tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 20, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EDT
thank you for coming. >> the u.s. senate is about to gavel in for legislative business, general speeches for most of the day today, lawmakers will take a break between 12:30 and 2:15 eastern said democratic senators can attend the weekly party lunges at 5:30 eastern. vote set for judicial and executive nominations. now live to the senate floor on c-span2. senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. god of grace and glory, descend upon us today. make capitol hill a place that honors your name, as our lawmakers depend on your might and power to keep america strong. lord, help our senators to
remember that laudable progress comes not by might or power but through your spirit. give them the wisdom to seek your guidance for every critical decision, as you infuse them with the courage to obey your commands. as they seek to do what is best for america, be for them a shield and sure defense. may they ask the right questions as they labor to keep liberty's lamp. burn bright. we pray in your sacred name.
amen. the presiding officer: thank you, chaplain black. would everyone please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., may 20, 2014. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable cory booker, a senator from the state of new jersey, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to calendar number 92, s. 162, which is the franklin
offender treatment and crime reduction act. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to s. 162, a bill to reauthorization and improve the mentally ill treatment and crime reduction act of 2004. mr. reid: following my remarks and those of the republican leader if any, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 5:30 p.m. the time from 2:30 until 5:30 is equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. the senate will recess from 12:30 until 2:15 to allow for our weekly caucus meetings. at 5:30 there will be at least two roll call votes. confirmation of the costa nomination to be united states circuit judge and a cloture vote on the fischer nomination to be a member of the federal reserve board. mr. president, we hear a lot
every place and have for many, many years about the brown versus board of education kaeurbgs but what was that -- education case, but what was that all about? it was about a dad and mom who decided they could no longer go along. they had to take care of their seven-year-old girl, linda. in the 1950's this family lived in topeka, kansas, and the state was racially segregated. little black boys and girls went one place to school. little white boys and girls went someplace else. but it was clear that where the little black boys and girls went to school, schools weren't very good. where the little white boys and girls went, the schools were pretty good, certainly better than where the black boys and girls went. but a courageous father named
oliver brown was determined to give his little third grader, linda, a fair shot at a good education. these are long odds he took. mr. brown tried unsuccessfully to enroll his daughter linda in the neighborhood all-white elementary school. the school was close by, but the doors of that school were shut to little linda because she was an african-american, because of the color of her skin. it had nothing to do with her intellect. it had everything to do with the color of her skin. she was forced to walk -- a little seven-year-old girl, third grader -- to walk seven or eight blocks to a bus stop where she waited for a bus to take her to an all-black elementary school some distance away. rather than accept the status quo, the browns, and they got
some other neighbors to join them, they brought a civil case against the topeka school board challenging the school's district segregation policy. this case took a long time to work up to the united states supreme court, but it got there. this case is now commonly known as brown versus board of education. it was eventually argued before the united states supreme court. the plaintiffs were represented by the naacp, and a young lawyer by the name of thurgood marshall. i just finished a stunningly book about this man. it's called "devil in the grove." and anyone within the sound of my voice, i would recommend they read this book. it tells a lot about thurgood marshall and the struggles he went through, but it also talks about the south and what he had
to put up with. death threats, accommodations, he had to stay at other people's homes even though he would go to a courthouse and had to spend weeks in that town, he couldn't get a room nearby. he had to go live with an african-american family during that period of time. it's a good book. it talks how courageous the brown family would have to be to do what they did, to challenge the status quo. mr. president, in rendering the decision, the united states supreme court, not on a 5-4 decision, not in a 7-2 decision, but in a unanimous decision, the supreme court, under the leadership of chief justice earl warren unanimously held that a racially segregated public
school was inherently unequal, and they overturned, some say half a century, but they overturned what america had been for a long, long time. they changed it. mr. president, we all know it didn't change like that, but it's changed. i had the good fortune last night to get home fairly early, 7:00, and watched the news. every news show talked about the 60th anniversary of brown versus board of education, what occurred last saturday. and they interviewed everyone. and even though we have a long ways to go, everyone acknowledged that that decision changed america. the status quo of separate but equal in our nation's public schools was struck down. it was gone. not in a decision, i repeat, that was close, but unanimous. we need more of those. we need more collegiality in the supreme court.
not only here in the united states senate, but in the supreme court. because after that was struck down, little kids like linda brown were able to attend class with little white boys and girls. this past saturday marked the 60th anniversary of the supreme court's decision, brown versus board of education. mr. president, my children are not little kids anymore, but in nevada we had some, we had segregation. i can remember a man i served on the state legislature with. his name was woodrow wilson, african-american. and he told me about las vegas taking his children to a lunch counter. it was in a drugstore. they told him to leave. he couldn't eat there. that's las vegas. that's not mississippi.
so things, things changed in nevada. when my children were young, schools were not really segregated like i just described was going on in kansas, but they still had some issues. in nevada, all sixth graders, white kids, were bused to an african-american community to go to school for one year of their school career, but the rest of the time the black kids were bused. one year white kids were bused. the rest of the time black kids were bused. that's gone now. but it was handled differently. was that good, what took place
for my two oldest children? no. but it was better than it used to be. so, mr. president, after six decades, our nation still owes a debt to those few brave individuals who stood against racial segregation in american schools. and the lawyer there was a man by the name of thurgood marshall. i never had the pleasure and honor of meeting this man when he was on the supreme court, but, boy, what a stalwart he was. that book was so good. i again repeat it: "devil in the grove." it's focused mainly in florida and what went on in florida. what a bad situation there created by lots of people, but principally one sheriff. so, mr. president, the brown family, their fellow plaintiffs, legal teams, and nine supreme court justices all refused to let inequality go unchallenged.
for the olivers, it was difficult, it was scary, and it was courageous to pursue legal recourse in the face of insults, slanders and threats. but the brown family and their fellow plaintiffs stood firm in the face of opposition. their legal teams didn't waiver, by thurgood marshall, and the supporters had their backs from the beginning to the end. these parents could have given up. and i'm sure, mr. president, there are stories that are untold where parents did give up. but here the browns knew it was their responsibility to fight for justice. there was nothing given when they started this. in fact, the odds were stacked against them. so today along with my senate colleagues, i express my gratitude for the men, when many and children whose iconic efforts helped bring segregation it a screeching halt.
as i've said before today, our nation is still far from perfect. sadly, we still see racism rear its ugly head. we saw what happened in nevada very recently where a man said that african-americans were better off with slavery. some people, mr. president, still believe such things. but no one can dispute that we're better off because of brown vs. board of education. so it's my hope, mr. president, that we recognize and support those other children like little linda brown and doing our part to equally and fairly look at what's going on and do our part to defend equality and fairness
in our society. as we do that, we will complete the unfinished work of brown vs. board of education. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the following statement that i give appear in a separate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i want to briefly call attention to something i think is extremely important for our country and for the senate. last week we had all the police officers from nevada, new jersey. they came from all over the country to celebrate national police week, to express our appreciation for the crime-fighting men and women who protect our families every day. and they had an honor roll there of people who were killed in the line of duty as police officers in our country. while the rest of america
honored our nation's police officers, the united states senate failed to do its part in supporting law enforcement. mr. president, for months -- for months -- we've struggled to get nominations done. the chief law enforcement officer of our country is eric holder. he's the attorney general of the united states he has an awesome responsibility. yesterday we saw seven chinese military officers were indicted for hacking into different businesses to steal businesses. a day rarely goes by you don't see the justice department announce something they've done for the good of our country. a big bank was fined $200,000 yesterday for doing things that were criminally done in our
country, hiding money that people were putting into banks so they wouldn't have to pay taxes on them. the justice department is so important to the integrity of our nation. but, mr. president, we have about 140 nominations have been stalled by the republican obstruction. now we changed the rules here. we're getting our judicial nominations done. these good men and women who will serve a lifetime in their jobs, they were being blocked. and now we have a way of getting them done. but rather than live up to their responsibilities, the republicans are pouting, they're pouting, mr. president. they're saying, well, they changed the rules on getting these judges done, so they'r the agreed to nothing. i can remember, mr. president, i
was the whip here and i did stuff for senator daschle, who was the leader. and one evening by consent we did 70 nominations just like that, walked out here with a consent agreement and approved them. that's the way we always used to do it. until president obama was elected. and they have done everything they can to make it so this manns job is very difficult -- this man's job is very difficult. everyone can try to figure out why they've done it, but they've done it. they've opposed everything this good man has tried to do. now, right now we have -- if you can imagine this, we have three people who it's very important, who want to be u.s. attorneys, in hughes lewis an louisiana, cd
new mexico. they can't fulfill those responsibilities because they're being held up by the republicans. these are jobs that were never held up in the past. these are people for prosecuting crimes in the states of new mexico, louisiana, and connecticut, but they're being held up. why? no good reason. these are all good men and women. the u.s. attorneys are our nation's top prosecutors for drug trafficking, bank robbery, counterfeiting. all -- you know, when i practiced law, mr. president, it was kind of a joke, what are they trying to do, make a federal case out of it? yes. why do they say that? because federal cases are good cases. they're investigated by the f.b.i. and other agencies and they bring these cases to the u.s. attorney and they make a federal case out of it.
but they're not making federal cases out of those cases in new mexico, louisiana, and connecticut. everyone that's watching what i say today, that is a sham. the reason i mentioned the attorney general, we have two assistant attorney generals they're holding up, people who help -- eric holder called me yesterday and said, is there anything that can be done to help me? so, again, i'll have to file cloture on these. and here's how it works, everybody. i file cloture, we get cloture, they have 30 hours to stand around and do nothing. and when the 30 hours are up, we finally get a vote and on that
30 hours they get for a circuit court judge, supreme court justice, cabinet officers, for u.s. attorneys and assistant u.s. attorneys, they get eight hours, an arbitrary number. i don't plan on changing the rules today again, but how much longer can we put up with this? even law enforcement officers, mr. president -- even law enforcement officers, as i've indicated here, they're holding them up for no reason. you don't hear people coming down here giving speeches about what horrible people the president selected to be the u.s. attorney in connecticut, louisiana, and new mexico. not a word. they just hide behind their obstruction. i haven't mentioned, mr. president, we have about 40 ambassadors they've held up. these are not political appointments. these are career ambassadors who worked their whole lives to have one of these jobs where they represent our country. we have major countries where
they've held up ambassadors. 25% of all african countries, no ambassadors. peru and on and on with all the stuff that is being done, not for the betterment of our country. now, we have one of the assistant attorney generals is for the environment and natural resources division. that's kind of important. we have fires burning all over the west. a number of the fires are caused by malicious acts. is it right that we have all the degradation of our environment and there's nobody to enforce the law? i know the koch brothers, they don't want no environment protection. they say that. so maybe they're again -- it is the beck and call of the koch brothers who don't want any of
these environmental laws enforced. they should not be handcuffed by not having the people there to allow the attorney general to have help with what his responsibilities are. it's hard to fathom that the work of attorney general eric holder is being recklessly hampered by republican obstruction. it is easy for me to say, i call on my republican colleagues to stop it, but they haven't stopped it for five and a half years, and it is a shame. i would hope, mr. president, that they could at least give our nation's law enforcement all the tools they need to protect us. would the chair announce the business of the day? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership 250eu78 i -- time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 5:30 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each.
under the previous order -- a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the snrt from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i take this time to urge my colleagues to find a way to proceed with the expire act that senator wyden and senator hatch have worked on. i'm proud to be a member of the senate finance committee, where this legislation was passed by a unanimous vote in our committee. we had an extensive markup where members were offering numerous amendments. this deals with expiring tax provisions that if we don't take action, we will find that those who depend upon this tax policy remaining in effect, such as small business owners, students, people who use certain benefits,
some of our energy provisions, will find that that policy expires at the end of the year. and if that happens, what happens, quite frankly, is that it's already expired in some provisions, and if we don't extend it, there will be continued uncertainty in our tax code. so it also means that if we don't pass this bill, it effectively raises taxes on a large number of americans. it will affect those who ride our transit systems. it's already affecting those who ride our transit systems. so it's already having an impact because of the fact that we haven't taken timely action. we can't wait any longer on the passage of this bill. and i just really wanted to take this time to express my strong support for giving a fair shot to all americans that depend upon stable tax policy, and here we're finding our unaction is causing -- our inaction is
causing more uncertainty. and it affects job creation in our communities. so let me just give you a few examples. small business depends upon the passage of this bill. why do i say that? well, the research and development tax credit is very much at stake here. small businesses depend upon the help in the tax code to take risks, to invest in new innovation. more innovation occurs through small businesses than large businesses. more jobs had created through small businesses than large businesses. they need a tax code that's friendly for small business owners to accumulate capital, to take risks, to develop the next cure for a dread disease, the next technology that will help us deal with cybersecurity, and the list goes on and on and on. but without the extension of the research and development tax credit, it means small businesses will be put out of business.
we have a popular provision that allows small business owners to take off immediately the cost of their investments in their company. it is bipartisan. we've always thought that's a good idea. if you're a small business owner, you're trying to plan as to your next investment but you don't know what the tax policy is going to be, you're going to withhold. you're not going to make the plans to put in the next piece of equipment that perhaps makes you more efficient so you can hire more people, sell more product, create nor jobs. but if you don't -- create more jobs. but if you don't have the certainty in the tax code, you put off that decision, delaying the acquisition. maybe when you get back to it times are different and it's more challenging and you never go forward with that expansion. those jobs are lost forever. so literally the passage of this bill helps small business owners in being able to make decisions to expand opportunity and create nor jobs. -- and create more jobs. and that's at jeopardy if we don't move this bill forward. one of the provisions that i've
worked wit on with other members the "s" corporation. it allows thi them to pass throh their expenses avoiding the double taxation of a "c" corporation. there's been changes over time on how businesses operate and the -- we need to reform the "s" corporation provisions so that they're friendlier towards smaller businesses and give them more flexibility on the use of this structure. so these are provisions that we want t incorporated into the expire act that's on the floor. let me mention one other provision that i think is very important in new jersey, in maryland, and all of our states, and that is we have yet to recover fully from the housing crisis. we still have too many people in maryland -- understand ai -- ane presiding officer would agree,
in new jersey -- where they're still losing their homes because they're in foreclose. it's in everyone's interest to real estate adjust the numbers so that it -- readjust the numbers so that the people can stay in their house. it is less costly for the mortgage holder. we we structure the loan. we've had a policy in place that said restructuring of loans with loan forgiveness does not trigger a taxable event. that makes sense. everybody agrees on that. we've got to extend that policy because it is still needed today. we still need to make that connection between homeowners and the mortgage holders to adjust mortgages where it is appropriate, to avoid foreclose, to keep neighborhoods more stable, to help individual families, and by the way, to also help the banking institutions because they'll lose less money if they have a person paying their mortgage on time. that policy is at stake if we do not pass the expire act.
a couple other issues that i have been working on personally -- this one is going to be very important to the presiding officer -- we had a policy in place that provided parity between those who use transit to get to work and those who use parking space spaces. that expired. those that help our energy policy in this country by using transit rather than driving a car, help those who drive a car by having less cars on the roads so that they can get into their work a little bit easier and help our environment by taking cars off the road, that they receive a comparable tax break as those who drive their cars to work. that's another provision that is critically important in this expire act and another reason why we have to get this done p. the low-income housing tax credit. we've worked on this -- this is the most important tool we have
for affordable housing. the number-one tool today. senator cantwell and others have worked together to try to make it more effective with certain in regards to guarantee a certain amount of help to different communities. we exthat end policy in this expire act so we again are able to maintain the existing tools that we have today to help provide affordable housing by partnerships with the private sector. this is jobs. this is the private sector being incentivized to construct affordable how's not guiltaffore community, privately owned with the government as a partner. it's more cost-effective to the taxpayer and provides a greater stock of affordable housing. that policy is in jeopardy if we cannot pass the underlying bill here. a section that i've worked on with many of my colleagues is the extension of the 179-d which deals with energy efficiency. we all talk about incentives so that when you build a building, you make it energy efficient.
it's -- it's -- it's good policy for our energy, for our environment. we all know it makes us less dependent upon foreign sources of energy. all of the above. and this energy credit has been very, very effective in getting businesses and getting institutions to incorporate energy efficiency when they construct their buildings. so we want to extend that policy, absolutely, and i'm proud of the role that many of us have played in that area to get this extended, but we also want to improve it. and one of the provisions that's improved in the underlying bill is to help nonprofits be able to take advantage of the 179-d credit. because it makes no difference whether it's a commercial venture or a nonprofit venture, we should be friendly to all from the point of view of being able to make buildings more energy efficient. that's what is incorporated under the underlying bill. i must tell you, mr. president, i hope that we'll have opportunities to offer some amendments and if we do, i would
hope that we could expand that to retrofitting building. it's not just new construction but we should also be dealing with older buildings from the point of view of giving incentives for retrofitting and saving energy, saving costs, making this country more efficient and creating more jobs and, by the way, also helping our environment. all that can be done in the ex-- and the expire bill helps us move forward on all those issu issues. a provision i worked on with senator schumer is section 181, deals with film expensing rules. this is very important because film making, whether it's for the theater or for tv, is global competition. this is no longer just whether it's going to be done in your state or my state. it's whether it's going to be done in america or whether it's going to be done in another country. we have certain provisions in the code to make it easier for companies located in our states. i'm proud of the preliminary making industry in maryland. -- of the film making industry
in maryland. it's very important to our economy. literally hundreds of jobs depend upon this every week literally. and we have new companies coming in, extending this credit will help us in this regard and that's in the underlying bill. a provision i worked with, with sort portman, the work opportunity tax credit -- with senator portman, the work opportunity tax credit, this is a credit we give to employers to hire very difficult-to-hire individuals. and it's been very successful giving people who would otherwise not be employed, getting them jobs. they're taking a risk factor and they get compensated for it because it's a more vulnerable group of workers. senator portman and i expand that to long-term unemployed. long-term unemployed are -- when an employer is looking for someone to hire, they don't normally go to the long-term unemployed list. this will allow us to deal with, takes the pressure off of the unemployment insurance system
and again provides incentives for job growth and help us. that's in this bill. mr. president, i could go on and on and on. there are literally dozens and dozens of similar provisions that are extended and improve improved -- extended and improved -- by the underlying bill. that's what the finance committee did under senator wyden and senator hatch's leadership. we looked at all these provisions and said, which ones should we extend, which ones should we modify. and the next thing we want to do is make permanent decisions. we know the uncertainty's not healthy. we know that we've got to make permanent decisions on which credits are going to be there, which ones are not. we want a level playing field as far as the tax code is concern concerned. but you can't get there unless this bill is first passed. this gives us the two-year window in order to pass tax reform. it's called "expire" for a reason, because we don't want to see temporary provisions in the tax code. we think we should make permanent judgment and this bill gives us the chance to do that. so it will help us from the
point of view more predictable tax policy. it will help us create jobs, there's no question about it. it does help small businesses. they're the ones that are most at risk by our failure to act, the uncertainty and the timing of this affects small businesses more. it would increase the tax burden based upon current policy of companies in this country and individuals. it's not only businesses, individuals' tax burdens will go up if we don't pass this bill. this is not the time that any of this should be done. it makes abundant sense for us to move this bill forward. so let's find the way to do it. i must tell you, traditionally tax bills come out of the finance committee are not open -- are not an open process for amendments. i understand that. i think most of my colleagues understand that. so let's use reason to figure out a path forward so at the end of the day we can pass this most important legislation and help our economy grow. mr. president, i would suggest
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: i'd like to spend a few minutes to speak about harvard law professor david barron's nomination to the first circuit. i would do this by addressing some aspects of professor barron's record that i find particularly troubling, and at the end of the day i believe his record reveals a nominee who simply doesn't belong on the federal bench. i also would update my colleagues on the administration's ongoing efforts to withhold material that is relevant to this nominee from the american public as well as it appears from the senate.
unfortunately the white house refuses to confirm it provided the senate with all barron related drone materials. as i stated two weeks ago, every senator should be provided access to any and all barron memos related to the drone issue. but before i turn to barron's drone materials, i would discuss with my colleagues some of the other problematic aspects of this nominee's record. i reviewed the record. it's a record of legal reasoning and policy positions that are far outside the mainstream of legal thought. professor barron's record is even outside the mainstream of typically left-wing legal thought that we see in so many of our law schools.
it's a record that reveals professor barron's judicial philosophy. and while that judicial philosophy may be appropriate for the ivory towers of academia, it has no place on a federal appellate court. and it's also a record that reveals professor barron's embrace of an approach to judging that is flatly inconsistent with what federal judges are called upon to do under their constitutional responsibilities. professor barron has been very candid about his view on the role of the federal courts in our nation. so from that standpoint, he's intellectually honest it's fair to say that he appears to view the federal judiciary as a political branch of our
government, not the judicial branch, interpreting law instead of making law. so let me recount some of the evidence that leads me to this conclusion. professor barron has written that the courts are -- quote -- "significant wielder of power for progressive potential." end of quote. what he appears to mean is that the courts should be used as an instrument to impose progressive policies on the american people, a role that's generally reserved to the legislative branch of government. these are, of course, policies that liberals couldn't otherwise impose through legislation because they are so far outside the political mainstream. professor barron also appears to believe that progressives should
mask their motives. he has written that candor and clarity have potential to -- quote -- "obstruct progressive decision-making and that candor, clarity, and activism cannot coexist." if that's what he believes, he's interwhraeblgt honest -- he's intellectually honest. his solution to this problem, if you should use candor and clarity is -- quote -- "candor and clarity seem a preferable choice for sacrifice to all important progressive decision-making." end of quote. i'd like my colleagues to stop and think about whether that kind of thinking is compatible with the role of a federal judge. it's surely compatible with being a legislator, but not
being a judge. so i think the answer is quite simply it is not. because judges are called upon to decide cases based upon laws applied to the facts. or consider this quote from the professor. quote -- "principle frankness has its place but it need not always lie between the covers of the u.s. reports." end of quote. now let that sink in for a moment. the u.s. reports that he's referring to of course are the volumes containing the reported opinions of the u.s. supreme court. so when you consider this statement together with his view that candor and clarity have the potential to -- quote unquote -- obstruct progressive
decision-making, it then becomes very clear he believes that liberal judges should hide their true intent. now that's an astounding proposition. it is unthinkable that someone who holds such a single view of the judiciary could obtain a lifetime appointment to one of the nation's highest courts. what more assurance could my colleagues have that the professor views the federal judiciary merely as a tool of liberal policy making? consider another statement. the professor has suggested that -- quote -- "principled judicial interpretation may obstruct democratic constitutional politics." end of quote. now that could be true. he could be intellectually honest, but is that the sort of person that should be judging instead of legislating?
comments like these make it clear to me that this nominee has whatever it takes judicial philosophy. he will e aggressively will do whatever it takes to reach his desired progressive policy outcomes. are any of my colleagues ready to vote for a judicial nominee who has hinted that principled judicial interpretation might occasionally need to take a back seat to judicial interpretation. it is a body like the united states senate where political considerations rule according to what our constituents tell us but that's not something a judge takes into consideration. the professor is an unabashed advocate of what he calls -- quote unquote -- progressive federalism. according to professor barron,
the purpose of progressive federalism is to -- quote -- "promote national and local relations consistent with a broader liberal political vision." end of quote. now, legislators are supposed to have political vision. judges are supposed to judge and not have political vision because they don't run for office. so is that the type of individual we want on the federal bench? he's added that -- quote -- "federalism is what we progressives make of it. rehnquist and his conservative colleagues have been making the most of it for more than a decade. it's time for progressives to do the same." end of quote. that's a pretty explicit example
of his judicial philosophy. that philosophy is that the courts are an instrument of leftist policy making. he sees the courts as basically a third political branch. that view of the federal judiciary is totally incompatible with the limited role the constitution assigns to the courts. so it should be clear to all senators that if he is confirmed, the professor would bring an extreme progressive political agenda with him to the first circuit. political agendas belong in the united states senate, not in the first circuit. his academic work gives us some indication of the kind of judge he would be. i'd note that we had a hearing last week where some of my colleagues on our judiciary
committee expressed their frustration about the nomination process. they remarked that every nominee comes before our committee dutifully promises tha*el that he or she -- that he or she will objectively and dispassionately apply the law to the facts and respect precedent. but my democratic colleagues claim after being confirmed, some nominees do not simply call the balls and the strikes. well, let me assure my colleagues that we don't need to guess at what kind of judge the professor would be. it's not a mystery. he makes no secret of it, that he would be willing to call the balls and the strikes as opposed to being an umpire. let's take another look at his academic work. it's clear that the professor wouldn't be bound by the law when deciding cases. he admitted as much.
the professor is an outcome-oriented legal thinker. he'll select his desired progressive results and then find a way to get there. as i said, i.t it's "whatever it takes" judicial philosophy. here's what he said about precedent and the doctrine of stare decisis. quote -- "any good lawyer knows how to distinguish a precedent, if you need to." end of quote. you see, in the professor's world view, precedent is just an inconvenient obstacle that can be easily dismissed on the road to his preferred outcome. can any of us doubt that, as a judge, the professor would cleverly choose the precedents that he agrees with and ignore those that he disagrees with?
let me give you some more evidence. now, he lost a case before the supreme court 9-0. in other words, a unanimous vote against legal arguments that the professor advocated. he told the press that the supreme court got it wrong and that his brief was right after all. now, imagine that, a person arguing before the supreme court -- be it the best professor in the world -- being voted down 9-0 and saying the supreme court got it wrong because, in the professor's judgment, every member of the supreme court got it wrong but not a professor nominee. how does his statement suggest
that we can expect from him when it comes to his respect for legal precedents? i don't think we can expect much. we can't expect him to follow legal precedent, because he disagrees with the supreme court even after they disagree with him 9-0. there's more evidence that professotheprofessor wouldn't bd by the law in reaching the right outcome in a case. he has written that judicial statute making is awfully cramped and technical because it doesn't reflect a broader legal culture. end of quote. now, get back to basics. i thought the role of the judge was to apply the law, not to go fishing around for the -- quote,
unquote -- "broader legal culture" until you find support for the result that you want. so i think we can be very clear. i don't expect president obama to nominate conservatives to the federathefederal bench. when it president was elected, i didn't expect a crop of young scalias and thomass and alitos would be filling vacancies in our courts. judicial nominees are a presidential prerogative. and i voted for many of this president's judicial nominees who don't share my views on constitutional interpretation or federalism or the first amendment. i voted for them because they were accomplished judges and lawyers who i believed could put their personal preferences aside once they took to the bench, and i would expect them -- and did
expect them when i voted for them -- to objectively rule based upon the law. or, if i wasn't absolutely sure, i was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. however, given the statements from this nominee's body of work that i've recounted today as well as others, i can't understand how any of my colleagues could think the same thing about this nominee. in fact, i don't believe that i've seen a nominee who has been more candid about his or her desire to use the courts as an instrument of political ideology than this professor. this nominee's views are fundamentally incompatible with the limited constitutional role of the federal courts, and here i want to go back to the people that wrote the constitution and
tell you what they really had in mind about the courts. in federalist paper "no number , alexander hamilton referred to the judicial branch of government as the least dangerous branch. that was because in the constitutional vision of our founders, the courts would have -- quote -- "neither force nor will but merely judgment." and i think that you can read what the professor writes and says that he believes that the judges ought to have force and will to make political ideology as important as fact and law. the professor's judicial philosophy turns that vision on its head. his record reveals a judicial philosophy that says that
progressive policy ends, justifies the legal means to get there. it's a judicial philosophy in which will trumps judgment. i don't share those views, and i can't vote for this nominee or a nominee who does. now, i'd like to take a few minutes to update my colleagues on another aspect of this nominee, and that deals with the professor's drone materials. and the white house's apparent refusal to provide this body with every one of the barone-related materials. two weeks ago i came to the floor calling on the obama administration to release any
and all office of legal counsel materials on the drone program that were written by or related to the professor. i also called upon the administration to comply with the second circuit's opinion just last april ordering the department of justice to release a copy of the 41-page droning mem--41-page drone memo in redad form. we know this particular memo provides the arguments for targeted killing of american citizens overseas. yet the administration refuses to comply with the court order of the second circuit to make the arguments public, albeit in redacted form, and i haven't
heard any indication that the administration intends to do that. not only that, but the white house refuses to tell us whether they've made available to the full senate all of the professor's related drone materials. since 2010, the press has reported that the professor wrote at least two memos that justify the obama administration's droning -- drone policies while he was at the office of legal counsels. and the second argument said that there were at least two and as many as three memos on the administration's drone policy. that much is very clear. what isn't clear is the scope of the professor's writings on the legality of the administration's
drone program. we don't know this because the administration continues to ignore the bipartisan demands of members of the senate to make available all of these drone memos, particularly the ones written by the professor. we don't know how many of the drone memos exist because this administration refuses to even confirm whether they've provided all the drone memos to the full senate. these materials are of crucial importance to the full senate's consideration of this nominee, so i would recount for my colleagues what has happened thus far. on may 12, white house press secretary jay carney said that a single drone memo, what carney
referred to as "the al allah key memo" was referred to the senate. but he repeatedly dodged the question about how many drone memos exist. here's what mr. quarn kne -- wht mr. carney said. question -- how many of them are there? mr. carney answered, "what i can tell you is a couple of things. first, on the senator paul op-ed in which he does call for the memos to be made available to the senator, we have made the memo available. the memo in question available before the vote." end of quote. again, the white house is dodging and just addressing one memo. and so mr. carney was asked a second time at the news
conference. the questioner said, how many memos are there? how many memos in which he -- meaning the professor -- was the principal yo author outlining te legal case? mr. carney answers, "there was one memo in question that i have referred to, and that has been made available to senators." end of that answer. so the questioner came back, "are there others?" mr. carney, the press secretary, answers, "are there other memos that he" -- meaning the professor -- "drafted? i don't know." end of answer. "i don't know how many memos exist." that's as good as the white house can do. now, when there's this high
level of discussion about how many memos exist, surely there's people scrambling around the white house to have an answer to it, even if they don't want to give the answer. it is quite obvious that they don't want to -- they want to know what's going on themselves. but you still get the answer, "i don't know how many memos there are." that's the best answer that we can get from the white house, after weeks of bipartisan requests from senators to provide a full senate -- the full senate with any and all of the professor's drone materials. "i don't know" is simply not an acceptable response from the white house. again, the white house seems to imply that it's provided all of the professor's related memos on the drone program, but the fact of the matter is that they will
not confirm that. unfortunately, it appears many democrats as well as members of the media have fallen for this ruse. the second circuit mentioned at least three memos that were responsive to "the new york times" freedom of information act request for materials on killing americans abroad, soy w- so we know that there are multiple drone memos. that's a matter of public record. has anyone in this administration bothered to read the second circuit's opinion? we know that there are multiple memos on the drone program, as many as 11, and, as "the new york times" has reported since 2010, there are at least two drone memos that this nominee has written.
but there may be more. the best we've gotten so far is, "i don't know." now, on may 14, the white house changed its tune just slightly. another white house spokesperson told the press that the white house said it had provided all of the professor's drone materials related to -- quote, unquote -- "u.s. citizens." but again, the white house hasn't said whether there are additional materials that the professor wrote on the drone program. it's not at all clear to me why this administration thinks it has done its duty to provide the full senate with materials that are crucial to our consideration of this nominee's fitness for a lifetime appointment, particularly considering the fact that the white house should make at least that one memo
available to the public. it's kind of like when president jackson didn't like what john marshall ruled in a particular case. the chief justice rule let him enforce it. so are we going to have that respect for the circuit court opinion that said the white house ought to release to the public this decision? is that the oath the president of the united states took to uphold the constitution? why does this administration think that any senator would vote on a judicial nomination without having reviewed the nominee's work on such an important topic? moreover, as i mentioned two weeks ago, the freedom of information act litigation in the second circuit is still ongoing. whatever responsive memos that the administration hasn't yet released may become public in
the future. again, are my colleagues ready to vote on this nomination without having reviewed all relevant writings of the nominee? are my colleagues ready to shrug their holders and express the white house press secretary's statement when he says, "i don't know how many memos there are"? are my colleagues respected to face their constituents and explain that they didn't bother to track down this controversial nominee's complete record on this topic before they voted? the constitution requires every senator to provide advice and consent on a nominee. we cannot satisfy that obligation if this administration continues to withhold the professor's writings. at the very least, the white house should say definitively
that no additional related drone materials exist. what are they hiding? the second circuit says that the professor is the author of the memo that sets forth the legal framework used to justify killing americans overseas. what else has he written that the administration refuses to release to the full senate? the members of this body will never know until the administration ends the obstruction and provides access to each and every one of the memos on drones that this professor has written. and again, the administration should comply with the second circuit's order requiring them to make the office of legal counsel's opinion public, even if it's with redactions.
why the rush to have this vote before the public gets to read the legal reasoning? i don't know. why is the other side so afraid of waiting to vote until their constituents read this nominee's legal rationale for the targeted killings of american citizens? i don't know. it's time for the white house and the administration to stop playing games regarding how many of the professor's memos there are. it's time for the white house to stop hiding in th hiding from te materials that they've been ordered to disclose, been ordered by the court to disclose. i'll vote against this nominee and i urge my colleagues to do the same. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
mrs. boxer: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from california. mrs. boxer: mr. president, under the order, i would ask that i have up to 20 minutes to address the senate. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: thank you. mr. president, i rise today to urge senator reid to say a very clear "no" to the request by 37 republicans that we create a new senate select committee on benghazi. i was really astounded to see 37 republicans, many of whom have worked on this issue with me and senator menendez on the foreign
relations committee, just essentially make this request at a time when we have so much information already on benghazi and to spend the funds for this separate committee in addition to the one that the house has set up, to me it doesn't make any sense unless -- unless you believe, as i do, that this is all a political witch hunt. the attacks of september 11, 2012, in benghazi that took the lives of four americans, including ambassador chris stevens, that was a tragedy. after such a tragedy, we should all come together to make certain that something like this never happens again. but we shouldn't play politics. instead of focusing on how we prevent future attacks against u.s. personnel overseas, instead
of agreeing, as they've had an opportunity to do, to add more funding for diplomatic posts to protect our people, the republicans want to turn the benghazi, libya, tragedy into a scandal. and let me tell you what i think is scandalous. the way they are handling this issue is a scandal, and the american people are smart. and i've seen recent polls. they get it. more than 60% -- and i'll go back and look again -- say it's all about politics. it's not about anything else. now, i want to explain to the american people what we have done about this tragedy here. over the last 20 months, these attacks have received unprecedented scrutiny.
and i have a chart that i want to share that explains it. mr. president, we have had nine house and senate committee investigations on benghazi. we have had 17 hearings conducted. we have had 50 -- five oh -- briefings held. we have had 25 interviews conducted, eight subpoenas issues, 25,000 pages of documents reviewed, 25,000 pages of documents reviewed. and six reports released. and all of these little boxes, mr. president, that are represented here shows the various hearings, the various committees, the various briefings, the various documents. you look at this chart and you
realize, this is unprecedented. nine different house and senate committees have investigated the attacks. 17 hearings have been conducted. 50 briefings have taken place, 25 transscribed interviews ducted, eight subpoenas issues, more than 25,000 pages of documents have been reviewed and six congressional reports have been released. now, i've gone over this a couple of times this morning because i want to make sure the record reflects all of this accurately. now, in case that doesn't do enough, mr. president, to convince the people of this country what a witch-hunt the republicans are on, i want to show you just a partial viewing of the materials. if you'd excuse me while i bend down.
that's just one. all of these binders are filled filled, filled, with all the information that came out of these reports. so before people just get up here and say, oh, we need more information, how about reading what we already have? stacks and stacks of information. in here lies the reports and the testimony congress has already heard over the last 20 months. but my republican friends would have you believe none of this happened. none of this happened. they're not satisfied with exhaustive reviews. by the way, much of which were conducted by house republican
committee chairs. they walk away from their own work because they're playing politics. they should be proud of the work they did. but this isn't about that. it's about playing politics. it's about hurting people. hurting people. benghazi was a tragedy. we lost four beautiful, patriotic americans. don't turn it into a scandal. now, over in the house i guess this wasn't enough for them. i'll take these down now. this wasn't enough for them. nine committees, 17 hearings, 50 briefings, 25 interviews, eight subpoenas, 25,000 pages
of documents, six reports. not enough for them. the house set up a new select committee. and, again, 37 of my friends here, republican friends, they want their own select committee. that's right, two new committees to investigate what has been investigated, investigated, investigated. you don't need a degree in political science to know what a political witch-hunt looks like. all you need is to look at this, and you understand. this is a campaign tactic by my republican colleagues to gin up their base ahead of the midterm election and, by the way, look ahead to 2016 where they are filled with anxiety at the
thought that the former secretary of state, hirk, may -- hillary clinton, may be the democratic nominee. this is a campaign tactic. this call for these committees. we know that republicans have been actively fundraising off this tragedy. that's right, fundraising off this tragedy. and when speaker boehner was asked about it, all he did was waltz away from the question. i watched that interview. it was painful. they said aren't you going to stop the fundraising? and he said we're just interested in the facts. and they said aren't you going to stop this fundraising? we're just interested in the facts. answer the question. and we knowates political witch-hunt because before he was minding his p's and q's, the house select committee chairman
suggested the administration should be -- quote -- "put on trial over benghazi. put on trial. we also know the house g.o.p. refused house minority leader nancy pelosi's offer to put an equal number of democrats and republicans on the panel. oh, no. because it's a political witch-hunt, and they want total control over that committee. now, here's one thing i know, the select committee won'ting investigating over there, and that is the budget cuts that house republicans made to security at our embassies, add our consulates, at our diplomatic posts around the world, cuts that republicans actually boasted about making. and here in the senate we've tried to get through an embassy security bill by unanimous consent, and they objected. i don't know how many times. a couple of times.
so you're not going to see an investigation into why the republicans thought it was wise to cut spending on embassy security, oh, no, they won't look at that. do you know that one of the colleagues -- one of the congressmen over there was asked by cnn whether the g.o.p. cut embassy security because a reporter was incredulous and this congressman said -- quote -- "absolutely. look, we have to make priorities and choices. you have to prioritize things." so clearly this particular member of congress was proud that they cut embassy security. but believe me, they're not going to be investigating that in their investigative committee. i'll tell you what else they're not going to investigate, mr. president. they're not going to investigate
the tragedy and the scandal of more than 4,000 americans killed in the iraq war based on phony intelligence, 4,000 americans dead based on phony intelligence. i never heard one call for a select committee to find out why that happened. and that ignores the tens of thousands of wounded with posttraumatic stress and all the problems we know are happening. and here's something else they won't tell you -- between 1998 and 2013, there were at least 501 significant attacks against u.s. diplomatic facilities and personnel in 70 countries resulting in the deaths of 586 people, including 67 americans. during the bush administration, there were 166 attacks which killed 116 people including 18 americans. all of these attacks were
terrible tragedies, but not one of them was exploited for political gain. why would we exploit a tragedy where an american got killed for political gain? we could have done it. you know, i was serving in the house back in 1983. i know that's probably before -- close to when you were born, mr. president. i was serving in the house in 1983, when a truck bomb exploded outside the marine barracks in bear recruit, lebanon -- barrett, lebanon lebanon -- beirut, lebanon. it tame just after 117 americans were killed in the bombing at the embassy in beirut. let me tell you how that was handled by then-speaker tip o'neill when ronald reagan was president. tip o'neill conducted real
oversight with the two parties working closely together. within two months, the house stepped forward, democrats, republicans, produced a report that criticized the lax security around the barracks and called for new measures to keep our brave military men and women safe. that's the way we should handle these things. not a kangaroo court, not a political witch-hunt, not a partisan investigation. let's face it, this is politics. if they're about discrediting the obama administration and former secretary of state hillary clinton. i repeat, never in history to my knowledge -- and i've gone back and back -- has any political party done what they are doing on benghazi.
and this disinformation, they say, well, the president kept saying it was because of the movie that was produced. the president stepped forward and his first comments said the attacks were an act of terror, his quotes. you never hear that from -- he called it an act of terror. and i'll tell you what else they forget to mention. that secretary clinton was the first person to convene an independent investigation of the attacks. let me reiterate. the very first person to call for an independent investigation of the attacks in benghazi was secretary hillary clinton. now, the independent investigation was nonpartisan. it was called an investigation by the accountability review board, it was chaired by
ambassador thomas pickering and admiral michael mullen. now, talk about a nonpartisan team. i can attest to the fact they are. i'm privileged to sit on the foreign relations committee, i'm the most senior member there and i will tell you these two gentlemen came forward and delivered their report. they talked very openly and honestly about the systemic problems that undermine security in benghazi, and guess what happened after that report -- secretary clinton and the state department quickly accepted all 29 of those recommendations and put them into place. first secretary clinton and now secretary kerry. so let me say this again. there's this call for this political witch-hunt because they want to hurt hillary clinton, and hillary clinton
was the first person to call for an independent investigation that made 29 recommendations that she started to put in place and secretary kerry is completing that task. unbelievable. but you won't hear that from my republican friends. they want to make benghazi into a scandal, and they're the scandal. that's the scandal. playing politics with a tragedy. that's the scandal. now, the senate intelligence committee produced a bipartisan report based on dozens of committee hearings, briefings and interviews. that's in here, too. and highlighted the need to better response to security threats against our diplomatic posts and personnel around the world. so instead of going over all these reports -- i showed you how many there are and this chart shows you -- in a very
clear way how many investigations, instead of focusing on protecting americans serving abroad by carrying out the recommendations of these reports, my colleagues be obsessing over talking points prepared for a sunday tv show. now, let me tell you there is nothing in the thousands of documents released that even remotely suggests an attempt to cover up what happened in benghazi. as i said, the president said it was a terror attack, hillary clinton launched the investigation, the investigation made 29 recommendations. this new select committee request is a sham. ates kangaroo court. it's a waste of taxpayer dollars. if senate republicans really want to help protect the men and women who bravely serve our
country overseas, they would stop objecting to our request to take up our bipartisan embassy security bill. the senate foreign relations committee passed s. 1386 -- guess who it's named after -- chris stevens, tyrone woods and sean dougherty, it's called the stevens-woods-smith embassy threat mitigation and personnel protection act. it was passed in december of last year. it was authored by senators menendez and corker, and i thank them for that. this bill will authorize funding for key measures recommended by the accountability review board, including security upgrades at our embassies, consulates and other diplomatic posts, especially high-risk posts. it also authorizes new funding for security training, including language training for
high-threat security environments, and it would direct the secretary of state to expand the marine corps security guard detachment program to help protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel. why do the republicans keep objecting to this bill? you cannot with a straight face tell me you really care about our foreign personnel when you stand in the way of s. 1386, a bill to provide for enhanced security, a bill that was bipartisan, a bill that came out of the committee on which i serve foreign relations. so, mr. president, i hope other colleagues will come down here and talk about this sham. we have got so much to do. we need to grieve for the families. yes, the four americans and their loss is deep, very deep. but to turn that into some
investigation, some witch-hunt is not the right thing to do. for their memories. the right thing to do for their memories is to pass this embassy security bill. you know, i don't know how to say it, but it does cost money to make upgrades to your home, to your buildings. we are here in the capitol. we protect and upgrade these beautiful buildings because they are history. we have got to upgrade our buildings. that doesn't come free. it does cost money. and yet, house republicans were bragging that they cut embassy security. so i'm going to talk about this a lot because i care so deeply about making sure that our personnel are safe all over the world, and until they allow this bill to go through, i just really question the deep
concerns that are being expressed by my republican friends. oh, they need yet another committee to get to the bottom of benghazi. we know what happened. it was a terror attack on a facility that needed more protection. okay? and how do we make sure that doesn't happen again? we have had more than 500 attacks, major attacks on our facilities since 1998, between release and 2011 -- between 8:00 and 2011 -- 1998 and 2011, terror attacks. never has anyone of any party tried to play politics with it. and the reason i am so, shall we say, upset with it is because it's the wrong way to move forward. people look at us and they wonder if we can get anything done. i'm so proud. i have a very important water resources bill coming up.
we have worked so well together across the aisle. we did a provide bill. we worked so well across the aisle. why don't we do what we did when tip o'neill was speaker and work well across the aisle on foreign policy? when i was coming up, foreign policy basically stopped at the water's edge. we respected the president, whoever it may be, republican, democratic. and if we can a critique, we expressed it but we did it in a way that was, if i could just say, less partisan, less partisan. so i will leave you with the image of this chart, and just this chart says it all. we have investigated this, we have looked at it, we have conducted hearings and briefings and interviews and issued subpoenas and read documents,
issued supports. we don't need to spend money on another cheat because someone is afraid of hillary clinton's candidacy. just deal with it. okay? don't try to revise history. she was the first person to call for an independent investigation and begin to put the pieces into play that would in fact make sure this didn't happen again. and don't say you care about embassy security when you stand up and oppose a bipartisan bill that would make sure we make the requisite improvements to our facilities. and so i hope that harry reid, our leader, will not say yes to a committee that is nothing but a political witch-hunt, and i will continue to come down to the floor to discuss this issue, to debate this issue if it is necessary to do so.
mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: mr. president, i have ten unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have got the approval of the majority and the minority leaders, and i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to, these requests be printed into the record. the presiding officer: without objection.
mr. thune: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. the senator from south dakota, excuse me. mr. thune: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, there were two new polls that were
released this week, one from gallup and one from politico. both polls asked americans what concerns them the most, and both polls got the same answer -- the economy, jobs and health care. mr. president, that response isn't too surprising. unemployment is high. in fact, there are 3.5 million americans who have been unemployed for six months or longer, and last month, more than 800,000 americans gave up hope of finding work and dropped out of the labor force entirely. the economy barely grew at all last quarter, .1%. household income is down by $3,500 since the president took office. and 6.7 million americans have fallen into poverty since 2008. meanwhile, the price of everything from gas to college to health care keeps going up. it's no wonder americans list jobs and the economy as two of
the concerns -- two of the issues, i rather should say, that concern them the most, and it's not surprising that americans' other top concern is health care, because over the past four years, the president and his team have taken an imperfect health care system and made it much, much worse. thanks to obamacare, millions of americans have lost their health care plans, plans which in many cases they liked and wanted to keep. many of the eight million exchange signups the president likes to brag about were actually people who forced into the exchanges after their health care plans were canceled. in fact, according to a recent mckinsey survey survey, only a quarter of the people who signed up on the exchanged were -- exchanges were previously uninsured. in addition to losing their plans, millions of americans have seen their costs increase. family health premiums which the president claimed would fall by $2,500 under his health care law have actually risen by $3,671,
and they are still going up, no end in sight. mr. president, i'd like to read just a few of the headlines from last week. this is from the fiscal times. it says big increases in obamacare premiums and deductibles coming in november. from "forbes" -- "first obamacare premium notices for 2015 show double-digit increases. from the "los angeles times," employer health costs to rise nearly 9% this year, survey finds. from "investors business daily," obamacare deductibles rise to $6,600 by 2015. and from the associated press, cost-controlled plan for health care could cost you. there are more, mr. president, but you get the idea. prices aren't on their way down. they are, in fact, on their way up. then, of course, there is the president's if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep
your doctor promise. as too many americans have found out, that was another promise destined to be broken. over the past four years, americans have not only discovered that in many cases they will no longer be able to see the doctors they have been seeing for years, they have also discovered that their choice of a replacement is limited. "the new york times" reported last week, and i quote -- "in the midst of all the turmoil and health care these days, one thing is becoming clear. no matter what kind of health plan consumers choose, they will find fewer doctors and hospitals in their network or pay much more for the privilege of going to any provider they want, end quote. that's from the "new york times." one quote in that article struck me particularly was something marcus murze, told "the new york times." this is the quote from "the new york times" story. "we have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has. we're all trying to break away
from this fixation on open access and broad networks." end quote. now, let me just repeat that, mr. president, to get the full context of what he's saying here. "we have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has." is this really what we wanted out of health care reform? wasn't that one of the good things about our health care system, the fact that people were able to, by and large, go to the doctor that they chose? that people could look around for the best doctor in a particular field or find a doctor that they felt comfortable with? do we really want a health care future where americans don't have a choice about the doctor that they see? and limited choice doesn't just mean that americans may not be able to find a doctor they like. it also means that americans may not be able to go to the doctor that they need