Nomination of Elizabeth A. Wolford to Be United States District Judge for the District of New Yorkby Senator Deb Fischer
Posted on 2013-12-11
FISCHER. Madam President, I rise to discuss the nomination of
Elizabeth Wolford to be U.S. district judge for the District of New
I am new here. I am just completing my first year in the Senate. But I believe this nomination gives us all an opportunity to discuss how government is or is not working in Washington, DC.
I know when I travel the State of Nebraska--and I am back in the State most weekends and put on hundreds of miles; we are a big State, but as I travel the State of Nebraska, people always ask me: How are things going in Washington? How are you doing in Washington? I can't help but compare what we do in Nebraska to what we are doing now in Washington, DC, because in Nebraska we have a pretty unique system. We are unicameral, we have one house, we are nonpartisan, and we get things done.
We have an agenda set up every day in the Nebraska legislature, and we follow that agenda. We have bills listed. We go through those bills, and, most importantly, we take votes. As a State senator in the State of Nebraska, I have an opportunity to rise and debate with my colleagues on the issues before us. I have the opportunity to sit at my desk in the chamber in the Nebraska capitol and write out an amendment, take it up to the desk, have it discussed, and then have it voted upon.
I believe the Nebraska way is a good example for what we could do here in Washington because we have so many important issues before us that are not being debated. I am speaking basically to an empty Chamber right now. We aren't debating the big issues before this country. We are not acting upon the big issues that are before this country. We certainly are not voting on those issues.
We have a system in the Senate where amendments are not accepted. That whole concept is very foreign to me, because, as I said, in Nebraska we are able to file amendments and we are able to have those amendments voted upon. We also respect the rights of the minority, for although we may be officially nonpartisan, we do belong to political parties. We have a right to express our views on an issue, to represent our constituents, and to express their concerns. Those rights are respected, they are valued, and they are upheld.
I can tell my colleagues I had bills that were filibustered in the State, and those filibusters would last, in one case, 16 hours. But in the end, after those views of the minority were expressed, we took a vote on the issue. In Nebraska, we take up those issues. We defend the rights of our constituents to be heard, and that is what this body should do as well. We should honor the rights of all of our constituents and have their views be heard.
Being from Nebraska, we don't have as many people as some of the other States. But within this body, every Senator is equal. Every citizen has equal representation. That is a principle, and that is a value that must be respected.
I am sorry to say I believe we are at a point where that principle, that value is no longer respected within the U.S. Senate.
I see my colleague from Nebraska is in the Chamber, Madam President. I ask unanimous consent that the Senator from Nebraska and I be able to enter into a colloquy.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mrs. FISCHER. Thank you, Madam President.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.