Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 23, 2009 2:30pm-3:00pm EDT

2:30 pm
this legislation is a comprehensive approach to strengthening the food and drug administration's authority and resources. but i believe that there is still much more that can and should be done. that's why along with senator chambliss i've introduced the food safety rapid response act. this legislation focuses on the centers for disease control as well as state and local capabilities for responding to food-borne illness. it has three main provisions. first, direct the centers for disease control to enchance food borne systems to improve the collection, analysis, reporting and usefulness of data on food-borne systems. this includes better sharing of information among federal, state and local agencies and as well as with food industry and the public. it includes developing improved epidemiology tools and procedures to better detect food-borne disease clusters and improve trace backs to identify
2:31 pm
the contaminated food products. our state is proud to be the home of hormel and land of lakes and general mills -- many other food processing companies -- and they are eager to help with this. often they know the best way to trace back these food-borne illnesses and they want to have safe food and they are interested in helping. second, it directs the centers for disease control to improve food-borne illness surveillance including providing support to state laboratories and agencies for outbreak investigations with needed specialty expertise. it also includes, and this is key, developing model practices at the state and local levels for spending to food-borne illnesses and outbreaks. this is about the minnesota model, these best practices. what happens in minnesota, i tell you this, i bet it is as expensive in other states but what we do is smart. we take a team of graduate students that are food
2:32 pm
detectives working together instead of going all over the state to maybe a county nurse in oning, someone in another county. this group of graduate students working under the supervision of doctors and people who are professionals in this area, literally call people who have been sick more maybe just a little sick and that way in one moment in time they immediately figure out what the people were eating, where the food came from. it is very sophisticated laboratory techniques that go on but what works here is the teamwork with graduate students. finally, this legislation would establish food safety centers of excellence. the goal is to set up regional food safety centers at select public health departments and higher education institution. this provides resources, training and coordination for state and local officials so that other states can be doing exactly what minnesota does. in particular, they seek to distribute food safety best practices like those that have
2:33 pm
become rue ten in my state. doctor osterhall is a disease expert and you may have seen him featured with the latest flu outbreak. he is credited with the creation of the minnesota program. he has said the creation of regional programs models on minnesota would go a long way toward providing precisely the real-time support for outbreak investigations at the state and local levels that is so sorely needed. no one believes we can do all this out of washington. that's why we simply have to upgrid the practices that our states are using when there is an outbreak so we don't have to wait for people to get sick or die in minnesota so solve these problems. the recent outbreaks have shaken the confidence and trust in the food we eat. according to the centers for disease control, food-borne disease causes 76 million ills in, 335,000 hospitalizations and
2:34 pm
5,000 deaths in the united states. for each illness reported it is estimated up to 40 more illnesses are not reported or confirmed by a lab. the annual cost of medical care, loss productivity and premature deaths due to food-borne illnesses is estimated to be $44 billion. there's a lot at stake here, mr. president. both in terms of life and money. and i believe we can do so much better. i believe it because i've seen it in my state. senator chambliss, from the state of georgia, believes it where the latest outbreak occur. he has seen the devastation to an center if his state with one bad actor and it gets out there and more people get sick and die and this doesn't help anyone but it sures, tremendously, the tragedy, three families in my state. we know we can do better and that is why we are introducing the bill. as a former prosecutor i believe
2:35 pm
the first responsibility of government is to pect its citizens. when people get sick or die from contaminated food, the government must take aggressive and immediate action. i believe that together, the food safety rapid response absent and the food safety modernization act will strengthen food and safety in america and ultimately save both lives and money. thank you very much, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. martinez: i ask to be permitted to speak in morning business for ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. martinez: mr. president it gives me good pleasure and honor as an individual who lived in pursuit of free cuba and a better america, colonel radio moan marking an accomplished military leader, diplomat and entrepreneur.
2:36 pm
cuba was it native home he made our nation a bitter place during the years he lived in exile. he was born in cuba on may 12, 1914. at able 19, he joined the cuban army and served his country and graduated from the cuban military academy in 1941. during his years of military service, he attended various u.s. army schools in the united states. following a distinguished career in the military, he found his passion in military education. in the classroom, he worked to instill a culture of civic awareness within the military's ranks and found the cuban national war college and eventually was promoted to the director of cuba's military schools. following his career in cuban military education, he was appointed as cuba's military attache to the united states and delegate to the defense board where he was selected vice chair and developed a plan for a joint
2:37 pm
defense of the western hemisphere. for his work, colonel marking was honored in 1955 with grade of commander. he learned the shifting political winds in cuba and conspired to prevent freedom from losing its foothold in his native land. i can remember as a young boy in cuba living through tumultuous times and my father remark, that in this colonel cuba had its best home for democracy. his concerns led him to participate in a failed military revolt against the dictatorship and later to actively work against castro's totalitarian regime. he asked him to serve as defense minister. concern with the repressive nature, the colonel refused and, instead, chose to serve in ambassadorial post in europe and as a result of that he was able
2:38 pm
to flee to the united states and begin a new life now in exile. after briefly living in miami, he rekindled his passion for education by establishing a consortium of educational institutions in puerto rico. they include a k-12 school, and summer camps, university, atlantic college and an institute for civic education. he was recognizes for his hard work and entrepreneurship by the puerto rican government as the 1995 educator of the year. gots of the k-12 academy he founded had kind words of appreciation for his work and character. according to one student, -- and i quote -- "from colonel i learned to love my country and he taught me the values that lead my life today." as a cuban american, floridian and senator it gives me great
2:39 pm
pleasure to pay tribute to the colonel. his commitment to freedom and democracy, his generosity and zeal for serving others, is and will surely be missed. i also know that probably one of the proud of the accomplishments was a wonderful family. i'm privivileged to know his so, ramone, who carries his name and some of his grandchildren. and i know that is, without a doubt, what i'm sure he feels was his greatest legacy while he lived noon us. i know history would have been very different had he had an opportunity to follow through on some of resolution ideas and some of his hopes. in any event, i thank you for the floor and i now yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
2:40 pm
2:41 pm
2:42 pm
2:43 pm
2:44 pm
2:45 pm
quorum call:
2:46 pm
2:47 pm
2:48 pm
schumer mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator new york. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. i rise to speak on two issues this afternoon to my colleagues. one is the nomination of judge sonia sotomayor for the united states supreme court, and the second is on the public option in health care. now, first on judge sotomayor. several of my colleagues from across the aisle have come to the floor today to attack judge sotomayor's nomination to the supreme court, and i must say, i think these attacks are entirely misplaced. i've always had a consistent
2:49 pm
standard for evaluating judicial nominees. i use it when voting for them. i use it when joining in in the nomination process, as i did under president bush and continue to under president obama. and those three standards are excellence, moderation, and diversity. i am confident that judge sotomayor meets these criteria, based on my review thus far of her lengthy and impressive record on both the district court and court of appeals, her impressive career in both public and private sectors and her stellar academic credentials. i've also been deeply impressed with her personal story, a true story of an american dream. she pulled herself up from the projects in the bronx to stand before this body as a nominee to the highest court in the land. her history is truly inspirational, a history of which we should all be extremely proud. it is a great american story. it is what the greatness of
2:50 pm
america is all about. as my friend from new jersey said earlier. i think some of the comments i've heard from my republican colleagues this morning have distorted judge sotomayor's distinguished record, so let's take a minute to consider what the real story is and how judge sotomayor's record reflects the highest ideals of judging. judge sotomayor's record reveals her to be most modest and moderate, dedicated to the rule of law, and not outcome-oriented. for example, senator sessions spent some of his time this morning criticizing one particular case -- hayden v v.pataki -- because her dissent would have resulted in an outcome with which he did not agree. but he neglected to mention that her opinion was based on the plain text of the statute before the court and he also left out some of the key vealing comments
2:51 pm
she made in her dissent. "no one disputes that states have the right to disenfranchise felons." second, "the duty of a judge is to follow the law, not question its plain terms." and, number three, "i trust that congress would prefer to make any needed changes itself rather than have the courts do so for it." these are the kinds of statements in the very case my good friend from alabama uses to criticize the judge that we've heard from people on the other side of the aisle over and over and over again as to what a judge should do. not replace his or her own judgment for that of the legislature or that of the law. judge sotomayor was following text to a result, not the other way around. these quotes tell us a lot more about judge sotomayor's judicial philosophy and commitment to rule of law than simply looking at the outcome in any particular
2:52 pm
case. and even when we look at outcomes, the entirety of her record gives us a more accurate picture of her judicial philosophy than any outcome -- than the outcome of any one case. she rejected discrimination claims in 81% of the cases she considered and in those 78 cases rejecting discrimination claims, she dissented from the panel that she was on only twice. when my office looked at her record on immigration cases, she sided with the immigrant in asylum cases only 17% of the time. now, that's average for the entire second circuit. this should put to rest any notion she is swayed by outcomes rather than by law. obviously, she sympathizes with the immigrant experience. that's been clear. but she doesn't let those sympathies stand in the way of her judging what the law says and mandates. so she's clearly not a judicial
2:53 pm
activist, someone who reaches beyond the proper role of a yuj to impose her personal preferences; and i think it's about time to debunk the notion of judicial activism as some are using it. i think that judicial activism is starting to become code for many of my friends on the other side of the aisle for -- quote -- "decisions outcomes i don't agree with." when they say "judicial activist," they're not looking at how close or far from the law. they're rather looking, well, i didn't agree with the ultimate decision. that's why i prefer to use the term "modesty" when describing my ideal judge, and it is a term that was used by justice roberts when he was before us. well, i'll quote from the federalist papers, as some of my colleagues have done. in federalist "no" 78, the primary source for justification for judicial review in the
2:54 pm
constitution, alexander hamilton explains the role of a judge very simply: a yuj mus judge must interpret e constitution, interpret the laws when there is -- quote -- "irreconcilable difference between the two, that which has the superior valuety or to be preferred." an irreconcilable variance that imposes a high bar on any judge that is attempting to strike down -- who is tempted to strike down a law or a practice or any decision by a legislature executive, is unconstitutional. this is, by the way, exactly the standard judge sotomayor lived up to in ricci when she deferred to the elected local official in new haven and to federal title 7 law and to firm second circuit precedent. it's always been my view that a commitment to modesty is key in a judge, a judge who is modest understands that any concept of
2:55 pm
doing justice must have as its touchstone the meaning that the authors of the text intended to give it. i also believe it is consistent with judicial modesty to acknowledge that our constitution is written to endure. it doesn't live and breathe like a flesh-and-blood child does, who evolves throughout adolescence and adulthood to become irrecognizable. i don't believe in using those terms. rather, mr. president, the constitution endures. it endures because the people whom it governs, the people who retain all of the many, many rights that are not listed in the document itself, believe that it continues to apply to them. and the only reason that it continues to apply to them is through guardianship of judges who are modest in reaching their conclusions. they understand that people have to live by the court's interpretation and judgment. they understand that people want
2:56 pm
justice and that justice means predictability, adherence to text, and the willingness to avoid patently absurd results. i'm looking forward to the confirmation hearing of judge sotomayor. she is a gifted lawyer, a respected seriou and serious ju. her views will only seek to -- lessons taught by a grandfather in georgia, by a study just mother who died the day before her daughter graduated high school, bay single spanish-speaking mother who told her daughter should she could do anything through hard work and a good education. let's be reasonable and realistic. these experiences do not turn a good judge into a bad one or an impartial one or whatever my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are suggesting.
2:57 pm
to recognize the role of personal experience is simply to acknowledge that in the art and science of interpreting the constitution and laws of our country we have to ask ourselves the following questions: do we trust more the decisions of judges who, as i have said before, have ice water in their veins, who view their role as stripping themselves of their pasts and ruling in a vacuum free of human experience and common sense? or do we trust more the decisions of judges who acknowledge and address their own life experiences, even while striving always to be fair and within the law, as judge sotomayor herself has said? madam president -- madam mr. president, threes questions i look forward to discussing at judge sotomayor's upcoming hearing. and now, mr. president, i rise to discuss the necessity of including a public option in the health care legislation congress
2:58 pm
is currently drofting. one of our top priorities as we undertake health care reform is increasing competition among health insurance companies in order to get costs under control and give consumers better choices. a recent "new york times"/cbs poll clearly shows that a large majority of the american people -- 72% in fact -- want a government-sponsored health care option that would compete with private health insurance companies. 72%. what's even more incredible, 50% of all republicans in this country want a public option. there seems to be a disconnect between my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and even their republican constituents. do you know why so many americans want a public plan? because despite what many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would have you believe, they don't feel they
2:59 pm
have affordable choices, and fundamentally this is what lies at the heart of our public plan proposal. we want to ensure all americans have a guaranteed, affordable choice when it comes to health insurance and right now too many of them don't. in many areas of the country, one or two insurers have a stranglehold on the entire market which produces costly premiums and health care decisions that often serve the interests of the insurer, not the patient. in fact, according to a study of the american medical associati association, 94% of insurance markets are highly concentrated. that's right. 694%. -- 94%. this is why a public insurance program is absolutely critical to ensure the greatest amount of choice possible for consumers and provide at least one


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on