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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 23, 2009 1:00pm-1:30pm EDT

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women in iraq and afghanistan experienced sexual assault or harassment and 59% of these women were at a higher risk for mental health problems. these are tragic numbers and we need to -- we need to act immediately to address them. the difficulty women face is unacceptable. these women have sacrificed so much for our country this bill takes the first step to meet these challenges and follows up on recommendations provided by veterans service organizations by requiring the secretary of the v.a. to study the barriers women face as they seek v.a. services. similarly, h.r. 1211 improves training and education for v.a. professionals to help treat women veterans. this education will help to address the concerns that many women veterans have that the v.a. doesn't understand their needs.
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this is why i support h.r. 1211 and strongly urge my colleagues to vote yes on this important bill. i thank the chairman and yield back the balance of my time. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. filner: thank you. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 1211 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. filner: when i was listening to ms. herseth sandlin talk about the need for pilot programs for childcare, we have had testimony that if a woman veteran showed up with her child or children, they would be denied their appointment. and sent home. this is a way that the culture just must change and which this bill is the first step to doing that. i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 1211 as amended. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the -- the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r.
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1211 as amended. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended -- the gentleman from arkansas. mr. boozman: i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 and the chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. hinojosa: mr. speaker, morph that the house suspend the rules -- i move that the house suspend the rules and concur in the senate amendment to h.r. 1777. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 1777, an act to make technical corrections to the higher education act of 1965, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from texas, mr. hinojosa, and the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. thompson, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. hinojosa: mr. speaker, i request five legislative days during which members may revise
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and extend and insert extraneous material on h.r. 1777 into the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. hinojosa: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hinojosa: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of h.r. 1777, a bill to make technical corrections to h.r. 4137, which is the higher education act. mr. speaker, the house originally passed this legislation on march 30, 2009. this is a revised version from the senate. the senate made additional conforming and technical changes including a scholarship program for students whose parent or guardian was a member of the armed forces of the united states and died as a
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result of performing military service in iraq or afghanistan after september 11, 2001. clarifying the experimental site authority at the department of education. let me explain some of these changes. currently borrowers may rehabilitate their defaulted federal student loans by making nine on-time payments. once they meet this threshold, the guarantee agency may sell the loan to a lender which results in the default being removed from the borrower's credit reports. mr. speaker, because of the current credit crunch, guarantee agencies have been unable to find lenders for these loans. the bill amends the law to allow those loans qualified for
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rehabilitation to be assigned to the department of education for this purpose. the bill makes three changes to the exemption of veterans assistance in the calculation of the federal financial aid. the first is to clarify that assistance under the montgomery g.i. bill is included in exempted veterans benefits. and the second is to move the date of the ex-- exemption from the veteran benefits from the calculation of the assistance from july 1, 2010, to july 1, 2009. the third change is to provide scholarships in the amount of the maximum pell grant award to students whose parent or guardian was a member of the armed forces. united states -- forces of the united states and died as a result of performing military service in iraq or afghanistan
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after september 11, 2001. the bill ensures the continuation of the department of education's experimental site program on existing campuses for another year and defines a successful program as one that reduces administrative cost and increases student services without additional cost to the government. in closing, mr. speaker, i would like to thank our committee chairman, representative george miller from california, and our ranking member, john kline, along with our ranking member -- john klein, along with our ranking member on the subcommittee, representative guthrie of kentucky, toer --er for expediting this legislation and helping us make these needed corrections in a bipartisan manner. i urge all my colleagues to vote yes on h.r. 1777.
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thank you. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. thompson. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of this legislation and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thompson: the house easily passed this bill under suspension at the end of march and as often happens with the legislative process when it went to the senate a few changes were made. therefore we are here again today simply to give final approval to a bill we already supported and rightfully so. the primary purpose of this legislation is to make technical changes to ensure smooth implementation of the bipartisan higher education reforms enacted last year. second, it address as pressing issue facing the federal student loan programs. third, the legislation includes the provision to assist students who have lost a parent to the wars in iraq and afghanistan. the technical corrections are just that. clarifications needed to ensure
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that the first comprehensive renewal of higher education programs in a decade can be put into place as congress intended. the legislation will also help student loan borrowers who have fallen behind to rebuild their damaged credit by making these loans eligible for emergency liquidity measures enacted last fall. it's a simple change that will make a real difference for borrowers who are just trying to do the right thing by restarting regular payments on their federal student loans. the other change we are making in this bill is also important, but a different set of students. students who have suffered a terrible loss, who have continued to move forward to achieve a postsecondary education. i'm talking about the students who lost a parent due to the military action taking place in iraq and afghanistan. the higher education act re-authorization bill that was passed by this body last congress include add provision that would allow eligible students to automatically receive the maximum pell grant if one of their students died
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as a result of military service in iraq or afghanistan. the legislation before us today extends a similar benefit to students who may fall outside of the income limits placed on the pell grant program but who have also suffered the same type of loss. under this legislation, all students who have lost a soldier parent as a direct result of fighting in the war in iraq and afghanistan will be eligible for a grant. the parents of these students have given their lives in service to our country. a college student who loses a parent in war loses so much more than we can fathom. they will not have 24ir parent around to move into their first dorm room or hear complaints about cafeteria food. they'll not have their parents' consolation and encouragement to continue even after a poor test grade or difficult professor. of course these students who lose a parent in iraq or afghanistan will not have the financial support of their parent in this time of rising college costs and economic uncertainty. while this legislation does not provide students with the same
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types of support a parent could provide, i hope it will ease the financial burden of paying for college just a little bit. the legislation before us easily passed the house once. i hope for a similar result again. i urge my colleagues to join me in voting yes on this legislation. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas, mr. hinojosa. mr. hinojosa: mr. speaker, i wish to ask the gentleman from pennsylvania, congressman glen thompson -- glenn thompson, if he has any further speakers. mr. thompson: i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. hinojosa: mr. speaker, i have no other speakers. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and concur in the senate amendment to h.r. 1777. so many as are in favor say
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aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are -- the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, while i certainly support the intent and purpose of this bill. i object to the vote on the grounds a quorum is not present and make a point of order a quorum is not present. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 and the chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on the motion will be suspended. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. hinojosa: with the statement that the gentleman from pennsylvania made, i would like to request yeas and nays on this amendment.
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mr. hinojosa: mr. speaker,dy not hear him say he was requesting yeas and nays. so i retract my motion. the speaker pro tempore: withdrawn. for what purpose does the gentleman from missouri, mr. skelton, rise? mr. skelton: i ask unanimous consent that the committee on armed services be authorized to file a supplemental report on
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the bill h.r. 2647. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the house will stand in
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a private business initial titch. no government mandate, no government money. >> there's still time to get your copy of c-span's 2009 congressional directory. with information on house and senate members, the cabinet, supreme court justices and the nation's governors. plus, district maps and how to contact committees and caucuses. it's $16.95. online at or call 1-877-on-c-span. >> several senate republicans
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spoke on the senate floor today about the nominee of judge sonia sotomayor to the supreme court. we'll hear mitch mcconnell and jeff sessions. this is a little over a half-hour. >> madam president, this morning i'd like to turn my nomination of judge sonia sotomayor to the supreme court and more specifically to the so-called empathy standard that president obama employed in selecting her to the highest court in the land. the president has said repeatedly his criterion is their ability to sthies with groups. i think we can take the president at his word of wanting a judge who exhibits this treat on the bench. and based on a review of judge sotomayor's record it's becoming clear to many that this is a trade he's found in this particular nominee.
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judge sotomayor's writings offer a window into what she believes having empathy for certain groups means when it comes to judging. and i believe that once americans come to appreciate the real world consequences of this view they'll find the empathy standard very troubling as a criterion of selecting men and women for the federal bench. a review of judge sotomayor's writings and rulings make a point. a 2002 article in the berkley la raza law journal has received a good deal of attention already for her troubling assertion that her gender and ethnicity would enable her to reach a better result that a man of different ethnicity. they say it was inarticle that it was taken out of context. we've sense learned, however, that she's made similar assertions. other comments that sotomayor made in the say law review
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article underscore rather than alleviate concerns with this particular approach to judging. she questioned the principle that judges should be neutral and said that the principle of impartiality is a mere aspiration that she's that she's skeptical judges can achieve in all or even in most cases. or even in most cases. madam president, i find it extremely troubling that judge sotomayor would question whether judges have the capacity to be neutral even in most cases. there's more. a few years after the publication of this particular law review article, judge sotomayor said the court of appeals is where policy is made. some might excuse this comment as an off-the-cuff remark, yet it's also argue -- argue ble --
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arguable. madam president, i'd like to talk to one of her cases that the supreme court is currently reviewing. in looking at how she handled it, i'm concern that some of her own personal preferences and beliefs about policy may have influenced her decision. for more than a decade judge sotomayor was a leader in the porter reekan legal defense and education fund -- parityo reekan legal defense and education fund. she was responsible for monitoring all litigation the group filed. and was described as an ardent supporter of its legal efforts. it's been reported that her involvement in these projects stood out and that she frequently met with the legal staff to review the status of cases.
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the group's most important projects was filing lawsuits against the city of new york based on its use of civil service exams. she challenged those exams. in one of these cases the group sued the new york city police department on the ground that its tests for promotion discriminated against certain groups. the suit alleged that too many caucasian officers were doing well on the exam and not enough hispanic and african-american officers were performing as well. the city settled the lawsuit by promoting some african-americans and hispanics who hadn't passed the test while passing over some white officers who had. well, some of these white officers turned around and sued the city. they alleged that even though they performed well on the exam the city discriminated against
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them based upon race under the settlement agreement and refused to promote them because of quotas. their cases reached the supreme court with the high court splitting 4-4 which allowed the settlement to stand. more recently, another group of public safety officers made a similar claim. a group of mostly white new haven, connecticut, firefighters performed well on a standardized test which denied promotions for lieutenant and for captain. other racial and ethnic groups passed the test, too, but their scores were not as high as this group of mostly white firefighters. so under the standardized test, individuals from these other groups would not have been promoted. -to-avoid the result, the city threw out -- to avoid this result, the city threw out the test and announced that no one that took it would be eligible for promotion regardless of how
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well they performed. the firefighters who scored highly filed suit against the city. the trial court ruled against them on summary judgment. when their case reached the second circuit, judge sotomayor sat on the panel that decided it. it was and is a major case. as i mentioned, the supreme court has taken that case and its decision is expected soon. the second circuit recognized it was a major case, too. the court allotted extra time for oral argument, but unlike the trial judge who rendered a 48-page opinion, judge sotomayor's panel dismissed the firefighter's appeal in just a few sentences. so not only did judge sotomayor's panel dismiss the firefighter's claim thereby depriving them of the trial on the merits it didn't even explain why they shouldn't have their day in court on their very significant claims.
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now, i don't believe a judge should rule based on empathy, personal preferences or political beliefs. but in any case, crying out for empathy, if any case cried out for empathy it would be this one. the plaintiff in that case, frank richie, has dyslexia. as a result, he had to study extra hard for the test, up to 13 hours each day. to do so he had to give up his second job while at the same time spending $1,000 to buy textbooks and recording those books on tapes so he can overcome his disability. his hard work paid off. of 77 applicants for eight slots, he had the sixth best score. but despite his hard work and high performance, the city deprived him of the promotion he had clearly earned.
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is this what the president means by empathy? where he says he wants judges to empathize with certain groups but impolice italy not with others -- implicity not with others? what if you are like frank richie? this is not a partisan issue. it's not just conservatives or republicans who criticized judge sotomayor's handling of the richie case. self-described democrats and political independents have done so as well. president clinton's appointee to the second circuit in and judge sotomayor's colleague has criticized the handling of the case. he wrote a stinging dissent determining the handling of the case per functry and saying the way her panel handled the case did a disservice to the issues involved. "washington post" cullomist said something similar. last month before the president
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made his nomination he included his piece on the subject as follows. richie is mott just a legal case but a man who has been deprived of the pursuit of happiness on the account of his race. obama's supreme court nominee ought to be able to look at the new haven fireman in the eye and say whether he has been treated fairly or not. this is a litmus test for you. legal journalist stuart taylor was highly critical of the way it was handled calling it peculiar. even the obama justice department weighed in. it filed a brief and the supreme court argued that judge sotomayor's panel was wrong to simply dismiss the case. so, madam president, it's an admirable quality to be a zellist for your client, but judges are supposed to be passionate advocates for they have a fair application of the
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law, not their own preferences. in reviewing the richie case, i'm concerned that judge sotomayor may have lost sight of that. as we consider this nomination, i'll continue to examine her record to see if personal or political views have influenced her judgment. i yield the floor. >> madam president. >> the senator from alabama. >> madam president, i thank senator mcconnell for his thoughtful comments. he's a former member of the judiciary committee, a lawyer who studied these issues and cares about them deeply. i value your comments. i do think that as you know, senator mcconnell, while you're here that once a nominee achieves the supreme court they do have a lifetime appointment. and these values and preferences or principles that
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they operate on go with them and it's up to us, i think you would agree, to make sure that the values and principles that they bring to the supreme court would be consistent with the rule of law. and i appreciate. >> if the senator from alabama would yield? i commend him for his outstanding leadership on this nomination and his consistent statement that we would have time to read the job, read the cases, read the articles and get ready for meaningful hearing for one of the most important jobs in america. i think he's done a superb job and i want to thank him for his effort. >> thank you, senator mcconnell. i would note that only nine legislative days between now and the time the hearing starts. so we are definitely in a position where it's going to be difficult to be as prepared as we would like to be when this hearing starts. and we still don't have some of the material we need also. my staff and i have been working hard, madam president, to survey the writings and
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records of judge sotomayor. certainly the constitutional duty of the senate to consent to the president's nomination is a very serious one. in recent years we've seen judicial opinions to the judge's personal preferences than to the law. it's caused quite a bit of heartburn throughout the country. we've seen judges who fail towns that their role while very important is a limited one. the judge's role is not policy, politics, ethnicity, feelings, religion or personal preference. because whatever those things are they are not law. and first and foremost a judge per sonifies law. -- personifies laws. that's why judges and lawyers during court sessions, and i practiced law in federal courts for all of 15 years, been in court a lot. when they go to court they don't even say the judge's name
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and usually don't even say judge. they refer to the judge as the court. they say if the court, please, i'd like to show the witness a statement. or a judge may write, this court has held. maybe what he has written himself or she. all of this is to depersonalize, to objectify the process. to clearly establish that the deciding entity has put on a robe, a blindfold, according to our image, is objective, honest and fair, and will not allow personal feelings or bias to enter into the process. so the confirmation process rightly should require careful evaluation to ensure that a nominee, even one who has a fine career of experience as judge sotomayor does, meets all the qualities required of one that would sit on the highest court.


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