Grassley, Brown-OH

Highway bill (S. 1813)

Senator Grassley: (6:01 PM)
  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • SUMMARY "I want to take just a few minutes to set the record straight. Let me start by taking a brief look at the 17 cloture motions that the majority has filed. Seven of those nominees were reported out of the Judiciary Committee within the last month, and three of them were reported just last week. That is without precedent to our knowledge the majority, Republican or Democrat, has never filed cloture on district court nominees within a month of them being reported out of the Judiciary Committee. That accounts for seven of the 17. What about the other ten nominees? Well, what our colleagues fail to mention is that they could have gotten a majority of those nominees confirmed at the end of the last session just before recessing at Christmas time. Our side cleared quite a few nominees, and we offered to confirm them as a package at the end of last session. However, the President refused to offer assurances that he would not bypass the Senate and make so-called recess appointments. I just made a mistake when I said when the senate adjourned just prior to Christmas, or recessed just prior to session. We didn't do either of those. We stayed in session during the period of time from December 18 until January 24. In other words, the President wasn't in a position to make recess appointments because we weren't in recess, and also the President can't assume what the constitution doesn't allow him to assume. Only the Senate can make a determination on when we adjourn. The President of the United States can't do that, but he presumed that he could and he did and he made some recess appointments, so he shredded the constitution once again. Now, in regard to what we're talking about here, it was the President who chose not to confirm those nominees at the end of last session because he wouldn't tell us whether he would make recess appointments or not. If the President believes that we should have confirmed more nominees last fall, he should look to his own administration for that explanation."

Senator Brown-OH: (6:20 PM)
  • Spoke on trade enforcement measures.
    • SUMMARY "Today President Obama signed into but a trade enforcement measure that last week passed this chamber by unanimous consent. A bipartisan legislation which I cosponsored with Senators Baucus and Thune primarily, gives the Commerce Department authority to impose what are called counter-veiling duties on imports from countries that are nonmarket economies. That means countries more sort of command and control economies like the People's Republic of China. Federal appeals court last year reviewed shield a ruling that hamstrings our nation's ability to fight back against illegal trade practices. Here's why Congress passed this bill. We know China doesn't play by the rules from direct export subsidies to currency manipulation, China does things that our country doesn't and many other countries don't. It gives its exporters an unfair advantage. American industries fight back by the Commerce Department to investigate these subsidies."
  • Spoke on China's hoarding of rare earth materials.
    • SUMMARY "President Obama announced his administration would pursue a case against China's hoarding of rare earth materials. Rare earth hording is one of the illegal practices that China employs to tilt the playing field in its favor. U.S. manufacturers rely on earth materials, air earth materials for the production of a number of products including wind turbines and electronics. China accounts for 97% of the world's supply of these materials. They impose quotas and deaf tariffs on their export putting American manufacturers at a severe disadvantage almost forcing countries to go to china to do the manufacturing because the materials - because of subsidies the Chinese give to themselves, their own companies and because of the tariffs they charge on - that they can extract from these companies for export, these raw material makers for exports our companies are at a severe disadvantage."