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tv   Senate Rules Hearing on Procedures for Considering Nominations  CSPAN  February 16, 2019 10:25am-11:40am EST

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african-americans. sometimes, i think people mistake that for anger. angry but was not forceful in his enunciation of racism. at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." committeeate rules voted along party lines are proving the change in the procedure of how the congress approves nominees. one is the committee debate the bill. it is just over an hour. >> the committee will come to order. today, the committee will consider three items. is two minor changes
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in the committee rules. second, we will authorize the expenditures from all senate committees. resolution 50ate was introduced last week by senator lankford and myself. of thesescuss each items in more detail once we turn to them. additionally, i understand many of my colleagues might like to speak on issues before us. there will be ample time to do that. we will do that as we deal with each of these items separately. certainly, glad to be joint by the top democrat on this committee, senator klobuchar. much, mr.ou very chairman. i know we are going to be voting on something today that i consider controversial and am opposed to but i would like to
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take a second to note that, with the existing rules in place, we have been able to accomplish a lot on this committee. we passed landmark legislation with the support of leader mcconnell and senator schumer with their hard work to improve house harassment cases and how they are handled in this legislative branch. we have held hearings on election security. and we have been able to get behind getting 389 million dollars out to the states. we have had hearings on the senate election act. and we were also successful in changing the rules to make this institution more family-friendly. no one will forget senator duckworth arriving on the floor with her little baby, miley perl. i have a number of bills regarding federal elections. things that i think we could do to improve the system.
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onope we can move forward some hearings on elections as well. and with that, i turn it back to you, mr. chairman. you.ank the committee will proceed to considerations of the committee roles for this congress. senator klobuchar and i are recommending two changes to the rolls from the last congress. we recommend separate deadlines for the receipt and circulation of amendments to any legislation that the committee may consider. previously, the deadline was the same. even though our chief clerk is incredibly talented, to receive at 5:00 p.m. and circulate by 5:00 p.m. was not possible. ourso we are recommending difference from the time we receive those until they are circulated. we are also recommending that we remove the requirement that amendments be circulated by email. practicent committee
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is to post amendments to the internet site where they are immediately accessible by committee members and their staff. -- we had those amendments the clerk would continue to circulate amendments by posting siteon the internet staff of the committee. our rules would reflect that. and a discussion of those rules changes? chairman blunt i recognize the need to update our committee roles. i hope we can do that with a full vote. >> the question is the adoption of this procedure? in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the committee will now proceed to the consideration of the
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committee spending resolution. the committee funding resolution for this congress. the resolution before you is a result of a bipartisan process senator klobuchar and i undertook to solicit more information from committee chairman and raking members about the needs of their committees based on these conversations, senator klobuchar and i recommend a small increase to committee funding. the total funding is still below the committee funding of one decade ago. which is when committee funding had reached its highest point. i greatly appreciate the cooperation we have had from the cutie chairman in developing this budget resolution. their input and insights are critical and those have been available to use. you forld like to thank working with me and our staff. having strong committees is very important. i view this as a time when
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congress is playing a major role in oversight and a major role as a balance and i am glad we were able to figure out a way to work with all of their committee chairman and ranking members. i want to particular thank ranking member udall for giving me a cookie because we helped him with his budget. that was a good protocol that we may want to use in the future going forward. it doesn't violate the ethics rules. has been a very positive experience working with the chairman and rankings and i want to continue that. >> i would want the record to note that senator udall gave no one else a cookie. [laughter] in spite of that, we are moving forward with this. one thatlunt amendment authorizes the expenditures of this committee and asks for unanimous consent.
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it is considered read. any further discussion? if there is no further discussion, the question on this amendment is offered. chairman,nion of the the amendment is agreed to. any further amendments? on.s move ordering the resolution has amendment, although supposed say no. chairman,nion of the the ayes have it. the committee will proceed to consideration of senate resolution 50, a resolution improving procedures for the consideration of nominations to the senate. this resolution is straightforward, it is based
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largely on what was agreed to by 78 senators in the 113th congress. 35 of those 78 senators are currently serving. this is what the resolution does. once it is filed and the intervening day has passed, that would still be part of the process and debate his pride to a close, the senate would have two hours equally divided to debate all nominees with a few notable exceptions pretty cabinet secretary's, supreme court and circuit court nominees , the nominees of 13 boards and commissions would also be subject to the 30 hours of debate equally divided. senate resolution 50 still allows for significant opportunities for senators to debate the nominees merits. sponsors only original were senator langford and i, i can assure you we wrote this with the idea in mind of the
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kind of protection we would want if we were in the minority. it is my few and senator lyford's view and hopefully the view of the majority of my colleagues today that the president deserve to have their teams in place. it is that simple. that is what this does and that applies to whatever party occupies the white house. never before have we seen the level of obstruction in the confirmation process in the first two years of presidency. trump's nominees were subjected to 128 culture vote. eight votess to during president clinton's first two years, four during president george w. bush first two years and 12 during president obama's first two years. those three presidencies of 24 votes as opposed to 128 votes during the first two years of the trump
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presidency. if thosebe different votes, which in effect demand that we take more time to discuss an individual nominee really resulted in debate. little debate occurs during that time. aftery troubling is that the time has been used up, almost half of the nominees, 48% votesm got more than 60 at the end of this process to end the debate. nominees got more than 70 votes but they all took the maximum time. remember, only 51 senators would be required to confirm but 37% of the people who went through this entire process that has seldom been exercised before got 70 votes and 48% got 60 votes.
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the conclusion i can draw from this is that we are not really tenant -- debating the nominees. we are voting, really, to take more time -- to take up time that could be used for legislative matters and other matters. two dozen nominees return to the president at the end of the last congress who had been out of committee for over one year. dozens of others were returned that had been out of committee for a significant amount of time. this really restores the senates advice and consent role -- advise and consent role. it allows presidents regardless of party to staff departments and agencies with individuals the senate has vetted. all these people have been through the committee process. they have been voted out of committee, onto the floor and those things have been and will continue to be an important part of the process.
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i certainly encourage my colleagues on both sides to support this measure. senator klobuchar announced her candidacy for president on sunday on a snowy day and showed lots of determination out there as she doesn't so many ways and is so good to work with. senator klobuchar becomes president, she should have her nominees not put through the process that the current president's nominees have been put through and he shouldn't have to deal with it, either. i think it is time to solve this problem. frankly, both sides will continue to up the ante on how we deal with this issue until we stop ourselves from doing it. i think this is a good time to do that. i believe this bill does that. i think we have proven in a previous congress how a temporary standing order would work. this would be a permanent standing order and i am urging my colleagues to support it.
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senator klobuchar. >> thank you for that reference. i truly appreciated that. i am still going to oppose this measure. in fact, i had spoke to senator langford about trying to work on something going forward that could be bipartisan. a different date in a different proposal. i suggest that because i wondered -- i remembered when senator alexander and senator collins worked on some proposals on confirmations they made. futuristic in terms of the date in which the took place. instead, we have this proposal today. many people referred to the senate as the world's greatest body because it is an institution designed for careful and thoughtful consideration of both legislation and nominations. how we deliberate is governed as we know by a set of senate rules. only once in history of the -- has the senate voted to permanently reduce the time we
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have to debate in issue. 1986 when we in went from 100 hours of debate time to the current rule of 30 hours. the resolution we are considering today asks us to make a second permanent change. this is a big deal. it is not just a minor proposal that is suddenly come our way. last congress, we considered a proposal from senator langford to cut out debate on the senate floor. the resolution before us today close even further because it would reduce debate time from 30 hours to two hours for the vast majority of nominees who come before the senate. most americans are not familiar with our arcane rules but what they are familiar with is that they want more transparency. they are concerned about what has been going on in the white house in terms of some of these tics. it is our job -- some of these picks.
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it is our job to be a counterbalance in the united states senate. this has real impact on real people's lives. 80% of passes, roughly all trump administration nominees will be able to be confirmed with just two hours of debate time. in minnesota, that is about the amount of time it takes to make a hot dish. you can't really make that comparison, a hot dish and a lifetime appointment. these are lifetime appointments are those district judges and very key positions in the ministration for the other appointments. it is our constitutional duty to fully vet the most senior people in their government. the people who ensure our air and water are clean, the people who lead our military, the people who oversee our justice system. it is our constitutional duty to believe that our judges, the men and women who receive lifetime appointments to uphold the rule of law in america.
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on behalf of every american, it is our job to make sure the people who are nominated to the most senior positions in our government are competent and qualified. these roles are so important that the rules of the senate are designed to ensure that the senators come to a bipartisan consensus about the people who assume them. the purpose is to reject partisanship so that we can get nominees will put the good of the country before the politics of their party. if we eliminate or greatly reduce this crucial check on our democracy, we will allow the majority party to ram through appointments. those who support this resolution points to the fact that back in 2013, i was there then, the senate voted 78-16 to temporarily change the rules on debate time. it is very important to note that in 2013, the circumstances were very different and are today.
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aminations back then required 60 foot threshold. a 60-votevery -- threshold. it was respected throughout and a thorough process to select qualified judicial nominees was in place. despite all of this, important federal positions remained unfilled, even though qualified nominees were waiting to be confirmed. to address this issue, a bipartisan super majority back then of the senate supported a temporary change in the rules. that is not what we are talking about today. the idea that we are facing similar circumstances is not quite supported by the facts. here is the truth: nominees or confirmed, some faster than we have seen in the last five presidencies. leader mcconnell highlighted the fact that senate republicans are closing in on the record for the
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most circuit court appointments and a president's first year in office. last year, president trump said we put on the court tremendous amount of great federal district court judges. we are setting records. that is a quote from the president. in addition to my service on this committee, i also serve on the judiciary committee, where i've seen firsthand the pace at which presidential nominees are being processed. in the first two years of his presidency, president trump had 86 judges confirmed, compared to just 62 or president obama in the same time. -- same timeframe. last congress, 53 district court judges were confirmed, compared to just 15 and president obama's first two years. president trump has had 30 circuit court nominees confirmed. this is more circuit nominees confirmed than any president ever and his first two years in office.
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when you look at the facts, it is clear that is my republican colleagues have acknowledged, the previous congress accomplished a record-breaking year of advancing judicial nominees. many of us opposed a number of those nominees but the facts are the facts. this cry for the rule change at this moment is only because they want to ram even more nominees through. these facts say is unnecessary to change the rules of the site right now. i agree that we should work to improve the functioning of the senate. as i have previously told senator langford, this is something we could consider right at this time moving forward for when the new president comes into office so that we don't in fact by doing it now enhance the partisan atmosphere we are already in. this changes is not just unnecessary, it might allow fundamentally unqualified candidates to be confirmed. rated six of the
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judicial nominations put forth by the ministration as not qualified. including three who receive that rating unanimously. in two years, more than 30 executive branch nominees and five federal judges have withdrawn after initial vetting. because nominees are being rushed to the committee process, time is critical in evaluating nominees and fulfilling our duty to advise and consent. who do notsenators serve on the g share committee, to talk about a record. last year, two nominees were redrawn from consideration during the 30 years of debate when they came under skirt. for example, -- when they came under scrutiny.
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including concern that came from the republican side of the aisle in the post-culture debate time. his problematic writings were .rought to light it just goes to show what that time means for all judges. nominees like these clearly demonstrate the importance of carefully approaching nominations. senator langford some editions will improve important checks and balances from the nomination process, making it harder to properly that but easier to confirm unqualified nominees. that is not what the american people sent us here to do. rhetoric of blistering and divisiveness, this is no time to feed this chamber's
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ability to do its due diligence by removing the guardrails that help ensure judicial nominees have the qualifications for lifetime appointments to the federal bench. the senate's constitutional responsibility of advise and consent is too important to turn into a rubberstamp. the senate must remain a meaningful check and balance in our constitutional system. i strongly urge my colleagues to consider the dangers of this and vote against it. >> thank you, senator. further discussion? >> thank you senator klobuchar, i listen closely to what you had to say. a couple of observations. much of what you were concerned about happened when you are all in the majority. confirming allor executive branch appointments, except for the supreme court was dropped to 51.
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no district court judge has ever been defeated by a filibuster in the history of the country. no cabinet member has ever been defeated i a filibuster in the history of the country. the executive calendar is in crisis but let's talk about what the crisis is. to theargely unrelated judiciary. put a lot of priority on the judiciary, you do and we do. with regard to district court judges, there is not a single one that gets to the floor doesn't have two blue slips return favorably. if 47 democratic senators have a major role to play in what kind of district court judges are sent to the floor. the real crisis on the exact of calendar is unrelated to the judiciary. it has to do with assistant secretaries of this, that and the other. some of them have been sitting
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around for a year and a half. their lives have been largely interrupted, who are controversial but cannot get process. i will give you example. offered the democratic leader and package of 150 nonjudicial executive branch appointments that came out of committee supported by both democrats and republicans. let me see that again. 150 nonjudicial executive branch appointments that came out of a committee with democratic support in a package and he rejected it. we had 30 district court judges -- every district court judge as a blue slip returned positively. 30 district court judges, i tried to get the democratic leader to approve, 12 came from blue or purple states. in other words, and these blue
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states, democratic senators had a major role to play in who got nominated. they were rejected. we don't have this much of a problem because we are able to process personnel like this on a bipartisan basis with a vote. that is not happen. out thatblunt pointed closure 128he file times in the previous congress in order to try to advance the nominations. you go back six presidents before that and the majority leader of whatever party it was only had to file altogether 24 times. is thel crisis here administration itself below the cabinet level has a norma's number of vacancies. as chairman blunt pointed out, once we get to a closure on a
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number of these nominees, they aren't even controversial. to eat uppurpose is for time. anytime you consider a rules change, you ought to think about when the shoe was on the other foot. president, amy --buchar, >> that is going to help me with my base. thank you. in 2021, a democratic majority in the senate. as chairman blunt has pointed out to us previously, our view at that point is going to be well, we should act just like you did in the previous congress. the genie never gets back in the bottle. istever the new practice becomes the practice in the future. regardless of who is in the white house and regardless of what the majority is in the senate.
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is fair int think it any way to continue the practice we have seen on full display here. i think what chairman blunt is recommending its in the best interest of the senate. i have heard a number of the democratic party is all for, if it takes effect in 2021. i can understand that. we are where we are. judges, we think that is important and you think it is important. judgesessed these because i put them at the front of the line. i had to make a decision to do a circuit judge instead of a whole lot of assistant secretaries of this, that or the other, who have been sitting around forever wondering about their futures. i think it is time for the senate to change that practice
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before it become so pervasive that we never get the genie back in the bottle. whoever the next demonstration is can't even get staffed. i can't tell you how any cabinet secretary is called me, this is not the secretary of transportation -- [laughter] >> they call be because they had people sitting around for a year and a half. a person said he has been sitting around for a year and half. missus chairman, i think it is time to move. i don't think it anyway it seriously disadvantages the minority. the biggest disadvantage they have with regard to circuit judges is they chose to lower the threshold a few years ago and we chose to leave it, where it is. judge has ever been defeated by a filibuster in the history of the country. that is not a problem. every single one, i repeat
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again, has come out of judiciary after having two blue slips return. nomineesastels kind of with only two hours post cloture ? we have put that idea forward to do this going forward and the model was one based on what senator lamar alexander and senator collins did a few years back. they were forward-looking. when we don't know who's going to win the white house. you don't have the partisan nature of how this will be done. there is a difference between doing it this way and the temporary rules. one other point and that i will turn it over to senator durbin. we know white house has been slow in dominating people for these nonjudicial positions, which is also contributed to a lot of unfilled positions. an -- this is not
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a white house issue i'm talking about. they have not sent them as quickly as possible but if they did they would not be going anywhere. look at wars happen here. >> i think the number of nominees were almost exactly the same that were submitted during the first two years. the difference is almost 75% of the obama nominees were confirmed and right at 50% of the trump nominees were confirmed. set upth set out -- both a couple dozen, the same number of people. this is not a white house problem. this is our problem of not processing these in any way that meets any standard of reasonableness, particular the people go but nominated. most people are not nominated for a lifetime job. they are nominated for a job that at best is likely to last what administration. one administration.
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we've them on hold, make them fill out all kinds of forms and make disclosures and find out they are starved out or disappointed out of ever getting the job becomes the senate won't deal with the job. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me make a few comments. you are my friend and my neighbor and we have worked closely together on many things and we will continue to. the opening statement that you made has to be quoted again. when you said never before have we seen this record of obstruction. that when itto say came to a vacancy in the supreme court, we saw a record of obstruction on her death in the -- hearden in fact before a committee on entire year. it was a conscious decision made by the majority leader to deny
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us the ordinary senate tradition of filling the vacancy. it has created some hard feelings because it was consciously done in the hopes that your party would win the next presidential election and it did. having failed the vacancy that would've customarily been filled by the previous president. that is a fact. when we talk about records of obstruction, i think the record has been broken at the highest level. it is something that we reflect on as we look at the prospect of reducing time when we will consider nominees for lifetime positions. as he just said, mr. chairman, most nominations don't relate to lifetime positions, certainly the judicial nominations do. as you look at the record on the time taken for consideration of judicial nominees, you wonder what you -- i.e. we are here discussing this langford rule proposal.
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it is a solution and form of a problem. who said recently, in fact last week, said that we have had a record number of lawyers that the senate has confirmed on the federal bench since the trump inauguration. the person who said that is sitting to your left. senator mcconnell, the republican leader. in fact, president trump's first two years, the senate has confirmed 85 article three judges, 62 were confirmed during the same. -- same time under president obama. times during four the 114th congress. that is the argument for changing rules. i think if you look more closely, the obvious question is , well, how many of these judicial candidates are being held up for 30 hours? how any candidates at all are being held up for 30 hours of debate? here's what the record tells us:
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the senate rarely uses all 30 post cloture hours on nominations. -- usually scheduling times around the best for best -- for both caucuses. the only nomination in the last two years or almost all of the 30 hours of debate were used. who left undert, extraordinary circumstances, was next with 24 hours, 55 units of debate time. the vast majority have been confirmed with less than 10 hours of debate. on november 7, 2018, senator mcconnell said of the 116th congress, i don't think we will find any trouble finding time for nominations. to set sound like a compelling reason to change the rules of the senate? i don't think so. what it boils down to is when we are talking about lifetime nominations, we go through a regular process and ask questions. there are times when trump
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nominees don't cut the mustard. toe a look at what i refer as john kennedy, a.k.a. professor kennedy on the judiciary committee, who asked several nominees some very pointed questions. why did he ask them pointed questions about trial practice? because they had never darkened the door of a courtroom they wanted a lifetime appointment to a federal bench. they failed the kennedy exam, one of them went through almost immediately thereafter. the list goes on and on. there is reason for us to take time on judicial nominees. we should not abuse it what we should be careful in doing it. we have given this president more nominees than, certainly the previous president, president obama, and i don't think we have abused the situation. to include the judicial nominees in this langford rule change is entirely unnecessary and i hope we don't do it.
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the reason we picked two hours for district judges is that is exactly what he wanted when we do the standing order 2013. it reduce the post cloture time to two hours. it originated on your side of the aisle. not talking about judicial nominees, but some cabinet appointments to the menstruation. then the -- appointments to registration. this langford proposal is permanent. nominees, sub cabinet you know what the problem is and was. it was a vacancy, a democratic vacancy on the national board. we have had this discussion with the president, have we not? when senator schumer said he
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tried to bend in your direction in the hopes that we could get the one emma craddick domine through. we gave you nominees for approval and he did not happen. the gentleman in question is withdrawing his name. opportunity toan fill that vacancy. i would hope that we could do it. i think it would create some goodwill that has been missing for the first two years when it comes to these sub cabinet nominees. >> when it comes to that nominee, the challenge was getting enough votes to pass in. , at theator schumer has statute says republican, i would send president obama. on a couple of occasions, he did not want to appoint them. i sent him another one and that is what i recommended to the democratic leader with regards
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to this individual. the level of comedy here is way out of whack. the administration is going to honor that agreement but that particular individual, senator schumer experienced the same thing i did with a couple names i sent to president obama. >> i have taken too much time and i apologize that i want to respond to the republican leader. you are a veteran of the senate. counter andod vote a persuasive leader. finding three or four publican votes for a democratic nominee is not beyond your reach. as a senator schumer found some democratic votes when necessary to establish what we want to see. the sooner we can return to that is better. why are we considering a permanent rule change in the senate to resolve this?
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we know it is not necessary when it comes to judges, we don't use the same 30 hours. it comes to sub cabinet posts, i can guarantee what the outcome will be but senator schumer has said there has been one sticking point and we both know what it is. if we can get beyond that, maybe we can get back to solving this without a permanent rules change. >> senator alexander. >> thank you, mr. chairman. to my friend from illinois, i have heard a lot about mary garland. there is the thurman lahey role, four years we have not confirmed a supreme court nominee after about june before a presidential election. democrat said that, republican said that. it is true that senator mcconnell advanced that about six weeks. mary garland was nominated in march. he might've been confirmed in may. -- six weeks of
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indignation might be due. it is not enough for what we see today in the senate. let me go back to the question the chairman raised. i count nearly nine members of the senate who could be candidates for president. in about 20 months, i hope they will be there. do you not think that at least one republican senator will do to your nominees what you have done to president trump's? here is the practice. anator mcconnell puts down cloture vote because he has to. it is a part-time controversial position. we don't vote on tuesday, we do vote on wednesday on that then there is up to 30 hours. the senator from illinois it's right, we have not taken 30, we have taken an average of six. it takes into wednesday night after starting on monday for a
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noncontroversial board member. that is happened 128 times in the first two years. if a really energetic republican senator wanted to apply that procedure to all 112 nominees of the democratic president that would take 23 years to staff the government. that has to change. 128 times for trump, 12 times for obama, four times for george w. bush. none for the ministration where i served, george h. w. bush. tba members sitting there, a u.s. marshal quits or before, no controversy took more than one year. this diminishes the role of the senate and a time -- we end up with an executive filled with acting nominees who have no accountability to us. can republican senators change this? yes, we can. the senate did not deny five
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when senator hutchinson changed the rule legislating on appropriation bills. in 2013.eid did it senator mcconnell did it in 2017. it is a lot like the referee looking at the roebuck and seeing a first down is 10 years but i'm going to call it nine. he is the referee so it is nine yards. should we do it? no, we shouldn't. we should change it by a bipartisan majority. -- a senate majority can change the rules anytime. jefferson said it does not matter what your rules are, you need rules. it is an awkward position for the chief rulemaking body to not be following its own written rules and expecting the rest of the country to do it. what should we do? we should do with the senate did in 1995. the senate can back and changed
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it by more than 60 votes. we should do what we did in 2011, 2012 and 2013. i, a republican, volunteered to help president obama, a democrat, to make it easier for presidents to -- we get it immediately. i did not say we should wait for the next president. we abolished secret holds immediately. we reduced the number of hours to read legislation immediately. privileged nominations, 272 of them, and 60 days. for 3000e confirmation noncontroversial nominations, 160 three nominations and 60 days. the rules changed to speed up cloture immediately. with up motion to proceed the four amendments immediately. standing order like the one we are discussing today and senator reid's request, eight hours for
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sub cabinet members, two hours for judges. that is what we should do, which do it the right way. i am waiting for my democratic friends to show the same bipartisan spirit that i tried to show in 2011, 2012 and 2013. i did not suggest we wait for the next presidential election. i am voting to move this out because it has to change. i am waiting for that expression a bipartisan spirit. if somebody has an improvement on the resolution, i would be glad to talk with you about it. this is a terrible presidents for the senate. it destroys advising consent, it sets up a government of acting nominees. make no mistake, republicans can change this and will. i would prefer that we do it the way in which i work with you to do it in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and
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that we do it immediately because a need to take effect immediately. the question is, of the nine running for president, can i not one republican senator who will double down on what you have done to president trump? you won't be able to form a government if we leave this place. >> senator udall. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me first say i fully associate myself with senator klobuchar's remarks. i think she hit it right on the head. senator alexander, i liked working with you in the past on rules reform and i think one of the things we have learned over the years and rules reform is the best time to do rules reform is at the beginning of a congress. the beginning of a congress. if you change the rules in the middle of a congress, you get ill will, you get bitterness, you get hard feelings and it
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hurts our ability to work with each other. wethis was such a crisis, should have at the beginning of this congress take it up and try to deal with it in a bipartisan way. i have worked on rules issues since i have been here since 2009. we proposed a package of reforms that benefited the majority and the minority and today's proposal benefits only the majority. the majority is looking to rush it through without expert testimony, without the kind of hearings we have had and i don't think that is the way to go. i have a much longer statement, i think we have kind of beat this mule to death. i would ask, number one, to put my statement in the record, my full statement. also, put in the record this trump administration record. list,s a two page
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according to the washington post, as of monday, there are 143 senate confirmed positions out of the 706 do not even have a nominee. i don't think the problem is here. if you go through this and look at withdrawn nominee nominations, judiciary nominations, defeated nominations and major vacancies caused by ministration reshuffling, they have a real problem. be dealingought to with the rules in a bipartisan way. i thinkl say again that the numbers of the dominations that have been put forward are almost equal. this is not a failure to have nominees. this is a failure to process nominees. i would also point out this is the first meeting of this committee. we adopted our rules. earlier to get in the congress done this. any further discussion, senator roberts? >> i want to take a look at this
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from the standpoint of what passed in the last session and that was the farm bill, 12 titles, 87 votes that set a record. cloture was not filed because everyone agreed. we came together in the agriculture committee and the senate. we worked for a hard. in that committee, we don't ram through anybody. i would not bring a nominee up for consideration unless senator stabenow agreed. senator klobuchar knows that. there is only one nominee i can think of since i have had the -- that we felt should not be confirmed and that was the case. up reason i am bringing this is because we have folks that have been nominated, one
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democrat, one republican. we have three more than a waiting period they are key with regards to the input -- implementation of this farm bill. given the tough times we are facing in farm country. if our committee was able to come together with the farm bill and our committee is considering nominees that are waiting in line on a bipartisan basis, i don't see why on earth we have to file cloture or have these people wait in line. --se are the very people that is my biggest consideration. i take umbrage with the thought of us ramming people through what i know that is not the case. i also add that in the farm bill, there was an amendment by senator byrd -- senator durbin. we welcome him to the committee. tois veteran with regards .griculture program legislation
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welcome to the committee where we don't ram anything through and we do it on a bipartisan basis. in most committees we are doing that. the end result is we are hurting the very people who need to implement this legislation to provide the protected ability and survival. >> i would like to note chairman roberts, i agree with most of what you say about the agate committee. you did a tremendous job working with us. you got a strong bill through and a number of nominees i have supported and you have supported. that is been positive. and s not been that way at every level. thank you. before i turn to senator cruz, just for the record, as of february the 11th in the obama ministration, 1278 people had been nominated, 923, about 72%, were confirmed.
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in the trumpet instruction, 1402 had been nominated, 714 have been confirmed. this is not a problem with not having nominees. senator cruz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the have listened to impassioned remarks from my democratic colleagues, what they are saying and the umbrage they seems to be in substantial conflict with the facts. what i would like to do is ask you, mr. chairman, for a few points of clarification so someone watching this hearing can understand the basic facts. want to ask five questions. first of all, am i correct that the rule proposal being put forward is very similar to the proposal supported by harry reid and our democratic colleagues for president obama and with respect to district judges, with two hour timeframe, is identical to the proposal put forth by
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harry reid and our democratic colleagues for president obama? >> that is correct. >> that seems relevant because we heard speeches about how district court judges are terribly important and somehow two hours is an abuse of process and ramming them through but somehow it is identical to the standard democrat supported for harry reid and president obama. second question, we heard a reference to the blue slip. and that the reason this was an abuse here is because of the loose slip. it is true that the blue slip practice has changed for court of appeals nominees. the proposal being put forth does not impact court of appeals nominees. it still allows 30 hours post cloture for part -- for court of appeals nominees. is it correct that the blue slip process is identical, exactly
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the same as it was, under democrats when they adopted the two hour rule for judges? >> not on the judiciary committee but my believe is it is identical. >> that is correct. we haverd question: heard democrat say how wonderful it is that the senate has made , but is it notes correct that we have seen delay innted obstruction from senate democrats? that has obstruction no comparable analog in the history of the senate. to give specifics -- in the first congress for each of the preceding presidents, bill clinton was president, the first congress, there were a total of four cloture votes on his nominees. for george w. bush, likewise,
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there were a total of four cloture votes for his nominees. to barack obama, it went up 10. for donald trump, senate democrats have forced not four cloture votes, not 10 cloture votes.127 cloture delay and obstruction that is truly unprecedented. is that correct? >> i believe there are 127 votes. and 128 cloture >> so it is even worse? -- as ar from illinois justification for this unprecedented delay and obstruction from senate democrats. chairman,rect, mr. that garlands nomination
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occurred in the year of a presidential nomination, it has been over 80 years since the senate confirmed a supreme court nominee for a vacancy that occurred in the year of a presidential election? and the senate followed the joe rule that, namely the joe biden articulated when george w. bush was president, that the senate would not take up a supreme court nomination for a vacancy that occurred during a presidential year. what the senate followed was joe biden's role. it's all that correct? >> i believe 1932 was the last time a supreme court vacancy was filled. wouldssume joe biden recognize is not a republican partisan. >> with the republican senator yield port observation? >> you would have to go back to the 1880's to find the last time
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-- from a different party of the president fill the vacancy on the spring court on the vacancy occurred during the presidential year. texas, yield for a question. >> you have been careful in your language. filled anthony kennedy in a presidential election year occurred in the previous year. the actual vote was taken in the year. >> the vacancy was created in 1987. >> as senator alexander has noted, it was the thurman rule that was driving it. it was violated when garland wasn't given the chance for hearing. >> i will note that in the explanation, the senator from illinois did not dispute the joe biden rule very -- said what it occurs in an election year will
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not be taken up at the site. presidentbecame vice under president obama. today,s his rule and yet senate democrats treat following the joe biden rule and following centuries of tradition and practice in the senate is somehow a great outreach. the final question, mr. chairman, i want to understand. the ranking member, if i hurt her correctly, said that she agrees with the substance of the proposal and that, i think i wrote this down correctly, she disagrees about the date. in other words, this is a rule that makes sense. this is a rule that is fair. this is a rule that harry reid put in place for barack obama. my understanding is this is the position of most democrats in the senate. they agree that is fair but the one thing they want to change is that it cannot apply to donald
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trump. somehow, donald trump especial so they will agree to it if it applies to whoever is elected in the next presidential election, whether it is trump or something else. is that correct? >> cannot answer myself? .> the current president as i correct? >> i did not concede. i said i would have liked to work with senator langford on a proposal that could be similar that would take effect later so it could be held. whatever party wins, who would be under the same rules. the point is in this mill you that we are in, all i know is garland's exhibit a. >> i agree. open for months and months and months and you waited until after the election. that has brought us to where we are now.
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i like when things move efficiently, a very much. i think there are ways we can do this going forward. i want to let her last are many democratic senator who is here. >> thank you so much. echo the comments from senator klobuchar and i have been listening. thank you for this debate, it has been informative. let me interject from somebody who is new to the united states senate, who wasn't here when senator reid was here. you are talking about the 2013 resolution or road change you all voted for. i did not. back towe need to get bipartisan, working together. that is the way the senate works, that is the way i was taught growing up in history bodyes and respect this and that is why i was sent here on behalf of the people of nevada.
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what i have heard is an us versus ds., rs we are not putting people on the federal bench. i don't think the answer is speeding up the process. this is a point of clarification. with all due respect to the majority leader, who i have a lot of respect for, but what i heard was the real crisis is unrelated to the judiciary. i am not sure why the judiciary is then brought into this resolution. and in for our purposes particular for mine as an attorney general, i have a deep respect for our federal judiciary. i think the american republic -- the american public needs to trust that our judges will be fair arbiters of any dispute in front of them. out of the come from a democrat or republican. they are trusting that we are
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looking out for equal justice for everyone. here is why i have concerns about rushing this process. i do not sit on edge -- i do not sit on a senate judiciary committee. i want time to do the research for these judges. two hours will not give me that time. most importantly, what i have watched as this has been rushed through, there are times where i have seen in the past two district court nominees who , therehey were nominated were serious concerns about their personal, professional background. that het afterward concealed his blog post defending the kkk and disparage the victims and survivors of the sandy hook massacre. he also failed to disclose that his wife worked in the white house counsel. reports emerged that he might have misled the judiciary servinge about -- while
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on a campaign. i think there is a role and it is important the vetting process take place. i do not believe that judges should be rushed through this process. these are lifetime appointments. i have appeared before these judges as an attorney. this important we elect judges who protect the integrity of that branch of government that is treating equal justice for everyone. i don't want anybody coming before any federal bench taking are you a democrat? are you a republican? are you right of center? that is outrageous to me. the people in our states need to know we are looking out for the best interests of them when they are appearing in court or we are thoroughly offending judges are going to make decisions on behalf of individuals and businesses every single day. for that reason, i cannot support this. i do not believe judges should be rushed and i would encourage my colleagues to really consider
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what we are doing here. these are lifetime appointments. posed toa question was me about why district judges were included. two reasons. inber one, that is what was the standing order that passed in 2013. two hours post cloture on district judges. there are 47 democratic senators. the blue slip for judges is still in place. there won't be a district judge on the floor of the senate from any blue or purple state that hasn't been approved by a democratic senator. >> thank you. i appreciate those comments. i also hear that oftentimes the blue slips are disregarded. i appreciate the comments from the majority leader today. if that is something that is set in stone and we don't have to worry about in the future, that is great. i hear constantly that they are not being respected. that is a concern. it goes back to the idea that
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when we are fighting for our communities, you have to get beyond this idea that it is republicans or democrats, especially when it comes to justice. that is thoroughly vetting and allowing debate to can -- occur for these lifetime appointments. judges, -- blue slips are being honored. the day after a name is called up. even under this proposal, the vote does not occur for well over 30 hours after it is called up if you use the intervening day, which we would still -- are there further? >> i would like to add something to the record. >> yes. >> the ranking member suggested i had worked in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to change the rules for the next president. that is not correct. i want to put into the record
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the specific provisions that the senate adopted by bipartisan 2012 and 2011.3, 12 -- 2012 and 2013 with the date of their adoption and they included what i mentioned earlier -- removal of the secret holes, fewer excessive reading of reviewing legislation, privileged nominations and streamline nominations were 2011. 60 days of june the remainder of the changes were all immediate. they were on the motion to proceed. speed up the conference. theonal process to speed up four amendments on the provision almost exactly like the revision
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we are voting on. it is important people know there was a big partisan effort involving leaders of the parties to make it easier for president and weirm their nominees did that for the current president, president obama at the request of the current majority leader who was senator reid. thank you. the discussion was about how some of the effort was made before the election so we could get people on board without knowing who is going to win the election. i remember you saying to me, while youis something are correct about when it was voted through, the effort was made around the time of the election before we knew who was going to win. there were discussions about that. nothing happened. all these things i talked about
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happening in the reason i was sensitive is i was a republican volunteer. >> you were. a democratic majority makes it easier. we made important changes that help the senate. mr. chairman, i promise to be brief. simply receiving blue slips is a political courtesy but no guarantee of qualification. so far, six trump nominees have received not qualified readings from the american bar association including two oklahoma district court nominees and two circuit court nominees. simply receiving a blue slip does not absolve any nominee or certainly not the senate from its responsibility, as questions for a lifetime appointment in two hours would hardly be enough time. >> mr. chairman, a brief point of clarification. members of this
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committee complained this proposal is a permanent change rather than a temporary role change. ofwould seem if we were value waiting this on merits, that would be a benefit and not a detriment of this proposal applye these walls will to whoever is elected president in 2020. it will apply if a republican is elected, if a democrat is elected. if these are rules designed to stop the unprecedented delay of obstruction, these rules would serve. if a democrat rules in 2020, these rules would serve to protect that democratic prerogative from delay and obstruction and i suggest a temporary provision would be exactly the opposite and it does highlight the remarkable position the democrats are taking on this committee that they are fine with the permanent solution so long as it does not apply to drum. they wanted special rule excluding the current president
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because they disagree. >> i want to thank senator cruz for looking out for our interest. >> if there are no further amendments or debate, the questions on ordering the resolution favorably reported in the opinion of the chair. determine ashould rollcall be taken. is there and it just? >> senator mcconnell. >> yes. >> senator roberts. >>aye. >> senator wicker. >> senator fischer. senator highsmith. senator klobuchar. senator feinstein. senator schumer. senator durbin.
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senator durbin. senator udall. senator warner. senator leahy. senator king. masto. cortez chairman blunt. are 10, the nose or nine. >> the fifth plea is favorably reported. i asked and sent in preparing the on the this committee funding resolution and s resolution 54 reporting the staff to be authorized to make technical or conforming changes. without objection, the committee is adjourned.
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announcer: there are nearly 100 new members of the u.s. house, including ayanna pressley. she debated michael cap jan oh -- michael cap leonel in the democratic primary. two previously served as a member of the boston city canceled. this is not her first experience with congress. she worked for joseph kennedy and warmer senator john kerry earlier in her career. hand istative reacher
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also a former congressional staffer. she served as chief of staff in the early 2000's. prior to her election, congresswoman trahan was ceo of a consulting firm. terms on serving three the new hampshire executive council, which is an elected body that advises the governor and two terms in the statehouse. apis is co-owner of a new hampshire restaurant often visited by candidates. he is the first openly gay person elected to congress by new ship -- by new hampshire voters. named her 2060 national teacher of the year at a white house ceremony. she is the second african-american to represent connecticut in congress. the first was congressman gary
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franks, a republican who also represented the first district desperate district in the 1990's. , new leaders. watch at all on c-span. announcer: this week, the senate voted to confirm william barr to be the next attorney general. several members spoke foreign against his nomination. diane feinstein and chuck grassley shared their thoughts about mr. barr's nomination on the senate floor. the senator from california. >> i want to thank the leader for his comments and i would like to say the democrats on the judiciary committee agree with him and on their behalf would like to make the following comments. mr. president, last week the judiciary committee voted on the nomination of william barr to attorney general of the united states. democrats voted against the


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