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Senate Floor: THE VIOLENT CRIME CONTROL AND LAW ENFORCEMENT ACT OF 1994--MESSAGE FROM THE HOUSE

  • Joe Biden
    Person
  • Arlen Specter
    Person
  • Byron Dorgan
    Person
  • The Presiding Officer
    Person
Unknown

Arlen Specter

Unknown
Mr. President, I have sought recognition to comment on a number of provisions of the pending crime bill, to provide my thinking to the conferees on what I consider to be one of the two central problems of serious crime in America. Those two problems are the career criminals and the imposition of the death penalty. 5

Arlen Specter

Unknown
I have listened at some length to the discussion on the floor today about giving very substantial additional jurisdiction to the Federal courts on criminal matters. I believe that has to be done very circumspectly. I introduced the Federal armed career criminal bill back in 1981. It became law in 1984 and was broadened in 1986. This law provides for sentences up to life imprisonment for any career criminal found in possession of a firearm. There is broad Federal jurisdiction on drug matters generally, but I believe we have to proceed very cautiously to broaden the jurisdiction of the Federal courts, or the State courts will not undertake their responsibilities. 6

Arlen Specter

Unknown
I believe there are some things which the Federal Government can do to assist the States which will leave the States largely in control of the administration of criminal justice, because, under our Federal system, it has been the tradition of the States to handle the vast bulk of criminal prosecutions. Our Federal system was established to give limited powers to the central government, reserving the bulk of powers to the States. I think we have to rely upon the States for the principal amount of criminal prosecutions. 7

Arlen Specter

Unknown
When it comes to dealing with career criminals, there are some things the Federal Government can do to help the States but still leave the primary responsibility in the States. There is substantial legislation pending in this crime bill, pending before the House-Senate conference, which would provide funding for realistic rehabilitation to try to take offenders out of the cycle of crime at an early stage with early intervention and to provide rehabilitation in the form of literacy training and job training for first and second offenders. 8

Arlen Specter

Unknown
There is little public concern for the welfare of the criminal himself or herself, but there is substantial interest in the public on efforts which will take the career criminal out of the crime cycle. I believe that we have to focus on that problem. 9

Arlen Specter

Unknown
It is no surprise when a functional illiterate, without a trade or a skill, leaves prison and goes back through the revolving door to a life of crime. But there is another aspect, and that involves the ability of the prosecutor -- a job I held for many years in the city of Philadelphia -- to get a life sentence after the career criminal has committed three or four violent offenses. It is not as simplistic as "three strikes and you're out," a popular slogan at this time, because the reality is when the judge faces the moment of sentencing, it is very difficult to get him to impose, or her to impose, a life sentence on the defendant unless the judge concludes that that defendant has had a fair opportunity. 10

Arlen Specter

Unknown
If there is a chance at rehabilitation with literacy training and job training, and the first offender fails and commits a second offense and then has still another chance and commits a third offense, then I think it is realistic and proper at that juncture for the judge to impose a life sentence. 11

Arlen Specter

Unknown
The Federal Government can further be of assistance to the States in providing prison space for those who are convicted under the habitual offender statutes. It is a fact that many judges are reluctant to sentence to life imprisonment because of the overcrowded prisons. When I was district attorney of Philadelphia, some 40 States in the Union had habitual offender statutes, but they were used very little -- realistically, not at all in the city of Philadelphia where we had 500 homicides a year and some 30,000 crimes. And there is substantial funding in this bill for the Federal Government to provide prison space for the States which will allow State judges to sentence career criminals or habitual offenders to life sentences. I think that is the kind of assistance which the Federal Government ought to be giving rather than having wide, sweeping changes which would bring to the Federal Government virtually all of the responsibility for criminal law enforcement. 12

Arlen Specter

Unknown
There is another issue which this bill does not take up, which I have spoken on in the past and spoke in the Republican caucus today and I want to comment on again; and that is, the absence in this bill of any remedial legislation dealing with the tremendous delays in the Federal courts which have rendered the imposition of the death penalty a virtual nullity. In order for the death penalty to have any effect, like any other form of punishment, it has to be swift and it has to be certain. But today, the death penalty is a relative rarity. 13

Arlen Specter

Unknown
Recently, when the death penalty was imposed in Illinois, after some 30 years without a death penalty having been carried out, and similarly in Maryland, it made front-page news. While there are some 2,800 criminals on death row, last year the sentence was carried out in only 38 cases. The death penalty, which is, in effect, the flagship of criminal law enforcement, is not being carried out and the criminal element knows it. It really makes the criminal justice system a laughingstock. 14

Arlen Specter

Unknown
The death penalty can be an effective deterrent. In my days in the Philadelphia district attorney's office, when the death penalty was carried out, there was a lot of evidence that professional burglars would not carry a weapon with them in the course of a burglary for fear of killing someone and facing a first-degree murder charge for felony murder. Many hoodlums would not carry guns in the course of robberies, again, for fear that someone might be killed and they might face the death penalty under a first-degree murder charge. 15

Arlen Specter

Unknown
I believe that the death penalty has to be carried out in a very, very careful way. I am hopeful that the conference committee will reject the House provision which imposes a statistical study for the determination of whether the death penalty has been imposed unfairly. That provision has been incorporated into the House bill under the name of the Racial Justice Act which, I submit, is a misnomer because the essence of fairness in criminal justice is to have each individual case considered on its own merits, in terms of the nature of the offense, and the background of the individual. It ought not to depend upon a statistical tabulation. 16

Arlen Specter

Unknown
I do believe that a recent order entered by a Federal judge in the middle district of Pennsylvania calling on the Department of Justice to articulate standards for when the death penalty will be requested, is a sensible step in the direction of guaranteeing objective standards and of being as sure as we can that the death penalty will only be imposed after consideration by prosecuting officials at the highest level under preexisting standards. 17

Arlen Specter

Unknown
But if there is to be a statistical tabulation on the death penalty, it seems to me that that will remove the individualization of justice from the nature of the offense and from the background and record of the criminal. 18

Arlen Specter

Unknown
So it is my hope, Mr. President, that as the crime bill moves through the conference we will focus on ways that we can be of assistance to the States without assuming all of the States' traditional criminal law enforcement responsibilities in violation of the basic tenets of federalism; that we will work to try to help the States with career criminals by creating incentives to ensure that they provide opportunities for realistic rehabilitation in prison to take the career criminals out of the crime cycle in order to protect law-abiding citizens or, where that is not done, after the first offense and after the second offense, we will have set the stage for the imposition of life sentences for career criminals or habitual offenders, and that we will provide incentives for States to use their career criminal laws with Federal prisons. 19

Arlen Specter

Unknown
These are very important provisions which I hope will receive the attention of the conference committee and come forward in the final version of the conference report. 20

Arlen Specter

Unknown
Mr. President, in the absence of any other Senator seeking recognition, I suggest the absence of a quorum. 21

The Presiding Officer

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER. 23

Joe Biden

Unknown
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. 27

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Baucus). Without objection, it is so ordered. 29

Joe Biden

Unknown
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the vote on Senator D'Amato's motion to instruct occur without any intervening action or debate upon the disposition of my motion, and that no amendments be in order to his motion, and that, upon the disposition of his motion, the Chair be authorized to appoint conferees. 32

The Presiding Officer

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER. 34

Joe Biden

Unknown
Mr. President, while I have the floor, we are waiting until 6:30 because two of our colleagues would not agree to what every other colleague would agree to, to voice vote all of these amendments. I apologize to the rest of my colleagues for being inconvenienced on something that, quite frankly, does not matter much whether it passes by voice vote or whether we have a rollcall vote on these. But the Presiding Officer understands this place as well as I do. 36

Joe Biden

Unknown
Mr. President, I will be very brief. 39

Joe Biden

Unknown
To refresh everyone's recollection, Senator D'Amato's amendment federalizes any crime committed with a gun that at any time crossed a State line. We are told by reliable authority, by the Justice Department, that offenders armed with handguns in the year 1992 committed 900,000 violent crimes. So what we have just done is we have made eligible for prosecution in the Federal court system crimes now totally within the State court system, 900,000 offenses, 900,000 potential cases. 40

Joe Biden

Unknown
Obviously, not all those 900,000 people are going to be arrested, and all 900,000 are not necessarily individuals. Maybe 500,000 people committed 900,000 of these crimes. No one knows. But it is safe to say that there are going to be at least between 50,000 and 100,000 of these crimes where someone is apprehended and they are going to go to trial. 41

Joe Biden

Unknown
Let us take the most conservative estimate. Say it is 50,000 people who now are going to go into Federal court, requiring a Federal prosecutor, a Federal judge, and a Federal prison cell when, in fact, they are now all eligible to be and, in fact, are tried at the State court level. 42

Joe Biden

Unknown
That will more than double the total number of crimes tried in the entire Federal court system. Not tried, handled. There were 43,000 criminal indictments that were in Federal court last year. I think the number, to be precise, is 43,300 something. But it is 43,000 plus. 43

Joe Biden

Unknown
Excuse me, I said 43. I correct myself; 48,366 Federal district court criminal cases entertained by the district court last year. In one fell swoop, we will add -- we could add -- 200,000, but we will add probably 50,000 cases eligible, just with the D'Amato amendment, that are now in State jurisdiction. We more than double the entire number of cases the entire Federal court system now handles. 44

Joe Biden

Unknown
To put this in perspective, in 36 years, from 1955 to 1991, there were a total of 1.3 million criminal cases filed in the Federal district court in 36 years, 1.3 million: 900,000 would be eligible in 1 year. 45

Joe Biden

Unknown
There were 4 million criminal filings in State courts of general jurisdiction, 82 times as many as in the Federal court system. There is a reason for that. There are considerably more resources at the State level to handle these cases. There are 23,000 prosecutors across this country, 3,000 Federal. There are 9,600 State trial court judges. There are 629 Federal trial court judges. There are 1.3 million prisoners in State jails. There are 84,000 in Federal jail. This is kind of silly. 46

Joe Biden

Unknown
But there is another provision in the D'Amato amendment, and that is the one that says if you commit murder with a gun, it is a Federal crime now. I have no objection to that. I support the death penalty. But there are 15 States in America where the people have voted not to have the death penalty, Delaware not being one of them. I do not know what Montana is, but 15 States in America have said, after overwhelming debate, deliberation, consideration, their legislators and/or their Governors have voted or vetoed, depending on what it is, against legislation that said we want a death penalty. 47

Joe Biden

Unknown
It is one thing to come in here and assist a State. It is another thing to completely vitiate States' rights on things that are totally local matters. 48

Joe Biden

Unknown
So if the D'Amato amendment is adopted, we will, even though I support the death penalty, be telling the people of Wisconsin, New York and 13 other States: What you feel like doing in your home State does not matter; we, the U.S. Senators and legislators, know better than your legislature knows, we know better than you know, we know better than your people know. 49

Joe Biden

Unknown
Whether it is by referendum they oppose the death penalty, whether by legislative vote they oppose the death penalty, or gubernatorial veto they oppose the death penalty, 15 States said, "Look, we don't want a death penalty." That is their business. We are Federal -- Federal -- elected officials. 50

Joe Biden

Unknown
In the Biden crime bill we are going to be going to conference with, I believe we should have a Federal death penalty for Federal offenses. So we make the rules for the Federal Government. And I am for the death penalty. I think if the State of Delaware wants to have a death penalty, I should not tell them whether they can or cannot. I am a federally-elected official. I did not run for the State legislature. I did not run for Governor. And the people in my State said, "Hey, we want the death penalty." But the people in New York said, through their system of checks and balances, "We don't want a death penalty." The people in Wisconsin said, "We don't want a death penalty." Is it our prerogative to stand on the floor of the Senate and say, "Hey, here's the deal. We know better than you"? 51

Joe Biden

Unknown
I wonder what the Senator from New York and others would say if there were enough votes on the floor to say any murder committed with a gun that crossed interstate lines could not receive the death penalty, must be minimum mandatory life in prison, and we had 35 State death-penalty laws overruled where a gun was involved. I will bet you, Mr. President, we would hear a lot of States' rights arguments on the floor then. 52

Joe Biden

Unknown
It seems to me there has to be a principled rationale on matters that affect State-Federal relationships. There has to be a consistent rationale. I cannot pick from one pile one day and another pile the next day, as to what I want to make Federal, based on my whim or what I like. It seems to me there should be a principle. 53

Joe Biden

Unknown
I ask unanimous consent to print in the Record a speech that I made on federalism to the Judicial Conference to the Third Circuit Conference. 54

Joe Biden

Unknown
Mr. President, I spent a lot of time on it, deliberating what I thought should be the principled rationale for Federal intervention in State matters as it relates to the criminal justice system or any other effort. 142

Joe Biden

Unknown
Historically what we have done, Mr. President, is we have only intervened when there has been an unwillingness on the part of State courts to apply the Federal Constitution which many States, including mine, sadly did on civil rights matters for years. So we came along and said, "Look, you States are not giving people their civil liberties and civil rights, so we are going to pass a Civil Rights Act." We also have done it in areas where there is something that is clearly within the State-Federal ambit. International drug trafficking cannot be stopped by the State of Delaware, but they inherit the wind because we do not do a good enough job federally, so we pass laws allowing the Federal Government to intervene in drug cases because there is a nexus. Drugs hardly ever start and end within that State. So what happens is, drugs come in through the Port of New York or California, the Port of San Diego or Seattle on the west coast, or Galveston -- wherever. They are disseminated throughout the country. No one, single, police agency can handle that network. You need interstate jurisdiction. So it makes sense for the Federal Government to be involved. It makes sense. 143

Joe Biden

Unknown
We also have gotten involved where the States have not met their responsibility in any way. But the idea of federalizing the death penalty and insisting that the 15 States like the State of Wisconsin -- I see the Senator from Wisconsin here, who made a very eloquent speech on this matter when we debated it in November last. It seems to me we should not be telling them that they are going to have to impose the death penalty, a Wisconsin citizen will get the death penalty because the Federal Government thinks they should. 144

Joe Biden

Unknown
Now, I happen to think there should be the death penalty. In the Biden crime bill there are over 50 death penalties. I have been heavily criticized from my friends on the left for that. But I happen to believe in the death penalty. But I also think there has to be some principled rationale by which we separate State and local and Federal matters. 145

Joe Biden

Unknown
The Founding Fathers, sitting up here in a hot Philadelphia summer, spent an awful lot of time trying to figure out this new form of Government. Montesquieu spent a lot of time about 100 years earlier figuring this notion out. That is the revolutionary part of this Government. It works unlike any other in the world -- separated powers, not the concentration of power. 146

Joe Biden

Unknown
I wonder how many people on this floor would call for the federalizing of all police forces locally. Anybody want a Federal police force? No local police? I do not. I do not want that. It has been one of the tenets of our separated powers concept. There is not a Federal police force. We do not come in and tell the local police in Delaware what they can and cannot do. If it is a Federal crime, an FBI agent is involved. If it is not a Federal crime, he or she is not involved. 147

Joe Biden

Unknown
But gosh, what we are doing here, in the name of I do not know what, to use the phrase of a friend of mine, we are standing federalism on its ear. There is no sense to this. 148

Joe Biden

Unknown
What is the principled rationale to say OK, wait a minute now. Guns, we are going to federalize any crime committed with a gun because they, in fact, cross a State line. How about if we say anybody who commits a crime while wearing a piece of clothing that had traveled in interstate commerce and crossed the line is now eligible to be tried in a Federal court, or must be tried in a Federal court? 149

Joe Biden

Unknown
It is not like this bill is not a big deal. It is a big deal. What are we doing? We are giving the State of New York, the State of Delaware, the State of California, South Dakota, all the States, billions of dollars for them to go out and hire more local police, build more local prisons, hire more local prosecutors, build boot camps. We are saying, what do you need? They have come back and said look, we have a real problem. We need more police. We said OK, we will give you the money to hire more police. We are not sending Federal police, and the people who live in the cities and States that the folks here are from, if the local police force wears blue uniforms, they are not going to have someone showing up in a green uniform saying, "I am a Federal police officer and I am working here at the local level." We are saying this is a local problem. We will give you money to hire local police like you always have. We are doing the same with prison systems. We are not saying OK, we are going to build a Federal prison in your State and we are going to federally run that prison and tell you who you can let in and not let in. We are saying you have a State problem. We are going to give you some Federal money to build State prisons run by State and local people. 150

Joe Biden

Unknown
My gosh, that is the way federalism is supposed to work. If we want to help the States, let us help them. And we do that in this bill, for gun offenses. We provide all these additional cops. As I pointed out earlier, Mr. President, and I know because you have worked so hard on this criminal legislation with us, we are adding 100,000 cops. In the entire United States of America, there are only about 550,000 cops. Not even that. I think it is 540,000 cops. 151

Joe Biden

Unknown
OK, we are going to add 100,000, almost a 20 percent increase in the number of local cops. Is that, as another friend of mine says, chopped liver? Are we not helping? Are we not helping the local officials? 152

Joe Biden

Unknown
No, that is not enough for people. We have to decide we know better than the Governor of a State. We know better than the State legislators. We know better than everybody. And we do not want to let the people of a State decide how they believe their criminal justice system should work. 153

Joe Biden

Unknown
I just think we are setting a terrible precedent. We are going to vote at 6:30, or shortly thereafter, on this. I have no illusions about how that vote is going to turn out. I think part of it is nobody wants to be seen as not being tough on crime. 154

Joe Biden

Unknown
Well, other than probably anybody on this floor except possibly the Senator from Arizona, Senator DeConcini, I do not know anybody who has worked more and had a "tough on crime," self-serving statement to make than me. But people are going to come in here and say, no, we have to vote on this. We are going to do this. 155

Joe Biden

Unknown
I just think we are going to rue the day that we go this route, because I tell you what it is going to do. If it passes, becomes law, I am going to be back here on the floor, assuming I am still here and still chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I am going to be back on the floor saying we only have 624, or 625 or 635 trial court judges. We now have doubled the number of cases. We have to double the number of judges. Everybody better belly up to the bar to pay for them. We only have 3,000 Federal prosecutors in all the United States of America. Now, with all this additional work at the Federal level, let us hire more Federal prosecutors. 156

Joe Biden

Unknown
I do not know. It is kind of discouraging. 157

Joe Biden

Unknown
I wish to point out, when I got here in 1973, January of 1973, the press at home used to write about me as Joe Biden, the iconoclast -- I do not know who thought it up -- because they could not quite figure out how someone who had such a strong view on civil rights and civil liberties was so, in the context of the times, "tough on crime." It did not fit. If you were tough on crime, you were not supposed to care about civil rights and civil liberties. And conversely, if you cared about civil rights and civil liberties, you were not supposed to be tough on crime. I never thought they were at odds with one another, quite frankly. 158

Joe Biden

Unknown
When I joined the Judiciary Committee, through a friend who was then my counsel on the committee, a first-rate lawyer named Mark Gitenstein, we sat down in my early years here and said, "Well, what do we have to do to fix the Federal criminal justice system?" And there were four initiatives I decided I wanted to work on and, I say with some little pride, accomplished them. One was a lot of people were committing crimes while awaiting trial. 159

Joe Biden

Unknown
So I drafted, with Mark's help, the "speedy trial law." We got it passed. It means, if you do not go to trial within 60 days, they have to let you go. Guess what? That got their attention in the Federal courts. Everybody goes to trial in 60 days. There are notable exceptions. You can get 90 days with extensions. But basically they went to trial. All of those crimes being committed while people were out on bail dropped. 160

Joe Biden

Unknown
The next thing I wanted to do was -- I thought we did not have enough Federal prison space, so I supported, along with others, legislation increasing the number of prison spaces. Guess what? It passed. We do not have the problem at the Federal level. We did. We do not now. 161

Joe Biden

Unknown
The third thing, I thought the way the sentencing thing worked was a bad idea. There was too much discretion, and it was being applied in a prejudicial manner. To overstate it, the study showed that if you were young and black, and young, white, and middle class, and you committed the same exact crime, the young, white, middle-class person got probation and the young black got jail. 162

Joe Biden

Unknown
So back then it was facetiously referred to as the Biden-same-time- for-the-same-crime bill. It is now the bill that is called the sentencing commission. The law is now if you get sentenced at a Federal court, you go to jail for 85 percent of the time at a minimum; mostly 100 percent of the time. And you can get a 15-percent reduction for mitigating circumstances. That much discretion is left to the judge, and you can get a 15-percent add-on for aggravating circumstances. That discretion is left to the judge. People actually serve their time. 163

Joe Biden

Unknown
The last thing I did, which everyone was a little bit -- not everyone; many of my Democratic friends were a little bit disturbed -- but I thought we needed more Federal judges. I am the guy with the Republican President who introduced a bill for an additional, I think, 84 or 88 Federal judges. I remember going in the caucus. My friend from Arizona will remember. He supported it. And we basically got lambasted saying, "Wait a minute. What are you doing? You are adding 84 new judges for Ronald Reagan to appoint." I was not happy about Ronald Reagan appointing those judges. But we needed the judges. 164

Joe Biden

Unknown
The end result was -- not because of what I, Senator DeConcini, and others did, but in little part because -- the Federal system is working relatively well. 165

Joe Biden

Unknown
A lot of things have to be improved. We need more Treasury agents. We need more customs agents. We need more FBI agents. We still need more. But on balance the system is working pretty well. 166

Joe Biden

Unknown
As I said, all the horror stories -- and they are real; I do not mean to belittle them -- that we hear are not about Federal prisoners. They are not about Federal convicts. They are not about federally convicted people who were let out of jail. They are all about State courts. 167

Joe Biden

Unknown
So we have one system basically that is working pretty well. It is called the Federal system. It is ironic, is not it, that I would be able to stand on the floor and say there is a Federal thing that is working; the Federal system? You do not pick up the paper and hear criticism on a large scale, hardly at all, of the Federal criminal justice system. But you hear absolutely excoriating -- with good reason, I might add -- things about the State justice system. So we have one that is working now. 168

Joe Biden

Unknown
It seems to me that we have to do one of two things. I see my friend from North Dakota is here, and he may want to speak, so I will not take much more time. We have to do one of two things. We either have to really beef up this Federal system to accommodate all this new responsibility so it does not become broken again, so it continues to function, or we have to provide money and expertise to the State systems to help them fix it. 169

Joe Biden

Unknown
This is not rocket science. I mean, it seems you have to do one of the two. What is being proposed here is we are going to do one in this bill, the crime bill, which is to help shore up that State system. I predict the number will be closer to $29 billion worth of help over, I predict, 6 years and not 5. 170

Joe Biden

Unknown
But on the other hand, as my friend from Arizona pointed out, we are not doing much to help the Federal system except we are going to add onto the Federal system an incredible burden. So we are not going to completely fix the one and we are going to break the other. That does not seem to me to make sense. 171

Joe Biden

Unknown
I am willing to work with my colleagues, after we pass this crime bill, for additional legislation if you want to go ahead and do this -- that is, to shift this burden to the Federal Government -- as long as you balance it like this bill balances it, and say, "OK. If you want to do it, I will do it," if, in fact, you say, "OK. All gun crimes committed are eligible or must be with concurrent jurisdiction of the Federal Government." But that is section 1 of the bill. 172

Joe Biden

Unknown
Section 2, we are adding the requisite number of prosecutors, Federal judges, and Federal prisons to accommodate the expected workload. If you are going to do that, that is at least -- I am not suggesting anyone who has a different view is being dishonest -- but in a literal sense that is an honest way of doing it, and then add, as the Senator from Arizona in a very straightforward way pointed out earlier this afternoon, the money to pay for it. Tell me where you are getting the money. 173

Joe Biden

Unknown
But my goodness. Here we are, in my view, confusing the principle of federalism; in fact, putting in motion what will do real damage to the Federal system of justice and not much help to the State system. 174

Joe Biden

Unknown
I want to remind all of you who are so -- I mean this sincerely -- business oriented, when in fact you increase by 10, 20, 30, 50, 100, 200 -- and no one can predict exactly what it will be -- percent the criminal caseload on 635 Federal judges, and then your business community comes to you and says, "By the way, I have a commercial case filed in the Federal court. They tell me I will not be able to even go to trial for it for 2 years." That is not an exaggeration by the way. Right now there is an incredible backlog. But when your business community says, I cannot get into court for 2 years on my case -- and I have a little press statement I can give you which says I knew that when I voted and I cared less about your concerns because I think the Federal Government should handle this additional responsibility that heretofore has been handled at the State level. 175

Joe Biden

Unknown
Look, I challenge anyone in this Chamber, after hearing this or their staffs hearing this, to come back tomorrow, or Monday, or Tuesday, whatever is the appropriate time, and enter in the Record something from the Chamber of Commerce in their State or community that says the following: "I have ample and ready access to the Federal courts. There is no need to speed up the process. I have no problems relative to commercial litigation." I challenge any Senator to come into this Chamber representing the views of their business community or their chamber of commerce, and say that. Maybe it is because my responsibility is to deal with the Federal court system as chair of the Judiciary Committee. But I am bombarded, with good reason, by Federal judges, but more importantly by local business officials, men and women, who point out to me that they lose tens of thousands of dollars a year being unable to resolve their commercial and business disputes because of lack of access to the Federal courts. Because of the Speedy Trial Act, the court must try the Federal criminal cases first. 176

Joe Biden

Unknown
So, I hope we at least go into this with open eyes. 177

Joe Biden

Unknown
So I do not think anyone is likely to listen to what I have to say on this right now. The environment does not lend itself to that at the moment. But I do want to be in a position at least to have done my duty and my responsibility as chairman of the committee of laying on the record what I honestly believe to be the consequences of the action we are about to take, if it becomes law, if it comes out of conference, if the President signs it -- the consequences for commercial litigation in the Federal system, the availability of Federal judges and prosecutors, and the impact it will have on crime. 178

Joe Biden

Unknown
Maybe I am wrong. We will see. But just remember, if it turns out that I happen to be right, be prepared to tell the voters of the Nation that you are willing to spend more money, you are willing to hire more judges, you are willing to hire more prosecutors, at a magnitude of two, three, and four times as many as we have now, to meet this new workload. 179

Joe Biden

Unknown
I see my friend from North Dakota on the floor. I assume he wants to speak to one of these resolution goes. 180

Joe Biden

Unknown
I yield the floor. 181

Byron Dorgan

Unknown
Mr. President, I say to the distinguished chairman that I will soon insert in the Record a communication I received from the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. 183

Byron Dorgan

Unknown
With your indulgence, I ask unanimous consent to speak for 4 minutes as in morning business. 184

The Presiding Officer

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER. 186

Unknown
The Senator from North Dakota is recognized. 187