tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN October 2, 2018 10:00am-12:37pm EDT
supreme court even as the fbi investigations continue. and leader majority is manage a-- planning a final vote. and they're working on a reauthorization bill, an over a billion for hurricane florence relieve. and they'll take that to the weekly caucus meetings. now to live coverage on c-span2. senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o lord our rock, surround our lawmakers with your mercy today. be for them their strength and shield, illuminiating their
paths with your precepts, and dispelling the darkness of doubt and fear. lord, be their shepherd in these challenging times. lead them beside still waters and reward their faithfulness. help them not to trust solely in human wisdom but to seek your guidance in all they think, say, and do. give them the ability to deal constructively with differences and disagreements. we pray in your merciful 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. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. the clerk will report the unfinished business.
mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: you know, madam president, if you stop and listen, you can practically hear the democrats trying to move the goalpost on judge kavanaugh's nomination to the supreme court. remember, before judge kavanaugh was even named, several democrats on the judiciary committee indicated they'd oppose whomever -- whomever the
nominee might turn out to be. the junior senator from california, for example, explained on television that whoever president trump chose would bring about, quote, the destruction of the constitution of the united states, as far as i can tell. that incredibly enough was a member of the judiciary committee. of course, mere hours after judge kavanaugh was announced, my friend, the democratic leader, made thate nnouncement that has now become famous -- i will oppose him with everything i've got, he said. and not long after that, another democrat on the judiciary committee proclaimed that anyone supporting judge kavanaugh's confirmation was, quote, listen to this, complicit in the evil. complicit in the evil. these statements are the context for every action the democrats have taken during this entire
process. these statements remind us, democrats may be trying to move the goalpost every five minutes, but their goal has not moved an inch. they will not be satisfied unless they have brought down judge kavanaugh's nomination. it started with straightforward political maneuvering, none of it worked, of course. but whatever excuses they could find to delay, delay, delay. first, back in june the democrats tried to argue the supreme court shouldn't confirm -- democrats tried to argue the senate shouldn't confirm a supreme court justice in any even-numbered year. any even-numbered year. then they were reminded that justice kagan, breyer, and souter were all confirmed during midterm election years and that
argument evaporated. next, democrats said the process should be delayed because too few documents were available from judge kavanaugh's past public service. well then they received the most pages of documents ever produced for a supreme court nomination, so guess what came next? the goalpost moved down the field and the democrats called for delay because there were too many documents for them to read. i wish this fight could have remained in the realm of normalcy, but when none of these tactics worked, when judge kavanaugh demonstrated his widely acknowledgeed brilliance, open-mindedness and collegiality at his confirmation hearings, some chose a darker road. the politics of personal destruction were willfully unleashed. i've spoken at length about the underhanded way senate democrats have treated dr. ford and her
allegation. in brief, for six weeks, dr. ford's confidential account passed passed from from the democratic side of the judiciary committee to lawyers that democrats handpicked for her. after judge kavanaugh's hearings had wrapped up, the supposedly confidential letter found its way into the press. shoving aside proper procedure, shoving aside the accuser's plea for privacy, this, madam president, is not politics as usual. because, let us not forget, dr. ford's allegation is not the only uncrop rated allegation that has -- uncorroborated allegation that has been breathlessly paraded around. oh, no. shortly after the letter made its way into the press, the floodgates of mud and muck opened entirely on brett kavanaugh and his family.
out of the woodwork came one uncorroborated allegation after another, each seemingly more outlandish than the last. a tabloid lawyer organized a red -carpet rollout to accuse judge kavanaugh of a serial sexual assault ring. hosting one wild party after another, filled with sexual violence for which there conveniently happened to be zero witnesses. zero witnesses. but plenty of people to refute the claims. this didn't say in the tabloids, by the way, this fantastic story was effectively read into the record of the judiciary committee by the ranking member, who decided it deserved a mention in her remarks during last thursday's hearing. and every democratic member of the judiciary committee seized on this outlandish tale.
in a formal letter in which they called on judge kavanaugh to withdraw his name from consideration. this is how desperate some became for any way to stop this stunningly qualified nominee. i guess upholding any standards of any kind was just too much to ask. we heard another anonymous, unattributed, and now thoroughly debunked account. this time an anonymous accusation from colorado alleging physical abuse 20 years ago. a sitting federal district judge stepped up to bat down that anonymous smear. we heard that judge kavanaugh was supposedly responsible for a sexual assault on a boat in newport, rhode island, until the accuser recanted the story completely, but not before many in the media had begun eating it
up. in short, democrats mishandling of dr. ford's letter opened the floodgates for this deluge of uncorroborated, unbelievable mud. and the mudslide was cheered on and capitalized on at every turn by the far left that has been so eager to stop this nomination. just politics? i don't think so. and on the other extreme, some of the other lines of attack have been completely trivial. last night "the new york times" unleashed this major story --. get this -- judge kavanaugh may have been accused of throwing some ice across a college bar in the mid1980's -- in the mid-1980's.
talk about a bombshell? one can only imagine what new bombshell might be published today or tomorrow. but here's what we know, mr. president -- one thing for sure, the senate will vote on judge kavanaugh here on this floor this week. here on this floor this week. our democratic friends will try to move the goalpost yet again. just yesterday they submitted a list of 24 people whom they wanted the f.b.i. to interview. so i'm confident we'll hear that even the very same supplemental f.b.i. investigation democrats had so loudly demanded is now magically no longer sufficient. well, after the f.b.i. shares what they've found, senators will have the opportunity to vote.
we'll have the opportunity to vote no on the politics of personal destruction. we'll have the opportunity to vote yes on this fine nominee. now, madam president, on an entire different matter, the u.s. economy continues to deliver very good news. my home state of kentucky is certainly no exception. yesterday morning i had the opportunity to take part in the announcement of a major new investment in my hometown, louisville. g.e. appliances unveiled its plan to create 400 new jobs and to invest more thank $200 million in kentucky. they're expanding their laundry and dishwasher production facilities and upgrading their capacity for innovation. g.e.'s appliance park has been a manufacturing landmark in louisville for more than six decades. the facility has meant a great
deal to my community. at its height, it employed some 20,000 workers. however, following the sluggish economy of the last decade, the workforce had shrunk to just one-fifth of its previous strength. so yesterday's announcement marked a step in a very new direction -- aggressive expansion, doubling down on american workers. it's the simple story that's being -- it's the same story being written all over america by job makers large and small. what changed? for one thing, the policy climate here in washington changed. g.e. appliance's president kevin nolan said, the changes in rates and favorable tax treatment of investment and machinery and equipment played a big role in our expansion plans. more jobs for kentuckians, more prosperity for local communities. i'd like to ask the men and
women who will get one of these new jobs what they make of the fact that every single democrat in congress voted to block the tax reform that's helping this happen. well, republicans got it done anyway. we delivered sweeping tax cuts for workers and families, and now thanks in part to our policies, the economy is thriving. just last month, consumer confidence reached its highest level in 18 years. in other words, american families are feeling better about spending and investing in their communities than they have since september of 2000. so, madam president, in september of 2000, the senate pages serving here on the floor hadn't been born yet, but as these young folks continue their studies and enter the workforce, they will be participating in an american economy with more opportunities where workers keep more of their hard-earned paychecks. that's the economy republicans had in mind when we voted to
enact generational tax reform and to lift the regulatory burden on investors and job creators, and it's the economy we're continuing to work for every day. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: thank you, madam president. now, i like the majority leader. we get along quite well. he even laughs at my jokes, which sometimes aren't very good, and we're very proud that we're working on the appropriations bills together in a bipartisan way, as this place ought to work, but sometimes his comments are so absurd, so filled with double standard, with innuendo, with hypocrisy that you don't know whether to laugh or cry. he has been on the floor every day saying democrats are causing delay. democrats are causing delay?
first, to say democrats are causing delay coming from the same man who delayed the nomination of supreme court justice merrick garland for over 300 days without a shrug of his shoulders? give me a break. the leader would delay for ten months when he saw -- when he thought it was right to do and can't wait for a week to get an honest report out of the f.b.i.? what a double standard. how galling. accusing democrats of needlessly delaying a supreme court nomination is galling, is hypocritical coming from a leader to delayed the nomination of a supreme court justice for over 300 days until his party had a chance to win the white house. so no one, no american should accept his admonishments about delay. he's the master of delay.
and second, he blames democrats for these delays. well, as the leader well knows, democrats are not in charge. we can't set the calendar. these things have been delayed because people on his side of the aisle who had sincere concerns about having a fair process said they won't go forward unless the process is made fairer. even the initial hearing where dr. ford and judge kavanaugh testified was because a member of the judiciary committee on the republican side said he didn't want to go forward until he heard from him. nothing to do with democrats. did we agree that that should happen? of course. so did most people who are fair-minded, but it wasn't caused by us. and then this f.b.i., the reopening of the f.b.i. investigation into these new allegations, background check
investigation, who caused that? who caused this delay, i would ask leader mcconnell. not the democrats. we don't have the ability to do it. it was three members on his side who sincerely were seeking better truth because they heard two arguments and they weren't sure which was right, and they saw that without some kind of independent investigation, it would tear the american people apart in ways for which we will pay a price years down the road, no matter what the outcome of the vote on judge kavanaugh. so democrats didn't cause these delays, and he knows it. it was the inability of all the republicans to be unified with justification because the truth should be sought after in a more sincere way for a nomination to the highest court of the land. leader mcconnell has said we're going to plow right
through the recent allegations. fortunately, some members on his side of the aisle didn't want to plow right through. they didn't want to delay unnecessarily. one week? give me a break. compared to ten months. leaving the scalia seat open. who are we kidding? who are we kidding? who is making this a political argument? let's ask. and one final point. the leader kept accusing the people who came forward of political smear campaigns, of being in the mud. i want to ask the leader to answer a direct question. does he believe or not believe dr. ford? yes or no. i happen to believe her. he refuses to answer that one way or the other because he knows that dr. ford had tremendous credibility. instead, he calls her names. he uses it as democrats, but she came forward on her own. by the way, one of the first things she did was call "the
washington post" and spoke to the reporter who later wrote the story. that was long before any democrat knew what was going on. she felt a sincere need to come forward. to call her political, which is what by ricochet the leader is doing is so unfair, is so wrong. to call all three of these women who came forward, whether you believe them or not, as political actors is treating women in the same way that unfortunately too many women, as we've learned over the last few years, have been treated in the past. that doesn't mean allegations shouldn't be proven. that doesn't mean there should be a discrete, fair process to try to get to the bottom of it, which is what the f.b.i. investigation is. that doesn't mean all men are guilty before proven innocent. it means there deserves to be a fair hearing, even if it takes one week.
one week compared to the ten months of delay. and finally, madam president, the investigation itself. it should only take a week. that's for sure. no democrat has called for it taking more than a week. we are not moving the goalpost back. but it should be thorough. it should not be limited by the senate judiciary staff who was initially calling the shots, and they have been biased to begin with. when the democratic staff asked to be on the phone with the counsel to the president, mr. mc gahn, the republican staff refused. that's not cogburn, that's not fair, that's not evenhanded. but fortunately yesterday the president said the f.b.i. should go forward. they can interview many people in a week. when there is a crime situation that calls for it, a terrorism
situation that calls for it. from what i understand, they have interviewed hundreds in a week. so a list of 20 people to be interviewed in a week when the f.b.i. has thousands of agents, many of them well trained in the art of figuring out how to interview somebody, is not unreasonable. it's only fair. and we hope there is still no limitations on the f.b.i. investigation. we hope there are no limitations because that will jaundice the whole process, and that is not what those who called for it on either side of the aisle had asked for. they had asked for it to be full and fair and open, and then everyone will make his or her judgment. that's all people are asking for. finally, madam president, on that issue, i call on president trump in the white house once again to release in writing what white house counsel don mcgahn
has instructed the f.b.i. to pursue. until then, we have to take president trump's off-the-cuff comments with perhaps grains of salt. we have to be shown that what he said is actually being implemented. now let me read you a few quotes. the supreme court must never, never be viewed as a partisan institution. that's judge kavanaugh at his 2006 confirmation hearings. here's one more from a speech judge kavanaugh gave in 2015. first and most obviously, a judge cannot be a political partisan. i think most americans would agree with that. i certainly do. a lodestar in our consideration of judicial confirmation should be whether a nominee is independent and within the ideological mainstream. the judge kavanaugh we saw last thursday did not meet the standard laid out in his past statements. his prepared statement to the
committee, prepared -- if you will, malice aforethought -- accused sitting u.s. senators of a phony smear campaign lambasted, quote, left-wing opposition groups and portrayed the recent allegations, the allegations of dr. ford, miss ramirez, the third person who came forward, miss swetnick -- he portrayed those as revenge on behalf of the clintons. frankly, judge kavanaugh's testimony was better suited for fox news than a confirmation hearing for the august united states supreme court. but that's in character with judge kavanaugh's long history of working for the most partisan legal causes -- ken starr, bush
v. gore. all the myriad controversies of the bush era. it would be one thing if judge kavanaugh discarded his partisan feelings once he donned the black robes of the jurist. unfortunately, he has been on the bench for many years. thursday's hearing revealed that his bitter partisan resentiments still lurk right below the surface. it should give us all pause to consider what it means to elevate such a partisan world view to the supreme court, whether it be a democratic or a republican partisan view where rulings must be made on the legal merits, not, not on the side of the aisle which most benefits. and then the greatest issue against judge kavanaugh, the one that really bothers most people, his credibility. is he telling the truth? that issue supersedes all the others. there may be some who say well, what happens in high school shouldn't count. it's many years later. people grow, people change.
now, i think what happened to dr. ford, she seems credible to me, is something you can't forget. it's not what men do. but some may say that. but we are looking at what judge kavanaugh says at age 53, not what he did at age 18. we are looking at his credibility now as a grown adult and if you believe dr. ford, then judge kavanaugh is not telling the truth. and if this were the only instance, it would be one thing. bad enough. but there are many more. over and over again, it's hard to believe what judge kavanaugh swore under oath at the committee hearing to say.
just yesterday, nbc news reported that either judge kavanaugh or people close to the judge were in communication with his yale classmates to get them to rebuttal gaigz by deborah -- rebut allegations by deborah ramirez. it seems that judge kavanaugh was at least very misleading to the judiciary committee about miss ramirez's story. when asked by senator hatch when he first heard of ramirez's allegations, he answered, quote, in "the new yorker" story, first heard, based on the nbc reports, if they are correct, they are not truthful. it would be one thing if that were one isolateed incident, but again, there are far too many misstatements, far too many inaccuracies, far too many mischaracterizations. he pled ignorance to many
bush-era controversies, only for e-mails to be released showing he was aware of them all and played a role in many. he offered explanation for high school yearbook quotes. and it's not the quotes themselves or what they indicated. it's his explanations sort of defy belief. and, of course, based on the accounts by his high school and college classmates, he has grossly mischaracterized his relationship with alcohol. a common thread -- judge kavanaugh repeatedly tiptoes around the truth, doesn't tell the truth in many instances, it seems, to paint his nomination in a favorable light. we want supreme court -- the supreme court nominee, whatever their politics, whatever their party origins, to be a shining example of somebody who tells the truth without doubt, without equivocation. if you say well, maybe he's telling the truth and maybe he's
not, he doesn't belong on the supreme court. and i think most americans are saying that. again, even if you want to discount, as some people do, what happened when he was 15 in high school and 18 in college, you cannot discount what he is saying and professing at age 53 when it flies in the face of being truthful. that's the key question here. there is demeanor. he sure didn't show the demeanor of a judge at the hearing. there is partisanship. he brought out the most raw form of partisanship so unbecoming of someone on the district court court -- appeals court, let alone the supreme court. and he did not show any
semblance to always being 100% honest and truthful, which is what we need in a supreme court justice. so again, even if you feel that what happened when he was 15 and 18 shouldn't matter, what happens when he's 53 does matter, and his credibility is in real doubt. doubt enough, i think, for most americans to say this man does not belong on the supreme court. there ought to be somebody, many people who would be a whole lot better. i yield the floor. mr. durbin: madam president, what is the business before the senate? the presiding officer: motion to concur with respect to f.a.a. mr. durbin: thanks,
madam president. i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you, thank you, madam president i've been in politics for a long time but i've never seen anything like what i witnessed when i went back to chicago last friday, saturday and sunday. from the minute the plane landed at midway airport in chicago, through the entire weekend, everyone -- everyone was engaged. people were coming up to me, total strangers, expressing themselves about the hearing that had just been completed with dr. ford and judge kavanaugh. i was stunned. and i've done this for a long time. the doorman in the rain holding an umbrella at the hotel, talking about what he heard and what he remembered from the hearing. the taxi cab driver, the person on the street, everyone wanted to speak to me about this. it's been estimated that six out of ten americans listened or watched the hearing last week. i'm not at all surprised.
the response that i found in the street and in the neighborhoods and in meetings around my state of illinois and the city of chicago certainly gave evidence to that. and it was an interesting response too. primarily from women, but not exclusively, women who came up to me, and you could tell by the look in their eyes and the tone of their voice something had just happened publicly in america which touched them personally. some would confide in me in a whisper about a personal experience they have had. others would look into my eyes and i realized that this meant a lot to them for reasons they didn't want to share. but that hearing last week was a moment i've never seen before in american politics in the time that i've been around. the second thing i noted was the comments about dr. ford. except for a still photograph, i had never seen her before she
walked into the committee room last week to testify under oath. i didn't know what to expect as she sat down after taking the oath and began her testimony. time and again the people who work with her described her condition as fragile. in her own words, and of course in her testimony she said she was terrified. terrified. and why wouldn't she be? at this point in her life to become a national person, a national profile, a national celebrity, to see her experience turn her family life upside down to the point where she was forced to move out of her home and her family h had to take refuge and safety in a secure location, all the attention that was being paid to her, some with praise and some with criticism, it's the kind of thing that even politicians are supposed to get used to and never do. but imagine an ordinary person. and i listened to her testimony
testimony, and i heard what she had to say about why this event took place. and i realized that this woman in california believes she had what she called a civic duty to come forward before the white house made its final decision on the choice of a supreme court nominee, because she believed she had important information about brett kavanaugh that the president should know, that congress should know. and she didn't know where to turn. for those who argue she was part of some political conspiracy, she didn't know which way to turn. she ended up turning to the place most would, to her local congress woman, anna eshoo sitting down with her in california and talking with her about this letter, this confidential letter that she wanted to put in the hands of somebody who would make a decision about the future of the supreme court. it was a perfectly reasonable explanation of what an ordinary
citizen would do, and that's what she did. and when she finally got in contact with the senate judiciary committee with this same confidential letter and had communications with senator feinstein, she stressed over and over again that she wanted this to remain confidential and that she didn't want her identity to be disclosed for fear of what it would mean to her and her family. a natural human reaction. i want to say a word about senator feinstein. you may quibble, you may debate, you may argue with the way she handled this, but i think she did what she thought was right for the very right reasons. she believed that she had an obligation to dr. ford, an obligation to protect her identity. and i know senator feinstein. she is a person of character and value and principles. i have been saddened, in fact angry at times when my colleagues from the other side of the aisle have accused her of so many things, of plotting some political conspiracy to
bring down this nominee. in fact, two of them suggested she was the one who leaked the letter to the press. i am as certain as i stand here, after years of working with her, neither of those things are even close to the truth. she was trying to do what she thought was the right thing first for this woman, this mother, this resident of her home state. and, second, for this country. i don't question in any way whatsoever, and no one should, her efforts and good faith to serve this nation in a very difficult process. but dr. ford came forward and told her story. i asked her a question point-blank, we are now being told that perhaps you are mistaken. perhaps it wasn't brett kavanaugh who assaulted you in that bedroom in the maryland suburbs. and i wanted to ask you with what degree of certainty do you believe that brett kavanaugh was the assailant. her answer to me was very short
and direct: 100%. 100% certain. and you think to yourself if it happened 36 years ago, how could she be so certain so long ago? and then you realize that that moment impacted her life in a way that few people ever want to experience. but for 36 years she's been carrying the memory of that party, that bedroom, that assault in her life to the point where she sought therapy, couples therapy with her husband, and told her therapist as well as her husband the name of the assailant six years ago, long before judge kavanaugh was proposed as a nominee for the supreme court. i came away with strong feelings about dr. ford, her credibility, her composure, the fact that she was resolute and the fact that she showed a
degree of character, which is extraordinary under the circumstances. i believe dr. ford, and i believe what she told us. and that's why i'm troubled to hear senators come to the floor today and say, well, you know, we feel that she was mistreated. some of the same senators, including the majority leader, who have said that, came to the floor on three successive days last week and dismissed her complaint as a smear. and that's the word that was used -- a smear on the floor of the senate. even before she had testified, even before they had seen her under oath say what she did, they dismissed this as a smear. i don't think that's an indication of respect for dr. ford to have said that on the floor of the senate. and i think that she deserves more, as anyone would who is willing to testify under oath. i want to also say that the
testimony of brett kavanaugh last week was a revelation. he stayed with his story that he was mischaracterized and was improperly and wrongly accused. and he too was certain that this event had never occurred. but in his testimony, his opening statement last week before our judiciary committee, i saw something which i had never seen before in the senate. i saw a level of emotion which was understandable considering the accusations that have been made. but a level of anger which i have seldom seen, perhaps never seen in the united states senate. when judge kavanaugh attacked those who raised these questions about him and said that though he bore no ill will toward dr. ford, he called her
allegations, quote, a calculated and orchestrated political hit, citing, quote, apparent pent-up anger about president trump and the 2016 election. and then he added revenge on behalf of the clintons. it is hard to imagine a person aspiring to serve on the highest court of the land, where your temperament is so important, where you have to make certain as best you can that you take politics out of your legal equation, would be so direct and so specific in blaming his plight on, quote, revenge on behalf of the clintons. close quote. this grace note, political grace note from brett kavanaugh, this lock her up grace note may be appealing to
some on the political spectrum, but it speaks volumes about this judge and how he would serve if he ever had an opportunity to be on the supreme court. it's been said over and over again by the republican majority leader that the democrats are in the midst of a big delay tactic here. i have to echo the comments of senator schumer earlier. it is very difficult to take the senate majority leader credibly when he makes a statement that we are trying to delay filling a vacancy on the supreme court. the senate i don't recall has set the record in delaying merrick garland's nomination for more than 300 days, when he even refused to meet with the man, let alone consider a hearing when judge garland was nominated by president obama. to have this majority leader now tell us that we are the ones
responsible for delay really is to ignore history and to ignore the reality of what has occurred here. because of the courage of his members, three of whom have stepped up and said we won't dismiss dr. ford's allegations with just a staff phone call. we want an actual hearing. that was inspired by three republican members of the senate and we backed them up. we thought their request was right. and this f.b.i. investigation, i know a little bit about that because i asked judge kavanaugh directly during the course of this hearing what he wanted us to do. not what the white house wanted us to do. not what the senate judiciary committee republican leadership wanted to do. what did he, judge kavanaugh, want to do when it came to this f.b.i. investigation. my point was if dr. ford is willing to submit her allegations to an f.b.i. review, why wouldn't you, judge kavanaugh? if you believe there are no credible witnesses, no credible evidence otherwise, why
wouldn't you want a complete investigation done by the nonpartisan professionals at the f.b.i.? but even then he refused that thought of an f.b.i. investigation. it wasn't until senator jeff flake, a republican of arizona, made it clear that he would not move forward on a vote on the floor without that f.b.i. investigation, joined by senator coons of delaware and many others, that this f.b.i. investigation is underway. and so give credit where it's due. any delay of a week for us to consider this is really inspired by senator flake's request with the support on the democratic side of the aisle. so to blame us for this delay, unfortunately, again, is not accurate. but it appears now that senator mcconnell, the republican majority leader, is determined to plow through this, as he has said. he has said this will be on this
floor this week, this nomination. if the f.b.i. investigation is completed thursday or friday, there will be a report that's available for senators to review, as they should. to read the results of this investigation and draw their own conclusions, that's the orderly process of the senate. but it appears that senator mcconnell can't wait. he can't wait for that to be completed and thoughtfully considered by his colleagues in the united states senate. it has to be this week. he has determined and said over and over again. he blames us for delay, delay, delay. if we take a day or the two or more to thoughtfully consider whatever the f.b.i. finds, isn't that our constitutional responsibility, fill ago vacancy -- filling a vacancy, a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land? that, i think, is my
responsibility and should be his as well. let me close by saying that this has been a celebrated chapter in history. it will be remembered. to have a supreme court nomination for a swing vote on the court that may tip the balance for decades before us is something we obviously take seriously. that it would come at a moment when these allegations have been made about sexual harassment, as we facing this issue in every sector of american culture, really dramatized the importance that we get this right. most importantly, that we be fair -- fair both to dr. ford, who had the courage to step forward, fair to judge kavanaugh, who has the right to tell us his memory of events, and to be taken seriously as well. the f.b.i. investigation, though it was resisted by judge kavanaugh, is a step in the right direction. i hope that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who have
not declared where they are and how they'll vote on the kavanaugh nomination will wait until the f.b.i. investigation is complete, review their findings, and reflect on the very basic question -- is brett kavanaugh the right person at this moment in history to be give an lifetime appointment to the highest court in our land? thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i was greatly encouraged to hear yesterday's announcement by the administration that the united states and mexico and canada have now successfully come to a trilateral agreement to modernize nafta. as the presiding officer knows, this is important not only to border states like ours, this is important to the entire country. as a matter of fact, just with mexico, about five million jobs in the united states depend on binational trade with mexico. about eight million depend on binational trade with canada. so this is really important to our country, and i think hopefully it will calm a lot of anxiety over some of the various trade disputes that we have had recently. based on the deal reached sunday, canada will now join the pact that the united states and
mexico agreed to in august. the newly named united states-mexico-canada agreement will greatly benefit north american commerce, as i said, and modernize our economy in areas where it has evolved since the 1990's. if you think about life in the 1990's, digital commerce was unheard of. the oil and gas exploration using modern techniques like fracking and horizontal drilling which have produced the shale energy revolution in the united states didn't exist back then. and of course as many of my friends in the energy business tell me, they said the rio grande, the shale that we produce oil and gas from in the united states doesn't stop at the rio grande. now mexico has opened up its economy greatly, allowing foreign investment and embracing some of these modern techniques which will, i think, have a revolutionary impact on mexico and its economy.
my guiding mantra over the last year for these negotiations has been what is known as the hippocratic oath that doctors take. first, do no harm. that's what ambassador lighthizer and wilbur ross, secretary of commerce, told the finance committee when they were confirmed. i argue we have to fix nafta to be sure because after 24 years, parts of it are outdated, acid said, but not nix it entirely. although we're still reviewing the fine print of the agreement, i think we should be proud of what has been accomplished. since last august, ambassador lighthizer and his team at ustr, the u.s. trade representative, have negotiated for countless hours with our southern and northern neighbors. the road to an updated agreement has not been easy but i believe those efforts will pay off, and soon the responsibility will be ours in the senate to vote on this agreement. it will be a few months off, to
be sure, but we will have a role in voting on the agreement. as president trump said, the new agreement will fix deficiencies in the original nafta, reduce trade barriers and open markets for u.s. farmers and manufacturers. i'm particularly hearing a lot from my folks in the agriculture sector in texas that they are excited with some of the negotiations on canada with regard to agriculture. modernizes rules for dairy and also auto financial services, as many others, but the agriculture sector that i think was most concerned about some of these negotiations i think is breathing a giant sigh of relief. this is a significant development in our trade policy and a great testament to the productive diplomacy that the administration has been engaged in since day one. sometimes it may seem a little bit like a bull in a china shop, but when you produce actually
good results, maybe that's worth it. promises were made to update nafta, of course, as long as our neighbors collaborated in good faith, and those promises now appear to have been kept. as i said, millions of american jobs are supported by trade with mexico and canada, and in texas, nafta has been one of the cornerstones of our economy which have caused us to -- helped cause us to create more jobs than any other state in the country in recent years. we have the second largest state economy in the u.s., so mexico being our top import and export partner obviously has implications that are big not only to us but truly national and international in scope. over the course of the last quarter century since nafta was signed, we have reached benefits in terms of jobs, incomes, and cultural exchange. these benefits are so significant and widespread that they really can't be fully measured. they are why arguably texas had
more at stake than our 49 counterparts throughout -- throughout the nafta reform process. this new enhanced agreement is a positive step, and i think ambassador lighthizer as well as president trump and all of our u.s., canadian, and mexican officials that were involved in crafting this document, and i look forward to working with the chairman of the finance committee and all of our members on the finance committee as well as the entire senate moving forward as we consider congressional implementation of this agreement. mr. president, i'd like to turn briefly to the ongoing confirmation process of judge kavanaugh for the united states supreme court. i've already said publicly on more than one occasion, this is a dark day, this is a dark period for the united states senate. never before have we seen a nominee to the supreme court or any court treated so badly,
although we do know that starting with robert bork's confirmation hearing, that the gloves came off and these confirmation processes became unfortunately all too ugly. as we know now, there has been ordered a supplemental background investigation by the f.b.i. on allegations that were sprung on judge kavanaugh on the eve of his confirmation. there was never a whiff of these allegations during judge kavanaugh's six previous background investigations by the f.b.i. and by the judiciary committee and other committees, and i think it's telling that the aiders and abettors of this last-minute ambush include political operatives masquerading as disinterested lawyers with only their clients' best wishes at heart. this past sunday, we heard from
rachel mitchell, an investigative counsel from arizona that interviewed both dr. ford and judge kavanaugh at last week's hearing. i appreciate the professionalism with which she approached this job. it was not one that many would have caught because she knew and we all knew that she would be thrust into the vortex of this huge national debate and the circus-like atmosphere unfortunately that the judiciary committee had become, but she did, i think, do a public service. she was not pressured in any way to present her own analysis following the hearing, but she chose to do so, and what she said, based on her experience, is that sex crimes prosecutors, someone who routinely deals with victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault, and she has developed a lot of expertise and wisdom when it comes to approaching these kinds of cases, and i think we were the beneficiary, the country was the
beneficiary of her expertise and knowledge and the way she conducted her careful but respectful interrogation of dr. ford. her analysis contains crucial points that the f.b.i.'s investigation, background investigation may flesh out this week even further. first, she said that this was not a case of he said, she said. this was a case of she said, they said. in other words, every witness alleged to have been present at the time that dr. ford alleged judge kavanaugh, while he was 17 years old, physically assaulted her, all of the people she has identified said they have no memory of such an event or no knowledge of such an event, and in one case, dr. ford's close friend, leyland keyser, -- leland keyser, said she doesn't even remember meeting brett
kavanaugh s similarly, patrick smyth and mark judge, two other witnesses that dr. ford named, said the event never happened. so this is not just a case where there is an allegation and no corroboration. this is a case where there is an allegation and negative corroboration. i mentioned dr. ford's lawyers earlier, and i want to return to that in just a moment. some of their actions suggest that they were more interested in using dr. ford for partisan purposes than ensuring her story was properly considered alongside with other information during the standard committee process. we all remember when dr. ford's hearing was delayed, the committee was informed by her lawyers that dr. ford's trauma prevented her from flying because she experienced castro phobia. but then during her testimony, watched by as many as 20 million people in this country, dr. ford said she flies frequently for
hobbies and work. so one has to wonder why was this delay orchestrated? was it a stunt concocted by her lawyers to buy more time? you have to wonder. but the truth is her lawyers were involved long before that point. when the ranking member of the judiciary committee, our colleague from california, met with judge kavanaugh one on one on august 20, she already knew about the allegation that was dated july 30. so august 20, she met with judge kavanaugh, but she had in her hand -- or in her files, an allegation dated july 30 that she shared with no one. and she didn't discuss it with with judge kavanaugh -- it with judge kavanaugh during their private meeting. instead, the ranking member recommended that dr. ford engage highly partisan operatives to represent her instead of
referring the allegations to the f.b.i. in other words, why would you take an allegation of sexual assault, keep it in your file, and recommend that the complainant contact politically active democratic lawyers? wouldn't it make sense to provide the allegation to the f.b.i. right away so the f.b.i. could conduct whatever investigation it saw fit? well, unfortunately, she neither did that because it was presented to the f.b.i. at that time on a timely basis or go she kavanaugh a chance to refute it when she had plenty of opportunities to do so when he met with her in her office. we know that the lawyers that have been representing miss katz have played an active role since
early august. they were already engaged when judge kavanaugh sat through his initial week-long confirmation hearing. by that point, the lawyers had already insisted that dr. ford take a polygraph, although they won't share with the senate judiciary committee or with anybody else the underlying questions and interview. all they shared with us is the conclusion of the polygrapher. and yet none of this, the lawyers, the allegations, the steps that are being taken, none of this is being shared with the senate judiciary committee, that it was initially assigned the responsibility of vetting the nominee through an extensive background process, investigation, and obviously through the 1,200-some written questions for the record and the hours upon hours of hearings that everybody in the country could witness. none of this came up at that first hearing, not even behind closed doors, which is the procedure by which sensitive personal matters are presented
to the nominee if senators on the judiciary committee have questions. so what we actually try to do here in the senate is not embarrass or harass or terrorize either the nominee or the witnesses that might have information relevant to the confirmation. we actually have a careful, respectful, and confidential process by cl that information can first be supplied to the judiciary committee behind closed doors. and that could and should have been the process used in this case, but it wasn't. so here we are a few weeks later. we have had another hearing at dr. ford's request where she shared her story to the best of her ability. i'm actually glad she testified. that was her desire, although i believe she did not have to be put through the ringer that the senate judiciary committee has put her through, but that's not been our fault so much as it's been the fault of this
orchestrated effort. it's not fair to judge kavanaugh, i believe, to spring this -- string this matter along further. it's not fair to his family either or to the many women who stood with him every step of the way. this process has taken a toll on all of them and all of us. so i have been reading now that the f.b.i. is doing this supplemental background investigation which will conclude, hopefully, in the next few days. now the allegation has been, well, the judge was so angry at the hearing defending his honor and good name against these allegations that this shows a lack of judicial temperament. well, if you were accused falsely of committing a crime, wouldn't you be angry, too? wouldn't you want to clear your good name? well, that's exactly what judge kavanaugh did.
and i think it was a moving, emotional defense of his good name and character. but our friends who are now making this accusation that somehow this demonstrates as lack of judicial temperament are ignoring his 12 years on the d.c. circuit court of appeals, the fact that the american bar association standing committee that reviews these judicial nominations has found him well qualified unanimously, based in part on his good character and temperament. so this is really a red herring. you can't accuse somebody of a crime and expect them just to sit there and just take it. that is illogical, and unreasonable, and now, of course, the argument, too, is well, we have got -- we have really got the judge now.
we have caught him in some discrepancies. based on what? based on his high school yearbook. man, this has been quite an investigation if we're going back into somebody's high school yearbook and asking them to decipher things that would be, as i think the judge said, cringeworthy that adolescent boys do and adolescents do in their high school yearbook. i guess this should be a lesson for all of our pages and others that are still in high school. that if you have the opportunity to ascend is to the highest court in the land or other important responsibility, the united states senate is going to go back and scour your high school yearbook and ask you about entries made not by you, but by others in your yearbook. this has become a national embarrassment. i said at the hearing, it reminded me of what i read about
the mccarthy hearings, joseph mccarthy, the senator from from wisconsin, who was riding high on the concerns that the american people had about communists in government. but he went too far, and at one point was called down, ultimately left the senate, expelled from the senate, or resigned from the senate -- i can't remember which. but he was asked by one of the lawyers who was representing a young man who was being interrogated, who finally asked senator mccarthy, said i have yet to gauge the depth of your cruelty and your recklessness. at long last, sir, have you no decency? i recited those lines at the hearing for judge kavanaugh because i think indeed this whole process has been unfair to dr. ford, to judge kavanaugh. it has been cruel to the judge's
family, and it has been reckless in the extreme. and i think it's been an embarrassment. it is a stain on the reputation and the standing of the united states senate. so as a supplemental f.b.i. investigation wraps up, let's be mindful of what our colleagues across the aisle said they expected from this supplemental background investigation, because they too understood we are approaching the end of this process. for example, the senior senator from minnesota has said let's give this one week. she said that last friday. and she indicated her support for the investigation, even saying we're all in a better spot now than we were before. well, i hope that's still her
position. we had our colleagues across the aisle agree to both the timeline and the validity of this last step in judge kavanaugh's confirmation. the junior senator from delaware, during the hearing called for the same amount of time, just one more week. and in a television interview the junior senator from hawaii said that seven days is enough time to, quote, get to the bottom of these allegations. so i hope, mr. president, that our colleagues will remember their own words, their own statements. even though, as we all know, no supplemental information will change their vote. you know, this is to me the irony of where we find ourselves. i think it was judge kavanaugh who said a fair process starts with an open mind. and then listening to both
sides. but judge kavanaugh doesn't have a judge or a jury in this confirmation process that has an open mind. all of the senate democrats on the judiciary committee have said they unequivocally oppose his confirmation. so what do they expect this additional supplemental investigation to disclose that might possibly persuade them that they were wrong? well, it's not about a search for the truth. this is about search and destroy i've said this is the thing that i hate most about washington, d.c., the political environment we find ourselves in. it's not just about winning an argument. it's not just about winning an election or winning a vote in the congress. it's about the politics of personal destruction. that's what we are seeing here,
and it's an orchestrated effort from start to finish. that's why i think this is such an embarrassment to the senate. and if we somehow decide that people can be essentially convicted of a crime based on an allegation with no evidence, what does that say about our commitment to the constitution itself? due process of law, the presumption of guilt i. know our colleagues will say, well, this is a job interview. this is not just a job interview. this isn't just even about judge kavanaugh and his confirmation process. this is about us. this is about our national commitment to the constitution, one that guarantees your liberty unless the government can come in and prove a case against you, where you have a chance to confront the witnesses against you, where you enjoy a
presumption of innocence. this is no longer a job interview. this is no longer even just about judge kavanaugh. a vote against judge kavanaugh implies that he is guilty not only of teenage misconduct, but guilty of perjury now. that's what a vote against judge kavanaugh implies. a vote against judge kavanaugh is a yes vote for more search and destroy efforts against public servants and judicial nominees and more ambushing nominees after crucial information is withheld for weeks at a time. we all know how the senate operates. it operates on the basis of precedent. once something's been done, it's precedent for things that will be done in the future. and if this is the new precedent for the united states senate,
woe be to us. a vote against kavanaugh is a yes vote for more of these despicable tactics being used time and time again in the future. coat hangers being sent to the offices of some of our colleagues. fund-raising bribes being offered. mobs attacking senators and their families at restaurants. the american people deserve a final and definitive resolution to this process. judge kavanaugh deserves the same thing, as does the supreme court s. this week after the investigation, the supplemental background investigation of the f.b.i. concludes, there will be a vote. and i trust that judge kavanaugh will then finally be confirmed. and then hopefully the senate will come to its senses and realize how wrong, how
the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. mr. murphy: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. murphy: i ask that we dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. murphy: thank you very much, mr. president. mr. president, candice bow we ares over-- candice bowers
overcame a lot of challenges in her life. she raised two children as a single mother. she worked at a -- as a waitress at mimi's cafe. she had a large circle of friends. she adopted a daughter aerial who was a relative's baby who couldn't care for her. aerial was -- airiel was 2 years old. a year ago yesterday candice bowers was one of the over 50 victims of the biggest mass shooting in american history in las vegas. her aunt said everybody loved her, speaking about candice. she always had a smile on her face. she would help anybody. she had a big heart. she was just a sweetheart. her -- robert lioco who is a
78-year-old veteran who served in the korean war who was her grandfather says that everybody else might forget about this in six months but we'll never forget about her. i won't. her daughter won't. her little daughter won't. her son won't forget about her, he said, thinking ahead about all the thanksgivings and christmases where there will be an empty seat at their dinner table. he said thoughts and prayers are just not going to do it. angela gomez was 20 years old when she was gunned down at that concert a year ago yesterday. she had just graduated from riverside polly technic high school in 2015 and was attending classes at community college. her former cheer coach said that angie was a fun loving, sweet
young lady with a great sense of humor. she challenged herself all the time. angie enrolled in advanced placement classes. she loved the stage. she was involved in cheer. she was involved in choir. she was involved in the riverside children's theater. she had an amazing life ahead of her filled with joy, filled with enthusiasm for performance. charleston hartfield was 34 years old when he was killed in the shooting in las vegas. he was a las vegas police officer and he was off-duty when he decided to attend the route 91 harvest festival. that's where this shooting took place. one of his friends said, i don't know a better man than charles. they say it's always the good ones we lose early. well, there's no truer statement than that with charles.
charles enlisted in the army in 2000, and he was a paratrooper, the 82nd airborne division. he deployed to iraq in 2003 and he served in a task force that was awarded a presidential unit citation for extraordinary heroism. he survived deployment to iraq, one of the most dangerous theaters of combat in modern history. he couldn't survive going to a concert to hear a singer he liked in his hometown of las vegas. mr. president, i come down to the floor every week or so, a little less frequent now than i did a few years ago, to talk about who these people are. the statistics, i think, have kind of come to wash over people. there's no other country in the world, at least in the advanced
world, the industrialized world that has numbers like this, 33,000 a year dying from guns, 2,800 a month, 93 a day. these are epidemic-level numbers. there's lots of different stories inside these numbers. the majority of these are suicides. we have an epidemic level of suicide alone in this country that is going nowhere but up. but a lot of these are homicides. a lot of these are accidental shootings. they're domestic violence crimes. suffice it to say it only happens in the united states and it's getting worse, not better. i can certainly show you a 200-year trajectory in which violence in the united states is getting better, but in the last several years since these mass shootings have become so regularized, all of it is getting worse. there seem to be a lot of consensus about at least one very narrow cast idea to try to
reduce the likelihood that 58 people could die all at one time as happened in las vegas. as we came out of that shooting a year ago, it seemed that we all at the very least agreed that these things called bump stocks, these things that are manufactured to turn a semiautomatic weapon essentially into an automatic weapon where you can fire multiple rounds with one pull of the trigger, that these things shouldn't be legal, that they shouldn't be allowed to be sold because we all had made a decision a long time ago that notwithstanding our differences as to whether these semiautomatic tactical weapons should be sold in the commercial space, we at least knew that automatic weapons should not be available to consumers and now this modification was being allowed to turn semiautomatic weapons into automatic weapons. yet we are now a year since las vegas, and you can still get one
of these -- you can still turn a semiautomatic weapon into an automatic weapon with ease. in fact, bump stock manufacturers don't need a federal firearms license to sell them. so you don't even need a license to sell these things because the federal government classifies them as accessories, not firearms. and so to me it's just unbelievable that our ability to work on the issue of gun violence has broken down so badly that even on an issue where we profess agreement a year after 58 people were killed -- and by the way, 800 people injured -- we still haven't done anything, anything in this congress about the narrow issue of bump stocks which sun a semiautomatic weapon essentially into an automatic weapon.
now, in february of this year, president trump directed the department of justice to propose a rule that would do this and just last week, the department of justice announced that it was submitting its rule to the office of management and budget, one of the final steps in the rule making pro rule-making process. but as -- rule-making process. as we all know, that rule-making process takes a long time. we're talking about a rule that won't be effective, at least until 2019. and even when that rule is put into place, it will be easily contested in the courts because we all know that it is doubtful as to whether the administration has the ability to ban bump stocks given the nature of the underlying law. it would be so much easier for us to just pass a law that says bump stocks are illegal, thus taking the question away from
the courts as to whether the administration has the power to do it. and we could also do it much more quickly because this rule is still going to take months and months and months before it is fully put into effect, putting more and more people in this country at risk. and so i wear my frustration on my sleeve when it comes to the issue of gun violence because i just don't understand why there's only one issue like this in the american public where the public has made up its mind. the polling tells you that universal background checks enjoys 97% support in this country. people want these assault weapons off the streets by a two to one margin. bump stocks -- the ban of bump stocks enjoys ratings similar to that of universal background checks and yet we still can't get it done. we still can't get it done. and there are consequences.
there are consequences. if you look back over the history of this country, we have always been a more violent nation than our parent nations in europe from which a lot of the original settlers came from. but we are more violent now by a factor of five or six, and in some cases a factor of 20, because a vast majority of our violence in this country today are done by guns, and the data tells you that the places in the united states that have invested in the kinds of reforms we would like to take nationally like universal background checks, violence rates are much lower, gun deaths are much lower. it's not a guessing game as to what works here if you actually want to reduce the number of people who are killed by guns.
we know ultimately what works. and maybe one of my chief frustrations continues to be the fact that we only get attention on the issue of gun violence when 50 people are killed or when it's the one-year mark of 50 people being killed. because this number is daily. 93 people every day are being killed by guns, and they do not make it on to the evening talk shows. they don't make headlines, but the pain for those 93 families today that will lose a loved one from a suicide or homicide or accidental shooting, it is no difference than the pain that comes with losing a brother or a sister or a son or a daughter in parkland or las vegas or in newtown. betty santaval had a toxic
relationship with a man who had been threatening her for some time. there were text messages found on her phone threatening her life if she ever left her boyfriend. she was followed home by this young man one day who shot and killed her out of anger that their relationship was going the wrong way. betty was 16 years old and was shot by a young man in a fit of passion who had easy access to a weapon with which to try to exor cise his commons over a relationship. is this a story of america. we don't have more mental
illness than any other country in the world, we don't have more broken relationships than any other country in the world, we just have more guns. so when a youngman is really upset about how things are going with this 16-year-old girlfriend, he can easily find a weapon. that's the story of suicides as well. tons of data that shows if you don't have easy access to a gun in those moments when you're contemplating taking your own life, you have a chance to survive, get help, have a conversation with your mother, father, or friend that gets you to a different place, the proximity of that weapon makes a difference as it did for betty sandaval who died just about three weeks ago in houston, texas. desmond jones was 15 years old. jamael robert murray were 18
years old when they were shot to death in pennsylvania. of jameal, one of his mother's friends said he was always smiling. he was larger than life. classmates of desmond jones said he was a really cool person who had lots of friends. desmond was 15 years old and he rode his back all around town, from friend to friend and back and forth to william penn high school. he was 15 years old when he was gunned down. jameal's mother friend set up a memorial on facebook because his family didn't have enough money to have a funeral so they asked for donations online to give jameal a proper burial. that happened a week ago on september 26. close to home in waterbury,
connecticut, on september 22, matthew diaz was shot in the back early sunday morning september 2, in the berkeley housing complex. this is about three miles from my house -- from our house in connecticut. he was the father of two. he had an 11-year-old son. he had a 2-year-old daughter. imagine having to tell an 11-year-old kid that your dad's gone, he's never coming back. matthew's mother said he loved his children to the fullest. he would do anything for his children. he would do anything for me. he was my friend, my protecter, my comedian. he was unconscious when police found him but was pronounced dead at arrival of the hospital. when an 11-year-old loses a dad or when you lose your mom or a newly adopted 2-year-old no
longer has their mother, everything changes, everything is cataclysmic for those families, but there are 93 stories every day, but it doesn't have to be that day. it is not inevitable. it is within our control. i think these numbers tend to stun people after a while. i think these numbers don't mean a lot to folks so i will continue to come down to the floor to give voices to these victims, especially today as we mark i year since the worst mass shooting in the history of the country since we recognize one full year, since we pledge to do something about it, since we talked about the narrow area of agreer around bump stocks, one full year of total inaction on the one thing we thought -- we thought we could do together to make this country a safer place.
thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. casey: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i would ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i come to the floor once again to raise concerns about the nomination of judge brett kavanaugh to the supreme court. these concerns, i think, permeate every aspect of the nomination process and the nominee himself. when judge kavanaugh's name came forward because of the nomination by president trump, he came from a list of 25 names. these names were assembled by the white house in consultation
with the record indicates just two groups, the heritage foundation and the federalist society. both are far-right organizations that have a view of public policy that on most issues i don't agree with, but i think that's true with most pennsylvanians. i can't speak for the whole country, but i would guess not in agreement with many people around the country. the heritage foundation, for example, has called labor unions, quote, cartels. that's one view that they seem to have about labor unions. i come from a state where we have a proud labor history, where people literally bled and died for the right to organize, whether it was the homestead
strike in southwestern pennsylvania back at the turn of the previous century or whether it was the latermar massacre in northeastern pennsylvania or the strike by the miners in the early 1900's in my home area, the home region i live in this northeastern pennsylvania. these fights for the right to organize, the right to bargain collectively for wages and benefits were not just hard won, but they represented the values of the people of pennsylvania. when i consider that history and consider the attacks that organized laborers are currently undergoing, the janice case by this supreme court is but one example, and i'm afraid will be one in a series of case that's will be decided against the interest of working men and
women, i'm especially concerned about any nomination of the supreme court on those and other issues but maybe especially the nomination of judge kavanaugh. i think even someone who would disagree with me on my views of organized labor or my views on his record would agree that it's highly unlikely, if not impossible, that we would have an american middle-class without -- middle class without organized labor, without all of that work, all of the sacrifice that was undertaken to achieve the right to organize. that right is threatened now and i think this nomination is one of the threats to that basic right. it should come as no surprise that this nominee has sprung from that same process that i mentioned earlier where i
believe this -- this list that has now been put on the table, in other words, no one can be nominated to the supreme court by this administration unless you're on that list of 25 that was chosen by those two groups, heritage and the federalist society. so if you're a conservative, you're seen as a conservative judge -- federal court judge either in district court or the appellate court or maybe even a state supreme court justice where we've had some members of the u.s. supreme court have their start. if you're not on that list of 25, if you're one of the hundreds of judges appointed by republican presidents, you need not apply because you don't have any chance of getting on the supreme court because you're not on that favored list of 25. i think we can reach -- i think
the administration could and should reach a lot further than just a list of 25 that represent a very narrow view of -- of justice, a narrow view of jurisprudence, and certainly a troubling view of the rights of working men and women just by way of example. on the district of columbia circuit judge kavanaugh has frequently dissented from his colleagues in cases involving worker rights, discrimination and retaliation, going out of his way at times to argue that the interests of corporations should override the interests of individual workers. i serve on the special committee on aging. i happen to be serving as a ranking member in this congress, along with chairman susan collins, and i'm especially astounded at some of judge
kavanaugh's opinions relating to both older americans and people with disabilities. just by way of example, he dissented in two cases that upheld the affordable care act which is essential to ensuring health care for the over 130 million americans with preexisting conditions. the courts are, right now, considering whether people with preexisting conditions should continue to be protected from being charged more, being denied coverage, or being dropped from their insurance simply because of their insurance status. the supreme court might be the last line of defense in maintaining these protections for people with preexisting conditions, and judge kavanaugh could be that deciding vote.
in two cases, judge kavanaugh disagreed with rulings upholding -- upholding the affordable care act. a former law clerk for judge kavanaugh said it best when she spoke about his views of the affordable care act. quote, no other contender on president trump's list is on record so vigorously criticizing the law, unquote. the law meaning the affordable care act. also on multiple cases judge kavanaugh has sided with employers over employees with disabilities, making it more difficult for employees to prove discrimination in court and have their rights protected under law. in one dissent, he took a narrow view of the age discrimination and employment acts, often known as the a dea, which has protected the rights of older
workers for decades, and he wrote -- judge kavanaugh wrote that he did not believe it applied to certain federal employees. perhaps most egregiously in doe v.d.c., judge kavanaugh determined that three women with intellectual disabilities could be forced to undergo elective surgery, allowing the government to make medical decisions on their behalf without attempting to determine their wishes. i could go on to a line of cases -- maybe not cases but comen takers he's made on executive power but we don't have time. but it's a great concern because of what we're confronted with where you have an investigation under way by robert mueller that involves the executive branch and of course a deciding vote on
the supreme court on any issue is significant, but maybe because of the current posture or the current circumstances we're in, his views -- judge kavanaugh's views on executive power are a whole series of other concerns that we have. these disserving views are apparent not just from his decisions and his writings but of course from the public record. what other positions did judge kavanaugh take before he was on the bench? what views are set forth, for example, in his -- in the record from the time he spent his white house staff secretary and the white house counsel's office. we have to ask that question. we don't have his full record from his tenure working in the administration of president george w. bush. why don't we have access to those records? we have to ask that question. why don't we have access to that
basic information? we don't have these records because republicans in the senate have been rushing to jam this nomination through before the mid-term elections. they have broken norms and deprived the senate of critical background documents to get judge kavanaugh on the bench before -- the supreme court bench before november. instead of following precedent and waiting for the nonpartisan national archives to review and release judge kavanaugh's full record, they've rushed to hold hearings and a committee vote before we even have the information that all senators are entitled to before voting on a lifetime appointment. let me move to what happened last week. last thursday the nation watched as dr. christine blasey ford shared with the senate judiciary committee the horrible details
of a sexual assault she experienced as a 15-year-old. the terror she felt in that moment, the horror of the physical assault, and the psychological trauma of believing she might in fact die. we heard her describe how two teenage boys under the influence of alcohol pushed her into a bedroom, locked the door, turned up the music, and how one of the boys pinned her to the bed and covered her mouth to muffle her screams, how she escaped and heard them drunkenly, quote, pinballing down the staircase. we also heard how her clearest memory from that assault was the boys' laughter while it was under way. dr. ford said she was, quote, terrified as she appeared before the judiciary committee to
recount these traumatic events but she decided to do so because she believed it was her, quote, civic duty, unquote, to tell the public what she had experienced. she was open with the committee and consistent in her account and was, quote, 100% certain, unquote, that it was judge then brett kavanaugh, not judge kavanaugh but brett kavanaugh who assaulted her. when i watched her testimony from beginning to end, the conclusion i reached was she was both credible and persuasive. i believed her. and i think a lot of americans did as well. maybe more than half of americans did. but i know i did. and i also believe that judge kavanaugh's response, his response that same day on thursday to these credible
allegations has cast even greater doubt on his credibility also cast doubt on his temperament and his ability to serve as an impartial jurist. i think anyone, even a supporter of judge kavanaugh's nomination could have been troubled by his demeanor. and i'll use the word again, temperament, when he came before the committee. after dr. ford presented her moving testimony, judge kavanaugh responded with explosive anger and partisan attacks on virtually all democrats. i was surprised that he did that. no one would begrudge him the opportunity and the necessity if he felt it were necessary for deny these -- to deny these allegations aggressively. no one would deny him that. but to question the motives of
virtually every democrat or at least every democrat on the committee and to assert some kind of broad partisan conspiracy i think was over the top, was not consistent with the demeanor that anyone would expect from any judge at any level, but especially someone who might be the fifth vote on the most powerful court in the country and arguably the most powerful court in the world. i think most people for or against judge kavanaugh would conclude that his demeanor that day was not demeanor that was consistent with that high position he was seeking. another troubling aspect of his testimony that day -- and i was rather surprised by this -- was when he was asked about an f.b.i. investigation, whether he would support additional investigative work by the f.b.i. really simply to update the background check or to complete
the background check. but instead of requesting a full and open f.b.i. investigation that showed he had nothing to hide, he dodged questions and misrepresented the testimony of key witnesses. there's an old inscription on a building i used to work in in harrisburg, the finance building, that's our state capital which reads very simply. quote, open to every inspection, secure from every suspicion. i think in this case if judge kavanaugh was open to that inspection or that -- in this case an investigation or continuing the investigation or background check, i think a lot of people would have been -- would have been -- would have accorded him more credibility or more confidence in what he was saying. if he said please, complete the background check, have the f.b.i. take a look at all these questions. but he kept saying it was not his call and that may be
technically true, but i was hoping that he would support the investigation. if judge kavanaugh's done nothing wrong, as he and the white house and senate republicans claim, he should have welcomed a full, open, and independent investigation into these claims against him or any other matter that's relevant. i'm glad that the f.b.i. is fully -- is finally, i should say, conducting an investigation, although i'm concerned about reports that the white house may be limiting the investigation and directing its scope. the f.b.i. must allow to question all relevant individuals and follow the facts where they lead. the f.b.i. is the best in the world, and i have great confidence that they will do good work. they shouldn't be constrained in this very limited period of time, this one week that they're investigating. i hope, and i don't know the answer to this, but i hope that what the president said
yesterday, that he and his administration are not constraining the f.b.i., and i'm paraphrasing, not using exact words, i hope that's the policy that the administration transmitted directly to the f.b.i. i hope there's no variance or difference between what the president said and what his administration is indicating directly to the f.b.i. i don't know but i hope that there's a consistency there. mr. president, i want to wrap up because i know we have to do that. the supreme court decides as so many americans understand, cases of monumental importance to our nation. these cases will impact the date-to-day lives of americans for decades -- day-to-day lives of americans for decades, if not for generations. and many questions will be decided by the supreme court. let me just list a few. the american people's ability to
access affordable health care, for example. their opportunity to work in an environment free from discrimination. their ability to access the justice system and have their day in court often defense powerful corporate interests. and as i said at the outset, the rights of working men and women, basic rights, the right to organize, the right to bargain collectively. i hope that when members of the senate are making a determination about this nomination, i hope they'll take those interests and those concerns into their deliberations. mr. president, i would yield the floor. mr. thune: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: mr. president, very five requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. thune: mr. president, i
would ask unanimous consent that i be able to complete my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, aviation continues to play a significant role in the american economy and american life. the industry contributes $1.6 trillion to the economy on an annual basis and supports more than 10.6 million jobs. in 2017, 850 million passengers boarded u.s. airline flights for both domestic and international trips. americans rely on planes to do their jobs, to catch up with far-flung friends and to take a much needed break from work, to make it to important family events. mr. president, every few years congress has to pass legislation to reauthorize the federal aviation administration, the government agency responsible for everything from overseeing the safety of the national air space to providing grants for critical infrastructure needs at airports. in passing that reauthorization bill gives us the opportunity to
take a look at the aviation as a whole and to hear from manufacturers, airport administrators, airline, and the flying public. and that's exactly what we did with the reauthorization bill that is before the senate today. in the leadup to this bill, we spent months conducting research, holding hearings in the commerce committee which i chair, and listening to the aviation community and to airline passengers. and then we took that information and used it to develop legislation that will strengthen aviation, promote economic growth, enhance transportation safety and security, and improve the flying experience for the public. i'm proud of the bill that we have before us today and grateful for the hard work done by members of both parties in the house and senate. mr. president, obviously, security is a massive priority for the airline industry and the flying public and for the federal government. terrorist groups continue to target passenger aircraft and
the aviation sector. but security measures, of course, can also lead to frustration. who hasn't been caught in a long t.s.a. line desperately hoping to make it through in time to catch a flight. the bill before us today will both boost security and help reduce some of the delays associated with security checks. for starters, the bill represents the first ever reauthorization of the transportation security administration in the history of the agency. it establishes a five-year term for the head of the t.s.a. which will include leadership stability at the t.s.a. and promote the efficient and effective deployment of security initiatives. the bill also puts in place measures to speed the deployment of the latest most effective screening technology so we can keep up with the latest threats to aviation. and it requires an agency-wide review at the t.s.a. to look at how to eliminate duplication and
redundant senior personnel to ensure that the agency operates in the most efficient manner possible. this legislation also authorizes more canine teams to be deployed in airports and other transportation facilities around the unction and -- around the united states and creates an outside certification process to enable faster deployment. this is good news both for security and for passengers. canine teams enhance security at airports and security check points with canine teams can operate substantially more quickly. currently a majority of explosive detection dogs in the united states come from overseas. being able to obtain more of these dogs in the united states would reduce the cost and speed up the process of acquiring canine teams. that's why this bill helps build our capacity to test and certify explosive detection dogs here at home. and in another victory for anyone who's ever waited in a long security line, this bill
also requires the t.s.a. to post real time security check point wait times, not just at the airport but also online. that means you'll be able to check the security wait time while you're still at home so you'll know if you need to leave for a flight or if you can spend a few more minutes reviewing your packing list. the h.r. 6157 will make -- the bill will make it easier to sign up for speed check, something that will speed up check times and enhance security for all passengers. while we're on the subject of making life easier for passengers, this bill contains some commonsense reforms that will improve the flying experience. for starters, this legislation prohibits airlines from involuntarily bumping from a flight passengers who have already boarded. i think we can all agree that once you've boarded a plane, you
shouldn't be kicked off until you arrive at your destination. i also think everyone would agree that when you pay for a service, you should get it. this legislation has airlines promptly return fees for services that they don't deliver. and if you pay for a seat assignment, for example, you should get that seat. and if you don't, you should get your money back promptly. this legislation also directs the f.a.a. to set minimum leg room requirements for seats on commercial flights to ensure safety. mr. president, as i mentioned above, the aviation industry makes a big contribution to our economy, and the legislation before the senate today will help this industry continue to compete and innovate. the f.a.a. sets standards for aircraft designs and other aircraft components and certifies these designs to ensure they meet specific requirements. this legislation will take excess bureaucracy out of the certification process so that
you u.s. air companies can get their products to market on time and successfully compete in the global marketplace. it will also enable u.s. manufacturers to fully use certification authorities that have been delegated to them. the bill before us today also supports the development of the air-base technologies of the future, including the return of super sonic aircraft and the integration of unmanned aircraft systems, more commonly known as drones, into the airspace. it advances development of low-traffic altitude services which is essential as drone use becomes more widespread. it provides more flexibility to the f.a.a. to advance drone operations like extended flights or flights over crowds of people, and it directs the f.a.a. to direct operators of small drones to carry packages, meaning that sometime in the future your amazon prime order
could arrive via drone. with the access of railroads and roads, congress turns to the national transportation safety board to get the facts and tell us what went wrong. the legislation before us today will strengthen the national transportation safety board process and make more information available to the public. we'll also expand access to assistance to the families of victims of rail and aviation accidents. mr. president, there's a lot of other good provisions in this bill as well. everything from infrastructure investment to upgrades in safety requirements. mostly unrelated to aviation, this bill also includes critically needed disaster response reforms and a down payment to help communities in the carolinas to recover from hurricane florence. i'm proud of the bill we
produced and the advancement it will make for all stakeholders in the aviation industry are from manufacturers to airline workers to passengers. and i want to thank the ranking member, senator nelson, and our counterparts on the transportation committee and the homeland security committee in the house of representatives as well as other senate committees that contributed to this bipartisan legislation. the members of our committees and their staffs put in a lot of hard work on this bill, and our nation's aviation air transportation system will be safer as a result. i look forward, mr. president, to casting a vote for this bill and to getting this legislation on the president's desk and signed into law, and i would encourage all of my colleagues here in the senate to support this legislation when we have the opportunity to vote on it hopefully later today. mr. president, i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate previous order, the senate also on the senate played a five-year reauthorization of the avenue and a which includes $1.68 million for hurricane florence relief. more live senate coverage when lawmakers return at 2:15 p.m. eastern here on c-span2. join us in just a half hour to get from the director general of al-jazeera was expected to discuss the future of the network at the national press
club in washington, d.c. live coverage at 1 p.m. eastern on c-span3. also today jpmorgan chase cpl jamie dimon talks about the economy and financial policy with american enterprise institute president arthur brooks at the headquarters in washington, d.c. watch live coverage at 1:15 p.m. eastern on c-span. looking at our campaign 2018 coverage of this week, tomorrow at 7 p.m. eastern virginia democratic senator tim kaine faces his republican challenger cory stewart in the second of two count health events. >> watch all these live on c-span, the primary source for campaign 2018.