Floor Updates

Cardin, Sanders, Reid, Paul, Levin

Postal Reform bill (S. 1789)

Apr 17 2012

03:29 PM

Senator Cardin: (2:27 PM)
  • Spoke on S. 1760, the End Racial Profiling Act.
    • SUMMARY "This legislation would make it clear that racial profiling will not be allowed in this country. Racial profiling is un-American. It's against the values of our nation. It's contrary to the 14th amendment of the constitution which provides for equal protection under the law. It's counterproductive. It doesn't keep us safe. You're using valuable police resources in a way that is wasting those resources. It's sloppy police work. If you try to identify a problem by race rather than looking for good police work to identify the real perpetrator of a crime. It also creates a mistrust in the community that you're trying to protect. A community who you need to help you, cooperate with you as far as keeping a community safe. So for all those reasons, racial profiling should have no place in modern law enforcement. We need a national law. I was impressed at the hearing today that there was general consensus that we have a problem in this country, that there is a problem of law enforcement using racial profiling, which should not be done. S. 1670 would prohibit the use of racial profiling. That is making a decision based upon race, ethnicity, national origin or religion. Basically what you're doing is subjecting an individual to a spontaneous investigation based upon that person's race, religion, ethnic background or national origin. That should have no place. What we're talking about is someone being stopped for a routine traffic stop based upon the person's race or being subject to a search or being subject to interrogation solely because of that person's race. Or an investigation the scope and substance of law enforcement activities are following initial investigation, investigative proceeding is determined because of race. That should have no place in America. My legislation would apply to all levels of government, not just the federal, but the state and local. It requires mandatory training. Here is an issue that I think we all should be in agreement. Perhaps the tragedy that happened with Trayvon Martin may not have happened if Mr. Zimmerman had been trained on the issues of what is good police work and what is not good police work. How racial profiling needs to be eliminated. We feel very strongly on the need of mandatory training. The legislation requires data collection by local and state law enforcement, state and local law enforcement must maintain adequate policies and procedures designated to eliminate racial profiling. And they must eliminate any existing practices that present or encourage racial profiling. Simple what the legislation does. The Department of Justice granted authority to make grants to promote best practices, so one jurisdiction can learn from another as to what is the best practices in order to make sure that this practice is not being used, that we're doing everything possible to keep communities safe by good police work, not by sloppy police work. I want to point out that the overwhelming majority of people that are law enforcement do it the right way."

Senator Sanders: (2:47 PM)
  • Spoke on the Postal Reform bill.
    • SUMMARY "Let me begin by touching on some of the improvements that I think we have brought about. Number one, the manager's amendment brings more protection for rural post offices. I come from a rural state. I know how important rural post offices are, and the manager's amendment provides more protection for these rural post offices. The substitute amendment would prevent the Postal Service from closing any post offices until it has established a set of service standards that would guarantee all postal customers regular and effective access to retail postal services nationwide on a reasonable basis. The Postal Service is required to establish these standards within six months. The service standards would be required to take into account the following factors. What we are talking about here is that before a rural post office could be shut down, certain standards are going to have to be addressed. Number one, a, a consideration of the reasonable maximum time a postal customer should expect to travel to access a postal retail location. In other words, if you shut down a post office and somebody has to go 20 miles and spend money on gasoline, an enormous amount of time, it doesn't make sense to shut down that rural post office. Furthermore, we want to look at the age and disability status of individuals in the area. If you have elderly people, if you have a large number of disabled people and you shut down that postal service, those folks are really going to be for all intent and purposes isolated. Don't shut down that postal service, that post office. C., there would be a requirement that the Postal Service serve remote areas and communities which have transportation challenges. What happens if I live in a community and I don't have a car, how do I get to a Postal Service that is - a post office that is five miles away from here? The effects of inclement weather or other natural conditions that might impede access to postal services. In other words, if you live in a climate where you have a whole lot of snow, how are people going to get to another post office? Second issue: the manager's amendment protects regional overnight delivery standards. The manager's amendment requires that the postal service retain a modified overnight delivery standard for three years. Ensuring that communities across the country continue to receive overnight delivery of first-class mail. A very significant step forward for small businesses and for people throughout our country. A maximum delivery standard of three days would also be maintained for first-class mail sent anywhere in the continental united states. Originally postmaster general had suggested maybe we can lengthen the time from three days to five days. We keep it at three days. The retention of a modified overnight delivery standard would result in at least 100 mail processing facilities remaining open that are now scheduled to be closed. Number three, the manager's amendment makes it harder to eliminate six-day delivery, the substitute amendment would prohibit the postal service from implementing any plan to eliminate Saturday delivery for at least two years. After two years, Saturday delivery could only be eliminated if the postal service has first attempted to increase revenue and cut costs through other means and the GAO. And the postal regulatory commission conclude that eliminating Saturday delivery is necessary for the long-term solvency of the postal service."

Senator Reid: (2:57 PM)
  • Unanimous Consent:
    • All post-cloture be yielded back and the Motion to Proceed to S. 1789, the Postal Reform bill be Agreed to (Paul objected).

Senator Paul: (2:58 PM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "Egypt currently gets $2 billion from our company from the U.S. taxpayer, and my question is that a country that gets $2 billion a year, should we be sending it to them when they continue to seek to prosecute American citizens? Now, recently, President Obama's administration, freed up that money and said Egypt is pursuing democratic aims, and so we freed up the $2 billion. How did Egypt respond to this? Egypt basically thumbed their nose at us. Egypt said we are now issuing international warrants to get American citizens, extradite them, take them back to Egypt for a political show trial. So we give money to a country that insults us. I think this should end. I think this deserves 15 minutes of senate time where we discuss whether or not America has money to be sending to Egypt when we have 12 million people unemployed in this country, whether or not we have needs here at home that need to be met before we send $2 billion to Egypt who turns around and insults us by prosecuting American citizens. So I respectfully object and seek a vote on this amendment that would end their aid if they do not end the prosecution of American citizens."

Senator Reid: (2:59 PM)
  • Unanimous Consent:
    • Senate consider amendments relevant to the Postal Reform bill (Paul objected).
  • Filled the amendment tree.
  • Filed cloture on Lieberman/Collins substitute amendment #2000 to S. 1789, the Postal Reform bill.
  • Filed cloture on S. 1789, the Postal Reform bill.
  • On the Motion to Proceed to S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization bill.

Senator Levin: (3:09 PM)
  • Spoke on the Postal Reform bill.
    • SUMMARY "What we have just witnessed here is an example of why the United States Senate is too often tied into knots. We have a bill that's critical to every one of our states that's pending, the Postal Reform bill. The leader tried to move this bill forward by saying let's stick to relevant amendments, relevant to the bill which is a broad standard, a lot broader than a germaneness standard. Then there is an objection to that because there's another matter which the Senator from Kentucky rightfully has an interest in, we all have an interest in various matters many of which are $2 billion or more in terms of costs but that amendment of the Senator from Kentucky is not relevant to this bill. And unless he says he gets his way and has a 15-minute debate on a $2 billion subject, he's going to object to us addressing a subject which is involving every one of our states. Now, this is why we have so many difficulties here at times, at least, moving forward in the senate. Because any one of us at any time can object to moving legislation that is relevant and amendments that are relevant in order to get his or her way on a totally unrelated amendment."