BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I will start with a word of sympathy about the heartbreaking loss of Perry Inhofe, the son of our colleague, Jim Inhofe, killed in a plane crash on Sunday. Of course, we are all thinking of Jim and Kay, and the heartfelt prayers of the entire Senate family are with them and the entire Inhofe family at this very, very difficult time.
Madam President, despite the repeated promises of President Obama, millions of people are losing their health insurance--health insurance they very much liked and were assured they could keep. It has been reported that so far 3.5 million Americans have lost their health insurance under ObamaCare. That includes over a quarter of a million in my State of Kentucky, a third of a million in Florida, and almost a million people in California.
This is a serious problem the President and congressional Democrats need to do something about. The obvious answer is repeal, but in the meantime the legislation offered by Senator Ron Johnson would help Americans keep the plans they have and like. If the President and Senate Democrats are serious about helping the millions of Americans who have unexpectedly lost their insurance over the past several weeks, then they should support it.
Unfortunately, they appear ready to ignore the problem. Rather than focusing on keeping their commitment to the American people, they are focusing on issues that appeal to their base. Rather than change the law that is causing so many problems for so many, they want to change the subject.
According to a recent press report, our Democratic friends want to divert as much attention as possible away from the problem-plagued ObamaCare rollout at this formative stage of the 2014 campaign, which brings us to the vote we are going to have later today.
We will not be voting on legislation to allow Americans to keep their health insurance if they like it, as they were promised again and again; rather, we will be voting on a nominee to a court that doesn't have enough work to do. A court that is so underworked, it regularly cancels oral argument days. It is a court whose judges tell us that if any more judges were put on the court, there wouldn't be enough work to go around. It is a court that is less busy now than it was when Senate Democrats pocket-filibustered President Bush's nominee to the court, Peter Keisler, for 2 whole years--2 long years. And it is less busy based upon the very standards Democrats themselves set forth when they blocked Mr. Keisler's nomination for 2 years. By the way, it is also less busy now than it was then, according to an analysis provided by the chief judge of that court.
The Senate ought to be spending its time dealing with a real crisis, not a manufactured one. We ought to be dealing with an ill-conceived law that is causing millions of Americans to lose their health insurance. Instead, we will spend our time today on a political exercise designed to distract the American people from the mess that is ObamaCare rather than trying to fix it.
If our Democratic colleagues are going to ignore the fact that millions of people are losing their health insurance plans, they should at least be working with us to fill judicial emergencies that actually exist rather than complaining about fake ones. There are nominees on the Executive Calendar who would fill actual judicial emergencies, unlike the Pillard nomination.
Some of them, in fact, have been pending on the calendar longer than the Pillard nomination. But rather than work with us to schedule votes on those nominations in an orderly manner, as we have been doing all year long, the majority prefers to concoct a crisis on the DC Circuit so it can try to distract the American people from the failings of ObamaCare.
Unfortunately, our friends appear to be more concerned with playing politics than actually solving real problems. So I will be voting no on this afternoon's political exercise. I hope the Senate in the future will focus on what the American people care about rather than spend its time trying to distract them.
CONGRATULATING ARCHBISHOP JOSEPH KURTZ
Finally, I congratulate Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, the Catholic archbishop of Louisville, on his election as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Archbishop Kurtz is not a native Kentuckian--he is originally from Pennsylvania--but we have adopted him as one of our own since he was appointed head of the Louisville Archdiocese in June 2007. I wish him all the best as he seeks to promote the church's mission in the United States.
Madam President, I yield the floor.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT