Floor Updates

Sessions, Johnson-WI, McCain

Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization bill (S. 1925)

Apr 26 2012

10:37 AM

Senator Sessions: (9:51 AM)
  • Spoke on the 3rd Anniversary since the Democratic-led Senate passed a budget.
    • SUMMARY "At this time of financial crisis, the majority in the Senate refuse to perform its legally required duty and moral responsibility to produce a budget plan. It's part of the United States Code in 1974, the Budget Act. A budget requires also as a part of that act only 51 votes to pass. It cannot be filibustered. It's given a priority. In 1974, Congress obviously was disappointed that we weren't moving forward effectively with budgets and that a budget is crucial to the financial stability of a nation, and that's why they passed the Budget Act. And it said, you can't filibuster it in the Senate. It's guaranteed right to have a vote. It's required to be brought up in committee by the April 1 . and that's what the statute requires. Unfortunately, it doesn't require that Congress goes to jail if it doesn't pass one or perhaps as Senator Heller from Nevada suggests, maybe Congress ought not to be paid if they don't pass a budget. Maybe that would be a reform that would be good for us. So the majority refused to bring up a budget, even attempt to pass a budget, this year and as they refused to do the past two years, two years before that. So the absence of a budget is not simply a case of inaction. The Senate majority has pursued a systematic, deliberate, and determined policy - I believe a politically driven policy - to keep a budget off the floor. Why? To shield its conference from public accountability and to attempt to during this period of financial danger. The worst possible time not to have a budget, not to have a plan, not to stand up and tell the American people what your vision financially for the country is would be in a time of deep financial crisis, when we are on an unsustainable path. So we're not willing to even see a plan. They are not willing to present a financial future of America. And when criticized about it, the White House says one thing, Speaker Pelosi another one, the Democratic Leader here has another explanation. None of them are coherent and none of them make real sense. Why, I guess it's because there is no explanation. There can be no justifiable reason why this responsibility is not fulfilled. They said, well, maybe one day - maybe it wouldn't pass ultimately. Maybe we wouldn't agree. But the House - Republican House felt it's responsibility to comply with the law and it has for the last two years - last year and will again this year - lay out a long-term plan for America that changes our debt course and puts us on a financial path to stability. That's responsibility. Oh, yes, the Senate called it up here, for what reason? Just so they can attack it and bring it down. But not to lay out any plan of their own. When Senator McConnell called up President Obama's budget last year, said, let's see if you want to vote for that. You voted against the House budget and attacked Paul Ryan and his colleagues for the historic work they put into drafting their budget. Let's see what you think about your President's budget. It went down 97-0, not a single member voted for it."

Senator Johnson-WI: (10:07 AM)
  • Spoke on the 3rd Anniversary since the Democratic-led Senate passed a budget.
    • SUMMARY "The United States Senate has not fulfilled a basic responsibilities. It is required by law to pass a budget by April 15 of every year. It's a reasonable requirement. It's a reasonable responsibility. The House Republicans fulfilled this responsibility. They put forward a plan. They've shown the American people what they would do to solve our looming debt and deficit problem. The United States Senate hasn't. Why hasn't the majority here in the Senate passed a budget? They have all the votes. They have them in the Budget Committee to refer a budget to the floor. They have the votes. They have the number of members on the floor of the Senate to pass a budget. Why do they refuse? Is it because they have no solutions to our problem? Or is it they have a solution, they simply don't want the American people to know what it is. Trust us, we'll take care of us. Is it also because they don't want their fingerprints on that solution? They don't want to be held accountable? I think more likely that's the reason we haven't passed a budget here in the Senate for three years now. I guess they could claim that President Obama's budget is their plan, but the problem with that is President Obama's last two budgets have been so unserious, last year his budget lost in this body, the United States Senate, by a vote of 0-97. Not one member of the President's own party gave it a vote. As a matter of fact, not one member of the party, of the President's own party was willing to bring that budget to the floor for a vote. Republicans had to do that. And now this year's budget, three weeks ago in the House of Representatives, again the President's budget was brought forward to the House by a Republican - not a Democrat. It lost 0-97. Again I ask the American people, think about that. Think about what a stunning Repudiation that is of leadership. What it really represents is a total abdication of leadership. The American people deserve better. They deserve far better. They deserve to see a plan. They deserve to have a choice. The president now has put forward four budgets. He has yet to propose any solution to save social security or to save Medicare. Again, the house has provided that plan. They passed a budget. They have been responsible. Republicans have been willing to be held accountable. That's our job. It is well past time for the United States Senate to fulfill its responsibility, to bring a budget to the floor. Not just vote on one, but work on it, and pass one so that we can go to conference and we can reconcile that with the house budget that the United States finally after three years will start operating under a budget in the next fiscal year."

Senator McCain: (10:26 AM)
  • Spoke on the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization bill.
    • SUMMARY "The Violence Against Women Act represents a national commitment to reversing the legacy of laws and social norms that once served to shamefully excuse violence towards women, a commitment that should be maintained. Whatever differences we might have over particular provisions in the bill, surely we are united in our concern for the victims of violence in our determination to do all that we can to prevent violence against the innocent regardless of gender. I recognize that women suffer disproportionately from particular forms of violence and other abuse which this legislation is intended to address. And I believe it does address and that's why I support it. But our motivation to act on their behalf resides in our respect for the rights of all human beings, male and female, all races, creeds, and ages a, to be secure in their persons and property, to be protected by their government from violent harm at the hand of another, to live without threat or fear in the exercise of their god-given rights. Similarly, whatever our political differences in this body, I trust we all believe we are doing what we think best serves the interests and values of the American people, all of the American people. I don't think either party is entitled to speak or act exclusively for one demographic of our population, one class, one race, or one gender. The security and prosperity of all Americans is a shared responsibility, and each of us discharges it to the best of our ability. We don't have male and female pretty well parties. And we don't need to accuse each other of caring less for the concerns of one half of the population than we do for the other half. The truth is both parties have presided over achievements and increases in opportunity for women ... Both parties have made progress towards ensuring Americans, male and female, have an equal opportunity to succeed as far as their talents and industry can many policies, from changes to our tax codes to changes in education policy, to improvements in workplace environments, as well as from changes in cultural attitudes in both the public and the private sector. Do we always agree? Do we always get it right? No, we don't. But I do think there is much for all of us to be proud of. Regrettably, and there's always something to regret in politics, we have seen too many attempts to resolve inequities in our society and ensure all Americans are afforded the same respect for their rights and aspirations misappropriated for the purpose of partisan advantage which has the perverse effect, of course, of dividing the country in the name of greater fairness and unity. My friends, this supposed war on women or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are political in their purpose and effect. The first purely political - the first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter. And the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television. Neither purpose does anything to advance the well-being of any American."