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Senate Proceeding on May 14th, 2008 :: 0:44:54 to 0:57:31
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John Cornyn

0:44:54 to 0:45:02( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: | quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: we're in a quorum call. mr. cornyn: i'd ask unanimous

John Cornyn

0:44:54 to 0:57:31( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: John Cornyn

John Cornyn

0:45:02 to 0:45:20( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: consent that the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection, the senator from texas is recognized. mr. cornyn: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i want to join others of

John Cornyn

0:45:20 to 0:45:33( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: my colleagues in helping the nation of israel celebrate its 60th anniversary. the nation of israel was founded, of course, on may 14, 1948. i think it's appropriate that we honor this ally of the

John Cornyn

0:45:33 to 0:45:47( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: united states and reaffirm the bonds of close friendship and cooperation between our two countries. this alliance, this friendship has never been more important to the mutual security and safety of our people

John Cornyn

0:45:47 to 0:46:00( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: than it has been -- than it is today. this friendship, of course, spans across oceans and is based on shared values. i was pleased when congress recently reaffirmed the commitment to preserving and

John Cornyn

0:46:00 to 0:46:17( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: strengthening that alliance by passing a concurrent resolution honoring israel and recognizing its important mission and its history. in the face of common threats, our relationship with israel today is

John Cornyn

0:46:17 to 0:46:31( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: as important as ever. we have mutual goals of defeating radical islamic terrorism, fostering middle east stability and promoting freedom. israel has shown an unwavering conviction in democracy,

John Cornyn

0:46:31 to 0:46:50( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: justice, security, and peace. the nation of israel and its people deserve not only our friendship and our support, but our admiration as well. and i extend my warmest congratulations to the state of

John Cornyn

0:46:50 to 0:47:06( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: israel and the israeli people for this important anniversary. mr. president, on another note, i want to turn to an important vote that we had yesterday in the united states senate. and, unfortunately,

John Cornyn

0:47:06 to 0:47:21( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: yesterday morning we saw only 42 senators vote to do anything significant about high prices of gasoline at the pump. this is just theis latest example, i'm afraid, of congressional intransigence and really turning

John Cornyn

0:47:21 to 0:47:35( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: a deaf ear to the cries of the american people for congress to do something to help bring relief at the gas pump. but, unfortunately, it's just the latest example. i know most of us came to washington

John Cornyn

0:47:35 to 0:47:50( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: to serve in the united states congress to try to solve problems. unfortunately, the mentality seems to be inside the beltway, though, that we ought to spend more time shooting at each other on a partisan

John Cornyn

0:47:50 to 0:48:04( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: political basis and not working together to solve psoroblems. and, unfortunately, there's more examples than just high gas prices to demonstrate this. i would just point to four -- four areas where

John Cornyn

0:48:04 to 0:48:19( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: we've seen significant delays in congressional action that have really had tremendous consequences on the american people. first and foremost, on our national security. it was 89 days ago that

John Cornyn

0:48:19 to 0:48:34( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: the foreign intelligence surveillance act was basically expired. the most recent authorization which would have allowed us to continue to listen in to foreign terrorists communicating with each other

John Cornyn

0:48:34 to 0:48:49( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: on the telephone in a way that would allow us to detect and deter terrorist activity and to defeat terrorist activity. why the house of representatives and speaker pelosi would refuse to allow this

John Cornyn

0:48:49 to 0:49:07( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: important piece of legislation to come to the floor after it passed the united states senate on a strong bipartisan vote is, frankly, beyond me. but it's been 89 days now since the -- we have the ability

John Cornyn

0:49:07 to 0:49:22( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: to detect new terrorist threats through the foreign intelligence surveillance act basically went dark and expired. secondly, we -- it's now been 540 days since we have failed to act on the colombia

John Cornyn

0:49:22 to 0:49:38( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: free trade agreement. now, free trade agreement should not be partisan -- partisan affairs. it's good in fact for us to have free trade agreements because it opens markets to american farmers and american

John Cornyn

0:49:38 to 0:49:56( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: manufacturers and producers for their goods in other countries. and, in fact, colombia does about $2.3 billion in trade with the state of texas each year. it's very important to my state. unfortunately,

0:49:56 to 0:50:10( Edit History Discussion )

when texas sells goods and produce to colombia, they carry large tariffs which disadvantage my manufacturers, my producers, my farmers in texas, while columbian goods that are sold to the united states

0:50:10 to 0:50:23( Edit History Discussion )

because of other agreements basically come in duty-free. why speaker p.l.o. is i would fail -- why speaker pelosi would fail to allow this free trade agreement to come up and be voted on in the united

0:50:23 to 0:50:36( Edit History Discussion )

states house of representatives is, again, escapes me. this is clearly in the best interest of the united states of america. it's in the best interest of my state and the people who work there. at a time

0:50:36 to 0:50:55( Edit History Discussion )

when we're dealing with stimulus packages because we're concerned about the softening of our economy, what better stimulus could we enact than to pass this free trade agreement which would strengthen

John Cornyn

0:50:55 to 0:51:11( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: the robust markets in colombia for american goods and produce but here we are, 540 days later when it's bogged down in partisan disagreements. this next number is another important number, i think one of the

John Cornyn

0:51:11 to 0:51:29( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: most important jobs the united states senate has is to take up and to consider the nominations of individuals who have been proposed for service on the federal bench to serve in that important branch

John Cornyn

0:51:29 to 0:51:44( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: of government. but we've seen because of inaction in the judiciary committee on some nominees, people like peter keesler who have had been nominated more than 645 days ago, we've seen nominees out of

John Cornyn

0:51:44 to 0:51:56( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: north carolina pass the 300-day mark without even so much as a hearing in the judiciary committee, this is another example of partisan delays that, frankly, frustrate the american people and certainly

John Cornyn

0:51:56 to 0:52:07( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: frustrate me. an example where we ought to act, where we ought to find an opportunity to come together and solve a problem. the problem is particularly for the fourth circuit court of appeals, is that

John Cornyn

0:52:07 to 0:52:25( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: many litigants can't find access to the courts because there aren't enough judges sitting on those benches to listen to their case. so whether you're a crime victim or whether you're a small businessman

John Cornyn

0:52:25 to 0:52:41( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: or woman, or whether you're just a regular citizen in that fourth district, we have a judicial ergency with about a third of the seats vacant. and, frankly, it creates a lack of access to justice. so

John Cornyn

0:52:41 to 0:52:54( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: 685 days without a vote on some of the nominees in the judiciary committee, and we need to do better. and, of course, it was 751 is days ago when speaker pelosi, then running for election and before

John Cornyn

0:52:54 to 0:53:11( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: the 2006 election where democrats were given the majority status in both the house and the senate, she said, "elect us, and we'll produce a commonsense plan to help bring down the price of gasoline

0:53:11 to 0:53:25( Edit History Discussion )

at the pump." unfortunately, the price of gasoline about the time that she took over as speaker of the house was, i think, about $2.33 a gallon, and now, of course, it's about $3.75 a gallon. yesterday,

0:53:25 to 0:53:40( Edit History Discussion )

as i mentioned, we had an opportunity to help provide relief for american families to help them deal with their family budget when it comes to the cost of gasoline. i think we took a half-step that

John Cornyn

0:53:40 to 0:53:56( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: did not do very much. what i mean by that is we did vote to quit filling the strategic petroleum reserve. but if you look at how much oil that that represents that would then be available in the

John Cornyn

0:53:56 to 0:54:11( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: open market, it's roughly 70,000 barrels of oil a day. now, 70,000 barrels of oil a day sounds like a lot of oil unless you consider the amount of oil consumed globally by all the countries in the

John Cornyn

0:54:11 to 0:54:23( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: planet. that's 85 million barrels of oil a day. so, how much of an impact do you think it's going to have on price of gasoline at the pump to provide an additional 70,000 barrels of oil when worldwide

John Cornyn

0:54:23 to 0:54:46( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: consumption is 85 million? well, you don't have to be a ph.d. in mathematics to figure that out. it's not going to be big. as a matter of fact, it will be minuscule. not completely insignificant, but

John Cornyn

0:54:46 to 0:55:02( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: not very much. on the other hand, we had an opportunity to vote to reduce our tkpepbs our dependence on oil and gas on dangerous countries for the united states, countries like iran and venezuela,

John Cornyn

0:55:02 to 0:55:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: both of whom are members of opec, the organization of petroleum-exporting countries. unfortunately, the senate turned down that opportunity to produce as much as three million barrels of oil a day from the

John Cornyn

0:55:18 to 0:55:33( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: united states reserves because we won't allow, won't authorize alaskans to produce oil in alaska. we won't authorize the states along the outer continental shelf to be able to develop their oil reserves

John Cornyn

0:55:33 to 0:55:52( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: in the outer continental shelf. and we won't allow states in the west to develop the oil shale that could produce massive amounts of oil right here in america, reducing our dependency is on imported

John Cornyn

0:55:52 to 0:56:06( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: oil from dangerous countries like iran and venezuela. what i don't understand is if our friends across the senate -- and i believe there was only one vote against that, the decision to stop putting

John Cornyn

0:56:06 to 0:56:21( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: oil i the strategic petroleum reserve, but if everybody in the senate virtually agrees that adding 70,000 barrels of oil to the worldwide supply of oil would help bring down the price of gas at the pump,

John Cornyn

0:56:21 to 0:56:34( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: however minuscule that figure may be, how much more would it be likely to bring down the price of gas at the pump to add three million additional barrels to worldwide supply? and of course, this would

John Cornyn

0:56:34 to 0:56:43( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: not be from saudi arabia. it would not be from iran. it would not be from srepbz way l.a. it would be -- from venezuela. it would be right here from the good, old u.s.a. again, how many jobs would

John Cornyn

0:56:43 to 0:57:00( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: that create right here at home when our economy has turned soft? it would create a latot of jobs in texas. i know it would create a lot of jobs in louisiana. frankly, it would create jobs all over

John Cornyn

0:57:00 to 0:57:12( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: the country. but instead of taking an opportunity to really take a bold move on a bipartisan basis to increase supply of american oil and gas, we find ourselves with half-steps and really relatively

John Cornyn

0:57:12 to 0:57:31( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: insignificant votes to increase production. now, i am glad that finally the congress has recognized that the laws of supply and demand are not inapplicable in the district of columbia. as a matter

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