone accounts for more than double that. while the development and expanding of renewable sources is more important and something that i support, we simply can't cut our nose off to spite our face by denying ourselves access to what is really a gift which is our natural resources and fossil fuels. right now we have hope that once daily commutes and nonessential travel resumes more texas energy workers will be back on the job and our economy will rebound. but if our country were to implement the policies advocated by leading democrats, particularly their presidential and vice presidential nominee,
that hope would all together disappear. this is not the time, if ever there was a time, to implement heavy-handed, short-sighted government policies like that. our energy industry is it still reeling from the impact of the coronavirus and our democratic colleagues' disastrous policies would not make that better, it would make it worse. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president, i was glad i was here to hear the wise words from the senator from texas. i look at our region, the tennessee valley to california. california is moving ahead a lot like vice president biden's, they have a goal on powering that state on wind and solar and closing their nuclear plants. what is happening in california? rates are goinggoing through the roofs and they are having
rolling blackouts. what is happening in tennessee, and the tennessee valley, nuclear power is more than 40% of our -- of our electric. of course nuclear power is totally emission free. no carbon, zero carbon and it is reliable. most of the carbon-free electric that we produce in the country. the combination of the nuclear power and hydropower and natural gas has given us one of the cleanest area. in the east tennessee area i can see the mountains because pollution has controlled all of the coal plants. we don't want rolling blackouts throughout the country like california has because they've adopted exactly the policy that vice president biden is advocating. now, mr. president, i come to the floor to speak on another subject. i want to talk about science and
vaccines. the governors of new york and california have announced they are creating their own state review panels to review covid-19 vaccine data as it becomes available. new york governor andrew cuomo said, frankly, quote, i'm not going to trust the federal government's opinion, unquote. and california governor stated that the vaccine won't be distributed in california until it is reviewed by a state panel of experts. the governor of california said on october 20, quote, of course we won't take any one's word for it. unquote. well, mr. president, every day americans take the word of food and drug administration's career scientists and the safety and effectiveness of the prescriptions they approve when we purchase 3.3 billion prescriptions a day.
let me say that again. we take the word of the f.d.a. career scientists every day when we purchase 3.38 brl prescriptions every year. i asked the f.d.a. commissioner on september 23, about the safety of a potential covid-19 vaccine. he was testifying on covid-19 in my committee on which i chair. i asked him, dr. hahn, who makes the decisions about safety and efficacy at the f.d.a.? do you do it? do career scientists do it? or does the white house do it, dr. hahn? dr. hahn reported, quote, career scientists at the f.d.a. do it. that's very clear. i'm briefed on all major medical product decisions, dr. hahn said, over ruling a senator's decision is a rare event.
i have expressed on multiple occasions and i have done so during the covid-19 pandemic to make sure that these decisions are made by career scientists in the centers. i followed up by asking dr. hahn's confidence in taking a covid-19 vaccine himself. i said, you referred to this once, but once the f.d.a. approves a vaccine, as we've said today, we're going to have tens of millions of doses ready this year, none can be distributed until the f.d.a. approves it. will you be willing to take that vaccine and will you recommend it for your family? i asked dr. hahn. he replied. absolutely, mr. chairman. i have complete and absolute faith in the expertise of the scientists who are terrific at f.d.a. if they were to make a determination that a vaccine would be safe and effective, i would do that. and i would encourage my family
to take the vaccine. those are the words of the man whose job it is to finally approve any covid-19 vaccine. but then at the beginning of this month, as f.d.a. was preparing to issue additional guidance on the data needed from vaccine developers to demonstrate safety and efficacy for use authorization, there was serious questions about whether the white house was politicizing the f.d.a. approval for vaccines for covid-19. the f.d.a. submitted its guidance, that guidance was written by career scientists, those scientists had decades of experience and they have years of approval of vaccines against covid-19. news reports of white house interference came in that suggested the white house was going to change the f.d.a. guidance or that the white house was not going to allow the
f.d.a. to release its own guidance. many were concerned about that, including me, mr. president. "the new york times" on october 5, had a big headline, white house blocks new coronavirus guidelines and it went on to say the f.d.a. proposed stricter guidelines for approval of a coronavirus vaccine, but the white house chief of staff objected to provisions that would push past election day. that was "the new york times" and fox news. trump administration to block f.d.a. guidelines that could delay coronavirus vaccine. that's fox news. the f.d.a. proposed stricter guidance last month that could prolong the guideline for a vaccine, fox news said. there were many stories to this effect. i could barely leave my office without a reporter asking me if i was concerned about this, about the politicalization about
the vaccine process. so i telephonedded mark meadows and i asked him about it. i said to him, please do not interfere with the standards set by the career scientists at the f.d.a. for the approval of a covid-19 vaccine. mr. president, the white house did exactly what i urged the white house to do. the white house respected the decisions of the career scientists. they did not change one word of the standards set by the career scientists for the approval of covid-19 vaccines. so i suggest to the governors of new york and california, do the same. they should show the same respect to the f.d.a. career scientists that the white house did, undermining the f.d.a.'s gold standard of safety and efficacy by setting up state review panels could delay approval, discourage americans from taking the vaccine and cost
lives. there is a reason why we americans rely on the federal government's food and drug administration for the safety and efficacy of vaccines. in 1902, congress decided when it passed the biologics control act that the federal government should regulate vaccines after tragic incidents of children dying from contaminated smallpox vaccines. this law charged a federal laboratory that would later become the national institutes of health in 1930 with insuring the potency of biologic products such as vaccines. and then in 1972, the regulation of vaccines moved to the food and drug administration to what is now called the center for biologic evaluation and research. f.d.a., therefore, has almost 50 years of experience to refine the process for reviewing safety
and efficacy for vaccines, including what data to look at and how to design clinical trials to prove that the vaccines work and that the vaccines are safe. earlier this week, the f.d.a. convened independent scientific and medical experts to discuss this. they talked about the development, authorization, and approval of vaccines for covid-19. this is not a new process for assessing vaccines. f.d.a. routinely convenes these type of independent panels to help inform its review. dr. peter marks, head of the center of biologics evaluation and research at f.d.a. wrote this about the vaccine advisory committee's role on f.d.a.'s website. quote, the committee will hear presentations from experts in covid-19 disease and vaccine development, as well as from career f.d.a. scientists. topics will include studies needed to support authorization
or approval, post-marketing safety studies needed following an approval and what would be necessary for ongoing safety monitoring following issuing of an emergency use authorization for covid-19 vaccine. dr. marks continued, there will also be a part of the meeting during which members of the public will have an opportunity to speak and provide input, and this will be followed by thorough discussion of the issues by committee members. the members of this committee are external, scientific, and public health experts from around the country, specializing in fields such as immunology, virussology, infectious diseases, pediatrics, vaccine development, and vaccine safety, end of quote. this meeting and any other f.d.a. advisory committee meeting can be viewed by the public. at the senate health committee hearing on september 23 where f.d.a. commissioner steven hahn
testified, i reviewed the three steps that have to happen before f.d.a. will approve a vaccine. one, independent experts overseeing clinical trials determine whether there is enough data available for the f.d.a. to review. number two, after demonstrating safety and efficacy based on clinical trials, the vaccine manufacturer submits an application to the f.d.a. and number three, f.d.a. experts conduct their review and make the final determination whether or not it is safe and that it works. so, mr. president, in other words, no one knows when the vaccine will be ready to distribute. no one knows that. even dr. hahn. and why does he not know it? because there is this elaborate, independent process established by career scientists with not a word changed by the white house that will review the data and then make a decision. now, because of the work of congress and the administration,
tens of millions of doses are being manufactured. so when that approval comes, whether it's november, december, january, there will be tens of millions of doses of vaccine ready to distribute to the american people. but that approval won't come until the career scientists' rules are followed. the f.d.a. is considered the gold standard in the world, in part because it is one of the few regulatory agencies in the world that looks at detailed clinical trial data as part of its review rather than summaries of clinical trial data. the f.d.a. division making the decision to approve or authorize a vaccine for covid-19 is led by experts with decades of experience, including dr. peter marks, whom i mentioned, the head of the center for biologics evaluation research. he has been at the center since 2012. dr. celia whiton, the deputy director, has been at the f.d.a. since 1996. the center is led by dr. marian
kruber who has over 20 years of experience in regulatory review and approval of vaccines and biologics. the deputy director of the vaccine division, dr. phillip kraus, has ten years of experience in the f.d.a. working on vaccines. the f.d.a. will also have the advice of independent advisory committees. mr. president california and new york, no state will be able too assemble a -- to assemble a scientific panel of experts with the same high level of acknowledge and experience, reviewing safety and efficacy information as exists at the food and drug administration. democratic governors in those two states should not both be telling president trump that he ought to follow the advice of scientists like dr. fauci, which he should do, but at the same time undermine the review and the work of similar career scientists at the food and drug administration. vaccines save lives.
we have heard testimony in our health committee demonstrating that. undermining public confidence in vaccine risks not only our ability to combat soafd but acceptance of other vaccines as well. if california and new york can override the f.d.a. on vaccines, what would prevent republican governors from banning ru-486, the abortion drug, in their states? if that were to happen, i'm sure my democratic colleagues would cry politics and suggest that if f.d.a. has reviewed and approved a drug and said it is safe and effective, then states should not be able to say that it is unsafe. f.d.a. is the right agency to review and approve vaccines and drugs and medical devices. i would urge the governors of california and new york not to set up their state review panels, but instead focus their time and resources on planning
to distribute the vaccine and improving testing and contract tracing. using the resources that congress has given to states rather than second-guessing the efforts of scientists at the food and drug administration. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the people act. at a time when our democracy is under siege in so many ways, the for the people act is a bold proposal that will restore people's trust in our democratic system, a trust that is fading. it is under -- it is for the people. in order to make a more perfect union. it would shore up our elections from threats from abroad. that's something we have just recently read more and more about. why aren't we doing more on that? in fact, when senator van hollen a few days ago put on the floor the -- an act u.c. of an act that would say russia should have sanctions imposed on it if they interfere with our elections, the other side blocked it. i hope they're not following donald trump's obeisance to russia and his view that putin's just okay. it would also dismantle systematic hurdles that
discourage voter participation. one of the worst things the supreme court has done -- and there are quite a few under this conservative majority -- is the -- is shelby, the shelby decision. where justice roberts, leading the charge, said we can dismantle the toughest protections under the voting rights act, and he said states aren't going to discriminate any more, and within a year, 20 states passed laws making it harder to vote. that's despicable. that's an awful case. it would help beat back decades of loose finance rules that have empowered special interests at the expense of the american people. we all know about the dark money that's cascading in our system. in fact, sheldon whitehouse asked do you make that public -- disclose those kinds of contributions when it came to the supreme court where right-wing money pours in to make sure that right-wing
nominees get on the court and move to pull the american agenda so much further to the right than the american people ever would. well, in general, there is too much dark money, too much special interest money. this would undo it. as election interference remains an urgent threat, as efforts to disenfranchise voters, especially voters of color, young voters and low-income voters persist, and as powerful special interests continue to exercise outside influence in our elections, the need for this legislation couldn't be more clear. unfortunately, the republican leader has other priorities. rather than strengthen our democracy, rather than protecting our right to vote, rather than fighting big money or tackling corruption, rather than addressing any of the myriad of problems in our democracy that this country faces, leader mcconnell is undoing democracy by rushing
through a lifetime appointment to the supreme court mere days before an election. you couldn't find a more different set of priorities from that of everyday americans if you tried. i urge leader mcconnell to stop this unprecedented and nakedly partisan process and instead put this important legislation on the floor for a vote now. let's discuss it let's debate it. let's not just reject it at a time when we need to do so much of this. so in order to proceed to the consideration of h.r. 1, the for the people act, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. braun: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. braun: reserving the right to object, i want to go through just a few -- it's really more than a few. it's a lot of what's embedded in
this bill. i would call it the democratic politician protection act. let's listen to a few of these things. the constitution vests primarily responsibility in the states, set time, place, and manner of elections. states and localities have determined how to conduct elections for a long, long time. h.r. 1 through a top-down federal approach completely reverses this long-standing tradition. rather than strengthening the election process, paves the way for rampant i think fraud, abuse, litigation that diminishes the value of a legitimate vote. by doing these rushed reforms, let's look at the 2018 midterm elections. polling show that 92% of voters found their experience very easy or somewhat easy. why fix it if it isn't broken?
it imposes a d.c.-style election process on the states, requiring all state agencies and federal agencies, including colleges and universities, to automatically register voters, including those that are 16 and 17 years old, preempts state registration deadlines that would require same-day registration, without verification safeguards, expands the number of agencies that must contribute voter records, even to those who have no experience of expertise in voter enrollment, forcing states to accept a sworn statement as proof of identity instead of photo identification, and a record -- record the vote as a regular ballot. it expands absentee ballot availability, requires states to provide prepaid postage for all mail-in ballots. it does so many things that's different from what we currently
have got in a system that in most places is working fine. it does not include provisions that require or encourage states to remove inaccurate voter information. it reduces the integrity of voter rolls by restricting the state ability to maintain voter rolls and records to ensure voter identity accuracy. there are no penalties for anyone who is falsely registered, prohibits states from being able to continue routine maintenance on their own voter lists. it also creates numerous private rights of action that pave the way for trial lawyers to sue when the results of an election are not to their liking. it makes the federal election commission a partisan body, polite sizes the f.e.c. by changing the neutral, evenly divided six-member body into a five-member panel. it makes a new partisan f.e.c.,
changes the latitude to determine and interpret the subjective enforcement test established by this bill. it in essence takes what is working and complicates it with the top-down federal system. we should not be rushing into something like this that is that comprehensive. we should be paying attention to the process of getting a bone ba fide judge across the finish line, which i think most of us intend to do. therefore, i object to this bill and to moving to the legislative session. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i have another request. as americans face job loss, health crises, isolation, and enormous daily stress during the pandemic, the risk of suicide has tragically gone up. the c.d.c. found that since the
pandemic began, twice as many americans report serious consideration of suicide. the rate of suicide risk is especially high among young americans, minorities, essential workers, and caregivers. well, unfortunately, this is hitting our armed forces as well. the army's chief of staff, general mcconville, stated that he sees correlation between covid and a rise in military suicides. and my office recently received a note, a tragically sat note, from a group in roaches steeks a veteran in their region, 50 years of age, and struggling during the pandemic. when he stopped receiving the $600 unemployment assistance, he was unable to make his mortgage payments and unfortunately, and sadly, very recently committed suicide. i have no doubt that there are more american veterans out there going through the same struggle. each one is a separate and
heartbreaking tragedy. these men and women who've risked their lives for us are taking their own lives, and it's incumbent on us to do something about it. if congress can implement suicide prevention initiatives, we may be able to make a difference. the house has passed a number of bills to get suicide prevention funding and new resources out to communities. i'm going to ask that we go into legislative session to consider four of those house-passed bills. this pandemic has taken so many lives, and we sometimes forget that it's not just those who've contracted covid but those who are pushed to unimaginable stress and devastation because of what covid has done to our economy, our friends, and our convey of life. -- and our way of life. the senate should be passing these bills and helping -- helping out those who may be hiding in the shadows but crying out for help. so there are four bills, and i think till ask for consideration
for them en banc? is that permitted? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: in order to proceed to the consideration of h.r. 5619, the suicide prevention act, 55972, family support services for addiction act of 2020, h.r. 4861, effective suicide screening and assessment in emergency department act of 2020, and h.r. 4585, the campaign to prevent suicide act. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there an objection? mr. braun: mr. president? the presiding officer: yes, the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: reserving the right to object, when the covid crisis first hit, this body -- all of congress recognized how serious the situation was and we acted.
we acted very bipartisan fashion. we acted in a massive passion, as a matter of fact. we understood that the american people through no fault of their own, businesses are shutting down, people are unemployed, and we needed to provide a massive level of relief, and we did that in a bipartisan, almost unanimous fashion. all of the needs have not been met. republicans completely understand that, which is why we spent the august recess in daily calls talking amongst ourselves, trying to focus and target where the relief is best directed. we understood what we passed the more than $3 trillion of covid relief in the early parts of this pandemic that our efforts were going to be far from perfect, but they were needed relief and again we supported it. many but one of the things we were trying to focus on when
we're already $27 trillion in debt, recognizing the fact that we don't have an unlimited credit card, that we had to really kind of take the time and hone the next relief package. and so we did that over the august recess. we came together with a very targeted, very appropriate and still very expensive package, over $600 billion when you add up the plus-up for unemployment benefits, $300 per week, a level that is sufficient but not so high that it actually provides incentive for people to stay on the sidelines and not enter the workforce. in my state, wisconsin, one of the biggest problems employers have is they simply don't have the ability to track people off the sidelines when you've got a $600 plus-up. we provided additional funding for p.p.p., particularly for small businesses that have been devastated. owners have seen their life savings wiped o that additional over $200 plus-up in relief for small businesses would be
targeted. it would be appropriate. it's necessary. over $100 billion for schools, tens of billions of dollars for additional testing and vaccines, billions of dollars for child care, and for agriculture. again, in total, on top of $3 trillion, which is 14% of our g.d.p. by the way, a fair amount of that still is unspent and unobligated. so we took a little bit of that that's been unspent and unobligated and repurposed it for this new targeted package. 52 republican senators voted thor that bill twice. but rather than take yes for an answer, rather than saying, thank you, we will support this level of relief for the american people, our colleagues on the other side of the aisle just said no. the analogy we have been using, if i went up to you and said,
mr. president, give me $200. and you kind of looked at me in shock but because you are a he a generous individual, maybe not $200, i'll give you $100. because you don't give me the full $200, i go stomping off and don't even take the $100. that's what our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are doing. we supported $600 billion on top of $3 trillion in relief, necessary relief, needed relief for unemployment benefits, for small businesses, for vaccines, testing, education, child care. it's there for the taking. all they have to do is say yes. and yet they say no because they'd rather have an issue rather than result. are they serious about helping the american public or do they just want to play politics? i think the answer is quite obvious. mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
democratic leader. mr. schumer: the emaciated bill filled with poison pills that my friend from wisconsin talks about was never intended to pass. the republican majority waited five months before doing anything while people were suffering. the bill does not contain close to what is needed. and so basically his analogy is incorrect. the analogy would be saying you have a series of serious illnesses. let's treat one because we don't want to pay for the others, even though you're willing to increase the deficit by giving a tax break for the wealthy. so this cry about deficit when it comes to helping middle-class people, hurting people, unemployed people, people who can't feed their kids -- no, it's the deficit. when it comes to giving a big tax break to wealthy corporations and wealthy people, that's fine. so i don't really take my -- the words of my colleague from wisconsin, much as i respect him, very seriously.
our republican friends put this emaciated bill on the floor at the last minute because they got such pressure for doing nothing. they know it can't pass the house. they know it is totally inadequate. the greatest economic crisis from -- since the great depression, the greatest health care crisis for 100 years, since the spanish pandemic flu, and our colleagues do next to nothing in terms of the crisis, load it with poison pills so they know it can't pass, know it can't pass the house, waited five months, and the american people know it. when they're asked who wants to solve this problem, they know that it's the democrats in the senate and the house that want to and the republicans that have resisted. so there's no question about t the bills i put -- i just asked for are small bills, not very expensive, that deal with you don't side. but of course the answer is no again. it's a sad, and unfortunate. but fortunately, the american people will be able to have a real say, not on the supreme
court justice they're rushing through, but on who will be the next administration and who will do more, and we'll see what their answer is. a senator: would the senator yield? mr. schumer: i would be happy to yield. mr. mr. brown: i rather senator johnson -- employers can't find workers. there are 600,000 people in my state that lost their unemployment insurance like that at the end of july. 600,000 people lost $600 a week. i go back to march when we passed this bill. it was so important, beesed it unanimously. there was one amendment that republicans wanted to this $2.5 trillion bill. it was to strip out unemployment insurance so that those workers didn't get the $600 a week. what are they to live on? 600,000 people in my state can't find work, tens of thousands in iowa and utah -- what are they to do? we know there's going to be a wave of foreclosures --
evictions and foreclosures as people are thrown out of their apartments and their homes. and this congress continues to -- the senate just won't do its job. do your job so -- if senator mcconnell would do his job so we can do our job and get this economy back on track. thank you, mr. leader. mr. schumer: can i ask one final thing. the bill that my friend from wisconsin talks about was totally partisan. which they know can't pass. and then when leader mcconnell put it on the floor, he filled the tree so it couldn't even be amended. so i yield the floor. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: the senate will soon vote on the confirmation of judge barrett to become associate justice of the united states supreme court. i will be voting in favor of her nomination, and i urge my
colleagues to do just the same. as was made clear to millions of americans who watched her hearing, judge barrett has the temperament, the modesty, and the humility that we should all expect in a judge. she approaches cases without bias or personal agenda. she made that very clear to almost every question asked to her by every member of the judiciary committee. most importantly, judge barrett understands the proper role of members of the judiciary and our constitutional system of separated powers. that is, a judge should interpret, not make the law. making law is under the constitution the responsibility of the congress.
not the supreme court. she also made that very clear in almost every question that she was asked by members of the judiciary committee. judge barrett has an impressive command and of course a respect for the law and the constitution. clearly from her testimony she respected precedent, and she practices judicial restraint. in her words, quote, a judge who approaches a case has an opportunity for an exercise of will has betrayed her judicial duty, end of quote. she went on to explain to the committee her legal method, how she considers statutes and the constitution and how she interprets and applies the statutes and the constitution.
her judicial method is rigorous and exacting but fair. she testified that she would listen to both sides in every case. she said, quote, we want judges to approach cases thoughtfully and with an open mind, end quote. when pressed on how she might rule in a particular case, judge barrett properly applied what we all know as the ginsburg rule, and she did it just like every other recent nominee to the supreme court for the last 30 years, when ginsburg first told the judiciary committee that there would be no hints, no previews, or forecasts, and
judge barrett demonstrated her independence by often repeating justice ginsburg's rule. ill specifically asked judge barrett -- i specifically asked judge barrett if she made any promises or guarantees to anyone about how she might rule in a case. she responded this way to my question. the eabs is -- the answer is no. no one ever talked about any case with me. i can't make any precommitments to this body either. it would be inconsistent with judicial independence. end of quote. end of -- and to quote further. i'm not willing to make a deal, not with the committee nor with the president nor with anyone.
i am independent, end quote. that quote, or similar words were spoken by judge barrett to almost suspicious judiciary member that she might have made some deal ahead of time to get on the supreme court. contrary to critics and their claims about being biased, judge barrett is evenhanded. and has ruled for both plaintiffs and defendants in all kinds of cases. she believes in justice for all and accordance with the law and the constitution just like we would expect everybody that's a lifetime appointee to the judiciary to say those same things of we don't see all of
them following that practice. she went on to tell the committee, quote, i am fully committed to equal justice under the law for all persons, end quote. when asked if she will follow the rule of the law wherever it leads, she said yes, and then, quote, i have deny -- i have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come. end of quote. but that wasn't good enough for our democratic colleagues and their leftist allies. however, throughout the hearings democrats, and many in the media deliberately misrepresented judge barrett's views on the affordable care act. they claimed her critique of chief justice roberts' reasoning in the 2012 a.c.a. case dictates
how she would vote in some upcoming case. so they obviously didn't listen to her when she had no preconceived notions about any case and made no promises to anybody. so the democrats even pushed the storyline that judge barrett signaled to president trump that she'd support invalidating the a.c.a. if she were confirmed to the supreme court. that is nonsense. judge barrett made clear that she doesn't have an agenda. she testified, quote, i have no who's tilt to the -- hostility to the a.c.a. legal scholars critique court decisions all the time and even when they don't disagree with
the outcome. for instance, ruth bader ginsburg criticized the court's reasoning in roe v. wade, but no one claims that ginsburg didn't support the outcome of roe v. wade. judge barrett's critique then of roberts' reasoning was shared by many legal commentators across the political spectrum, including ones on the other side of the aisle. even president obama rejected the notion that the affordable care act was a tax instead of a penalty because that question of a tax or a penalty and the constitutionality or the unconstitutionality of the a.c.a. was what they were critiquing based on roberts decision upholding the constitutionality of the a.c.a. because it could be keenl under
the -- constitutional under the taxing powers of the congress. so even roberts didn't pay any attention to the facts that we even had democrats saying that that penalty for the individual mandate was a penalty, it wasn't a tax. now, moreover, judge barrett's critique of justice roberts' reasoning dealt with his interpretation of a provision that is no longer into effect because we did away with the individual mandate. the question before the supreme court this fall then is entirely separate so it's pointless to speculate. but democrats wasted much time on that type of speculation question after question, democrat after democrat on that side when they were questioning her. senate democrats want to portray judge barrett as a threat to health care.
they want to distract from the fact that they recently filibustered a covid relief bill that would have protected preexisting conditions. this all then is just a democrat election year scare tactic and they are using it almost totally as a reason to vote against judge barrett. it happens, though, that the voters aren't buying it. the public is not buying it. a recent political poll shows a majority of americans want the senate to confirm judge barrett. and a recent huffington post poll says, quote, voters favor the superior of the supreme court nominee amy coney barrett by a nine-point margin, end of
quote. she will be confirmed. that's what we're going to do in just -- sunday into monday. maybe our democratic colleagues will finally show up for work, do their job, and give judge barrett an up-or-down vote on the merits because i think the public, if they were listening in as the judiciary committee was voting her out of office, the public knows now that the democrats boycotted the committee's deliberation. let's not forget the same senate democrats just four years ago declared, quote, unquote, the court needs nine to function properly. judge barrett is that nine. only four years later they don't seem to think so.
judge barrett is a jurist of honor, of integrity, and of great principle. the judiciary committee received a number of letters in support of her nomination. they all praised her intellect, her judgment, her collegiality and her kindness. and we all saw that kindness as she testified over a three-day period of time. mr. president, judge barrett won't be a politician on the bench. she'll make decisions as they should be decided in an impartial manner and in accordance with the law and the constitution. i'm pleased to vote in favor of judge barrett's confirmation to be an associate judge of the supreme court and i urge my colleagues to support her as
well. mr. brown: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i thank the presiding officer. that sounded really good. senator grassley knows that of course -- of course she was -- she was a good witness. of course she didn't take positions. of course she said i made no promises. of course judge barrett said i'm open-minded. but cut through it all. i'm not a lawyer and i -- and i don't serve on the judiciary committee. i don't think that senator grassley is a lawyer. i'm not sure. maybe he is. i might be mistaken. i apologize if he is. we know why she was nominated. president trump said why she was nominated. president trump was very specific. he wants a judge who will overturn the affordable care act and he wanted her there quickly because the affordable care act hearings begin soon after the election. he wanted a judge who would -- who would -- who would undermine
women's decision to make their own decisions about -- women's right to make their own decisions about health care. he put her on because he knows that she will oppose workers rights. he put her on because he knows she'll oppose marriage equality and he put her on wanted her on quickly because he said, i want her there when the election is contested after the election. so -- and, of course, senator mcconnell, because senator mcconnell always does the bidding, senator mcconnell comes out of his office. assume he gets many of his marching orders from the president of the united states, comes down here and 51 spineless and then there's the senator sitting in the presiding officer's chair, i appreciate his courage, but 51 spineless senators do whatever the president tells mcconnell to them on issue after issue after issue. that's the way this place works.
that's the corruption of this place, that the president of the united states said i want her confirmed now because i want her there to decide the election that i'm going to be involved in and i want her there now so she can overturn the affordable care act. of course judge barrett said to the committee, well, i made no promises. i made no commitment, i've not cut deals with anybody. of course she says that. but the fact is that's why the president nominated her. we know that. and we know, as a result in my state -- i know what the affordable care act has done in my state for the last decade. 900,000 people have insurance that didn't have insurance before the affordable care act. more than 100,000 people under the age of 26 have been able to get health insurance because they can stay on their parents' health care plan. a million seniors in ohio have gotten -- gotten free, preventive care, screenings for
osteoporosis, physicals, more than 100,000 ohio seniors have been able to save on prescriptions because of the affordable care act. and maybe most importantly, 50 -- 500,000 ohioans have a preexisting condition, but for the last decade, why? because of the affordable care act for the last decade those people with preexisting conditions, they've -- they've been protected. the insurance companies can't -- can't -- can't raise their rates because of the preexisting condition, they can't cancel their insurance because of the preexisting conditions. those are gone. those protections for preexisting conditions are gone if the affordable care act are gone, protections for people under 26 to stay their parents plan are gone if it is overturned by the supreme court.
democratically they couldn't do it because the citizens of this country didn't want it appealed so president trump goes to the courts to overturn it so they can legitimate it. that's why the comments by the senator from iowa are disingenuous. of course she didn't sit in front of the committee and say, yeah, i made a deal. i have a decision on the affordable care act and gay rights. she didn't say that. i'm not a lawyer, but i know enough to know that, that she's not going to come into the committee and do that. we know what it's about. it's about repealing the affordable care act, it's about taking rights away from the lgbtq citizens, it's about taking rights away from women. and maybe it's about the election. senator mcconnell and the president know they are not going to win the presidency this week. they want this in case it ends up in the supreme court and republicans will have appointed six of the nine justices. that's the game in town.
that's what we know is rigged, mr. president. now, americans -- so many americans, millions of americans are frustrated and angry with the way the president has failed the country during this pandemic. we know 4% of the world's population, 22% of the world's -- of the deaths in the world are americans. it's not because we don't have good doctors in utah and wisconsin and ohio, it's because of terrible presidential leadership. president trump and senator mcconnell have simply -- they've essentially left the country to fend for itself during this pandemic. the stock market's up so trump and mcconnell seem to think everything's fine. the stock market's up, so what the heck. they are oblivious to the families staring at a stack of bills, they are oblivious to small businesses after years, in some cases decades, and family about ises -- businesses going back many, many decades watching
hard work and investment evaporate in a few short months but the stock market is up. so they think everybody is fine for. corporate luiss -- lobbyists do whatever it takes to make wall street recover and say we can't do anything to help anyone else. i hear from small family-owned businesses. how they are struggling. they are worried about whether or not they can make rent or make payroll. they have waited on the phone for hours and couldn't get answers about loans. these folks aren't lounging in a corner office. they don't have high-priced lawyers and accountants that can do all the paperwork. they don't have the lobbyists lining up outside mr. mcconnell's office helping them. they are fighting for their dreams, mr. president. we know why they are struggling. we know why some of them still can't open their doors seven months, seven months into this crisis because the president and this senate is so -- has so
botched this crisis. again, 4% of the world's population. 22% of the world's deaths. the president said i take no responsibility, the president said not my fault, the president said i get a ten out of ten for how i have managed this. president trump has no plan, never has to control the virus. he has not even tried. if the president -- imagine, mr. president, if president trump back in march, instead of lying to the american people, he knew how serious it was. he told his wall street friends, and he told that reporter from the post. i can't remember his name. he -- he told them it was serious, but he didn't tell the american people. he lied to us. imagine instead if the president had worn a mask and stood up and treated us like adults and said to the american public, you know, this is really serious. this could turn from an epidemic into a pandemic. we have to fight back. i am wearing a mask. i ask every american to wear a mask. just like we ask people to wear seat belts and stop at stop signs.
i want every american to wear a mask. i want people to socially distance so we can get this -- but he didn't do that. he didn't do any of that. he also came up with no national testing, contact tracing strategy. he didn't invoke the defense production act so that we could make cotton swabs and gloves and masks and gowns and all the things we need to do -- we needed to do to stay safe. he had none of that. he had no guidance on how businesses are supposed to protect their customers, no investment over vast resources. we see the results. we saw them in april and may and june and july and august and september and now october. in fact, in my state, as in many states, there are more coronavirus diagnoses every day, almost every day than there were a month ago, two months ago, six months ago. local restaurants closed for good. big chains may recover. communities that already didn't get a lot of investment, brown and black neighborhoods, rural
communities, places you can't see from trump tower, those places are seeing their homegrown businesses shut their doors and lay off workers. black-owned businesses have closed at twice the rate of white-owned businesses. we know latino and asian-owned businesses are getting disproportionately hurt. our office hears from so many of these ohio businesses. my -- we have done a series of virtual roundtables with ohio restaurants, one ohioan in zanesville talked about taking over the family business his dad first started 67 years ago. business is down significantly. he tries to pay his employees a living wage and gives them time off for vacations and family needs. he is a really good employer. he is afraid of letting his employees down. another -- a bar owner in bellfountain told us his sales are down, he is worried about his own businesses. when he wrote to me, he didn't just talk about himself. he said he is worried about the ripple effects on the farmers and suppliers and truck drivers and so many others. now he is dreading the winter when he won't even be able to
use the patio. he wonders what he is going to do, what the suppliers are going to do. it's not just restaurants. the media reported a newsstand in downtown cleveland owned by an indian immigrant who came to ohio and has lived the american dream. built a business, employing other clevelanders. now the office building is empty, the food court is closed. his sales have dropped from $700 a day to just $200 a day. he is looking at possible choices unless the government helps. we know he can. he did it in the spring when we passed payroll protection. there were all kinds of implementation problems. the secretary of the treasury and the president seemed more interested in the big guys than the little guys. too many businesses went to the front of the line, but despite all that, we hear from businesses that are open today only because of p.p.p. i heard from spangler candy in brian, ohio. family-owned company, i toured their plant.
i have seen the great work this i believe fourth generation management team has done. they have seen business drop 70%. they had to take their first federal support in the 114-year history using p.p.p. to prevent layoffs. they kept their doors open. they provided pandemic premium pay for their teamster employees. a music and arts venue, the westside bowl in youngstown, talked to one roundtable about how they had zero dollars in revenue in the past six months. p.p.p. kept their office staff and stagehands on payroll but as it runs out, so will their ability to pay employees. ohio parts manufacturer in warren just north of youngstown represented by steelworkers lost 90% of their business when auto plants shut down. p.p.p. made a difference. they are now back to about 70% of their capacity. poultrierbury farm is a family farm in freemont. one of their crops are pumpkins.
pumpkin sales were down. p.p.p. was helpful, but now they are worried about whether or not they can repay. a-plus cleaners in dayton has seen demand plummet. people don't need much dry cleaning when they are working from home. they are able to stay home with an eidl loan and a cares act grant from the county. they are terrified about what happens when the money runs out. we have a bill to get more help to these businesses. the small business lifeline act that would extend p.p.p. through at least next spring. we get more funding to the program so they can get more money out the door to these businesses. it would specifically target help to the truly small businesses that need it the most, including minority-owned businesses. it would extend the debt relief program. it would get help to nonprofits that we know are hurting just like businesses are. as important as these steps are, we just can't get -- we just can't give businesses loans and think that takes care of it. when the virus is still raging, the customers don't have jobs. that's why we need a comprehensive bill that actually
needs the magnitude of this crisis. this visceral decades-long opposition for my colleagues to unemployment insurance, i don't know how they don't realize that when 600,000 ohioans are getting $600 a week, they are spending that money at local businesses, they are keeping the economy going from just a total -- they are helping the economy, they are helping local businesses, they are giving those businesses revenue. when the $600 just stops, not only are those 600,000 ohioans' lives just so, so difficult, but it makes the businesses that they -- the businesses of which they are patrons, the businesses that they patronize, it obviously hurts them, their bottom line. i think the stories from these businesses, mr. president, really get to the fundamental question of what sort of country we rant to live in. when we invest in small business, we invest in people and communities. not stock buybacks, not
executive bonuses. i know that senator mcconnell and his colleagues here always are looking out for the stock market, always are looking out for wall street, always want to hear about stock buybacks and executive bonuses. i know that's their thing, but during a pandemic i wish it were less their thing. the stakeholders in these businesses, they are not nameless, faceless shareholders. they are the owners' neighbors, they are family members. the people we see or used to see at our kids' schools or the grocery store or church. a year from now, do we want to be left with only the biggest companies that follow the fault business model that treat workers as expendable. we know what happens when you let wall street run things and you ignore main street. our communities have watched for decades as factories close and investment dried up and storefronts boarded over in towns and cities that once were thriving. when people in those towns wake up, they realize the only jobs you can get are at a big box chain for rock-bottom wages with
no health care, no paid sick leave, no power over your schedules. is that what we want for our future? we have the resources to fix this. we are the greatest, richest country in the world. let's rise to meet the moment. let's pass a comprehensive bill that gets help to our businesses, our workers and their customers, and let's get the communities the support they need. mr. president, in order to proceed to consideration of h.r. 986, protecting americans with preexisting conditions act, which the house passed with bipartisan support, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative business. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. johnson: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: reserving the right to object, where do you even begin? that was quite the -- quite the statement.
at some point in time, it just becomes galling to listen to the tactic, the scare tactics, the false allegations, particularly from the other side that gave us the affordable care act, an orwellian named bill if there ever was one. one of the promises made to promote that bill was in the end determined to be the "politico" lie of the -- the politifact lie of the year. if you like your health care plan, you can keep your plan. if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. millions of americans lost their health care plan, they lost their doctor. premiums didn't decline by $2,500 per family. they actually skyrocketed, sometimes two, three, four times the price because of the faulty design of health care. of the affordable care act. obamacare. probably the greatest false allegation that is just
offensive. and by the way, to call every member on this side spineless is offensive. we have different views. you know, you try and respect the different views if you actually want to accomplish something. but one of the greatest false allegations, they go back to the well time and time and time again about this, is the republicans don't want to protect the coverage for people with preexisting conditions. nothing could be further from the truth. that was -- that was an argument made back in 2010, and the american people decided that we should do that. republicans agreed with the american people that we wanted to protect everybody's coverage, covering people with preexisting conditions. we just want to do it where it doesn't cost americans an arm and a leg. the faulty architecture of obamacare caused premiums to double, triple, and quadruple
because they actually made a very small slice of the american public, 5% to 7% of the people that have to buy coverage on the individual market that don't have the employer coverage plans that cover people with preexisting conditions. they made that small percentage of the american public bear the full cost and brunt of covering people for preexisting conditions. it was not smart. it was a faulty design. the way you fix it yes, you require insurance carriers to cover people with preexisting conditions, not deny them coverage, but you spread that cost over everybody. just like i mentioned earlier to the democrat leader and when i objected to his bill, our friends on the other side of the aisle are far more interested in an issue rather than getting a result. how do i know that?
well, particularly on this issue, covering people with preexisting conditions, four times in just the last few days and weeks, they have voted no, first on two covid relief packages, the ones i was referring to earlier, the target package that does provide financial relief to the unemployed, to small businesses, to schools, to parents with child care, provide funding for agriculture and testing and vaccines. that also included language to protect coverage for people with preexisting conditions. twice in the last few days or weeks, they have also voted no to senator tillis' bill that does exactly that, protect the insurance coverage of people with preexisting conditions. now, if they were really serious about protecting the coverage of people with preexisting conditions, they would have voted yes, but they voted no. so i could go on and on.
i jotted down all kinds of points that i would like to refute, but it's really not worth the time and the effort. again, let me emphasize, the republicans agree with the american people this debate is over. we have offered proposals to do just this. we want to protect the insurance coverage of every american with preexisting conditions. we just want to do it in a way that doesn't cost them an arm and a leg like obamacare did. so i personally am just getting sick of the false allegations -- and that's just only one of them. i could drone on and on about the false allegations made by the other side against republicans and conservatives, but i will focus on this. this is a false charge. it's canard. it's a scare tactic. i'm begging the american people not to listen to it or believe it. republicans want to protect the
insurance coverage of people with preexisting conditions. if they were serious about it, they would have voted yes on what we have already proposed. for that and many other reasons, mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. brown: before offering another unanimous consent, i'd just point out, ten years of protections for people with preexisting condition because of obamacare, ten years of speeches from republicans about repeal and replace, no real proposal to replace the affordable care act. the president has promised it. about, you know, every couple of weeks, three or four years, and still hasn't put a real bill forward. in order to proceed to h.r. 1230, protecting workers against -- older workers against discrimination act which passioned the house with bipartisan support, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there appear objection? -- an objection?
mr. johnson: mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. brown: in order to proceed to h.r. 1759, a bridge for workers act, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there an objection? mr. johnson: mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. brown: mr. president, i guess i'm not surprised about that one, considering i hear my colleagues talk about how outrageous it is that we were spending $600 a week to help unemployed workers in this bipartisan bill that passed the house would have helped workers get retrained and get new jobs. and they're not willing to do that either. but we also know that this is a bill that -- we've seen this act before. mr. president, in order to proceed to the consideration of h.r. 3659, danny's law, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is
there objection? mr. johnson: mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. brown: in order to proceed to the consideration of h.r. 4029, tribal access to homeless assistance act, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative business. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. johnson: mr. president, i object. officer -- the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. brown: in order to proceed to the consideration of h.r. 5084 improving cooperate governance through diversity act, to require corporations to disclose, just disclose, the racial ethnic and gender composition of their boards. passed the house with bipartisan support. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there an objection? mr. johnson: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. brown: i'll hold the floor for all another few moments. you know, you've watched senator mcconnell and sorry to call some of my colleagues spineless,
senator johnson, but when the president made comments about our soldiers who had died in battle, i didn't hear hardly any republicans speak up. i admire the courage of the presiding officer. i admire senator murkowski and her courage on a number of things. but i've seen my colleagues -- i know -- i hear what you all think. i know what senator sasse said during that town hall. i know many of you, if not most of you, maybe all of you -- probably not -- think that about the president's lack of integrity and lack of character and dishonesty and the lies he tells. and i know -- i've watched. i sat right here and i looked across the aisle during impeachment and i saw the look of fear in my colleagues' eyes because they didn't want to cross the president. they innst did not even want to -- they didn't want toest go the prosecutes to tweet -- they didn't want to get the president to tweet about them or get him to primary against them.
more important than the citizens of this country? we've spent the last month after month after month after month confirming very conservative, very young judges -- i understand why you want to do that. but we're not doing anything for the public. i mean, we had a high moment in march when senator johnson said unanimously we approved the cares act. it kept -- studies showed the cares act kept 12 million americans out of poverty. but then -- but then we ask to continue the cares act and do something similar like the heroes act and instead senator mcconnell, you know, i know the lobbyists that line up in front of his door. i know they have a lot of influence on him. but we saw senator mcconnell say no urgency, no urgency. my favorite abraham lincoln quote is lincoln wanted to hershey his staff wanted it him to stay in the white house and protect the union and eliminate -- win the war and abolish
slavery and protect the union, and they wanted to stay in the white house. he said, no, i got to go out and get my public opinion bath. have none of my colleagues heard the unemployment constituents? they want to send their kids about a being to school but they're not safe. my daughter -- i was talking to my daughter last night, just a few days ago a nnounced instead of school opening in person in columbus next week it's going to open in january, if even then, because we're not helping schools open. we're not helping people avoid eviction, we're not helping local governments keep police and fire on the streets and people that would, in the parks and help -- that work in the parks and we're doing none of that. but we have plenty of time for judges. that's why i made the comments i made. and, mr. president, it just breaks my heart that we all sit here -- this is a group of
pretty affluent, pretty privileged people, yet we can't look out for people that are hurting, like this country hasn't hurt for decades. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: it just deserves a response. the pandemic is an act of god. now, maybe -- maybe, and we don't know. we don't know what complicit china had in -- complicity china had in this. but we certainly know that china controlled the spread in china while they allowed their citizens to go all over the world and spread the pandemic. it's an act of god. it's certainly nobody's fault here in the united states. as chairman of homeland security, we've had before our committee, the member and women in charge of these agencies that are trying to respond to an
incredible difficult situation. i never criticized president obama or vice president biden during h1n1. it was a contagious disease. 16 million americans were infected by it. i'm not sure there's anything you really can do to prevent infections. now, i think we've actually been pretty successful flattening the curve. people taking responsibility, become being germaphobes. we've shut down our economy. i never thought we should have shut it down to the extent we have. because i've always tried to keep things in perspective. the human toll and the economic devastation of that's shutdowns. i find it galling when i find the men and women, dr. birx,
dr. hahn, the men and women in this administration who have been working 24/7 to respond to an act of god, a pandemic. i've been on the conference calls. this administration has been as transparent as any i've seen. to accuse this administration of hiding the truth? i don't know where you were during the early months of this, but i was watching the hour- and two-hourlong press conferences. any american that watched that that wasn't concerned about covid, i don't know what they were looking at. there's no hiding the ball here. president trump and his administration made it very obvious what was at stake. and i'm also aware of the fact that because of this act of god, because of this pandemic, there is an enormous demand for a
product that should have been in the national stockpile that wasn't there because the previous administration had run the stockpile down and then we -- all of us, collectively -- took our eye off the ball and didn't restore it. so the product just wasn't there. but i do know in a very difficult situation when demand outstrips supply by two to three times, the men and women of this administration -- again, working tirelessly -- allocated that p.p.e. i am not aware that anybody ran out. i know that everybody didn't get everything they wanted because some tough decisions had to be made. we had to surge p.p.e. product to those hot spots. and where the pandemic wasn't raging, people didn't get everything they need. i'm not aware of anybody that wanted to get placed on a ventilator didn't get one, because they used the war production act.
we did extraordinary things in terms of ramping up production. now we're supplying ventilators to the world. so you can overlook all these things, you can say that the administration wasn't honest withs american public, but i think the actual facts refute those chance. -- those charges. maybe in other people's world, there's perfection and in this pandemic you can stop it in its tracks, you can prevent further infection. but that didn't happen with h1n1, even though they tried. fortunately, it was not a deadly as the coronavirus and covid-19. so, again, among many things that are galling, the false allegations -- to me, to politicize a pandemic, to politicize it as a virus that is killing americans, to deny he great the efforts -- to denigrate the efforts of the men
and women who have worked 24 highway 7 is simply wrong. -- who have worked 24/7 is simply wrong. it is something that should unite us, as prior crises in this country have. so, again, there's so many more things i can say, but i see the senator from alaska is here, and i don't want to take anymore time of the floor. but -- i yield the floor. mr. brown: one last comment, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: yeah, i don't really understand what i just heard. that the president was straight with the american people? he told them it was going to disappear? he said it's a democratic liberal hoax to bring down his campaign. but look at a little history. i wear on my lapel, a picture of a canary in a bird cage. it was given to me, a rally to honor workers who had been
injured or killed on the job. the canary died in the mines. the worker knew that he didn't have a government that cared very much. he was on his own. so i've always cared a lot about public health. that's really the best prevention for the can a nature ray in the mine. i wrote a letter to president trump in 2018 after he had closed the office of global health security in the white house and essentially transferred dr. ziemer, a push appointee, who was one of the world's great malaria doctors, and his job -- he had 40 people on his staff. his job was to surveil the world and look at potential disease outbreaks that might turn into an epidemic, which then might evolve into a pandemic. that was his job. the president eliminated the office. and i wrote a letter to the president asking him to reinstate him. he didn't even answer the letter. then the following year, 2019, he brought dr. linda quick from
china and her job to make sure if anybody was happening in china that we could -- that we would know about it and could them prevent the disease. our c.d.c., we're the best in the world. it was the united states of america leading the charge to eliminate smallpox. it was the united states of america that led the job to all but eliminate polio in this country. some of us here are old enough, like the presiding officer, any way, to remember knowing people that had minor cases of polio growing up in our schools. it was the president of the united states who pulled c.d.c. employees out of china because of a trade -- some -- depending when trump loves xi or dislikes xi. it was back and forth with the chinese leader. and we just unilaterally disarmed. then the president denied that the virus meant anything.
i think know he took care of ventilators. but other kinds of protective equipment -- just talks to nurses and doctors and health care workers in our states, kenosha, columbus, fairbanks, salt lake city. i yield the floor, mr. president. thank you. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i want to start with a personal you this to you as the -- thank you to you as the presiding officer for indulling me for an additional few moments here so i may speak this afternoon on the nomination of judge amy coney barrett to be an associate justice of the u.s. supreme court. and while i intend to share with you my intentions on how i will
vote, i'd like to start by just expressing my disappointment with where we are in the senate as a whole right now. there's been some good discussion hering this morning as we're considering -- discussion here this morning as we're considering the unanimous consent agreements, some statements made, but not action moving forward. i -- i had hoped that if we were going to be at this moment in time just over a week out from our national elections, that we would be here on the floor debating -- debating the merits of a receive relief bill. and in my home state of alaska, as in so many states around the country, we're seeing unprecedented numbers now. the news just yesterday, friday, that the united states reported
the highest single day recorded of positive cases. 83,757, really staggering. in alaska we have seen this virus spread to some of our small outlying villages, villages that are not accessible by road, villages that have limited medical facilities. we're really quite concerned about what this means for many of the native people in these areas. we're not able to stay on top of the contact tracing because of the increasing numbers. the pressure on hospital capacity is also a growing concern. and economically, alaska has been hit extraordinarily hard. as most know, we've got a pretty
substantial tourist season, but this year we had little to no season for us. many small businesses have closed permanently but many, many more are going into the winter wondering how they are going to make it through the winter, scrambling to find ways -- to piece it together. unemployment, loss of housing. in every conversation that i have with alaskans, they are asking if and when we're going to see another round of covid relief, and i regret that we have no deal to offer them today. instead we're here on a weekend, ten days before the elections, to advance a u.s. supreme court nominee. now, i was here on the floor yesterday. i had an opportunity to listen to the majority leader as he outlined the -- the escalation
of confirmation battles over the past 30 years plus. and i think it was an important lesson in -- in our senate history. but i'm not confused about how we wound up here but i certainly am frustrated by it. and it's with a heavy heart, i just regret that we are in this place. i think there was a worthy attempt during the 109th congress by the gang of 14 to reduce the tensions. there was, i think, a very genuine good-faith effort there to try -- to try to dial things back. but, sadly, their bipartisan action was not rewarded by the voters and perhaps that served as a warning to other members of this body rather than as an
aspiration. but we heard the history lesson and i'm one who has long recognized that pointing fingers doesn't ever actually solve a problem. i personally believe that every nominee for the supreme court should receive an up-or-down vote after they have passed out of committee. my record has been pretty clear, pretty consistent. some might even suggest boring in its consistency, but i made a -- a very strong commitment after i returned to the senate in -- at the end of 2010 and said i did not believe that filibustering our judges was -- was what we should be doing. and so i might not have liked
the judges that were before us, but i did not participate in a filibuster of a judge. i had an opportunity to vote up or down and i thought that was the reasonable way to proceed. i believe that it is fair to the individual and it's fair to the institution, but i also recognize that the timing of this confirmation that we have before us will serve to reinforce the public perception about political influence on the court. and i would hope that we all recognize that public confidence in our courts must be an imperative. we have to believe that justice is going to be equal for all of us. now, i know that my colleagues are not surprised to hear me discuss my concern about the politicalization of the court. i made a similar point during
the impeachment trial when some wanted to literally tear down chief justice roberts and the court because they needed a sound-bite for a political ad in the primary campaign. i made the same case when i voted against the nomination of now-justice kavanaugh. also during that impeachment trial, i implored the members of this chamber to look inward. to really evaluate -- are we really willing to tear down not only the other party but the other institutions of our government as well? so i have looked inward, considering in these difficult days what i believe is best for the institutions of our government, and i recognize that confirming this nominee is not
going to heal, it's not going to salve the wounds that these institutions have endured, but neither will threats that should the balance of power in this chamber change that everything is on the table, including the end of the legislative filibuster and packing the court. to do that would only inflict even deeper, deeper wounds. fundamentally and dramatically altering how the levers of power operate in this country, compromising one -- the one branch -- the one branch of government that must remain a political. we're the legislative branch, the executive branch. both of these branches are inherently political. it is the third branch, our
courts, that we count on to be a political. i think it would be a giant leap further down a path that we should not be following in the first place. so we've got to figure out how we de-escalate. so let me very simply explain this afternoon how i plan to vote over the next two days, starting with the procedural motions which i opposed yesterday. i will oppose again tomorrow. in 2016, after the unfortunate death of justice scalia, i said that the senate should not take up a nominee to fill that seat due to the impending presidential election. i reit lated that -- i reiterated that statement in august of this year and then coincidentally enough just hours before the news of justice
ginsburg's passing that saddened the country. i didn't know that she had passed when i reaffirmed my comments from earlier but that knowledge would not have changed my mind. i remain in the same place today. i do not believe that moving forward on a nominee just over a week removed from a pitched presidential election when partisan tensions are running about as high as they could, i don't think that this will help our country become a better version of itself. but, frankly, i've lost that procedural fight. we saw that with a vote yesterday. so what i can do now is be consistent with the precedent that i have set for myself and oppose a process that i said should not move forward and i've done that. but at the end of the process is
the substantive question of whether judge barrett should be categorically rejected as an associate justice in order to underscore my procedural objection. i believe that the only way to put us back on the path of appropriate consideration of judicial nominees is to evaluate judge barrett as we would want to be judged, on the merits of her qualifications. and we do that when that final question comes before us. and when it does, i will be a yes. i have no doubt about her intellect. i have no doubt about judge barrett's judicial temperament. i have no doubt about her capability to do the job and to do it well.
by now most people are very familiar with her qualifications. they have seen her resume, the bio, she's been all over the news. it is significant, her background, graduating with honors from rhodes college and with honors from notre dame law school and clerked on the supreme court was professor at notre dame law school prior to being confirmed on the bench of the court of appeals. i helped confirm her to that seat on the seventh circuit. i have followed on from that time when i first came to know of judge amy coney barrett. i've done my due diligence in my role of advice and consent. i worked through the articles that she has written, the cases that she has written.
i have engaged in a lengthy one-on-one with her. i watched both full days when she appeared before the judiciary committee. she presented herself admirably. she all know that confirmation processes are not pretty. i have expressed my concerns previously that good people will decide that the qimghts as we -- confirmation process as we have it now, sometimes an awful process, that i worry that they are going to think that it's not worth it, not worth what it puts them and their families through and they opt-out -- they opt to avoid government service. and on this note i will say that while some of the rhetoric from my colleagues have been overblown and unnecessary, this process with judge barrett is
not nearly what it was in 2018 during the confirmation of justice kavanaugh. so ultimately i am glad. i am thankful that judge barrett did not opt-out. i have concluded that she is the sort of person that we want on the supreme court. her legal writing is excellent and will be an asset to her as well as future generations of lawyers as they read through her opinions. her intellectual curiosity, which is demonstrated by the depth and breadth of her academic work as a professor will also serve the country well. her temperament and her very patient nature were on full display over the course of the hearing. i had a -- a good, i think a very substantive discussion, with judge barrett about some
alaska-related matters, focusing on alaska, specific statutes, i raised some of the public safety challenges that we face in my home state that -- that served to undermine the principle of equal justice under the law. i raised the issue of voting rights and inaccess to the ballot. it was important for me to hear and to better understand her views on precedence and her evaluation process specifically the weight that she affords reliance on decisions that have been in -- in place for decades, such as roe v. wade. we discussed the doctrine of severability in regards to the affordable care act. we spoke at length about my concern that the supreme court is increasingly viewed as political by the public and what that then does to erode the
public confidence in the -- and the impartiality of our courts. we talked about the criteria and the evaluation that a justice would undergo for purposes of recusal from a matter. i do not believe judge barrett will take her seat on the bench with a predetermined agenda or with a goal of putting a torch to every volume of the united states reports. justices should come to the court with an open mind, willing to be convinced by the arguments presented in each case, to exchange thoughts with their colleagues, to learn new things and rule as the law requires. and i am convinced that judge barrett will do just that. so while i oppose the process that has led us to this point, i do not hold it against her as an individual who has navigated the
gauntlet with grace, skill, and humility. i will vote no on the procedural votes ahead of us, but yes to confirm judge barrett when the question before us is her qualification to be an associate justice on the supreme court. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. cassidy: mr. president, i rise today to offer my support for confirming louisiana native amy coney barrett to the supreme court of the united states. deciding whether or not to confirm a justice to the highest court in the land is among the most important duties and privileges that a senator has. we must consider the
qualifications of the nominee that the president puts forward and determine a nominee's fitness to serve. in this case, president donald trump made a terrific selection in amy coney barrett. the senate will vote on her confirmation in the coming days, and i will proudly cast my vote to confirm, and here is why. judge barrett is incredibly qualified to serve on the court. she graduated suma cum laude from notre dame law school, clerked for the late supreme court justice antonin scalia, and spent 15 years in academia shaping a new generation of legal minds. and according to her students, she was not an ideologue, but rather she would listen and take their thoughts and process them and bring them to a better knowledge of the law. with that, she has been universally praised by her former students and ultimately served on the u.s. court of appeals for the seventh circuit. her record and experience shows that she is ready for the
supreme court. now, there is some home state pride. judge barrett was raised in louisiana and a graduate of st. mary's dominican high school. when i go back there, i will see folks with the pin that she would have received when she graduated and they are very proud to have attended the same school, perhaps to have been in the same class. as a fellow louisianian, i am proud of one of our own will become a supreme court justice. and she will be only the second person from louisiana to serve on the court, which for my state makes the confirmation historic. but it is more than louisiana rooting for amy coney barrett. she will serve our country well. i will also say that i think it fitting that a woman fills the seat that opened after justice ruth bader ginsburg's passing. although she and i had our differences in political and judicial philosophy, she should be recognized for her service and lifelong pursuit of ensuring that women have a seat at the table. we thank the legacy of justice ginsburg and her service to the
united states. and one of the many things that is notable for justice ginsburg i will emphasize is that she broaden the -- broadened the perspective of scotus, the supreme court of the united states, as they treated the law. i think judge barrett does the same. she will be the first mother of school-aged children to serve on the court. she and her husband jesse are raising seven children, two of whom were adopted from haiti and the youngest who has down's syndrome. if there is a mom or a working mom or not who wonders if her perspective is ever spoken to when cases are considered before the supreme court, a justice barrett will bring that perspective to the court. finally, i want to thank judge barrett for her willingness to serve, to accept the nomination to the supreme court is sadly to accept ruthless attacks from partisans seeking to score political points. her nomination was no different.
she had been repeatedly attacked for being a practicing catholic. she has every right to live her faith, and no one in public service should be expected to cast aside deeply held religious convictions to satisfy an angry mob fabricating reasons to say no. thank you, judge barrett, for defending her and by extension all of our religious liberty. and i think the balance and the grace that she exhibited during a very difficult two days of being before the committee, but in her life in general i think is testimony to the depth by which she considers the best of her faith. that said, her political enemies and some in the press intentionally mischaracterized many of her statements, twisting them into new ways to attack her, again fabricating reasons to say no. yet judge barrett handled each attack with grace and dignity. during our hearing, she displayed time and again that she had the skills, misdemeanor, and the experience to serve on the supreme court. on monday, i will proudly cast
my vote to confirm amy coney barrett to the supreme court. she will serve our country well, and she will serve the future generations which will be influenced by her decisions on the supreme court well. i encourage my colleagues to put politics aside and to do the same. thank you, and i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut.
mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. we are here today on a unique saturday. today -- a day that is not normal. a day when the coronavirus is setting new records across the united states for infections. just yesterday, 85,000 new cases, the highest, very highest since july, ravaging the united states, creating untold hardship and heartbreak. we are in the midst of a raging pandemic, but we are not considering measures to deal
with the pain and grief and loss that it has created, the threat that it poses to many states across the country. and reviving memories for many of us in connecticut who went through the worst of these ravages and still suffer in connecticut the threat of a new wave. economic crisis grips this country. people are out of jobs. small businesses are failing. but we are considering a nominee who would threaten to decimate our health care system in the midst of a health care crisis as we go through this pandemic. it is a day that is sad, shocking, surreal, and it is not
normal. it is not normal to rush through a nominee for the highest court in the land, a lifetime appointment while americans are going to the polls in record numbers. their voices should be heard. and the next senate and the next president should choose this next justice. it is not normal because we are in effect ignoring and disregarding the duty we have to consider and pass real measures to address this pandemic and the economic crisis that we face. it is not normal for real people whose lives are impacted so severely and potentially even more so in weeks ahead. and whose health care, whose reproductive freedoms, whose protection from gun violence,
whose workplace rights and civil rights and civil liberties are all threatened by this nominee. we brought into the hearing room those real people from connecticut and all around the country through the posters that we had watching those hearings and the nonresponses that amy coney barrett gave to our questions. we brought real lives and the real harm they will suffer into that hearing room. i brought connor curran whose treatment has kept him alive only because his parents were able to use the affordable care act for his preexisting condition. julia lanzaner, who was allowed
because she received treatment for her -- who is alive because she received treatment for her cancer because of the a.c.a., making it affordable, protecting her as a preexisting condition survivor. samantha, a rape survivor, who was able to get an abortion because of the protections of roe v. wade, and tracy, who was able to use in vitro fertilization because of reproductive freedoms that are guaranteed boy griswold versus connecticut and its progeny. amy coney barrett refused to say whether she thought griswold was correctly decided. and ethan tsong who lost his life because of an unsafely stored firearm in a friend's home. his parents michael and kirsten tsong were with me, and so was
ethan. and janet rice, whose son, then 20 years old, shane, was killed in downtown hartford. and of course the bardon family who lost their beautiful son daniel along with 19 other wonderful children at sandy hook in that massacre and sixth grade educators as well. those real lives and real people and real harms are what is at stake in this debate. and so this chamber seems so surreal on this day. in the midst of hardship and heartbreak that will potentially only be aggravated by the justice who may be confirmed as early as monday evening.
she has been selected, screened, and vetted to be an activist judge who would strike down the affordable care act and overturn roe v. wade. we know that she has passed that strong test, the president's words, strong test to legislate from the bench and accomplish through the courts what they have been unable to achieve in this body, in this chamber, in this congress through the legislature. they have failed to overturn the affordable care act because the majority of american people want that protection for preexisting conditions, and we have stood strong on this side against those 10, 20, 40 efforts to strike down the affordable care
act. she has been vetted and screened for a position on gun violence protection that she herself has admitted in a speech she gave. it sounds kind of radical. it sounds kind of radical, as i said to her during the hearing, because it is radical. it is part of a radical extremist agenda to deny the american people state and local laws that protect them against assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. people who are dangerous and should be denied purchase of a firearm because they should be screened out through background checks and through emergency risk protection orders and save storage laws and repeal of placa
that gives gun manufacturers near-complete immunity from any responsibility. we are still in the middle of an epidemic of gun violence. and among those real people who have spoken out as a young woman, she is 19 years old named tabatha escalante. i was on a phone call with her yesterday with other advocates. she is the judiciary advisory associate at march for our lives. and she is advocating, along with other groups, grassroots groups, that have created a movement -- give fords, brady's students demand action, moms demand action, sandy town promise, along with march for
our lives. they have created a movement that is prevailing, just as we've prevailed and stopped the legislative branch from overturning the affordable care act. the strength of this movement has caused the n.r.a. and the extreme radical groups that are supporting it to go to the courts. as we documented in a report that we released just yesterday -- i thank my colleague, sheldon whitehouse for spearheading these efforts -- i've been proud to join him in various efforts on captured courts and the report, what's at stake on gun safety, is the reason that tabitha and others joined that call yesterday.
it shows how the n.r.a. has been at the tip of the spear, working for special interests, the gun lobby, dark money channeled to put on the court judges at every level who will stop commonsense measures on protecting people against gun violence. and justice nominee amy coney barrett is only the most recent of them who have been screened and vetted to carry forward that agenda. these interlocking groups -- the firearms industry, retailers, private organizations like american encore, judicial crisis network -- have sper head --
spearheaded this network and judges in the federal courts have been the result. the fact of the matter is that they are turning to the legislatures because of the strength of this grassroots movement, not its weakness. and their efforts to repeal the a.c.a. have failed, so have their efforts to block those measures in state legislatures and local governments. in fact, gun violence prevention was on the ballot in 2018 and gun violence prevention won. and that is the reason that the house of representatives passed a universal background check measure and other steps that are so important and should be done here. in the past ten years, in fact,
this scourge and epidemic of gun violence have continued. more than 236 mass shootings in this country. those mass shootings have taken 1,300 lives, including those innocent children and educators at sandy hook. in the past ten years, gun violence has taken more than 350,000 lives in rural communities, urban communities, every community across the united states. gun violence is an insidious public health menace, a public health epidemic that affects every community. and amid this public health epidemic, republicans have vetted and screened this nominee to take justice ginsburg's place on the supreme court because of her extreme views, as she
articulated in her dissent in canter v. barr. she showed an arizona larming willingness to stretch the founding era history to support her extreme and expansive view of the second amendment. her views are not only out of the mainstream, they are out of the position articulated by justice scalia, her mentor. but the fact of the matter is, the threat to these gun violence prevention measures is real and urgent. cases are literally one step away -- remember, one step away -- from the supreme court. three cases challenging restrictions on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, two of them from california that are about to be petitioned for review or srebrenica -- or
certiorari to the united states supreme court. two cases on open carry, three cases challenging background check and licensing requirements. one step away from the supreme court, possibly this term, when amy coney barrett would take her seat. with her nomination, every single commonsense violence prevention measure at every level of government is in grave peril. the public health and safety stakes could not be greater. as tabit this. a said, quote, nothing less than everything sat stake. nothing less than everything is at stake. and not just now when these cases are one step ahead -- away, but for decades to come.
tabitha's generation may have children, even grandchildren, who will see amy coney barrett on the supreme court bench if she's confirmed. and district court and appellate court judges whom we have confirmed through this effort to reshape the courts in the image of the far right of what used to be the republican party. one step away from this disaster. and, likewise, on the issue of reproductive freedom, judge barrett was also vetted and screened. at the hearing she refused to say -- absolutely refused to say -- whether roe was correctly decided. as you know, roe protects a
woman's right to choose, after being raped, as samantha was -- we presented her story. it is constitutional to make in vitro fertilization a crime if roe is overturned. it is constitutional to make it a crime for doctors to perform abortions. she refused to answer that question as well. but, in a way, she didn't really need to answer those questions because we know where she stands. she described roe's legacy as barbaric in a letter and ad that she aligned herself with. she has called, in effect, through organizations with which she was aligned, the unborn,
quote, to be protected in law. she aligned herself with a group on legal position -- not talking about moral beliefs -- pushing the most extreme legal views on reproductive care, which include criminalizing i.v.f. criminalizing doctors, ending legalized abortion in this country. her extreme views on reproductive freedoms once were disqualifying, but it is the reason why donald trump chose her in the first place, his strong test on that issue. right now there are 17 abortion-related cases that are one step away from the supreme
court. there are challenges to bans on abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women even know they're pregnant. there are bans on abortion later in pregnancy when women can face the most severe health risks and rely on their doctors for accurate information and compassionate care. they are reason-based bans that merely exist as a pretext -- and i say, quote, reason-based ban, end quote for interrogating and intimidating women who seek an arizona bortion. -- an abortion. there are red tape laws that require abortion providers to jump through hoops that serve no medical purpose but merely exist to burden them and make necessary abortion services
harder and harder to obtain. and numerous other abortion laws designed to limit access, strictly to limit access in the name of health care. particularly for poor, rural, and immigrant women who simply cannot afford to make trips to clinics hundreds of miles away. they are laws that impede racial justice, human justice. access to reproductive care is already hanging by a thread across the country. judge barrett's nomination imperils what access remains. those cases are just one step ahead -- away, one step away from a decision by the court that justice barrett would join. so there is a great deal of our
fundamental rights at stake here, as tabitha said, nothing less than everything is at stake. and these cases that are one step away from a decision are only 17 cases involving reproductive freedom, 14 cases involving gun violence prevention. there are numerous others involving workplace safety, the affordable care act will be argued a week after the election when she would sit on the court. her hostility to the affordable care act is well-documented by now in her criticizing chief justice roberts for his vote to uphold the act, saying he had to stretch the meaning of it to keep it alive. her saying in king v. burwell
when she spoke about that case that the dissent had the better of the argument. these are real rights for real people. that would be lost. and instead of imperilling health care and other rights that should be enjoyed by the american people, we should be doing and enacting measures right now before us measures that have been passed by a bipartisan majority that would actually address the needs and challenges of the american people during this extraordinary time in our history. they are before us right now. there is no need to right them anew. there is no need to invent the words or the purposes for these
acts. and so, in order to proceed to the consideration of h.r. 112, the enhanced background check act, bipartisan legislation to close the charleston loophole, extending the initial background check review period from three to ten days and eliminating that loophole for gun purchases which enabled the charleston shooter to get his weapon and murder people in the basement of a church, and others around the country to endanger and kill innocent americans, embodying the principle of no check, no sale -- that must be the rule -- i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection?
mr. cramer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. cramer: the senate is currently considering the qualifications of an excellent nominee to be on the supreme court of the united states. that's why we're here. it's very important work. and this request is nothing more than another form of procedural harassment by the minority to try and stop our process of considering amy coney barrett for the supreme court of the united states. it's certainly unfair to her. it's unbecoming of this chamber, and if this bill was so important -- if this bill was so important to the democrats in the senate, they wouldn't have voted four times to adjourn until after the election. so, clearly, this is just a stunt. and, by the way, if that wasn't reason enough, the bill that the senator is suggesting we get into would provide -- would put
owner's burden on law abiding americans who just want to protect themselves at a time when democratic mayors and governors are overseeing all kinds of damage to life and health and property unchecked. in fact, calling off the lawferlt of -- law enforcement of their communities to protect our citizens. they now want to take away the rights of those citizens to be able to purchase arms or at least make it much more difficult. so for these reasons and several others, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. blumenthal: madam president, what my colleague calls procedural harassment is actually democracy. it's legislation. it was passed by the house. it's bipartisan. the majority was bipartisan. it will save lives. i fail to understand why my republican colleagues will not
allow this loophole, it is a fatal and effective loophole in our current laws to be repaired. but let me move to another measure. in order to proceed to the consideration of h.r. 7, paycheck protection paycheck fairness act, again, bipartisan legislation that would empower women to challenge pay discrimination in the workplace, passing the house by a bipartisan majority and giving women the power to hold employers accountable for discriminatory practices, making a tremendous difference in their lives. i ask unanimous consent on the paycheck fairness act, that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cramer: madam president. the presiding officer: the
senator from north dakota. mr. cramer: madam president, reserving the right to object. this is one more obstructionist move to prevent us from taking amy coney barrett to the supreme court of the united states, a highly qualified nominee who deserves her time in the chamber, deserves her time in debate and not these other external matters that, by the way, if they were important to the senate minority, they would not have voted four times this week to adjourn until after the election. for that reason and several others, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: these so-called certainly matters go to the heart of fairness in the workplace, equal pay for equal work, discriminatory practices, other kinds of injustices that have existed for years. women ought to have the right to challenge and hold their employers accountable.
what could be more fundamental and important? let me move now to h.r. 1423, in order to proceed to consideration of the forced arbitration injustice repeal act, also known as the fair act, which passed the house on september 20, 2019. again, a bipartisan measure which would increase americans' rights to seek justice and accountability through the court system. we are in the midst of considering a nominee who has expressed a who's tilt -- hostility to seeking justice in the workplace and in jobs and in other areas. so this measure to eliminate
forced arbitration clauses in employment and consumer and civil rights cases is especially relevant. it would allow consumers and workers to agree -- to agree to arbitration after a dispute occurs, but it would not force them to do so. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cramer: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. cramer: madam president, reserving the right to object. i will not allow the senate to be diverted from the issue at hand and that is the consideration of amy coney barrett to be an associate justice on the supreme court of the united states. she's a highly qualified nominee and deserves this debate and for that reason i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. blumenthal: in order to proceed, madam president -- to
the consideration of the lori jackson domestic violence survivor protection act. because millions of women are still at risk as a consequence of this loophole in our present laws that enables dangerous, estranged spouses or partners to have access to weapons during the most periless time in a domestic dispute, right after separation, because that loophole endangers innocent women because it provides access to weapons to those dangerous people. i ask unanimous consent that the sandt proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cramer: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. cramer: madam president, reserving the right to object. again, if the minority was
serious about passing legislation, they would not have voted four times to adjourn until after the election. so it's a little hard to take this seriously, but it's especially difficult on this one because federal law already prohibits violent felons from owning and purchasing firearms. and, again, should i remind the senate and the country that democratic mayors and governors all over this country have failed to protect their citizens and the last thing we'd want to do at a time like that when citizens are left to defend themselves against a violent crime is to prohibit or make it more difficult for law-abiding americans to defend themselves. for those reasons i object. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: just to remind my colleague, this measure does not only pertain to dangerous felons, it protects innocent
women against dangerous people. there's already the provision for protective orders to provide that kind of safeguard after a period of time. this measure would close a loophole for the first period when, in fact, women and others are at greatest risk. it is a public safety measure that is particularly relevant because of the hostility expressed by this nominee to commonsense steps in the name of a very extreme view under the second amendment. i'd like to ask that we proceed to consideration of h.r. 840, the veterans access to child care act. what could be less controversial, a bill that provides child care assistance to veterans receiving covered health care services in a v.a.
facility. the bill highlights the troubling fact that lack of child care can dissuade parents from receiving essential health care services. it would make permanent a v.a. child care pilot program, make it permanent, that was first introduced in 2011, and expand access to child care assistance nationwide, allowing veterans to receive medical treatment with confidence that their children are receiving high-quality care, our veterans. now, whatever motions have been made in the past, this measure certainly needs to be considered passed by a majority in the house on february 8 of 2019.
more than a year ago, a bipartisan majority in the house. no action here. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. cramer: madam president, reserving the right to object. can we just be a little more honest. this is not about child care. what is going on here is not about child care for vearches or anybody -- veterans or anybody else -- no audio -- with that, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. as important as that help for veterans is, equally so assistance for our election
system. we are going through an election right now, even as we consider this nominee tens of millions of americans are voting. the threat to our election security is well known and we face not only foreign interference but also domestic threats as has been documented. i've been through those absolutely chilling briefings in classified -- in a classified setting. we're sworn to secrecy, but the maligned foreign interference makes 2016, in my impression, look like child's play from russians, iran, chinese. in order to proceed to the consideration of h.r. 2722, securing american federal
elections act, a bill that would, in fact, make critical investments to upgrade our voting systems to protect against foreign interference in our elections and democracy by requiring all voting systems to produce a verifiable paper ballot and by authorizing funding for states to bolster election security. what could be more urgent and important at this moment in our history? it was passed by the house of representatives on june 27, 2019. again, more than a year ago. no action here. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cramer: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. cramer: madam president, reserving the right to object. the only interference going on here is by senate democrats
trying to interfere in our discussion about an outstanding nominee to the supreme court of the united states, judge amy coney barrett, and for that reason i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. blumenthal: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: in order to proceed to consideration of h.r. 4894, the congressional budget justification transparency act of 2020, a bill that requires federal agencies to make budget justification materials available to the public. it's a transparency measure. it requires disclosure and it requires the office of management and budget to make certain details regarding the materials available to the public, including a list of agencies that submit budget justification. it also forces disclosure of the dates that materials are
submitted to congress and posted online and links to the materials, a basic disclosure measure. it was passed, again, overwhelmingly by the house of representatives on september 14 of this year without any action so far in this body. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cramer: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. cramer: madam president, reserving the right to object. it is really time to move on and hear from some other colleagues about the incredible, outstanding qualifications of president trump's nominee to the supreme court of the united states, judge amy coney barrett and these distractions cannot prevent us from doing that. and on this bill in particular, i think people should know, most of the documents they are
talking about -- in fact, almost all of them are online today. for that reason, and others, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: madam president, that measure was a basic disclosure step. proposed to address secrecy in government. nothing is more fundamental than transparency in a democracy. sunlight is the best disinfectant. the people of the united states deserve that information. and so, too, they deserve all of the information about amy coney barrett, even on the morning of her approval by the senate judiciary committee, new documents were disclosed, new statements and speeches by her, adding to the ones that hadn't
been disclosed properly previously. this process is a sham. it's rushed, it's not normal. as i said during our hearing, my great fear is not only the damage and the harm that this nominee can do, but the damage and harm to the court itself. the president said the quiet part out loud. he wants this nominee rushed to the bench so she can decide the election, not the voters. so she can sit on the supreme court when the election goes to the court. well, my republican colleagues have the majority. they may have the votes, but they don't have the american people, and they don't have history on their side.
might does not make right. they can do it because they have the votes. they are doing it because they can. amy coney barrett could stonewall our questions because she could. and establish a new standard. call it the barrett rule of not answering. but the damage to the court will be grave. the court has power because of its legitimacy. the trust and confidence of the american people and its independence. our republican colleagues are whittling away and eventually devastating not only the authority of the supreme court but all of our federal courts by politicizing and polarizing them. she would not even commit that
she would recuse herself in the event an election case went to the supreme court. i have tremendous respect, even reverence for the court, having served there as a law clerk to justice harry blackmun, having argued four cases to the court, three to justice ginsburg. it's imperilling the legitimacy of the united states supreme court is a grave, lasting, potentially devastating disservice to the american people. it is a dagger at the heart of the court and of our democracy. and therefore i will continue to oppose this nomination. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the
senator from florida. mr. scott: mr. president, general secretary xi is a dictator and human rights violator. he is yet another communist leader trying to be a dominant world power. the chinese communist party is stripping the people of hong kong of their freedoms, cracking down on dissidents, militarizing the south china sea, supporting genocide in venezuela, surveiling its citizens, and imprisoning more than one million uighurs in internment camps simply because of their rank. communist china has committed a genocide against the uighurs, and it doesn't end there. recent reports indicate that the communist party of china is attempting the same thing in tibet, forcing hundreds of thousands of people in tibet into mass labor camps. we know the chinese communist party and their puppets continue to silence and intimidate those
standing up for democracy and human rights. they detain and harass journalists to try and prevent the truth from getting out. foreigners and journalists working in communist china do so at their own risk. just last week, communist china began threatening to take americans as hostages. the national security threat of communist china cannot be taken lightly. and this censorship of these human rights abuses cannot be ignored. general secretary xi doesn't want us to know about the oppression occurring under his regime. for years, the communist government in china has tried to push its propaganda in america through state-owned media outlets while refusing to treat american journalists in china fairly. we saw this firsthand earlier this year. chinese-backed propaganda out lets peddled chinese lies about
the coronavirus and endangered the lives of americans. and in march, the defense communist party expelled more than -- more than a dozen u.s. journalists and required other outlets to submit written reports of their staff, finances, operations, and real estate in china. we cannot allow this mistreatment to continue, and we have to take action. i'm proud to sponsor the chinese-backed media accountability act to create accountability for chinese censorship of free speech and failure to treat american journalists fairly. my bill prevents new visas until we know how many chinese-backed journalists are operating in the united states. and it creates reciprocity by making sure the number of chinese-backed journalists in the united states is equal to the amount of independent american journalists allowed in china. we have to stand up and say to this behavior by communist china is unacceptable, and i look
forward to all of my colleagues supporting this proposal. as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of s. 4797 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. further, that the bill be considered read a third time and passed, and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: mr. president, reserving the right to object, senator scott has sought unanimous consent for a bill that would restrict the issuance of nonimmigrant visas to chinese journalists and a number of other steps that frankly are already within the presidents
power to do -- the president's power to do. the bill in many ways is an attempt to codify authority that the state department already had. and so in that sense, there is no reason to take legislative action. if the president wants to use this power, he can, but i want to emphasize this point, that we share the goals that are behind this measure. number one, the goal of increasing transparency around the pandemic, it has to be done so that the chinese and other authorities around the world, states that suffer from the pandemic make the facts known to this country and world health authorities. we share the goal of condemning china's absolutely despicable human rights abuses.
its deplorable record of subjugateing human liberty, including the uighurs, at least one million of whom were being held in chinese government-run detention centers that the president of the united states has completely ignored. but this legislation would do nothing really to increase these incredibly pressing issues. it uses the pandemic and china's human rights abuses as a pretense for deflecting blame for the president's shameful mishandling of the covid-19 crisis. the president's ineptitude and incompetence are widely known to the american people who share the goal of stopping chinese
human rights abuses, of making them more honest and accurate in what they disclose in other goals. but to this measure, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from florida. mr. scott: mr. president, i am disappointed my democratic colleague doesn't want to focus on the general impact of secretary xi's censorship. i truly don't understand why my democratic colleagues refuse to stand up to communist china. again and again, the democrats block efforts to hold communist china accountable. they never try to work with us to come up with solutions. they blocked my resolution to move the 2022 olympics out of communist china. they blocked my bill to prevent communist china from stealing or sabotaging american covid-19 vaccine research. even as american lives depend on the rapid development of this
vaccine. now they are turning a blind eye to the censorship of american journalists in china. what chinese state-backed journalists in america pushed the propaganda of the chinese communist party. it's time to wake up and understand that oppression at the hands of general secretary xi and the chinese communist party will not stop. this is about the safety of americans and about freedom around the world. this is about standing up for human rights. we must act in passing the comeens-backed media accountability act takes real steps to hold communist china accountable for their failure to treat american journalists fairly. i will not stop trying to work to make sure there is reciprocity between our nations that we understand exactly how many chinese propaganda journalists are operating in the united states. we must together do everything in our power to fight for freedom and hold communist china and general secretary xi accountable, and i hope at some point my democrat colleagues will join me in this fight.
mr. cramer: mr. president. thank you for the recognition. mr. president, two years ago, two years ago, i was a candidate running for this job, running against a democratic incumbent where the top issues of the race throughout the summer were things like the sanctity of human life and, most importantly, in the minds of the voters at least, based on our polls, was law and order, the
idea that a sanctuary city, much less several of them, could exist to protect violent criminals as long as they were here illegally. it was an absurd notion to north dakotans. so they were good issues for me as a dante. but that all -- as a candidate. but that all changed, that all changed just a little over two years ago when senate democrats waged an attack on president trump's nominee to fill the vacancy that occurred by the retirement of supreme court justice kennedy. and by attack, i don't mean engage in a vigorous debate about brett kavanaugh's political and judicial philosophy. or his background. rather, they waged an attack on brett kavanaugh himself, on his character and his reputation and his family. and not with facts, but with fabrications. my opponent, north dakota's junior senator, joined the smear
campaign and changed the priorities of our campaign quickly from sanctuary cities to suddenly the supreme court of the united states. that happened just two years and a couple of weeks ago. as much as anything -- as much as any reason, as much as any issue, the supreme court is why i am here today, and i don't mean just today. i mean why i am a united states senator. so when president trump nominated judge amy coney barrett to fill the vacancy created by the death of justice badr ginsburg, i knew there could be no amount of political harassment to cause ma owe to shrink from this -- to cause me to shrink from this obligation. the singles that i or my -- the suggestion that i or my colleagues would squander the right under the constitution, consider waiting until after an
election that may create opportunity for someone that my constituents don't agree with to be momented to the court would be a dereliction of my duty and would rightly -- rightly -- enrage the people that sent me here for exactly this moment. and i refuse to shrink. so let's talk about the nominee. judge amy coney barrett, by all accounts a brilliant jurist. i don't think anybody has questioned her intellect. certainly she has on national display demonstrated a demeanor we all should aspire to, but certainly somebody ho a expires to be on the highest court in the land. oh, and by the way, i love the fact she's from -- educated in middle america.
with all due respect to my conservative jurist friends and acquaintances and even those i don't know from someplace other than middle america, it's awfully nice to see one get to the top. but, you know, my conversations with judge barrett were like i think everybodis. they were pleasant. they were serious. in some cases, maybe even little bit intense. but my conversation didn't focus on hardly any of the things i've been hearing about with relation to her nomination. in fact, none of them i've heard about in this chamber today -- and we've heard about lots of them. mine didn't even really focus on the hot-button ires of the day. my discussion focused on my inquiry of her, about her sense and her philosophy and her
thoughts on federalism. what is the appropriate role of states in this cooperative federalism, this wonderful experiment that is the united states of america? this is a system designed by states. the federal government was created by states. the federal government didn't create the states. the states created the federal government it's foundational. and i, of course, you know, like you, the presiding officer, i was a state-elected official. i was never the governor, but i was probably in many respects qualified in a way today that never occurred to me at the time, and that was i was a regulator. i was a state regulator, elected by the people of my state to regulate things like rates of gas and electricity -- electric utilities, to sight things like transmission lines and power plants and wind farms, to
oversee the federal communications commission act and its application in north dakota. and as a state regulator for nearly ten years, by far the greatest problem, the greatest obstacle to doing my job were the maintains coming from -- the mandates coming from washington, d.c., trying to impose their mediocrity on north dakota's excellence. so, when i came to washington, i set out to change some of that. i wanted to try to change our bureaucracy a little bit, find -- find somebody in this place that understands and respects the role of states in this cooperative federalism. because what i saw and what i continue to see is a big bureaucracy trying to run right over, roll right over the states of this country. and i think that overriding issue of the role of states and
of federalism gets to it the heart of lots of these other smaller issues, lots of these more granular issues. now, whether it's the waters of the u.s. and what's a and a halfable water -- that's one of the big ones -- and what's a navigable water -- that's one of the big ones, right -- local and state regulation, how the federal regulatory commission deals with grid reliability, maybe it is something like prostate emissions -- who knows -- there's lots of them, lots and lots of them. in areas where it's really been the court itself, whether it is the supreme court or the appellate courts 0er -- or a district court, it's really been the judiciary that's been the only thing standing between an overbearing federal government and the riotous of states. -- on the rights of states. so my discussions with judge barrett centered around her
views on federalism. i gave her some examples, some north dakota examples. i even laid the blame on congress, and we deserve a lot of it, for sure. we've passed broad -- you know, broad authorizations for the bureaucracy and then let them fill in the blanks. we got to stop doing that. we need to be more prescriptive. but, in the meantime, i want to be sure that we have a supreme court that understands the sovereignty of states. north dakota right now is engaged in several pieces of litigation with our own federal government. that's under the trump department of justice. i just wish the lawyers at the department of justice would take on the bad actors in the political class with the same zeal that they take on my state. over much -- by the way, much bigger things they could be taking on when they take on the political class, if they just would do it, than the little
things where they should be negotiating settlements with the state of north dakota. i just wish they had the same zeal with that. that would be much more worthy of the title of justice. so, yeah, i'm very pleased with judge amy coney barrett's philosophy, demeano, r, but i was happy with her view of the role of states in a system like ours. at the end of the day, judicial philosophy, intellect, where you went to college -- it's all just shored up by the fact that she is a person of incredible virtue. and, yes, a virtue that's grounded this faith. that is, after all, where most virtue comes from. i suspect that some of those virtues that used to be more
universal in our country are part of why the left despises her so much. as for me, as for me, i'm just glad that she's willing to do it. i'm glad that her family is willing to stand with her and do it. i'm glad that she has the virtues of faith that undermine the intellect and the experience and the demeanor. in fact, perhaps it's why she has all those other things. for those reasons and several others, it's going to be a pleasure -- it's even going to be an honor to stay the night tomorrow night, if that's what we have to do -- to cast the vote for judge amy coney barrett to become the next associate justice on the supreme court of the united states. and i urge my colleagues to do the same. i yield the floor.
mr. daines: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: mr. president, i'm here today to talk about my support for confirming judge amy coney barrett to the united states supreme court. judge barrett's qualifications and her character are indisputable. i had the honor of meeting with judge barrett early this month where she said her guiding were
in the mold of justice antonin scalia. over the course of her hearing before the senate judiciary committee, judge barrett demonstrated her understanding of the purpose of the united states supreme court and the proper role of a judge. judge barrett believes that judges shouldn't legislate from the bench. and, keep in mind, she is currently a sitting judge on the seventh circuit court. she won't misuse her power as a judge to impose her policy preferences. and she won't twist the original and the true meaning of the constitution to advance a political agenda of any kind. judge barrett will uphold our cherished constitutional rights, including the second amendment. i have an a-plus rating from the national rifle association and
the montana shooting sponsors association. i -- sports association. i firmly believe that a correct understanding, a profound understanding of the second amendment is essential in our discussion --. is essential. in the discussion i had with judge barrett, she confirmed she has that understanding. her understanding of the second amendment can give ever law-abading montanan who owns a firearm full confidence that she will never allow the government to take away origans. -- to take away our guns. she understands what whereby shall national infringe" truly means. i believe judge barrett will stop congress in its tracks when it exceeds its limited constitutional powers s for decades, congress has imposed policies that this body has no authority creating in the first place. judge barrett will ensure that congress stays within its limited constitutional powers while returning powers to states
and back to the people. she will defend the constitution. she'll protect our montana way of life, including our montana jobs. judge barrett will not bend to the radical fringe groups looking to kill montana timber and coal jobs. she'll be a fair-minded justice that montanans can be proud of. yet some on the far left not only oppose amy coney barrett's confirmation but have also said they'retope to packing -- they're open to packing the supreme court request -- the supreme court with liberal judges. packing means increasing the number of justices on the supreme court from nine, which has been the case for 151 years to 11 or 13 or more perhaps. that would be an attack on or montana way of life. i stand with montanans in strongly opposing this dangerous
power-grab proposal. with judge barrett on the supreme court, the age of activist justices rewriting the laws to accomplish their own policy agenda will be gone. she's a mother of seven children, five biologically, two adopted haitian children. we'll have a supreme court justice that we can also call a minivan mom. judge barrett is an inspiration to professional women, to working moms, to school-aged girls across montana who can feel certain there is no american dream that women cannot achieve. justice last week i met with several northwest montana business women leaders in callous whichville to talk abour support for judge barrett's confirmation. these montana business women
shared their views of judge barrett as a mentor, as a role model, as a wife, a mother, a brilliant jurist and a great leader. i'd also like to take a moment to congratulate and to thank president trump for nominating such outstanding and well-qualified individuals to the ewings supreme court. -- to the united states supreme court. with judge barrett's confirmation, we will take another major step toward restoring the founding fathers' vision for the supreme court and the separation of powers they brillianted created. as u.s. senator from montana, supporting judge barrett's confirmation to the supreme court is an easy call. she is someone who montanans will be proud of, who montanans will look up to on the court. mr. president, i urge all my colleagues on both sides of the
aisle to support judge amy coney barrett's confirmation to the united states supreme court. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that my following remarks appear separately in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: mr. president, i rise today to speak about an effort to, frankly, one i never envisioned i would have to, something that is so beyond rad called, -- radical and that's packing the united states supreme court. this plan, hatched by a democratic president in 1937,
was so radical then that it was soundly defeated here in the united states senate, a senate, i might add in which 76 of the 96 members were democrats. this was a plan that was so hostile to constitutional principles that the senate judiciary committee in 1937 said it was, and i quote, a measure which should be so emphatically rejected that it will never be presented to the free people of america. in fact, as recently as 2019, the brilliant late ruth bader ginsburg stated and i quote, i think it was a bad idea when
franklin roosevelt tried to pack the court and if anything would make the court look partisan, it would be that. well, today, we find ourselves in the same spot and the reason why is simple. the democratic party still does not accept the legitimacy of president trump or his highly qualified judicial nominees. and don't forget it was just earlier this year that the democratic leader, senator schumer, stood in the front of the supreme court and openly threatened president trump's two supreme court picks if they didn't vote the way he wanted by saying, and i quote, i want to tell you gorsuch, i want to tell you kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. you don't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions. end quote. that is disturbing.
disturbing, indeed. let's be clear. this is nothing more than an attempt than a partisan power grab by the democrats. packing the supreme court by moving it to the current nine justices to 11 or 13 would essentially eliminate the supreme court for being a check and a balance on congress and the executive branch, paving the way for a radical left agenda if they get the majority. packing the supreme court is a direct attack object our montana way of life. packing the supreme court with activist liberal judges will help the far-left radical strip away our second-amendment rights, destroy natural resource jobs and cripple the montana and american economy by blocking energy management projects. for us in montana we know what
it means to have an activist liberal judge on the bench. look no further than brian morris in montana. judge morris has done everything in his power to try to kill montana energy jobs and he specifically blocked the keystone xl pipeline. this would have created thousands of jobs, generated thousands of tax dollars every year for montana schools and communities. packing the supreme court will also erode a major principle of our constitution, that's the separation of powers into flee coequal branches of government. packing the supreme court would simply make the court an extension of the legislative bench. it is the independence of the judiciary that is the check and balance. packing the supreme court would
be an extension of whatever political party controls the white house and the senate. here's how it would work, whichever president's in power, they would keep escalating the number of justices. they would go from 11 to 13 to 15 to 17. it would absolutely spin out of control and our founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves. the packed court would simply turn the supreme court into an extension of whatever political party happens to control the white house and the senate. so i'm here today to call out this shameful partisan attack on our judiciary, and i hope the rest of my colleagues will join me in passing this resolution which calls for the supreme court to simply remain, as it has been for 151 years, at nine
justices. that's all it says. water going to keep the supreme court at nine justices. as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 758, submitted earlier today. further, i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. whitehouse: mr. president, reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: reserving the right to object, i would open with the observation that -- well, let me start by saying in one of the great plays in our language, the opening began with the observation that something is rotten in the state of
denmark. there is increasing evidence that something is rotten across that lawn and across first street at the united states supreme court. what is the evidence of that? well, the first thing i would suggest is the amount of anonymous dark money influencers swirling around the court. i have spent a good deal of my professional life around appellate courts. i have never seen, nor does the history of the supreme court evidence anything like what is taking place right now with dark money influencers swirling like eels around that court. how do they do it? well, they are involved in the selection process through a group called the federalist society which takes large
anonymous dark money contributions and controls the selection of judges. how do we know it controls the selection of judges? donald trump has said so. the wall street journal has said this was a sub-contracting operation -- a sub-contracting operation, and it worked. it is not a good thing when the selection of our supreme court is sub-contracted out to a private group that then takes multimillion dollar anonymous donations. it shouldn't be hard for members to understand that that is a dangerous set of facts. then you go on to the campaigns for those selected nominees and you see more anonymous donors writing checks for as much as
$17 million. i can't write a check for $17 million. i don't know anybody here who can. the number of donors who can write a check for $17 million is very small, and the number who would want to is even smaller. that is another avenue of influence. last you have law groups appearing before the united states supreme court, also anonymously funded. some have gone out to find a plaintiff of convenience to bring before the court, some appear as friends of the court, some swap back and forth in the same series of cases, they exchange positions as the litigant group and a friend of the court. but what they share is that they are funded by the same groups and they don't disclose that to the court in their filings. so it raises the proposition
that this isn't just dark money eels swirling around the court but that these are, in fact, tentacles of a common operation. and it's particularly surprising that the senator from montana would not have concern about this because the state of montana has been so strongly concerned about dark money influence for so long. indeed, it was a state of montana case that went to the supreme court under, i guess, attorney general bullock at the time, where senator mccain and i wrote a bipartisan brief warning of the dangers of all of this money. so that's the first thing, dark money influencers swirling around a court in a way that is unprecedented, in my view, in judicial history. the second is a pattern of decisions that emerged under that court. under chief justice roberts
there are 80 decisions with these characteristics, one, they were decided by 5-4, a bear majority. usually they have stronger majorities because that strengthens the court. bear partisan 5-4 majorities. and in every case an identifiable republican donor interest at stake that won, a pattern of 80-0. and, last, you have the behavior taking place politically around these nominations and how peculiar that behavior is. here is senator daines talking about the effort to appoint judge garland to the supreme court. he said, i don't think it's right. the senator put it in terms of right and wrong, and he said i don't think it is right to bring a nominee forward in an election year. he said the american people have
already begun voting and their voice should be reflected in what we do going forward. the very next occasion -- the very next election in which the same set of circumstances presented itself, he and virtually everyone on the republican side, completely reversed their position about what is right in this matter. when you see reversals of position like that, that is a signal to me that there is something more going on. so whether it's all the dark money, whether it's the peculiar pattern of decisions or whether it's the unexplainable behavior of members, it sends a pretty strong signal that something is, in fact, rotten in and around that court. i believe that every one of us should agree that we are entitled as americans to a court that is not a pantmime court
that goes through the routine of adjudication while making sure that a small group of special interests wins a case at the end of the day. nobody should be interested in a court that operates that way. we don't know how bad the situation is because it is dark money. because it's still hidden, and until we figured it out under the rule that is it premature to rule out remedies until you have a complete diagnosis, i will object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from montana. mr. daines: i appreciate the senator from rhode island bringing up dark money spending in elections. we all agree dark money spending has gotten out of control, however the senator from rhode island gives me an opportunity to point out the blatant hypocrisy from the democratic
party on that issue. i know i speak for nearly every montanaian, if not most, which is we are tired with being bombarded with never-ending television, digital, radio, mail pieces, and most of it is from dark money organizations. and where do you think much of this dark money is coming from? it's from groups aligned with the minority leader and the democrats. in fact, according to a september 2020 report by open secrets, who tracks political spending, two dark money groups aligned with the democratic senate leadership have spent more than $44 million on political tv ads more than any other outside group on
television ads during the 2020 election cycle. let me say that again. these are two dark money groups aligned with democratic senate leadership has spent more than any other outside group on television ads during the 2020 election cycle. yet, neither group has reported any spending to the f.e.c. at all, zero. you may ask yourself why the minority leader and his dark money allies are dumping so much money into races across our country, including montana. the reason for that -- because the minority leader wants to be the majority leader and take control of the united states senate. he wants to change the rules, destroy 151 years of precedent, and pack the supreme court with
activist liberal judges that will strip away our rights and our freedoms. packing the court is a direct attack on our montana way of life. that's why more than ever, my court-packing resolution is so important. it just says let's keep it at nine. it's not that complicated. we cannot let this court packing occur. so while the democrats continue to decry dark money until it benefits their campaigns, of course, we must all take a stand in ensuring that our montana way of life is protected. and for those reasons, i object. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i just want to make sure that the record of the senate is clear here. democrats don't just decry dark money spending.
democrats have over and over again sought to end it. i know this because i was the floor leader on the disclose act when we brought it right here in the senate and we came within one vote of getting rid of dark money. every democrat voted for that measure. every democrat voted to get rid of this scourge of dark money. every republican voted to protect it. so yes, do democrats use dark money? we are playing by your rules. we are playing by republican rules. we could have brought up the disclose act again because it was the first order of business the house passed in h.r. 1. but the senate majority leader didn't want that bill to get a vote. so it is a little bit rich to hear a litany of woes about dark
money from the party that is responsible for dark money happening. we could have gotten rid of it if we passed my disclose act. we could have gotten rid of it if we had passed h.r. 1. we did none of the above. so if i may, i would like to ask that a resolution be passed as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 759 submitted earlier today. further, that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate, and if i may just briefly, mr. president, before you call for objections, just describe the resolution which expresses the sense of the senate that dark money underlines the integrity of the judicial system and damages the perception that
all people receive equal justice under law, that dark money organizations funded by anonymous donors are now playing an outside role in the selection of judges and justices of the supreme court of the united states and have spend millions of anonymous dollars on advertising campaigns supporting those selections, that the people of the united states have no idea who is funding these campaigns and what business those funders might have before the court, that the federalist society and the judicial crisis network and other groups have been a part of this and that they are heavily dark money funded in this role, that then-candidate trump said of his judicial selections that they would be handpicked by the federalist society, that his white house council boasted that the federalist society had been insourced, that the "washington post" reported that leonard leo, then of the federalist society, helped raise $250 million from
mostly anonymous donors into this effort. and i will leave the rest of the details to interested readers who want to pursue it. but i would say senator daines' up bridge about dark money in montana campaigns, if there is anything worse than dark money in political campaigns, it is dark money around courts, and that is the problem we face right now, and that is what requires looking into. so with that, the president is invited to proceed with -- the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. daines: reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: thank you, mr. president. i have laid out my remarks here about the hypocrisy on this issue of dark money. i think it's worth also pointing out the very different situation in 2016 when merrick garland was nominated by president obama. because the white house was controlled by one party, the united states senate by another, the president of the senate going back to 1888 suggests in
an election year when both the senate and the presidency are controlled by the same party, you move forward. when not, you don't. that's exactly what we did. so we had an election in 2016. president trump won. and here we are in 2020 with republicans controlling the senate, and the white house are moving forward. so with that, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i would just add that that was not what either senator daines nor anybody else on the republican side said at the time. i was here at the time. what was said at the time, particularly by senator daines, is i don't think it's right to bring a nominee forward in an election year. not when the parties control -- is split in one way or another. i don't think it's right to bring a nominee forward in an election year because the american people should have
their voice reflected. that hasn't changed. this new emphasis on the party difference is fundamentally the rule of because we can. and if that is going to be the rule, if that is the rule that republicans are prepared to adopt here, that what matters around here is a precedent, is a principle, isn't what is right but is just because we can, then please don't feign surprise in the months and years ahead if we on the democratic side follow that same rule that you are saying is the way to proceed today. and the same way that it is at least ironic for republicans to
stand here complaining about dark money when it was the republican party that protected dark money here on the senate floor, it will be equally ironic if the party should turn around later on and democrats seem to use -- seeks to use the measure of because we can and you raise objections. you are basically here on the senate floor forfeiting your right to make those objections in the way you are behaving on this nomination. and with that, i will yield the floor to, i guess, senator scott. mr. whitehouse: i reserve going forward with the other unanimous consents i had. i understand that we are trying
to proceed to conclude this at 5:00, and we are close to that time. i appreciate senator scott coming to the floor to respond to those, but i will yield back. mr. whitehouse: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: i will shortly ask to i will quorum call by noting the absence of a quorum, but before i do that, i wanted to point out just one issue of vocabulary, if you will, which is that the definition of court
packing has actually two operative definitions on the senate floor. one is to expand the number of judges. the other is to take the advantage of existing vacancies and try to use them to change the balance of the court and to put judges in who are predisposed to certain rulings. that is in fact the meaning that senator mcconnell gave to that term when he said that president obama was seeking to, quote, pack the d.c. circuit with appointees when he was filling vacancies. that senator cornyn used when he said president obama was out to pack the d.c. circuit. that senator grassley used when he denounced president obama's efforts to pack, he called it, the d.c. circuit. when senator lee of utah accused the president of trying to pack the d.c. circuit with unneeded judges simply in order to advance a partisan agenda. so when we describe what has
taken place across the last three nominations, all of the procedural abnormalities, all of the puke open rule o'hairities of funding, -- all of the peculiarities of funding, all of the 180-degree, tire-squealing reversal, all of that, we're actually following the vocabulary that you all used about the d.c. circuit. just to be clear on that point. and with that, i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call being dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to recess. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to recess. all those in favor, say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the senate stands in recess until noon tomorrow.