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Senate Proceeding on May 25th, 2010 :: 1:34:10 to 1:48:10
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Ron Wyden

1:34:00 to 1:34:24( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: s. 389 through s. 395, s. 2874, s. 3200, h.r. 3250, h.r. 3634, h.r. 3892, h.r. 4017, h.r. 4095, h.r. 4139, h.r. 4214, h.r. 4238,

Ron Wyden

1:34:10 to 1:48:10( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Ron Wyden

Ron Wyden

1:34:25 to 1:34:45( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: h.r. 4425, h.r. 4547, h.r. 4628. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so mr. wyden: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the bills be read a third time and passed en bloc, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table en bloc with no intervening action or debate and any statements relating to the

Ron Wyden

1:34:46 to 1:35:06( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: bills be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. wyden: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 398, h.r. the presiding officer: the clerk

Ron Wyden

1:35:07 to 1:35:27( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: will report. the clerk: calendar numbered 398, h.r. 4840, an act to designate the facility of the united states postal service located at 1979 cleveland avenue in columbus, ohio, as the clarence d. lumpkin post office. mr. wyden: mr. president? the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. wyden: mr. psident, i ask

Ron Wyden

1:35:28 to 1:35:53( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: unanimous consent that the committee-reported amendment be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time and passed, the title agreement be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements relating to the bill be printed in the record at the appropriate place as i read. the presiding officer: without

Ron Wyden

1:35:54 to 1:36:17( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: objection, so ordered. mr. wyden: mr. president, at this time i would ask unanimous consent to set ade the pending amendment and call up amendment 4183, the wyden-grassley amendment to end secret holds here in the united states senate. the presiding officer: i

Ron Wyden

1:36:50 to 1:37:10( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: objection? the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from oregon, mr. wyden, for himself and mr. grassley proposes an amendment numbered 4183. at the end of the amendment, insert the following. section, eliminating secret senate holds. a, in general. one, covered request. this standing order

Ron Wyden

1:37:11 to 1:37:31( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: to gnats of intent to object to the following covered requests. a, a unanimous consent request to proceed to a bill, resolution, joint resolution, concurrent resolution, conference report or amendment between the houses. b, a unanimous consent request to pass a bill o mr. wyden: mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that it be considered as read. the presiding officer: without

Ron Wyden

1:37:32 to 1:37:52( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: objection, so ordered. mr. wyden: mr. president, this is the fourth time in under two weeks that senator grassley i, with a large bipartisan coalition of senators here in the senate, a coalition that really spans the philosophical ectrum of membership here in

Ron Wyden

1:37:53 to 1:38:13( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: the united states senate, this is the fourth time that our large bipartisan coalition has sought to pass this legislation to finally end the stranglehold of secret holds. the american people want accountability from their elected officials, but there is simply no accountability when

Ron Wyden

1:38:14 to 1:38:35( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: the united states senate operates in secret. now, the fact is this has gone on for years and years, and it has been done on a bipartisan basis. right now, there are scores of qualified nominees for important positions in the administration and the federal courts that can't get a vote on the senate

Ron Wyden

1:38:36 to 1:38:57( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: floor, but it has also taken place on a bipartisan basis for years and years. so senator grassley and i have tried to make the point this decade that we have been attacking secrecy here in the senate, that this has gone on in a bipartisan fashion. th

Ron Wyden

1:38:58 to 1:39:18( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: mr. president, a secret hold is one of the most powerful tools a member of the united states senate has today. i would be the first to grant that the american people have no idea what secret holds are, but the fact is a secret hold can effectively kill a nomination or

Ron Wyden

1:39:19 to 1:39:39( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: piece of legislation, and it can be done without anyone, colleagues here in the senate or the public, knowing who did it or why. one of the points that i would also like to make, and it really hasn't been explored in the discussion of secret holds, is that a secret hold is a very

Ron Wyden

1:39:40 to 1:40:03( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: powerful weapon that's also available to lobbyists. my guess is practically every senator has gotten a request from a lobbyist asking if the senator would put a secret hold on a bill or nomination in order to kill it without getting any public debate and without the lobbyist's fingerprints appearing anywhere. in fact, if you can get a united

Ron Wyden

1:40:04 to 1:40:24( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: states senator to put an anonymous hold on a bill, it's almost like hitting the lobbyist's jackpot. not only is the senator protected by a cloak of anonymity but so is the lobbyist. a secret hold can also let lobbyists play both sides of the street and give lobbyists a victory for their clients without alienating potential or future clients.

Ron Wyden

1:40:25 to 1:40:46( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: given the number of instances where i have heard a lobbyist asking for secret holds, i'm of the view that secret holds are a stealth extension of the lobbying world here in washington, d.c. now, in the united states senate, there has been an effort to improve the rules and have stricter ethics requirements with respect to lobbyists. there is something of an irony,

Ron Wyden

1:40:47 to 1:41:09( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: mr. president, if the senate, which it has in the past, adopts a variety of changes to curtail lobbying without doing away with what in my view is one of the most powerful tools that is available to lobbyists, and that's the secret hold. so what senator grassley and i have been working on

Ron Wyden

1:41:10 to 1:41:30( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: past decade and with this bipartisan coalition that we have been able to assemble here in the senate is the desire once and for all to permanently eliminate the use of secret holds. i also believe that given the wall street reform bill that was just passed here in the senate to bring greater openness and

Ron Wyden

1:41:31 to 1:41:51( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: institutions, it seems to me for the senate to be telling wall street that it has to operate in a more transparent, open way, it ems to me this is a pretty darn good time for the united states senate to reform the way the sene does its business. if we're going to set about to the task of telling folks on

Ron Wyden

1:41:52 to 1:42:12( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: wall street to be more open and more accountable, certainly the rules here in the united states senate ought to be changed to abolish the secret hold. now, under current senate rules, mr. president, it is still possible for senators to use a secret hold to block legislation

Ron Wyden

1:42:13 to 1:42:35( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: or a nomination from coming to the floor without with having to give any reason. there is no openness or accountability to anybody when a senator places a secret hold. my view is the senate shouldn't have a we're passing laws and rules to require gater openness and

Ron Wyden

1:42:36 to 1:42:56( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: accountability of others and particularly american institutions like wall street while tolerating a practice that keeps both the public and colleagues here in the senate in the dark without accountability to anyone. now, under the proposal that senator grassley and i have sought to pass -- and i see my good friend from iowa here and i

Ron Wyden

1:42:57 to 1:43:17( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: noted that this is our fourth such effort \@n just about two weeks to sunlight to the way that the senate does business. under our proposal, somebody, a united states senator, is gng to have to own a hold publicly

Ron Wyden

1:43:18 to 1:43:39( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: within two days. that's a key chang mr. president, because we have looked at the executive calendar, we have looked at all the places where you might see someone actually publicly own up to having a hold, and senator grassley and i haven't seen that time of transparency and accountability.

Ron Wyden

1:43:40 to 1:44:01( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: so under our proposal which we are seeking to pass this morning, every hold, every hold is going to have to have a public owner within two days. so let me give an example of how this would work. let us say a senator objects to bringing up a nomination on behalf of a colleague.

Ron Wyden

1:44:02 to 1:44:23( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: if the senator behind who in effect is kind of the culprit in all this secrecy, doesn't go public by putting a notice in the congressional record within two days, then the senator who objected on the floor on behalf of this culprit

Ron Wyden

1:44:24 to 1:44:44( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: is going to be listed in the executive calendar as havg placed the hold. the senator who is in effect covering up for the colleague will get the blame if the real culprit, the real senator who is trying to protect secrecy won't come clean. so in effect what senator grassley and i are seek to go do

Ron Wyden

1:44:45 to 1:45:07( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: is use public pressure and peer pressure to get senators to reveal their holds. if a senator keeps objecting to nominations or legislation on behalf o colleagues, pretty soon that senator could get identified as responsible for dozens of holds. we think -- senator grassley and

Ron Wyden

1:45:08 to 1:45:28( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: i and senator inhofe and senator collins, senator merkley -- the big group involved in this on a bipartisan basis, with this approach we're going to be creating public pressure because nobody here in the united states senate is going to want to go down in history as being "senator hold." in my view, it will create peer pressure on senators to come clean about their holds.

Ron Wyden

1:45:29 to 1:45:49( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: let's say senator grassley is on the floor, i'm on the floor when a unanimous consent request is made and one of us is asked to object on behalf of the colleague. we're not going to want to have our names listed as responsible for a secret hol so we'll go and tell that colleague, "u better come clean because we're not interested in having our names

Ron Wyden

1:45:50 to 1:46:11( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: put on the executive calendar as the one who is supporting this secret hold." i also believe the grassley-wyden approach clears other problem by shortening the time period before a hold can be made public to two days. our view is two days is plenty of time for a senator to determine whether to continue objecting and make the objection

Ron Wyden

1:46:12 to 1:46:33( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: public or to withdraw the objection. the bipartisan proposal also includes reforms that make it harder for senators to place revolving holds on a nomination or bill. senator grassley and i have seen over this decade we've been involved in this, andenator grassley, i mentioned the fact that we have always said that this is being done in a

Ron Wyden

1:46:34 to 1:46:56( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: bipartisan way, that there is a very serious problem of revolving holds, where in effect a hold is just bucked off to another member of the senate. we eliminate the ability of a senator to lift a hold before the current six-day period expires and never have to disclose it. under our proposal, mr. president, if a senator

Ron Wyden

1:46:57 to 1:47:19( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: places a hold even for one day, even minute, that hold would have to be disclosed. second, by shortening the time period, it will be even more difficult to keep finding new senators to place new holds every 48 hours. so i want to close, mr. president, by expressing my appreciation to senator

Ron Wyden

1:47:20 to 1:47:41( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: grassley, to senator inhofe, senator collins, on the other side of the aisle who have worked for this reform this, badly-need reform to bring sunshine to the senate. senator grassley and i have put more than a decade into this effort. i want to thank my cleagues on this side of the aisle, particularly senator bennet,

Ron Wyden

1:47:42 to 1:48:03( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: senator udall, senator mccaskill has brought a tremendous amount of new energy and passion to this cause. colleagues, findly after all -- finally after all this time, let us eliminate secret holds and ensure there will be consequences if a senator fails to disclose a secret hold.

Ron Wyden

1:48:04 to 1:48:10( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: i ask colleagues to support the bipartisan effort senator grassley and i have pursued for many years to bring greater transparency and accountability

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