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Susan C.
Republican ME

About Sen. Susan
  • Executive Session

    by Senator Susan M. Collins

    Posted on 2014-12-15

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    COLLINS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Hirono). Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    [[Page S6827]] National Women's History Museum Commission Act Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, last week the Senate passed the National Women's History Museum Commission Act, a bill that I authored with the dean of the Democratic women Senators, Senator Mikulski of Maryland. It passed finally as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

    Our legislation will create a commission to evaluate and plan the establishment of a museum dedicated to women's history right here in our Nation's Capital. I know the Presiding Officer shares my view that this is long overdue.

    I am in fact pleased to have had all of the women Senators as cosponsors of this bill, and I am thankful for the support of many of our other colleagues as well. Senator Mikulski has been a terrific co- leader, and I thank her for her leadership.

    A women's history museum is long overdue in Washington, DC. Think of it. We actually have a museum dedicated to honoring buildings. We have museums along the mall that commemorate various aspects of our history. We have the Air and Space Museum. There is a privately run Spy Museum. There is the Newseum, which honors journalism. There is a museum that honors Native Americans. Americans from all over this country can come to Washington and learn about our history and the contributions of the people who have made our Nation the greatest country in the world. Despite the plethora of museums, however, there has been no museum dedicated to the women who have helped to shape our Nation's history.

    The legislation that was finally approved last week calls for a commission to fund its own costs, and it would be paid for entirely with private funds at no cost to American taxpayers.

    This commission would put forth a plan for establishing a museum on women's history so that people who are coming to Washington can learn about the enormous contributions of women to our Nation's history.

    Indeed, American women have made invaluable contributions to our country across such diverse fields as government, business, medicine, law, literature, sports, entertainment, the arts, and the military. A museum dedicated to women's history will help ensure that future generations understand what it is we owe to the many American women who have helped to build, sustain, and advance our society.

    Such a museum will share the stories of pioneering women such as abolitionist Harriet Tubman, the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, astronaut Sally Ride, and my personal inspiration, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith.

    I first introduced legislation to establish a museum for women's history in 2003. Early the following year, the Senate unanimously approved my bill. Unfortunately, that legislation was not taken up by the House and died.

    In 2005, the Senate again approved the legislation, but it too stalled in the House. With the passage finally of this commission bill, the effort to establish a museum for women's history in our Nation's Capital takes a positive step forward.

    This bill will convene a talented, diverse, and skilled panel of historians, educators, museum administrators, and other experts with experience in women's history to make recommendations for the creation and the sustainment of such a museum.

    It is important to emphasize that this museum will portray all aspects of women's contributions to our history, without partisanship or bias. The only political statement we will be making is to correct the longstanding omission of the role of women in America's history.

    I also recognize and thank Chairwoman Landrieu and Ranking Member Murkowski for their careful consideration of our bill by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which unanimously approved it last month.

    Telling the history of the contributions of American women matters, and this bill takes a long overdue first step toward recognizing and honoring those who have shaped our shared American heritage. I look forward to the day when young girls and young boys visiting Washington will be able to visit a women's history museum to learn more about the remarkable contributions of American women to our Nation.

    Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

    The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.

    Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Ms. COLLINS. I ask unanimous consent that I be permitted to speak as in morning business.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Tribute to Saxby Chambliss Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, it is a great pleasure but a bittersweet moment for me to rise on the Senate floor to pay tribute to a dear friend and an esteemed colleague, Senator Saxby Chambliss.

    After 20 years in Congress--8 in the House and 12 here in the Senate--Senator Chambliss retires from this phase of service to Georgia and to our Nation with a well-deserved reputation as a true statesman.

    At a time when the coarsening political discourse across our Nation and here in Congress is a growing concern, Senator Chambliss is a shining example of expertise and ability combined with civility and respect. He leaves Congress not only with many friends on both sides of the aisle, but also with many accomplishments to his credit.

    His leadership in national security and intelligence in both Chambers has been a great asset to our Nation. From agriculture to armed services, Senator Chambliss has been an informed and effective advocate for his constituents and for the American people.

    The golfers here might consider the hole-in-one he famously scored in a foursome with President Obama last year to be worthy of mention. Personally, as the founder and cochair of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, I would consider his dedication to the cause of juvenile diabetes to be a true highlight.

    I have also had the great pleasure of serving with Senator Chambliss both on the Intelligence Committee, where he is the vice chairman, and previously on the Senate Armed Services Committee. I saw firsthand his extraordinary grasp of complicated issues that are so critical to the security of our Nation. I also witnessed how he would listen carefully to the views of others, whether on the Republican side of the aisle or from the Democratic Members on both committees.

    But if there is one shining moment that stands out for me, it would be Senator Chambliss's leadership in the Gang of 6 during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis. At a time when it was far easier to stand back, point fingers, and fix blame, Senator Chambliss, along with Senator Mark Warner, led the way in producing a framework to provide a bipartisan, comprehensive, and balanced way to put our Nation on a stable fiscal path. The fact that our national debt has grown from $16 trillion to $18 trillion since then makes it all the more imperative that we continue the effort, with the leadership that was shown by Senator Chambliss and that he so courageously helped to start.

    The fact that this dedicated and wise leader cited Washington gridlock and partisan posturing as the driving force in his decision to retire from the Senate should give us all cause to reflect.

    Senator Saxby Chambliss has always been a voice of reason. No matter how bitter the debate, he has always engaged in thoughtful discussions that result in solutions. As he returns to private life, his advice will continue to be sought after and I hope heeded. His knowledge and insight will still be valued, and the example of decency and civility he has set should guide us all. I know his beloved wife, his children, and his grandchildren will be happy to have more of Senator Chambliss's time, but for those of us who have been privileged to serve with him in the Senate, his decision to retire is a great loss.

    The people of Georgia, the people of America, and those of us who have been privileged to serve as Saxby Chambliss's colleagues are grateful for his service. I wish him all the best in the years to come, both on and off the golf course.

    Thank you, Madam President.

    I suggest the absence of a quorum.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

    [[Page S6828]] The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.

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