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Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 19, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I am going to be speaking just a few minutes on another matter, and I believe I will have time at 1 o'clock.

With nobody else seeking the floor at the moment, I would just add to what the distinguished Senator from Texas just said. I discussed this with him off the floor after he spoke.

There is a concern about what might be in the omnibus bill and in the COVID bill, and here on a Saturday and tomorrow, Sunday, or whatever, we are finished, and we are rushing it through. I would remind everybody that we were ready to bring up the appropriations bills that make up the omnibus in July. The House of Representatives had sent over--in June, it sent over their COVID bill. We could have brought it up then. We could have started having a series of votes. It might have taken us 2 or 3 weeks to have votes every day on different parts of their proposal--Democrats' proposals, Republicans' proposals, the Appropriations' proposals--and vote them up or down. I had urged that.

Republicans have the majority in the U.S. Senate. If they didn't like proposals the Democrats had, they could vote them down. But instead they seemed almost terrified to vote.

Ah, but there was a reason. We would have had to take 2 or 3 weeks to vote all of this up or down, but we had to take, instead, the time to put through lifetime judgeships of people who have been recommended by special interest groups. That is beneath the U.S. Senate.

But, unfortunately, while these people got lifetime jobs with high pay, hundreds of thousands and millions of Americans have lost their jobs, have lost their places to live, are unable to educate their children, and hundreds of thousands have lost their lives. This is not the U.S. Senate's finest hour.

We should have been doing our job and voting these things up or down. I know some may be afraid of what they had to vote, but so what? I have cast over 16,000 votes. Not all of them were easy, but I never thought there was any question about whether I would vote.

(Mrs. HYDE-SMITH assumed the Chair.)