Remarks as prepared:
Today I have with me Ted Nonini. Ted is from Los Angeles and has been a firefight for 22 years.
Ted is also a registered Republican, but has been active in the fight to stop Republican Congressional leaders from the “nuclear” option.
I brought Ted here today to show that the Republicans who are trying to change the rules don’t represent mainstream, responsible Republicans like Ted.
They represent the radical, right-wing. And their goal is to ram through radical, right-wing judges.
I also brought Ted here as an example of just who Congress should be fighting for.
Republicans want to tie up the Senate over judges. But we’ve already confirmed 205 of President Bush’s nominees. That’s a better record than the last three presidents.
In fact, at the end of the 108th Congress, we hit the lowest vacancy rate in 14 years. But the Republicans still want to talk about a crisis in our courts.
Well, while they are inventing this crisis, the work of the American people is being ignored.
Instead of abusing power, why don’t we go to work on the real problems the American people face?
People in Nevada are paying over $2.50 a gallon for gas. How about we focus on them and set some ambitious energy goals for this country.
There are 45 million people without health care in America. How about Congressional Leaders stop abusing their power, and instead, use their power to bring down health care costs.
Our transportation system is critical to our economy, yet uncertainty over the highway bill has projects – and the jobs that come with them – stalled. How about we quit posturing over radical judicial nominations and take up the transportation bill.
Democrats came here to be legislators. We want to take up the issues that affect people like Ted.
I hope the same is true for Republicans leaders but it seems like they are more concerned with appeasing a radical part of their right-wing base and positioning for 2008.
Democrats want to keep the focus on the issues.. We’re willing to take our chances on votes – some we’ll win, some we’ll lose. And I expect Ted here will disagree with us some of the time.
We know Democrats and Republicans can work together. We did it earlier this year when we passed Bankruptcy and Class action. Let’s put the partisan politics aside and take up the people’s business.