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Public Statements

Energy Policy Act of 2003

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCONNELL. Will the Senator yield for a question?

Mr. LOTT. Yes.

Mr. McCONNELL. The Senator raises an important point on the Berzon and Paez nominations. I can remember the Senator, in his capacity as Majority Leader, encouraging us to support cloture on two judges about whom none of us were very enthusiastic. I remind my colleague that 75 percent of the Republican Senators voted for cloture.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is reminded to address his questions through the Chair.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask the Senator from Mississippi if he remembers that 75 percent of the Republican Senators voted for cloture on both of those judges, and many of us voted against them once we got to the up-or-down vote.

Mr. LOTT. I remember that very well. We did the right thing. That is what I am asking now of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Let's find a way to do the right thing on these judges. It is totally indefensible, for instance, that on Miguel Estrada we cannot work something out where he won't be defeated by a filibuster.

I remember other votes, too. I have said on this floor two or three times that I voted for Ruth Bader Ginsburg to go on the Supreme Court. I didn't agree with her philosophically at all, and I don't agree with many of the rulings she is coming out with. President Clinton was the President; he nominated her. But she was qualified by education, experience, and demeanor, and I voted for her. I think we deserve that kind of return of courtesy.

The Majority Leader is here, so I will stop. I say to the Majority Leader, I was talking about the difficult job he has, and I know he is going to have some statistics that will indicate what has been occurring.

I yield the floor.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Majority Leader is recognized.

Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I will be happy to follow the assistant leader very shortly.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky is recognized.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, briefly, it has been said by Senator Lott and others that there is nothing unusual about the so-called double-tracking of issues, nothing unusual at all. The distinguished majority leader offered to our colleagues and friends on the other side an opportunity to have the four cloture votes on judges this week with no debate at all. It would have taken up no time on the Energy bill.

The fact is, this is the 18th day we have been on the Energy bill this year; that is more than any other bill. The distinguished majority leader made the right call to go to energy this week. He made the right call to try to bring to closure four of the President's distinguished nominations for the circuit court benches.

I think Senator Lott is correct. We need to, as he put it, take a deep breath, settle down here, and remember that we all came here to do the people's business. Energy is important.

I know the Majority Leader is committed to finishing this important legislation for the people of America. I hope there are a significant number of our friends on the other side of the aisle who would also like to see an Energy bill. I am confident the majority leader is going to give all of us an opportunity at some point this year to finish this bill.

I say to my friend, the Majority Leader, I think his scheduling decisions for the week were excellent, correct, and consistent with the best interests of the American people, and we support him fully in those scheduling decisions.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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