Floor and Committee Statements

“Mr. President, I’m going to be brief. I also want to make sure I don’t take advantage of the personal privilege I have of the United States Senator, as a United States senator but I’m going to anyway. I want Senator Coons from Delaware to pause for just a second. I want to thank every member of the Senate, Republican and Democrat, and the staff of the Senate for the many kindnesses they’ve extended to me in the last four months during my injury and my recovery. I’m on the way back home in large measure because of the support of the members of the United States senate. I’m very grateful for that and the staff that have allowed that to take place. I thank you; I say thank you very much.

“Notwithstanding what your politics are or your partisanship is or anything else, this is a great institution and a great body because it’s made up of great people. To that end, my friends and Senator Coons from Delaware made an excellent speech, which I’m going to adopt as my speech since I don’t have the strength to stand as long as I’d like to talk about an issue so important.

“We do need to open all our minds and hearts in the days ahead to make sure we know what direction we’re going on as members of the United States Senate, regardless of our party and notwithstanding our partisanship.

“Neil Gorsuch, from everything I have seen – and I’ve probably seen more than anybody because I’ve been watching it on TV, while I’m recovering, you have been doing in debate. I have seen the real thing. His record, his testimony, the way he presented himself, the way Senator Grassley and Senator Feinstein allowed that hearing to go forth. I know we have a good man as a nominee for the Supreme Court Justice of the United States. But the issues divide on cloture, on simple majority, on the rule change of 2013 and what’s happened in the past, now has us in a position where we’re slowly but surely moving to be a body that’s another House of Representatives, not the United States Senate.

“The majority rule is a great philosophy. Majority winning is always a great philosophy. But I used to have a teacher that taught me who says [if you have seven, then] four equals a majority [and] three equals zero, but you have to listen to the other three because sometimes they may be right.

“I think that is a good lesson for us, and that was a grammar school teacher. If seven of the voting members and four doesn’t equal a majority, [then] three doesn’t equal zero, because the rest still count.

“As we move forward in the days ahead and judge other issues, whether partisan issues in terms of regular debate and general legislation, secretaries or whatever it may be, let’s be thoughtful. So not as a criticism of the House, [but a] compliment to our Founding Fathers, we don’t become a second House [of Representatives] and eventually waive rule where passions overrule common sense and all of a sudden you find yourself digging your way out of holes you built and building dreams that you wanted to do.

“I commend the leadership of both parties for exercising their political and partisan desires. I commend each member for being here to take part of this debate today and be a part of what America is all about.

“But somewhere down the line, there’s going to be something that’s going to happen. It’s going to cause a resurrection of the debate that we’ve had today and another road to cross on which way we go in future direction.

“The more we move away from a Senate that is a deliberative body, that is a dignified body, and that is a body that makes sure it knows where it’s going before it moves forward, we’ll be better off.

“If we move forward as a body that’s a rubber stamp of the [U.S.] House or a unicameral system of legislation, we’ll never be the United States of America our Founding Fathers intended us to be.

“That’s what I believe and that’s what I think the end of this will be. So to all the members, I compliment them on what they had to say to do.

“Justice Gorsuch, I’m so proud to have someone like that who will serve on the Supreme Court bench with distinction.

“But to all of us: Our job is not finished. Our jobs are ahead of it. I look forward to being here and being a part of it. I yield back my time and thank the members of the United States Senate.”

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