Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding on Jan 5th, 2011 :: 4:35:35 to 4:43:45
Total video length: 7 hours 32 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Ron Wyden

4:35:34 to 4:35:54( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: the speakers today, and it's a very serious proposal, but because we don't want to resolve it today, i object. mr. wyden: madam president? the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the resolution will go over under the rule. the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: madam president, before he leaves the floor, let

Ron Wyden

4:35:35 to 4:43:45( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Ron Wyden

Ron Wyden

4:35:55 to 4:36:16( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: me thank senator alexander for the discussions that he has had with me on this issue also. senator mcconnell has spoken with me about this. i wish we were getting this done today, largely because this would give us a chance on the first day of the united states

Ron Wyden

4:36:17 to 4:36:37( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: senate new session to send a message that once and for all we were deep sixing secrecy, that we were saying that public business ought to be done in public. i wish it was being done today, but i understand completely the sentiments of the senator from tennessee and the fact that he is willing to work with me is

Ron Wyden

4:36:38 to 4:36:59( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: something that i appreciate. madam president, as i've indicated, there are obviously significant differences between the parties about how to reform the rules of the united states senate. what i hope will be done, certainly the very first day that the senate comes back and

Ron Wyden

4:37:00 to 4:37:20( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: is in a position to formally act, which appears to be january 24, is once and for all, we could bring democrats and republicans together around an extraordinarily important change in the senate rules that senator grassley and i have been trying

Ron Wyden

4:37:21 to 4:37:42( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: to end for literally 15 years, and now particularly with the energy and the enthusiasm that senator mccaskill has brought to the cause, i think we are now on the cusp of being able to finally get this done. madam president, it's been clear that if you walk up and down the main streets of this country,

Ron Wyden

4:37:43 to 4:38:03( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: people don't know what a secret hold is. probably a lot of people think it's a hair spray. the fact of the matter is there are more versions of secret holds than there are moves in pro wrestling, but what a secret hold really is all about, it is one of the most extraordinary

Ron Wyden

4:38:04 to 4:38:27( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: powers that an individual senator has here in the united states senate, and it can be exercised, madam president, without any transparency and without any accountability whatsoever. what a secret hold is all about is one united states senator can

Ron Wyden

4:38:28 to 4:38:49( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: block the american people, the entire country from learning about a piece of legislation that can involve billions of dollars, scores and scores of people or a nomination with the ability to influence lives of all americans, one united states

Ron Wyden

4:38:50 to 4:39:11( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: senator can block that consideration without owning up to the fact that they are the one that is defying the public's right to know about how senate business is being blocked. madam president, that's just wrong. it's not about how republicans

Ron Wyden

4:39:12 to 4:39:34( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: see it or democrats see it. it's just common sense. most people, when you tell them a united states senator can block an enormously important piece of legislation or a nomination that affects millions of people and he can do it in secret, they say i can't believe

Ron Wyden

4:39:35 to 4:39:55( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: that you all have those kinds of rules. well, the fact is that is the way the senate operates, madam president, and suffice it to say it's getting worse. just a few days ago, for example, justice roberts, chief justice roberts said that the number of vacancies on our

Ron Wyden

4:39:56 to 4:40:19( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: courts is creating a judicial emergency. now, those are the words of justice roberts. at least 19 federal judges have been approved by the senate judiciary committee unanimously or near unanimously and never got a vote on the floor of the united states senate.

Ron Wyden

4:40:20 to 4:40:40( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: madam president, not one united states senator has publicly taken responsibility for worsening the judicial crisis that justice roberts has been decrying over the last few days. just think about that. the chief justice of the united states during the christmas holidays said there was one

Ron Wyden

4:40:41 to 4:41:01( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: thing he was concerned about, and that was the emergency in the judicial system. justice roberts, in my view, is correct. i think we do have an emergency. we have been trying to get several judges in the state of oregon approved.

Ron Wyden

4:41:02 to 4:41:22( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: senator merkley and i, but no member of the united states senate will publicly take responsibility for worsening this crisis that justice roberts is appropriately so concerned about. now, we have tried in the past, madam president, with legislation. we actually got a law passed at

Ron Wyden

4:41:23 to 4:41:43( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: one time to get rid of secret holds. we have tried with pledges from the leadership of both political parties, and in every instance, the defenders of secrecy have found their way around the requirements and, in my view, the public interest.

Ron Wyden

4:41:44 to 4:42:04( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: i would just make two points and then i want to allow senator mccaskill to have a chance to address this issue, but there are two points with respect to why this effort, madam president, to end secret holds would be different. the first is that every hold here in the united states

Ron Wyden

4:42:05 to 4:42:26( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: senate, after the passage of this bipartisan resolution, would have a public owner. every single hold would have a public and second, there would be consequences. in the past, there have not been consequences for the individual who would object. in fact, the individual who

Ron Wyden

4:42:27 to 4:42:47( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: would object would usually send someone else out to do their objecting for them, and there would be complete anone i amity amity -- anone i amity for essentially all concerned, because the person who would be objecting would in effect be saying this isn't my doing, i'm just doing it for somebody else.

Ron Wyden

4:42:48 to 4:43:08( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: so the heart of this bipartisan compromise is to make sure that every hold has a public owner and there would be consequences. there may be, madam president, there may be a senator around here who becomes known as senator obstruction. senator obstruction is the one who is trying to block public business. let them explain it to the

Ron Wyden

4:43:09 to 4:43:31( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: american people. so i will have more to say about it in a little bit and the possibility of other colleagues coming, but senator mccaskill has really brought the kind of energy and passion to this that has made it possible for us to, as i say, be on the cusp of finally forcing here in the

Ron Wyden

4:43:32 to 4:43:45( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: senate public business to be done in public. i want to thank her for all her help, allow her to take the time. she said she thought she might speak for around 10 minutes. senator klobuchar who also has

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