[Congressional Record: September 30, 2002 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AUTHORIZATION
Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I know we are getting down toward the end
of the session and sometimes legislation falls by the wayside, but I
have seen something in the last couple of days different from anything
I have seen in 28 years in the Senate.
Last Thursday the other body passed the Department of Justice
Appropriations Authorization Act and we filed a bipartisan conference
report. I mention this because it has been 20 years since there has
been such an authorization act for the Department of Justice because it
has been so hard to bring people from across the political spectrum
together. The House passed this conference report--by a vote of 400 to
4. I am not sure the way things are these days that we could get a vote
of 400 to 4 to agree the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
The very same day I checked with every single member on this side of
the aisle, every Democrat, and asked if they were willing to have it
pass the Senate by voice vote, if need be, or a rollcall vote--it does
not make any difference, but to pass it.
Every single Democrat--the distinguished Senator from Connecticut,
myself, everybody else--agreed, yes, sure, go ahead and pass it. We
were told there is an anonymous hold on the Republican side. This
bipartisan legislation to authorize the Department of Justice is
blocked--legislation to strengthen our Justice Department and the FBI
that by agreement of all Members across the political spectrum will
increase our preparedness against terrorist attacks, but also prevent
crime and drug abuse in our cities and in our rural areas. It improves
our intellectual property and antitrust laws. It would strengthen and
protect our judiciary. It would give our children a safe place to go
This legislation is as motherhood as one could imagine and yet the
Republicans have said, no, even though the Republican-controlled House
passed it 400 to 4. And even though every single Democrat in the Senate
is ready to vote for it, the Republicans have said, no, we want to put
an anonymous Republican hold on it and not allow it to go forward,
years of work by both the Republicans and Democrats. This bill not only
has my support in the Judiciary Committee, it has Senator Hatch's
support. It has the support of Chairman Sensenbrenner in the other
body, as well as Representative Hyde. Every one of the House and Senate
conferees, Republican and Democrat, signed the conference report. That
conference report includes significant portions of at least 25
legislative initiatives, all to be flushed down the drain by a
When people go home this year to campaign about why they want to stop
drugs in their schools, why they want to fight terrorism, why they want
their courts strengthened, why they want the Attorney General of the
Department of Justice to be able to be strengthened in their fight, let
them point out that the reason it was not done was a Republican Senator
who wants to do it anonymously. They do not even want to step forward
and say who he may be.
For too many years, Republican and Democrat administrations have
allowed the Department of Justice to escape its accountability to the
Senate and the House of Representatives and, through them, to the
American people. Congress, the people's representatives, have a strong
constitutional interest in restoring that accountability. The House has
recognized this. It has done its job. We need to do ours. Senate
Democrats are prepared to proceed. Senate Republicans apparently are
not. So let me tell you some of the things that are in this bipartisan
First, the conference report provides Federal, State, and local
governments with additional tools to battle terrorism. It fortifies our
border security by authorizing over $20 billion for the administration
and enforcement of the laws relating to immigration, naturalization,
and alien registration. It authorizes funding for the Centers for
Domestic Preparedness in Alabama, Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada,
Vermont, and Pennsylvania. It adds additional uses for grants from the
of Domestic Preparedness to support State and local law enforcement
Why would anybody on the Republican side oppose that? Another measure
in the bill would correct a glitch in a law that helps prosecutors
combat the international financing of terrorism. I worked closely with
the Bush White House to pass this provision in order to bring the
United States into compliance with a treaty that bans terrorist
financing--and this is something the Bush administration wants--but
without this technical, noncontroversial change, the provision may not
be usable. As the President has pointed out, this law is vital in
stopping the flow of money to those who would harm Americans. Every
Democrat is ready to pass that. It is something President Bush has
asked for in his fight against terrorism. Every single Democrat in this
body is ready to vote for it, but the Republicans are blocking it from
Worse yet, at a time when the President is going before the U.N.
emphasizing our enemies are not complying with international law, by
blocking this minor fix--something the President has asked for,
something every Democrat is ready to vote for, only the Republicans are
blocking--we are leaving ourselves open to a charge that we also are
not in compliance with an important antiterrorism treaty.
Secondly, this conference report improves our law enforcement
efforts. Among other things, it pushes the FBI to reform its outdated
computer system. Right now it is something that kids in school 10 years
ago had better computer systems. It provides danger pay for FBI agents
performing hazardous duty abroad. It provides for increased sentencing
enhancements when criminals use body armor in crimes of violence or
drug trafficking crimes, something for which every single police agency
I have talked with from New York to Texas has asked.
I am told the administration supports this and every single
Democratic Senator supports this, but it is blocked by the Republicans.
It includes Senator Carnahan's Law Enforcement Tribute Act, which
authorized grants to States, local governments, and Indian tribes for
memorials to honor those who were killed or disabled while serving as
law enforcement safety officers. It has the Feinstein-Sessions James
Guelff and Chris McCurley Body Armor Act. That is blocked. These are
things that had overwhelming Republican and Democratic support, still
has unanimous Democratic support but is blocked by the Republicans. I
believe the conference report the Senate Republicans are blocking could
help prevent crime from occurring in the first place. We reached a
bipartisan agreement to give the Boys and Girls Clubs the funds they
need to establish 1,200 additional clubs across the Nation. As a former
prosecutor, I know how valuable these are to prevent crime from
happening in the first place, to give teenagers and youngsters a place
Just last week, I joined with Senator Hatch at the Boys and Girls
Club congressional breakfast honoring regional youth of the year and
also honoring Senator Strom Thurmond. Republican Senator after
Republican Senator praised the work of the Boys and Girls Club, as did
I, but now some Republican Senators are anonymously holding up the
authorization for the money for the Boys and Girls Club.
Senate Republicans are also blocking funding that will put an
additional Assistant U.S. attorney in every district in the Nation to
implement the President's Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative aimed
at preventing school violence. The President goes out and speaks in
favor of this. I happen to agree with the President on this. Everybody
agrees with him, and now, when doing what the administration has asked
for, we put these assistant U.S. attorneys in there, but that is not
going anywhere. Every single Democratic Senator supports it. An
anonymous Republican hold blocks it.
The conference report strengthens our efforts to prevent domestic
violence and protect its victims. By creating a new Violence Against
Women Office in the Justice Department, we ensure an increased Federal
focus on this tragic and recurring problem. I do not know why
preventing domestic violence should be a partisan issue.
In my experience as a prosecutor, the police never said we have to
determine whether this person who is beaten up in domestic violence is
a Democrat or a Republican. You try to save the life of the person who
is being beaten and to protect them.
This legislation also authorizes programs to reduce drug abuse and
recidivism, from adult and juvenile courts, to increased funding for
drug treatment in prisons, to funding for police training in South and
Central Asia to reduce the flow of drugs into our Nation. All of these
proposals are bipartisan. Actually, most of them were in the Hatch-
Leahy Drug Abuse Education, Prevention and Treatment Act. Every
Democrat is ready to vote for them, but we cannot because the
Republicans have an anonymous hold.
The conference report contains a number of important intellectual
property provisions that will help American innovators and businesses,
both big and small. There is a probusiness provision, which includes
the Leahy-Hatch Madrid Protocol Implementation Act that has been held
up for over 1 year. Every single business organization in the country,
big or small, has asked us to pass it. Every single Democrat has said
they will vote for it. It is being held by an anonymous Republican
This legislation would implement a treaty and allow American
businesses to obtain ``one stop'' international trademark registration,
a process available only to countries signatory to the Protocol. This
would benefit American businesses and companies who need to protect
their trademarks when they sell their goods and services in
international markets, particularly over the Internet.
I hear from companies as large as IBM and Intel. They want this
legislation, down to the little mom-and-pop manufacturers in my own
State. I tell them all, every single Democrat will vote for that. It is
in this bill, as 400 House Members of both parties voted for it. But I
also tell everyone in the businesses that ask, it is being held up by
an anonymous Republican hold.
Another important intellectual property provision is the Hatch-Leahy
TEACH Act, to clarify the educational-use exemption in the copyright
law and all educators to use the same rich material for distance
material over the Internet as they use in face-to-face classroom
instructions. The Presiding Officer represents one of the most
beautiful areas in upstate New York, where I visit often. I think of my
rural Vermont or rural Utah. This allows people in these small schools
to be able to have access to what is available in the large
metropolitan areas. Every Democrat will vote for it. It is being held
up by an anonymous Republican hold.
The conference report has a provision modernizing Patent and
Trademark Office specifically authorizing friends to augment the
investigation and prosecution of intellectual property crimes of
privacy online. There is no member of the business community that does
not support it, from the largest to the smallest. Every Democratic
Senator is ready to vote for it tonight. It is being held up by an
anonymous Republican hold.
This conference report creates or extends 20 Federal judgeships.
Those are more than all the judgeships created during the 6-plus years
the Republican party controlled the United States Senate and blocked
both Clinton administration judicial nominations and the creation of
new Federal judicial positions. We have included new Federal judges in
Arizona, Alabama, Texas, New Mexico, among others. I have heard
repeatedly from our Republican friends that although they have blocked
the creation of the judges during the previous administration, they
want them now. I put them in. Every single Democrat is ready to vote
for it and the Republicans are blocking. It is amazing. These judges we
have needed for years, blocked during the last administration when the
Democrats had the Presidency, now we put them in. I supported putting
them in, from northern New York to Alabama. The Republicans say they
want them. They will not be appointed by a Democratic president. They
will be appointed by a Republican president. I don't know what is going
on unless they want to make it look like we are holding this up. Every
Democrat will vote for the new judges. But they are being held up by an
anonymous Republican hold.
I do not want to hear bleeding and caterwauling from the White House
or the political mouthpieces from the Department of Justice, asking,
Where are the judges. All 50 Democratic Senators will vote for them, as
400 Republicans and Democrats in the House voted for them. It is being
held up by an anonymous Republican hold.
The conference report prohibits mandatory arbitration in a motor
vehicle franchise contract between manufacturers and automobile
dealers, to the same effect as the Hatch-Feingold-Leahy-Grassley Motor
Vehicle Franchise Contract Arbitration Act, S. 1140. That legislation
has more than 60 cosponsors, Republicans and Democrats. The automobile
dealers lobbied strongly for it. All 50 Democrats are ready to vote for
it. Their friends on the Republican side are holding it up.
The conference report includes an amendment to the Radiation Exposure
Compensation Act to expand eligibility for compensation for injured
uranium miners, mill workers and ore transporters. Many Senators from
western States, on a bipartisan basis, such as Senators Daschle, Hatch,
Johnson, Domenici, strongly support these changes. We are all ready to
vote for them. Republicans are holding it up.
Finally, the conference report includes several important immigration
provisions to help underserved rural areas with a critical shortage of
medical doctors. Women die in childbirth. Teenagers in an accident die
because they did not get care. Older people do not get the preventive
medicine they need. This allows foreign doctors who are educated in the
United States to remain here if they will agree to practice in the
underserved areas. It extends H-1B status for certain working aliens
and makes it possible for children whose sponsoring parent has died to
apply for citizenship, nonetheless. I don't need to tell the Presiding
Officer, representing the great State of New York, there were children
whose sponsoring parents died in this country.
These are all noncontroversial provisions, for all over the country.
Every single Democrat Senator said they will vote for it. We cannot
bring it to a vote because the Republicans have an anonymous hold. I
would not feel as bad about the holds if the Senator holding it up
would come forward and state why. Instead, it is a stealth hold. It is
a ``during the night'' hold. It is the quiet, anonymous phone call hold
that stops it. It repeats an unfortunate pattern of anonymous
Republican holds on bipartisan legislation designed to improve our
Nation's national security law enforcement, immigration policies, and
judicial branch of the government.
I am sure my colleagues are tired of hearing how much I enjoyed my
earlier career in law enforcement. For 8\1/2\ years I proudly carried a
badge, proudly served as chief law enforcement officer of my county. We
prosecuted a lot of people. We saw a lot of tragic situations. We
helped a lot of people in cases of domestic violence, stopped crimes
from happening. Those we were not able to stop, we oftentimes
successfully prosecuted afterwards. I never recall anyone, either those
in my office or any of the law enforcement agencies we talked about,
whether we were dealing with a Democrat or Republican, asking whether
someone who was beaten or killed was Democrat or Republican. You never
asked a police officer if they were Democrat or Republican. No one
asked when sending officers out to protect citizens, facing the
potential of death, their political party affiliation. In working with
my colleagues, both in the Senate and in the House, we did not look at
this as Democrat and Republican. We talked about good law enforcement.
That is why every single Democratic Senator has said they will vote for
Our caucus spans the political spectrum. I suspect if we were allowed
to bring it to a vote, almost all of my colleagues on the other side of
the aisle would vote for it, yet an anonymous hold is stopping this
help to the law enforcement agencies, ranging from the smallest of our
towns to our statewide law enforcement agencies, to our Federal law
enforcement agencies. Nobody has spoken of any substantive question or
issue of any provisions in this conference report. And there are not
any. It passed the Republican-controlled house by 400-4.
It has been suggested the holds are merely partisan blocking to hold
up legislative action and then blame the Democratic Senate majority for
inaction created by Republican holds. I repeat, as I have over and over
again on this bill, I have checked with every single Democrat Senator;
we are ready to vote. We are all ready to vote.
If Republicans allowed this bill to come to a vote, it would pass
immediately. It should have been passed last Thursday. We had an
opportunity. Senator Daschle asked permission to pass it--Senator Hatch
said we didn't each have to speak on it, we would put our speeches in
afterward--asked to pass it by unanimous consent, but was told the
For the sake of the Justice Department, the Congress, and the
American people, we ought to pass it today. Twenty-one years fighting
to get it, and here is what is in there: Combating terrorism, improving
law enforcement, preventing crime, fighting drug abuse, enhancing
intellectual property protection, strengthening the judiciary--adding
20 new judgeships and improving judicial disciplinary procedures--
improving civil justice, and improving immigration procedures.
The irony is item after item was worked out with the support of the
Bush White House. I spent an awful lot of time on this bill. A lot of
my Republican colleagues spent a lot of time on this bill. And our
staffs spent 10 times more time on this bill. I think somebody down at
the White House, if they take time out from the fundraising and the
campaigning, could take a couple of minutes to pick up the phone and
call the party, the Members on the other side of the aisle, and say the
criminal justice system needs this, the fight against terrorism needs
This is not just something abstract, this is real. Let's pass it.
That is why the Republican-controlled House passed it. I am sorry my
friends on the Republican side of the aisle are blocking it. I hope
when they think about it, they will come to their senses and let it go
Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Clinton). The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. REID. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent the order for the
quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
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