EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 49
(Senate - March 21, 2017)

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[Pages S1862-S1864]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                           EXECUTIVE SESSION

                                 ______
                                 

                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations en 
bloc, which the clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read the nominations of Charles R. Breyer, of 
California, to be a Member of the United States Sentencing Commission 
for a term expiring October 31, 2021; and Danny C. Reeves, of Kentucky, 
to be a

[[Page S1863]]

Member of the United States Sentencing Commission for a term expiring 
October 31, 2019.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today the Senate will vote on two nominees 
to the U.S. Sentencing Commission who should have been confirmed last 
year. Judge Danny Reeves was nominated more than 1 year ago, and he was 
unanimously reported by the Judiciary Committee; yet Senate Republicans 
refused to approve him before the end of last year. Judge Charles 
Breyer was nominated last September for a reappointment, and despite 
overwhelming support, Republicans blocked him as well. These are not 
controversial nominees, and there is no good reason they were blocked 
last year. In fact, in ordinary times, these nominees would be 
unanimously confirmed during wrap-up on the Senate floor.


                            richard boulware

  Mr. President, one nominee we are not considering today is Judge 
Richard Boulware, whom President Obama nominated in 2015 to fill a seat 
on the Sentencing Commission previously held by Judge Ketanji Brown 
Jackson. Judge Boulware was confirmed to serve as a district judge in 
June 2014, becoming the first African-American man to serve on the U.S. 
District Court for the District of Nevada. His nomination to the 
Sentencing Commission had the strong support of the Leadership 
Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which said that Judge Boulware 
would ``bring a much needed and valuable perspective to the work of the 
Commission because of his experience.'' Judge Boulware clerked in the 
Southern District of New York, served as a Federal public defender, and 
represented the Las Vegas branch of the NAACP on a range of issues, 
including voting rights, police cameras, and solitary confinement.
  Despite his clear qualifications, Senate Republicans blocked Judge 
Boulware, and his nomination was returned to the White House at the end 
of last year. President Trump renominated Judge Reeves and Judge 
Breyer, but I am disappointed that he failed to do the same for Judge 
Boulware. The Sentencing Commission does not have a single person of 
Color serving as a commissioner; yet its work on criminal justice 
issues has a significant effect on communities of color. Judge Boulware 
should have been confirmed last year, along with Judge Reeves and Judge 
Breyer. While I support the two nominees before us today, I want the 
Record to note my deep disappointment and concern that Judge Boulware 
is not among them.
  For nearly a decade, I have worked with Senators from both parties on 
bipartisan legislation to reform our criminal justice system. The 
Sentencing Commission has also studied the issue and brought about 
needed change to the sentencing guidelines. The Bureau of Prisons 
continues to consume nearly a quarter of the Justice Department's 
budget, even as violent crime rates have gone down; but instead of 
taking meaningful steps to reduce these costs, the Trump-Sessions 
Justice Department has signaled it intends to more aggressively charge 
low-level offenders with crimes carrying mandatory minimums. The 
Attorney General also lifted restrictions on the use of private prisons 
that serve only the interest of wealthy corporations. This is deeply 
troubling on moral grounds. Incarceration should not be a for-profit 
business. It is also troubling to me in my role as vice chairman of the 
Appropriations Committee. Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on 
private prisons, we should be directing our limited resources to train 
and protect officers on the streets and to reduce recidivism and crime.
  The Sentencing Commission has brought much-needed fairness to the 
Guidelines in the past, and I hope it will continue to do so once its 
new members are confirmed, Although we should also be voting today on 
Judge Boulware's nomination to the commission--rather, we should have 
voted on it last year--I will support the nominations of Judge Breyer 
and Judge Reeves.


                           breyer nomination

  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise in strong support of Judge 
Charles Breyer's reappointment to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
  Judge Breyer earned his bachelor's degree cum laude from Harvard 
University in 1963 and his law degree from the University of 
California, Berkeley Law School in 1966.
  In 1997, Judge Breyer was nominated by President Clinton to a seat on 
the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Judge 
Breyer was confirmed by the U.S. Senate that same year by voice vote.
  On the bench, Judge Breyer has served with distinction. He has done 
the hard work of sentencing individuals to prison terms. He has also 
focused on sentencing issues outside the courtroom, testifying before 
the Sentencing Commission in 2009 and serving as chair of a Ninth 
Circuit Committee evaluating the impact of the Supreme Court's 
decisions in Blakely v. Washington, 2004, and United States v. Booker, 
2005, on sentencing.
  In 2011, Judge Breyer took senior status, and the following year, he 
was nominated by President Obama to serve on the Sentencing Commission. 
Judge Breyer became the commission's vice chair in 2013.
  The Sentencing Commission is an independent agency charged with 
establishing sentencing guidelines for the Federal court system. The 
commission's work is important. It is responsible for advising and 
assisting Congress and the Executive branch in the development of 
effective and efficient crime policy. The commission also collects, 
analyzes, researches, and distributes a broad array of information on 
Federal crime and sentencing issues and serves as a resource for 
Congress, the Executive branch, the Judiciary, practitioners, 
academics, and the public.
  Since the start of the 115th Congress, the Sentencing Commission has 
been unable to do its work because it has been with only two 
commissioners. By statute, the commission requires a quorum of at least 
four commissioners.
  For this reason, it is vitally important that Judge Breyer is 
confirmed once again to serve on the commission. Judge Breyer is a man 
of distinction and integrity. He has a long history of dedicated 
service to this country and an impeccable record of fairness. The 
commission really needs his continued leadership.
  Today I urge my colleagues to support Judge Breyer's nomination.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the hour of 12 noon 
having arrived, the question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to 
the Breyer and Reeves nominations en bloc?
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: The 
Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. Inhofe) and the Senator from Georgia (Mr. 
Isakson).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cruz). Are there any other Senators in the 
Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 98, nays 0, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 91 Ex.]

                                YEAS--98

     Alexander
     Baldwin
     Barrasso
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Blunt
     Booker
     Boozman
     Brown
     Burr
     Cantwell
     Capito
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Cassidy
     Cochran
     Collins
     Coons
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cortez Masto
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Daines
     Donnelly
     Duckworth
     Durbin
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Feinstein
     Fischer
     Flake
     Franken
     Gardner
     Gillibrand
     Graham
     Grassley
     Harris
     Hassan
     Hatch
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Heller
     Hirono
     Hoeven
     Johnson
     Kaine
     Kennedy
     King
     Klobuchar
     Lankford
     Leahy
     Lee
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCain
     McCaskill
     McConnell
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Paul
     Perdue
     Peters
     Portman
     Reed
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sanders
     Sasse
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Scott
     Shaheen
     Shelby
     Stabenow
     Strange
     Sullivan
     Tester
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Udall
     Van Hollen
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wicker
     Wyden
     Young

                             NOT VOTING--2

     Inhofe
     Isakson
       
  The nominations were confirmed en bloc.

[[Page S1864]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the motions to 
reconsider are considered made and laid upon the table, and the 
President will be immediately notified of the Senate's action.
  The Senator from Kansas.

                          ____________________