Dick Durbin Blasts McConnell And Republicans: It's Filibuster Time

Sen. Dick Durbin made a passioned plea in Congress on the Iraq war. He called out the Republicans obstructionism on the war and Mitch McConnell's 6

Sen. Dick Durbin made a passioned plea in Congress on the Iraq war. He called out the Republicans obstructionism on the war and Mitch McConnell's 60 vote straw-man argument. Also, CNN called it a "theatrical" event by the Democratic Party. We're talking about war and hell and these idiots are bringing in Broadway.icon Download icon Download

Durbin: Once again I would ask the minority leader from KY, please look at the record. What you said earlier on the floor is not accurate....One of the critics of this recently called it a stunt. A stunt! A stunt that we would stay in session. A stunt that we would have a sleepless night for Senators. I don't think it's a stunt. I think it reflects the reality of this war. How many sleepless night have our soldiers and their families spent?

(Full rough transcript below the fold.)

MR. DURBIN: THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND I WANT TO THANK THE

           SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND FOR HIS HARD WORK WITH THE SENATOR

           FROM MICHIGAN IN PREPARING THIS BILL ON DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION.

           WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO THE REPUBLICAN MINORITY LEADER, THE

           STATEMENT THAT HE MADE EARLIER ON THE FLOOR IS NOT ACCURATE.

           THE REPUBLICAN MINORITY LEADER SAID THAT ON ISSUES RELATING TO

           IRAQ, WE HAVE REQUIRED 60 VOTES. I'D LIKE TO REMIND THE

           REPUBLICAN MINORITY LEADER THAT THE VOTE ON THE TIMETABLE, ON

           THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION BILL WAS A SIMPLE MAJORITY VOTE.

           IT WAS NOT A 60-VOTE THRESHOLD. THE MOST IMPORTANT IRAQ VOTE OF

           THE YEAR DID NOT REQUIRE 60 VOTES ON THE FLOOR OF THE SE

           SENATE. IT PASSED THE SENATE WITH A BIPARTISAN ROLL CALL 51 OR

           52 MEMBERS SUPPORTING IT AND IT WAS SENT TO PRESIDENT BUSH FOR

           ONE OF HIS ONLY THREE VETOES SINCE HE'S BEEN ELECTED PRESIDENT.

           I'M SURE THAT THE MINORITY LEADER FROM KENTUCKY REMEMBERS IT

 WAS NOT A 60-VOTE REQUIREMENT. NOW LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THE

  DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL HERE. LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THE

  HISTORY OF THE DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL. ONCE AGAIN, I WOULD

  ASK THE MINORITY LEADER FROM KENTUCKY, PLEASE LOOK AT THE

  RECORD. WHAT YOU SAID EARLIER ON THE FLOOR IS NOT ACCURATE. IN

  THE LAST DEBATE ON THE DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL, THERE WERE

  TWO IRAQ AMENDMENTS OFFERED. ONE BY SENATORS LEVIN AND REED,

  ANOTHER BY SENATOR KERRY. BOTH RELATED TO THE WAR IN IRAQ AND
 BOTH REQUIRED ONLY A MAJORITY VOTE. THE SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY

  HAS NOT ACCURATELY PORTRAYED WHAT OCCURRED ON THE FLOOR OF THE

  SENATE EITHER WITH OUR SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL OR THE

  PREVIOUS DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL. NOW, FOR THOSE WHO ARE

  FOLLOWING THIS DEBATE WONDERING WHY ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT HOW

  MANY VOTES ARE REQUIRED, THIS IS WHAT THE SENATE IS ALL ABOUT.

  THE QUESTION IS, WILL THIS SENATE SPEAK ON THE ISSUE OF THE

  POLICY IN THE WAR IN IRAQ. THE SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY
 UNDERSTANDS, BECAUSE HE'S BEEN A VETERAN OF THIS BODY, THAT HE

  DOES NOT HAVE A MAJORITY OF THE SENATORS SUPPORTING HIS

  POSITION OR THE POSITION OF PRESIDENT BUSH. AND SO HE STARTED

  THIS DEBATE BY SAYING, WE WON'T ALLOW A MAJORITY VOTE T. WILL

  TAKE 60 VOTES -- VOTE. IT WILL TAKE 60 VOTES, 60% OF THE SENATE

  TO CHANGE THE POLICY ON THE WAR IN IRAQ. THE SENATOR FROM

  KENTUCKY IS BETTING THAT HE CAN HOLD ENOUGH REPUBLICAN SENATORS

  BACK FROM VOTING FOR A CHANGE IN POLICY ON THE WAR IN IRAQ TO
 DEFEAT OUR EFFORTS TO START BRINGING OUR SOLDIERS HOME. THAT IS

  HIS PROCEDURAL APPROACH TO THIS. HE HAS STOOD BY IT. BUT HE

  SHOULD CONFESS IT FOR WHAT IT IS. IT IS A DEPARTURE FROM WHERE

  WE HAVE BEEN ON THE DEBATE ON IRAQ, BOTH ON THE SUPPLEMENTAL

  APPROPRIATIONS BILL AND ON THE DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL. AND,

  MR. PRESIDENT, IT'S UNFORTUNATE AND IT'S WRONG. IT IS WRONG TO

  REQUIRE 60% OF THIS BODY TO VOTE THIS WAY IF TRADITIONALLY ON

  THIS WAR IN IRAQ WE'VE REQUIRED ONLY A SIMPLE MAJORITY. I
 SUPPOSE IT'S ENCOURAGING TO US THAT MORE THAN 60% OF THE

  AMERICAN PEOPLE GET IT. THEY UNDERSTAND HOW FAILED THIS POLICY

  HAS BEEN OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, THE POLICY THAT'S BEING

  SUPPORTED BY THE MINORITY LEADER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE.

  THEY UNDERSTAND IT. THEY WANT US TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. BUT

  THE SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY HAS THROWN THIS OBSTACLE IN OUR PATH.

  HE HAS CREATED THIS PROCEDURAL ROADBLOCK. HE HAS FILIBUSTERED

  -- STARTING A FILIBUSTER TO STOP THE DEBATE ON THE WAR IN IRAQ.
 NOW, I'VE BEEN HERE FOR FOR A FEW YEARS AND I HAVEN'T -- NOW,

  I'VE BEEN HERE FOR A FEW YEARS, AND I HAVEN'T SEEN A

  FULL-THROATED, FULLY IMPLEMENTED FILIBUSTER, THAT YOU MIGHT

  HAVE RECALLED FROM "MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON," WHEN JIMMY

  STEWART STOOD AT HIS DESK UNTIL HE CRUMPLED IN EXHAUSTION,

  FILIBUSTERING A BILL TO STOP IT. OVER THE YEARS, OUR GENTILITY

  HAS LED TO US A DIFFERENT KIND OF FILIBUSTER. IT'S A FILIBUSTER

  IN NAME ONLY, WHERE ONE SIDE SAYS, WELL, WE'RE JUST GOING TO

  KEEP THIS DEBATE GOING ON INDEFINITELY AND THE OTHER SIDE SAYS,
 WE'LL BRING THE DEBATE TO A CLOSE, A MOTION FOR CLOTURE,

  BRINGING IT TO A CLOSE AND WE'LL SEE YOU IN 30 HOURS. HAVE A

  GOOD TIME. NEIGHBOR YOU WANT TO GO BACK AND HAVE A NICE DINNER

  WITH YOUR FRIENDS. WE'LL SEE YOU TOMORROW MORNING. WELL, WE'RE

  GOING TO CHANGE THAT PROCEDURE THIS WEEK. SINCE THE REPUBLICAN

  SIDE HAS DECIDED THAT THEY WANT TO FILIBUSTER OUR EFFORT TO

  DEBATE THE WAR POLICY ON IRAQ, WE HAVE DECIDED ON THE

  DEMOCRATIC SIDE WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A REAL FILIBUSTER. ONE OF

  THE CRITICS OF THIS RECENTLY CALLED IT A STUNT, A STUNT THAT WE
 WOULD STAY IN SESSION, A STUNT THAT WE WOULD HAVE A SLEEPLESS

  NIGHT FOR SENATORS, A STUNT THAT WE WOULD INCONVENIENCE

  SENATORS AND STAFF AND PRESS AND THOSE WHO FOLLOW THE

  PROCEEDINGS. I DON'T THINK IT'S A STUNT. I THINK IT REFLECTS

  THE REALITY OF THIS WAR. HOW MANY SLEEPLESSNESS OF NIGHTS HAVE

  OUR SOLDIERS AND THEIR FAMILIES SPENT WAITING TO FIND OUT

  WHETHER THEY'LL COME HOME ALIVE. HOW MANY SLEEPLESS NIGHTS HAVE

  THEY SPENT PRAYING THAT AFTER THE SCPEKD THIRD REDEPLOYMENT
 THAT THEIR SOLDIER WILL STILL HAVE THE COURAGE AND SENG TO BEAT

  BACK THE ENEMY AND COME HOME TO HIS FAMILY?

  IT'S ABOUT TIME FOR THE SEND TO SPEND AT LEAST ONE SLEEPLESS

  NIGHT. MAYBE IT'S ONLY A SYMBOL BUT IT'S AN IMPORTANT SYMBOL

  FOR THE SOLDIERS AND FAMILY T. REALLY GOES TO THE NATURE OF --

  FAMILY. IT REALLY GOES TO THE NATURE OF SACRIFICE. I GUESS I

  WAS RAISED AS A LITTLE BOY READING ABOUT WORLD WAR II AND

  REMEMBERING THE KOREAN WAR WHEN MY TWO BROTHERS SERVED. THERE

  WAS A SENSE OF NATIONAL COMMITMENT IN THOSE WARS. PEOPLE BACK
 HOME AS WELL AS THOSE ON THE FRONT FELT THEY WERE IN IT

  TOGETHER. SACRIFICES HAD TO BE MADE IN YOUR DAILY LIVING HABITS

  AND THE KINDS OF THINGS YOU COULD BUY AND RATION CARDS AND

  BUYING U.S. SAVINGS BONDS. AMERICA WAS REALLY ONE UNITED NATION

  IN THOSE WARS. WE ACCEPTED THAT SHARED SACRIFICE. WE WERE

  BETTER FOR THAT SHARED SACRIFICE. BUT THIS WAR, SAD TO SAY THIS

  PRESIDENT HAS NOT SUMMONED THAT SAME SPIRIT OF SACRIFICE. HE'S

  BASICALLY TOLD US THAT THIS WAR CAN BE WAGED WITHOUT

  INCONVENIENCING THE LIVES OF MOST AMERICANS. OUR SOLDIERS GO
 THROUGH MORE THAN INCONVENIENCE. THEY GO THROUGH HARDSHIP AND

  DEPRIVATION. MANY OF THEM FACE INJURY AND DEATH IN SERVING OUR

  COUNTRY. BUT FOR MOST OF US, LIFE GOES ON AS NORMAL. THIS

  PRESIDENT HAS NOT ASKED GREAT SACRIFICE FROM THE AMERICAN

  PEOPLE TO EVEN SUPPORT THESE TROOPS. WHEN I VISITED IRAQ, IT'S

  NOT UNCOMMON TO HAVE A MARINE OR SOLDIER OVER LUNCH SAY TO ME,

  "SENATOR, DOES ANYBODY KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO OVER HERE?" "DOES

  ANYBODY KNOW WHAT WE'RE UP AGAINST?" IT'S A LEGITIMATE

  QUESTION. WE FOCUS ON THESE SUPERFICIAL STORIES IN THE PRESS
 THAT DON'T MEAN A THING AND FORGET THE OBVIOUS. AND THE OBVIOUS

  IS THIS, MR. PRESIDENT. EVERY MONTH -- EVERY MONTH WE ARE

  LOSING AMERICAN LIVES. ABOUT 100 AMERICAN SOLDIERS DIE EACH

  MONTH IN THIS WAR IN IRAQ. 1,000 ARE SERIOUSLY INJURED. WE

  SPEND $12 BILLION EACH MONTH. THAT'S THE REALITY. I KNOW THAT

  THERE'S FRUSTRATION BY THESE SOLDIERS AND THEIR FAMILIES THAT

  WE AREN'T PAYING CLOSE ENOUGH ATTENTION. BUT THE AMERICAN
 PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT THAT THIS FAILED POLICY FROM THE BUSH

  ADMINISTRATION HAS TO -- THAT THIS FAILED POLICY FROM THE BUSH

  ADMINISTRATION HAS TO COME TO AN END. WASN'T IT INTERESTING

  OVER THE WEEKEND WHEN THE PRIME MINISTER OF IRAQ INVITED US TO

  LEAVE AND SAID, YOU CAN TAKE OFF ANY TIME YOU'D LIKE, AMERICA;

  WE'LL TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN PROBLEMS?

  PRIME MINISTER AL MALAKI, THE MAN WE HOPE -- HELPED TO BRING TO

  OFFICE, THE ONE WE'RE HOPING WILL SHOW THE LEADERSHIP IN IRAQ

  FOR ITS FUTURE HAS ASKED AMERICA TO PICK UP AND GO WHENEVER

  THEY'D LIKE TO. WHAT DO THE AMERICAN -- WHAT DO THE IRAQI

  PEOPLE THINK ABOUT OUR PRESENCE?
 69% OF THE IRAQI PEOPLE SAY OUR PRESENCE IN IRAQ TODAY WITH OUR

  TROOPS MAKES IT MORE DANGEROUS TO LIVE THERE. MORE THAN 2

  MILLION OF THOSE SOLDIERS -- OF THOSE IRAQIS HAVE LEFT THAT

  COUNTRY AS REFUGEES. MILLIONS HAVE BEEN DISPLACED FROM THEIR

  HOMES. THOUSANDS -- WE DON'T EVEN KNOW THE NUMBER -- HAVE BEEN

  INJURED AND KILLED. AND THEY WANT US TO LEAVE, THIS OCCUPATION

  ARMY OF AMERICANS. WHAT DO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THINK ABOUT THIS

  OCCUPATION IN IRAQ?
 THEY WANT IT TO END AS WELL. THEY DON'T SEE ANY END IN SIGHT.

  THEY DON'T HEAR FROM THIS PRESIDENT THE KIND OF STRATEGY OR

  DIRECTION THAT LEADS THEM TO BELIEVE THAT THIS WILL END WELL OR

  END SOON. AND THEY WANT OUR TROOPS TO START COMING HOME AND I

  AGREE WITH THEM. I DON'T BELIEVE THE IRAQIS WILL STAND UP AND

  ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN COUNTRY UNTIL WE START

  LEAVING. IF THE IRAQIS KNOW THAT EVERY TIME THERE'S A PROBLEM

  IN THEIR COUNTRY, THEY CAN DIAL 911 AND BRING ON 20,000 OF OUR

  BEST AND BRAVEST SOLDIERS TO QUELL THE VIOLENCE IN THEIR

  STREETS, WHAT KIND OF INCENTIVE IS THAT FOR THEM TO PROTECT
 THEIR OWN COUNTRY?

  WHAT KIND OF INCENTIVE IS THAT FOR THEM TO MAKE THE CRITICAL

  POLITICAL DECISIONS WHICH MAY LEAD ONE DAY TO STABILITY?

  I LOOK AT THIS CORNYN AMENDMENT, WHICH WAS JUST FILED, AND I

  RESPECT MY COLLEAGUE FROM TEXAS. BUT I WANT TO TELL YOU

  SOMETHING. HE'S ASKING FOR TOO MUCH. HE'S ASKING THE UNITED

  STATES TO STAY IN IRAQ TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT IT SUCCEEDS. NOW,

  HOW LONG IS THAT GOING TO BE?

  HOW LONG WILL THAT GO ON?

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