ILW.COM - the immigration portal Immigration Daily

Immigration Daily: the news source for legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers

Home Page

Advanced search


Immigration Daily

Archives

Processing times

Immigration forms

Discussion board

Resources

Blogs

Twitter feed

Immigrant Nation

Attorney2Attorney

CLE Workshops

Immigration books

Advertise on ILW

VIP Network

EB-5

Chinese Immig. Daily

About ILW.COM

Connect to us

Make us Homepage

Questions/Comments


SUBSCRIBE

Immigration Daily

 

Chinese Immig. Daily



The leading
immigration law
publisher - over
50000 pages of free
information!

Copyright
©1995-
ILW.COM,
American
Immigration LLC.

Immigration Daily: the news source for
legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers
Enter your email address here:



< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly


[Congressional Record: October 2, 2002 (Senate)]
[Page S9830-S9834]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr02oc02-186]                         



 
THE 21ST CENTURY DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE APPROPRIATIONS AUTHORIZATION ACT

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, yesterday, the majority leader filed 
cloture on the bipartisan 21st Century Department of Justice 
Authorization Act conference report. I commend him for doing that.
  This is a conference report that passed 400 to 4 last week in the 
other body. We will be voting on that cloture motion tomorrow. I just 
want to take a few moments to let Members of this body know what is in 
the conference report.
  It was signed by all conferees--Republican and Democrat--Senator 
Orrin Hatch, and Representatives Sensenbrenner, Henry Hyde, Lamar 
Smith, myself, and others.
  I thank Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison for coming to the floor 
yesterday to support this conference report. She has spoken to me many 
times about the need for more judgeships along the Texas border with 
Mexico to handle immigration and criminal cases. Certainly, from what 
Senator Hutchison has said about that need, she has made a compelling 
request, and I have included in this conference report three new judges 
for that part of Texas. Actually, the conference report has one more 
judge than we passed out of the Senate. We added another one in 
conference. I suspect technically one could say that was not a matter 
in conference, but the Senator from Texas made, I thought, a compelling 
reason for it.
  I mention that because one of our Federal district judges from 
Vermont has actually gone down to Texas a couple times to help out, and 
every time he has gone down, he has called me up and said: They need 
more judges here because of the load.
  So I thank Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
  I also want to thank Senator Sessions for his statement in support of 
this conference report. I mentioned to him on the floor this morning--
and I want to speak again to that--there is a piece of this legislation 
Senator Sessions originally opposed. If it were here as a freestanding 
bill, that particular part--a small part of the bill--I believe Senator 
Sessions would vote against it. But he supports the overall bill and is 
voting for the whole bill. I thank him for that.
  I also thank him for his work and his aid on the provisions in the 
conference report on the Paul Coverdell Forensic Sciences Improvement 
Grants and the Centers for Domestic Preparedness in Alabama and other 
States. He had a great deal of input, and I appreciate what he did. We 
tried throughout all of this effort to make this a bipartisan bill, and 
he helped with that.
  Senator Feinstein spoke on behalf of this conference report. She has 
been a tireless advocate for the needs of California, including the 
needs of the Federal judiciary along the southern border. She has 
helped to improve that situation.

  I was glad to see we could work through that because we had tried for 
7 or 8 years to add these additional judges, and they had been blocked. 
But I came back and said, even though it would be a different President 
appointing the judges--in this case, President Bush--I was in favor of 
adding the judges. They should be in there. Among other things, we 
included five judgeships for the southern district of California.
  We have also included judges, as I said, for Texas, Arizona, New 
Mexico, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, and Florida. The statistics 
show all the judges are very much needed.
  The senior Senator from California gave leadership on the James 
Guelff and Chris McCurley Body Armor Act, the State Criminal Alien 
Assistance Program reauthorization, and the anti-drug-abuse provisions 
in the conference report, and that has been extremely helpful.
  I should tell my colleagues, this report will strengthen our Justice 
Department and the FBI, and increase our preparedness against terrorist 
attacks. It offers our children a safe place to go after school.
  In this conference report, we put together years of work. Parts of 
about 25 different bills have been combined in this report.
  I thought President Bush did absolutely the right thing after the 
attacks of a year ago, on September 11, as he moved very aggressively 
to try to clamp off money going to terrorist organizations around the 
world. As we know, al-Qaida received a lot of money from Saudi Arabia 
and other countries, and that money has floated all over.
  The President moved very quickly to stop that. But then they find 
other ways to move it. We know they still have tens of millions--
hundreds of millions of dollars perhaps--in these terrorist groups. But 
there is a thing in this conference report called the Madrid Protocol. 
If we agree to this protocol, this will greatly strengthen the hand of 
the President to go after this money. The White House supports it. All 
the antiterrorist groups and the Government support it. That is also in 
this bill.
  I mentioned this because I have been asked questions by several 
Senators exactly what is included. I want them to know. I also want to 
thank Senator Hatch for his work in this endeavor. We spent a lot of 
hours in the conference. That is why it passed so overwhelmingly, with 
the support of both Republican and Democratic leadership in the other 
body. I would be happy to have it pass unanimously. We could pass it 
tonight for that matter. I know the legislation is a priority.
  We have not authorized the Department of Justice in more than two 
decades. Some might ask: Why should we do it now? We have a far 
different Department of Justice than we had before September 11. We 
have a number of changes that had to be made, supported by Members on 
both sides of the aisle, both sides of the aisle in the other body, the 
President of the United States, the Attorney General, and so on.

[[Page S9831]]

  What we have done is tried to assure the administration of justice in 
our Nation. Our Nation has been radically changed from a year ago. It 
doesn't have everything that I would have liked or everything everybody 
would have liked. That is because it is a conference report. It is a 
consensus document. We did it in a bipartisan way--Democratic chairman 
from this body and a Republican chairman from the other; a Republican 
ranking member from this body, a Democratic ranking member of the other 
body.
  We know that it will strengthen our Justice Department and the FBI. 
We will increase our preparedness against terrorist attacks. We will 
improve our intellectual property and antitrust laws. I hope for the 
sake of the Justice Department and the Congress and the American people 
we can pass it. It is remarkable, the number of provisions in here that 
will help everything from an attack of terrorism, closing off money and 
so forth, to help with the growing drug problem that strikes not just 
in the big cities but our rural areas.
  I come from largely a rural State. The difference between this and 
the other body, every Senator has significant rural areas. When my son 
was a student at Emory Law School, I remember going to the State of the 
distinguished Presiding Officer and traveling around with my son. I 
come from a rural area. I must say, there are some pretty rural areas 
in Georgia. But there are in California and Texas and New York and 
every other State. This helps those States, especially in small areas, 
do something about the scourge of drugs hitting our youngsters, our 
future generation.
  I wanted to give a short summary. There is a lot more. This was so 
other Members who had been asking me in both parties what is in it, I 
wanted them to see. It will be voted on tomorrow. I hope as a result of 
this vote tomorrow we will then just pass it. The White House has 
indicated the President will be eager to sign it when it arrives.
  This conference report will strengthen our Justice Department and the 
FBI, increase our preparedness against terrorist attacks, prevent crime 
and drug abuse, improve our intellectual property and antitrust laws, 
strengthen and protect our judiciary, and offer our children a safe 
place to go after school.
  This conference report is the product of years of bipartisan work. 
The conference report was unanimous. By my count, the conference report 
includes significant portions of at least 25 legislative initiatives.
  I had hoped that the conference report on H.R. 2215 would not take up 
much of the Senate's time. There are other matters we do need to 
address. The majority leader tried to pass this legislation without 
taking up any floor time last week, but was unable to do so because of 
an objection to proceeding by unanimous consent. Proceeding by 
unanimous consent would have ensured that we not take up the Senate's 
time in debate on this bipartisan legislative package. Yesterday, I 
came to the floor and sought to allow for two hours of debate before a 
vote on final passage at 4:30 p.m. We then could have moved on to other 
matters. Again, that proposal would have taken up a limited amount of 
the Senate's time. Yet, again, that limited time agreement proposal was 
rejected. As a result of the objection to proceeding more quickly, we 
are still considering this conference report and the majority leader 
was forced to file a cloture petition to bring it to a vote.
  This legislation is neither complicated nor controversial. It passed 
the House 400 to 4 in short order. It was signed by every conferee, 
Republican or Democrat, including Senator Hatch and Representatives 
Sensenbrenner, Hyde, and Lamar Smith. Senators Sessions and Hutchison 
came to the floor yesterday to support it. There is no need for 
extensive debate in the Senate--we can move on to consider other 
matters as soon as the objection is lifted so we are able to have an up 
or down vote on the conference report.
  This legislation is a priority. Congress has not authorized the 
Department of Justice in more than two decades. I know that Senator 
Hatch and Representatives Sensenbrenner and Conyers share my view that 
it is long past time for the Judiciary Committees of the House and 
Senate and the Congress as a whole to restore their proper oversight 
role over the Department of Justice. Through Republican and Democratic 
administrations, we have allowed the Department of Justice to escape 
its accountability to the Senate and House of Representatives and 
through them to the American people. Congress, the people's 
representative, has a strong institutional interest in restoring that 
accountability. The House has recognized this, and has done its job. We 
need to do ours.
  I agree with other Members who have spoken that we need to give anti-
terrorism priority, but not lose sight of the other important missions 
of the Department of Justice. The conference report takes such a 
balanced approach. Some have said that there is nothing new in this 
legislation to fight terrorism. I think they missed some important 
provisions in the legislation as well as my floor statements outlining 
what the conference report contains to help in the anti-terrorism 
effort.
  Let me repeat those remarks and highlight what the conference report 
does on this important problem. The conference report 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 also authorizes funding for Centers for 
Domestic Preparedness in Alabama, Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada, 
Vermont and Pennsylvania, and adds additional uses for grants from the 
Office of Domestic Preparedness to support State and local law 
enforcement agencies. These provisions have strong bipartisan support, 
including that of Senator Sessions.

  Another measure in the bill would correct a glitch in a new law that 
helps prosecutors combat the international financing of terrorism. I 
worked closely with the White House to pass this provision in order to 
bring the United States into compliance with a treaty that bans 
terrorist financing, but without this technical, non-controversial 
change, the provision may not be usable. This law is vital in stopping 
the flow of money to those who seek to harm our citizens. Worse yet, at 
a time when the President is going before the U.N. emphasizing that our 
enemies are not complying with international law, by blocking this 
minor fix, we leave ourselves open to a charge that we also are not in 
compliance with an important anti-terrorism treaty.
  I agree with other Members who have spoken that we should do more to 
help the FBI Director in transforming the FBI from a crime fighting to 
a terrorism prevention agency and to help the FBI overcome its 
information technology, management and other problems to be the best 
that it can be. The Judiciary Committee reported unanimously the Leahy-
Grassley FBI Reform Act, S. 1974, over six months ago to reach those 
goals, but an anonymous hold has stopped that legislation from moving 
forward. This conference report contains parts of that bipartisan 
legislation, but not the whole bill, which continues to this day to be 
blocked from Senate consideration and passage.
  Since the attacks of September 11 and the anthrax attacks last fall, 
we have relied on the FBI to detect and prevent acts of catastrophic 
terrorism that endanger the lives of the American people and the 
institutions of our country. Reform and improvement at the FBI was 
already important, but the terrorist attacks suffered by this country 
last year have imposed even greater urgency on improving the FBI. The 
Bureau is our front line of domestic defense against terrorists. It 
needs to be as great as it can.
  Even before those attacks, the Judiciary Committee's oversight 
hearings revealed serious problems at the FBI that needed strong 
congressional action to fix. We heard about a double standard in 
evaluations and discipline. We heard about record and information 
management problems and communications breakdowns between field offices 
and Headquarters that led to the belated production of documents in the 
Oklahoma City bombing case. Despite the fact that we have poured money 
into the FBI over the last five years, we heard that the FBI's computer 
systems were in dire need of modernization.
  We heard about how an FBI supervisor, Robert Hanssen, was able to 
sell

[[Page S9832]]

critical secrets to the Russians undetected for years without ever 
getting a polygraph. We heard that there were no fewer than 15 
different areas of security at the FBI that needed fixing.
  The FBI Reform Act tackles these problems with improved 
accountability, improved security both inside and outside the FBI, and 
required planning to ensure the FBI is prepared to deal with the 
multitude of challenges we are facing. We are all indebted to Senator 
Grassley for his leadership in the area. Working with Republicans and 
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee we unanimously reported the 
FBI Reform Act more than 6 months ago only to be stymied in our 
bipartisan efforts by an anonymous hold.
  Now, due to Republican objections, the conference report does not 
contain some of the important provisions in the FBI Reform Act that 
Senator Grassley and I, and the other members of the Judiciary 
Committee, agreed were needed.
  Among the items that are, unfortunately, not in the conference report 
and are being blocked from passing in the stand-alone FBI Reform bill 
by an anonymous hold are the following:

       Title III of the FBI Reform bill that would institute a 
     career security officer program, which senior FBI officials 
     have testified before our Committee would be very helpful;
       Title IV of the FBI Reform bill outlining the requirements 
     for a polygraph program along the lines of what the Webster 
     Commission recommended;
       Title VII of the FBI Reform bill that takes important steps 
     to fix some of the double standard problems and support the 
     FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility, which FBI Ethics 
     and OPR agents say is very important; and
       Title VIII to push along implementation of secure 
     communications networks to help facilitate FISA processing 
     between Main Justice and the FBI. These hard-working agents 
     and prosecutors have to hand-carry top secret FISA documents 
     between their offices because they still lack send secure e-
     mail systems.

  This needs to be fixed and the FBI Reform bill would help.
  These should not be controversial provisions and are designed to help 
the FBI. Yet, passage is being blocked of both a stand-alone FBI Reform 
bill and those provisions we were able to include in this conference 
report.
  Some in this body have complained that we included provisions in this 
conference report that were not contained in either the Senate or 
House-passed bills. Now, each of the proposals we have included are 
directly related to improving the administration of justice in the 
United States.
  We were asked to include many of them by Republican members of the 
House and Senate. I would like to point, in particular, to our 
reauthorization of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which 
President Bush has sought to eliminate. On March 4 of this year, 
Senator Kyl and Senator Feinstein sent me a letter asking me to include 
an authorization for SCAAP--which was not authorized in either the 
House- or Senate-passed bill--in the conference report.

  I agreed with Senator Kyl and Senator Feinstein that we should 
authorize SCAAP. I still believe that it is the right thing to do.
  We took the arguments seriously that we needed more judges in certain 
parts of the country, particularly in border States. We added another 
new judge for Arizona on top of the two that were added in 1998 and the 
third that was added in 2000. We added a number of other judges as 
well, as I have already detailed.
  Some have criticized the conference report's authorization of funding 
for DEA police training in South and Central Asia, and for the United 
States-Thailand drug prosecutor exchange program. I believe that both 
of these are worthy programs that deserve the Senate's support.
  I have listened to President Bush and others in his Administration 
and in Congress argue that terrorist organizations in Asia, including 
al-Qaida, have repeatedly used drug proceeds to fund their operations. 
The conferees wanted to do whatever we could to break the link between 
drug trafficking and terror, and we would all greatly appreciate the 
Senate's assistance in that effort.
  Beyond the relationship between drug trafficking and terrorism, the 
production of drugs in Asia has a tremendous impact on America.
  For example, more than a quarter of the heroin that is plaguing the 
northeastern United States, including my State of Vermont, comes from 
Southeast Asia. Many of the governments in that region want to work 
with the United States to reduce the production of drugs, and these 
programs will help. It is beyond me why any Senator would oppose them.
  Some have complained that the conference report demands too many 
reports from the Department of Justice, and that these reporting 
requirements would interfere with the Department's ongoing 
counterterrorism efforts. It is true that our legislation requires a 
number of reports, as part of our oversight obligations over the 
Department of Justice. I assure the Senate, however, that if the 
Department of Justice comes to the House and Senate Judiciary 
Committees and makes a convincing case that any reporting requirement 
in this legislation will hinder our national security, we will work out 
a reasonable accommodation. I think, however, that such a turn of 
events is exceedingly unlikely, as no one at the Department has 
mentioned any such concerns.
  Some Members have complained that the conference report includes 
pieces of legislation that had not received committee consideration. 
The Law Enforcement Tribute Act has been mentioned as falling in this 
category. In reality, the Committee reported that bill favorably on May 
16.
  Complaints have been raised about the motor vehicle franchise dispute 
resolution provision in the conference report and that this legislation 
was not considered by the Judiciary Committee. That complaint is 
misplaced. The Judiciary Committee fully considered this proposal and 
reported Senator Hatch's Motor Vehicle Franchise Contract Arbitration 
Fairness Act last October 31. It has been stalled from the Senate floor 
by anonymous holds. The same complaint was incorrectly leveled at the 
section dealing with FBI danger pay. Yet, the Judiciary Committee did 
consider and approve this proposal as part of the original DOJ 
Authorization bill, S. 1319. The complaint that the Federal Judiciary 
Protection Act was not considered by the Committee is likewise 
misplaced. On the contrary, this legislation, S. 1099, was passed the 
Judiciary Committee and the Senate by unanimous consent last year and 
in the 106th Congress, as well. The provisions on the U.S. Parole 
Commission were included in the conference report without Committee 
consideration but was included because the Bush Administration included 
it in its budget request and it makes sense.
  Some have complained about the provision establishing the FBI police 
to provide protection for the FBI buildings and personnel in this time 
of heightened concerns about terrorist attacks. When this legislation 
was considered by the Judiciary Committee as part of the FBI Reform 
Act, S. 1974, which was reported unanimously on a bipartisan basis, no 
member on the Committee raised any objection at the time. Similarly, 
the complaint about the lack of Committee consideration of the report 
on information technology to keep the Congress better informed about 
how the FBI is updating its obsolete computer systems, is misplaced. 
This legislation was considered by the Judiciary Committee as part of 
the FBI Reform Act, S. 1974, and no objection was raised.
  This conference report is a comprehensive attempt to ensure the 
administration of justice in our nation. It is not everything I would 
like or that any individual Member of Congress might have authored. It 
is a conference report, a consensus document, a product of the give and 
take with the House that is our legislative process. It will strengthen 
our Justice Department and the FBI, increase our preparedness against 
terrorist attacks, prevent crime and drug abuse, improve our 
intellectual property and antitrust laws, strengthen and protect our 
judiciary, and offer our children a safe place to go after school. I 
hope that it will merit the support of every Member of the U.S. Senate. 
At the very least, it deserves an up-or-down vote. I was pleased to see 
some Republicans come to the floor yesterday to support this conference 
report, and I urge those who are blocking its consideration to relent 
and let the Senate vote up or down without further delay or tactics of 
obstruction. I hope that the critics will

[[Page S9833]]

reconsider their opposition and their filibuster of this conference 
report and permit the Senate to vote up or down on this bipartisan 
bill. For the sake of the Justice Department, the U.S. Congress, and 
the American people, we should pass this legislation today.
  Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, with the passage of the Judiciary 
reauthorization bill, this body will pass a provision to extend our 
program to allow states to recommend J-1 visa waiver for physicians 
willing to practice in medically underserved areas.
  It is one of the great privileges of my life to represent one of the 
most rural States in the Nation. For many around the world, Kansas 
represents rural life in America. The image is quaint; and, somehow 
insulated from the world by a field of wheat that arcs off into the 
horizon. However, as my colleagues from the heartland know, that image 
does not represent modern rural life.
  In the Beloit co-op, Kansans gather as often to talk about global 
commodities futures as they do the weather. Our farmers are as likely 
to be reviewing GPS Satellite readings as they are next years model 
line of John Deeres. And, when they go to the doctor, rural Kansans are 
very likely in the waiting room of an Indian or Canadian citizen.
  Just as Kansas relies on the world as a market, we rely on the world 
as a source for our health professionals. Since 1993, ninety-eight (98) 
waivers have been granted allowing foreign born physicians to remain in 
the country to practice medicine in the state of Kansas. Over fifty 
(50) physicians currently practicing in Kansas are in the state as a 
result of a J-1 visa waiver. Twenty (20) counties in the state of 
Kansas are considered fully served as a result of foreign born 
physicians who received J-1 visa waivers. Section 11018 of the 
Judiciary reauthorization bill before us represents a literal life-line 
for rural America.
  The Senate passage of the bill also represents the hard work of 
several very dedicated legislators, including my fellow Kansan, 
Representative Jerry Moran and our colleague from South Dakota Senator 
Kent Conrad. It was their persistence and the hard work of several 
groups including: The American Hospital Association; the American 
Academy of Family Physicians; the Farm Bureau; the American College of 
Physician; the National Association of Community Health Centers; the 
National Rural Health Care Association; the American Immigration 
Lawyers Association and others, that kept this issue moving throughout 
this Congress.
  Of course, there are many important provisions in this bill. However, 
for Kansans in the vast rural areas of the State, ensuring access to a 
doctor is one of the most significant. I thank the Chairman and Ranking 
member for fighting to ensure that this provision made it into the 
conference report.
  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I support the conference report to H.R. 
2215, the Department of Justice Reauthorization bill. I congratulate 
the chairman and the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee for 
their work in completing this bill and guiding it through a long and 
difficult conference.
  I wanted to take a moment to set the record straight on the issue of 
the inclusion in the conference report to H.R. 2215 of the Motor 
Vehicle Contract Arbitration Fairness Act. The junior Senator from 
Arizona complained yesterday on the floor that this bill had been added 
to the conference report, depriving him of the opportunity to hear a 
debate and perhaps offer amendments to the bill. He implied that this 
was some kind of secret and nefarious deal to try to bypass floor 
discussion of legislation that has not had adequate consideration by 
this body. Nothing could be further from the truth.
  S. 1140, on which the provisions in the conference report are based, 
was introduced by the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, 
Senator Hatch, and now has 64 cosponsors. Almost exactly half of those 
cosponsors are Republicans and half are Democrats. A companion House 
measure has 225 cosponsors. The bill passed the House by voice vote in 
the last Congress. The inclusion of these provisions in the conference 
report was supported by all of the Senate conferees, including the 
ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. The House conferees, led by 
the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, also supported including 
these provision in the conference report.
  Now why was this necessary? Well, let me point out that this bill was 
reported by the Judiciary Committee almost a year ago. The majority 
leader asked for consent to proceed to the bill and have a limited 
debate with the opportunity for amendments no less than three times, on 
May 17, June 27, and September 25. Each time, a Senator on the 
Republican side objected and the Senate was prevented from having the 
separate debate and vote that the Senator from Arizona says he wanted. 
So if the Senator from Arizona has a beef here, it is not with the 
majority leader or the conferees, but with the member of his own party 
who exercised his right as a Senator to block the bill from 
consideration on the floor of the Senate.
  That Senator was exercising his right to object to a unanimous 
consent request, but with time running out in this Congress, the rest 
of the Senate has rights too. And including this bill in the conference 
report, with bipartisan support in the conference and in the Senate, 
was a reasonable step to take so that the will of a supermajority of 
the body would not be thwarted.
  These provisions are very important to address a real unfairness that 
is being perpetrated on the auto dealers of this country. Franchise 
agreements for auto and truck dealerships are typically not negotiable 
between the manufacturer and the dealer. The dealer accepts the terms 
offered by the manufacturer, or the dealer loses the dealership, plain 
and simple. Dealers, therefore, have been forced to rely on the States 
to pass laws designed to balance the manufacturers' far greater 
bargaining power and to safeguard the rights of dealers.
  The first State automobile statute was enacted in my home State of 
Wisconsin in 1937 to protect citizens from injury caused when a 
manufacturer or distributor induced a Wisconsin citizen to invest 
considerable sums of money in dealership facilities, and then canceled 
the dealership without cause. Since then, all States except Alaska have 
enacted substantive law to balance the enormous bargaining power 
enjoyed by manufacturers over dealers and to safeguard small business 
dealers from unfair automobile and truck manufacturer practices.

  A little known fact is that under the Federal Arbitration Act, FAA, 
arbitrators are not required to apply the particular Federal or State 
law that would be applied by a court. That enables the stronger party, 
in this case the auto or truck manufacturer, to use arbitration to 
circumvent laws specifically enacted to regulate the dealer/
manufacturer relationship. Not only is the circumvention of these laws 
inequitable, it also eliminates the deterrent to prohibited acts that 
State law provides.
  A majority of States have created their own alternative dispute 
resolution mechanisms and forums with access to auto industry expertise 
that provide inexpensive, efficient, and nonjudicial resolution of 
disputes. For example, in Wisconsin, mandatory mediation is required 
before the start of an administrative hearing or court action. 
Arbitration is also an option if both parties agree. These State 
dispute resolution forums, with years of experience and precedent, are 
greatly responsible for the small number of manufacture-dealer 
lawsuits. When mandatory binding arbitration is included in dealer 
agreements, these specific State laws and forums established to resolve 
auto dealer and manufacturer disputes are effectively rendered null and 
void with respect to dealer agreements.
  A strong bipartisan majority of this body, and of the House, has come 
together to say ``no'' to these unfair contract provisions. So I 
commend the chairman and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee for 
their work to include this important legislation in the DOJ 
authorization bill conference report. As I said before, we could have 
had a debate and voted on amendments to this bill if consent had been 
granted. That was our preferred course as well. But one Senator did not 
want to have that debate, and so it was necessary, in the interests of 
justice, to proceed in this manner.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

[[Page S9834]]

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                          ____________________






Immigration Daily: the news source for
legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers
Enter your email address here: