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Public Statements

Class Action Fairness Act of 2004

By:
Date:
Location: Washington DC

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD
SENATE
CLASS ACTION FAIRNESS ACT OF 2004

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, my good friend, the Democratic leader said: What are we afraid of? Let me answer the question.

Back on May 21, the distinguished majority leader was trying to make progress on the Defense authorization bill, which we began on May 17, and our good friend from Nevada, the assistant Democratic leader, said on May 21: I would say that we take about 10 days on this bill normally. We don't think this bill will take that much time.

That was the Defense authorization bill, and on May 21, having been on the bill five days already, our good friend from Nevada said it takes typically about 10 days to finish the bill. We finished the bill on June 23, almost a month later, having spent 18 legislative days on it. Clearly, what the majority leader is concerned about is that this bill not only be taken up but that it be finished.

It is absolutely clear from the observations of our good friend, the Democratic leader, he does not want the bill to pass in any event. In fact, he said on several occasions and repeated several times this morning he is against the bill. It is clear what he would like to do is structure a way of dealing with this bill that allows his party to get the vote on all of its favorite issues and we never pass the bill in any event.

So the majority leader, to his credit, is trying to structure a way to proceed on this bill on the Senate floor that does two things: No. 1, guarantees that it be brought up, and No. 2, guarantees that it will be finished by structuring it in such a way that the amendments we deal with are related to the bill. That is not an unusual request. It is not an outrageous request and not an unprecedented request-in fact, a normal request.

So it is perfectly clear, it seems to me, that there are those on the other side and maybe even a few on this side who would like to use this bill for other purposes. The majority leader is right on the mark in offering this perfectly reasonable way, a game plan for taking up and finishing this important legislation. I am sorry that at the moment, at least, it looks as if there is not a will. Even though we keep hearing there are over 60 Senators who are in favor of this bill, there have to be 60 Senators in favor of the bill who are willing to also support a procedure that guarantees we can finish it.

I yield the floor.

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