U.S. Senate Barrett Supreme Court Justice Confirmation CSPAN October 24, 2020 5:13pm-6:47pm EDT
my friend from south dakota who says you don't know how she is going to rule, there is some truth to that. she could change your mind. but i tell you if you were a betting person, you would say the statements she made criticizing chief justice roberts for saving the affordable care act, other statements that she has made about the law itself suggest she will not be a friend when she has the opportunity to vote. do we take that seriously? on behalf of 600,000 people in illinois, you bet i do. it directly relates to this pandemic, the opportunity for people across this country to have the coverage they need. i'm going to tell a quick story about one of them. i have a quote of her here that i want to share with people, a situation that she faces.
sorry that i don't have that in front of me, but i'm going to tell the story anyway because i remember it. her last name is daninberger. she is from new berlin, illinois. an amazing young woman. she is battling breast cancer. here it is. thank you. when we cut corners when it comes to the affordable care act, susan is one of the victims. she is a fifth generation farmer and winemaker. she has a great little v.i.p. yard and a great little restaurant, and i have been out there with my family. she is also a two-time cancer fighting with stage four met static breast cancer. she has been through the gauntlet of medical procedures, treatments and complications in recent years. a double mastectomy, radiation, i.v., chemo, pulmonary embolisms, lung infections, and
more. her oral chemomedications alone have cost her thousands of dollars every single month, even with insurance. as a business owner, susan offers insurance to her employers. she was relieved to know when opening her new health policy that the a.c.a. guarantees she gets coverage, even with that medical history. it also allows her 23-year-old son to stay on the family plan. here is what she says to me. most of the times, i feel driven, making wine, running a winery is more than just a job. it's my purpose. i am more scared than i pretend to be. that is how i make it through. i pretend that everything's okay. but this year, it's harder to pretend that everything is going to be okay. i'm worried about the future. i'm worried about money. i'm worried that i won't be able to afford to fight cancer. i'm worried about taxes. health insurance changes, and being at the mercy of insurance companies. for americans like susan, the
family, a business, preexisting conditions, there is so much at stake with this case pending before the supreme court and the judges and justices who will vote on it. susan, bless you. she just can't afford for this court to strike down the affordable care act. where will she turn? you must conclude, durbin, you're not telling the whole story. tell us about the republican alternative to the affordable care act. tell us about their substitute, the one that is going to save everybody so much money and provide all the same coverage. tell bus that. i would sure like to but i can't because it has never been written down on paper ever. there is no republican alternative. they are bound and determined to kill obamacare with no substitute. that's why john mccain voted no. he said we owe it to the american people to give them an alternative. sadly, sadly, unfortunately, there is still no alternative.
mr. president, senator schumer earlier in the day noted that there are a lot of other things we should be taking up at this moment in time. i'm going to mention a few here this morning. these are measures which passed the house of representatives, sometimes months ago, sometimes over a year ago, sent to the desk of senator mcconnell. they were never taken up. they have been sitting there while we have done little or nothing on the floor of the senate except entertain his judicial nominations. the first one is personal to me, not that it affects me personally legally, but it's relating to a bill that i introduced a long time ago. on june 4, twint, the house of representatives passed h.r. 6, the dream and promise act. strong bipartisan vote, giving a path to citizenship to dreamers. mr. president, i introduced the first dream act 19 years ago. i have been producing on this ever since. these are young immigrants
brought to the united states as toddlers, infants, and children. the dream and promise act has now been sitting on senator mcconnell's desk for more than a year. more than a year. on june 22, i sent a letter signed by all the democrat senators calling on senator mcconnell to finally bring it up for a vote. four months later, senator mcconnell has not even responded. he sent a letter after president trump had the deportation for dreamers. here is what justice roberts said about the actions of the trump administration on daca. here's what he said. arbitrary and capricious. that was the description. i joined with senator duck lugar, a republican, years ago, asking for the president to create daca. president obama responded by creating an executive order. sadly, president trump eliminated it. and literally hundreds of thousands of young people had
their fate in doubt because of it. the same thing is true when it comes to temporary protected status for people in the united states. this administration has been a scourge when it comes to the issue of immigration, particularly inspired by steven miller, a person i could never, ever understand. they have decided to be as mean as possible and cruel when it comes to people who are in this country having left horrible circumstances at home. now is the time for us to take up this measure, to start the debit. it isn't as if we have so much else to do. what we should be doing is to make sure that we do this. and so, mr. president, in order to proceed to consideration of h.r. 6, the american dream and promise act, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator frp indiana. mr. braun: reserving the right to object. i have only been here a little
under two years. in the time that i have been here, it has been disappointing that when it comes to real attempts to make legislative progress, so often i see that we are far apart in terms of how we want to go about it. i came here from a state like indiana where serving in our state legislature, running a business for 37 years, we seem to get things done. even though we were divided, of course, like most legislative bodies are, we came together and did things that made a difference for our constituents. in the time before the impeachment saga came along, covid, civil unrest, i thought many of us were putting our shoulders to the grindstone and i'm on committees like health, education, labor, and pension, wanted to weigh in on talking
about some of the things democrats have brought up about health care. and to me again i think it brings in front of us differences in approach certainly. i'm a believer that rather than trying to get government even more involved in person things, that we might look at what actually works in the real world, works in many states, including health care, which i agree is probably the number one issue we face as a country. it was the number one issue when i was running a business. and i think there is so much commonality in the sense that we have got a broken health care system. we sometimes as conservatives are slow to maneuver. we may not be interested in doing things that need to be done, but i think there is a time and a place for that. i was pleased to see i think 70, 80 senators weighed in on trying to fix health care.
but what interrupted that progress was several months of an impeachment saga that proved to go snowe where. we have been confronted with the biggest health crisis certainly in a century. other issues. but in this case, i think to me trying to cut to the chase, this is clearly a sequence of maneuvers that is trying to interject in a process of getting one of the most qualified judges across the finish line to become a supreme court justice. i think the american people are watching, too. they see what goes on here. they see that year after year, we seem not to deliver results, and when it comes to stuff that should be simple, when it's clear based upon the credentials especially of someone like amy
coney barrett who come from my state, that has done such an outstanding job as an appellate judge, impeccable credentials, and to where now this is being litigated not on the merits of who she is and how she will handle herself as a supreme court justice, it's gotten so partisan. i think that really does turn people off. i think this is more a sequence of maybe we're both guilty of to where we do not roll up our sleeves, get to the heart of the matter. i was happy to be the first republican to come across and acknowledge that climate is an issue. formed the climate caucus. got six other republicans to do it. i think we have got to be engaged in the key issues of the day. again, as i said earlier, we sometimes are slow to come to
the discussion. but the time that i am going to spend here, i would hope that we do legislation in the time that is there to do it and not try to interject it into a process like this. i am so happy that we have got this in a situation where we're going to get her voted in on monday, and in the meantime, i think that any of the attempts that are made by the other side to belabor the point just shows the american public what's wrong with this institution. so that being said, i do think that it's -- she is a qualified nominee to the supreme court. it's of the utmost importance that we do not belabor the process, and i object to proceeding to legislative session. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. durbin: mr. president.
the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, i would say to the senator from indiana, i recognize that he is new to this body, and what he has seen in the senate is not the senate that i was elected to. there was a time, the senator may find it hard to believe, that we actually brought bills to the floor, we allowed amendments. before that, of course, the committee had done its work. we allowed amendments on the floor up or down, and we ended up deliberating and voting and measures if they passed here would head to conference and miraculously -- miraculously at some point become law. that hasn't happened for a long, long time. i don't know if you have seen it. the defense authorization, we don't have active amendments there. in this circumstance, the bill that i brought before the senate judiciary committee 18 years ago, 18 years ago, it has passed the house of representatives and sitting on senator mcconnell's desk for a year.
it has been referred to the senate judiciary committee, and i cochair the immigration subcommittee with your colleague who is standing to your right from texas. we have met twice in the last two years, twice, and never taken this up. so for the sake of the people affected by it, asking that it come to the floor is not an unreasonable request. their lives are tied up in it. so i would love to see the regular order. we haven't seen it in so long, most people wouldn't wreck -- wouldn't recognize it. but i understand your objection. i have a series -- i will only make one more unanimous consent request because i see members waiting to speak. this one is very relevant, very timely. mr. president, we know that foreign election interference continues to be a real threat in america. just this week, we learned a foreign influence campaign carried out by iran in which fake menacing e-mails were sent to democratic voters who were told to vote for trump or, quote, we'll come after you, close quote, origin were told by our intelligence agencies iran.
f.b.i. director wray has that russia seeks to denigrate democratic nominee joe biden, two countries up to their elbows and trying to make a mess of our election campaign. it is well past time to address this threat. we spend a lot of time talking about t we could do it today by passing a house-passed shield act. this is a bill passed in the house of representatives that would establish a duty to report election interference from foreign entities so the f.b.i. and the federal election commission are aware when foreign powers are offering unlawful -- unlawful -- election assistance to campaigns and other political committees. this bill would restrict the exchange of campaign information with foreign entities by making it illegal to offer nonpublic campaign material to foreign governments and those linked with foreign governments. the bill would improve transparency by applying existing campaign advertising
requirements to online and would close loopholes to foreign nationals and foreign governments to try to influence the outcome of a u.s. election. finally, it would prohibit depend stiff practices to stop individuals from providing false information about voting rules andification qualifications for voting. in light of these ongoing threats to both presidential candidates, president trump as well as vice president biden, this is a bipartisan attack. they're not just going after democrats or republicans. they're going after all of us. isn't it about time we said we're fed up with it? that's all this bill does. it's bipartisan. in order to proceed to the consideration of this bill in time for it to affect the outcome of this election perhaps, h.r. 4617, the shield act, i ask we proceed to consideration of it to prevent
foreign interference in elections. i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. braun: mr. president, reserving the right to object, as i said earlier, the said is currently considering the nomination of a highly qualified nominee to be an aassociate to the supreme court. this request is another procedural move to just belabor the process. they voted to adjourn until after the election four times this week, so obviously this bill, even though it may have merits that we need to discuss, should not be done in this format. continuing to consider this highly qualified nominee to the supreme court is the utmost most important thing we should do here. therefore, i object proceeding to legislative session. the presiding officer: objection is heard.
mr. durbin: mr. president? er ifer if the senator from illinois. -- the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i am going to put my statements in the record as to the other three bills and make a general u.c. request as to all of them en banc, as they say. in order to proceed to consideration of h.r. 4995, maternal health quality improvement arctic of 20, h.r. 4996 helping moms act of 20, and h.r. 1585 violence against women reauthorization act, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. braun: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. braun: i object to proceeding to everything en bloc. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. durbin: i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. coarse correspondent mr. president -- mr. cornyn: mr. president, on thursday you the senate judiciary committee advanceed the nomination of amy coney barrett unanimously. it was unanimous because our democratic colleagues sought to
boycott the meeting, but what they basic lay did is expedite -- basically did is expedite consideration of her nomination. it was really kind of puzzling to see the chairs that were set aside for our democratic colleagues filled with large, blown-up pictures. and i'll sort of get to that in a moment. the false narrative that we've seen here -- because our colleagues cannot successfully attack the character or the qualifications of this incredible nominee to this seat on the supreme court. she discussed -- judge barrett discussed everything from the separation of powers to the free expression clause of the first amendment, and many of us marveled at her knowledge and her ability to recall facts and legal decisions without so much
as even a note in front of her. it's no surprise that the american bar association, which the minority leader has called the gold standard, gave her their highest rating. the chair of the standing committee on the judiciary said in interviews with individuals in the legal profession and the community who know judge barrett, not one person uttered a negative word about her character. that assessment is in line with the glowing letters of support we've seen from her former colleagues and students, whose political philosophies and beliefs fall across the entire spectrum. what we've repeatedly heard is about judge barrett's brilliance, her strong character, her great temperament, and her impressive humility. judge barrett, i'm convinced, will serve our nation well on the supreme court.
it's clear that the mountains of evidence stand in sharp contrast to the portrait that our colleagues across the aisle have attempted to paint of this nominee. democrats have tried to claim that she is somehow too radical, despite that fact that in her three years on the seventh circuit court of appeals, she has agreed with her colleagues 95% of the time in the 600 cases they've decided. back in 2017, when she was nominated to the seventh circuit, she was attacked explicitly because of her catholic faith, even though our colleagues know that under the constitution, no religious test is permissible. and really, suggesting that because of her faith she couldn't follow her oath to decide cases on the facts and the law that come before her. truly insulting and completely out of character with the person that we saw in judge barrett in front of the judiciary committee.
our colleagues even went so far as to hold up a chart with more than 100 cases listed, and claimed that judge barrett would overturn every single one of those precedents. well, there's certainly no evidence of that, nothing in her record that would suggest it. with her fidelity to law, do you think she would be so reckless? well, of course not. there's just no evidence to support t but we know that because they couldn't attack her on the merits, they decided to use fearmongering instead. through innuendos misinformation, and intellectually dishonest arguments, they've been trying to stoke fears about how she may rule on a case which she has not even heard yet. this is sort of a sky-is-falling argument, a chicken little
argument. but it has more to do with the way our colleagues view the judicial branch. they view it as another political argument as opposed to an apolitical branch that is supposed to interpret the law and decide cases on their own merits. instead of addressing her judicial philosophy, our democratic colleagues eagerly shared their plan, should she be confirmed, to pack the supreme court with additional justices, to give them the political result that they cannot achieve with the current composition of the court. this is something that ruth bader ginsburg explicitly condemned, saying this would turn the supreme court into just another political body because you can imagine if democrats when they're in power decide to add additional judges who may decide cases in a way they would like to see them decided, the
temptation would be great for the other side of the aisle to add judges to the supreme court. and it would completely destroy what has been rightly called the crown jewels of our constitution, and that is the independent -- our independent judiciary. well, for many americans, the idea of mutating our own apolitical branch of government is absolutely terrifying. so, not surprisingly, our colleagues across the aisle have tried to rebrand and call this rebalancing the court. well, this is what we would call back home, putting lipstick son a big. usingrebalance is a way -- using rebalance is a way to obscure what it really is. they want to try to secure wins this he can't win in a
rough-and-tumble process. if you can't win in congress, well, get the judiciary is bail you out. that's not the appropriate role of judges or the judiciary under our constitution. our democratic colleagues seemed absolutely fearful about judges who will actually apply the law as written. they want somebody to impose a result that they wish was required. they want judges to evaluate cases not by the letter of the law but through the same lens of personal and political biases. in short, they don't really want a fair and impartial judge like judge barrett. they want a guaranteed result. our democratic colleagues repeatedly pushed judge barrett to say how she would rule on future cases. they asked her to share her personal views on controversial issues. they demanded a commitment from her to recuse herself from specific cases.
but once again judge barrett proved why she is the right person for the job. she followed the precedent set by former and current justices and respectfully refrained from answering those kind of provocative questions. contrary to what our democratic colleagues believe, supreme court justices are not life-tenured super-legislators. they're obligated to apply the law as written. no favors, no biases, no predetermined outcomes. that's what judge ginsburg said when she was confirmed. and that's why it's so important to confirm amy coney barrett. she's artfully -- she has artfully demonstrated her understanding of the rule of the judiciary to show she has the temperament and the intellect and the experience to serve on the nation's highest court. she won't impose her personal beliefs. she said that time and time again. and to suggest that she somehow would violate her judicial oath in a future case is inconsistent
with everything we have come to know about amy coney barrett. she won't impose her personal beliefs. she won't try to favor one side over the other. and she won't legislate from the bench. that's exactly the kind of nominee that republicans and democrats should want on the high court. so i look forward to supporting judge barrett's nomination on monday when we finally vote to confirm her. and briefly, on another matter, mr. president, on thursday's presidential debate, former vice president joe biden said he wants to transition the u.s. from the oil industry. actually, as governor abbott said, no, joe biden wants to transition hundreds of thousands of texans from their paycheck. what joe biden is sending is a not-too-subtly coded message that he wants to end our energy industry as we know it. this is an industry that
according to one study directly or indirectly supports one out of every six jobs in my state. and it is a pillar of our state's economy. through tax revenue, high-paying jobs, and downstream economic gains, communities across texas reap substantial benefits from our thriving oil and gas industry every day. and those benefits reach beyond our borders or the borders of any other energy-producing state. that's because of the hardworking men and women on rigs in the fields and refineries, because of their work, the american people have access to reliable and affordable energy. in places like california and new york, folks can't turn on their lights, fill up their gas tanks, or hop on an airplane without ever thinking about the men and women who have made that seemingly simple task possible. and now we're seeing our democratic colleagues fighting to leave these energy sources in the dust.
they're talking about switching to renewables as if it were as simple as turning on a light switch. in texas, we literally believe in an all-of-the-above energy policy. we produce more electricity from wind energy -- from wind turbines than any other state in the nation. but we know what the reality of the kind of transition that vice president biden has talked about would mean. we got a taste of how disastrous it would be earlier this year. when the coronavirus hit, the need for texas' greatest natural resource plummeted. with fewer cars on the roads and fewer planes in the sky, oil and gas producers were left with a lot of supply and not much demand. and that's when the layoffs began p. a new report by deloitte found that between march and august of this year, about 107,000 energy workers in texas were laid off.
and that doesn't include the countless workers who had a pay cut or temporarily furloughed. to make matters worse, as much as 70% of those jobs might not even come back by the end of 2021, and that is if we continue business as usual. if the vice president's plan to destroy the energy industry were enacted, these workers would have no jobs to come back to and it would only be the beginning of the cascading negative economic consequences. many americans aren't old enough to remember the 1970's energy crisis which put our energy depends in this country in the spotlight. the situation was so bad that gas stations were serving customers by appointment only. some states banned neon signs to cut down on energy use and a number of towns asked their citizens not to even put up christmas lights. it was a hard, cold dose of
reality that brought america's energy dependency to light and a need to increase our domestic resources and to wean ourselves off of foreign oil. that's what we did. we put a ban on crude oil at that time to grow our own. with the technology sector in recent years production has skyrocketed. then it became abundantly clear to lift the export ban, which we did. almost five years ago i voted in the senate to lift that 40-year-old export ban and until covid-19 hit, we were seeing major gains. last november, for the first time on record, the u.s. exported more crude oil and fuel than we imported. and now that we've reached really what you could call
energy self-sufficiency, our democratic colleagues are eager to impose policies that would send us right back to the 1907's and -- 1970's and that orwellian energy crisis and wreak havoc in the process. i think that vice president biden has succeeded in alienating all sides on this topic because he has been flipping and flopping back and forth about fracking bans, whether it would apply across the board or just to federal lands. but his running mate has been abundantly clear and consistent. she said last year, there's no question i'm in favor of banning fracking. whether democrats are talking about a transition, fracking ban or green new deal, these proposals will kill the goose that laid the golden egg, our oil and gas industry and send the economy into a tailspin.
that would bankrupt my state with the best economy in the country. a study by the u.s. chamber of commerce estimates that a fracking ban would cost our state 2 toin 2 million jobs by -- 2.2 million jobs by 2025, the annual cost of living would go up $7,000, unemployment would skyrocket, the tax revenue would plummet and what made us the envy of the word might never recover. the only thing that it would lead to is a dire economic picture for texas, and i believe the rest of the country as well. an unaffordable or unreliable energy resources. i want to be clear i support efforts to drive down emissions. that's why this shale gas revolution has been so good for the environment by reducing emissions dramatically i. the united states energy-related
emissions dropped by almost 3% last year largely due to the increased use of natural gas for power generation, but i also support renewable energy. as i said, texas is the number one producer of electric from wind. but even the strongest supporters of renewable sources of energy can tell you right now renewables are not capable of providing the energy that our nation needs. as we all know, the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow. so wind turbines and solar panels can't fill the need, particularly with about 270-plus million cars on the road and an airline industry, not to mention our national defense, that depend on fossil fuels to run their engines. last year renewables accounted for only 17.5% of our total energy generation. for a comparison natural gas alone accounts for more than
double that. while the development and expanding of renewable sources is more important and something that i support, we simply can't cut our nose off to spite our face by denying ourselves access to what is really a gift which is our natural resources and fossil fuels. right now we have hope that once daily commutes and nonessential travel resumes more texas energy workers will be back on the job and our economy will rebound. but if our country were to implement the policies advocated by leading democrats, particularly their presidential and vice presidential nominee, that hope would all together disappear. this is not the time, if ever there was a time, to implement heavy-handed, short-sighted government policies like that. our energy industry is it still reeling from the impact of the coronavirus and our democratic
colleagues' disastrous policies would not make that better, it would make it worse. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president, i was glad i was here to hear the wise words from the senator from texas. i look at our region, the tennessee valley to california. california is moving ahead a lot like vice president biden's, they have a goal on powering that state on wind and solar and closing their nuclear plants. what is happening in california? rates are goinggoing through the roofs and they are having rolling blackouts. what is happening in tennessee, and the tennessee valley, nuclear power is more than 40% of our -- of our electric. of course nuclear power is totally emission free. no carbon, zero carbon and it is
reliable. most of the carbon-free electric that we produce in the country. the combination of the nuclear power and hydropower and natural gas has given us one of the cleanest area. in the east tennessee area i can see the mountains because pollution has controlled all of the coal plants. we don't want rolling blackouts throughout the country like california has because they've adopted exactly the policy that vice president biden is advocating. now, mr. president, i come to the floor to speak on another subject. i want to talk about science and vaccines. the governors of new york and california have announced they are creating their own state review panels to review covid-19 vaccine data as it becomes available. new york governor andrew cuomo said, frankly, quote, i'm not going to trust the federal
government's opinion, unquote. and california governor stated that the vaccine won't be distributed in california until it is reviewed by a state panel of experts. the governor of california said on october 20, quote, of course we won't take any one's word for it. unquote. well, mr. president, every day americans take the word of food and drug administration's career scientists and the safety and effectiveness of the prescriptions they approve when we purchase 3.3 billion prescriptions a day. let me say that again. we take the word of the f.d.a. career scientists every day when we purchase 3.38 brl prescriptions every year. i asked the f.d.a. commissioner on september 23, about the safety of a potential covid-19
vaccine. he was testifying on covid-19 in my committee on which i chair. i asked him, dr. hahn, who makes the decisions about safety and efficacy at the f.d.a.? do you do it? do career scientists do it? or does the white house do it, dr. hahn? dr. hahn reported, quote, career scientists at the f.d.a. do it. that's very clear. i'm briefed on all major medical product decisions, dr. hahn said, over ruling a senator's decision is a rare event. i have expressed on multiple occasions and i have done so during the covid-19 pandemic to make sure that these decisions are made by career scientists in the centers. i followed up by asking
dr. hahn's confidence in taking a covid-19 vaccine himself. i said, you referred to this once, but once the f.d.a. approves a vaccine, as we've said today, we're going to have tens of millions of doses ready this year, none can be distributed until the f.d.a. approves it. will you be willing to take that vaccine and will you recommend it for your family? i asked dr. hahn. he replied. absolutely, mr. chairman. i have complete and absolute faith in the expertise of the scientists who are terrific at f.d.a. if they were to make a determination that a vaccine would be safe and effective, i would do that. and i would encourage my family to take the vaccine. those are the words of the man whose job it is to finally approve any covid-19 vaccine. but then at the beginning of this month, as f.d.a. was preparing to issue additional guidance on the data needed from
vaccine developers to demonstrate safety and efficacy for use authorization, there was serious questions about whether the white house was politicizing the f.d.a. approval for vaccines for covid-19. the f.d.a. submitted its guidance, that guidance was written by career scientists, those scientists had decades of experience and they have years of approval of vaccines against covid-19. news reports of white house interference came in that suggested the white house was going to change the f.d.a. guidance or that the white house was not going to allow the f.d.a. to release its own guidance. many were concerned about that, including me, mr. president. "the new york times" on october 5, had a big headline, white house blocks new coronavirus guidelines and it went on to say the f.d.a.
proposed stricter guidelines for approval of a coronavirus vaccine, but the white house chief of staff objected to provisions that would push past election day. that was "the new york times" and fox news. trump administration to block f.d.a. guidelines that could delay coronavirus vaccine. that's fox news. the f.d.a. proposed stricter guidance last month that could prolong the guideline for a vaccine, fox news said. there were many stories to this effect. i could barely leave my office without a reporter asking me if i was concerned about this, about the politicalization about the vaccine process. so i telephonedded mark meadows and i asked him about it. i said to him, please do not interfere with the standards set by the career scientists at the f.d.a. for the approval of a covid-19 vaccine. mr. president, the white house did exactly what i urged the
white house to do. the white house respected the decisions of the career scientists. they did not change one word of the standards set by the career scientists for the approval of covid-19 vaccines. so i suggest to the governors of new york and california, do the same. they should show the same respect to the f.d.a. career scientists that the white house did, undermining the f.d.a.'s gold standard of safety and efficacy by setting up state review panels could delay approval, discourage americans from taking the vaccine and cost lives. there is a reason why we americans rely on the federal government's food and drug administration for the safety and efficacy of vaccines. in 1902, congress decided when it passed the biologics control
act that the federal government should regulate vaccines after tragic incidents of children dying from contaminated smallpox vaccines. this law charged a federal laboratory that would later become the national institutes of health in 1930 with insuring the potency of biologic products such as vaccines. and then in 1972, the regulation of vaccines moved to the food and drug administration to what is now called the center for biologic evaluation and research. f.d.a., therefore, has almost 50 years of experience to refine the process for reviewing safety and efficacy for vaccines, including what data to look at and how to design clinical trials to prove that the vaccines work and that the vaccines are safe. earlier this week, the f.d.a. convened independent scientific
and medical experts to discuss this. they talked about the development, authorization, and approval of vaccines for covid-19. this is not a new process for assessing vaccines. f.d.a. routinely convenes these type of independent panels to help inform its review. dr. peter marks, head of the center of biologics evaluation and research at f.d.a. wrote this about the vaccine advisory committee's role on f.d.a.'s website. quote, the committee will hear presentations from experts in covid-19 disease and vaccine development, as well as from career f.d.a. scientists. topics will include studies needed to support authorization or approval, post-marketing safety studies needed following an approval and what would be necessary for ongoing safety monitoring following issuing of an emergency use authorization for covid-19 vaccine. dr. marks continued, there will also be a part of the meeting during which members of the
public will have an opportunity to speak and provide input, and this will be followed by thorough discussion of the issues by committee members. the members of this committee are external, scientific, and public health experts from around the country, specializing in fields such as immunology, virussology, infectious diseases, pediatrics, vaccine development, and vaccine safety, end of quote. this meeting and any other f.d.a. advisory committee meeting can be viewed by the public. at the senate health committee hearing on september 23 where f.d.a. commissioner steven hahn testified, i reviewed the three steps that have to happen before f.d.a. will approve a vaccine. one, independent experts overseeing clinical trials determine whether there is enough data available for the f.d.a. to review. number two, after demonstrating safety and efficacy based on
clinical trials, the vaccine manufacturer submits an application to the f.d.a. and number three, f.d.a. experts conduct their review and make the final determination whether or not it is safe and that it works. so, mr. president, in other words, no one knows when the vaccine will be ready to distribute. no one knows that. even dr. hahn. and why does he not know it? because there is this elaborate, independent process established by career scientists with not a word changed by the white house that will review the data and then make a decision. now, because of the work of congress and the administration, tens of millions of doses are being manufactured. so when that approval comes, whether it's november, december, january, there will be tens of millions of doses of vaccine ready to distribute to the american people. but that approval won't come until the career scientists' rules are followed.
the f.d.a. is considered the gold standard in the world, in part because it is one of the few regulatory agencies in the world that looks at detailed clinical trial data as part of its review rather than summaries of clinical trial data. the f.d.a. division making the decision to approve or authorize a vaccine for covid-19 is led by experts with decades of experience, including dr. peter marks, whom i mentioned, the head of the center for biologics evaluation research. he has been at the center since 2012. dr. celia whiton, the deputy director, has been at the f.d.a. since 1996. the center is led by dr. marian kruber who has over 20 years of experience in regulatory review and approval of vaccines and biologics. the deputy director of the vaccine division, dr. phillip kraus, has ten years of experience in the f.d.a. working on vaccines. the f.d.a. will also have the advice of independent advisory
committees. mr. president california and new york, no state will be able too assemble a -- to assemble a scientific panel of experts with the same high level of acknowledge and experience, reviewing safety and efficacy information as exists at the food and drug administration. democratic governors in those two states should not both be telling president trump that he ought to follow the advice of scientists like dr. fauci, which he should do, but at the same time undermine the review and the work of similar career scientists at the food and drug administration. vaccines save lives. we have heard testimony in our health committee demonstrating that. undermining public confidence in vaccine risks not only our ability to combat soafd but acceptance of other vaccines as well. if california and new york can override the f.d.a. on vaccines,
what would prevent republican governors from banning ru-486, the abortion drug, in their states? if that were to happen, i'm sure my democratic colleagues would cry politics and suggest that if f.d.a. has reviewed and approved a drug and said it is safe and effective, then states should not be able to say that it is unsafe. f.d.a. is the right agency to review and approve vaccines and drugs and medical devices. i would urge the governors of california and new york not to set up their state review panels, but instead focus their time and resources on planning to distribute the vaccine and improving testing and contract tracing. using the resources that congress has given to states rather than second-guessing the efforts of scientists at the food and drug administration. thank you, mr. president. i yield the