Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the senior Republican and President Pro Tempore of the US Senate, took to the Senate floor to express his strong support for the Majority Leader’s decision to cancel August recess.
Senator Hatch also chided his Democratic colleagues for their obstruction in attempting to block a record number of judicial nominations.
“Democrats have wasted precious hours of debate with their partisan grandstanding, and the country is worse off because of it. While my colleagues posture and preen for audiences on national TV, dozens of executive and judicial nominations remain unfilled, bringing the important work of government to a halt.”
“Enough already. Enough of the games. Enough of the disingenuous handwringing. Enough of the Twitter-tailored cable TV meltdowns. Let’s set our egos aside for one moment to get done what the American people sent us here to do.”
The full speech, as prepared for delivery, is below:
Mr. President, I rise to voice my enthusiastic support for the Majority Leader’s announcement yesterday that we would be staying in Washington through August.
Already, we’ve seen media reports that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are upset about having to work through August recess. As Leader McConnell said, this action would not have been necessary but for historic obstruction by our Democratic colleagues, who have used every available tool to delay confirmations of executive and judicial nominations.
To put the scale of their obstruction into perspective, Senate Democrats have forced 101 procedural cloture votes on President Trump’s nominees in his first 18 months. By comparison, the previous six President’s combined saw a total of only 24 cloture votes in their first two years. In other words, Democrats have somehow managed to fit 40 years-worth of obstruction into just 18 months.
Even more infuriating, after Democrats pretend to object to nominees by calling for cloture, many of them later vote in favor of confirmation, acknowledging that the nominees are qualified and worthy of the Senate’s support.
Take, for example, the case of Fernando Rodriguez Jr., a highly qualified nominee to the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Fernando has spent the last few years serving in the International Justice Mission combatting sex trafficking and human rights abuses. He also has ten years of experience practicing law, not to mention invaluable experience as an educator with Teach for America.
Yesterday, Democrats forced a cloture vote on Fernando Rodriguez to slow down his confirmation, but still voted to confirm him unanimously. Mr. President, this is absurd. It seems my friends on the other side of the aisle want to have their obstruction cake and eat it too. But you can’t have it both ways.
These procedural slow-downs are a transparent charade—a cynical sideshow meant to shore up support among the Democratic base. I would remind my friends on the other side of the aisle that this chamber is meant for policy, not politics. We can campaign on the weekends, but right now, we have serious work to do.
Democrats have wasted precious hours of debate with their partisan grandstanding, and the country is worse off because of it. While my colleagues posture and preen for audiences on national TV, dozens of executive and judicial nominations remain unfilled, bringing the important work of government to a halt.
Enough already. Enough of the games. Enough of the disingenuous handwringing. Enough of the Twitter-tailored cable TV meltdowns. Let’s set our egos aside for one moment to get done what the American people sent us here to do.
Mr. President, I look forward to working through August to make up for lost time. That’s not to say that recess or in-state work periods are unimportant. Indeed, connecting with constituents back home is the most important part of our jobs.
And despite what some would have you believe, we work just as much during recess as we do when we’re in session, if not more. I travel around the state, meeting with as many Utahns as possible, normally breaking just long enough for a quick meal at my favorite all-you-can-eat buffet.
In one day of recess, I can talk trade and tariffs with a group of Utah cattlemen before meeting with health experts to learn more about medical marijuana research, visiting the family of a Utahn held captive overseas, and convening a panel of education leaders to discuss school safety. As anyone who has served in Congress knows, recess is no respite.
The time we spend at home meeting with constituents is absolutely vital to our jobs. But of equal importance is confirming capable, qualified judges to our courts. Our responsibility here in the Senate is to keep the judicial branch up and running. I’ve participated in more than 1,800 judicial confirmations throughout my term of service, and I look forward to working through August to confirm a few more.
Mr. President, there is no time to waste. I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come together to get this done.