tv [untitled] CSPAN June 25, 2009 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT
today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent these requests be agreed to and the requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. schumer: madam president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. carper: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: thank you very much. madam president, in the constitution, we see laid out before us a framework of how our government is supposed to work, three branches, legislative, executive, judicial. and we also find in the constitution what our relative responsibilities are, not with great detail but with some definitiveness.
ironically, one of the requirements that the constitution provides for us in this country is that every 10 years we try to count everybody. we have a census, and most nations do that, and we've been doing that since really for over 200 years. it doesn't get any easier. in fact, every year -- every 10 years it gets harder and it also gets to be more expensive. the record of the census does not serve a finite period of time. the director of the census really serves at the pleasure of the president, and we've had census directors who have served as little as one year and in some cases census directors who serve maybe four or even five -- five years. this is particularly appropriate today because we don't have a director of the census. we had dr. murdoch from down in
texas who served for about the last year of the bush administration as our census director. did a very nice job. but since the beginning of this year, dr. murdoch has resigned. we don't have a census director. while we do have coming down the railroad tracks -- what we do have coming down the railroad tracks is the requirement to do the census. next april 1 -- i call it a little bit like d-day. normandy we sent all our troops to shore and scrambled off those landing vessels, stormed the beaches. that took place after literally months of planning, months of preparation. and finally the day of excuse came. -- and finally the day of execution came. in a way, the census is like preparing for the senator man did i invasion. it is the efforts under way now -- they have been under way for months and will continue until
april 1 and beyond that day as we try to count everybody. yet at this critical time, as we approach the need to do this -- conduct our census, to do it in an accurate, cost-effective way -- we don't have a leader there. we have some good people, but they lack a director. fortunately for us -- well, let me just back up. last month i held a hearing on our homeland security/government affairs committee, and we invited people who have been high-level officials and i think -- in i think every census in -- since the 1970's. we asked them to come and talk to us about how they think we're doing in preparation for the 2010 census. and at the end of their speeches, i asked them to give us the names of two people that
they thought would be excellent census directors, and they were good enough to do that. and i think every one of them complud in their recommendations the -- included in their recommendations the name of a fellow from michigan. i am an ohio state guy. but they recommended a fellow from ann arbor, whose name is dr. gross. dr. gross is an expert in survey methodology. he spent decades working to strengthen the federal statistic statistical system, to improve its training programs, keep the system committed to the highest scientific principles of accuracy and efficiency. dr. groves knows how the agency operates and what its employees need to successfully implement the dicennial census.
he is one of the most respected officials in his field. the combination of his experiences have prepared him well to lead the bureau at a time when rapid developments and changes are occurring. pass a manager, he elevated the university of michigan's -- as a manager, he elevated the university of michigan' michigas association of research to a premier organization, actually respected throughout the country and around the globe. numerous state agencies and policy-makers have sought his expertise in survey design and response. his work has received professional recognition through awards from various professional associations, including the 2001 american association for public opinion research innovator award and more recently the 2508 american statistical association julius shishkin award for originalal in and important contributions to the development of economic statistics.
ultimately his deep expertise in survey response will help the census bureau focus on the most important goal of the 2010 census, which is to encourage all people to respond to the census. dr. groves will undoubtedly face a host of operational and management challenges as we move closer to the 2010 census. however, i remain confident that he is well-equipped, remarkably well-equipped, to understand the agency's inner workings, to lead his staff -- he's led a large organization already, served at a senior level at the census before -- and to also be a spokesman for the agency's other equally important ongoing survey programs. it is for these reasons that i hope that the full senate will support his nomination and move it quickly. let me just reiterate.
we are now about eight months away from when the first forms go out as part of the start of the 2010 census. the bureau has already completed something we call "address canvassing," an operation in which 140,000 people on the ground nationwide are making sure the address slips we have to do the census are accurate. since the 2000 count, the population is estimated to have increased by over 40 million people. with the credit increased numbers of minorities and increased number of languages spoken. further complicating the 2010dicennial operation is the lack of cooperation in past years, most notably in the failure of field automatic data collection contracts, resulting in a last-minute decision to return to paper-based questionnaires, ultimately adding billions of dollars to the census budget and it is only going to get harder the longer the senate delays the
confirmation process. the reasoning why we don't have a census -- the reason why we don't have a census bureau director is not because we are don't have a qualified candidate; it's not because our subcommittee on homeland security and government affairs hasn't endorsed his candidacy; we've done so unanimously. we've endorsed him with a claim. we're just lucky, very fortunate in this country, to have at a time when we're about to meet our constitutional priority to count everybody, do it accurately and in a cost-effective way to have somebody with his gifts and talents to bring to the job. what we don't have is the permission to bring his name up for a vote here in the united states senate. and if we leave here today without having had the opportunity to vote up or down on the nomination of dr. groves,
we'll have made a very grave mistake. i understand there are republican friends that are uncomfortable, unhappy with the pace of the confirmation process for judge sotomayor, who's been nominated, as we know, to be associate justice on the u.s. supreme court. i voted for justice -- chief justice john roberts a couple of years ago. the timetable for approving his confirmation was almost the very same, from the day he was nominated by former president bush to the day we voted to confirm him here, almost the same number of days we're talking about with respect to the sotomayor nomination. the timetable on justice alito, almost the same, from the day he was nominated by president bush until the date that we voted here in the senate -- or at least the majority of our colleagues did -- almost the name number of days. i realize some of our colleagues are unhappy that we're providing
the same kind of timetable for judge sotomayor that we provided for justice alito and chief justice roberts. i for the life of me -- i don't see what the beef is. just as i feel that we're fortunate to have someone with dr. grove's credentials to serve as our census bureau, i think we're lucky to have someone with judge sotomayor's credentials to serve on the supreme court. i had the opportunity to meet with her. i know a number of my colleagues have, too. and i must say, among the things i most like and respect about her, she grew up from nothing. she was a kid broken in the bronx, raised in -- she was a kid born in the bronx, raised in the bronx, a very humble beginning. and she was -- she worked hard,
won herself a scholarship to princeton, went there, excelled, and later went off to law school at yale, two of the finest institutions we have in our country. after that she was a prosecutor for a number of years. beyond that, a corporate litigator, and finally nominated by a republican president, george herbert walker bush, to serve as a district court judge. by all -- by all observe,she did a superb job there -- by all observers, she did a superb job there. she was an exceptional judge. so good that a few years later when there was a vacancy on the circuit court of appeals in her district, democrat president bill clinton said, i think she out to got the nod. he nominated her for that position and she was confirmed by a wide margin. she has actually been through this process not once, but twice. she has gone on to serve, i
think, longer as a federal judge -- when you add together the district court time and circuit court of appeals time -- i think she served longer as a federal judge than anybody in the last 100 years who's been nominated to serve on the u.s. supreme court. i've read some of the comments that her colleagues have had to say about her, including colleagues that were also nominated by republican presidents. and they've been uniformly complimentary, very gracious in their remarks but very laudatory as well. so i would say to my republican colleagues, while you struggle to -- to get over the fact that we're going to set the same time line or try to set the same time line for the confirmation of judge sotomayor that we set for the nominations of -- of judges alito and john roberts, i -- i just don't understand the -- i don't understand the angst that you feel. i do know this, apparently
dr. grovis is being held up, his nomination is being held up with, i don't know, 20 or 30 other names, all of whom cleared committees, i think by wide margins, but we can't move forward on those nominations. some of them are maybe of not great consequence. the nomination of dr. droves is of great consequence. and if we have the opportunity later today in the course of business to actually consider a number of -- of nominations that are before the senate, that are awaiting our consideration, i would urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to allow the nomination dr. groves to be -- come here for a vote and to give us opportunity to vote him up or down. i'm sure that we'll vote him up and i'm equally sure that he will make us proud with the service that he'll provide as a director -- census bureau director for our country in the years ahead. with that having been said, madam president, i yield back my time, and i would note the absence of a quorum.