March 22, 2018
“It’s time to change the Senate rules and go back to that process that Senator Schumer supported in 2013 and 2014 when Democrats were in the majority.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor on how the Senate should speed up the nomination process by returning to the rules for debating nominees that the Senate used three years ago.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Earlier this week, this Senate voted to confirm Kevin McAleenan to be commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“This is a national security job.
“It’s the person in charge of making sure that America has secure borders.
“He was approved unanimously by the Senate Finance Committee.
“In spite of that unanimous vote, the Democrats in this body still delayed this nominee from taking office for as long as they could.
“They forced the majority to file cloture on it.
“We had to have that vote last week – then we had to wait to do it.
“In the end, 30 Democrats voted in favor of his confirmation.
“This had nothing to do with his qualifications for the office – they just wanted to delay and obstruct.
“Forcing a cloture vote on a non-controversial executive branch nominee – it used to be extremely rare.
“There were 15 people confirmed after a cloture vote at this point for the previous four presidents combined.
“What about President Trump?
“Fifty people have been confirmed only after deliberate delays by the Democrats forcing us to waste time on cloture votes.
“That doesn’t even count people who are nominated to be judges – we’re just talking about presidential appointees in the executive branch.
“This delay is unproductive, and it is unprecedented.
“Democrats are insisting on cloture votes because there’s a Senate rule that allows for up to 30 hours of debate on presidential nominees after we’ve had that vote.
“In reality, very little of this time actually is spent on debating the nominees or their credentials to serve in the office for which they’ve been nominated.
“It’s a pattern of ongoing obstruction Democrats have been following since the very first day of the Trump administration.
“On inauguration day last year, Republicans wanted to vote on Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“We’d already had a long debate in the Foreign Relations Committee, and we could have had more debate that evening on the floor.
“A small number of Democrats blocked it – they forced us to have, first, a cloture vote.
“How much of that 30 hours did Democrats actually spend debating this person’s qualifications to be head of the CIA?
“Less than two hours.
“That’s how long the Democrats spent on the floor giving their reasons why they wanted to vote against the nominee.
“Nothing to do with Mike Pompeo – it was just so Democrats could waste three more days allowing nothing else could happen.
“The rules allowed Democrats to stall, and they took full advantage of the rules.
“I is time to end this partisan spectacle.
“We have 78 more nominees for various jobs who’ve made it through their committee hearings and are waiting for a vote on this floor.
“Most of these people have bipartisan support.
“They can be confirmed easily.
“Democrats aren’t using the rules for debate, they’re not using the rules for deliberation, it is only for delay.
“It hasn’t always been this way, and there is no reason it should continue this way.
“The Senate had a different standard for executive branch nominations a few years ago.
“In 2013 and 2014, the rules said that we would have a full 30 hours of debate only for cabinet secretaries.
“For all other executive branch presidential appointees, only eight hours of debate.
“Today we allow 30 hours on every nomination – and Democrats have shown that in most cases it is far too much time.
“We need a fair debate on every nomination. The procedure from 2013 and 2014 was fair.
“The way Democrats are wasting time today to keep us from doing work is not fair.
“It’s time to return to the rules for debating nominations that the Senate used four years ago.
“The rules that we used in 2013 and 2014 were the result of a compromise.
“Democrats controlled the Senate at the time – and a Democrat was making the nominations, that was President Obama.
“Republicans agreed to a fair time limit on the amount of debate.
“There was a bipartisan group that worked on this compromise – four Republicans, four Democrats.
“I was part of that group—I was one of the four Republicans. Senator Schumer, who is now the Democrat leader, was part of the group as well.
“There was overwhelming support for these changes on both sides of the aisle.
“It’s time to change the Senate rules and go back to that process that Senator Schumer supported in 2013 and 2014 when Democrats were in the majority.
“Today, Democrats’ deliberately delay in ways that limit us to a couple of nominations in a typical week.
“If we go back to the 2014 standard, we could clear multiple nominations in a single day.
“We should have this process back in place by the time we take up Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be Secretary of State, when we get back in April.
“The world is a dangerous place. We have serious concerns about Russia, Iran, and China.. Important trade issues that we need to be working on.
“The president will be meeting with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un.
“America needs to have a full slate of people helping the president on these issues – and we need them to be the correct, very talented people that our president needs.
“We’re fortunate to have Mike Pompeo as the likely nominee to be secretary of state. He’s the right person for the job.
“He knows the issues and he knows the people. He has the intelligence, he has the integrity, and he has the experience for the job.
“We’ll be having confirmation hearings in the Foreign Relations Committee in April.
“Let’s have a hearing, let’s have a fair debate – and then let’s vote.
“Let’s not have any of the stalling tactics and the pointless obstruction that Democrats have engaged in ever since the first day that President Trump took office.
“Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be secretary of state will still get 30 hours of debate. After that, we’ll need to confirm a new CIA director.
“Last year we allowed 30 hours of debate on that nomination, and Democrats used only two of the 30.
“Under the compromise rules that I think we should return to, we would allow up to eight hours of debated. That’s clearly enough. More than what most people would think would be needed.
“We have more than 100 other qualified people who’ve been voted on and approved by the appropriate Senate committee, and they’re waiting to do important jobs.
“With all of the threats America is facing in the world, it’s time for Democrats in the Senate to stop wasting time, stop abusing the rules.
“It’s time for Democrats to join Republicans and the president to do all we can to keep America prosperous, safe, and secure.”