tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN August 15, 2018 11:59am-12:39pm EDT
and wanted to see the secretary of state jump in and not allow that to happen because they know about that sort of thing. of the 19 bernard from chicago. >> caller: good morning. i want to point out, i have been in the va system since 1995 and what i don't understand is why can't somebody walk into a hospital and find out why the care is so excellent? i have been in five different clinics, different ones at different times and it is amazing how they seem to have the answer before you even ask. excellent care. >> host: thank you. >> guest: this has been brought up on capitol hill. why can't the va -- >> washington journal is live everyday at 7:00 on c-span. previous "washington journal" programs available on c-span.org. we are leaving the last few minute of the segment as the
senate is coming back into session after a 12 day work period. they will recess at some point this afternoon, returning it to:15 for debate on the nomination of martin bottle bound to be a judge on the court of appeals to limit debate it 5:30 eastern. then we begin work on an $857 billion spending package that would combine the largest annual appropriations bills including defense and labor, hhs and education. now live to the senate floor on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray.
glorious god, the source of our strength, fill us with life anew. strengthen and guide our lawmakers by the light of your counsels, directing their steps. lord, open their eyes so that they may discern your truth and courageously obey your precepts. give them reverence for you in all their thoughts, words, and actions. think your thoughts through them, providing them with the peace, power, and patience needed to do your will on earth. eternal god, we give you all
praise, glory, blessings, and honor. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our 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.
mr. cornyn: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate resumes consideration of the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, a. marvin quattlebaum jr. of south carolina to be united states circuit judge for the fourth circuit. mr. cornyn: madam president, i would ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 15 minutes in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: thank you. madam president, yesterday marked the sixth anniversary of the kidnapping of a brave young
man named austin teiss. back in 2012, austin decided to put his law school studies on hold and spend the summer in syria as a freelance journalist. he was frustrated with the lack of good information on syria's civil war, a war that by some estimates has claimed more than a half million lives and displaced millions more. having created a refugee crisis affecting neighboring countries like jordan and turkey and lebanon and having destabilized the entire region. in spite of the violence and political turmoil, as a strong believer in the freedom of the press, austin wanted to let his fellow americans know what was going on in that terrible civil war which continues to this day. so he didn't wait around for someone else to act. he went to syria himself and he
reported on the civil war. as with most things he tried, austin proved to be a very successful journalist. but then in august of 2012, just days before he was planning to leave syria, he was taken hostage and little has been heard from him since. that's why i am again today renewing my call for austin tice's immediate release by his captors. over the last several years, i have had the privilege of meeting with austin's parents a number of times, mark and deborah tice, who have worked tirelessly to locate him and bring him home safely. in fact, i plan to meet with them again this afternoon to bring them up to speed on my most recent conversations with the national security advisor, john bolton, who i have asked to meet with the tices and maintain the continuity between the obama administration and now the trump administration when it comes to
efforts to return him safely to his family and friends. of course, his family doesn't know austin as a journalist primarily. they don't know him as a marine corps veteran, a houston native and a second generation texan either, all of which he is. they of course know him as their friend, their brother, their son. austin tice has a family that's waiting for him, missing him, and laboring to find any piece of information that will lead to his whereabouts and to return him home safely. today on the sixth anniversary, i'm here to say that the entire nation stands behind the tice family in solidarity with them, we all for austin's immediate release by his captors and urge the administration to use all possible means to secure austin's safe return home.
i'm thankful to the trump administration, as i am to the obama administration, and i have met with them, of course, about both -- met with them both about austin's case. i know the former administration of president obama and the current administration of president trump share my desire to see austin come home as soon as possible. but we need to take a step back and realize why people like austin are taken hostage in the first place. in many parts of the world, authoritarian regimes and criminal state actors see a free press as a threat, an existential threat. they don't want to risk a spotlight exposing human rights abuses, lives, corruption, and graft. they want to inoculate themselves from the criticism and bury the truth so it never sees the light of day. so in places like turkey, syria,
china, and elsewhere, journalists are silenced and often jailed, sometimes even killed. we have seen this to the south of our border in mexico, too, with drug cartels and criminal syndicates who don't like the scrutiny that a free press provides to their illicit activities. according to organizations like reporters without borders, 2017 was perhaps the most dangerous year on record for journalists, and 2018 is not expected to be any different. we need to be aware of this and constantly vigilant to do our part to ensure journalists' safety and the flourishing of the free press everywhere it can possibly exist. so to austin's parents, i pledge i will never give up until we find your son and bring him home safely. this week, we pass another
milestone, six years, but hope that in the near future, the next milestone will be the day that marks austin's return to the united states and to his family. madam president, on a separate note, this week we'll continue the confirmation process for the nominee to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of justice anthony kennedy on the united states supreme court, and of course i'm talking about judge brett kavanaugh. this last weekend, the senate judiciary committee released to the public another enormous batch of records from judge kavanaugh's service as a lawyer in the george w. bush white house. it also released another 21,000 pages just last night. the office of president bush has now produced more than 174,000 pages of material to the committee, and of course that's
on top of the judge's judicial record, which has already been produced to the committee. according to the journal, the white house has turned over more than 195,000 documents on judge kavanaugh, significantly more than were produced for either justice kagan or justice gorsuch. as chairman grassley has pointed out, it is the largest cumulative production of executive branch material ever received in the course of evaluating a supreme court nominee. these records, of course, are being reviewed as they are produced in addition to the 307 opinions -- or cases in which judge kavanaugh wrote an opinion as an appeals court judge, as well as hundreds more opinions that he joined as a member of the panel. once upon a time, our democratic friends said that these opinions and these cases were what mattered the most, not
extraneous paper that bears no relevance to the judge's qualification or that he even had any input in. perhaps our friend, the democratic leader, remembers the standard he set with regard to documents during justice sotomayor's confirmation. he appropriately pointed out it is the judicial record, more than speeches and statements, more than personal background, that most accurately measures how modest a judicial nominee will be. of course, at the time the discussion was whether judges respected their unique role in our government, one that came to be described as the modest role. in other words, not primarily as a policymaker. but the point is, and i agree with the comments made by our friend, senator schumer, that it
is the judicial record which tells us the most about how a judge will perform once elevated to the united states supreme court. at another point, the democratic leader said with regard to then-judge sotomayor, he said we have heard precious little about the body and totality of your 17-year record on the bench, which everyone knows is the best way to evaluate a nominee. again, i agree with him. in one final instance, he said addressing judge sotomayor, he said i want to turn to your record on the bench, which i believe is the best way to get a sense of what your record will be on the bench in the future. again, common sense. you heard it, the best way to get a sense of how a judge will
perform in the future is how he or she has performed on the bench in the past, and that's according to our friend, senator schumer. not me, although i agree with him. as i said, democrats have 12 years' worth of cases and opinions from judge kavanaugh, and i hope they have started to look at them, but i'm not so sure that's the case. i believe 20 democrats have already come out against the nominee, so apparently they don't need to see anything else in order to reach a conclusion. and as i have noted in the past, five of them came out against the nominee before he was even nominated, indicating, of course, that they would oppose anyone nominated by this president. so now they have turned their tactics to making requests for more and more documents, even while "the washington post" describes their campaign to block kavanaugh as fizzling.
the article said that our democratic colleagues have all but acknowledged they are unable to prevent the confirmation. so you might ask why the paper chase? well, the real answer is that's all they have left. national archivists appointed by former president obama has stated that he cannot, nor can any current archivist, change the law or longstanding p and consistent practices when it comes to document production. there is no end run around this. the senate has most of the documents we need, mg more, as -- many more than for justice gorsuch or kagan. so what's going on exactly? well, i think i indicated my opinion. it's all they have left.
during the time we were away from washington this last week, chairman grassley said that the confirmation hearing for judge kavanaugh will begin on september 4, which will be 57 days after president trump's announcement of the nomination. this is entirely consistent with justices sotomayor and kagan and gorsuch. hearings for those nominees occurred 48 or 49 days after the president's announcement. we continue to hear new lines of attack developing, or i should say trying to develop. one i heard involved judge kavanaugh's role as a staff secretary in the white house, an important job to be sure, but one more like a traffic cop, in this case for documents, than a substantive policymaker. as staff secretary he didn't contribute to the documents, he
didn't make the policy articulated in the documents, he just made sure they made their way properly vetted through the white house to the president for signature. that's what the staff secretary does. others have said they wonder what role judge kavanaugh played in developing administration policy regarding detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists. well, i'll answer that for them. the answer is none. well, we've heard a few other objections being tos sed around, and i will address those in the coming days and weeks. but today i think the last word should go to a self-described liberal feminist lawyer, that's what she called herself, who argued more cases before the united states supreme court than any other woman. in "politico" she wrote recently with regard to judge kavanaugh,
she said sometimes a superstar is just a superstar. she said that our democratic colleagues should stop pretending that kavanaugh or his record is the issue. she went on to say that he is well qualified, brilliant, has integrity, and is within the mainstream of legal thought. her last words were the most emphatic. she said democrats should quit attacking kavanaugh full stop, close quote. she said their behavior is unbecoming, and i don't disagree with her. we know many on the other side are not particularly interested in the nominee's qualifications, as i said for some, the fact that president trump nominated judge kavanaugh is all they need to know. they are opposed to anybody and
everybody that this president might nominate. and others have now come out in opposition before they've examined these perhaps approaching a million pages of documents that will be produced. and, again, it's obvious it's not material to their decision because they've already announced their opposition. they don't even want to wait until the hearing where the judge will be questioned and provide answers to the committee's questions. well, we know that there's not much to attack when it comes to the judge's long judicial record of object activity and fairness on the d.c. circuit, and so they are trying to dig through other people's e-mails and conduct a government taxpayer funded fishing expedition through the entire bush white house. if you can't find anything wrong
with the nominee, let's distract people by digging through the papers of the bush white house. as i said, i called this the great paper chase. it may result in a never ending tour of -- tower of cardboard boxes, but it ultimately gets us nowhere and it costs all of us a great deal of time and effort and i think accomplishes nothing. the truth is judge kavanaugh is eminently qualified and well respected by everybody that knows him. having met the judge back in 2000, when i served as attorney general of texas, where he helped me get ready for my oral arguments before the united states supreme court, i've known the judge and followed his career since that time, and i agree that he is not only eminently qualified, but he is well respected by all those who know him, including me. so i look forward to confirming
>> next time a discussion about the act or math of the ice attacks against religious and ethnic minorities four years ago with iraq's ambassador to the u.s. and the kurdistan representative to the u.s. after the remarks come a panel discusses current security conditions. this is hosted by the new to two. it's two hours. >> im nina shea you're at the hudson institute. on behalf of the hudson center and on behalf of the working group on christians and religious pluralism, and also on behalf