Floor Updates

Reid

Opening Remarks

Jan 30 2012

02:26 PM

Senator Reid: (2:02 PM)
  • Today --
    • The Senate will proceed to a period of Morning Business until 4:30 PM, with Senators permitted to speak up to 10 minutes each.
    • At 4:30 PM, the Senate will resume consideration of the Motion to Proceed to S. 2038, the STOCK Act, with the time until 5:30 PM equally divided.
    • At 5:30 PM, the Senate will proceed to a ROLL CALL VOTE on the Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 2038, the STOCK Act.
  • Spoke on GOP obstructionism and the need for bipartisan cooperation.
    • SUMMARY "Americans believe Congress is broken. It is no mystery why. Political division in this chamber are so great. They often prevent the senate from performing even its most fundamental duties. The divisions are so great, they prevented this body from confirming presidential nominee, which is a constitutional obligation that we have. These days it's no longer enough to be a qualified nominee. It is no longer good enough to have bipartisan support. In the case of judicial nominees, it is no longer enough to be reported unanimously out of the committee. Last year my Republican colleagues blocked or delayed scores of outstanding nominees. Why? Because they want to defeat President Obama. They said so. That was their number-one goal. And it's him that made these nominations. So that's the number-one goal, to go after him in any way they can. At the end of the last year, the Republicans refused to allow votes on 16 judicial nominees who were reported out of the committee unanimously, Democrats and Republicans. Unfortunately, this year they bring more of the same. Already this year, the last few weeks, some Republicans have gone to the floor and threatened to drag out the confirmation process for every nominee for the rest of the year. This Republican obstructionism is supposedly retribution for President Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray. No one questions his qualifications, no one. He was called upon by the President to head the consumer financial protection bureau. With a qualified leader at the helm, this bureau would be able to effectively protest things that are wrong and protect middle-class families from the greed and excess of the big wall street banks. It will not impact smaller financial service firms and help Americans who don't want to use banks and it will not impact nonbanks from dealing with consumers. But it will affect banks who are ripping consumers off. This bureau will serve as a watchdog against the kind of abuses that nearly collapse our financial system in 2008. President Obama was right to appoint Mr. Cordray. That is a constitutional obligation, a benefit that President Obama has or any President has. It is in the constitution. President Obama had the same right to make recess appointments, even though Democrats kept the Senate in pro forma session. Bush didn't exercise that right or challenge the pro forma sessions in court because Democrats worked with him to confirm hundreds and hundreds of his nominees. Unfortunately, Republicans have refused to work with President Obama, as we did with President Bush. This brand of obstructionism is the reason Americans are disillusioned with congress. They believe Congress can't get anything done. It will take cooperation between Republicans and Democrats to turn that perception around. So we should show the American people that it will work with cooperation between the two bodies. The STOCK Act, I'm glad to see that spirit of cooperation is alive as we move forward to the stock act. We hope so. It is bipartisan legislation. Members of Congress and their staffers have the duty to the American people. They may not use privileged information they get on the job to personally profit. But the perception remains that a few members of Congress are using their positions as public servants to serve themselves instead. Insider trading laws were created to level the playing field and stop Wall Street excesses and members of Congress are not above the law. We must play by the same rules every other American plays by. The STOCK Act will clear up any perception that it's acceptable for members of Congress to profit from insider trading. It will end any confusion over whether members of Congress can be prosecuted for the serious crime. They can be. Mr. President, I'm really disappointed that I had to file cloture to stop a Republican filibuster on this worthy legislation, but I did. They're not going to let us move to this. We had to file cloture to stop this filibuster. So when we get on this bill- and we will get on this bill- we're going to have an amendment process. It is my wish that the Republicans will not abuse the rules in the senate. I hope that the amendments offered will not be non-germane and non-relative. I hope we can legislate on the issues that are in the context of this legislation and I repeat, it is too bad we had to file cloture."