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Senate Proceeding on Jan 25th, 2010 :: 2:02:10 to 2:24:05
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Tom Udall

2:02:06 to 2:02:26( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: mr. president, that ought to be our business as we financial reform in the ahead. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. udall: mr. president, i speak recognition.

Tom Udall

2:02:10 to 2:24:05( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Udall

Tom Udall

2:02:27 to 2:02:47( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. udall: thank you, mr. president. and let me say to my good friend, senator dorgan, first of all, we all know that he has served his state for 40 years, and many of us will be talking about that service and applauding him, but i -- i just want to say it's been a real pleasure to have him chairman of

Tom Udall

2:02:48 to 2:03:09( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: the senate indiana affairs committee while i've served on that committee, and i think there will be many more things that i will say about him and his fine public service, and i want to thank him because think what he has said about the fed and transparency is something that really needs to

Tom Udall

2:03:10 to 2:03:30( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: be said, and i look forward to debating that with him. so thank you, senator dorgan. mr. president, it is with great humility and respect for the institution of the united states senate, reverence for the many great men and women who have served here, and affection for my colleagues that i rise today

Tom Udall

2:03:31 to 2:03:51( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: to discuss what i believe is an issue of great importance. reflecting on my first year as a member of this body, i have come to believe that we are failing to represent the best interests of the american people. we as elected representatives have a duty to our constituents,

Tom Udall

2:03:52 to 2:04:15( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: but partisan rancor and the senate's own incapacitating rules often prevent us from fulfilling that duty. while i am convinced that our inability to function is our own fault, we have the authority within the c article 1, section 5, of

Tom Udall

2:04:16 to 2:04:36( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: language that -- "each house may determine proceedings." this is article 1, section 5, of the u.s. constitution." each house may determine the rules of its in the house of representatives, every congress, they have a vote

Tom Udall

2:04:37 to 2:04:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: on the rules. in the senate, there are only -- let's talk about our major rule that is of issue here, the filibuster rule, senate on rule 22 has only had -- h present senators, three of the

Tom Udall

2:04:59 to 2:05:19( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: present senators for that because we have not voted under the constitution. yet, at the beginning ofhe 111th congress, we implicitly aquahe is to the rules -- we implicitly acquiesce to the rules dopped decades and

Tom Udall

2:05:20 to 2:05:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: sometimes a century ago, rules that most members of this senate have never voted to adopt. today these rules put in place generations ago make effective legislating nearly impossible. specifically, under rule 22, it's not possible to limit debate, end a filibuster, and

Tom Udall

2:05:41 to 2:06:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: invoke cloture without 60 votes. such cloture votes used to occur perhaps seven or eight times during a congressional session, but in the 110th congress alone, there were 112 cloture votes, and most of these were casioned simply by the threat

Tom Udall

2:06:02 to 2:06:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: of the filibuster. this -- this chart right here shows the rise of the filibuster in the senate in congresses starting back in 19 all the way up to the present, and you can see by this in the 96th congress back in 1979-1980,

Tom Udall

2:06:24 to 2:06:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: there were only 20 of these filibusters or votes to invoke cloture. in the 100 congress, just seven years later, it had doubled. here in 2001, another decade or more, it had gone up to 61. and then in the 111th congress, as i just said, it

Tom Udall

2:06:47 to 2:07:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: doubled again to 121. the american people spoke loudly in the 2008 election. they clearly desired a president and a congress that would set a new direction. endorsement of one ideology over another, but instead a call for us to put partisanship asidend

Tom Udall

2:07:08 to 2:07:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: to take care of the country's business. although this chamber was able to pass historic health care legislation last year, we are far from finished. more than anything, what the health care debate has demonstrated is how difficult the rules have made our legislative process, and it's not just health care.

Tom Udall

2:07:29 to 2:07:51( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: other important pieces of legislation still languish. federal judicial vacancies remain unfilled, and many of the president's appointees to key positions are still not confirmed. the american people deserve better. i applaud leader reid for what he has been able to accomplish given the way this chamber's

Tom Udall

2:07:52 to 2:08:12( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: rules have been used to impede progress. senate rules are designed to allow f substantive debate and to protect the views of the minority as our founders intended. but they have been used instead to prevent the senate from beginning to even debate critical legislation.

Tom Udall

2:08:13 to 2:08:33( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: protecting the views of the minority makes sense but not at the expense of the will of the majority. indeed, as the rules are being used today, a single senator can hold a bill hostage until his or her demands are met. this is not the spirit of compromise and collegiality our

Tom Udall

2:08:34 to 2:08:57( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: founders envisioned for this body. even worse, the rules as they exist today make any effort to change them a daunting process. under the current standing rules of the senate, rule 5 states that, quote -- "the rules of the senate shall continue from one congress to the next unless they

Tom Udall

2:08:58 to 2:09:20( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: are changed as provided in these rules." end quote. as adopted in 1975, rule 22 requires two-thirds of senators present and voting to agree to end debate on a change to the senate rules. in most cases, 67 votes. taken together, these two rules effectively deny the senate the

Tom Udall

2:09:21 to 2:09:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: opportunity to exercise its constitutional right to determine the rules of its proceedings and serve to bind thisody to rules adopted by its predecessors. many of my colleagues will argue that the senate is not designed to be efficient, that the use of filibusters and delay tactics

Tom Udall

2:09:44 to 2:10:05( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: was what the founders intended. they will quote george washington's comment to thomas jefferson that the framers created the senate to cool house legislation j used to cool hot tea. while i understand their argument, i do not believe that the framers envisioned that the senate -- they did not envision

Tom Udall

2:10:06 to 2:10:27( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: the senate as the graveyard for good ideas. we can have lengthy debate about the merits of legislation, but there should come a time when we actually vote on the bill. we can discuss the qualifications of a judicial nominee, but each nominee deserves an up-or-down vote.

Tom Udall

2:10:28 to 2:10:48( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: to quote one of this body's most esteemed members, senator henry cabot lodge, "to vote without debating is perilous, but to debate and never vote is imbecile." this is a bipartisan issue. i express my opinions today as a member of the majority, but they

Tom Udall

2:10:49 to 2:11:10( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: will not change if i become a member of the minority party. we are all too aware of the power of rule 22. the filibuster rule adopted in 1975. yet, except for the distinguished senators byrd,

Tom Udall

2:11:11 to 2:11:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: inaway, -- byrd, inouye, and leahy, none of us, republicans or democrats alike, have ever voted to adopt this rule. opponents of rules reform argue that the senate is a continuing body, and therefore the rules must remain in effect from one congress to the next. i disagre with this assertion. even if the senate is deemed to

Tom Udall

2:11:32 to 2:11:54( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: have continued because two-thirds of its members remain in office, there is no reason that the rules must remain in effect. many things change with a new congress. it's given a new number. all of the pending bills and nominations from the previous congress are dead, and each

Tom Udall

2:11:55 to 2:12:15( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: party may choose its leadership. if the party in the majority changes, the new senate becomes substantially different from the last. senators of both parties have argued that the rules may change with as my esteemed colleague from utah, senator hatch, stated in a "national review" article in

Tom Udall

2:12:16 to 2:12:36( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: 2005, and i quote -- "the senate has been called a continuing body, yet language reflecting this observation was included in senate rules only in 1959. the more important and much older sense in which the senate is a continuing body is its

Tom Udall

2:12:37 to 2:12:57( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: ongoing constitutional authority to determine its rules. rulings by vice presidents of both parties sitting as the president of the senate confirm that each senate may make that decision for itself, either implicitly by acquiescence or explicitly by ament.

Tom Udall

2:12:58 to 2:13:18( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: both conservative and liberal legal scholars, including those who see no constitutional problems with the current filibuster campaign, agree that a simple majority can change senate rules at the beginning of a new congress." and this is exactly

Tom Udall

2:13:19 to 2:13:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: hatch said in the "national review" article. both conservative and liberal legal scholars, including those who see no constitutional problems with the current filibuster campaign, agree that a simple majority can chang senate rules at the beginning of a new congress."

Tom Udall

2:13:41 to 2:14:02( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: i agree with senator hatch, and i agree with our good friend senator ted kennedy who said, and i quote -- "the notion that a filibuster can be used to defeat an attempt to change the filibuster rule cannot withstand analysis. it would impose an unconstitutional prior restraint

Tom Udall

2:14:03 to 2:14:25( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: on the parliament procedure in the senate. it would turn rule 22 into a catch-22." the early history of this body suggests that the use of unlimited debate as a tool of obstruction was not an issue. the original senate rules

Tom Udall

2:14:26 to 2:14:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: adopted 5, of the constitution included a provision allowing a senator to make a motion for the previous question. if passed, the motion allowed a simple majority of senators to halt this simple rule for limiting debate was inadvertently dropped in 1806, perhaps for

Tom Udall

2:14:47 to 2:15:08( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: need, and the senate entered a period with no means to limit debate. it wasn't until the 1830's that the senate saw the first filibusterss members recognized that the lack of rule to limit debate could be used to effectively legislation opposed by even a minority of the minority.

Tom Udall

2:15:09 to 2:15:29( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: it was not, however, until 1917, that the senate adopt add formal cloture rule. woodrow wilson's armed ships bill had just been filibustered?? by 11 senators. the president was furious, demanding a change in senate procedural rules. in response, montana senator

Tom Udall

2:15:30 to 2:15:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: thomas walsh, citing article 1, section 5, of the constitution, introduced the constitutional option. walsh argued that a newly convened senate was not bound by the rules of the previous senate and could adopt its own rules, including a rule to limit debate. he reasoned that every new senate had the right to adopt

Tom Udall

2:15:54 to 2:16:15( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: rules, saying that it is preposterous to senate may deny future majorities the right to the rules. in response to walsh's proposal, the senate reached and amended rule 22. the compromise permitted cloture on any pending measure at the

Tom Udall

2:16:16 to 2:16:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: will of two-thirdses of all senators present and voting. back then, the toxic partisanship we face tad had not yet poisoned the system, but the manipulative use of the filibuster had already taken hold. it was used to block some of the most important leglation of that time:

Tom Udall

2:16:39 to 2:17:00( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: antilynching bills in 1922, 1935, and 1938. antirace discrimination bills were blocked almost a dozen times starting in 1946. the 1950's, a bipartisan group of senators had had enough. on behalf of himself and 18 other senators, new mexico's clinton anderson, my

Tom Udall

2:17:01 to 2:17:22( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: predecessor, attempted to limit debate and control the use of a filibuster by adopting the 1917 strategy just as senator walsh did almost four decades earlier, senator anderson argued that each new congress brings with it a new senate entitled to consider and

Tom Udall

2:17:23 to 2:17:45( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: adopt its own rules. on january 3, 1953, anderson moved that the senate immediately consider the adoption of rules for the senate of the 83rd congress. andersons motion was tabled, but he introduced again at the beginning of the 85th congress. in the course of that debate,

Tom Udall

2:17:46 to 2:18:06( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: senator hubert humrey present add parliamentary inquiry to vice president nixon presiding over the senate. nixon understood the inquiry to address the basic question: do the rules of the senate continue from one congress to another? noting that there had never been a direct ruling on this question

Tom Udall

2:18:07 to 2:18:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: from the chair, nixon stated that -- quote -- "while the rules of the senate have been continued from one congress to another, the right of a current majority of the senate at the beginning of a new congress to adopt its own rules stemming as it does from the constitution itself cannot be restricted or limited by rules adopted by a

Tom Udall

2:18:32 to 2:18:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: any provision of senate rules adopted in a previous congress which has the express or practical effect of denying the majority of the senate in a new congress the right to adopt the rules under which it desires to proceed is, in the opinion of the chair, unconstitutional."

Tom Udall

2:18:54 to 2:19:15( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: end quote. nixon's opinion was consistent with the long-standing common-law principle upheld in supreme court decisions that one legislature cannot bind subsequent legislatures. nixon went on to explain that under the constitution, a new senate had three options to deal with the rules at the beginning

Tom Udall

2:19:16 to 2:19:36( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: of a new congress. number one, proceed under the rules of the previous congress and, thereby, indicate by acquiescence that those rules continue in effect. number two, vote down a motion to adopt new rules and thereby indicate approval of the previous rules.

Tom Udall

2:19:37 to 2:19:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: and, number three, vote affirmatively to proceed with the adoption of new rules. despite nixon's opinion from the chair, anderson's motion was tabled. in 1959, anderson raised the constitutional option at the start of the 86th congress with t support of some 30

Tom Udall

2:19:59 to 2:20:21( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: other senators. this time he raised the ire of then-majority leader johnson who realized that a majority of senators might join anderson's cause. to prevent anderson's motion from receiving a vote, johnson came forward with his own compromise, changing rule 22 to reduce the required vote for

Tom Udall

2:20:22 to 2:20:42( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: cloture to two-thirdses of senators present and clinton anderson relied on the constitutional option as the basis to ease or at least reconsider the cloture 22. as he said in "my motion does not prejudge the

Tom Udall

2:20:43 to 2:21:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: nature of the rules, which the senate in its wisdom may adopt, but it does declair in effect that the senate -- declare in effect that the senate of the 85th senate is responsible for and must bear the responsibility for the rules under which the senate will operate." that responsibilit cannot be

Tom Udall

2:21:04 to 2:21:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: shifted back upon the senate of past congresses." end quote. to appease a small group of senators, johnson had included new language. this language state that the rules continued from one congress to the next unless they were changed und

Tom Udall

2:21:25 to 2:21:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: it was a move that would effectively bind all future senates. in 1975, two years after anderson left office, the senate adopted the rule we operate under today. it takes the vote of three-fifths of all senators duly chosen and sworn to cut off debate or the threat of unlimited debate.

Tom Udall

2:21:47 to 2:22:09( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: as the junior senator from new mexico, i have the honor of serving in senator clinton anderson's former seat. and i have the desire to take up his commitment to the senate and his dedication to the principle that in each new congress the senate should exercise its constitutional power to determ let me be very clear.

Tom Udall

2:22:10 to 2:22:32( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: i'm not arguing for or against any specific changes to the rus. but i do think that each senate has the right, according to the constitution, to determine all of its rules by a simple majority vote. as my distinguished colleague, senato byrd, the longest-serving member in the

Tom Udall

2:22:33 to 2:22:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: history of congress, once said, "the constitution in article 1, section 5, says that each house shall determine the rules of its proceedings. now we are at the beginning of congress. this congress is not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past." end quote. it is time for reform.

Tom Udall

2:22:54 to 2:23:14( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: there are many great traditions in this body that should be kept and respected. but stubbornly clinging to infectively and unproductive procedures should not be one of them. there is another way. the resolution i'm introducing today is simple. it would enable the 112th

Tom Udall

2:23:15 to 2:23:35( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: congress to carry out its responsibility to determine the rules of its proceedings in accordance with the constitution. this is not to say that between now and the beginning of the 112th congress we cannot use our political will to find a way to avoid the gridlock of 2009. it is to say that at the

Tom Udall

2:23:36 to 2:23:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: beginning of the 112th congress, the senate can exercise its constitutional right to adopt its rules of procedure by a simple majority vote. the senate may dhoos adopt new rules or it may choose to continue with some or all of the rules of the previous congress. the point is choice.

Tom Udall

2:23:59 to 2:24:06( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: it is our responsibility. as clinton anderson said, it is a responsibility that cant be

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