Leahy, Nelson, Isakson

Executive Session

Senator Leahy: (1:33 PM)

  • Spoke on Eric Holder.  
    • "During the previous administration with scandals and politicized hiring, the denunciation of civil rights, the U.S. attorney firing scandal and the legal opinions defending the use of torture. Six years later, on his final day at the department, those same professionals, appointed by both Republican and democratic administrations, lined the highways in gratitude to Eric Holder for restoring the integrity of the department. Eric Holder restored the public's confidence in the department. He leaves a department that is now living up to its name: the Department of Justice. I'm thankful for his dedicated, unwavering service to our country. We have a better Department of Justice because of Eric Holder's leadership. We are a better nation because of Eric Holder."


Senator Nelson: (1:49 PM)

  • Spoke on the Amtrak train derailment.
    • "There is a report out of the "Wall Street Journal" just a few minutes ago that apparently the train was going at 100 miles an hour, going into a curve. That the curve speed should have been 50 miles an hour. Now, if that's the case, that would indicate that the conductor would not have been aware of what was happening or was negligent in what was happening. But there's something that we can do about that, and it's called positive-train control. Indeed, this is an issue facing all of the railroads and the infrastructure is expensive, and the question is, how much should it be delayed in the future, because it's not ready to go. Positive-train control would, in places where there is potential danger or potential of two trains colliding, that there is automatic monitoring and electronically it would change the speed of the train. Interestingly, Amtrak in the northeastern corridor has some of this positive-train control already on the track. Apparently it didn't at this particular location. In which case, it begs the question: what do we need to do, if this ultimately is what is, by the NTSB investigation, determined to be the cause? Well, one of the things that this senator would suggest is we certainly don't want to cut Amtrak's budget. To the contrary, I would think that we would want to increase Amtrak's budget."


Senator Isakson: (1:56 PM)

  • Spoke on the Yates nomination.
    • "She has been a lead prosecutor in the northern district of Georgia. She's prosecuted Democrats, Republicans, independents, Olympic Park bombers, anybody that violated the public trust, any abuse of power, Sally Yates has gone after them and she has won. She is fair, smart, intelligent, and as a Georgia bulldog - and I realize the junior senator from Georgia is a Georgia Tech -- she is a double-dog, a bachelor's and master's degree from University of Georgia and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia Law School. She will be a great deputy attorney general of the United States of America. I ask you to vote and send a unanimous vote for Sally Quillian Yates to be deputy U.S. Attorney."