tv [untitled] CSPAN June 9, 2009 5:00pm-5:30pm EDT
mr. dodd: mr. president? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. dodd: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. dodd: i'm going to ask consent to go into morning business at the conclusion of these brief remarks. there are several amendments that are germane amendments to this bill that we ought to consider, and my hope is that will happen. i will let the leadership determine what the rest of the day will be like, but my hope is we can complete these other germane amendments that are before us. i know there is a package of amendments and other things to be looked at. i'm certainly prepared to do that. my good friend, mike enzi, is not on the floor this minute, but he and i have had a good relationship on this bill, and we'd like to complete it if we could. it's been now almost a week and a half on the legislation, so it shouldn't take much more to get to final passage on the legislation. i make that offer to my colleagues that they can sit down and see if we can't resolve some of those matters or at least allow for some time to be debated on those outstanding germane amendments that are pending. and with that, mr. president, i
ask consent that we now go into morning business. the presiding officer: is there objection? seeing, hearing no -- mr. dodd: with the time not to exceed ten minutes each by members. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the distinguished senator from missouri be given a couple of minutes to make his -- put his speech in the record, and that i be immediately given the floor. mr. wyden:b mr. president? reserve the right to object, and i do not intend to object. i would just ask unanimous consent, mr. president, after the distinguished senator from missouri has spoken and after the distinguished senator from utah has spoken, that i follow them. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i would like my colleague to understand that i may take longer than ten minutes on my speech. i ask unanimous consent to be able to do so.
the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the senator from missouri. mr. bond: mr. president, today in the defense appropriations bill, we've heard about some good things going on in south asia and the new strategy for both afghanistan and pakistan to bring military and civilian efforts into that region. i understand that the armed services committee has just approved the nomination of lieutenant general stanley mcchrystal as the next commander of the international security forces. the final senior level military position in the theater. i have met with general mcchrystal and talked about our way forward in the region to listen to his ideas. i have to say i was very impressed. he's not only a dedicated, accomplished soldier, but has years of combat and counterterrorism experience, he's also an effective leader who understands the challenges we face in the region.
he knows that counterinsurgency, point of strategy, one that wins the hearts and minds of local populations and gains grass roots support for development and governance efforts and includes an effective public diplomacy campaign is absolutely essential. he not only understands good public diplomacy, but he understands smart power, combining diplomatic economic information with military efforts. mr. president, i'd urge my colleagues to support the nomination of general mcchrystal, and i ask unanimous consent that the full statement i prepared be submitted for the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bond: i thank the chair, and i particularly thank my distinguished colleague from utah. mr. hatch: i thank my colleague and join with him in his suggestions. mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i want to associate myself with the remarks and concerns expressed earlier by both the judiciary committee's ranking member, senator sessions, and the distinguished republican leader and whip, senator
mcconnell -- senators mcconnell and kyl. the white house talking points tell us that the supreme court nominee, judge sonia sotomayor, has more federal judicial experience than any supreme court nominee in a century. my friends on the other side of the aisle have aggressively circulated these talking points. i assume by stressing judicial experience they are saying this overwhelmingly deep, broad judicial record provides us the basis on which to judge the nominee's fitness for the supreme court. that coin has two sides. the flip side is that a 17-year judicial career that has produced thousands of judicial decisions takes time adequately to evaluate and properly to consider. the question is whether the majority is at all interested in a genuine, serious, deliberative process by which the senate can fulfill one of our most important constitutional responsibilities. this process should be fair and thorough. and instead, it is being rigged
and rushed for no praerpbt reason other than the -- apparent reason other than the majority can do so. this process should be bipartisan, and instead it's becoming entirely partisan. the ranking member was not even given the very same courtesy that the chairman was given when he was in that position at the time of the previous supreme court nominations. let me focus on the process followed to consider the previous supreme court nominee, justice samuel alito. he had served on the u.s. court of appeals for the third circuit for more than 15 years when he was nominated to the supreme court. this was five years longer than judge sotomayor has served on the second circuit and nearly the same as judge sotomayor's combined judicial service on both the district and circuit courts. the other party demanded and was granted 70 days from the announcement of the nomination to the hearing to stu then-judge alito's record. the senator from pennsylvania, senator specter, was chairman at the time.
he made no unilateral partisan announcements. he imposed no truncated, limited time frame. he consulted the ranking member, and they agreed that there would be 70 days to study that voluminous judicial record. oh, what a difference an election makes. with the unilateral partisan edict announced today by the chairman, we're being given only 48 days to study the same lengthy record. we are told that we must consider the largest judicial record in a century in the shortest time in modern memory. and that is simply not enough. it is not enough to do the job right, and i wouldemind my friends on the other side that it was their leaders who once said that it is more important to do it right than to do it fast. now that was when there was a republican president and a republican senate. are we to assume from the unilateral imposition of a stunted and inadequate process
that the majority today no longer cares that the confirmation process be done right? only that it be done fast? the chairman has actually suggested that he really has no choice that some intemperate criticism by a few people have somehoworced his hand. he cannot be serious about this. this nominee has the full force and weight of no less than the entire administration of a compliant media, and thent. largest partisan congressional majority in decades to come to her defense. interest groups are mobilizing, lobbying cpaigns are i full swing. web sites are already in operation. with all tt, are we to believe that a few ill-considered remarks by a few people outside this body are enough to cut the confirmation process off at the knees? are we to believe that this is all it takes to set aside fairness? to undercut the ability of the senate to do its confirmation duty and to inject this degree of partisanship and rancor into
the process? give me a break. this is choice, plain and simple, and it is the wrong choice. the distinguished senator from new york, senator schumer, has said that senators on our side of the aisle oppose this nominee at their peril, as if there is any peril in fairly applying basic principles and standards to this as well as to other nominees. but the distinguished majority leader has apparently said the same thing to senators on the other side of the aisle, literally daring any of them to vote against this nominee. that is a strange tactic indeed, especially so publicly and so early on in the process. it makes me wonder whether there are concerns even on the majority side that the leadership simply cannot allow to be expressed. i urge my friends on the other side to reconsider and not be intimidated and not be pushed around. there is more than enough time to do the confirmation job right, to have a fair and thorough process, that can have
a confirmed justice in place when the supreme court begins its term in october. there is no need gratuitously to further politicize the confirmation process. injecting such partisanship at the beginning easily can result in greater conflict and division further down the confirmation road, and that is not good for judge sotomayor or anybody else in this body. that is not in the best tradition of the senate. it is not how the supreme court nominations have been considered in the past, and it is not the way we should do this today. i've been informed there have been some 4,000 decisions. my gosh, that is going to take some time to go through those decisions. and i think we ought to be fair in this body, and fairness means giving enough time to be able to do the job properly and to get it done within a reasonable period of time and not be pushed in ways that really don't make
sense. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that my next remarks be placed at the appropriate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: mr. president, i would like to take a few minutes now to talk about the perils of creating a government plan on american families in health care. i'm very disappointed with the president and my friends on the other side of the aisle that they have chosen to pursue the creation of a new government-run plan. one of the most divisive issues in health care reform, rather than focusing on broad areas of compromise that can lead us towards bipartisan health care reform legislation. yesterday i spearheaded a letter with my republican finance committee colleagues urging the president to strike a more conciliatory tone on health care reform. having played a profound role in almost every major health care legislation for the last three decades and having worked repetitively in a bipartisan manner with everyone from senators kennedy and dodd to congressman waxman, i know something about getting things
done for our families in a thoughtful manner. you advance legislation by focusing on areas of compromise, not strife. first and foremost, let me make this point again. even though i am starting to sound like a broken record, reforming our health care system to ensure that every american has access to quality, affordable, and portable health care is not a republican or democrat issue. it is an american issue. when we are dealing with one-sixth of our economy, it is absolutely imperative that we address this challenge in a bipartisan manner. anything less would be a huge disservice to our families and our nation. clearly, health care spending continues to grow too fast. this year will mark the biggest ever one-year jump in health care's share of our g.d.p., a full percentage point to 17.6%. you can think of this as a horse
race between costs and resources to cover these costs. the sad reality is that costs win year after year. growing health care costs translate directly into higher coverage costs. since the last decade, the cost of health coverage has increased by 120%, three times the growth of inflation and four times the growth of wages. it is not the only problem, but cost is one part of the reason why more than 45 million americans do not have health insurance. i believe we need to do more to assure we achieve universal access to affordable and quality health care for every american. we can do this by reforming and improving the current system. however, the creation of a government plan is nothing more than a backdoor approach to a washington-run health care system. at a time when major government programs like medicare and medicaid are already on a path to f
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